Behind the Scenes: What It Really Takes to Produce a Podcast
Stephanie Cox: Welcome to REAL MARKETERS, where we hear from marketers who move fast, ask forgiveness, not permission, obsessed about driving results and are filled to the brim with crazy ideas and the guts to implement them. This is not a fireside chat and there's absolutely no bullshit allowed here. And I'm your host, Stephanie Cox. I have more than 15 years of marketing experience and I've pretty much done about everything in my career. I believe speed is better than perfection. I use the Oxford comma. I love Coca- Cola. I have exceptionally high standards and surround myself with people who get shit done. On this show, my guests and I will push boundaries and share the real truth about marketing and empower you to become a REAL MARKETER. Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of REAL MARKETERS, and we've got a special one for you today. It's going to be a little bit meta, like a podcast talking about the REAL MARKETERS podcast, but I thought it was such a timely issue for us to chat about. One, because we reached out to a bunch of people on social this week about guests for 2021 and the response was literally overwhelming. I don't think I've ever gotten so many DMS on Twitter in my entire life. But also because I get asked all the time," Why did you create a podcast? How do you get guests on the show? How do you get an episode out every week?" And I just thought it was time for us, especially when you're thinking about 2021 planning, to talk about what it's really like to produce a podcast. So here we are, and I am joined by my colleague, Michelle Lawrence, who, while I might be the voice of the podcast, is the person that actually makes sure that we get an episode out every single week, because we could not do it without her. So Michelle, welcome to the show.
Michelle Lawrence: Hi, Stephanie. Thanks for having me.
Stephanie Cox: And just so everyone knows, I gave Michelle, I don't know, 30 minutes notice that we were going to do this episode in true REAL MARKETER's fashion. I was like," I have this idea."
Michelle Lawrence: Guys, welcome to my world. I get a slack inaudible and she's like," Oh, do you want to be on the podcast today?" I'm like,"Sure. Why not?"
Stephanie Cox: And the great part about Michelle is she's learned to just roll with the punches and not really question the craziness that is my brain.
Michelle Lawrence: Exactly.
Stephanie Cox: So Michelle runs content at Lumavate and is responsible for the blog, all the cool infographics eBooks we create as well as, what I think has really been, a kick- ass social strategy this year and bring a lot of fun to that. So Michelle, anything else you want to add to about what you're responsible for at Lumavate?
Michelle Lawrence: I think you've covered a lot of the big stuff. A new addition recently has been running the REAL MARKETERS' community, which we can talk more about later on in this episode, but that has been really rewarding and really fun challenge for me in addition to running content and social for Lumavate.
Stephanie Cox: So let's talk about the show. I think a lot of you... If you've been on long time listener, we've had our show for over two years now. It started out as Mobile Matters and we rebranded as REAL MARKETERS earlier this year. And part of the reason we started the show was not super strategic, if I'm being completely honest. I knew very little about podcasting for B2B two years ago. In most of the podcasts I listened to were the crime series back then in 2018. It wasn't B2B ones. And I met with someone and she, just to chat about being a mom, being a leader and tech companies, and she was talking about how her business was helping B2B companies create podcasts. And I was like," Oh, tell me more about that. I had never thought about it in that vein." And then, fast forward six weeks we launched our first show. And I think Mobile Matters was a great opportunity for us to get a ton of amazing brands on the show from Amazon, to Google, to Microsoft, MGM Resorts, Campbell Soup, Crayola, the list goes on and on. And we'll talk more about how we did that. But really what Michelle has helped with this year has been the rebrand to REAL MARKETERS. And part of that, I think it highlights the community aspect that she was talking about earlier too, was wanting to create a place where marketers could have authentic conversations. So Michelle, why don't you tell me a little bit about like exactly is a REAL MARKETER?
Michelle Lawrence: Yeah. So if you've ever met Stephanie, I think she embodies a REAL MARKETER and I'm not just saying that because you are my boss. You speak your mind. I think that's the main thing that makes up a REAL MARKETER. You're not afraid to maybe offend a few people with some of your hot takes that you may have about marketing.
Stephanie Cox: And there are a lot of them, you guys. There are a lot of hot takes.
