How to Harness the Power of Content Automation
It takes a lot of work to create a high-quality piece of content — over 12 hours with full competitive and topic research. Podcasts and webinars can take weeks to plan, record, and edit.
Then more time is spent repurposing and distributing that content to ensure mass consumption. A significant amount of time is spent creating the content you and your audience rely on.
What can be streamlined to save time and sanity?
Watch this session with Benjamin Shapiro, Founder & CEO of I Hear Everything, to learn how to harness content automation to create a new media empire. He joins Jeff Coyle, Co-founder & CSO of MarketMuse, to talk through his process and explore tips on how to leverage newsletters, feeds, and more.
Getting a Podcast to Market
In Benjamin’s opinion, “it all comes down to understanding what the objective is.” While every situation will be a little different, he’s a “fan of starting with a name and a type of content that you can produce comfortably, that’s just natively in your wheelhouse.” This makes a lot of sense as that content will require the least amount of research, if any, drastically cutting down on production time. In Benjamin’s case, has a natural affinity for podcasting as he likes to talk but isn’t comfortable always being in front of a camera.
When it comes to naming a podcast, Benjamin prefers something that is searchable. He’s “not a big fan of not naming podcasts after brand names.” Preferably, the title includes the head term. Ideally, the head term will be the title.
Benjamin’s focus is on producing shorter form content and publishing more frequently. He still sits down with a guest for an hour, but ends up with four pieces of content as opposed to one. For his Martech podcast he publishes seven days a week with daily shows during the week , and resurfacing older content on the weekends. Obviously that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for pre-event marketing and promotion. As he explains, “by the time we would have promoted that piece of content it’s gone and we’ve already published another one.”
Building Lookalike Audiences From Podcasts
Traditionally, podcasts have been looked upon as a vehicle for building awareness and nothing more. The reason for that was a paucity of data on the listening audience. That’s no longer the case.
As Benjamin explains, he can pull out non-PII (personally identifiable information) that can be used for retargeting and building look-alike audiences. “Hey, we got a thousand people that listen to Jeff on the Voices of Search podcast. I can create a lookalike audience and find more people that look like [that] audience to get more people to listen to Jeff as a speaker.”
Even better, “then you can go put performance marketing ads in front of them to not just have them be listeners, but also, cross promote them to join your webinar or download a white paper or, talk to some of your other sponsors, buy your products and services.”
This really changes the game. Now podcasting can be seen as a legitimate source of traffic with UTM-able clicks where you can measure ROI.
Other Channels Worth Considering
As the second biggest search engine in the world, Benjamin is keenly interested in leveraging YouTube’s platform. The question is how? He’s been debating whether to create videos for all of his podcasts and publish them on YouTube. However, he feels that “YouTube is pretty close to allowing podcasters to just upload their RSS feed and basically doing audio-only YouTube content. And so we’re waiting for YouTube to basically embrace the podcast landscape”
How Benjamin Uses Content Automation
In his conversation with Jeff, Benjamin provided some insightful detail on his workflow for onboarding guests to his podcast. You can listen to his explanation in the recording, but here’s the key. They’ve automated the process of:
- Getting someone into the funnel.
- Approving them as a guest.
- Communicating the relevant details while minimizing a lot of back of forth conversation.
- Recording, editing, and publishing the resulting content.
And he’s set this up so that it’s not just one person doing a bunch of manual tasks. As Benjamin reveals, “to me is the secret sauce, is understanding what it takes to create a piece of content, finding, taking advantage of the economics of geography, paying people handsome wages in the countries that they’re in, but getting other people to do the sort of logistics work so you can produce content and move on with your day.”
Getting Started With Content Automation
For those of you who are just getting started, Benjamin recommends “do it yourself once and then figure out what the most painful time consuming part was, document what you’re doing and find somebody else to do that.”
He relates his experience editing the first episode of the MarTech podcast. The one hour episode took him five hours to edit, was a “pain in the butt” and by his own admission, the end result “wasn’t very good.” So he went onto UpWork and found an editor, who happens to still be with him 1,300 episodes later.
The approach Benjamin suggests is:
- Do it first to understand the process.
- Document what you do.
- Find the resources to do it for you.
- Continue building the process and automate through people and technology.
Benjamin Shapiro, Founder, CEO, and Executive Producer, I Hear Everything
Benjamin is the Founder, CEO, and Executive Producer of I Hear Everything. He hosts two popular podcasts:
- The Martech Podcast
- The Voices of Search Podcast
Early in his career, Benjamin walked away from eBay where he had a successful career in business development. Today, 10 years later, he is an entrepreneur that has run a bootstrapped startup, multiple marketing teams at early-stage VC-backed companies, and an independent consulting and content business.
Scaling content production requires a team, even more so when producing rich media content such as podcasts or videos. Start by doing everything yourself as it gives you the necessary insight to determine optimal workflows and structure a team. At the same time, you’ll discover what you enjoy doing and what you don’t. Hire people who are better than you at those tasks, especially the ones you don’t enjoy.
Rankable – Digital Marketing Podcast (Garrett Sussman)
Jeff Coyle: Hello, welcome to another MarketMuse content strategy webinar in our content strategy webinar series. I’m Jeff Coyle, the co-founder of MarketMuse and the host of this podcast series, obviously. Today’s, discussion’s gonna be super fun. It’s the content automation topic we’d love to talk about. So how to create, distribute and repurpose with ease.
And our guest is so hyper qualified for that. How to take get the most out of rich media webinars podcast. Content that you invest in to make sure that it hits on as many channels as possible. So you get the biggest bang for your buck. Before I introduce him though, a few points of housekeeping, please ask us anything or almost anything.
You, you have a field in the bottom of your on 24 elite studio. Shoot us those questions and we’ll answer them in line if they’re directly relevant to what we’re talking about or if they’re not, we’ll catch them all at the end, in our Q and a segment. Also, while you’re at it, you’re gonna get this webinar replay in the next few days.
