SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Holly Pels

demio saas breakthrough featuring holly pels About Holly Pels:

Holly Pels is the Director of Marketing at Casted – the first content marketing platform for B2B podcasting, making podcasting more engaging, efficient, and effective for brands.

Holly is a strategic and tactical marketer who loves podcasts and content creation.

 


Show Notes:
03:15
The First And Only Marketing Platform Built Around B2B Podcasts
05:55
Why Podcasting Took Off During The Pandemic
07:20
How To Leverage Clubhouse If You're Building A Community
"I think what's great about Clubhouse, I sold my soul for an invite early on because I was like, we have to be on this. We have to know what's going on. But I think what's great about it is it's kind of a nice compliment because it's a lot more about community building and having kind of open ended conversations where you can invite people in and do it. We kind of call it live podcasting. And we're seeing a ton of brands who are taking it and running with it and finding a lot of success. I don't think that it's going to hold anything. I think it's just going to add to it. I think if you're building a community through whatever you're doing, whether it's podcasting or video series or many events, being able to have a place that you can go and have open conversations is a great tool. I don't think that that's going to combat anything. I think it'll just help build a community around that. So if you have a podcast and you want to have a user group, Clubhouse is a great way to test that and take it and get information and insight from your audience."
08:40
Seeing Podcasts Holistically And As A Central Part Of Content Strategy
"The way that I look at podcasts is just like any other piece of content. A podcast in my mind is content. So it belongs in a more central part of your strategy because if not, it becomes this siloed piece that's hard to measure and measurements is not everything in my mind, but in a lot of B2B marketers, it is. You have to measure everything because you have to prove out your budget. So I try to think about podcasting a little bit more holistically and how it can fit and how I can pull lots of different things from it and fuel lots of different channels versus it being a separate, siloed piece that I have to prove separately of my bigger strategy."
10:50
The Strategic Questions To Ask Yourself When Starting A Podcast
"If this is what you want to do, and you feel really strongly about it, look at what you're doing already, why you're thinking a podcast is the best fit? And then who are you trying to target with it? Because if you don't start there, you're going to end up in a place where it's hard to continue. And it's hard to find a lot of value in it because you're just trying to chase after something that you didn't plan or set goals for."
13:25
The Evolution Of The Casted Podcast
19:30
The Two Pieces Of Podcast Distribution
21:45
Running Every Podcast Season As A Campaign
"Something that we do at Casted is we actually run every season as a campaign. So it's not a one-off short campaign. It's a very long campaign where we look at all the different things that we're creating from the podcast, how we're sharing them via email, social, on the blog, within third-party things. All the different things that we might be doing from a podcast season and saying, okay, what channels are working the best when we're sharing the podcast, right? What content seems to be resonating the most? And what's actually driving revenue and kind of going back and doubling down on that is a great way to kind of look at how can you grow and how can you grow maybe faster than if you kind of just sat around and didn't put a lot of focus on the podcast in general."
24:15
Reusing And Repurposing Podcast Content
"I love reusing and repurposing. I think it is a underutilized piece of content strategy because you spend so much time creating something like a webinar or an ebook, and you put it out there for a little bit, and then you kind of forget about it, right. Then it just kind of goes into the wings and you move on to the next thing. And we talk a lot about content marketers just in general, having a really hard job because you're expected to be the expert on everything produced, not only quantity, but quality. And then you're supposed to just be doing it on this continuous basis, right? It's a never ending cycle. So you're always learning. You're always producing. You're always doing this. But if we stopped and said, let's take a look at actually what's working and kind of dip back into those topics and those things versus again, and this is why I go on a, I hate focusing on keywords, I hate focusing on product features. You should be focusing on what's working and what your audience actually wants. So being able to look back at those different things is super important."
29:35
The Characteristics Of Winning Podcasts
"I'm specially in this mindset, when I think about people getting started in podcasting, start with what you know. And the companies that are succeeding and the companies that are doing really well at that are the companies like the Drifts and the HubSpots of the world, because they started with one thing. And then they were able to say, this is really working. Let's start another show that targets this piece of our audience. Let's start another show that targets this piece of our audience. And I think that that is something that can't go unstated. You know, that you shouldn't try to make a show that appeals to everyone, because once you start going down that road, it's going to appeal to no one, because you can't go deep enough. And some of the things that really make you unique in why podcasting is so great."
33:00
Hard Lessons Learned Around Planning And Budgets
36:40
Podcasts Are Not "Only For Brand Awareness"
"One of the statements that I like to combat a lot is people saying things like podcasts are only for brand awareness. Well, they're only for brand awareness, if that's the limitation of what you're putting it out there, but if you unpack your podcast and you turn it into all sorts of content, that content has the opportunity to convert. That, you know, social tweet or whatever you're sending out, has the opportunity to bring new people to your website and get new eyes on it and ultimately convert right, if you're bringing people to the podcast or to these different things.So kind of challenging people to think outside the confines of what we've defined podcasting is up until this point."
39:15
Lightning Questions
Transcript:

DA (02:32):
Hey Holly, thanks for joining me today on the SaaS breakthrough podcast. Excited to have you here, talk about Casted. How are you doing today?

HP (02:39):
I am great. I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

DA (02:43):
Oh, it's our pleasure. Excited to talk about what is working over at Casted. We're obviously big fans of podcasts here at Demio as well. Where are you joining me from by the way?

HP (02:53):
I'm in Indianapolis, Indiana.

DA (02:56):
Wow. Okay. So how are things out there? How is Indiana these days?

HP (03:01):
It's gloomy today, very rainy. We just went from having some really nice weather to now cold and gross, but we are hosting the March Madness tournament. So there's a little nightmare built up around that since that's kicking off this week.

DA (03:15):
That's great to hear. That's awesome. Hopefully get some local revenue and stuff driven there as well. But you know, I think we have a lot to talk about today with Casted, different tactics and experiments that you guys are doing over there. Before we jump into that, why don't you explain a bit about the company Casted, when it was founded, who your customers are and what you're doing uniquely in the marketplace?

HP (03:36):
Sure. So Casted is the first and only marketing platform built around B2B podcasts. And we're also the first amplified marketing platform. Our mission overall is to put expert interviews and conversations at the center of your content strategy and then amplify those voices into your marketing strategy. Most of our customers lie in the B2B mid-market to enterprise. We deal with a lot of marketing directors, VPs of marketing, content marketing and product marketers. We have customers like Drift, Salesforce, Terminus, Openview, to name a few. And what we are doing uniquely in the marketplace is that there's not really a tool that exists that's like Casted. So Casted when it was founded mid 2019 basically came out of a brainchild of having a podcast at a different company and realizing that there weren't tools built for the type of content creation and marketing that people at that company wanted to use for their podcasts. So we kind of got together, created this platform. And so now we're kind of taking all of these different tools that you can use for podcasting and video and kind of sinking it all into one.

DA (04:51):
That sounds extremely powerful. Talk to me a little bit about like the amplify section. What does that actually mean?

HP (04:56):
So that's a new word we're out testing. But basically what we realized as we were going through this is that podcasting is just kind of the start of what we're doing. We never intended just to be a podcasting platform. We always knew we wanted to be a marketing platform that helped people take these conversations and this really powerful content that they have on their podcasts and basically amplify that into the marketplace. So kind of something that we talk about a lot is that we enable teams to access amplify and attribute their podcast content at the center of their strategy. And amplify is just such a good word because that's what you're doing. If you think about amp, it kind of asserts this, you know, voice amp, mike, all these different things. And so amplify felt like the right word for us to kind of take to market here.

DA (05:42):
I do like that word a lot. Yeah. It's, it's like the megaphone kind of a factor at getting in front of your audience. Love that. When did you actually join the team?

HP (05:50):
I joined in January, 2020. So I have been here just a little over a year.

DA (05:56):
Well, congratulations on that one year anniversary mark. And you came two months before COVID when everything hit and all this craziness. Did anything shift over the past year or did you guys kind of have product market fit when you came in? Has anything shifted over this past year?

HP (06:10):
Not really. The only thing that has changed is that we've gotten maybe more expansive. So like I said, we kind of started in podcasting and over the last year we've been able to expand into video and we have plans to do a few other things in the coming years. But I don't want to say anyone's lucky with what happened last year, because no one is, but we were in a situation where we are a medium or a platform that is focused around a medium that people really dug into over the last year. So instead of any like heartaches or things that we were facing, we actually kind of took off, you know, people wanted to start podcasts. People wanted to do things that, you know, bred authenticity and like forge connection with people. And especially as we've come to terms with living at work, you know, at this point, so this new phenomenon, everyone working from home, but people not really knowing how to set boundaries, podcasting and the platform that we're dealing with has kind of enabled companies to say, okay, you can take your podcast give it to your customers and your customers can listen to it wherever, whenever, however, they'd like, so we've seen the medium really take off. So it hasn't really impacted what we're doing or change what we're doing outside of, you know, knowing that we want to expand for our customers.

