Welcome to episode 22 of VB Engage! In this week’s epic-sode, Stewart and Travis chat with Marshall Kirkpatrick of Little Bird and talk about finding ideal influencers for any topic or geography.

And during the news portion of the show, Travis and Stewart discuss Advertising Week in NYC. We talk about how Facebook has been misrepresenting video views and how your content probably sucks. That’s right — you heard us.


If you missed last week’s VB Engage, we interviewed Adam Goldstein, cofounder and CEO of Hipmunk. We discussed machine learning and how his company created its incredible chatbot. Oh, and Hipmunk got acquired a couple of weeks after we interviewed Adam. If you want your startup to get acquired for millions of dollars, you clearly need to be on the VB Engage podcast.

While Stewart was in New York City this week, Travis was in San Francisco, where he checked out the Minnesota Street Art Project, which Adobe has partnered with. If you are in the Bay Area, this is a great place that is supporting the arts for under-market rent pricing.

Adobe is working with a multitude of artists to research how they might use virtual reality to create art. The company is then putting that information toward the development of its next creative software suite for digital design. If you want to check it out, here’s a Facebook livestream from the event — the VR section starts around 32 minutes in.

The big news around NYC this past week was Advertising Week, or AdWeek, as cool people like Stewart call it. AdWeek was all abuzz about Facebook reporting bogus video views.

Regardless of how Facebook counts its users, video views, and ad impressions, it is a huge community and one that every business wants to leverage. But when it comes to video, Facebook is used entirely differently from the likes of YouTube, DailyMotion, and other video-centric properties. You can find out more about that and all the other AdWeek news in this handy roundup.

The other big story is a recent report from Beckon that shows how brand content creation has increased 300 percent year-over-year. That’s huge. But more content doesn’t mean that it’s better, or that it’s the right kind of content. In fact, the report shows that only 5 percent of branded content got any real engagement whatsoever. Most of this content has single digit shares, if any.

That’s big. Travis talks about why it’s a good idea to amplify the good content already written about you. Some brands spend millions on commercials and television advertising, along with money spent on content, but they don’t spend much sponsoring the good things written about them by others. Travis’ pro tip? If you re-post the content on your own property and then sponsor the posts, you can capture the visitors in a retargeting pixel.

So the news is this: Your content essentially sucks. Sorry about that.

If you want to find amazing content, tune into our guest this week — the legendary Marshall Kirkpatrick, cofounder of Little Bird Technologies. Marshall is a former tech editor at ReadWriteWeb and was the first paid writer at TechCrunch. He curated research while using advanced search tactics on Google to create a custom search engine around key topics. With Little Bird, he has pursued the discovery of influencers, subject matter experts, and thought leaders — tailored to any topic or geography.

We talk with Marshall about using mobile devices to stay in constant contact with influencers. Using push notifications, DMs, email, and real-time alerts with keywords, marketers can get in front of the influencers they are trying to work with, wherever they may be.

One of the things that Little Bird can do is find the main subject matter experts on a topic and give you a list of their websites. It can then monitor each influencer and find the content they create or share.

We talk with Marshall about how Autodesk launched a 3D-printing operating system through influencer marketing.

Autodesk was able to jump in and participate in conversations around 3D printing — having its team comment on blogs, retweet messages, and share the content influencers were creating. In the months leading up to its launch, it built a network containing a metric tonne of new influencers. You’ll hear how it all comes down to building relationships with the ideal type of person.

On this episode, Marshall drops all kinds of wisdom about how to discover experts on any topic. He even shares some of his Google search secrets, and, as a reward for reading this far, here’s a link to Marshall’s Secret Search. It’s a search engine that returns results from only the top tech publications.

As always, listen to VB Engage. Subscribe to VB Engage. Rate it 5+ stars. High-five a random person. Tell yourself that you’re a winner. Listen to more VB Engage. Become smarter. Become better looking*.

Rating and reviewing VB Engage is also a good way to look cool around your peers.

*Results may vary.

Tune in next week for our interview with David Steinberg, the CEO of Zeta Interactive. We talk about some really amazing topics, but we’re not going to tell you about it right now — you’ll just have to listen.


Thanks to our sponsor MailChimp for helping to make VB Engage possible.

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