Go check out on MarketMuse dot com. There’s a link in the top navigation for webinars. We have a webinar archive with over 100 content strategy sessions with amazing people like Andy Cresta. Pam diner on sales enablement, Kevin indig on user intent. The list goes on and on. Go check that out.
It’s truly amazing. And we have our CSC content strategy, collective live 2022 recordings available. If you don’t know where to get those and you can’t find them on YouTube, shoot me a note, Jeff, at MarketMuse dot com and I’ll get you those publicly accessible recordings. All. Those are the fun, housekeeping things they are done.
My guest today, he’s the founder of, I hear everything which is such a cool thing. I’m gonna let him walk through exactly how that came to be what that is and everything about its mission in a second he hosts the MarTech and the voices of search podcast. Thank you for joining me, Ben Shapiro.
Benjamin Shapiro: Hey Jeff. How are you?
Jeff Coyle: I’m awesome as always tell us a little bit more about, I hear everything, how it came to be that journey. And really what makes it special? It’s one of my favorite stories is how you got this to become something so novel and unique.
Benjamin Shapiro: Should I tell the long version it starts with?
I had too many cocktails at a party and I. Was working as a consultant, a marketing consultant an independent firm. I was helping small startups in Silicon valley, figure out brand development, marketing strategy. And I was a little overserved and I called to lift to get me back across town.
And I was feeling talkative. So I sat in the front seat and I sat next to the Lyft driver and asked him where he was from. And he had a relatively thick accent and he said, North Korea, And I assumed stupidly that he, his English wasn’t very good. And he met South Korea and he’s no, I’m actually a defector from North Korea.
So he started telling me the story of how he got away from the dictatorship in North Korea and escaped and had to travel on foot through two different countries to defect to the United States. And. How he became a software engineer and now was driving for Lyft in Silicon valley. And I was just so amazed by this story, like gunshots and near escapes and prison camps and stuff like this.
And, here we are like stuck in traffic, in the mission district in San Francisco. And I was like, this is like a podcast waiting to happen. Let, can I record you telling your story and I’ll turn it into a podcast. He was like, that’s all I want. I just want people to hear my story. So they are aware of what’s happening in North Korea.
I gave him a business card. And two days later he showed up at my house. I had to go buy microphones and record it. And all of a sudden I had created the, a long road home podcast and it was an art project. I never expected it to turn into anything and it actually was A pivotal moment in my career because I started this project, but I wanted to drive some promotion.
And so I started investigating podcast marketing to try to get people to listen to this story. And I discovered a platform that’s no longer around called knit where I could basically buy remnant inventory on other podcasts for a dollar, a download. Wonderful the end of the story of a long road home.
And how did that start? The sort of, I hear everything journey is a couple months or years later. Probably a year later I was looking to find more leads for my consulting practice. And so I started the MarTech podcast, figuring that would be a way for me to do lead generation. The people I was interviewing would be relevant as clients.
Maybe I would build an audience, but I had this ACE in the hole that I knew how to market podcast, cuz I’d already experimented a little. And so the MarTech podcast took off one of my clients at the time search metrics. Was interested in me starting a podcast for them. And so that led to the start of my second podcast, the voices of search podcasts, and then after four or five years of, doing multiple podcasts, we’ve developed a whole bunch of infrastructure to automate the process of content creation, which is what we’re here to talk about today.
And it all started with, I. I had a couple too many surveys in the mission district. And the next thing, we took the infrastructure that I’d created outta the podcast that resulted out of me being a lush and and turned it into something that is now a content as a service model to help mostly B2B brands develop hands, develop a daily feed of content and help them distribute that content effectively.
So I guess that’s how we got here today.
Jeff Coyle: That’s amazing. I didn’t note a couple pieces of that. You learn every, something new every time you ask those such questions, but no, that’s awesome. So tell to me about, how do you think differently than like kind of the masses about taking a product, like a rich media product, like a podcast or a webinar and taking it to market and getting the most eyeballs on it.
Kind from the start in the planning process, how much planning goes in to these things? Let’s say you have a brand new B2B client or otherwise, or it’s just something you want to start organically. What goes into that planning process? What are you thinking about? What questions are you asking?
Benjamin Shapiro: Yeah. I think it all comes down to understanding what the objective is.
So it’s a little bit different. The voices of Search planning process, where I was working with a company producing the content was different than the MarTech podcast. I am always a fan of, starting with a name. And a type of content that you can produce comfortably. That’s just natively in your wheelhouse.
And so for me, the reason why we started with podcasting, not blogging or video is I’m not a very good writer. I talked too much, so naturally I felt comfortable doing podcast and Hey, face for radio. What can I tell you? I just didn’t want to be in front of the camera all day long.
And so that sort of led me to feel like I had the underlying talent and capabilities to be effective as a podcast host. When you’re going through the planning process, if you are. A B2B brand let’s focus on that instead of developing a personal podcast. I think a lot of it has to do with understanding what sort of authority you already have, what people expect from you for your content, what do people want to hear from your brand?
I’m a big fan of not naming podcasts after brand names. You’ll notice that when we started voices of Search podcast, which is owned by I Hear Everything, my company. But we started it with Search Metrics. We didn’t call it the Search Metrics podcast. We wanted to have it be something that was searchable.
We wanted the word search in there, but we wanted to be representative of the type of content we were gonna be producing. We tried to find a little bit of a niche when I was creating my, the MarTech podcast. I, did a little research on where there were other podcasts and saw who was successful.
And honestly, what I realized was there wasn’t really any great MarTech specific podcast, so I could have called it Benjamin Shapiro’s MarTech podcast, but I felt like it was a little bit more on the nose, just trying to brand it after the. The search term, putting in an SEO, terms. I want my podcast to include the head term in it, if not, just be the head term.
So when somebody searches for MarTech in the podcast app stores, we are gonna show up first because it’s a direct match for the query that they’re entering. Then I think that’s a big part of when you’re thinking about podcasting, just start with the name, start with the brand.
