Ryan Robinson is a full-time blogger, podcaster, and content marketing pro who has worked with many well-known Fortune 500 companies and some of the most popular startups to date!
Having worked with brands such as Oracle, LinkedIn, and Google, it may be surprising to learn that Ryan came from humble beginnings. In fact, his first business venture was the creation and distribution of a product by the name of iStash—a fake iPhone designed to hold small items. Like most small startups, the iStash didn’t take off quite as Ryan had hoped. However, he did learn quite a few valuable lessons in content marketing, building communities, and other areas that can make or break a brand.
Now, Ryan has built an empire worth studying. When he isn’t providing valuable insights on his own blog—reaching over 4 million readers annually—or guest-posting on Forbes and Entrepreneur, he shares his knowledge with the “little people.” I’m excited to say that he took the time to speak with me about his journey in entrepreneurship, successes and failures, and his personal thoughts on blogging.
So, without further ado—let’s dive on in!
What inspired you to become a blogger/entrepreneur?
Ryan: I think it really honestly goes back to my experience growing up. So both my parents were small business owners, are small business owners, and from a very young age, I was helping them with their work. You know, one had a construction company. So I was pouring concrete on weekends with my dad, from being like a young kid all the way through like high school and college even, and my mom had a tutoring company.
So I would help her with marketing her tutoring company and one of the early ways we kind of started figuring out marketing was digital marketing, right? And this was in the like early to mid-2000s when digital marketing was still relatively new.
I was also young, but it gave me a good excuse to learn about marketing and that kind of led to blogging as a way to rank in Google search results for local stuff and then from there, it kind of just piqued my interest and I started my own blog at some point shortly thereafter. In college, I started taking it seriously and you know, as my interest grew, I started to see results. So one thing led to another.
Early, on what were some of the biggest challenges you faced with your blog?
Ryan: I think the biggest challenge man honestly has always been like just maintaining motivation. I think the long-term nature of success with blogging lends itself to a lot of people like burning out or giving up before they really see results and
from that article and knowing that I’m going into every article I’m publishing with a super long-term focus has always been very important for me just from setting the right expectations and not being disappointed that I’m not making money from a new article next week or next month.
That’s an outlook that I’ve always, always had just based on my own experiences and from what other bloggers have shared too. Just setting that right expectation has helped me kind of fight off what I think the biggest challenge is of getting burned out and giving up too early. Let’s see. All right.
What strategies helped fuel your blog growth to 500,000 monthly readers?
Like you see a little spike in traffic. That’s often good for high-quality email subscribers that could become customers whether it’s now for like a course or a book or later on down the line after you’ve built a relationship with them and figure out what they need and what you can provide them.
So you have that incremental traffic spike component. But then also guest blogging is I think the best way to build high-quality links from other websites, and that’s Google.
Yeah. So just write useful content for a guest site’s audience and it’s kind of a win-win-win because the guest blog gets good content. Their readers get to learn something from you and you also get the benefit of having a link or two, maybe three sometimes, back to your own blog from within the guest post.
So that’s by far number one. I think if you want to throw in some related stuff, there are just some basic technical SEO best practices that you really need to have dialed in with your website in order to even be like a recipient of all the good promotion work you’re going to be doing to promote your blog.
So I have an article on my site that talks about SEO best practices that you could reference but yeah, just things that are kind of geared around making sure your website loads quickly and has a good user experience for your readers. You know, not tons of crazy like pop-ups and stuff all over the place.
But yeah, aside from that, like I always recommend Google’s Lighthouse tool to run both your homepage and individual blog post through and see exactly what Google is telling you you should improve about your website and that includes things like accessibility too, making sure you have the right fonts, the right image aspect ratios, the right color contrast ratios. It gets really granular, but I think it’s extremely valuable. So I always recommend that tool.
In your perspective, do you think blogging has changed overtime and do you now think it’s harder for someone to be successful?
Ryan: I don’t think it’s necessarily harder for someone new to be successful. I just think it’s different.
It goes up every, every year, right
So from that perspective, I guess you could say it’s harder from the frame of mind that someone brand new starting out may not be able to compete writing against someone who has been doing it for 10 years in the same way. But I think – I believe strongly that you can provide more unique content without having to compete on say like word length or having the most experience.
I think you can provide more unique perspectives as someone who’s new to an industry or coming in, thinking about it with really fresh ideas and offering up approaches that may not be as readily apparent to someone who has been stuck in an industry for 10 years.
So I think there’s a lot to be said about just having the mindset that you’re coming in to provide the best possible answers to your target audience as you possibly can and really just dedicating yourself to doing whatever research that means you need to do in order to fill gaps in knowledge or expertise. But just approaching it from like a fresh mindset.
So I think if you are new, that gives you a huge advantage thinking through things with a beginner’s mindset.
What are your future goals and plans for your blog/business?
Ryan: Right now I’m really like–you know, we’re in COVID-19 times still. So I’ve been very much embracing a slower pace of work, as I have the ability to do that right now.
But I’m really staying super focused on my niche of blogging. I’m doing a big update to my course Built to Blog. So I’m planning on re-releasing that as kind of a 2.0 version of the course with more comprehensive topics, more in-depth video tutorials, more interviews with bloggers. So that’s really kind of what’s getting the majority of my focus these days.
But yeah, I’m planning on still being here for the long term. I’ve talked a lot about how blogging is a long game. So you know, I’m planting the seeds today for content that I hope to reap the benefits from over the months and years to come.