Tim Soulo, CMO of Ahrefs

Hey Tim, this article is for you...

Hey Tim -

I’m intrigued by the work you’ve done for Ahrefs.

The company is a beast.

Really useful tools and content that’s practical, insightful and novel.

I wanted to understand your views better so I went to YouTube and had AI analyze several of your interviews.

Here’s what it found.

If you’re reading this, I’d appreciate a backlink 😀 .

If you’re not reading this, then I’ll just consider this a failed experiment.

Here we go.

Tim Soulo, CMO

Tim is the CMO of Ahrefs and highly regarded in the marketing industry.

Here’s what he (may) have said in some video interviews:

Tim’s Most Novel/Contrarian Ideas:

Don't focus on writing about things - focus on doing things and gaining experience to write about. Be an "interesting person".

Tim believes that writers should focus more on doing and experiencing things relevant to their content area rather than just writing theoretical articles based on reading others' content. By experimenting, testing tools, conducting research studies, etc. writers will gain firsthand knowledge to write more interesting and original content that provides unique value to readers. They will be able to write from experience rather than just paraphrasing others' ideas.

Every article on the blog is essentially a sales page - the goal is to sell the product by showcasing how it solves readers' problems.

Tim views each blog post as an opportunity to make a sale by demonstrating how Ahrefs' tools can help readers solve the specific SEO problems discussed in the article. The content aims to get readers to imagine themselves using Ahrefs to address their needs and incentivize them to become customers. Rather than just providing information, the posts integrate tactical, step-by-step recommendations using Ahrefs to show its value.

Don't differentiate between content for existing customers vs prospects - cover topics both groups care about to be discoverable.

Ahrefs does not create different types of content specifically targeted at potential new customers versus existing users. Tim believes both groups have overlapping interests and face similar SEO challenges that Ahrefs' content can address. By creating content optimized for search discoverability, Ahrefs aims to help both segments learn how its tools can solve their problems regardless of whether they are current or potential users.

They don't use traditional web analytics to track content marketing ROI. The goal is simply to help people solve problems the product can solve.

Unlike most content marketers, Ahrefs does not closely track metrics like conversions to calculate ROI on their content. Tim believes this would be difficult to accurately quantify anyway. Instead, the primary goal is to help their target audience by providing valuable information that organically leads them to the Ahrefs product as a solution.

Tim’s Advice for Marketers & Companies:

Do keyword research based on traffic potential, difficulty, and business relevance - how closely it ties to your product.

Tim recommends researching keywords based not just on volume and difficulty, but also on how relevant they are for showcasing your product's value. Topics with high business relevance have the most opportunity to organically demonstrate how your solution can help readers.

Give content writers autonomy to choose topics they're interested in and experienced with.

Ahrefs allows its content team to select from a list of pre-researched ideas based on what they are most knowledgeable and passionate about covering. This results in higher quality content compared to assigning topics arbitrarily.

Connect with influencers by appreciating their work and sharing feedback - don't ask for links right away.

Provide value to influential people in your space by engaging with their content appreciatively. Share thoughts on what they've created to start building a relationship before asking for links or promotions.

Promote noteworthy content directly to relevant people to get on their radar.

When you create something unique or valuable, Tim advises directly reaching out to relevant sites/people who would be interested in that specific content. This can increase its reach and help get it noticed organically.

Optimize content for search through iteration - analyze top-ranking content and improve based on what people want.

To optimize content for search rankings, Tim recommends an iterative process of examining what currently ranks well and refining your content accordingly to better meet searcher intent. Rinse and repeat.

Repurpose evergreen content through limited-time free offers to increase perceived value.

Tim suggests repackaging evergreen content, like an existing paid course, through special limited-time free access events. This creates urgency/buzz and increases the perceived value of the content as something usually paid.

Tim’s Key Lessons / Challenges:

He had to improve his English and video skills when starting the Ahrefs YouTube channel. It took 3 hours to record 6 minute videos initially.

When Tim began making videos for Ahrefs, he had to work on improving his English skills as a non-native speaker. He also found videos difficult to make at first, taking 3 hours to record 6 minutes of footage because of multiple retakes and failed attempts.

Had to put in significant manual outreach to get Ahrefs' early content noticed and build relationships.

In Ahrefs' beginning, Tim had to do extensive one-to-one outreach to influential people to promote their content and build relationships, since they lacked an existing audience. This manual networking was crucial to get Ahrefs' name and content out there.

Has changed his mind on some blogging concepts covered in their course over time. Plans to update the outdated sections.

Some of the blogging advice in Ahrefs' course has become outdated or no longer reflects Tim's opinions accurately. He plans to do a major update to revise the concepts he has changed his mind on based on years of added experience.

Tried Instagram and TikTok marketing but didn't see results, so moved on. Focus energy on what works.

Ahrefs experimented with creating content for Instagram and TikTok, but did not get results from these channels. Tim says they are now free to stop investing time in those networks and focus on the marketing activities that do drive growth for Ahrefs.

It's difficult to accurately quantify content marketing's impact on revenue. Correlate content to business growth directionally.

Tim finds it extremely difficult to tie content marketing campaigns directly to revenue with concrete ROI. Instead, he looks at the overall correlation between their increased content efforts and Ahrefs' rapid business growth to gauge its positive impact.