Jeff Coyle: Yeah, I think that awesome example there, because a lot of B2B tech companies, both, whether it be webinars or webinar series, whether it be like their podcast is their brand is often the first thing on their mind or their product in some cases in SaaS.
And I think that voices of search is a great example because it’s like you, if you listen to voices of search, it’s probably sponsored by search metrics. But, you early on ones, but it’s it wasn’t ever a, it would’ve been a little bit tarnished. It wouldn’t have been as effective.
As if it was just, it was a search metrics.
Benjamin Shapiro: Yeah. It’s funny. We intentionally did that when we launched our content as a service model for, I hear everything is that we are creating unique media properties, that the brands that hire us, provide us with the. But we’re not creating branded content. We’re creating independent media properties, where they are the sponsor and host of.
And so it’s a little nuance of the MarTech podcast. That’s a bad example. The revenue generator podcast, which is our most recent podcast the host of it is Doug bell. And Doug is the CMO of lean data and lean data is the presenting sponsor, but it is not the lean data podcast. It’s actually.
Yeah, my podcast and he’s the host of it. And so it allows us to have a little bit more of a sort of independent feel and allows people to not feel like they’re being sold to, by a brand that they are coming up with something that’s independent, covering all aspects of the topic that they’re interested in, not just getting one company’s perspective.
And I think that’s important.
Jeff Coyle: Yeah. I think you’ve lathered, rinsed and repeated that a number of times it’s extremely effective. It allows you to also get the most. Have the most range of audience when you ask somebody, if you ask somebody to be on something and it’s very, it’s the lean that if, I guess it, it’s likely you’re gonna have a little bit of a reach issue.
If you are, talking specifically about the concept and revenue you’re gonna be able to get a lot more people, even in some cases, competitors that you wouldn’t even think about, but they’re industry advocates or they’re really important people. They’re gonna take that podcast. Because they understand it’s likely to be an independent discussion.
Benjamin Shapiro: So yeah, you can’t have Coke on the Pepsi podcast, but if Pepsi is the host of the soda podcast, Coke is gonna come on there. And, I think that’s the way to think about it. It allows you to work with everyone in the industry, even if you’re potentially competitive for them. And here’s the dirty secret is let’s say Pepsi is running the soda podcast and Coke comes in.
Coke is gonna market that to their customers. And now Pepsi owns the. Data for that asset. And they could start, cross marketing to the people that are their competitors customers.
Jeff Coyle: Yeah, exactly. So when you get the, so you’re talking about the planning and I think everybody can take something from that in, are they gonna do content series?
Is it doesn’t just have to be podcasts, right? Are they gonna, are they thinking about building a micro. Are they gonna build out a a new message for a product it’s really thinking critically about where it’s gonna be six months from now where it’s gonna be 12 months from now. It goes very similar.
I think there’s a similar approach to consider with podcasts, but when you’re creating the actual, the payload, right? The actual discussions, the interviews, yeah. It comes out. As in this case, audio video, a webinar download. How do you take that and market it before the event?
After you have that artifact, the audio and video what do you do with that? A typical conversation that’s an hour is, thousands and thousands of words. I’ve seen some beautiful flow charts of how to best repurpose a podcast interview. What’s your technique.
And what’s your process that you’ve been able to make, repeat.
Benjamin Shapiro: You
know honestly think that I could take a page out of your and MarketMuse’s playbook with the pre-promotion of content. And, I saw all the tweets that went out before this webinar saying, Hey, we’re going to be doing this piece of content.
And I was like, Damn I should be doing that. We need to get more organized. So honestly we’re not great at the like pre-announcements of content, but a reason why that hasn’t been a focus for us is that we are not trying to produce long form content. That were publishing infrequently. With podcasting, what I found when I started the MarTech podcast, everything was an hour long interview because I was like, okay, serial and the Joe Rogan podcast, those are long form content.
That’s what people want in podcasts. So I recorded. 10 episodes before we published and I started publishing them and people were listening to 25% of ’em. So I was looking at the data and seeing what the consumption rate was. And I was like, this seems like a waste, nobody’s listening to the second half of these podcasts.
And I, I just didn’t feel very good about that. We went back after a couple of episodes and reedited and cut the conversations we had in. and what ended up happening is instead of people listening to 25% of the content, they listened to 50 and we tried it again. And instead of people listening to 50% of the content.
Now they were listening to almost a hundred percent of the content. And we went from hour long episodes to 15 minute episodes. I’m still sitting down with my guests for an hour and I’m just recording, now four pieces of content in that hour instead of one. And so I’m doing the same amount of work, but we’re re.
I don’t know if it’s repurposing, we’re reformatting the content to be consumed in its entirety. And because we are publishing content so frequently, we always do daily shows. So that’s five days a week with the MarTech podcast. We publish our old content on the weekend. So seven days a week it doesn’t leave us a lot of time to do.
Pre-marketing and promotion, because by the time we would have promoted that piece of content it’s gone and we’ve already published another one. I think that it depends on the format of your content. If you’re doing weekly series, if you’re doing, things that are a little bit more substantial, like this webinar, you can really, email people and use their social posts, try to drive adoption to one specific event.
We are more of a high volume shooters. And I mean that in the basketball term, not in any sort of gun reference we’re putting the ball up as many times as we can trying to find something that’ll stick as opposed to, really taking our time and aiming at the hoop.
We’re just doing more pop-a-shot than than shooting free.
Jeff Coyle: I love that example. And I think that in every business you run into that, having to make those decisions whether you’re a retail, brick and mortar, you’re running a bar, the person who’s playing on Monday and Tuesday, how much energy are you putting in to promote them?
But you might have a big monthly event. You might have a big quarterly event. And that’s where you’re really putting your pregame in. I think that’s really your example. It’s using your audience. It’s understanding your audience. I love the example. You made the decision based on looking at data and we have too to have these formats and to also then take our webinars and the output, turning it into seven to eight media campaigns with the archive.
