In this episode I talk to Brian Feroldi. Brian is an incredible creator in the investing space. He Tweets about money, investing, and self-improvement. He also has a free newsletter with over 40,000 subscribers.
Today Brian talks about his recent experience migrating his newsletter to ConvertKit. He’s also a member of the ConvertKit Sponsor Network. I haven’t said much about the Sponsor Network, so Brian shares how he’s using it to book sponsors.
The bulk of our conversation, however, is about Twitter and how he’s grown his account to over 400,000 followers. Brian has an interesting idea using your Twitter profile as a sales page, and he explains why conversion rates are important. We also pull up my Twitter profile and Brian gives it a tear down live on the show.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How to get more followers on Twitter
- Twitter profile strategies that increase your conversion rate
- Why your Tweets aren’t getting more impressions
- How to write Twitter threads that people will share
Links & Resources
- Brian’s newsletter
- Follow Brian on Twitter
- Connect with Brian on Facebook
- Brian is on Instagram
- Check out Brian on YouTube
- Brian’s LinkedIn page
A lot of people really don’t understand Twitter. They think Twitter is a social media platform. They go on there and act as if they’re on Instagram, as if they’re on Facebook, as if they’re on Snapchat. That is the wrong way to view Twitter.
It’s much more helpful to think of Twitter as a micro blogging platform instead of a social media platform.
In this episode I talk to Brian Feroldi. Brian is an incredible creator in the investing space. He recently moved his newsletter over to ConvertKit, and he talks about the experience of migrating to ConvertKit.
He also keeps behind the scenes on the Sponsor Network. I haven’t talked a lot publicly about the Sponsor Network yet and how it’s been going, but he talks about how his newsletter runs on that and his experience getting sponsors booked through it.
The bulk of the conversation is about Twitter, and how he’s grown his following to the level it’s at now, and what works. Brian has this interesting idea on using your profile on Twitter as a sales page, and how the conversion rates matter. It’s a level of detail I hadn’t really thought about. I actually have him pull up my Twitter profile and give a little tear down, live on the episode.
It’s a fun episode, and I think you’re gonna enjoy it.
Let’s dive in.
Brian, welcome to the show.
Nathan, awesome to be here. Thanks for having me.
It is good to have you on. I was realizing, before we jumped on, I have seen you on YouTube videos and we’ve talked plenty of times, but always on the phone. We like to go on walks and make a phone call rather than—you and I are both like, “Eh, we’re good on Zoom calls.””
Whenever I can take a phone call and walk at the same time, I jump at the opportunity.
Yeah. Oh, it’s good. It’s good.
So, we want to talk about a bunch of things. You’ve got a great newsletter. You’ve got some interesting things that you’re doing on Twitter. We didn’t get to a chance to meet in person, but the ConvertKit team was down at FinCon and you were there at FinCon as well. You gave a great presentation about all things Twitter and what people get wrong about it.
I want to dive in and talk about that. Well, maybe give a quick headline version of your growth on Twitter and how you think about that platform, and then we’ll roll into what people get wrong.
Sure. So, it took me a long time to, to, to warm up to Twitter.
That wasn’t an overnight like
No. Yeah, yeah. Well, even to like, for, for me to consider using it, it took me a long time. I thought it was just a place that people went to complain about politics, discuss what they were eating and all, and yes, absolutely, they do that.
And if you use Twitter the wrong way, they still, do, do that. so I, I, I created my, my account in like 2009. I just like ignored it. and then in 2015 I became a, full-time writer for The Motley Fool. And a lot of that job is getting views on your, your articles. And I thought, I know I’ll share all my articles on Twitter with my audience and I’ll get like free.
Clicks onto my, onto my, my articles, aka my mindset was, I know I’ll spam my Twitter audience, right? And that failed horrifically as it should, because what I was doing is I was trying to extract as much value as I could from the people that follow me, and I was essentially giving them nothing. In 2018, I noticed that some people that I really respected, like Morgan Housel, Annie Duke, Ben Ben Carlson, Patrick Oony, people that were big names in the finance community were actually posting regularly on Twitter.
And this was like 2018,
Like people who had better things to do with their time were like making a decision. Yeah, no, I think I noticed the same thing of like, Huh, this is being used for more than just like, here’s what I’m up to. Hey, I’m in Dallas, who wants to get together? You know, like these other random things.
And they were posting thoughts on there beyond just their, their articles. And I saw that Morgan household in particular was growing pretty rapidly and on there, and I was like, I must be missing, I must be missing something about this. If all these people that I respect are taking this seriously, I should probably change up my strategy.
So I stopped spamming my audience. I started to share. Thoughts, with a particular focus on money and investing starting in, 2019. I started to take it far more seriously towards the end of 2019, and then I started taking it really seriously in 2020, which also happened to coincide with Covid lockdown and everybody, that was getting stimulus checks, being very interested in investing, all of a sudden, Proved to be a, a really big tailwind for me in 2020 that took me from like 5,000 followers to something like, I don’t know, 80,000 followers or something at the end of 2020.
And over the last two plus years, I’ve really started to understand what, how to do Twitter, the right way. And that momentum has just, continued.
And I’m currently just, just shy, just shy of 400,000 followers on Twitter.
Oh, that’s amazing. I feel like you’ve added a lot, even since we.Last talk on the phone, like , you know, a couple months ago. You’re, you’re cruising through it. You gotta, I mean, you gotta teach me. I’m at like 86,000 now, up
Beginning of the year, so
That, that’s great. You doubled your number.
We’re getting there. Yeah. You know, like investing, we just compound a hundred percent year over year and we’ll be no Wait, is
Well, that’s pretty close to, It’s how it works, right? I, I’ve, I’ve found, you know, followers compound, right? It’s much easier to get someone to follow you when you have a hundred thousand followers than it is when you have 10,000 followers than it is when you have 1000 followers. And it is when you have a hundred.
