BiggerPockets Business Podcast

BiggerPockets Business Podcast 03: How to Attract Media Attention and Turn Publicity Into Profit with Brent Underwood

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Do you want to know how to get your business noticed by reporters and generate positive press? Today’s guest has made a career out of doing just that. In this episode, he teaches you exactly how to make a splash through innovative (some would say crazy), outside-the-box techniques.

Brent Underwood is a creative marketer who’s done publicity for musical artists, best-selling authors, and his own projects—including a ghost town he bought and plans to turn into a high-end resort.

Today, Brent tells us how his career began with a cold email and how that led to him working with some of the most talented writers and marketers in the country.

Brent also reveals how he gets into the heads of reporters and editors—and how you can do the same. He explains what a “handle” is, and why you need one to get your message to spread.

And you won’t want to miss the most important lessons Brent learned after opening his own hostel in Austin, Texas, and how a goat helped boost business. This show is jam-packed with information that will help you generate buzz and get yourself in front of more clients and customers.

Download it today, and subscribe to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast so you won’t miss an episode!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

J: Welcome to the BiggerPockets Business podcast.

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Carol: Show number 3. 

Brent: The only thing that a great marketing campaign can do is kickstart word of mouth and that is what you are trying to do. Because word of mouth is the only thing that is going to sell product a business. If the word of mouth is not there, is not going to sell for a long time.’

Welcome to a real world MBA from the school of hard knocks where entrepreneurs reveal what it really takes to make it. Whether you are already in business or you are on your way there, this show is for you. This is BiggerPockets Business.’

J: Hey there, everybody. It is Jay Scott here with my very muscular co-host, at least she was bragging about her muscles earlier. 

Carol: That is right. Check out these guns, baby. 

J: My beautiful, awesome and amazing wife, Mrs. Carol Scott. How you doing today, Carol Scott?

Carol: I am good. You are always so kind to me in these intros and I just love it. I have got to tell you what though, I am so done moving furniture. Are you over it?

J: Oh my God, we have been moving furniture, for those listening, we have been moving furniture around for two weeks.

Carol: From room to room to room. We are selling our house and we are, you know me, I am obsessed with having to stage. Even though we live in a really super hot market where realistically I could probably make three phone calls and shove a For Sale sign on the front door and it would sell in about 10 minutes. I have got to have it be the most perfectly, perfectly, perfectly staged house there ever was. We have been dragging furniture up, down, inside and out rearranging rooms for two weeks now, it is ridiculous. I am done, done. 

Carol: Then returning it all back.

J: You are going to return it?

Carol: I am keeping the receipts. Here is your tip of the day people, get this, I discovered  in this house staging of my own house adventure, that you can return something from Bed, Bath, & Beyond for an entire year. Calls forever, as long as you got the receipt. I am returning  our house, buying stuff from Costco, craigslist, and other places to stage our house and then…

And then, and I am returning it all. you are going to return it. I am keeping receipts. here is your tip of the day. People get this. So I discovered in this house, staging of my own house adventure that you can return something from bed, bath and beyond for an entire year calls forever as long as you have got the receipt. I am returning all this stuff after I sell the house. 

J: Same with Costco.

Carlo: Yes, Costco forever and ever and ever. I have got so much stuff that is going back.

Oops. 

J: Okay. Let us jump into our show. We have an amazing show today. We have a guy named Brent Underwood, who is probably the single best creative marketing person I have ever spoken with. He is going to tell us all about how we can do a better job of marketing our businesses, marketing our products, marketing ourselves. He is going to tell us all about how he got started in this career by sending a blind email. Basically, he sent the right email to the right person at the right time. He is going to tell us how he has gotten books on the New York Times Bestseller’s list. He is going to tell us how he is gotten musicians record deals. He is going to tell us about the hostel he owns and how he used a goat to promote his hostel. He is even going to tell us about a ghost town that he purchased and how he is going to make a ton of money from it.

Carol: Okay. Before we bring in Brent, let us hear a word from today’s show sponsor. 

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J: As always, thank you to our sponsor. Now, go give them your support. Without any further delay, let us start our conversation with Brent Underwood. 

Carol: Brent, thank you so much for joining us today. It is so good to see you.

J: Hey, Brent. How is it going?

Brent: Yes, same. Thank you for having me. It is an honour.

Carol: Brent, where are you today? Are you over at Brass Check or are you at your hostel or are you calling us from your ghost town?

Brent: It is a good question. I am in Austin, Texas at the moment. I am at our Brass Check offices which I come into maybe once or twice a month. It is a big occasion, it is always fun to get back here, have some free coffee. Stuff like that.

Carol: There you go. I love the perks of your own awesome company, right?

Brent: Right. 

Carol: That is a beautiful. Well, I would really like to just jump right on in. You have been successful in so many areas, Brent. I just cannot tell you, there is so much to really unpack in your entire story and your background, but of course what I am really truly in awe of is all the amazing stuff you have accomplished in your marketing career. I would really like to jump, just jump right into the point where you really kick-started that marketing career. We would love to hear about the Tucker Max and Ryan Holiday story. For our listeners who are not familiar with these two, just let us know who are Tucker and Ryan?

Brent: Sure. I will backtrack just a little bit to provide some more contexts, I think is important for when I talk about those two. 

J: Absolutely. 

Brent: I went to school for finance and real estate. I went to Grad School in New York and I graduated and I travelled for about six months and then coming back… I was looking for something basically where I would not have to wear a suit to be fully honest with you. That was my main goal. I worked for a month at an investment bank and found it just to be, not suitable for what I wanted to do. I saw the handwriting on the wall that I could go down that path and kind of get those golden handcuffs, so to speak, of a nice apartment, a nice car. I need to have like this job to support them. 

I was basically looking for anything to not do that and Tucker Max is an author who wrote a book that in college I thought was really funny. He writes about getting drunk and doing dumb stuff that I think there are a lot of college students did. I reached out to him just like a blind email. I think blind emails are an incredible way to kind of like connect with people. You really never know what is going to happen. Tucker was working on a book at a time that never ended up coming out. But he was like, ‘Listen, why do not we try you out as a research assistant.’ My job was to kind of collect material related to the book that he is working on. Nothing to do with going to school for, the school in real estate and finance, but I thought this is like an interesting way to develop a skill and obviously talk to somebody that I looked up to. It was like an interesting way to work with a mentor of sorts. I would say about two weeks into that Tucker was like, ‘Listen, this is not.’ 

J: Can I step back in a quick question. At some point you decided you had this formal education and things unrelated to marketing, unrelated to writing, but at some point you said, ‘I am going to reach out to Tucker Max and I am going to be as research assistant.’ What was the driving force? What were you looking to do? Where were you looking to go that said this is the right next move? 