Michelle Lawrence: We like to call them Stephanie's rants here at Lumavate. I feel like a lot of marketers are maybe afraid to vocalize their opinion on something. I think a REAL MARKETER isn't afraid to just say," Screw it. This is my opinion on this topic and I'm sorry if it offends you, but this is what it is."
Stephanie Cox: And I think that what's really cool about the show is trying to find people like that because it's actually harder than you think.
Michelle Lawrence: Exactly. And another thing that makes up a REAL MARKETER is you get shit done.
Stephanie Cox: It's true.
Michelle Lawrence: Yeah. A lot of marketers maybe move a little bit slower and are afraid to disrupt the process in an organization, and REAL MARKETERS aren't afraid to do that. They're not afraid to be in uncomfortable conversations with their organization and say," Marketing is hard and we need to get this done now if we want to position ourselves really well for the future." And that, I think, is what a REAL MARKETER is.
Stephanie Cox: Yeah. I think the best way I would say that too, is REAL MARKETERS come in and blow everything up. We're like," Well, this isn't working. Let's just start from scratch." And that's totally cool with them. So let's talk about the rebrand for the show. I think it started... I had this crazy idea that was like," What if we changed the show name and called it about REAL MARKETERS?" So as we thought about reframing the show, Michelle, from your perspective, what was the hardest part of this journey from having a successful show of Mobile Matters to getting us to be REAL MARKETERS?"
Michelle Lawrence: So REAL MARKETERS is essentially an entire new show. Yes, we had Mobile Matters before and that laid a really good foundation for us in the future, but it was essentially like pressing the start over button. And I have never done podcasting before in my career. So you've got a new show essentially, and you have someone who has never dabbled in the world of podcasting. So it was navigating a new channel while trying to rebrand a new show. And I get a Slack from Stephanie at 7: 00 PM on a weekday night. And she goes," I've got a crazy idea."
Stephanie Cox: That sounds real. I think that happened last night.
Michelle Lawrence: It did. For this. And she goes," Why don't we rebrand the show to REAL MARKETERS?" And I'm just here for the ride. So I said," Sure, why not? This is going to be fun." And I think we started off being a little bit punchier than we were for Mobile Matters, and I think our entire team kept building off each other and almost daring one another to be punchier and punchier aloud. If you've ever met our team, we're a lot. In fact, Stephanie usually puts out a warning when she brings new people onto the team. We have zero filter, we're loud, we're opinionated, and we have this no BS attitude. And I think we had a lot of fun turning the podcast into what our team was and growing it from there. So that's the story behind the rebrand, is we just wanted to make it ourselves and make it something that our team would resonate with what we would listen to if we were listening to a B2B marketing podcast.
Stephanie Cox: And I think that's so important Michelle, because I feel like sometimes if I look at the whole world with B2B marketing podcasts, or just B2B podcasts in general, a lot of times it's the same people that you would hear, keynotes at these conferences. And yes, that's great. But I don't want to hear the same person talk about the same topic 10 times on 10 different shows. I want to hear something different. I want to hear that what's really happening. Yeah, it's great to share these big visions, but tell me how you do it. Tell me what didn't work. How can I learn from you? And especially in 2020 where you can't have that many networking opportunities in person now, I want to talk to other marketers who are actually doing the work, who are actually struggling with the same problems that I'm struggling with and telling me," Hey, I did this. It worked great. Hey, I did this, it failed miserably. Maybe you shouldn't do that." And I think that's been a really fun twist for us. And I think it's part of the reason why the show's been so successful since we launched this version of it. But I also think, if you're thinking about starting a podcast for the first time, one of the things that you need to think about is why would someone listen to you? I think a lot of times in marketing, people think about why I'm doing this as my brand and the reason why I want to do it from a brand's perspective. And you need to flip that idea and say," But why would someone listen to it? What are they going to get out of it? Would you listen to it if it wasn't your show?" And if not, then you have a problem with the foundation of your show. And I think that's so important. As more and more brands start doing podcasting and podcasting becomes oversaturated and it will eventually, you need to think about," Why are you different than everyone else? Why are you different than the other hundreds of podcasts out there in that area that you're in? And I really challenge everyone to think about that and think about the purpose of the show. Is your purpose to generate leads? And I know Michelle and I will talk about that in a second. We have some real hot takes on that. Or is it to educate and influence people and get them to