This episode first appeared on Craft Your Content. You can listen to more episodes of Writers’ Rough Drafts at

Rand Fishkin is the founder of SparkToro, a PR-style software company that helps people create better marketing by making the publications, people, and sources that influence a certain audience more transparent to organizations. Previously, he was the co-founder, CEO and Wizard of, a multi-million dollar software and content company that was based on his own writing and ramblings while learning SEO in the early 2000s.

In addition to his extremely popular posts and Whiteboard Friday videos, Rand is also an author with a number of titles under his belt, most notably Lost & Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World. Always more supportive of others than he is of his own accolades and success, he notes in his “official bio” that he is most proud of his prominent appearances in his wife Geraldine DeRuiter’s first book, All Over the Place.

What You’ll Learn About Writing This Week:

— Getting addicted to writing five nights a week for two years

— Why you should write in the language your audience uses for better SEO and headlines

— How important it is to write posts that get engagement rather than ones that just chase keywords

— Creating content that helps your readers accomplish and solve their problems

— Building a compelling story and a narrative around your brand to make an impact with your marketing

— Using a path of Audience Intelligence in your writing

— Finding your “area of passion” in order to discover compelling content that inspires your own writing (even if it’s an entirely unrelated topic from your industry)

Mentioned in This Episode (Links and Resources!):

— SparkToro


— Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Guide to the Startup World

— All Over the Place by Geraldine DeRuiter

— Dreamweaver

— Writers’ Rough Drafts – Episode #19 with Geraldine DeRuiter


— SlideShare Presentation: “Why Content Marketing Fails”

— SlideShare Presentation: “Demand Creation”

— VerveSearch

— Lisa Myers’ SlideShare channel

— Geraldine’s Washington Post article on bullying

— Toggl

— Whiteboard Fridays video series


— Rand’s Dungeons & Dragons article

— Oddly Satisfying subreddit

You Can Find More of Rand and His Writing On:

— His company’s website, SparkToro, and its blog

— Twitter, @randfish

Tweetable Quotes From This Episode:

— “People search uses specific terms and phrases, so it’s wise to use the same language that your audience uses.” – Rand Fishkin 

— “Building demand through telling your story, and through brand associations and narratives, is crazy powerful.” – Rand Fishkin

— “Think about sending a pitch as submitting a job application: You need to tell an editor HOW you’re an awesome match.” – Rand Fishkin

— “[Reading] keeps you sharp, keeps you thinking outside your own specific world, and exposes you to lots of kinds of writing.” – Rand Fishkin

— “Question conventional wisdom, and you’ll find yourself in a good place as a writer, as an entrepreneur, and as a person.” – Rand Fishkin

Thanks to our Season 3 sponsor: