How Ryan Whiteside Went from Poker Websites to Digital Marketing Success

How can side hustles, setbacks, and continuous learning set you on the path to success in digital marketing?

 

In this episode, we speak with Ryan Whiteside, an expert in digital marketing and the Director of Digital Marketing at 2 Wheels Marketing. Ryan shares his career journey, starting from building affiliate websites around poker in college to eventually transitioning into a successful career in digital marketing. Ryan offers insights into digital marketing, including how AI and algorithms are evolving the landscape. He emphasizes the importance of constantly learning and adapting rather than stagnating in one role.

 

Ryan Whiteside is a seasoned Director of Digital Marketing with a proven track record of helping businesses of all sizes improve their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) through innovative and results-driven digital marketing strategies. A proud graduate of Ohio University, Ryan specializes in a diverse range of digital marketing tactics including SEO, PPC, social media marketing, email marketing, and more. He is the current Digital Marketing Director at 2 Wheels Marketing, a firm based in Columbus, Ohio providing SEO, PPC, and paid digital advertising services.

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Transcript

Intro  

Welcome to another edition of inspired stories where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes, how they’ve overcome adversity, and explore current challenges they’re facing.

Anthony (host):  

Welcome to another edition of the inspired stories podcast where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes, how they’ve overcome adversity and explore current challenges they’re facing. My name is Anthony Codispoti.. And this episode is brought to you by my company AddBack Benefit Agency, where we offer very specific and unique employee benefits that are both great for your team and fiscally optimized for your bottom line. One recent client was able to save over $900 per employee per year by implementing one of our programs. Another client is going to save over $1,200 per employee per year by implementing a different program a patented construct that we offer. Results vary for each company and some organizations may not be eligible to find out if your company qualifies. Contact us today at add back benefits agency.com. Today’s today’s show, our guest is Ryan Whiteside, who is the Digital Marketing Director at two wheels marketing a firm based in Columbus, Ohio that provides SEO, PPC and paid digital advertising. Ryan, I appreciate you making the time to share your story today.

Ryan (guest):  

Yeah, great to be here.

Anthony (host):  

So let’s start not quite at the beginning. But I see you went to Ohio University and Athens from graduation. What was that path into digital marketing? How did you first get started in the field? And what did your path kind of look like to get you to be where you are now at two wheels? Yes.

Ryan (guest):  

So I went to college in 2003. And my freshman year I was in like multiple majors, I could not figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

Anthony (host):  

Sounds like a traditional college freshman.

Ryan (guest):  

But in my spare time, I started building websites. So my first start was a poker website. So Parker was like very popular at the time. So I created this website that like reviewed all the poker sites, and I earned a commission affiliate program whenever someone would sign up for these services and made money that way. So like I was my first intro into making money out of wine. So I was like, very addicted to that. And you know, from there, I created multiple websites all throughout college, and made a nice side income from that. But my degree was in computer science. So I learned to program and do all this stuff. And I really did not like it. But by the time I really figured out that I really didn’t like it, I was like it was into my third or fourth year of school. So I was like, I might as well just finish because I’m so close to the end. But once I got out of school, I already knew I did not want to be a programmer and do that my entire life. But I always had that passion of marketing. So that’s kind of where I started to look for jobs was in digital marketing, which, at the time I started my career with, well, the worst times was 2008, you know, economy crashed. There weren’t just a lot of SEO or digital marketing jobs in general, like it was kind of starting to become an up and coming thing. But one company finally took a chance on me and you know, the rest is history.

Anthony (host):  

So who was that company that took a chance on you.

Ryan (guest):  

They’re not even around anymore. It was called Web Marketing. I was employee seven there. And it was it was a wild company to start at. I mean, I remember like, one of our first couple months it was Halloween and like, instead of working for a day we like sat around and drank like it was it was a wild time. I

Anthony (host):  

think we’re we’re understanding a little bit well, maybe why they’re not still around. No,

Ryan (guest):  

actually. That’s not an accurate picture like they are. The two owners were fantastic people some of the best people I’ve ever worked with that they’re still very, very successful today. And actually the company grew from like seven to 30 very quickly. And a couple of years later, we got acquired by a company that was 150 people. So yeah, the company itself was a success. We just just in the early days of a startup it was just like you know a lot of excitement, constant change that type of thing.