So like every doubling takes just as long and is just as hard as the previous doubling. But as your size grows, so to, to the amount of people you.
Right. Oh, that’s interesting. Why? What is that? Is that something about the algorithm? Is that the, the trust of, someone coming across your profiles? Like, Well, I guess if 400 other thousand people follow him, then I might as well
I think it’s a combination of like anything, the more you do something, the better you get at it so you understand what works and what doesn’t. But a big part of some, a big part of getting someone to follow you on, on Twitter is, is social proof. Right? This is something I think a a lot of people really don’t understand about Twitter.
They think Twitter is just like, Every other, they think Twitter is a social media platform. they go on there and they naturally act as if they’re on Instagram, as if they’re on Facebook, as if they’re on Snapchat. that is the wrong way to view, to view Twitter. I actually think it’s much more helpful to think of Twitter as a, micro blogging platform instead of a social media platform.
That distinction is important because when you have a blog, you don’t write a blog. for Your family and your friends, you write a blog for strangers. Strangers on the internet. internet if you want to grow on, on Twitter, it’s really important that you, that you have the mindset of, I’m here to create content for strangers, people that don’t know me.
And if you have that mindset, you’re like, Well, strangers don’t care what I’m eating. Where I’m going on vacation, what my kids are up to, who my favorite sports team is, right? Strangers don’t care about that. So if you’re posting that kind of stuff on Twitter, you’re not going to grow. People are going to unfollow you.
It just makes sense.
Yeah. Okay. So what, what are the things you’ve started to post how have you gone about it to, to actually grow?
Well, by, by and large, you have to plant the flag on, on Twitter or just online in general and say, if you have to make a promise to people basically saying if you follow me, If you do me the favor of following me, allowing me to market to you for free, right? In exchange, here’s what you get, there’s a couple of broad categories you can go after, but you’re inherently making that promise to somebody, right?
If you click the follow button and my tweets appear on your timeline, here’s what you can expect. in exchange. I think there’s four categories that work pretty well. One category is make me happy in some way. share things that make me laugh. Reaffirm beliefs I already have, right? Do something that when you, when I see a tweet that you do, it makes me feel good or relate to you in some way.
Second category, I call it make me smart so that. Break down something that I didn’t understand fully, share news or insights, in, a in a unique way that will make me a more informed person about whatever topic you’re, you’re, you’re talking about. a third category is make me money. Right. So that could be anything from Teach Me to Invest, teach me to budget, give me career advice, give me networking, advice.
Teach me mental models that will help me in business or career, right? Do something to make me smarter with business and and money. and the final content, the final category, I just call it trusted filter. So you don’t even have to create content, you just have to consistently find high quality content that other people create and share that with me, con consistently.
So I think if you join one of those four categories, 1 make me happy, 2 make me smart, 3 make me rich, or become a 4 trusted filter. That is the way you gain trust from, from strangers online, and they will follow you if you do so.consistently
Are you saying join one category or like live at the intersection of several of them? How do you think about that?
I think it’s best to pick one and kind of really hammer that home, but you can also cross, cross over the, The key thing that you have to keep in mind at all times is I am here to help you. I am here to create content that helps you accomplish something that. That you want. Right? That’s why people, that’s why people follow strangers because they think that that stranger can help them to do something.
So it’s okay to go in a couple different categories, but I, I generally think it’s helpful to pick one and stick with that for 70% of your tweets.
Talk about which one you picked and, and what went into that.
So I am in the Make me Smart category. my, my particular focus is money and investing. And my general, my general, mission, on Twitter is to demystify finance. So I try my best. To take complex topics related to finance, related to investing. break them down into easy to understand tweets and share that content with my, with my audience.
And I also share things like quotes from famous investors, but all, almost all the content that I create is related to money or finance in some way.
How, like, is it pretty important, do you think, to, to have that specific niche? Right? Cause you could, you could say, make me smart, right? As a category, or smarter, maybe we can’t ever achieve like fully smart, but we’ll go make me smarter.
You could end up, you could cross many categories and I think of like, Sahil Bloom for example, is he’ll write on a whole range of categories.
He’s not specific to money, you’re investing. and I think there’s plenty of other people. Like how important is it, do you think it within that, to go niche versus talking about a wide range of, you know, ideas or frameworks?
Yeah, I’ve heard this debate from, from, from some people, some saying you absolutely should pick a niche and, and really stick to it. I think that’s particularly important when you’re small, when you’re just starting to grow. to me, people need a reason. To follow you, right? If you’re just treating about random stuff all the time.
I, I don’t know if I would follow that person unless they gave me unique insights into a whole big range of, of, of categories. so I think it’s helpful to pick a niche that you want to talk about and, and, and focus on that. That’s at least what I’ve done. Once you pick your niche, I think you can broaden from that over time as long as you talk about the range of things that you know about.
But my, the thing that I’ve been focused on for the last 20 years has been money and investing. So that’s the thing that I know best, right? If I all of a sudden started tweeting about cooking or soccer or something like that, like what, what would I do that’s one different, or, or really, what would I do that would establish me as like a thought leader in that space?
I don’t know.
Oh, that’s interesting. Yeah, I think I go back and forth because I talk about a pretty wide range of subjects. You know, you’re going to hear me talking about audience building marketing. managing a team remote work. I mean, they’re all certain overlap, but Right. But you get design. I might throw some tweets in there about like a home set or farming or something as well.