So we’ll do a rewrite, we’ll do snippets. If we have a particularly fun segment like about, basketball shooting right. We’ll hook that up. And because we hit on something that was really important. If you read that it will turn into an entrance point, but that high volume gives you, so much ammunition.
It’s just like beautiful to be, then be able to orchestrate whenever you get to it,
Benjamin Shapiro: yeah. I think there’s two schools of thought and they do the same thing. The underlying result that you want is lots of piece of content that are appropriate for the channel that you are. You’re publishing them on.
So whether you are going to send, pre. Prerecording promotion like we did for, this webinar, you’re using that content for Twitter, right? You’re able to create a lot of content saying, Hey, get ready for this content show up. And then after the content has been published, you can take quotes and show notes or whatever, and republish them on Twitter.
And now you’ve got this regular feed. In my case, what we’re doing is we’re recording long form content, and then we’re breaking it down in short form content and publishing it every. The moral of the story is when you’re trying to drive organic growth. And when you’re in a content business, you want a format that is going to be appropriate for the channel that you’re on content.
That’s gonna be compelling and interesting for the audience that you’re trying to reach that is regularly published over a long period of time. And then what is, all right, you start to cultivate a following because you’re constantly presenting relevant information that is predictable and people enjoy.
And whether you are. Long form content that you’re promoting in advance or frequently promoting short form content. Doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’re regularly publishing and you’re reaching your audience where they want to be consuming content.
Jeff Coyle: I think that’s a great, advice for all channels, right?
And it’s when you’re going from one unit to many units, like in your case, you’re going from one conversation, breaking it down into three or four. Uniquely positional discussion points. And, if you haven’t listened, please go listen to everything that that Ben does. It it really breaks down these examples.
It you can choreograph how he does it now that you listen to this discussion and take from it a lot of value. When I. Last interviewed with him on voices of search. Go check out those archives at his if you can find them. I’m pretty sure you can go check out. We broke. Yeah, we broke.
We broke that into three three discussions. And you’re, if you’re listening to them, it feels like we sat down for 20 minutes and then the next day we showed up and did another 20 minutes because of the way you hack and edit it. And it really sounds good. Something to be thinking about. If you’re sitting down doing an interview with a subject matter expert for your brand or a reviewer is thinking about, Hey, I’m gonna record this, one hour discussion, how many things can I turn this into that are gonna be compelling that are gonna be really interesting, can be repositioned.
And in, in what ways can we do it in your case? One thing, and I love your perspective on this, that. Heard from many in this particular discussion. Cause I have this discussion a lot. It’s repurposing, I’ve seen beautiful flow charts, et cetera. They comes out to say, yeah, repurposing is great.
But if you piece this down into really small 10 minutes or four minutes or seven minutes, those four, seven and 12 minute chunks have to be really good. They have to have really great punch. They have to have beautiful. And production value. Have you felt that you had to ramp up your production value to keep people.
In the gear, there are your, what are your editing processes? We really
Benjamin Shapiro: focus on one channel. And so it’s honestly the reason why we did podcasts, not video, or one of the reasons I made the crack about, face for radio before. But the production costs in producing audio or so much lower than video.
And I it’s so time consuming to edit video and produce something that’s, really. Visually stimulating that I didn’t want to be saddled with the cost of video editing on a regular basis. Everybody runs their company a little bit differently. And if you’re a master video editor, then great, that’s cheap and easy for you.
But we felt like we’d be able to produce higher quality content. That people like to consume by taking away the visual aspect of it, which is why I’m such a big fan of podcasting. You can make really good content, relatively cheaply at volume because you don’t have to have pictures, you just have one logo and that’s all you really need.
When it comes to producing content I think it always is a match for the platform that you have to publish it. And I think that what matters most is understanding who your audience is. If I am a a retail business, if I’m selling t-shirts. I’m gonna need something that is a little bit more visual, right?
I’m gonna want videos with influencers and be in channels like Instagram and TikTok, where people can see and experience and feel like the people that are wearing their clothes are, of a like mind and just think that it’s cool. If I’m doing a B2B business, I’m not thinking about Instagram and TikTok the same way that I would if I was selling t-shirts.
And so you really have to understand not only who your customers are, where they hang out, what sort of things attract them in terms of your ad units? It’s really an investigation more in understanding your customers. And then you go into what it makes us effective in this channel. So we’ve spent most of our time focusing on what makes a great podcast.
And we do a little social media repurposing. We write show notes and quotes. After we do our podcast interviews and we publish each individual page. So we get some SEO value out of it. We create the, take those quotes, and we do, tweets and Instagram. That are they’re. Okay. So like we are repurposing across different channels, but honestly, most of that stuff is not for the audience.
That’s listening. It’s for the person that we’re interviewing. So they feel like we’re creating assets for them. So they then share content or reshare that what we’ve created with their audience. So it’s not always about necessarily driving an audience through your. Social channels or the content you’re creating is always meant for the end consumers often it’s meant to induce the person that you are working with to be a good cross promoter.
Jeff Coyle: That was amazing segue, cuz that was my next question for you. It’s often my, that was amazing, that was great. And the reason I think this is one of the most important things in a content strategist bag is their network. And when you get a new entry in your network, a new person or a business who wants to do a collaboration it’s as mu that’s, it’s as important for you to promote that you’re doing that piece as you want them to do work, make it easy for them to do the work.
So when you’re talking about their pull quotes, we want, we did an interview. I saw you did an interview with one of my favorite people Craig Harkins from from co-star. On the last voices with search, go check that one out on a career development. Craig’s awesome. Who he can speak really well about that topic?
Also an Atlanta person who, where I lived in for 25 years. You look at that there’s seven or eight quotes. What you want is for Craig to post those quotes on his Twitter, cuz he has a unique audience. He has the audience of that might be attached to co-star for example. And we do that with MarketMuse.