Brent: Sure. I was more just looking for something interesting to do. Again, I went to Columbia, it was like a very expensive education. Like it was a very like defined path. You went to Columbia, you went to an investment bank in order to pay off your loans and it was very kind of clear. But I was pretty young at the time, I was 22 when I graduated from Columbia. I figured I still had a couple more years to maybe bounce around a little bit and learned some different skill sets. I think that the most valuable you can be kind of as a professional is when you can combine different skill sets in a unique way. I kind of thought that very early on and Tucker was doing this thing about writing. Obviously, writing is important. Like it is like how we communicate. I thought there was something that I could learn there from him that I could apply to my life in the future no matter what I was going to do.

With an opportunity like that, when Tucker, I mean to begin with Tucker was not paying me. It was a big jump from going from an investment bank where I was making 80 to $100 an hour to where you would go back and basically be working for free. But I mean the skills set I had developed there, like they sent me on a trajectory of my life that we might not even be talking if it was not for that blind email. I think more than anything else, it is like a curiosity and a way to learn a skill set without having to go back to school. Because I was a bit disillusioned with school to be fully honest with you. Like I went to Grad school, I thought I was going to come out and learn all the things I needed to know, I did not. Tucker was a way to, yes, dip my toes into something else, learn a new set.

J: How do you send an email, a blind email, to somebody like Tucker Max. Let us say somebody wanted to send you, and I am not setting you up right here, please do not start sending emails to Brent.

Brent: Please do. I think that like Tucker’s email is very visible. He was publicly facing. I think that like Ryan holiday who will get to as another big mentor and like kind of my business partner now has this theory about like emailers, that is what he calls it. Basically, to fast forward a little bit, Ryan wrote a book and the book did very well. Afterwards, a very, very well known head coach of an NFL team reached out and emailed Ryan. Ryan was like, ‘Wow, that is crazy. Like this head coach of this very successful team has emailed me after my small book come out.’ But then we start step back and think about it. it is not strange that he would do that because that is what he is been doing his whole life. I think that like certain successful people, maybe all successful people, when there is something that interests them, they just kind of shoot off a note to that person and that is kind of how they build this web of interesting people that they are connected with. 

For me, as like a 22 year old, I was like I have nothing to lose to like shoot an email to Tucker Max. There is actually a guy here in Austin who is a friend of mine. His name is Charlie Hoehn. Charlie Hoehn has this book, at the time as a PDF called The Recession Proof Grad. This came out in maybe 2009 and it was basically outlining his way of connecting with very interesting people and how he did so and basically by offering them to like do some free work for them. It was more like I had read Charlie’s thing. It was like, hey, this is interesting. Why do not I try this out? I mean, maybe I connect with some interesting people. I have emailed Tucker and I think that like that blind email has changed the course of my life.

But since then, I try to actually, I have a counter. I tried to email 10 or 20 people that I do not know every month just to kind of connect with them, see what happens. Because, again, have anything to lose and obviously a lot of those will go unreplied to, but a lot of them, my closest friends, people that I spend the most time with, have come from that. 

J: I think that one tip you just provided an hour’s worth of value right there. That is awesome.

Carol: Do not be afraid, what have you got to lose, right? Why not?

Brent: Yes, what have you got to lose? Also, it is like it is a lifestyle skill. It is not something that like, for one month I am going to email people and then once I reach a certain level of success, I am going to keep emailing them. I think that like the illustration of the head coach, like this guy is the guy that like could probably call the president if he wanted to and get him on the phone. But he is still emailing people when he finds it interesting. Just because it is a way to connect with them, it is a way to reach out, it is a way to continue doing that their whole life. I do not think that like this blind email thing is something that you do just when you are 22 and trying to work with Tucker Max. It is something that you do when you are like 32, 42 to 52 to 62, kind of your whole life. It is a way to, yes, again, just like connecting with you. I think, particularly now, with like social media and stuff, it is amazing who you get in contact with. Like with some of the most recent projects when I, when I need to learn a skill set or other thing, I can benefit from somebody else and I will send out five or six emails to the top people in their field.

Again, if one or two of those people come back, you end up having a conversation that you can never imagine you had otherwise. 

J: That is great. 

Carol: That is wonderful. 

J: You worked for Tucker for a couple of weeks and it was not going great. 

Brent: Yes, I was not the best researcher. I am not the most organized person, but at the time I was pretending to be for about matter of weeks and I think that facade dissolved in front of Tucker’s eyes. But he was like, ‘Listen, I like you. I think you work hard. You are an interesting kid. I am going to introduce you to my friend. My friend is named Ryan Holiday.’ At the time, Ryan was a Director of Marketing at American Apparel. I believe he was also 22 at the time, maybe 23. 

J: Yes.

Brent: I did not know who I was then, but I was like, well obviously this guy is doing something right. Again, like Ryan had this like super cool persona. This guy operated in the dark arts. He worked with guys like Tucker and Robert Greene and Dove Charney from American Apparel and Tim Ferris and all these guys that I kind of like thought were interesting. Ryan and I met up in New York. He was working on a book at the time called Trust Me, I Am Lying, which is kind of a media expose of how the media works? I helped Ryan put together the marketing for Trust Me, I Am Lying.

The book did really well. Ryan and I got along very well and that was about seven years ago. Today, we still work together on almost all of our projects. Like Ryan and I have a company called Brass Check and we would do a lot of marketing for authors and start-ups and musicians and stuff like that. But even outside of Brass Check, whether it is our real estate projects or anything else, Ryan and I probably do the majority of them together. Again, if I am kind of tracing the lineage back there, it all goes to a blind email. I mean, yes, it is pretty fun.

Carol: Those are of the best emails you ever sent, right? It is beautiful. It shaped the course of your future endeavours. 

Brent: Absolutely. I could still be buttoned up in a suit in New York at an investment bank, which I do not think I would be very happy doing. 

J: This does not surprise me because we did some research, we have listened to you a little bit and you are being super humble. I want to talk a little bit about Brass Check because you are doing some awesome amazing marketing stuff. Carol mentioned it in the intro. Basically you are the… The term used to be guerrilla marketing. Maybe, I do not know what the term is now, but it is basically a very creative type of marketing. Can you give us some examples of the type of marketing you guys are doing and who you are doing it for?

Brent: Sure. I think like with Brass Check, where we try to think of what people think about marketing, they think of like PR and marketing and PR and traditional senses. You develop a relationship with a reporter, you kind of call in a favor to write about a company or something like that. But Ryan and I are more just like, what interesting things can we do to attract the media to us? I think it is an important point where like everybody wants press but nobody wants to do anything interesting. If you want people to talk about your project, you have to give them something to talk about. I think that is kind of like one of the central ideas that we think about behind Brass Check. It is like what can we do around the context of this book or company or things like that to draw immediate attention back to us. 

