Ian Cleary on Relationship Management and Marketing Success

Victoria Galperina

Apr 11, 20174 min read
Relationship Management and Marketing Success

Hi guys! It's been a while since our last interview, so today I'm particularly excited to share my interview with Ian Cleary: founder of RazorSocial.com (a marketing technology blog that helps visitors find the best marketing tools and tech to support their business), international keynote speaker and a digital strategist with a strong passion for technology.

Victoria Galperina: In case some of our blog readers are not familiar with your story, could you please provide them with some background information about yourself?

Ian Cleary: I worked in software companies for 15 years before I drifted into online marketing. I started focusing on social media and content marketing, and with a technology background it made sense to focus on the technical aspects to these.

VG: How did you first come up with the idea of starting RazorSocial?

IC: I was building a software product that failed and I had no idea for another software product so I decided to start a blog. I wanted to build my personal brand internationally and I thought a blog would be a good way of doing this. When I first launched the blog I felt that success would be quicker if I built relationships with other key influencers in social media and I thought the quickest way of doing this was travelling to conferences to meet them.

Within 6 months of launching the blog I won in the annual Social Media Examiner top blog awards so I knew something was working!

VG: What do you enjoy most about your current work?

IC: I enjoy meeting people in real life. Social Media is great to connect with people but the real connection happens when you meet people in person. I love traveling to speak at events as educating and inspiring an audience is my passion and I get to meet so many great people.

VG: Please describe your typical work day.

IC: I get up at 5.30 and have breakfast. I then have a 5 minute morning routine with a minute for each of the following:

1 minute of focused breathing

1 minute thinking about the day ahead

1 minute thinking about what I’m thankful for

1 minute of quick exercise to get my blood flowing

1 minute looking at my goals

I then go to Asana and go through all my tasks assigning what I believe I can achieve for that day.I then go to my calendar and start blocking out time to do tasks.

My typical work day would involve:

Working on client projects, for example, as I write this I’m working with a company helping them recruit influencers for an event and advising another company on building a community.

I’ll talk to my team and assign out tasks — This could be some SEO work, content creation, social media sharing etc. I like to delegate as much as I can!

I’ll spend some time on social media commenting, interacting, connecting with people.

I work from 6 am to 12 pm and then I’ll go to the Gym. The gym helps me keep mentally and physically fit. At 1.40 pm I’ll pick up my daughter from school and at 2 pm I’m back at my desk. I’ll continue my tasks and at 4.30 I’ll start reviewing my day to see what I achieved and what I missed out on. I’ll then start planning the following day.

During my day I assign a value to time spent on projects. I add up the value and try to increase that value consistently. If, for example, I spend time on a proposal for a client project that is a high value task but if I’m just doing more admin work this lower value so I see how I can delegate.

VG: What key efforts contributed the most to your current success?

IC: My blog is a key part for my success as I create content that people find really valuable. The relationships I have built over the last few years have also been a key part to my success. On social media, if you're adding value and building relationships every day than you have a much better chance of success. Don't worry about fans and followers, think about relationships.

VG: Based on your extensive knowledge of online marketing, what 3 pieces of advice can you provide to young bloggers, who are just getting started?


  1. Be different — To stand out online you need to be different. When I started out there was no blog about the technical side to social media/content marketing and this helped me stand out.

  2. Publish content better than anybody else in your industry. Don't ever publish an article you're not proud of.

  3. Build relationships every day — if you produce quality content and you build relevant relationships your content will get shared and you will get noticed

VG: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

IC: I market my business to creation and distribution of relevant content and building relationships with relevant people. I also speak at conferences which helps with brand building.

The blog has been the most successful prior to my online marketing but without the relationships it would not have achieved the same level of success.

VG: How does affiliate marketing fit into your overall marketing strategy?

IC: Affiliate marketing is not a strong focus for me. I do have affiliate relationships with different tool providers but I write about what I want to write about. If this results in me getting sales, that's great. But I don't write just to make money from affiliate relationships.

VG: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 to 10 years?

IC: My background is working in software and I have a lot of experience in technology products and also online marketing so I want to build a software product and I'm currently working on this. In 5 to 10 years time I see myself selling a software company that I've built. I used to run development teams so I have the experience of building software and I have a couple of skills related to marketing!

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Ian!

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Victoria GalperinaVictoria is the Head of Affiliate Marketing at Semrush
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