DA (07:24):
I love that. We also had a really big year of tailwind, a lot of this type of communication, right. That obviously was forced through through COVID, but you know, there's also been a big change with things like Clubhouse and stuff like that. How do you see podcasting facing off against like new social trends and stuff like that, with kind of that tailwind building into these types of communication changes?

HP (07:46):
So I think what's great about Clubhouse, I sold my soul for a, an invite early on because I was like, we have to be on this. We have to know what's going on. But I think what's great about it is it's kind of a nice compliment because it's a lot more about community building and having kind of open ended conversations where you can invite people in and do it. We kind of call it live podcasting. And we're seeing a ton of brands who are taking it and running with it and finding a lot of success. I don't think that it's going to hold anything. I think it's just going to add to it. I think if you're building a community through whatever you're doing, whether it's podcasting or video series or many events, being able to have a place that you can go and have open conversations is a great tool. I don't think that that's going to combat anything. I think it'll just help build a community around that. So if you have a podcast and you want to have a user group, Clubhouse is a great way to test that and take it and get information and insight from your audience.

DA (08:40):
I love that. That's really helpful. Well, let's jump into marketing channels. You know, obviously I think the core of our conversation today will be around podcasts. I think it's an, it's a great medium. It's very, very powerful. How do you see, you know, podcast living in the B2B marketing lifecycle or, you know, chain of importance there?

HP (09:01):
So I love this question because it's going to put me on a soap box. Not really, but I think people hear podcasts and they literally, they put it in this like siloed bucket of podcasting is this separate medium channel that doesn't belong with the rest of my content, right? Like when, when we all got hooked on podcasts, it was probably things like Serial or The Daily or these different things that didn't feel necessarily like they could translate to B2B. And even when you saw B2B businesses kind of taking them on, you know, I'm thinking about like the Pacific contents of the world and gimlets and these types of really entertaining types of podcasts. But the more businesses start to lean into the idea that in a sense it's kind of like influencer marketing, right? You can bring all these experts and people on your show to talk about all these different things and all the different things that they're experts in.

HP (09:51):
It becomes something different. And so the way that I look at podcasts is just like any other piece of content. A podcast in my mind is content. So it belongs in a more central part of your strategy because if not, it becomes this siloed piece that's hard to measure and measurements is not everything in my mind, but in a lot of B2B marketers, it is. You have to measure everything because you have to prove out your budget. So I try to think about podcasting a little bit more holistically and how it can fit and how I can pull lots of different things from it and fuel lots of different channels versus it being a separate, siloed piece that I have to prove separately of my bigger strategy.

DA (10:33):
That's definitely the right mindset to have. I mean, I think there's a lot of questions still with podcasts and to your point, like where does it live, but if it's going to live in the central part of your content marketing strategy, it's there. But then it becomes, what do I do on this podcast? What do I talk about? How do I build it? I know you've done a number of podcasts. You guys have your own podcast. Why don't you kind of explain how you build that strategy out and how you think about that podcast in kind of the context of what you're doing?

HP (11:02):
So we always tell people when they're thinking about, I want to start a podcast, you can not be doing it because you think you need a podcast. It has, like there has to be a purpose behind it. So you need to be asking just like any other piece of content that you're creating, who is it for and why are you doing it? If you can't answer those questions, then you really need to go back to the drawing board and think about how does this fit into your strategy. And again, why are you thinking that this is the medium that you should go down versus a video series or, written content, all of these different things. And I think the important thing for people to remember is that all of these things can work together. You can take a video series and you can turn it into a podcast.

HP (11:40):
If there's enough valuable information on there, you can syndicate that video series into different channels and use it in the same way that you would use a podcast. As long as it's interesting, as long as it's something that doesn't need all these different you know, visual aspects, right? But we say the same thing with webinars. We were just talking to someone who they do webinars series, but they said, well, in reality, it just turns into these conversations. We're not using visual aids. We're not doing (inaudible) is just as a conversation. And so we said, well, why don't you guys just take that and pivot it to be a podcast? You can still use it as a webinar, but now, instead of that webinar, just sitting and collecting dust on your website, you can turn it into something that you can share with your audience.