I think for growth, it totally makes sense to focus entirely on like the, the value that you deliver to the audience. I take a little bit of a different approach in that I try to add the personal slide. I actually don’t think I’ve been very good at this on. Probably better with my email list, of adding the personal side so that people are following me as an individual.
And so they care more about advice from me or the connection with me, maybe even more so than like the 20 other, places on the internet that they can get similar advice. What do you think about the, that, that blend of, of personal versus, like pure, you know, education and.
I, I think there, as long as you hit the appropriate mix, that, that’s the important part, right? I think that if you want, if, if, if I follow you because you talk about, sports or something like that, I want 95%. Of the content that you create to be related to, to sports in some way. I mean, I’m just thinking off the top of my head, Adam, Adam Schaffner, I’m pretty sure his name.
He’s like one of the top sports news analysts in the world, right? He, people follow him because they want his insights on sports him to be breaking news. If 20% of his tweets were, Here’s me at the park with my kids, or Here’s what I’m cooking with with my wife. I personally would be like, Wonderful. Tell me about sports.
Right? That’s the reason that I’m following you. So I see nothing wrong with sprinkling in a little bit of that, maybe every 10 or 20 tweets or something like that. So people do connect with you, as a person. but I think that, I, I think people can go overboard with sharing too much about that. because people, again, people are generally following stranger.
When it comes to Twitter or online? in general. so they’re, they’re following that stranger because they want the information from that stranger, not because they necessarily want to know everything about that stranger’s life.
When you could bridge that gap, right? Like, let’s say the first time I come across your content is a Twitter thread that’s all pure great content about investing. And like, Oh, this is interesting. I hit ball when I move on and I’m, I start seeing you pop up a few times. I don’t have a connection to you other than like a little profile photo.
I don’t know what you look like or any of. and so someone could make the argument, Maybe I was starting to, but like that’s why you should show more personal sides of your life, cuz then, right, people were saying like, Oh, this is the other things that Nathan is into. This is more things about him. But really you could bridge that gap.
Like I could, it could share a video clip, you know, of us talking to the podcast or me like breaking down a thread in video. So I’m delivering actionable content, but now, instead of just my words, you’re hearing my voice, you’re seeing me. And you’re starting to, to bridge that gap so that like still delivering a lot of actionable content, but we’re a long ways away from, here’s me with my kids at the park,
Oh, oh, definitely. I mean, that’s, that is something that, when whenever I come across a creator like Justin Welsh, for example, he’s someone that’s just like taking over my feet on like so many platforms that I’m on and for good reason. He’s an incredible, creator. But when I’m reading his.
Text, that’s one thing, but when I hear, hear, heard him on other podcasts, you get to hear his voice. You get to kind of learn that he’s a real person and what kind of, what kind of thoughts that, that he has. So I, I think that going to other platforms, video or audio in particular, is a good way to build that, relationship with, with your audience without necessarily just saying, going into, into your life.
But, I, I would be fascinated by, by your views, on this, what do you think? What is there, is there appropriate, balance between the two?
Yeah. Well, I think that if you’re wondering why your content is not spreading, then exactly what you’re talking about of, well what’s the value to strangers like, I think that’s a great, a great lens to put it through. Because Yeah, what’s going to make someone want to retweet it and reply to it so it goes to like, not just a few thousand people, but gets to a million impressions, Right?
Guarantee you something about my personal life. Well, hopefully, God, hopefully nothing about my personal life is ever worth a million impressions, you know, on, on Twitter. But like a thread about how to build a great culture at a remote company. I have this thread that I, I repost, every Four months or so.
And it is good for 2 million impressions every single time I post it, like guaranteed because it’s very valuable to strangers. And so I think that’s a really interesting way to, to do it. And then I think finding ways, like we were just talking about, to bring in other media types, and getting to know, like for the, the fan or subscriber or follower to get to know you and your perspective.
Nick Huber talked about this is he’s got his top of funnel tweets and his middle funnel and bottom of funnel. his top of funnel is something either like tons of people will resonate with or hate. like something polarizing, it’ll get spread. everyone’s like, You’re the worst Nick.
And he’s like, Cool, thanks for that reply. It just made another thousand. People see the tweet I appreciate you. They don’t realize they’re playing his game entirely. But then he’ll have these threads on how to think about real estate investing. And then he’ll have these deep threads that are like cost segregation studies and you’ve got to be a nerd to get into that.
It’s the 301 401-level content. I, I think just the approach he takes on that of thinking about, Oh, this is a top of funnel, piece of content versus this is something that honestly it’s not going to spread, but the right people are going to read it and go, Oh, wow, Nick knows his stuff.
Let me invest in his fund. Let me book a consulting call with him. You know, any of those things. I think that’s really good.
Yeah, that’s, that is a, that is a wonderful, that is a wonderful way to, to think about it. some, some video, some content that you create. The entire point of it isn’t to grow your audience, it’s to deepen your relationship with your audience or the people that already follow you. It’s to prove competence within what, whatever the reason they followed you, for it.
And to, to Nick’s point, yeah. He has established himself as the thought leader in the self storage space, and he’s very smart. I just saw a post of his the other day where he’s got, like, he charges 2,500. An hour for, consulting calls and he has like a hundred of them, a year or something like that.
So obviously his strategy is working very well.
He sold two 50 grand of consulting calls in in the last year. So yeah.
Yeah, not bad. not a little, not a bad
Not all at all.
Yeah. He’s so impressive.
Yeah. so on that side, like if you’re talking to someone who’s. Maybe 10,000 followers on Twitter and it’s saying, Hey, I’ve seen a bunch of people blow up. I’ve watched this happen. I’ve, I’ve dipped my toes in it. Like I’ve tried a few things. Maybe some spread, maybe some different and some didn’t. What would you say to them of like putting together a strategy to go from, you know, 10,000 to whatever you think is the next threshold.
The number one thing I would have if I was consulting with somebody to do on Twitter is to evaluate their profile top to bottom. I think that a lot of people don’t put any thought into their, their profile, and I think of your, your, your profile as essentially the sales page for you, right? How important is a sales page when you’re trying to get somebody to take action?
And, the difference between a 1% conversion rate and a 2% conversion rate is, is massive. Right? And for somebody going to, to follow you. let, let’s, let’s think for a second about, The process that somebody goes through to go from a random tweet that is on their timeline to, to following that, that person, I think it generally goes something that, that like this first they, they see your tweet, Your tweet appears on their timeline.
They have no idea who you are. They, you’re just a complete stranger who said something that is going viral or resonates with that person for, for some reason, Right. The first thing they do, or the first thing I do is I click that person’s. profile And I look at the, I look at their profile page and within a couple of seconds I scan their profile from top to bottom.
I look at their, their, their banner. I look at their, their profile, the profile where they describe themselves. I look at the, the link they have. I look at their pinned tweet and all along that I’m taking just in a few seconds, I’m deciding to. myself Is this stranger? I don’t know anything about that.
Created one tweet that resonated with me. Is this stranger worth following? If they are, if their, if their profile page is filled out properly and I could tell that this stranger could be helpful to me, I’ll click follow. But if their profile is, A random assortment of things that they like, or a legal disclaimer or a picture of, like their dog or them on vacation.
I’m like, I don’t understand what’s in it for me if I follow, this person. the number one thing I would suggest everybody do if you’re interested in growing on Twitter is really put a ton of time into every pixel on your, on your profile page and maximize for, getting people to, understand what you do and why they should follow you.
Okay, I like that. can we make this interactive and, just pull up, you know, a Twitter profile of a random user, maybe hypothetically named Nathan Berry. so I think, do you have, do you have screen share options in Riverside?
I, this is yours, but yeah.
Yeah, if it let’s you screen share, I think that’d be perfect. alright, we’ve got it here.
So if anyone’s watching on YouTube, just listening on audio, it’s a good, good time to jump in and watch on YouTube, and see this, but, I’m just like, as you’re talking, I was like, Sweet. Let’s make this actionable with, specific Twitter profile.
A couple things I’m looking at.
I’ve got my banner photo maybe from 2000. 12. It was pre beard and I look 12 years old, so that sounds about right. but I’d be curious what, Gimme your reactions.
So this to me is a good header.
This shows you up on stage, obviously giving a talk and for some strange reason, I’m assuming there’s people in the audience, but you, you, you’re obviously a speaker. Right. So you, you’ve done something in your life that tells me somebody somewhere said, This person is with printing on stage.
Now, it would be better if you were on stage and there was a recognizable logo behind you, like you speaking at some conference that I’d
Ted, we’ve got, you know, whatever.
Or, or the audience.
With TEDx. That’s, that’s more in my ability to
Or an audience on there in some way, just for me to see that. Yeah, that’s a real, photo of you or, I mean, you’ve been doing this for a while. Do you have any pictures of you sitting down with a thought leader or being interviewed on TV or something like that? But I would put this in the 95th percentile for head.
Oh man. Okay. I thought this was not
Because instantaneously in one photo, I, I see, Okay. I don’t know who this Nathan Berry guy is, but he’s a speaker.
Has a microphone. It’s wireless. Somebody thought this guy was worth listening to. Right.
There could be two people in the audience, but
Right, right. This is better than 95% of, of, of headers that I. so already that, that, that’s good.
I think it could be improved if you, if you made a couple of tweaks or looked through your, your photo archive. I look at your profile picture, it’s picture you great. Right. I instantly know, real person. And you also grab the profile Nathan Barry. Awesome. Right? It’s there’s no underscores.
There’s no dashes. That, that, Right. That’s, that’s really good. And then let’s look at your profile, Founder and CEO at ConvertKit. Awesome. Instant, instant credibility. Right? Even if you don’t know what ConvertKit is, you, you hover the mouse over it and you see it has 23,000. Followers, Right? So you’re the founder and ceo.
I know that within a few seconds of this thing that has 23,000 followers, if I didn’t know what you were or ConvertKit was, that would be impressive enough to be like, Okay, you have my attention, and then you have a grow your audience and earn a living with ConvertKit. I see that you’re, you call yourself an entrepreneur.
Your birthday is June 29th. You joined in 2000. You’re from Boise. You have a website called Nathan barry.com and you have 86,000 followers, including Alex, Harm, Brad Barrett, and 70 other 74 other people that I follow. So 74 people that I follow think that you’re worth following that is a lot of social proof.
That is a lot of social proof. Moreover, you are following 1500 people and 86,000 are following you. So I know that you’re not spamming the system. Right. Some people follow 50,000 people and they have 50,000 followers. If that’s you, you don’t have 50,000 followers, right? You have 50, Yeah. 50,000 people that followed you back for following them.
So that’s an account that I just would not, if I could suggest a couple of changes, people like putting their address, on there, that, that’s, I guess that’s a personal, choice. the birth date doesn’t really do much, for me, but call yourself an entrepreneur. does.
So you would you remove location?
Yeah, so my location, if you look at mine, it’s, it’s, it’s a thing that says it is Arrow that’s pointing to my book to buy my book, right? So the funny thing about location is people don’t care where you live. They care what your, what your thoughts are. And the people that care where you live, you probably don’t want them to know where you live.
I live in Iowa. Casing was wondering
Yeah. Yeah. . That’s right. This is all, this is all, a fake. but I think that you, you’ve clearly done a good job with, with your profile. And then I want to look down at your, your, your, your pinned tweet is, something that you’re, you’re proud of. Like it’s got your, your profile,
Yeah, it’s called Action for the Newsletter. One thing I was thinking about as you were talking is like, is it better to pin, you know, one of the most viral threads that I’ve done or something like that, that shows like, Hey, 3000 retweets, or.
Yeah, I think your pined tweet, the best pin tweet possible is the content that most represents what people should expect if they follow you. Right. So, so again, if I click over, I’ve on, if I’ve seen one tweet of yours and I, I joined your profile page and I want to get a sense for what you’re like, I’m gonna click through your, your pin tweet.
So your pin tweet should be, have a ton of social proof on there, right? So one of your viral content. my pin tweet is like a whole bunch of images that I did that, that caught fire, like 22,000. Likes or something. And then at the bottom of that, there’s a link to subscribe to my newsletter, which is a big thing that I want people to do that, that, that follow me.
But I think that, that, that tweet storm really embodies what you can expect if you follow my, my account. So it’s like a sample of of what to, to see. So yeah, I would think maybe, maybe go through one of your, your threads that really. Really, is a real good sample of what people should expect if they, if they follow you.
Yeah. I like it. That’s good. Thanks for diving in. Any, any other, thoughts or feedback on it
No, I think, again, I think that yours is, yours is clearly well thought out. You’ve clearly put some time and effort, into this. You’ve done more work than 99% of people on Twitter with, with this, and I think that it, it’s just amazing about thinking through every detail about your, your profile can take your following rate, like the number of people that click your profile and follow you from half a percent to 2%, right?
That if you can do that, you quadruple your, your growth.
That small change there. A moreover, if you have a terrible profile page and you create viral content, it’s not gonna lead to followers if you have a bad profile page. But if you have a good profile page and then you get viral content, it will lead to a lot of followers.
So it’s like taking time to make sure the bucket, that you’re using to scoop up new followers, doesn’t have tons of holes in it, I think is step one.
Yeah. Oh, that’s good. so when you’re thinking about the types of content that you create, you were talking about, you know, Twitter as a, as a blogging platform rather than, you know, a social media platform. How do you think about, you know, writing individual tweets that are going to spread really well versus writing threads?
You know, and, and I find it much easier to write a thread that spreads than an individual tweet. Curious for you.
Yeah. to, to grow on Twitter, it’s very clear that the answer is threads, period. Right? If you want to, if you top, When I think of top of funnel, it’s, it’s, it’s threads. I personally do, one thread per week on Sunday mornings. I think they have a pretty good chance of going viral if I tweet them out on, on, Sunday morning.
That’s just the time schedule that works for me. I think you can do more than that if you have the, the energy to, to do so. but I, I would worry about probably more than two a week because I think that gets into like the spamming your followers, category. So I think one to two threads per week is an acceptable amount from what, from what, I’ve seen.
Plus it’s just hard to come up with threads. Right. And they take a long time to write and do, do the right, right way. But I also tweet. Two or three times per day. I view those not as gaining followers, although, you know, I gain a hundred, 200 followers a day. something. Something like that. But I do that more to just remind people that my account exists and what, what kind of content you can, you can expect from me.
Although I do know some, some people that, tweet much less frequently than that and they, they still grow at a pretty good, clip. I think the old advice was tweet, you know, Tweet five or six times a day. That works in the beginning when you’re just getting started and you have no idea what you’re doing.
I think as you grow, it’s more important that what you tweet is super high quality than necessarily the frequency of it.
Right. Yeah, I think that’s good. I found for a while I was like, Okay, one thread a week, and then I found like just running a company, I couldn’t even keep up with that schedule. And so now I’m like one thread a week, but two of them, or like every, every other week might be a repost from a thread from six months ago or nine months ago or something like that.
And that does quite well. Like usually the thread will do whatever it did the first time. It’ll do probably 80% of that in like favorites or retweets, the second time, which is kind of wild to me. I would not have expected that until actually Nick Huber was like, Hey, here’s the secret
Yes. I, I also learned that from Nick. Yeah. I, I would’ve thought that you just have to constantly come up with new ideas, but if you have a thread that works, it is perfectly okay to repurpose that thread after a certain period of time. You’ve said four months. I think that that’s perfectly, perfectly fine.
Right. and I, I came across a Greek quote recently, I think it was by Alex Harmon, Harm Rosie. It’s like, it was something like people need reminders more than they need new information.
Right? And the idea is reminding people of of important ideas that they already know is just as powerful as coming up with new ideas.
Right. Yeah, that’s good. One of my rules for creating, content or threads is it has to be something that’s like relatively unique to me. like you couldn’t just copy and paste it from Wikipedia. either, I find this truly fascinating so I’m telling you the story about. something I find really fascinating or it’s from my life experience, my company building experience or something else, like insights, from that, that experience.
I think that’s worked well. I put out a lot less content that way. But I don’t fall into the bucket of Oh, here’s another story that, like, I could have picked up about whatever billionaire who , you know, like I can read Wikipedia as well.
And I don’t know, I’m, I’m curious about your approach of how you think about what’s worthy of sharing on, on Twitter and what’s not.
Well, I also think that what you just said, the stories that you share doubles as not only here’s information that is very valuable, but it also doubles as here’s getting to know me as a person. Right. Because it’s you sharing your unique view with that information as opposed to just, like you said, copying and pasting a Wikipedia entry into a thread.
When I think about, the threads that I’ve. created. I also try and have some unique angle, so it’s not just sharing a quote, it’s formatting the quote with a picture, of the person or when I’m doing, I, I now have created hundreds of graphics, these very simple images related to money and finance, and those were all ones that I made myself.
And one of the biggest tweet threads I ever had is like, you know, 15 of those images like tweetstormed together. All with like the key principles of, investing in and wealth building that I learned the hard way with a little simple graphic, on those. So I think people understand those were created by me painstakingly.
Another thing I learned from, it might have been from this podcast, Your podcast is a hidden gem. Nathan was the, the idea that, James Clear, and what’s the guy from Wait but why? I can’t think of his name.
Tim Urban. Yes. They said this, this thing so resonated with me as soon as they said it, and it made so much sense.
They said A plus content gets, gets re-shared. a minus content does not therefore create nothing but a plus content. Not A minus not A A plus Wow, is that hard to do? Because when you are a couple hours into creating content and you’re like, it’s an a, I had this tweak that could make it an A plus Going that extra distance is very mentally painful to make something an A plus But if you do so, if you can do so consistently, that extra effort is so worth it.
Yeah. Oh, that’s good. I like it. So what’s the, what’s the rest of your creator stack look like? You know, you’ve got Twitter, we focused on that very heavily. I’m assuming that you’re making a full-time living as a creator, at this point. Is that right?
Yeah. So what, what’s the rest of the, the business and the operation look like?
What other platforms are you on and how do you think about once you grow this audience on Twitter, you know, where are you going with it?
Twitter is my number one platform. I now have two business partners who are both named Brian, funny enough,
It’s very convenient. All the Brians I at all three. All three Bryans together, is that
That’s right, that’s right. so now, you know our hiring criteria, . so we are, essentially working together to grow our, our email list. we just switched over to ConvertKit about three months ago, in, in part because of the sponsorship network, which has just been awesome. Working with your team has been absolutely fantastic and was the number one reason that we switched
ConvertKit. Shout out to Armando. He’s doing a great job.
He’s good. Let’s talk about that for a second. Actually, I’ve not talked about the Sponsor Network on this podcast, so, it’s, it’s fun to, to dive in on the, on the specifics for a minute. What’s, what’s the experience been like for, for you as a career? I know the experience on our side
You know, launching effectively a new business and like
As we can and scale it’s chaos on our side, like what is it on your side?
Yeah. So for those that don’t know, with Convert ConvertKit, they just launched this thing called the Sponsorship Network, which essentially they will mo, they will help you to monetize your newsletter, for you. So they go out, they, they, they get the relationships with the, with the sponsors. They negotiate all the, the funding.
They, they do everything you get to approve or the ads that set you would appear in your newsletter, and then you just click a little button after you approve the ad, the ad goes in there and then ConvertKit pays you the fee, for doing so. And anybody that has dealt with sponsors behind the scenes know that, contacting them, negotiating with them, invoicing.
Collecting payment with them, and, and then following up with them. It’s a huge hassle. So the fact that ConvertKit does that kind of for you, and then just takes a cut on, on that is, is a, is a mass, It was a massive selling point for us. so that’s a big reason why we switched over, to, to ConvertKit.
And we’re still early days in it. We just started monetizing the newsletter like a month, ago. But the, the early experience so far has been pretty, pretty seamless. You know, switching, switching to a newsletter provider is like switching to any software. It’s like changing banks.
It’s, it’s a pain. It is, it is a hassle. but you guys had a team that helped us to, to do that. and, you know, it was still, it was still work, but it wasn’t a ton of work because a lot of that was offloaded on, Becky did a whole bunch of that for us, and she was f.
Yeah, I love it. Yeah. The, the Sponsor Network, if people are looking for an update on our side, we’re at the point where we’re booking about a quarter million in sponsorships every month. Now, that’s growing at like, 30% month of month. So it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s wild. and we’re, you know, we have all these creators who are like, Hey, how do I get in?
It’s like, , As soon as we’re booking more brands, we’re bringing in more creators. You know, so it’s like a, it’s, and it’s two-sided marketplace effectively. and so, you know, we’re just scaling up both sides as fast as we can. and it’s fun like, This little plaque. Where is it? It’s offscreen. Maybe you can’t see it.
But, it says we exist to help creators earn a living. And this is the most, like just paying creators. I think I tweeted this, we here, or something like, My job is to get creators paid , like
It makes it very easy to like you, Nathan
And so, so it’s fun. a lot of work to scale, but, but that’s good.
So we were talking about, the business from there, right? So you’re going from Twitter and, and growing an email list. How many subscribers are on the list now?
We, we, we have about 40,000. We just actually went through a scrubbing process this week to kind of take out any, people that hadn’t interact with, with our, emails in, in a bit, and we kind of deleted them. so we just, we just, you know, we just deleted about 10% of our list. We were cropping up on 45,000, but now we’re back to about 40, but they’re very highly engaged.
Yeah, that’s, that’s the way to go. I like a, a highly engaged list. It’s best for deliverability, It’s best for your fans. The only reason to have like a big list that’s unengaged is like if you’re trying to sell a book deal or something and you just
Anyone these days, everyone’s sophisticated enough with email lists that they’re like, Cool, what’s your open rate?
Exactly. Yeah. They know the second question,
Is your open rate? And if you don’t have a good number to back it up, it’s, it makes total sense. Right.
Okay, so what’s working for driving? you know, we’re building this audience on Twitter. What’s working for getting them to subscribe to the newsletter?
So the strategy there is to use threads, right? So we have, I, I have threads that I do every Sunday. And the thing that I mostly plug in those is subscribe to the, to the email, list. We actually use Revue for that because review has the built in integration with, Twitter,
Cause Twitter owns them.
Twitter owns Revue.
And then I just use Zapier to, to, to bring them over to ConvertKit. instant, instantaneously. I would love it if ConvertKit had that feature built right in.
I think we, I think the rule is you have to get bought by Twitter,
Yeah. Okay. Is that the rule? makes sense.