think differently about marketing? Is it to help them? Is it to share what works, what doesn't work? Is it to just deliver your own expertise? And it really, I think, doesn't matter which one you choose as long as it's true to who you are and you truly believe your audience will want to listen to that type of content. But I think that's the biggest problem in podcasts today, is that people don't go," What does my audience want?" They think about what their brand wants. And I think for us, we're really focused on what does the audience want? And I will give you an example. I do a lot of interviews for the show and there's a lot of people that I think on paper or when I look at them on LinkedIn would be great guests. And I do the interview and maybe they're not as great. They're not as engaging or their content isn't as helpful, and I'm not afraid not to air the episode. I always tell everyone if that's the case. But part of the reason is because I want to deliver a certain type of content every single week. And I want it to be helpful. I want listeners to go like," I listened to that and that was impactful to me." And if you can't do that on a show, on an interview for us, then it's not a good fit. I could just do the opposite and just throw out those episodes every week, but then I'm not staying true to what the purpose of my show is, which is to provide helpful content every single week. So if you're thinking about a new show, I highly encourage you to go," What does my audience want? What do they want to get out from this?" And then really start making sure that all the content you create for it hits that goal. And if not, you've got a problem. So Michelle, what's... Go ahead.
Michelle Lawrence: I was just going to say, I totally agree with you and what you just said. I think another thing that makes up a REAL MARKETER is not being afraid to share what works for you and conversely, what doesn't. A lot of other marketing podcasts are very generalized and the host or the guest doesn't offer actionable insights. And it's like," Why are you holding back? Why are you keeping these marketing secrets just for yourself? We always talk about here a little bit, it's okay to get inspiration from other people's. You're not going to do it exactly like them. You're going to put your own unique twist on it. So I think don't be afraid to share actionable insights into why it helps you in marketing.
Stephanie Cox: No, I think that's such a good point. So let's talk about leads. Why don't you tell everyone what the purpose of our show is? Are we trying to generate all these leads?
Michelle Lawrence: No, that is a hard and fast rule. I think a lot of people might not even know that limit bait is tied to the marketers, and I think we did that really intentionally. We are not trying to get people to buy from us with our podcasts. We're just trying to build a community full of like- minded people in a safe place to talk. We're trying to build a space where it's not social media, where you can post your marketing secrets or marketing questions. And I think that's been a really unique perspective for the podcast brand.
Stephanie Cox: Well, what's interesting about that is we started off the show, idea of REAL MARKETERS, because I did just what you said, wanted to share all that type of stuff. And then it creates this own life of itself. And now we have the REAL MARKETERS community and the whole thought behind that is like," How do we then take this concept on the show and bring it to more people? How do we create a safe space where marketers feel like they can talk to other marketers about the real problems that they're having?" And I think that's so important these days, is to find your inner circle, your tribe, whatever you want to call it, of people that you trust and can go to. And how do we do that in a way that empowers marketers of all levels? Because I think that's one thing too that is different about our show than you might see on other shows, we've been really intentional with that, with REAL MARKETERS. And one of the big differences I think between Mobile Matters and REAL MARKETERS is we're not trying to get all of these senior- level marketers on the show. Yes, we'll have some, but I also want to talk to the marketing specialist or the content marketing specialist about what they're doing, because there's a ton of value that young talent can bring to the overall community that may have different perspectives. For instance, we talked about TikToK on a couple episodes back. I have no idea what TikTok is, you guys, besides that's for teenagers or that's what I thought prior to that conversation. And there's so much that I learned from it. And then I may have slacked Michelle and then like," Hey, we might be starting TikTok at Lumavate, FYI."
Michelle Lawrence: And then I had a heart attack because I knew I was going to have to run it.
Stephanie Cox: That is accurate. Yes. Minus the heart attack part, not real. But I think what's so important is shows that find different people and are representative of the community that are trying to create, because that's really what podcasting is, is you got to think of it as a community of listeners. And for us, that's now morphed into the actual REAL MARKETERS community. So Michelle, do you want to talk a little bit about what we're doing there and why we think that's so important?