Anthony (host):  

I want to go back to the poker website Commission’s because it sounds like that’s where you get your first bite of the digital marketing. Apple in it, and it worked pretty well. Can you give us an idea of what kind of side income you were able to generate from that while you were in college?

Ryan (guest):  

Yeah, I mean, I was making anywhere between. I mean, it wasn’t like crazy money. But I mean, between 500 and a couple $1,000 a month I was making in college, which I remember, some friends would like, work at, you know, the local fast food place making like $6 an hour. And like, the money I was making was, like, completely passive, like, my website was just sitting there. And I was collecting checks. So like, it was, it was pretty nice. And, you know, paid for some of the college funds. That’s

Anthony (host):  

awesome. Yeah, I think I was making about $4 an hour when I was in college. So that shows a little bit of our age difference there. But, so I know your career, you know, you, you did the computer programming thing in college, you came out, you got into the digital marketing field sounds like you worked at a agencies a variety, different sizes. And then in the last, you know, what was it two or three years ago? You’ve been a part of two wheels marketing, which is this small, scrappy, firm in Columbus, Ohio? How does that compare to the experiences you’ve had at some of the other organizations? What, what do you prefer about it? What’s, what’s worse about it? Maybe?

Ryan (guest):  

Yeah, so I, you know, looking back on my career, the times I was the most frustrated were the times where I had the least control over things like, especially with the company that was 150. I mean, just so much bureaucracy, like to get anything done required, approvals, overtop of approvals, etc. And, like, those kinds of situations I, I just really struggled with and was frustrating. So yeah, I kind of come to the realization, I’ve always kind of preferred, you know, having more control, and two wheels, you know, it’s very small company. So, you know, the thoughts opinions, I have, like, really matter, and, you know, we kind of run with so simple, I’ve really liked compared to, you know, some of the other companies, you know, on the other side, in, in theory, you know, a bigger company, you may consider that, like a safer job where, you know, like, if you lose some clients, like the company can technically absorb that. But, you know, what I found with two wheels is just like, we have a very stable set of clients. And, you know, we, even though we’re not a big company, we are able to, you know, sustain even if a few clients drop off, so, there’s really, there’s really not a lot of downsides, just with the way to his business structure set up.

Anthony (host):  

Yeah. You know, I hear this from a lot of my entrepreneurial friends who maybe had had some experience in corporate environments. And there is this high degree of frustration of the path to a solution or to success is relatively clear, like, we need to take these steps here, but there’s so much red tape, there’s so much bureaucracy that it becomes paralyzing and frustrating, you feel like you’re beating your head against the wall, you know, spending time on things that don’t really matter.

Ryan (guest):  

Yeah, and I mean, that kind of applies to clients as well. I remember one of our clients was this major health organization in Columbus. And, you know, we’ve put together this pitch deck and like, we propose this like, very creative idea. And, you know, the marketing director would pitch it to is like, Oh, my God, this is fantastic. Like, yeah, we should definitely do this. Like it was an absolute no brainer, what we were proposing and like, there’s going to be clear, deliverable successful results. And, you know, she had to pitch it to her boss, then her boss, and then her boss, and then four bosses later, eventually, someone was like, hey, it’s not a good idea. And then we ended up not even doing it, even though it was like, you know, a no brainer thing to do. That’s

Anthony (host):  

so frustrating. And that, that actually makes me wonder what have you found from your experience is sort of your, like, ideal client, like maybe the big corporate structures like that are appealing on the outside because it could be a very valuable contract for you. It could be nice, steady work, but having to jump through all those hoops to get there can be a waste of time is there, like a mid tier to a smaller client that you find is a is typically a better fit. I

Ryan (guest):  

mean, it’s definitely not smaller, the better, you know, more medium sized companies do have additional funds, and they are able to take more chances. So necessarily the size of the business, I guess, like the ideal clients is where you know, the worker do is going to make an impact, like a big impact, like for some clients, like whether they’re small or medium. It’s like, okay, like, what you’re doing now is already pretty good. And yeah, we can come in and do like a little bit of optimizations here and there, but we’re not going to make a drastic change, whereas some businesses, it’s like, okay, yeah, what we can do for you, it’s going to be like, you’ll immediately see it like, it’s, it’s definitely going to make a big impact. And, yeah, I mean, as those tend to be the most rewarding clients where they say, a year from now, like, yeah, we’ve had to hire more people on staff, because of, you know, the work you’ve been doing, or, you know, one of the recent clients like they, they literally doubled their digital marketing revenue from one year to the next. And the only difference was like, we were working with them for that whole year. So you know, things like that, where we know, it can make a big, big impact. Those are, like the clients I really like to work with.

Anthony (host):  

And you can probably get a pretty good sense of the ones that you’ll have the biggest impact on just by going in and kind of looking at what they’re doing now. What, what is the SEO structure on their site look like? What are their PPC campaigns look like? You probably my right, get a pretty good sense pretty quickly, like, Oh, this is somebody we can really move the needle for? Yeah, definitely.

Ryan (guest):  

Mark, you know, founder to wheels, like, he’ll send me the website, and we’ll, we’ll kind of talk about it. And, yeah, I mean, there are some times where it’s like, yeah, we could take this over. And, you know, we’re gonna do a good job, and we’re gonna give it our best efforts. But in reality, like, I don’t know how much of an impact it can make. And I mean, to give a little more specific, like, in digital marketing, some of the clients I struggle working with our businesses were like, the businesses, customers might only be like, 50, or 100. People, like, their target market is like, you know, CEOs of major companies, like, you know, to do digital marketing, and to try to find those 50 or 100 people is a bit challenging, where, like, for those types of businesses, they really just need to find those businesses and call them, email them, send them postcards, send them letters in the mail, like, it’s not necessarily like running a Facebook ad to those 50 or 100. People like that doesn’t work very well. Whereas, you know, like, an easier fit for digital marketing is like, everybody needs us, like, everyone needs blood, like to buy flowers, or everyone needs a dentist or something like that, where there’s like a big market, it’s easier to target those people and and make a bigger impact when you have a wider audience like that.

Anthony (host):  

You want to be able to cast a big net, rather than trying to throw a line in for a single fish. Yeah,

Ryan (guest):  

well, I Yeah. I mean, I mean, you can do, you can do a good job with digital marketing, if it’s not a massive audience. But you know, it’s just really hard to do digital marketing. And we’ve had a few clients where like, like I said, there’s literally only 50 to 500 people in the entire world that would even be a good fit for this business and to do digital marketing on that as can be a bit challenging.

Anthony (host):  

What is it that sets you guys apart from your competition? When somebody is coming to you from one of your competitors? Why? Why are they doing that? Why are they more likely to see success with you guys?

Ryan (guest):  

Yeah, we definitely have a lot of clients that are working with another, another digital marketing company and they’re disgruntled with the work and yeah, I mean, one of our advantages right now is just we’re, we’re very lean, not a lot of overhead. Like, you know, I’ve worked with a lot of digital marketing companies, like I said, and you know, a lot of times you’re your point of contact as an account manager, and that account manager doesn’t know anything about digital marketing and that’s like frustrating where you have to talk to the account manager, the account manager has to kind of try to tell the people are actually doing the work what needs done and there’s like miscommunications and all kinds of problems. And you know, kind of similarly, like, someone might get sold by like a real really great salesperson who, again, doesn’t know anything about digital marketing, but they kind of over pitch services and promises. So you go into, you know, a relationship with like, all these extremely high, like impossible expectations. And then when the people actually doing the work are in there, they’re like, yeah, there’s no way we’re gonna be able to do this. So, you know, the benefit with us is, you know, the people you’re talking to, are really the ones in there doing the dirty work as well. So it’s going to be clear transparents, right out of the gates. And, you know, because we don’t have as much overhead, as you know, some other companies more time is get getting spent doing the work, that’s going to make a difference for you.

Anthony (host):  

Well, in your company, right, they get to come and they talk to the account rep, the sales rep, the the owners, the operators, all on the same conversation, there aren’t those different layers where those conversations sort of get lost? And this guy promised one thing, and it didn’t get passed on to the other guy. So

Ryan (guest):  

exactly. And, and yeah, I mean, between Mark and I, like, we both been in this industry for one two years. And, you know, you’re getting a very senior level person, that that you’re working with, at all times, which you know, another thing with, like, bigger agencies, like, you might be working with a team, and they might be doing a good job, but one of them leaves, and then you’re working with a different person, and that person has to relearn the accounts, and maybe they’re not as senior level as the other person. And you’re like, Oh, I wish I was working with that other person when things are great. And, you know, your account can just get passed around by person to person, and there can be a lot of disconnect there.

Anthony (host):  

No, no, most business leaders that I meet, have at least one, if not multiple stories, where they had to overcome a big challenge at some point in their career, you know, maybe there was a lawsuit or a firing or a big accounting mistake, or, you know, something that that, you know, almost really derailed things, or maybe didn’t derail things for a while. We don’t often get to hear so much about these stories, because people are embarrassed to share. But for me, these are some of my favorite conversations because it inspires other people to be resilient in the face of their own challenges. What can you think of in your past, it’s a, you know, a big challenge that maybe you had to overcome.

Ryan (guest):  

Yeah, it’s there was a kind of a lull in the middle of my career was very frustrated. And it just kind of seem like I was doing the same thing, year after year. And that went on for two to three years where I was just like I was, I was managing the same team, we were doing the same stuff. You know, digital marketing is always changing. But like, there wasn’t any major things going on, we were still kind of doing the same process. And that’s where I was starting to get kind of frustrated. And at the time, I was only doing SEO work, which was just one aspect of digital marketing, where there’s multiple aspects. And I always wanted to be multifaceted, where I could do SEO, I could run Google ads, I could run Facebook ads, I could do email marketing, etc. And I think with my career, it was it was hard to transition. Because, you know, it’s hard to start doing work that you have no experience. And whereas, you know, your career role, like you have years and years of experience and and, you know, you have more knowledge there. So, to be able to finally break free and get to an opportunity where I could do multiple aspects. It was it was a real struggle for a couple years. But eventually, I did get through it. And now I’m at a point where my level of learning is so much more rapid than it used to be. Which I feel like there’s like a Steve Jobs quote, or something where he said something along these lines, but if you’re not really learning on a daily basis, and you’re just kind of, in a rut, doing the same things over and over, like, don’t wait so long to make adjustments to where you’re more fulfilled, and you’re learning.

Anthony (host):  

Yeah, I love that. It’s a message I try to communicate to my kids on a regular basis. You know, they, they think that at some point, they’re going to reach, you know, a stage in their life where they’re, they’re sort of they know it all they they’re done learning. And the line I like to give them all the time is if you’re doing it right, you are learning something new every day. And so I want to hear a little bit More about that stagnant period, because, you know, I think a lot of people can probably relate to that, you know, it’s like, you know, it almost feels like Groundhog Day like, you know, you’re getting out of bed, you’re you’re going through the same routine, like, like you want to shake it up, you want to learn you want to grow. And like you pointed out, you were sort of in like a catch 22 Because you wanted to do something new, but how do you get a job and that new thing without having, you know, some experience in it? So how did you sort of navigate that? How did you get from this place of I want to be over here? It’s tough to get over here without having some experience. How did you cross that? Yeah,

Ryan (guest):  

yeah, I mean, not every profession can do this, but with with our industry. I mean, people take sidekicks, it’s just kind of like it, maybe it’s a little more secret at the time, but it’s pretty normal to, I guess, have a full time role, but then understand that you might be doing a little bit of work on the side. And that’s how I was able to make the transition was, you know, my full time job was doing SEO for company. But, you know, 510 hours a week, I was also moonlighting siding with another company. And that’s where I got no opportunities to start running Facebook ads get first firsthand experience. Same thing with Google ads. That way, whenever I was at the point where I wanted to do another role, it’s like, okay, I have, I have done this type of work before, these are the type of results I got. And, you know, that’s kind of kind of the way I was able to transition was to be able to actually get experience, it just wasn’t in a full time role. Got

Anthony (host):  

it, you took a side gig, and you were able to build up a portfolio and some experience that you could then kind of leverage in getting some of those new opportunities. Another interesting thing that you said is that your level of learning is a lot more rapid now than it was before. What do you credit that to?

Ryan (guest):  

Yeah, I mean, being a small team, like, you know, we have a set of clients. And you know, we’re every day trying to figure out what’s best for the client. And, I mean, whatever that is, like, whatever idea I have, like, oh, maybe we should try this new thing. It’s like, Hey, Mark, we should do this. Yeah, I agree. And then we do it. So it’s like, there’s not a lot of friction from, Hey, I’ve learned this, or I have this idea to let’s try it. Let’s go. Whereas again, like if you’re working at a bigger company, it’s like, okay, I have this idea. Well, that’s not my department. So someone else has to do it. And then maybe they think it’s a good idea. Maybe they don’t, or, yeah, like the account manager doesn’t want to do it, or the client doesn’t want to do it. Like there’s all kinds of possibilities where you don’t go from idea to implementation as quickly. So that’s kind of where the, the learning happens is in the doing and, you know, there’s a lot more action taking in our current setup.

Anthony (host):  

Got it? So we talked a little bit about the sort of the professional challenge of getting stuck for a bit. What about any personal challenges that you had to overcome that you look back on maybe had, you know, a formative influence on who you are today? You know, for some people, it’s, you know, maybe there was a death of a loved one or you stuttered or undiagnosed case of dyslexia or anything like that, that you know, kind of earlier on in your life that you think maybe helped to shape who you are today?

Ryan (guest):  

Ah, yeah, when you when he first asked that, like, as far as, like, things that impacted me was probably getting fired a couple times. Like, you know, that’s not early in life that’s like in my career, but like those things really set me on a much better path where, you know, getting stagnates you know, sit working for the same company for many years getting fired because things that were outside of my control primarily, like they lose a bunch of clients and everything’s kind of tailspins from there. But yeah, when you get fired and you’re really scrapping to find your next opportunity, you you grow thicker skin, you get more, more different experience. Yeah, like having that happen twice in my career, like really shaped me considerably to where I am today. Whereas if, if those things which seemed like horrible at the time, didn’t happen to me, I would not be the person I am today. Like, I just wouldn’t be so yeah. Tell

Anthony (host):  

me a little bit more about that. What’s it feel like in that moment to get fired? And how does that eventually turn around to be this good positive force in your life?

Ryan (guest):  

Yeah. Yeah, the time it happened, it was just completely blindsided. Yeah, I’d worked at a company for eight years, like, I never really looked for alternative jobs, just because it’s kind of like a loyalty thing. I guess. Like, I felt like, hey, you know, even though I have all these frustrations with this company, like, I’m loyal to these people, for whatever reason, but then getting fired, just kind of like, wipe, you know, wipe the dust in my eyes and realize, like, hey, there’s greener pastures out there. And like, immediately, like, the next opportunity I got, I was like, oh, yeah, there’s like, so many new and different things here. And I’m meeting a bunch of different co workers. And yeah, like, Why did I spend the last few years like in a position that just wasn’t working for me when I could have went elsewhere? So yeah, it’s,

Anthony (host):  

it kind of forced you to shake up the snowglobe in us, in a way. Exactly. Yeah. That’s great. Any specific books or mentors that have helped to shape your professional career?

Ryan (guest):  

Oh, gosh, I really got the personal development kick my seat around my senior year of college. I even so one of the websites that I started was a personal development website, which went away but I mean, I read hundreds of personal development books. So anything from like time management to goal setting, to you know, investing all these things? So yeah, I definitely went through quite a, a book journey. But I don’t read as much as many books now. I tend to do more courses, podcasts. But um, yeah, I mean, I, like my senior year, like a couple books, I can think of, or like, thinking Grow Rich, for our work week. Summer, like Ryan Tracy’s, like, eat my Eat, eat the frog, or whatever it’s called. Yeah. Richest Man in Babylon. Like, there were a lot of books that really kind of opened my eyes to like, oh, yeah, you can be a better person. And you can, you know, learn to use your time more effectively. And, you know, reach towards, like set and resource goals, like, all these things were like, you know, never really learned at school. And it was like, something that I feel really helped, especially as I was entering, you know, the real world and the workforce.

Anthony (host):  

It’s something that I wish that schools were able to do a better job of is sort of the making learning fun. And I get like, they’re trying to, you know, you’ve got to have this sort of foundation in place, right? You have to know how to read, you have to know how to write you have to know, math skills. But yeah, for me, it wasn’t until later in life when I got out of college, and I own my own company. And I was in a position where I needed to learn in order to advance my career in my company. And but there was a lot of fun and being able to apply that knowledge where I felt like in school, I was spending a lot of time learning things that were sort of theoretical, and it was like, Maybe I would use this someday, but I don’t know is do you find that as well? Like, is it more exciting and motivating for you to sort of pick and choose the things that you’re interested in that you get to learn more about?

Ryan (guest):  

Yeah, I’m definitely yes. I mean, so many people in life, like, once they get out of school, they, I mean, stop learning. Like, I know, there’s like stats were like, I forget like 50 like at least 50% of people once they graduate never read a book again, or something like that. So it don’t quote me on that, like, look it up on the internet, and how could they even come up with that stat, like, that’s another sidetrack. But I remember that was a stat that I read at one point in time, but yeah, I mean, it’s it. Yeah, I mean, the school systems, I guess, like, you know, a lot of it is like rote memorization, and you’re learning this just to pass the test where, you know, the real world is more about like What can I learn that I can apply? That’s, I mean, that’s something, especially with digital marketing, like you can really go down the rabbit hole of education where you’re reading a million different blog posts and doing all this stuff. But a lot of the learning, like, comes from being in the weeds and like really digging in and doing the stuff that’s, that’s where you get a lot of the learning not not that like blog posts and courses aren’t valuable, but that they contend to be a trap with a lot of people is just like learning, learning, learning, learning, but never actually doing. Yeah, so you kind of have to make sure that balance is in place.

Anthony (host):  

What’s something you wish you could teach the 20 year old version of Ryan.

Ryan (guest):

Yeah, I mean, like a constant. I guess the constant theme is like.

If you’re not learning, and you’re kind of stagnant like. It’s time for change. I’m sure there’s a million things. I tell my tell my twenties like so many things about the golf swing I’d be like, come on, man, like all you have to do is this, it makes it so much easier.

Like a and so many different subjects. But yeah, II mean it for me, like when I’m happiest and most fulfilled is like when I’m on regularly learning. And yeah, they were just kind of points. And micro. You know, as I mentioned before, that things a little bit stagnant.

Anthony (host):  

Yeah, there’s a regular theme that is is coming up here, and it’s one of continuous self improvement and learning, which I think is great. What’s a challenge that you’re currently working through in your business?

Ryan (guest): 

So in with with digital marketing agencies, you can kind of go a couple of them or pass. You can be good for a lot of different industries, or you can go niche and like only work for one type of company, like only dentists or only flower shops, etc. And there’s kind of pros and cons to both. The pros with going super niche is like you can become the best of that industry, and like become very good at servicing that particular type of client and all this types of thing. It makes the sales process easier, because, like, Hey. you know, we already work with 20 other businesses just like you. And we have all kinds of the testimonials and stuff, and it makes that process easy. But the problem with going super niche is. it could be economic factors like, if all of a sudden, people don’t want to use this service anymore, or something to that effect. Like, well, okay, you’ve built your entire portfolio on one industry. So if that industry gets shaken you’re in a lot of trouble, whereas, you know, working with a bunch of different types of industries. You’re more resilient to outside factors. And in a way, you can also learn faster by working in different industries. So you can learn something in one industry that applies to another industry, etc. So I think the question was like, I forgot where he landed on the question, but what’s what’s a challenge that you’re currently so business. So you guys trying to like, yeah, so the challenge with us is, yeah, we are starting to find some vertical that we’re already good at, like we have some verticals where we already have a dozen or so clients.

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and the challenge is, how can we get more of those clients? So specifically, flower shops? We have a lot of different flower shops. And the challenge with that is in the sales process. So in a lot of industries, you might be able to send emails or follow them on Linkedin, or, you know. go in Facebook groups and kind of meet them. But with flash up owners like what we found is they’re they’re kind of old school like they’re not as tech savvy? So the challenge being a digital marketing company is, how can we kind of get in front of these people that aren’t necessarily digital people? And you know something we’re exploring this year is going to conferences, sending them postcards and stuff in the mail. You know, reaching out via phone. So kind of doing offline sales activities, even though, like our wheelhouse is all the things you could do when people are are online.

Anthony (host):  

That’s what’s something fun or interesting that most people don’t know about you, Ryan.

Ryan (guest):

Yeah, every time I do an interview. And I get this question, II say the same thing. So here it goes. fun. Fact about me is, I have 7 published novels. So I’ve written 7 fiction books. There’s like a a couple years before my first son was born, like once my son was born. This kill killed my fiction writing career. But yeah, it was in a span of like, about 2 years, 2 and a half years. I wrote 7 fiction novels, which, yeah, was pretty cool. Pretty fun at the time, were they? Kind of all part of a series? Was there a common theme to them. Yeah, there were. So there were 5, 5 of them. or 4 of them were standalone. And then there was a trilogy. So yeah, that made up the 7. And what’s like is this like, I don’t even know. Comedy was this like murder? Mystery like, what’s more thriller, thriller mystery. All them are kind of in the thriller mystery category, which is kind of like the movies and shows and books that I like to reader. And so were these all like digitally published. Did you do any? Yeah, I mean, they’re on Amazon and Barnes and noble and apple, and I can buy a physical copy of these books. Yeah, I’ve yeah, I’ve got the physical copies in my basement. There’s probably a box of books. And yeah, I’ve every now and then I’ll like hand them out to coworkers and stuff. So yeah, there’s physical copies now. My name is Ryan Whiteside, but I used a pen name, because I’m super cool writer person like that. So if you search like Ryan Ryan Wiley was my pen name. So if you search Ryan Wiley on Amazon. I think I still come up and search results for some of my books. So you still get some sales from that. Yeah, I get like, yeah, few dollars royalties every year, which it’s actually a pain with my accountant, because, like royalties have to be classified as something else. So it causes like a couple extra emails explaining what this income is, because it has to be like. I don’t know. It’s an accounting problem that they have to deal with.

Anthony (host):  

And what’s what’s the most interesting evolution or innovation that’s happening in your industry right now?