I want to get somebody who’s really good at podcast. I wanna get somebody then who’s really good at social. Then who’s really good at SaaS marketing and conversion rate optimization, because they’re all gonna have their unique audience, make it easy for them to promote. I think you’ve done that extremely well.
And that’s one of my, that was gonna be one of my questions. So you already answered the question. But what have you done with your the products, the outputs, the products. The outputs of those podcasts. Not just in, in the form of, things you can sell in sponsor.
But what have you done? That’s been unique, whether it be newsletters, positioning, sponsorships or data. Yeah. What are the things that you would
Benjamin Shapiro: like to talk about there? So we’re a little bit different than most people that are in the B space that are podcasting because we’re a media business.
My, my products are actually the content that we’re creating. We are not trying to cross sell our own products. So most of the time when you go and you listen to a B2B podcast, it is this webinar, as an example is by MarketMuse. And so obviously you’re doing this because you wanna have great relationships with your customers and provide value to the community.
But the thing that you would be cross-selling are your own products. And we don’t actually have products. Our goal is to present. Other people’s products or build relationships for other brands into our content. And we think about this in two different ways. One, there is sponsorship, which is how do we keep a brand that supports us in front of our audience over the long haul.
And so we’ve got a $500 a month sponsorship program where we, put logos on our websites and in our newsletters, we invite the people that are sponsors to create content with us. And basically when we have advertising in our podcast that we haven’t sold, we share it equally amongst our sponsors.
And then I try to be a good contributor. We do some consulting and help them think about how to make connections in the podcast space. But that’s more like you wanna stay in front of our audience over the long haul. Here’s a way to get a little bit of media over a long period of time in front of this audience.
So they, when they’re ready, when they’re in market, they’ve heard you multiple times this quarter that’s, you know what, I would call a sponsorship and then we have marketing campaigns, which are more like I have a discreet marketing activity that I’m trying to accomplish. I am running a quarterly campaign and instead of it being, $500 a month, it’s more like 10 to $20,000 per quarter.
And what we do is we’ll create a deeper piece of content. Instead of it be like, Hey, come on our podcast for an episode, we’re gonna block off an entire week for this sponsor. And the big thing that we do is that we have the ability to ingest data out of the podcast. So when somebody listens to our podcast, we can pull out non-PII personally identifiable information that we can retarget or use to build lookalike audiences. And so what that allows us to do is, Hey, we got a thousand people that listen to Jeff on the voices of search podcast. I can create a lookalike audience and find more people that look like those audience to get more people, to listen to Jeff as a speaker.
And then we can retarget the people that listen to Jeff or MarketMuse’s ads and actually drive traffic to their website. The big thing that we’ve been working on over the last year in terms of our sponsorship is the ability to move beyond this sort of awareness driving mentality in podcast of I was on a podcast, I had ads and I’m looking at direct and organic traffic and hoping we get a lift and we’re moving that more towards I was on a podcast and now I have a traffic source that I can see that I have UTM-able clicks that I can measure ROI.
That’s how we think about our products and services.
Jeff Coyle: Yeah. I think that’s where a lot of the industry’s moving and it is when you can do something to identify an anonymous user how can I do that to give me a sense for, people who would previously only have generated leads now I’ve got some sort of gauge what those anonymous users, who they were generally, sorry, I know the effectiveness of the traffic. You start to see that happening plus, and for the audiences benefit they might not know the term lookalike as it applies to retargeting and paid social it’s one of the most effective ways to, to you know
beat up competitors and things like that. And remarket get more expansion and amplification. Can you walk through your perspective on lookalikes and how you use them? I think this that’s worth the price of admission podcast. I
Benjamin Shapiro: if I have an underlying data set, if I have a collection of people that have, let’s say visited my website or signed up for a newsletter, I can give that to companies like Facebook.
Let’s say as an example, And say Facebook, here’s a thousand people that are my customers. I wanna find more people that look like them because they have a higher propensity to become my future customers. And so that’s not just, I’m gonna give my data to Facebook or put a pixel on my website so Facebook knows who my customers are.
You can do all sorts of marketing activities with different vendors. Whether it’s programmatic advertising, display ads on the open web or Google, you can filter your keyword searches or your paid search. The general idea of a lookalike audience is I know that this is a collection of people that has value to me.
I want to target more people that are like them, and you give it to a marketing platform so they can basically figure out how to match the people that you already know are valuable with other people that are outside of your existing customer.
Jeff Coyle: Yeah. Ideally said, if you aren’t doing this in your paid channels in your media channels it will change everything for you.
So please do that if you aren’t already doing it. Facebook isn’t the only channel where that’s possible. So you can actually give a lead list or an ideal customer profile list that you consider and what will happen will be pretty amazing for you. So I’m so glad that you brought that up. I think it’s a great tactic that not, you’d be surprised how it’s an insider edge type of thing after you go outside of our little bubble, a lot of people have never even heard of that type of thing.
Yeah. As far as re retargeting, as well as distributing your message, I know you have a newsletter. Are you using any other channels that you would equate to kind of newsletter? And then the second question, I love asking two questions in a row, even though I’m not supposed to. I see, I know you, you broadcast into apple, Google Spotify, what other ones?
I know there’s a big beast there, but what do you do for that? And how would you recommend it? Yeah,
Benjamin Shapiro: we. I think of our channels as podcast first and podcast primary. And everything else that we do is supplemental to that, including our website, right? People find us through the podcast app stores, that’s Apple, Spotify, Google. There’s thousands of them.
And honestly the distribution is handled through our hosting platform. We host our podcast through a company called art 19. And they basically push our podcast into every popular podcast player across the world. So I don’t sit here and say, oh, there’s a new, podcast app. How do I connect my RSS feed to that new app?
It that’s all done through the platform. We give our content to one place and they send it out to everyone. But for us, I think about, we push our content through our host. They publish it on all the. Let’s call them podcasters, all the different podcast apps. And then we have a website that I think of it as supplemental.
When somebody has listened to an episode, they’ll go to our website to see the show notes and quotes or, figure out what the links are that we mentioned in a given podcast. And then we have social media content that. honestly, I don’t think that our audience is so focused on I need to go see what tweets came out of this episode that I already listened to.
It’s more meant to give our interview guests content that they can share. So they could say I was on this podcast, which then drives them back into the podcast app store. And we have a newsletter as well. And, that’s a toy that we’re playing around with and experimenting and trying to move to different promotion. And I honestly think that there’s all sorts of other podcasters that are doing multichannel content creation. They’re on YouTube, they’re on TikTok and all sorts of other platforms, but for us it’s podcast first and foremost.
Jeff Coyle: That’s awesome answer for that. And if anyone’s not familiar correct me if I’m wrong, art 19 is an Amazon company now I believe, or they are, have always been and go check them out. Another there’s a number of platforms. Casted would be a,
Benjamin Shapiro: another there’s mega megaphone is another big one. And Libsyn is the oldest. They’re the Yahoo of the podcast industry.
Jeff Coyle: It’s not a you don’t need to do it alone effectively, no matter what these channels are.
There’s a lot of manual ops work that you don’t want to, unless you really understand all of what’s. These are great options of getting of expanding that. So go check that out for turnkeying some of the more painful processes. It’s like when, you talk to a local SEO firm and it’s yeah, we do a lot of manual painful stuff for people because they really, maintaining their Google My Business profile is not fun. Or they do it in, you’ll be very lackadaisical, but services like this are gonna maintain the, the cadence that you desire and that you can invest in. So go check that out for sure. The other piece I wanted to touch on that you mentioned was, we’ve talked a lot about areas where maybe they’re not your sweet spot.
You are podcast first other people may not be podcasts first, but what are some areas or channels that you wish you were investing? But you’re not right now that you think would have a meaningful, 10 X return. Are there any, like you mentioned, your website’s kind of a supplement, do you feel like dramatic investment in that would pay off for free?
Benjamin Shapiro: I think that the places where you can collect first party data are increasingly valuable. Our area of focus, we could do a better job with social media and make more compelling content and maybe find some more eyeballs or ear holes with better social content and create stuff that’s a little bit more compelling.
But we just haven’t seen a return from social media. I think that YouTube is really a big one for podcasters and we have been debating on whether we should take all of our content, create videos for the podcast and then publish them on YouTube. But my feeling is that YouTube is pretty close to allowing podcasters to just upload their RSS feed and basically doing audio only YouTube content. And so we’re waiting for YouTube to basically embrace the podcast landscape. But I think that, that’s the second biggest search engine in the world. It’s a place where people are constantly looking for content. So I think that we started audio first. If you’re starting now, I might think about doing streaming video. Live is another one where, I’m recording a podcast,
we want to edit our content. But there is an idea of, Hey, we’re just gonna record the conversation. People could see how the sausage is made. We’re gonna publish the content live, but then we’re gonna hand those files to our editor and they’re gonna edit it down into the podcast. So maybe taking advantage of the social media platforms by going live.
That could be something interesting, but honestly I like making dirty jokes while we’re recording the content that nobody gets to hear. So I’m a little hesitant to do everything live.
Jeff Coyle: Yeah, I’ve been on a few shows where it’s the they’re like die hard fans are listening to the live broadcasts and it’s going like through a cut through a commercial.
And, you’re watching them stand up and scratch and do all the things and, they have that one audience and then they have that refined, beautiful thing that you can’t believe they made. When you do listen the
Benjamin Shapiro: Yeah. Everybody can realize what a bumbling idiot I am by taking the editor away from me.
And I’m not sure if that’s good for the old personal brand, but it’s something that we might kick the tires on.
Jeff Coyle: As a person who is improv first, I’d say I don’t know, for me, it’s a little bit different. I think everybody’s different. I am I’ve learned that when I have to do a one take recording.
Man, it takes about six or seven X, what it should, but when someone’s yeah, go do it. And I’ve got really good notes and a really good content brief for the discussion. They usually go really well. So that’s just something that’s great.
There’s a question that came in about a similar thing to that though.
And it was basically, do you ever record audio based on text? So I guess that’s a good question. Do you have, would you think about doing briefs or interview notes or having a prep. Do you read an article and then have a discussion about it? What are the types of things that you’ve explored from that vein.
Benjamin Shapiro: Yeah. We are a little bit shoot from the hip and then let the editor clean it up. And all, honestly, that comes from the volume of content that we produce, across our three shows that we’re publishing right now. We’re actually publishing 17 times a week. And so that’s a lot of content.
And so for me to do a real deep dive into every guest and episode it would be challenging. One thing that we didn’t really talk about too much is the prep and the content automation process, the way that we’re able to produce so much content is we have a vetting process where everybody goes through an application and they submit what they’re the topic they want to discuss is.
And so I basically once a week go through and say, here’s the people I want to talk to. Here’s the subjects that they ask to talk about and I can clean up those subjects and make sure that there’s something that I feel comfortable holding a conversation with. So when I show up not having done a lot of pre-planning,
I already know that, Jeff and I are gonna be on the Voices of Search podcast and we’re gonna talk about content automation. I don’t need to prep to talk about content automation. I’m doing it every day. And I already know that’s what the subject is. So there’s nothing that’s ever out of my wheelhouse because we have to approve the episodes and write the titles first.
And I’m totally getting off the subject of text-to-podcast, but, we articles pop up and, mostly with the Voices of Search podcast, because SEO is an ever changing landscape. We’ll react to news and Google algorithm updates. And, we try to be as as, as prompt as we can in reacting and publishing our content.
But most of the time we’re working four to six weeks in advance and we’re trying to create evergreen content.
Jeff Coyle: That’s a great point, and you do see there’s people taking that other approach of more temporal content. We are, always trying to build something that’s gonna have longevity, but you look at something like Garrett Sussman from IPullRank his, he has like the SEO weekly.