Michelle Lawrence: Yeah. Okay. So take a step back and ask yourself, where would you usually connect with other marketers if this wasn't 2020? It would be other networking events. And since those aren't happening this year, for obvious reasons, it just happens on social media. And I have a love- hate relationship with LinkedIn. I think earlier this year, it used to be an actual networking platform that people could post ideas, post questions, and I think it's turned into something else.
Stephanie Cox: Michelle, are you talking about all the bro posts that we see on LinkedIn that you and I both love?
Michelle Lawrence: That is exactly what I am talking about. And I think LinkedIn lost its case value for marketers. And this past week, if you are on Twitter, I am sure that you saw hashtag marketing Twitter. Marketers needed a new place to connect with other marketers, and that's exactly what happened. This hashtag blew up, other marketers were connecting with other marketers, introducing themselves, asking questions about marketing, asking opinions on," Hey, I have this issue. What are you guys doing about it?" So I think that is a real challenge for marketers, is we don't have this great place or community to connect. And with the REAL MARKETER Slack group that we started, it's been a really cool space to watch other marketers interact with other marketers, ask questions about," Hey, what are you doing for your 2021 content strategy? Who's got a digital marketing hack that I haven't heard of yet?" So they're asking all of these different questions and, like we said earlier, people are not afraid to actually share their secrets and say what worked and what hasn't.
Stephanie Cox: Well, now I think is a great example of we've turned the podcast listeners into an actual community that we're still working to grow and build. And I think it's a really cool way to connect people virtually of all different levels across B2B, B2C, B2B2C. It's been really cool to watch takeoff and we're just in its infancy, so I'm excited to see what happens with it in 2021. But let's get to some brass tacks around creating the show. I would love to tell you that there is this really well- thought- out strategy to REAL MARKETERS, the show and the guests that we have on. And a lot of times there is, and I do have a list of people that I go after that I want to have on the show. But I also have really embraced this idea of just being in the moment and who are the people that are talking about something or doing something timely, and that's exactly why we're doing this episode today. I've been asked by so many people," What are you doing on the show? How have you been able to get these people on it?" And I felt like we needed to share, but also because I posted a marketing Twitter earlier this week about getting guests for 2021 and just really was overwhelmed and actually needed Michelle's help to corral all of it because I was like," There are too many people. Help me." Which she's fantastic at doing. But I think timeliness is such a big deal, and being able to find people on the show that are coming up with cool ideas or doing something really unique and then having them on the show that week or the next week has been a really different way of thinking about REAL MARKETERS compared to our Mobile Matters show. So in the past I would reach out to a ton of people and then I would record six to eight episodes, and then those will come out over the next month or two. And we started doing that with REAL MARKETERS. I started with the same approach, and then when I realized 2020 makes that absolutely impossible for a couple reasons. One things change so fast right now, a show that I recorded four weeks ago may no longer be relevant. Also, things that you talk about just in context may seem super outdated. So I couldn't get in this habit of prerecording all of these different episodes and then launching them. So instead, a lot of times what I do is I record one or two episodes a week and then they go out immediately following. So I'm not trying to prerecord all of these shows and even with all the interests and guests that we'll have on for 2021, I was just talking to Rob, who is also on our team, who does all of the editing for the show, we might have to go to two episodes a week at some point, because I don't want to have this huge backlog of guests that we've recorded that I can't get out because I feel like the faster I get them out the faster everyone can learn from them, which is a completely different concept than we had when we first started the show. So I think that's the first thing, is we think about guests differently than we did before. Also the thing that I've done before is I initially would only do our outreach to all the guests I had on the first season of Mobile Matters were because I reached out to them. This year, or this season, I am doing something similar. I'm doing outreach. So I do have that list like I mentioned before, but I'm also encouraging people to tell me who else they want to have on the show. Or like I did on Twitter, I asked," Hey. If you want to be on the show, send me a massage. Let's talk about an idea that you have, and let's see if it makes sense for you to be on the show. If you fit this criteria of what a REAL MARKETER is." And I encourage more people to do that. Because I think sometimes when you think about your show guests, our first inclination is to go to all the big names. That's great. But there's also a lot of value in getting people who've never been on a show before. Michelle, this is what, your second podcast you've ever been on?
