Founder Stories: Kevin Wilkerson On Building PubClub.com
In today’s Founder Story, we feature Kevin Wilkerson, the brain behind PubClub.com
Read on for lessons he’s learned from launching and marketing his website.
1. Please introduce your business and share your role.
Hi, My name is Kevin Wilkerson and I publish PubClub.com, a website and blog about travel, events, and nightlife around the world. As one of the first such businesses to launch, it is one of the longest-running websites on the internet.
My role as publisher is to create content, promote articles, and the overall branding of the website. This requires me to be a strong writer, have an eye for creativity, to know a good story when I see one, to have marketing acumen, promotional skills, and an understanding of the various social media channels available today.
The target audience is anyone who wants to travel and enjoy the pleasures of a destination. As the main focus is on bars and nightlife the content is primarily – though not exclusively – for singles, primarily in the 20s-40s age range.
Few websites cover places and events as thoroughly as PubClub.com with detailed descriptions of the hottest current places, along with the visual elements of photography and videos.
2. How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
I did what any savvy entrepreneur would do: I utilized my resources. I enlisted the advice of a businessman who published the internet’s first online newspaper in a neighborhood of Los Angeles. I was a columnist there and asked him to help me launch PubClub.com. I made a detailed plan for what I wanted it to be and started with a template of a webpage.
3. Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
With a website, the first marketing tool is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. I utilized a local company to teach me how to optimize the site as well as individual articles. Both are critical elements in being picked up by the search engines. This draws in an audience (a website’s equivalent of customers) and retaining them requires constant updates of events and places, as well as generating new and innovative content.
Another effective marketing strategy has been the site’s promotional girls. Known as the PubClubettes, their role is to go to bars and events to promote the site. Wearing stylish “Follow Me To PubClub.com” shirts, the PubClubettes turn heads and have people asking them about the site. This creates excellent brand awareness, especially with everybody having cell phones for photos and videos.
4. What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?
Auto racing. Prior to launching PubClub.com, I worked in public relations for motorsports manufacturers and organizations. We always made sure our drivers were “branded” for interviews with sponsor logo shirts, hats, driver uniforms zipped to the top, etc.
Because of this experience, I know the importance of having your company’s name and logo displayed in the working environment. This is why I always make sure that I am wearing a PubClub.com branded shirt when I am on assignment and while traveling. With a martini glass as a logo, it always attracts attention. At press events, I often see other website owners/bloggers wearing whatever they pulled out of the closet that day. Not me. I want people to know the name of my website.
5. What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
Social media. TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and I am looking into Twitch. To bring the content of the website to life (literally), I co-produce and co-host live video podcasts on location from bars and events utilizing the Facebook live platform. The podcast is called PubClub LIVE! One of our guests was rock superstar Sammy Hagar.
6. Looking ahead, what are you most excited about?
Looking ahead, I am most curious about ChatGPT technology. I am studying how it can apply to PubClub.com. I will be more of an assistant type of tool for me rather than relying on it to generate content because the information it provides is not necessarily accurate. I am cautiously excited about how it can help to enhance the content on PubClub.com.
7. Who or what inspires and motivates you?
Successful people inspire and motivate me. Because of my background in sports – I began my career as a sports reporter in daily newspapers and won an AP Award for Investigative Journalism – I tend to lean toward successful coaches. For example, whenever I don’t feel like doing something, I hear Nick Saban telling his players to “finish. Finish!”
Probably my favorite inspirational quote is this one from Saban: “Mediocre people don’t like high-achievers and high achievers don’t like mediocre people.” One of my biggest fears is being mediocre and that quote motivates me to work hard in order to be successful.
I also live by a quote from legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He said: “if you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit – you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high. But so are the rewards.” That quote is on my wall and I pass by it every day.
8. What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched?
If something doesn’t work, try something else. And if that doesn’t work, then try something else again. Never give up if you believe in your idea.
9. What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
A good entrepreneur leads by example, is creative in thinking, and has a burning desire to succeed. He or she also listens to others because even great ideas can use outside input.