In this episode #27, we are talking with Rand Fishkin, book author, Founder of Moz, Co-Founder of SparkToro ( ), an audience research tool that helps you discover people’s sources of influence: who+what they follow, visit, read, watch, & listen-to. We discussed the way SEO can be still relevant for some businesses, why SparkToro went in a different direction and why SEO is something they abandon completely. How AI changes the marketing industry, and why it’s not going to take any of the jobs just yet.

(0:00:12) – Building SparkToro and Rebranding 

I chat with Rand Fishkin, book author, founder of Moz, and co-founder and CEO of SparkToro, an audience research tool that helps discover people’s sources of influence. We discuss SparkToro and his strategies for growing his personal brand and SparkToro, and why SparkToro is so different from Moz. Rand shares his story of how he became an accidental founder of Moz, and how he and his co-founder Casey planned to be intentional about building SparkToro from the start. We also learn about their unique model of raising money from private investors and paying them back their full investment, plus profits for the long term.

(0:16:38) – SparkToro’s Target Customers and Founder Fit 

We discussed the different groups that SparkToro’s customers tend to come from, such as founders and executives working on small teams, in-house marketers needing data from big networks, and agencies and consultants who use SparkToro to help their customers. We then discussed how much of SparkToro’s success has been attributed to Rand’s personal brand.

(0:30:57) – AI Content 

We explore how AI is being used in content creation and the potential copyright issues it could create. We also discuss the potential applications of large language models AIs, from debugging code to brainstorming ideas for social media posts, and the potential advantages of someone who has experience working with prompts and AI over someone with more experience but not as much familiarity with AI.

(0:35:16) – Building a Tiny Team for SparkToro 

We are talking about his decision to keep his team small and his experience with building an email marketing practice. We discuss the importance of leveraging third-party APIs to save time and the challenges of email marketing, as well as the vanity and cult-like nature of some entrepreneurs chasing billion-dollar companies. We also consider the potential of smaller wins and how people can jump off the wheel of chasing wealth.

(0:46:40) – Marketing Trends and Communicating Value 

Rand shares his insights on why so many people try SparkToro but don’t come back, and how it can better demonstrate its value. We also discuss the importance of streamlining processes to simplify user experience and the potential benefits of AI for content creation. Finally, Rand shares his experience with maintaining a small team and building an email marketing practice.

(0:57:41) – Email Marketing Best Practices 

We discuss the importance of email marketing and the challenges of executing it well. Rand shares his experiences founding and running Moz and SparkToro, and how AI can be used in content creation. We also explore the potential applications of AI and the potential copyright issues it could create.

Head of Growth,