But, I think that that is so. The, the hassle of having two newsletters is so worth it because if you can do so, people can just click one button, not leave Twitter and give you their email address.
And, and that is very powerful, right? To just saying, Yes, subscribe, done. You’re still in the app. It doesn’t take you anywhere, else. So that little, that, that, that, that little time saving multiplied by, you know, thousands of people is, is, is well worth it. but we’re growing, we’re growing the, the email.
Now we’re monetizing it thanks to, the ConvertKit sponsor a network. and we have a, course that we built that, came out last year that teaches people how to read financial statements. So we take, we take complete beginners that know nothing or are complete novices to reading financial statements.
And we have a, three week course that. Takes them line by line through the, the income statement, the balance sheet, and the, and the, the cash flow statement, the statement of cash flows, and we show them how to read them with tons of, examples. What’s cool about that is we, we get a lot of investors am like, individual investors that sign up, but we have a lot of entrepreneurs and aspiring executives that sign up too, because I think learning to read financial statements is an incredible business skill regardless of whether you invest or not.
Yeah, I’m just thinking like, oh, that sounds like a course that I should take. Right. Of like, there’s all these things that, you know, you know, from running a company over the years, but then it’s like, I mean, the whole range of things, right, of when either digging into someone else’s business for an acquisition or, or, looking, you know, at, at S one filings or whatever else, you’re like, What does half of this mean?
I think I know what it is, but I’m googling like every
Yes. So, so we, we train people how to, how to find them using public companies because those are the easiest in, statements to find. I just think it’s such a powerful skill in, in my experience, I was in the corporate world for about, for about 10 years.
And everybody knew that I was an investor. I used, used to break down company’s filings. We were publicly traded and I would send an email out to my friends that I worked with breaking. Their quarterly earning supports and it got forwarded throughout the entire company all the way up to the ceo, like without my knowledge.
So I was creating emails to my friends saying, Here’s our financial results for this quarter. And it just went through the entire organization. So everybody at the company knew that I was the guy that broke down our quarterly filings and things, very simply. And because of that, I talk to senior executive.
At the company that I worked for, people that were in the C-suite that clearly could not read financial statements like they, you know what I mean? People that had, were experts at sales or marketing or engineering or some function, and they were clearly, incredibly accomplished individuals, but they, they didn’t know how to read financial statements because they were never trained or they didn’t, they didn’t think like an, an investor.
So, we’re targeting those people. I think if you want to go up in your organization and you can prove that, you can read financial statements that sets you.
Is there something interesting in that of. There’s a way that creators stand out by, just by making content, right? How many people were in the company that you worked for? How many employees?
At the time that I left
- Right? So, so you’re one of 500 people. There’s lots of ways you could stand out at work, some good, some bad.
But it’s such an interesting thing that being the person who, can write something down and explain. Like gets you to stand out, and it’s the same across the board, right? I can be sitting down to learn web design and I will do that, and no one will ever know who I am and I’ll do some work for clients and we’ll move on, right?
Or I can learn this new thing and then write a blog post about it. Here’s what I learned. and put that out there, share it a bit, and go on from there and do that for a couple years and you know, it’ll be seen as like one of, like a web design expert that tens of thousands of people are following.
And the difference is like doing your job quietly and doing your job and putting out content. And so it’s just fascinating that like, just the act even, though there’s so much content out there in the world, just the act. of Writing things down, creating content and sharing it immediately distinguishes you from everybody else in pretty much every field.
I totally agree. Do, you know who Blake Burge is?
Yeah. The Excel content,
Exactly. Blake Burge took a concept. He became the Excel guy on, on FinTwit Essentially, he has these phenomenal, threads that show you really simple things in Excel, Google Sheets, Microsoft Word, he breaks down these, these functions that will make you you better, right? He has built up a massive following in the span of 18 months by breaking down Excel.
Excel is a skill that how many millions of people know how to use. All he did was say, I learned these things. Here’s how you can learn them and apply them to your life. And his popularity soared just because he simply shared his skill with people out there. And that proved to be a I’m sure that was a career-changing move For him to do that very simple act. documenting what you know, even if you think it’s common knowledge and sharing it with the world, there are always people out there that if they find that, will appreciate what you do if you, if you turn it into a plus content.
Right. Yep. And, which he absolutely did. you know what’s interesting with, with him, because I’ve talked to him, a modern amount and he, he did it all while he was an executive at a company. . and so he did it on the side in just a, you know, like an an hour a day, two hours a day kind of thing.
It was not like he’s set out, to be like I’m going to be a content creator, I’m going to quit my job do this. he did all that on the side. And then I think he has since left that company and got into like a really good work life balance. Because like, this wasn’t like, Oh, I’m working a day job or whatever.
From talking to him, it was like a, you know, 60 70-hour-a-week like, serious career. now he has full control of his time, and all of that because he spent a year and a half explaining a skill that he was, you know, that he was good at. he explained it on Twitter for a year and a half straight, and now he’s off to the races.
Yeah, right. Incredible. But that just shows you if, if you develop a skill and then can explain it succinctly, to people. The thing that I always like to think about is what, now that I know this thing, right, let’s say something picks me like a year to, to learn what do I wish I could explain to myself a year ago?
What are the exact steps that I wish that I could explain to myself one year ago that I would’ve found incredibly, incredibly helpful? If you can do, if you can do that, really well, people will find it and they will appreciate what you create.
That’s interesting of like if you, I feel like once you write your first five or eight threads on Twitter, you’re like, and you start out like, I have so many idea. . And then after I read a bunch of ‘em, I’m like, Ooh, I kind of wrote my way through like the initial list. usually actually writing more helps spark more ideas.