Of course we do the basic blocking and tackling of kind of the traditional PR stuff. But to give you an example, like let us say that we have a book coming out. We worked with a guy named Jerry DeWitt. Jerry is a former Pentecostal Minister that one day woke up and decided that he was not a believer anymore. He wrote a book called Hope After Faith. When we think about a book like Hope After Faith. Like there is this idea there, a minister the no longer believes in God. That, yes, we did things like we would do podcast appearances or like articles on different websites. But then it is like, how can we create an event around this that the media would come to?

We came up with the idea to create a church service for nonbelievers in the heart of Louisiana, kind of in the middle of the Bible belt. We invited some press to it and then the New York Times started coming out, CNN came out and at the same time it all drew back to the ideas of the book. I think that is something important when you think about marketing. It is like anybody could get attention for throwing $1 million out of an airplane but it is not getting necessarily connect to the kind of like marching orders of your company or kind of the ideas in your book. Kind of like when we think about is like what can we do around this kind of idea where that is for a company or a book or a musician to kind of bring media attention back to it.

Carol: Very fine. It sounds like you are almost an expert in creating experiences, right? To drive that marketing. Is that a fair assessment?

Brent: Experiences or just like, I do not want to call them stunts because I think stunts are like kind of like an overused term and they kind of like simplifies what we do but like fun things that attract fun media attention. I think that like at the same time like when people think about media, sometimes they think about it wrong. It is like  this, ‘I hope the Business Insider will write an article about me.’ But when you think about it like it is a seller’s market, meaning if you put yourself in the shoes of that Business Insider writer, his job everyday is to wake up and write three to four articles about interesting stuff that is going to get him pay dues, it is going to get him basically his salary. That is why I tried to think of like what are the incentives of this writer? I think that you can do that in basically any context.

But with media it is like all right, I am the business insider business reporter. My job each day is to create three to four articles that are going to be interesting for my readership. I tried to think like what thing can I do that will be interesting for him that would make his job easier? I think if you come up with an idea at the same time it is like they are not necessarily doing you a favor, almost you are doing them a favor as kind of creating this interesting idea for them to run with. I think if you flipped the kind of like the way you view media on its head and think like it is not them doing a favor, it is like a mutually beneficial thing. They need a story, you need an outlet, you kind of just make that swap.

Then it kind of like freeze you to just to think. Like for me, what I like to do is just let us say you do want to go onto Time Magazine or Business Insiders, go to one of the reporters feeds and just kind of scroll through what they wrote about in the past. See what kind of headlines they are writing and think about like how can I do something similar in that vein. I think what attracted me and Ryan most to the idea of marketing is like we have fun with it. I think that like for me it is almost like a game. it is like if this can I get this person to write about it? Can we do that? As a skill set that you can apply to kind of to everything. Since we have done it with books, I have applied it to my own personal projects, the successful idea, a lot of press, and things like that. Yes, I think just making a game out of this is a big part of it.

Carol: That is awesome. I like the games. In the spirit of, I wonder if I do X if I can get this person to write about it. What is an example that you are so proud of, that you did try X and you got someone to write about it?

Brent: Sure.

Carol: That it was even more successful than you expected?

Brent: One of the most fun ones that I had is like I was living in New York at the time and a guy I lived very close to is a gay named Nick and he was a musician that goes at Young and Sick. Nick, at the time, had put out some demos. We were trying to think of there is so much music out there, anybody can put out music. How can we get attention for this essentially unknown musician? We came up with a strategy that we were not going to release what he looked like or if it was a male or a female. We are just going put out some songs and our goal at the time was going to Pitchfork. Pitchfork is kind of like a tastemaker blog for the music industry, particularly this was six years ago. You have to think through like, alright, my goal is get to Pitchfork.

You could blind pitch Pitchfork until you are blue in the face about a new demo from an unknown artist and has never going to get any attention. What you needed to do is like create a handle is what I call it. Like what is a handle that you are going to pick up the story, bring it to a friend and they will be able to go talk about the story a little bit more. To provide more context to the story, not just like, ‘Oh, this guy has a great song out.’ But like what other things are you giving people to talk about the project? For Nick, it was like the anonymous aspect. Nobody knew who this was. If we think about it further, if we want to be in Pitchfork, where does Pitchfork get their stories?

For Pitchfork at the time, there is a blog called Rose Quartz. Rose Quartz is a tiny little music blog. It is like rose quartz.blogspace.com. Maybe a hundred readers. We found that one writer at Pitchfork, we get all the stories from Rose Quartz. Again, that kind of just came from  studying him on Twitter and seeing what he was writing about. Then our goal became like if we can get on Rose Quartz, obviously we can get on to Pitchfork. It makes it a little bit easier. Like every journalist likes to think that they discovered something.

If you can put it in front of them in like a news feed or a blog or like an anonymous email or something like that. We sent some anonymous emails to the writers over at Rose Quartz and we are like, ‘Who is this guy? I cannot find anything about him. He sounds kind of like The Weekend,’ or like interesting acts at the time. Sure enough, a couple days later Rose Quartz wrote about it and then the next day Pitchfork wrote about it. Then he was a unknown musician with a feature on Pitchfork. Then from there we just had a variety of other fun stunts around it. You can just build a story around it and each time it is like adding layers to the story and adding layers to the story to the point where like Nick now is a very successful musician. He signed a great deal with Capital Records and he is kind of living out his dream. That was personally really rewarding for me.

Carol: So fun. 

J: I love that story and that story basically there is a book in there. There is so many tips that that I think we could spend hours unpacking but there is one that I have heard that story and there is one thing I want to touch on that. I would love to get some more information. You talked about, and you basically said marketing is not a just an event, it is a story and you are building a story. If you put out a press release, if you do an event type marketing, that is great. You get some press but then it goes away. But when you tell a story, you have lasting impression. You build a story. People like stories in their heads. With Nick, I remember hearing somewhere that with him, I think he was the one where it was unclear because of the pitch of his voice if he was a man or a woman. If you could us a little bit about how you played that story?

Brent: Yes, it is kind of like Nick could sing in this kind of like range where you going to tell if it was a guy or a girl. We would play around with like… I remember reading a report from Spin call me in every other word out alternate he and she and they and them and it just built this kind of like mystique around him. Like who is this guy? How can we discover it? I egged it on in my own where like I could go on and create fake email addresses and email different blogs and be like, ‘Who is this guy? I cannot find anything about him but he has got a feature on Pitchfork.’ Just like leaving nothing to chance. Because I think that like, again, going back to it, if you put yourself in a position of a blogger, they have to get a lot of stories but they get a lot of input as well.

You cannot just hope that they write about something. You want to like kind of like make it a sure fact. Yes, with Nick we did that. Then I think another fun thing that we did to follow that up is because he was this anonymous act, at the time, Tor is really exciting, the anonymous web and this type of thing. 

J: Yes.

Brent: I remember this was about six years ago. We decided that for a second song, we were going to release it on Tor. Just again because now that everyone is going to download on Tor. It was not that, it was like wrapping that story, like you said, around it. Because Nick stood for privacy, we are going to release it in the most private part of the internet. I remember we release it down there, we screenshot all of it, I pitched a reporter at Pitchfork or Business Insider. I was like, ‘Hey, do you know anything about Tor? I heard this musician just released a song down there. I cannot find anything out about them. Do you have any more info?’ Kind of like putting them on their own little kind of like lose end in a way.

Sure enough, Business Insider wrote about it. Then we took that article and went over to Forbes and there is a privacy report at Forbes and I was like, ‘Hey, this is crazy. Can you believe this musician released a song down there? I still cannot find anything about him. I actually know the guy. What is even more interesting than that, he not only released the song down there because he support privacy, but he turned out six figure recording deals to release a song down there.’

To be fully transparent, he had not, but it was an interesting context, interesting story around it. Sure enough, the next day, the headline at Forbes is why this musician turndown six figure recording deal to release a song in the darkest part of the internet. It is kind of like that headline and that context around the song, then you want to tell your friend about it. You want to be like, ‘Oh my God, did you hear this guy that released a song down on the Tor? It is crazy.’ Instead of being just like this artist with two demos out there on SoundCloud, there is a story already building around him. That story like continues not just like in personal conversations between you and your friend but also in the media. The media always needs more context to develop a blog post around somebody.

Now, they are like this hot unknown act, Young and Sick that is a feature on Pitchfork has released a song at the darkest part of the internet and turned down recording deals and all this type of stuff just builds into becoming this kind of like media narrative as I call it. I think that with Brass Check, what we try to do is set that media narrative pretty early. Like what are the meeting going to talk about because in a lot of times the media can be lazy. They are going to basically repeat whatever they see on a different article or on Wikipedia or something like that. If you can provide them the story that you want them to see, then it is almost like a self fulfilling prophecy where they would talk about it over and over and over again.

Carol: That sounds like so crazy much fun, I cannot even stand it. Like I am just envisioning your team. That you guys like sitting in a room going through this creative process and like what can we do next and what can we do next? Oh my gosh, did you see what he just wrote about us and let us send them down another rabbit hole and see how this thing really snowballs.

Brent: It was fun. We were like 23 and we were sitting around exactly in a Brooklyn apartment where it is like what can we get away with? In some sense, it is the way to look at it. But also just like it is fun cause then it is like immediate response. I think that it is interesting. Press is a weird… Press lives interestingly in the public’s mind. It is like saying as featured on Forbes, carries this great weight, but really it does not necessarily mean what people think nor does it hold necessarily the way that people may think. Particularly, when it comes to like converting sales and things like that. But like public facing, it is like very impressive. It is like ego, to be fully transparent with you, it is like it feels good. It is like, ‘Oh, yes. Nick was on Forbes. Nick is Business Insider, Nick was on Pitchfork.

J: You created an origin story.

Brent: Yes, that is exactly. Yes, there was a great origin story there and still repeating today. Like when Nick has talked about, there are still mentions of the time that he released a song on Tor.’ Throughout his career, we have just done fun stuff. We did a showcase for some place, Southwest here in Austin, where nick performed just for dogs. There was no humans allowed at the animal shelter. Just like again, fun things. Like everybody does at South Way Southwest Show but like let us do something a little bit different to give people something to talk about. Because again the press needs… You could see that headline like artists performs at dog only show at South Way by Southwest. It is like an easy story for them. Just like, again, because Nick is a friend, he is more like lenient and he is open to doing these types of things.

But I think if you are thinking about your own project and you are thinking how can I get press? It is like, well what are you going to do that is interesting that the press wants to write about? 

J: Yes.

Brent: It does not have to be that hard, it can be something pretty basic. I mean even to riff a little bit more on this topic, a week ago I was sitting…I own a hostel here in Austin called HK Austin.

J: Yes, we want to get to that. But no, go ahead.

Brent: I will just continue to press angle. I was thinking like we have not been in the press and all, we have not had any… There is no real reason to talk about HK Austin. We opened, we have been doing some things and I read on, on craigslist actually, again this is just a week ago that a guy was trying to get rid of a baby mini goat. It is a male mini goat. He was going to kill the mini goat because I guess they only want the females. An hour later, I had adopted this goat and he now lives in the backyard of HK Austin, our hostel. Now we are a hostel with a goat. Immediately people wanted to come out and take photos with the goat. Like text their mom about that has been raising a goat before and things like that. It was basically just like, now we are a hostel with a goat. It seems very basic, but again, it is more context and it is more handles for them to talk to their friends about than a hostile without a goat.

Carol: Certainly.

Brent: It is always, well, what interesting things can we do?

Carol: That is so much fun. I have to ask to first of all, does the goat have a name?

Brent: Yes, its name is Turtle. I did not name it but the hostel laced it.

Carol: That is the cutest thing I have ever heard in my life, I absolutely love it. I would suspect to that having a goat at said hostel not only provides great marketing, but does it really kind of elevate your customer experience too?

Brent: Definitely. Yes, everybody has fun with the goat. It is kind of something that they remember, that they can talk about your friends with. It is people, I think, sometimes with hospitality locations, they spend a little bit too much time on… People are going to forget the color of each house, right? But they are not going to forget the way that the feel there. I think that this provides like a feeling to them. They are like, ‘I am in Austin. I am meeting this goat at this hostel. That is so weird. Everybody kind of wants to be the center of their own attention, particularly on Instagram and elsewhere. It is kind of like providing them, again more context then another handle to talk to their friend about.

J: Yes, If I stayed at Holiday Inn, I am not going to take pictures and put it on Facebook. But if I stay at HK Austin, is it HK Austin?

Brent: Yes. 

J: HK Austin, I am going to take a picture with the goat. I am going to put that on Instagram, I am going to put that on Facebook, and basically there is your free marketing.

Brent: Yes, exactly. 

J: Let me ask you a question. From your perspective, obviously there is always some cost benefit analysis that goes into marketing. For example, with the goat. You decided to get a goat. There is downsides, you have to take care of the goat, the goat needs a place to live. Somebody needs to take care of the goat. Is it going to provide the benefits that you think is… What kind of cost benefit analysis do you do? Is it formal or is it just a gut thing? ‘This sounds like a good idea, I am going to do it.’

Brent: Sure. For me personally, it is mainly like a gut thing. I have certainly taken on projects that have become much bigger than we anticipated than being in the beginning. But with clients you do have to take it in a little bit more of the like impact to the brand because we have worked with bigger authors where they will come to us and they will hire us and they will be like, I want Brass Check. Brass Check does these interesting ideas, they know how to get media attention. That is like great and so we will come up with like five amazing ideas to get attention for them. But when it comes the time to pull the trigger, there is some decision maker along the line where it is like, well we cannot really do that.

I think that you do have to think about like, sure, it is fine getting press, but at the same time like that media narrative can go sideways pretty quickly and it does get repeated so many times. It is client specific for sure. Like somebody like Tucker Max like you could do whatever he wanted because he already had such a bad reputation. But if we are working with an author, like we have worked with guys like Tony Robbins, like he obviously has a brand so you have to be very conscious of that and how these fun things can get misconstrued or go the wrong way and stuff like that. But for me, personally, I am just going to go for that, like go for it.

Carol: Is there example you can share with us where based on what you needed to stick to with the brand and your, let us call it for lack of a better term for now, a stunt. Where a stunt went awry in terms of keeping in sync with the brand and what you did to recover from that?

Brent: There is definitely been stunts that I have participated in. That like looking back it is like makes you cringe a little bit, that was not very like cool. But they were mainly isolated like when we worked with Tucker and stuff like that and because of his brand was so kind of like edgy to begin with. But since then, to be fully honest, no. The majority of the time they have been pretty fun, which is pretty good. 

Carol: That is so much fun. What a great fantastic like just situation you have got going on. I hate to like lay it on fit but seriously, Brent, I am so in awe of all the different things that you do. It is just amazing, amazing. Your story is just incredible and the creativity that goes behind it in building people’s brands, in launching things in such a new and disruptive way is fascinating. I think your so non-traditional marketing and you are just taking all these new technologies and all these new avenues of the way the world works right now and really capitalizing on that and like you said, feeding it to the media, feeding it to the press so that you are meeting their needs to ultimately meet your needs is just a great way of looking at things. I just love seeing how that plays out. 

Brent: I appreciate that, thank you.

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J: You wrote a couple of years ago, an article on medium.com, 8 Make-Or-Break Business Rules That No One Teaches But Everyone Should Know. This was a fantastic article. Honestly, if I were to sit down and spend six months trying to come up with the best tips I could… The eight best tips I could come up with, I probably would not have come up with all of these. This is just a great article. We will have that in the show notes. But I do want to ask you a couple of questions because there are a couple tips in here that are specially good.

Now, I want to hear how you have applied those to your businesses and I would love to talk more about the hostel because a lot of the people in our audience are going to be real estate people and I am sure they are going to love to hear more about your hostel as well. But one of the things that you talk about is your customers ideas for your business are probably wrong. I think that is a really important concept and one that we are all interested in make your customers happy, we do not think about that. Can you elaborate a little bit on that?

Brent: Yes, I kind of came to that thought after the first year of the hostel. We put all this time and energy in the hostel. Then particularly, when you have a hospitality business like that, people come in and literally face to face will tell you ideas of what you should do at your hostel. For us, to give you an example of this is in the living room of the hostel, there is no TV. I would say one out of every 10 people would come in and be like, ‘Why do not you put a TV in the living room? I want to watch a movie or something like that. But I think it comes from like being strong with the vision that I wanted for the place and staying in a lot of hostels myself.

I knew that like if one person come in and put on a weird movie on the living room, the living room is supposed to be like kind of the nerve-center of the hostel. The place where people create connections. The reason people stay in hostels is to create these connections. If one person is watching a movie, that mystery is immediately gone from that room. I think that like in this kind of like eager to please the customer world that we live in, you know the place where like you want to take feedback and strive and change immediately. It is worth kind of like zooming out a little bit in thinking like is this specific to them or is this going to apply across the board? Maybe there is things that like your customers are think are the best things for you but you know strongly are not. I think this taking a step back as is a pretty important part of it all.

J: Yes and that is a great example with the TV because it does something else as well. You are basically defining what type of customers you want in your business, the type of customers that are going to grow your business and you are suddenly telling the rest of the people out there, the people that like TV and that do not want to socialize, we do not want you as a customer. There are so many business owners that are terrified of alienating anybody in their potential customer base because they just want more money or they think they need everybody to be happy. But you are not scared to basically say, ‘You are not my customer, that is okay. Go away.’ 

Brent: Yes, definitely. It is kind of like you also want to curate the type of customers you had. Like you said, in a hostel setting, one kind of bad character can really ruin the entire environment within the hostel. I think that environment is the reason that people stay in hostels, environment is the reason people remember hostels. We do want to have those kinds of like likeminded people coming through. I mean that even goes to things like where do you get your customers? I will give you an example there, like with with hostels where there is different booking engines that you can be on to like attract your customers.

You can be on hostelworld.com and they kind of like are the referral engine and like Expedia Orbits, you can be on all the kind of traditional channels and we found that when we were on booking.com, we will get people with a different expectation than they we were getting from Hostel World. People from Hostel World very clearly know what they are getting into. They are going to a hostel because that is in the name. On booking.com, sometimes people will come and not fully understand the idea of being in a hostel. The kind of the shared element of the hostel. The environment part of the hostel. They are asking for private rooms or private TVs in the private room.

We found that those people would kind of, yes, again, in fact the rest of the customer we have. We do not use booking.com anymore and it seems like why would you turn out any channel that would get you customers? But we know that the customers that we do have, we will have much better time if we do not. It was another conscious decision that we had to make pretty early on is like cheering that customer base like you mentioned. 

Carol: That is right, that is right. I am wondering too, I know you have written a lot about, and correct me if I am misrepresenting, that about 20% of your business actually be spent on the marketing but the big bulk of your time, the 80% of your time should be focused on creating that product that people want in the first place. Did I represent that accurately?

Brent: Definitely. I think they are like, particularly today with like all the information marketers out there and people that are creating these courses and blogs, do not get me wrong, there is lots of very good ones but I think sometimes people are in such a rush to like try out the newest marketing tactic, spend money on Facebook and try. They get so wrapped up in the marketing of the product, they do not realize that like if the product sucks, nobody is going to want to buy it anyways.

Before you get ahead of yourselves, as you are thinking about all these different marketing avenues to do, make sure you have a product that you are like comfortable, that it is going to actually go out there and sell once it exists because like I will give you something like no matter how big of marketing campaign that we put together for a book at Brass Check, whether it is for a start up, a book, no matter what, the only thing that a great marketing campaign can do is kick-start word of mouth and that is what you are trying to do because word of mouth is the only thing that is going to sell product of business, anything over the long-term.

If the word of mouth is not there, it is not going to sell for a long time. You might get a flash in the pan but I think that like life is too short to create stuff like that. If you are really trying to like create something, create something you are proud of, spend a lot of time on it and then worry kind of about the marketing afterwards.

Carol: Certainly. It sounds like too with your hustle, by creating that experience, by doing the no TV thing, by having the goat, by having… Did I read somewhere that you splurged on your beds? Like that is… You want to make sure people are so super comfy and do not want to get up in the morning and just like love their bed, right? By creating that type of experience, you are really looking at a long-term vision rather than just pleasing customer by customer. It looks at the more holistic approach.

Brent: Definitely. Again, just zooming back out and thinking about like what is… Putting a TV might get that one good review but what is going to kind of like maintain the good reviews over time and keep people coming back and I think again is that atmosphere.

J: Yes, you can drive 100 million people to your product, but if it is not a good product, it is not sustainable.

Brent: Right, exactly.

J: I want to talk about something else. I imagine this is not necessarily real estate but I think a lot of people in our audience who are real estate investors are going to get a kick out of this story. A few years ago, you bought a 300 acre ghost town. 

Brent: Yes. 

J: Can you tell us a little bit about that? Like what was your motivation? What were you thinking? What is your plans?

Brent: Just under a year ago, July 13th. We closed on Friday the 13th because ghost town, Friday the 13th, fun press angle with it. It was all my business partner John Beers’ birthday that day. Even there, it is like…

Carol: So much.

Brent:  Well, what is in a ghost town that is inherently like interesting? Closing on Friday the 13th just added another panel handle to it for the press to talk about. But with that, it was as again going back to like what is fun, what is interesting? I am obviously very interested in hospitality. For a long time, I am thinking about the hostel and kind of like what is next after the hostel. My friend, John Beer and I, had been looking at different properties around the country and we did not really have a set criteria or thesis, but I think the main thesis was something that you touched on earlier, is basically travelers today are looking for experiences that are available nowhere else.

They want that thing that they can put on Instagram that looks interesting. They do not want the white box cookie cutter Marriott. They want these one of a kind experiences. For me, I was thinking there has got to be places that can provide that, that have a little bit of history and story to them themselves. As a story teller, I was confident that we will be able to relay a story around a property to the press pretty well and get attention for it. John and I were looking at properties in the Catskills, just two hours outside of New York. Then our friend forwarded us a link that a former mining town is for sale in California called Cerro Gordo. Immediately, kind of the marketing brain immediately just like lit up.

I was like, oh my God, there is so many stories we could tell about a ghost town that is for sale. It was for sale for just about a million dollars. I mean, as somebody living in New York, as somebody who lives in major cities, like you cannot get an apartment in New York for $1 million. The thought that we would buy this former town, I knew as marketers, we would get so much attention for it that at the very least we could resell it for multiples of what we bought it for just because of the press around it. Yes, we bought it in July. It was a exercise in kind of like your social capital because we… It was a very hot property, there is lots of offers for it. John and I went in strong.

For the rest of the people, we went in and we said, ‘Listen, we will close in seven days and all cash. Neither John nor I had anywhere near the cash on hand to buy a ghost town. We forwarded over $50,000 in earnest money. Really kind of like putting our… We are going to make it happen. From then we raised the money from some family and friends, through text messages, from clients. So we have built up goodwill with over time. Originally, we bought it because the way I thought about it was like if I was on my death bed and I was talking to my grandson or something, if I could say that I have won once upon a time bought a town with a bunch of friends, that is worth it to me. There was an interesting story, something that should be fun. At the very least we would have this beautiful playground to hang out with. But since going here has been interesting. It is like the plan is becoming more real. 

We have brought on a real estate developer that has done a lot of great destination resorts in the past. Somebody that has done Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado. It is a form of ghost town that has been turned into a resort. A place called Almond Geary in Utah, which is like super aspirational resort. We are bringing the team together around it. I think for me personally, what I have learned from that is when I opened the hostel, I thought I had to do everything. I really was wanting to white knuckle it. I was going to play the front desk man, I was going to be the landscaper, I was going to be the Check-in Guy, I was going to be this and that. I thought that was what building a company was. To me, it is like I need to have my hands in all parts of this. I think it says that is a common thing that people go through when they are starting businesses.

With Cerro Gordo, I see my main job is just finding, attracting and convincing to work with us the best talent in the world for each of those roles. That is what I have been doing. I have been definitely taking a step back. Like I am not going to be changing the sheets at Cerro Gordo, but I am going to find the best hotel operator that does the best job. We have put together a great design team, a developer, a capital partners, architects, engineers, the whole kind of crew. It has been very very rewarding so far. We are having a blast with it. If anybody ever has a couple extra hours, it is three hours outside of LA, to the east and between Sequoia National Park and Death Valley National Park. It is stunning. We have a caretaker named Robert who is there 24/7. Robert has lived on the hill for 21 years straight. If you would like, you are more than welcome to go up and take a tour. 

Carol: So fun, thank you.

J: Awesome. We do a lot a lot of national park tours with our family so we are going to have to add that to our, next time we go down towards decoy and we are going to add that to our list. Thank you.

Carol: I would want to follow up on that. I have one more question on that front. Is Sarah Gordo that… it sounds, is that one of your first business ventures where you have not white knuckled it as much, where you have kind of relinquish some control and brought other people in? And if yes, how did that process go? How did that feel for you to get to that place of trust?

Brent: Definitely. I think that it was a function of a couple of things. All the other businesses, whether it was the marketing company, our marketing company, while we do a lot of work, it is quite small. There is three partners and we have two employees. It is a very lean and mean team. But because of that we do a lot of the stuff ourselves. there is a lot of that white knuckling and so was… With Cerro Gordo, there was two things. One, I have quite a few other projects going on. It was just like a function of time. There was no way I could possibly do everything myself.

Then two, it is just releasing that ego a little bit. Like I am not at all the best designer in the world and so if we want to create something that we are proud of, why would we not try to attract kind of the best designers that we could? Why would we not bring in the best architect? Just kind of like learn something from all of them. Because the way that, at least I am seeing Cerro Gordo is, if Cerro Gordo becomes what we want it to become, then it will be a stepping stone to the future projects and it will allow me that, that means giving up control or equity or whatever it means. It is more than worth it in the long-term for anytime a short term loss that we have to do.

J: That is good.

Carol: That is great. I really enjoyed all the comments that came as a result of all the press coverage that you got from that. It sounds like once you have developed and what you want to be, it sounds like there will be no lack of people who want to live there pretty much full time. I think they are going to be beating down your door. It is pretty fun. 

Brent: Yes, it is interesting for sure. 

J: It is something you can have fun, you can potentially make money and it is a great story. 

Brent: Yes, it is a personally fun fulfilling story. Like it is interesting too like just getting to know people in that area. It is a part of the world that is very interesting to me. John and I have been spending a lot of time out there. We have been seeing and a firsthand how quickly news can spread even when you do not want it to. To give you an example, like news spreads quick in small towns.

Carol: Yes.