Michelle Lawrence: It is.
Stephanie Cox: Because I made you do the the previous one with me on a different show?
Michelle Lawrence: It's like we're going on a podcast we're together.
Stephanie Cox: We are. But would you have ever otherwise raised your hand and said," I feel qualified to be on a podcast?"
Michelle Lawrence: No. Especially because I am young in my career. And this is something that I've put on myself, I feel like I haven't earned, the time to be on a podcast. I feel like I haven't had enough experience to be giving other marketers advice. But I mean, that's really not the case. No matter how much experience you have, whether it's your first job out of college or whether you're well into your career, you have something to add that others haven't thought of before.
Stephanie Cox: Exactly. And that's part of the reason I think more shows should do almost like an open call for people who want to be guests on it. And I know that's hard to manage, but I can tell you the diversity of thought that you're going to get on your show is going to be so great. Especially, if you stay true to who you are and the type of guests that you want to have on the show. Like for us, I'm only going to have people on the show that fit that definition of a REAL MARKETER. But I'm really open to who that looks like and where they might work, how many years of experience they might have, because I think there's so much we can learn from everyone across a lot of different areas. So let's talk also brass tacks about actual production. So one of the things that I will tell you, I'm a big stickler for and I do this for almost every single guest, is I do a guest guide. And part of that is to make everyone feel comfortable. It's all the information about what to expect during the show. And I'm happy if you want to send me a DM on Twitter or on LinkedIn to send you a copy of what our guest guide looks like if you want to use that for your own shows. And it has a couple of some sample questions. Now I tell everyone," I am not going to ask you these questions in this order. And it is very possible I ask you one of these questions and then none of the rest of them, depending on where the conversation goes." But I think it's such a great way to make sure you produce your show. One, it makes everyone feel comfortable because they know the direction that you want to take the conversation, based on what they know about you. But then also more importantly, it gives you a starting point to start the conversation. And I think when people know the first question you're going to ask them, it puts them at ease and then it really does become a conversation between two people. My goal is that you're listening to the show and going like," It's basically like I'm sitting at the bar with Stephanie and this person hearing what they're talking about." That's my whole concept of what I'm trying to deliver. So guest guide's super important. I know Michelle could probably rant a little bit about other podcasts that ask us to give them the questions, what I'm going to be a guest on. Right Michelle?
Michelle Lawrence: There are so many podcasts that ask us to provide the questions for their show. And it's just like," What fun is that? Aren't you interested in having more of an organic conversation?" I get it. I am type A, in fact I wrote out a little bit of what I thought we were going to be talking about today, but I have not looked at it once. And it would be so boring if I just went off the notes that I've written down before.
Stephanie Cox: But I think what's important is, because you knew the topic of conversation, you did a little prep beforehand and while you haven't used any of it, you feel more comfortable now, don't you?
Michelle Lawrence: Exactly.
Stephanie Cox: And that's really the part to my madness and why is it not the guest guide, is to get everyone comfortable faster. It also tells them that we use Zencastr for the recording, here's how you can test it so everyone kind of knows what to expect. And pro tip, if you are going to have a show, make sure you tell your guests if it's audio only or video too, because there's nothing worse than getting on a podcast and not realizing it's video recording as well when you are not prepared for the video recording. So just a little personal tip there. So then once we do the show, what I do and I will fully admit, I am horrible at audio editing. I am not good at it. I do not know how to do it. And I don't think I want to learn. So what I do then is Robert, our TM, actually usually compresses the two files from Zencastr into one and merges them. And then I put them in Trent, which is what we use to do all of our basically content editing from. And what it does is it'll transcribe it. And I say transcribe loosely. I mean, Michelle, you would say it's like what? 60% accurate, 70%?
Michelle Lawrence: If that...