But it’s interesting to think about what are the things in my career that I learned that like blew my mind, you know?
Like having an audience would be one for me. travel hacking, like using credit card point, you know, that was one where I was like, Wait, hold. Y’all don’t pay for these flights that you take, Like what?
You know, it’s easy. I could probably list out like five or 10 of those that you could separate, you know, before my life, before I knew this thing in my life, after I knew this thing. And, and that’s just great content, especially if it falls within the niche that you want to write about.
Or, or the big one for me was, I wish I knew about how to actually network.
When I left college, you think that the, the standard thing you’re taught is apply to a business online. wait for them to contact you, be like, you know what I mean? And it’s like if I was applying for a job now, I wouldn’t do any of that.
I would go immediately online. I would go to LinkedIn. I would go to Twitter. I would find people that work at the company. I would engage with them, right? I would show extreme enthusiasm. I would check out their website. I would reach out to the CEO or somebody important, and I would be like, if I was applying for a job, I would connect with them.
I would create a PowerPoint presentation. Here are five things I think this company could do immediately to improve A, B, C, D, E. You will, make a video of yourself. doing it. You will stand out.
If you do those simple things, incredibly well versus just seeing somebody’s resume, right? I wish I knew that life hack, years ago, It would’ve made getting other jobs, easier. But that’s something I learned online, right on Twitter and LinkedIn by following the right people.
Well, like a good example of that is, working on the converted Sponsor Network, as someone who I think is a friend of yours, Austin Lieberman, who you know, well known in the, investing space. All of that, building an audience. He and I have connected plenty on Twitter cause we talked about Twitter a lot as you know, here’s how to get 10,000, 50,000, a hundred thousand or more followers.
But like it is a fantastic place to meet. Great people one on one. And so he and I have exchanged a lot of dms back and forth, talked about different ideas and all of that. And so when I post this, this role to like help us scale the the Sponsor Network and, and find brands, particularly in the investing space, he’s like, Hey man, this is actually kinda interesting, you know?
And he is immediately at the top of the list because I know that he knows everybody in the investing space. I know, you know, I, I’m not gonna find anyone better than him to talk to brands about sponsoring, investing in business related newsletters. And it’s all because of this public profile that he’s created.
And, you know, and then he fires on, he’s like, Hey, I was thinking about this more. He fires off a loom, video to Armando and I, you know, who are, are running it. And he’s like, Here’s what I’m thinking about. You’re gonna need people who get it on the ground floor and like really scale this. You know, like the process are gonna change nonstop.
And so here’s how I kind of handle that. And you’re just like, Dude, you’re in . You know,
Of that reputation. And it’s totally different than how you’d think about networking normally.
That’s how I, the way I got to a job at the Motley Fool. I’m, I’m, I’ve been a contract writer for the Motley Fool for the last seven years. I didn’t apply. Online. I, I had been physically going to their, their, I was a member first and I was physically attending as many of their in persons events as I could.
Right. And you got to meet people. I was posting to their discussion boards constantly. So, but before I even raised my hand and said, I’m interested in this, like 75% of the people at the company already knew. Knew that I was like, interested in the company, interested in the content, and had been creating content for a long time on that.
So when I raised my hand and said, I’m really interested in, in working for you, it was just like, Cool, we’ll give you a shot. Like, I didn’t
I didn’t have to go through like a big, like a process. They already knew who I, they already knew who I was. Right. And that I think is the way to network your way into organizations you want, you want to work for.
Well, I think what’s great about that is it’s not based on like, oh, what school you went to or who was in your sorority or fraternity, right? Or like any of, any of those things. it’s ju it’s like based on this is the public resume and the enthusiasm and the knowledge that I’m putting out there. And we talk a lot about being a creator from the perspective of like as an independent creator.
But it’s amazing if we’re finding a job like Charlie pr who is our creative director at, I sat in the audience and watched her give a talk at a conference and I was like, Dang, she’s good. I wish I could get someone like that to work for us. And later I find out like, cuz I assumed she was doing her own thing, but then I find out that she’s a designer at like a startup in London.
And I was like, Oh, You know, would you like to work for a remote company? You know, like all this. And it turned into this thing. But because she’s like on stage, has a YouTube channel with a hundred thousand followers, you know, and she wants to work in a company, she’s just like instant hire. Cause you know everything about her, you know, that she’s like, if someone has the, the discipline to create on YouTube or Twitter, and do that consistently for multiple years.
Like they’ve already proven most of what you need to know about their ability to show up and do a job. Cuz
To do. Like we talk about, you know, like, Oh, just write a thread a week. Still very difficult.
And so it’s like, look, that’s all I need to know.
I think it, it was Naval or, or, Bellas recently said something like, If you’re a marketer and you don’t have a big following, are you a marketer? Or something like that. Like
Should you trust a marketer who doesn’t have a big social media following? That’s a fair point, right?
Yep. Oh, that’s good.
There’s some of those things that people think, but don’t say, and I love it when someone.
It’s like, if somebody was selling a Twitter course, and they had 300 followers, would you buy that Twitter course? No, right?
I wouldn’t do that.
Well, we should probably wrap it up and leave it there. Where should people go to follow you on Twitter, you’ve got a great YouTube channel that you’re building, and then the newsletter?
Yep. I’m most active on Twitter. I’m on Twitter every day, so that’s just @BrianFeroldi.
If breaking down individual companies and investing interests you, my YouTube channel—we create lots of content related to that. A lot of a company earnings reports, things like that—that’s also my name, Brian Feroldi.
I love it.
Well, thanks so much for coming on.
Thank you for having me, Nathan. This podcast I consider to be a hidden gem, so I’m honored to be part of it.
I love it. Perfect.
I’ll catch you later.