Brent: It is a very fun exercise for us. If there is any other lessons I could pull from it is kind of the power of… when we bought it we kind of went into hyper drive of like press. We just want to get as much press as we could. Because again, yes, press feels good, this and that. We use the press to get some capital partners but also press is interesting. I think the biggest benefit for press for anybody, including ourselves, is the inbound stuff that happens for it. The other side of the equation of that emailers, people that ended up emailing you, they need to hear about you first. I think for me, what is most personally rewarding, is like the inbound people that have come from Cerro Gordo. These developer that I mentioned before, the guy that has done hot springs in Almond Gary, he emailed me once he saw an article in the New York Times about it. If you are trying to think through the value of press, at least in my own mind, the value of press is kind of in the inbound inquiries that come from it.

Carol: Excellent. That said, what are your thoughts on like on paid marketing? We are talking a lot about all these alternative ways of looking at marketing, all of these creative and awesome ideas. But what are your thoughts on paid marketing? Do you pay for marketing or do you not see a need for that anymore?

Brent: Within Brass Check, we have a company called Daily Stoic. Daily Stoic is a book that Ryan wrote. But on the back end of it we created like an online platform around it. A website that gets a lot of emails, it is pretty big. On the back end of that, we created an e-commerce store. We have a place where we sell coins, prints and different things related to stoicism. In that one, we do use a lot of paid advertising. We use Facebook advertising because it is very concrete and tangible what the cost and reward is. I think if you can at least assign a value to, let us say you are using online or paid advertising to get email addresses, if you are going to assign a value to it, I think it is very valuable. Because then if a email to you is worth a dollar and you can spend 50 cents getting it, then you can spend money all day long, right? But I think sometimes people use paid advertising for like the vague concept of exposure and I do not necessarily think that is a good use of it.

If you cannot tie an actual number to it, then I do not know if paid advertising is the best route. But if you can, if you have a product, if you have that like… If you start your first Shopify store and you are making mugs and you know that your mugs costs you $10 to make and then you sell them for $30 and you can sell in for $15 using Facebook ads, then like definitely you should use Facebook ads all day long. I think it just depends on the person and the goal is that they are trying to do. But yes, we have utilized Facebook advertising quite a bit. The paid adverts for the Daily Stoic was a pretty good returns.

J: That is awesome. 

Carol: Excellent. 

J: Let me ask the question, if you had to give one piece of generic advice to our listeners, and I know this is putting you on the spot, but our listeners are a mix of small business owners, real estate investors, other people that are getting into the content world like a lot of your clients. One or two great tips for them just to improve their marketing, to improve their PR and advertising strategies.

Brent: Sure. I think, first off, this might seem very basic but it is surprisingly clients are the first one at this, like build an email list. Emails that are pretty much the only avenue that you fully control these days. Facebook can change in algorithm and suddenly you are reaching half the people they reached before. Instagram can delete your account tomorrow. The seven years you built building a million followers, Instagram does not mean anything. No matter what you are doing, no matter who you are, at the very least, have a generic email capture on your website. Ideally, put some type of effort into it. Say like, provide an incentive. Like sign up to get my three best tips on real estate investing or something. But no matter who you are, if you are trying to build something, an email list is valuable because then you can reach those people again.

I think that would be kind of like base foundational level, email list, email list, email list, that is kind of the biggest thing. Then second, like if you are interested in getting press, because I think that is like a lot of people like they light up like the thought of getting press. There is a couple of ways to do it. I think a lot of people think they wait for that New York Times profile. They are like I am doing interesting stuff and eventually like the New York Times is going to profile me because I am doing interesting stuff. But like in reality, the New York Times does not know who you are, the New York Times does not know who anybody is. Waiting for stuff like that to happen is not the way to approach it. I would think what can I do that is interesting. Like I have said that before but like it does not mean you have to go out and necessarily purchase a goat to like get do something interesting.

Doing something interesting can also mean writing an interesting article about a topic that is like in the news at that moment. If you can provide like an interesting take on it, that is another reason for the media to kind of reach out to you. I will give you an example. Like Ryan does it fantastically. Like whenever the election was going on, Ryan wrote an article about Trump being elected. He wrote this article, 30 Reasons Do Not Vote for Trump or something to that effect. That was just like enough context for like he said something interesting related to it to then like news media reached out to him to be kind of be on interviews. It is like a more proactive approach to like instead of sitting back, what I am trying to say is like take a more proactive approach to press rather than reactive.

You cannot wait for the press to hear about you, you have to go out there and do something interesting for them to hear about you. Whether that is like a stunt kind of thing that we are doing or saying something interesting. That is going to be a quicker way to send them the media attention. 

Carol: Love it.

J: That is awesome. It is so funny. I am not a marketing advertising guy, that is Carol’s world. She has been doing that for her whole life. I am more the a introverted engineer, quantitative guy on the other side. But just preparing for this interview and reading about what you have done and what you are doing. I said to Carol the other night, after this interview I have a feeling I am going to want to just go start a marketing company even though I know I would not be any good at it. Just because it sounds like so much fun. I mean it is just this crazy challenges of how you take something unknown and you use the resources around you and creative ways to make it known. 

Brent: Yes, it fun. Just like again, like have fun. Just sit down one day and think like what are 10 crazy things I could do? Then the idea that is like, well I could not do that. Because it is usually the idea you probably should do. That is the one that like probably the most fun and will get the press attention. I think there is no harm in trying, you put it out there. Then if you do start getting traction, press is weird whereas it becomes a bit of this echo chamber and kind of like snowball effect where press just repeats press because it is on press’ radar meaning. Like, now, if some press comes up and they were like we need owner of ghost town and talk about something, I imagine we would be who they reach out to because we have a high profile ghost town at this point. Because the press already got it, it will lead to more press in the future. I think that applies no matter who you are. Just get started to try some stuff out, have fun with it.

Carol: Became the ghost town expert by your creation, that is a beautiful thing.

J: Next time CNN does a segment on ghost towns, they are calling you.

Carol: Yes, you are first on the list. I like to move now, Brent, to the part of the show that we call Four More. Okay, these are four questions and a more question that we ask all of our guests and we are going to fire them at you pretty quick. Are you ready?

Brent: Okay, I am ready. 

Carol: Okay. Number one, what was your very very first or you are very very worst job and what lessons did you learn from it?

Brent: My first job was at a golf course. I worked at a golf course which is pretty fantastic because I learned golf and golf has stayed within my entire life. I still play golf to this day so I think it was very beneficial in that way. Things I learned from it is, that is weird, I should not have thought about it, I was a cart guy so I would have to pick up people from their car when they come to the golf course. It was a private club. I would sit there, members would come, we would pick them up from the car and bring them into the Gulf house. Even at age 14 or 15 or, however old, I was like you would get to know what members tipped you in and which did not. Obviously, the ones that did not, you want to be the quickest to run out there and grabbed their bag.