Stephanie Cox: Michelle has edited transcripts so she, trust me, has felt the pain of this, but what it does then is it lets me listen to the show again and the interview and cut out different places that I want to. So for instance, I want to cut out this portion of the conversation, or I want to edit out a couple of ums, et cetera. And I would tell you my goal, as much as humanly possible, is to keep the show as true to its recording as possible. There will be times where a guest stumbles, and I will let them scratch that and we'll cut out that portion and just skip over where they stumbled and go back to their actual answer. But my hope is to have it as authentic as possible. And there are times where the show and the interview is really long. And I've done interviews with people that I was hoping for them to be 25, 30 minutes and they were an hour. And I cut stuff out, so I can make that into a second episode or to a Cutting Room Floor episode later. So that's really what we do. And then from there I take basically my post- production, which is usually the intro, as you guys have heard on the show, where I intro the guest, and then I do a quick outro at the end where I wrap up the episode, and I pass it over to Rob and Rob does his editing magic. We'll have him on the show at some point to explain all the things that he does tied to it. And then it goes to Michelle. Michelle, you want to talk a little about, how do you get the show out every week?
Michelle Lawrence: Sure. So usually on Fridays, I'll get the edited version of the show and we use Casted to host the podcast. And the reason why we really like Casted is because it makes it really easy, A, to get premium transcriptions. So I don't spend four hours listening to one episode multiple times trying to get an entire episode's transcription. I've done that, and it's not a lot of fun. So we use premium transcriptions there which makes it really easy to get content from, which I'll talk more about that later. But also they have this feature it's called Audiograms and you can take a two minute clip from your episode and turn it into a visual graphic that you can share on your blogs or social media. So it's just a really great way to repurpose your content so you're not just promoting it on the day that your podcast goes live, because who just wants a little bit of spike in their episode launch day? No one. The goal is to get consistent amount of listeners throughout the week to listen to your episode. So I will take it and put it into Casted, and then once the episode is launched on Mondays, I'll usually plan out the different blogs that we're going to write for that episode. So one thing that we've been doing recently is taking one episode and having, let's call it, two to four different blog posts depending on the theme. So that's a great way to expand your content. And then for social, you can take little quotes from the episode, which is a great reason why you should transcribe. Your content marketer will thank you if you have a transcription for your podcast. It makes it super easy just to get little quotes to post on social. And then another thing that we do is we write bigger pieces of content focusing on the whole show. So, some ideas for this could be the best quotes from the season or the greatest hacks that we've learned from our guests. Whatever it is, it's a great way to keep turning out content for your show.
Stephanie Cox: Well, I think one of the things that I want everyone to understand is we don't just take one episode and then launch on Mondays and never think about it again. Michelle is constantly reusing content, even from past episodes that we've had that were on months ago, because there's so much value to us having that content and being in front of people, especially when your episodes where the learnings are fairly evergreen or even timely that people can gain knowledge from. So that is really how REAL MARKETERS has come to be and what it's like to get the show off the ground every single week. Michelle, what else would you add? Anything else that we missed that we didn't talk about?
Michelle Lawrence: I would just add, don't be afraid to repurpose your content. If you're afraid of," Oh, well, I already shared that LinkedIn post a couple months ago." Who is going to remember what they liked on LinkedIn three months ago? The answer is no one. So my final suggestion would be, don't be afraid to reshare the meaningful content that your audience engaged with. Tweak it a little bit, share it again, you're going to see great engagement from it.
Stephanie Cox: Awesome. Well, thanks for agreeing to be on the show with me, Michelle, at the last minute as all the crazy ideas that I have. But for everyone listening, a couple of things, one, if you haven't joined the REAL MARKETERS community, we want to have you there. So make sure you reach out to us on Twitter or LinkedIn and we will get you invited to that community. And then also, I challenge every marketer listening to think about their podcast strategy for 2021. There's a ton of opportunity for you to really make this a channel that works for your brand. But in order to do that, you've got to get started now. So start thinking about what your audience wants. How are you going to create content that's unique compared to what's out there, and how is your voice going to be different? And then if you have any other questions about how this magic all happens, feel free to reach out to Michelle and she'll tell you all of the behind the scenes stuff. But this is our first behind the scenes episode. There's more to come, and the new year where we'll be sharing more of our secret sauce of how everything comes together at Lumavate and for the show, randomly throughout the year just to give you some insider knowledge. So have a wonderful rest of your week everyone. You've been listening to REAL MARKETERS. If you love what you've heard, make sure to subscribe, rate and review our podcast. And don't forget to tell a friend. All of this marketing goodness shouldn't be kept a secret.