Ryan (guest):

Oh, yeah, I mean, like a lot of industries like AI machine learning, you know, makes makes a huge impact in digital marketing. And I mean, even before, like ChatGPT era, like machine learning. And AI, it was still a pretty big part or impact on what we do. I mean, specifically like you take Facebook ads, for example, something 5 years ago that we as digital marketers, it was super important was to like find the right interest audiences. So if your trying to think of an example

like, if you’re into Catholic books, for example, like in Facebook, you used to have all these targeting options. So you would set people that are interested in Catholicism or people that are interested in the Pope, or people that are interested in Richard Roar. Which is this very popular Catholic author like you had to find all these like very niche pockets and and manually type them in. Whereas now, like more and more, Facebook has just like taken away a lot of the targeting options that you can type in because of privacy. And all these reasons, but also confidence in their algorithms where a lot of the time the targeting we set is what we call catch-all, where it’s just like Facebook. Go after everyone between the age of 21 and 65, and find the audience for me. And that’s all done by AI and machine learning. And you know what we find as like Facebook’s algorithms, just really good. Now, at, you know all the information they have already on your customers. So they yeah, you know, with digital marketing, you can add like a pixel, it’s called a pixel on your website. So they’re tracking you. So they know everyone that’s coming to the website. They know if you purchased or not. They also know other websites you’re visiting. So like Facebook and Google, they have like millions of data points on all these people. And because of that, their algorithm is very smart. So once you say, Hey, Facebook, find this audience who’s most likely to purchase these books. They’re very good at doing that, because they have all all those data points on people.

Anthony (host):  

Right? Yeah. So it used to be like you were saying that. You had to be really good at picking out these individual audiences. And but now with the pixel that tracks everybody Facebook and Google’s algorithm is better than choosing those individual audiences which you don’t even have the ability to do as much anymore. You know you might have to spend a little bit more and add spend, I believe, upfront to to be able to help train the pixel and get some of that data into Google and Facebook so that they know the audience that’s converting. But it’s it’s it’s much more effective in the long term.

Ryan (guest):

Yep, yeah. And yeah, I mean, as far as like digital marketing, we just we kind of have to pivot and what we’re doing so, whereas before we were spending all our time like finding those audiences and keywords and stuff where now we have to focus more of our time on other things because of, you know, some of that’s done for us. So you know, for example, you know, that frees us frees us up to spend more time on talking to the client about like what offer they’re doing like, hey? Maybe we should run this promotion during this time, or you know things like that where maybe before, we wouldn’t have had as much time to to be able to do those things.

Anthony (host):  

Got it? Ryan. You mentioned before that a lot of times in digital marketing, you know, you’re you’ve got some side gigs going on any interesting side gigs or projects that you want to give voice to. No, I don’t.

Ryan (guest):

II really don’t do as much side gigging as I used to. Part of that is just. you know my personal life. I’ve got a 8 year old now, and he keeps me pretty busy, whereas you know Pre Pre Evan, my my son’s name Pre Evan, like I used to wake up at 5 and write some fiction books and do some side work until, like 110’clock on a Saturday or Sunday like it was no problem like 5 h of free time to just, you know, do this type of work, whereas now like we wake up the same time he wants to play soccer in the basement, or go outside, or something which which is great. You know, I definitely wouldn’t change it. So yeah, as far as like side work. Yeah, it’s just yeah. II don’t do it quite nearly as much as I used to.

Anthony (host):  

Evan is your side work now.

Ryan (guest):

Exactly. Yup

Anthony (host):  

I wanna be respectful of your time. But let people know, how can they get in touch with you?

Ryan (guest):

Yeah, I’ll don’t have a big following on Instagram or Tiktok, although I did demo Tiktok videos for a little bit. Yeah, I mean, you could look me up on Linkedin Ryan Whiteside. You can connect with me there. Message, me or yeah, I mean, if you wanna learn about digital marketing stuff. Yeah, you can go to 2 wheels marketing. I also have a few courses on you to me. If you actually want to learn how to do this first hand. You can search for my name on you to me and see some of the courses I’ve done.

Anthony (host):  

That’s U-D-E-M-Y.com

Anthony (host):  

Yeah, Ryan, thanks for making the time. We really appreciate being able to hear your story. That’s a wrap on another episode of the Inspired Stories Podcast. Thanks for learning with me today.