Benjamin Shapiro: I love, and I love his content and I’m always so jealous and he’s such a wild man and so entertaining. And I was like, damn, you’re making SEO so much more fun than what we’re doing.
Jeff Coyle: Oh, isn’t he? You go check that one out. If you haven’t already. I’m sure everybody who’s listening to this. Garrett’s great. Probably watches that show. He is awesome. And, but, so I, think about, again, that’s, it’s your knowing your audience is trying to build an audience who wants that type of format.
And I think to answer that question too. Yeah. If there’s an interesting article and you think that it’s gonna produce a valuable, you can actually add value. I think that speaks to what Benjamin mentioned it’s to say, if it’s a topic, he knows he’s comfortable speaking on it, a really great speaker.
And even whether you’re going to industry conferences or whatever. The advice I typically give to people is speak on stuff you know. If you speak on stuff you don’t know, it’ll take you 10 times to prep, you’ll be more nervous. If you’re talking about something, you can go wake, get outta bed, have your bowl of Wheaties and jump right on stage.
Benjamin Shapiro: I think of this way, I’m a dummy, it’s not my job to be the smartest guy in the room. My job as the host is to get the smart people, to talk about the things they know. And so all I really have to be do, all I really have to do is be knowledgeable enough about a subject to say, Hey Jeff, you’re an expert on X, Y, and Z.
Tell me about X first and then tell me about Y and then tell me about Z and I’m not the one that has to know everything. I’m the host, right? I’m not the talent. And so I think that’s, advice in terms of how to be a great host is you ask somebody about what they know, and then you listen and react.
Jeff Coyle: Except today where you are the expert I’m putting together your own podcast.
And you’re, and I’m trying to get through my X, Y, and Z. I know it. It’s just can we
retitle this? How to pretend to know what you’re talking about? It’s super
meta. Yeah. It’s exactly. It’s like super meta we’re doing a podcast about podcasts. But it’s also about the content strategy behind a podcast so that you can do 17 units of anything per month or per week rather.
To do that with content that publishes, to do that with audio content, it’s about planning it and piecing it together, such that you can maintain. A lot of times we run into teams and they want to do this much and they’ll do it for two weeks. And then it’s whew. Yeah, I did. I can’t. How do you maintain it?
Benjamin Shapiro: The keyword here and honestly the title of this webinar, content automation. And so if there’s anything that I feel like I am an expert on it is taking the process of creating a piece of content and building out process rules, technology, automations, SOPs, to make it an assembly line.
I’ll give you the example, like of our process for creating an onboarding guests to podcast. Somebody comes into the speaker application on one of our websites. They go to MarTechPod.com and fill out the speaker application, they suggest the titles. On Monday I go through and I see all the applications and I say, I need this many pieces of content.
I’m gonna interview this many people I’m gonna write the titles and I’m gonna mark those episodes, not as interview requests, but the interview request approved. And my team is going to email those people back and say, your interview has been approved, here’s the topic Ben wants, Ben wants to discuss. Here’s the link to schedule meeting with him.
The meeting shows up on my calendar. My team writes a script for me to read when I show up. So I show up, I read the script. I read what the topic that I said I wanted to talk about was we have a 15 minute conversation per episode. We do two and a half of them on average per interview in an hour. And then I mark them off as I did the interview. And it gets sent to an editor and the editor marks his work as done. And he sends it to a writer and the writer marks their work as done and sends it to a publisher. And the communication person, emails the guest and says your interview has been edited. Here’s the files. Let us know if you have any feedback. Like I’m not doing all of the work.
There are four different contractors and freelancers on each podcast spread around the world who get notified when they have to do their specific micro task. And that’s really the core IP that I hear everything has developed over the five years of the company being in existence is the rules and processes and automations around creating a piece of content.
And so now with our content as a service model, really all the host has to do is put in four hours a week to make a daily podcast. There’s an hour of who do I want to talk to and how much content do I need? There’s two hours of content publishing, right? Content interviewing. We get two and a half episodes per interview.
That’s five interviews. Now you have a week of content and there’s an hour of other stuff. Maybe you’re doing a little prep or planning or logistics, but honestly that’s pretty much all it takes for the actual host to produce a piece of content. And that to me is the secret sauce, is understanding what it takes to create a piece of content, finding, taking advantage of the economics of geography, paying people, handsomely wa handsome wages in the countries that they’re in, but getting other people to do the sort of logistics work so you can produce content and move on with your day.
And to me, that’s where we’ve really focused is automating the process of, how does somebody get into our funnel? How do we approve them? How do we get in front of them? How do we record the content and publish it without it just having to be one person doing a bunch of manual tasks?
Jeff Coyle: Yeah. You’ve just described, for me, that’s just so exciting.
Hopefully for everybody who’s listening, you’ve basically described the midpoint or the end of the journey of content kind of creation and operations. There’s so many content operations workflow. But getting to the point where you have the team in place, so that they’re doing just the pieces they’re really good at. And you’re able to see that assembly line happen. I’m, I work with tons of large content teams, the ones that map closest to what you just described are the ones that are like super happy and they’re thriving. They’ve got, they know what it takes to go from ideation prioritization.
They have fast tracked their research, their planning, their prioritization, the writing, editing, publishing promotion, and then post publish, updating and optimization, which is most, most likely gonna be part of their process. They’ve got it down to a science and the teams who are just starting out, it’s probably like a couple people and they’re the content people and that’s it.
And that’s basically where they’re starting getting there is, that’s the there, and I love the way you described.
Benjamin Shapiro: Yeah. So for the people that are just starting to simplify this, do it yourself once and then figure out what the most painful time consuming part was and go find, go document what you’re doing and find somebody else to do that.
And take one piece of the process at a time. The first episode of the MarTech podcast, I was the editor. I’m not an editor and that was a pain in the butt. It was an hour long episode that I spent five hours editing and it wasn’t very good. So I went onto Upwork and I found an editor and that editor is still working with me today.