HP (12:18):
They can take it on the go, they can listen to it. And it unlocks a brand new piece of what could be happening. But we always say, if this is what you want to do, and you feel really strongly about it, look at what you're doing already, why you're thinking a podcast is the best fit? And then who are you trying to target with it? Because if you don't start there, you're going to end up in a place where it's hard to continue. And it's hard to find a lot of value in it because you're just trying to chase after something that you didn't plan or set goals for.

DA (12:46):
I think a lot of that is just, you know, marketing experiments in general, right? When you're just maybe see a trend. You see someone doing something that's really great. You're like, I want to do that too. But you don't really have a fully baked idea of why you're doing it, how you're going to do it. The longevity of it, you know, now being on episode, you know, 143 I believe this is, that's, that's three years of podcasting on this show. And it's been a big process to put things together for finding guests and doing the questions every week. And we made processes and procedures. But when you're getting into this and you're just kind of going willy nilly, it's hard to create those things cause you don't have that longevity in mind. So, that's a really great valuable piece of advice. Talk to us a little bit about your podcast. What has been working, you know, what have you seen as a great strategy so far?

HP (13:32):
You just made a great point that like things evolve, things change and it's, it's kind of a learning process, right? Your first episode, versus what you're doing now is probably night and day. It's probably completely different because you've gotten more comfortable in the process. You've gotten more in tune with who your audience wants to hear from, all these types of things. And our podcast is no different. So our podcast started as it's called the Casted podcast and it's a podcast about podcasts. So very meta. But what we started doing was we went down this route of talking about how to build a better podcast. And as we kind of grew the company and grew the strategies that we were working towards, we realized that wasn't exactly what we wanted people to take away from it. So our seasons shifted. So season one was all about hosts telling us how they created a better podcast.

HP (14:18):
Season two was about show runners. So the people behind the scenes, the different things that they were doing to make a better podcast. And then as we got into seasons three, four, and most recently, our fifth season, we started shifting more towards marketers who are using podcasts as a part of their strategy and kind of breaking down, how are they doing it? Why are they doing it? What impact is it having on their business? And kind of, we've coordinated the most recent season with our customers because now we've had a group of customers who we've had for a year. So that means that we can kind of look at, not how they were using Casted because that's not the piece that we want to hear, we want to tap into the information of the strategy behind what they're doing. So that for us has been kind of the, the goldmine of content.

HP (14:59):
If that makes sense. Because that's a lot more towards the problem that we're trying to solve at Casted. So if we're talking to people about the way that they're solving that and the way that they're looking at it and the way that they're measuring it, that already immediately unlocks a new type of content that is obviously educational, it's informative. And it's authentic, because it's these people talking about the things that they're doing, the challenges that they're having, and that in itself creates better content than if I were to sit down and say, I think this is what we should write about based on the keywords that I researched or what I saw someone else write about. So it's been a really good grounding point for us to say, this is what our customers and the people who are doing what we're talking about, think about, and, you know, kind of turning that into the content strategy versus what I just mentioned.

DA (15:52):
It's basically what, like customer generated content, right? Like they're creating the content based on what they need. What's working. It's a great strategy. You know, the listeners, our audience base, are your customers, people in podcasting, learning on podcasts and wanting to grow and you get to basically like feature yourself, Casted the brand, without also having to talk about yourselves. Right? Like that's the other great thing about it. So all around just great use cases. When do you find that you have to make those shifts? Did you guys realize that you had, you know, in season one lower show numbers and you wanted, was the engagement down? Did you just not get that much questions? Like how did you know that it was time to shift and pivot a little bit?

HP (16:34):
So what's actually funny. I don't know if it's funny, but looking back it's funny, right? Is that the podcast started as soon as they started the company. So my, our CEO, was actually my boss at a previous company. And she had started this podcast as part of our content marketing team. And then we had all these issues, right. So she went out and started this company to find all these different things. So right from the beginning, she was like, we have to start a podcast because I, you know, I want to start this. So her first thought was, I'm going to go after the people that I have a relationship with. I know we're doing podcasts. I know that we can talk about. And so it started there. And so it also started a point when we didn't have an audience, right.