We are talking like a dollar tip cause I was like 14 or 15 but like that dollar would mean the difference of me like busting my ass and running out to get you from your car with a golf cart or me just kind of like going back to the cart barn and having like another Gatorade or something. I think that like instilled me of like treating service people on the shoe, right? Like that small investment of a dollar or two could go a really long way and people do remember it. Yes, I think that is what I learned from it.

Carol: Excellent.

J: See, that was his first job. My worst job was working at a country club.

Brent: Really?

J: At a snack bar. Because of that, the golfers never wanted to tip. Maybe I was just really bad at my job when I was 14 but…

Brent: No, they are an interesting bunch for sure.

J: Question number two, what was that defining moment when you said to yourself, I have the entrepreneurial itch and I really need to go out on my own and not follow the script?

Brent: It was definitely after, like as I mentioned, I graduated from Columbia and then I got the job with the investment bank and it was very important and a lot of ways. My parents were proud. They are like, ‘Oh, my son is working at an investment bank.’ The thought to just like completely leave that but I looked at the people that were maybe five years along the path that I was on, and they were not happy. They were kind of like living in a nice apartment but none of them were having a good time. At least that is how I saw it. I always thought I could go back to it. I can always go back and do it again if I need to. I decided to kind of like cut the reins. In the first year, I was living in Brooklyn and I was writing freelance articles for some credit card website for $5 an article or something or anything just to make it work. But I knew to me that like I did not want to go back to the kind of suit and tie job and just kind of figured out what I needed to do to make it.

Carol: Excellent, excellent. Number three is we all know there is just a plethora of really really bad advice out there. What is the very worst advice that you have ever been given and what did you do with it? 

J: Let us keep this in the marketing PR space because I know there is probably a lot of bad advice there. 

Brent: Yes, I am going to echo on something you said before but like I think there was a guy that literally looked at me and said that you need to spend 20% of your time making the product and 80% of your time marketing the product, like we touched on before. It is just like such bad advice. Obviously, people love the 80-20, preddo principal kind of thing, context of say stuff. But like that is just not true, that is not how things lasts. That is not how, Mcdonald’s was built, that is not how the Yankees were built. It is not like something that I think holds. I think that like flipping that on its head and spending a bit more time and training probably is more important.

J: Number four, what is something you have personally splurged on but that was totally worth it?

Brent: A goat. 

J: Can you tell us how much you spent on that goat and what the holding costs are? 

Brent: It was not necessarily splurge. The goat was $40. He was located in Rural Texas. It was terrifying picking up. I went to a essentially compound that had like black fence all around it around 8:00 PM to pick him up but it has been really rewarding. I do not have any regrets or anything but like the goat comes up to me every day and he provides some type of structure, if that makes sense. In the morning, I have a routine that I need to do and it kind of sets the tone for the day. It has been very very beneficial for me.

Carol: I love Turtle. 

Brent: Yes, he is the best. 

J: We will get a picture of Turtle. If you give us a picture, we will have a picture in the show notes. Okay. That was the four, here is the more question. Where can people find out more about you and how can they get in touch with you? 

Brent: Sure. My name, I have an email to like brentunderwood.com. I kind of have some thoughts. If you put me in Google, there is some other things come up. My email addresses is my last name and my first name @gmail.com. Happy if you would email me. Obviously, I am a big fan of blind emails so will love to hear from anybody. Happy to help out how I can. If you have a book idea or kind of a marketing idea, it gets me excited to kick around fun ideas. If you are thinking of some crazy stunt and want to think how can I make sure this gets the most attention, let me know. I will hush it out with you.

Carol: Awesome. Brian, thank you so so so much for being on our show. We are such fans and just absolutely admire all the great stuff you are doing and cannot wait to follow your venture and see what is next.

Brent: Great. Thank you guys so much. This has been a lot of fun. 

J: Thanks, Brent, so much.

Carol: Alright, that was our interview with Brent Underwood. What did you think, J? 

J: I thought that was a fantastic interview. I am a big fan of Brent. I actually know somebody that stayed his hostel a couple months ago and said that Brent was literally there in the common area, chatting with his guests. 

Carol: What?

J: Who does that? 

Carol: That is awesome. 

J: That is absolutely awesome.

Carol: He rocks, he so rocks. 

J: That is the kind of business owner I want to be, I aspire to be, and I think everybody should aspire to be.

Carol: He is wonderful. 

J: Yes, just hanging out with your customers. 

Carol: Right.

J: It is just awesome. 

Carol: So good. 

J: My favorite tip from the interview, send 10 to 20 emails a week to random people. Not random people, but people that put out content that you love, people that do things that you appreciate. Just send 10 to 20 emails a week saying thank you for doing what you do. It is a great way to network, it is a great way to keep in touch with people. It is a great way to build your network. I thought that was just absolutely the best tip. I am going to start doing that this afternoon.

Carol: Completely agree. Like that was worth the whole episode in and of itself, right? It is such an easily actionable item and if you do it consistently over and over, it helps you build your network, helps you build your brand, it is just beneficial all the way around. Brent was awesome. We are super excited to bring you even more awesome guests like Brent. While we are here, I want to take a quick second to thank each of you for something. You know what you did? You helped us hit number two, number two, in all of the entirety of Apple podcasts business category. Thank you so much for listening. Keep tuning in and let us keep the momentum going. One last thing, if you or someone in your network would be a great guest, we would love to hear from you. Just go over to BiggerPockets.com/guests.

J: /guest.

Carol: /guest and fill out the application. We would love to hear your story. Again, that is BiggerPockets.com/guest. Okay, should we wrap this up? 

J: I think we are good. 

Carol: Let us do it. 

J: She is Carol, I am J. 

Carol: Now, go make headlines in your business today. Rock on rock stars. See you soon.

J: See you all.

 

 

 

Watch the Podcast Here

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Marketing career and Tucker Max story
  • Sending a blind email
  • The type of marketing that his company uses
  • The power of creating an origin story
  • The story of having a goat in the hostel
  • Cost benefit marketing
  • The power of word of mouth
  • The story behind the 300-acre ghost town
  • His thoughts on paid marketing
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “If you want people to talk about your project, you have to give them something to talk about.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Word of mouth is the only thing that will sell a product for the long term.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Brent

What does it take to start, scale, and sell your own business? Every Tuesday, J and Carol Scott ask this question to entrepreneurs of all stripes and delve into stories that go beyond the launch. From hiring and firing to marketing and raising capital, this podcast takes an honest look at the triumphs and stumbles of entrepreneurship. Whether you’re looking to sustain a startup or bring an idea to life, you’ll come away inspired. Tune in—and learn how to treat your business like a business.