It’s been five years, he’s done 1300 episodes of the Martech podcast. Panos. I love you if you’re listening to this.
Jeff Coyle: So good. By the way, I sent you a note specifically to interrupt you. I sent you a note specifically saying your editor is amazing. Your process is amazing. I remember like years ago when we did the first one, I was like, wow, how’d you find?
How’d you find him?
Benjamin Shapiro: Yeah. And Panos is a wonderful editor for the MarTech podcast, but Serge is a great editor for the Voices of Search podcast. And Nymonia’s a great editor for the Revenue Generator podcast. Like these are people whose profession it is and they’re not to give everybody’s personal wages, but like an editor where we’re
$15 to $30 an hour. That’s dramatically lower than what my billable hours would be. So why am I doing that work? I should be going and ti spending more time on business development than content editing. And, you have to have a little money in the bank to be able to pay an editor, but it’s not a meaningful amount of money to start getting other people to edit your content.
So I would start with, you do it first and understand the process. You document what you’re doing. You find some resources to be able to do it for you and you build process and automation to let them know when they need to do their task that they’re great at. And five years later you’re gonna be running a content automation company.
Jeff Coyle: Yeah. In this case, I don’t do our pre-planning, emailing, social post publish optimization, people who were 10 times better than that at me than me. Even building early briefing and recommendations using MarketMuse our technology to say, Hey, if you’re gonna go talk about content automation, make sure you talk about content operations, make sure you talk about repurposing.
And that was basically the download that I received. I’ve spoken with you a few times, so I knew where this, where the direction would go. But it just really does go into prep and then understanding the tasks which you can peel off that you shouldn’t do. I should not make PowerPoints. I’m super bad at it.
I look at every screen for an hour and then they don’t even come out great. But I have two team members who build beautiful PowerPoints every time that I look at. And I’m like, I could have never done that same thing. You would never want me editing anything. And my team’s probably laughing cuz I’ve tried it before and I’m really horrible but that’s really the way that’s really me.
Benjamin Shapiro: Writing anything or trying to edit grammar, it’s just not gonna work.
Jeff Coyle: So have that about yourself. Be self-aware you can’t do it all. You can do it all. Do it all realize how painful it is. Write down all your manual labor. I recommend that content teams do this too. Re your keyword research. How much time does it take?
Are you happy with results, your planning and prioritization? What metrics are you prioritized, prioritizing with? Are you happy with those? Are they automated? Is it manual? What spreadsheets are you packing together? Go through it and recognize the pain and know that’s how the best teams get to the place you are, the way that you know, that you’ve created this down to, an operations and assembly line, whatever you want to call it.
Benjamin Shapiro: Systems thinking is how I think about it. You’re building a content. And that’s really what, you’re starting, you’re doing all manual processes. You figure out what’s the most time consuming, what’s the most painful, and you go try to throw technology or less expensive labor at it to solve the problem.
Jeff Coyle: Yeah. And the cool thing about it is the paradox that I always find in this scenario is you think that if I systemize this, or put systems behind it, it’s gonna take the heart out of it. But what actually happens is it frees up people like you to actually be more creative, to use your talents more wisely and you end up with a better end product.
And I think that’s what you were getting at, let you do the thing that you do the best and it’s gonna be yield. Yeah.
So tell me a little bit more about upcoming projects upcoming. And then, yeah we’ll wrap, but these have been really great questions. Thank you everybody who’s asked questions and tell me what’s happening with, I Hear Everything new podcast. You mentioned one that I wasn’t listening to. So what else is going on? And yeah
Benjamin Shapiro: We rebranded to be I Hear Everything this year. And the reason why we did that was because we started to package up the infrastructure that we built to produce daily podcasts for other people.
And the first experiment with that is the Revenue Generator podcast hosted by Doug Bell who’s the CMO of Lean Data. So that’s our third property and we’ve got a couple other podcasts that were in the planning and launch phase. So we’re gonna have another couple of podcasts coming out here soon.
But for anybody that’s interested in producing podcast content, everything from finding the guests to marketing the show and then also collecting and using the data that comes out of it. That’s what the, I Hear Everything content as a service business is for. We’ve got our MarTech and Voices of Search podcast, and we’re always looking for great sponsors and content contributors for those.
And then the big thing that I’m working on, keep it between you and me and the wall is we are building a data tool to enable podcasters, to be able to retarget the people that are listening to their podcast with direct response ads. So, you know, The MarketMuse podcast, we can ingest the data, build a retargeting audience, and then you can go put performance marketing ads in front of them to not just have them be listeners, but also, cross promote them to join your webinar or download a white paper or, talk to some of your other sponsors, buy your products and services.
So we’re building some podcast audience retargeting capabilities that are gonna come out before the end of the year as well.
Jeff Coyle: Wow. It’s like bringing B2B intent data to podcasting for me, cuz you look at companies like Bombora, Madison logic, Tech Target, where I spent a great deal of my life working in this space.
And yeah you’re doing it. So that’s really exciting. I was, as you were saying it, I was like, it’s old, and hopefully that’s what the market feels too. If you want MarketMuse to look at your existing content and tell you where you have strengths and weaknesses gap. And where you should be publishing what your podcast should be about.
Shoot me a note, Jeff MarketMuse dot com check out MarketMuse dot com slash book of demo, or just shoot me an email and we can set that up. Benjamin, thank you so much. This has been super fun. I think the value that you deliver in just saying what you do because you’ve come to such a level of in this case automation and the ease at which you execute this.
It is really inspiring. And I think it’s probably inspiring for everybody listening to the content strategy side. Thanks for joining us. And, I hear everything go check out all the podcasts that you’re familiar with or that we talked about, but everything else that you do and really thank you for being
Benjamin Shapiro: on the show today.
You’re too kind. It’s always good to hang out, Jeff. Good to see
Jeff Coyle: you always. All right. Talk to soon. Cheers.