HP (17:15):
So if we were a brand new company and you're leaning into all these different things, you know, there can't, it can't be understated how hard it is to grow an audience from scratch. It takes time, but as we kind of leaned into that, we realized that when I came on board, we were starting season two, which was about show runners and I technically am our target market. So if you've ever been in a position where you're marketing to the people that you are, it's so fun. It is the most interesting job I've ever had. It's maybe the most fulfilling cause I'm like, I get me, I get what they're going through. And so we started to kind of unpack that, like, I don't actually know if this is going to turn into what we think it's going to turn into and, you know, early on coming from a lot of different content roles.

HP (17:59):
So I've had, you know, I started out in SEO and then I pivoted into content strategy. And then I went on to run a content team at a big global SaaS company. And when I sat down to start thinking about our content strategy, I realized I can't do what I've done in the past. Right. Because I'm building a new audience, we're doing something different and we're asking people to think differently. So by season two, we started to realize some of this stuff is really great, but like we have to kind of start pivoting to think more holistically about the strategy of podcasts, not just building a podcast. And while we've created lots of content around how you can up your show and strategize for your show and do that because it's important, right? It's an important part of the education process, not just for prospects, but for customers.

HP (18:42):
So customers who are getting on and starting podcasts and deciding they want to start new shows, they come to us for information. So we want to make sure that we are giving them that information, that education, but not stifling it to the fact that's like, that's all we become because when we look at it from that angle, we all of a sudden become this strategy podcast agency. And that's not at all what we are. So kind of early on, we sat and said, all right, we have to do this differently. It's going to be hard. It's going to be different, but it was worth it. And in reality, looking back, it wasn't as hard as sitting and trying to make a full-blown strategy versus looking at the content that we had and trying to spin it out into lots of different things and planning our seasons. If that makes sense.

DA (19:26):
It definitely makes sense. And it also has a little bit about resourcefulness, how you saw yourself able to, as a small team, maximize the content that you're doing. And you talked about the word amplitude before. I think with podcasting, one of the things that's the hardest thing to do, especially when you're getting started, right. Is get that distribution out there, get that amplification process going. I know you guys are doing that at Casted for companies, but what about distribution strategies? What are you guys seeing working, any insights on ways that you've utilized the content you have to really amplify your distribution?

HP (20:00):
So there's two pieces to this because when you think about distribution with podcasts, you also automatically maybe start thinking about syndication channels. So you think about like the Apples and the Spotifys of the world, and that's something that we have kind of leaned into as a business. Our customers definitely lean into it. So when you think about growing your audience through those channels, it's a little bit different because each platform has their own, this is how you rank. This is how you do this. This is how you get more listeners. So you do kind of have to lean into that if you want to grow your audience in that standpoint. So there's a piece of additionally owning your own audience. And so what that means is instead of just sending things out to distribution channels, it's taking your podcast and actually hosting on your own website.

HP (20:47):
You can do that through Casted and lots of other places that you can actually spin up pages that live under your website. Or if you don't have that capability, you can actually embed your player into different pages on your website, which is one way to kind of bring people back. And one thing that we're huge fans of with the pages is that you could actually publish your transcripts. And I mentioned this because I think it's an important part of also looking at the searchability of podcasts and understanding that a podcast episode has so many valuable words and keywords and all these different things. And I know I already mentioned that I'm not big on basing your strategy around, I'm just going to write for a keyword or I'm just going to write for a search engine. But I think that there is value in tapping into the information that you have and the content that you have and breaking that down for searchability.

HP (21:41):
So being able to do that is a great way to attract new organic eyes via publishing all your transcripts. And then additionally, something that we do at Casted is we actually run every season as a campaign. So it's not a one-off short campaign. It's a very long campaign where we look at all the different things that we're creating from the podcast, how we're sharing them via email, social, on the blog, within third-party things. All the different things that we might be doing from a podcast season and saying, okay, what channels are working the best when we're sharing the podcast, right? What content seems to be resonating the most? And what's actually driving revenue and kind of going back and doubling down on that is a great way to kind of look at how can you grow and how can you grow maybe faster than if you kind of just sat around and didn't put a lot of focus on the podcast in general. Did I answer your question?

DA (22:38):
You did. That's actually really good advice. There's some really good advice in there. Now you mentioned the SEO kind of potential of transcripts. And I think to your point, there's a difference between, you know, focusing on a keyword and then just maximizing what's already being done, right. That's resourcefulness and, you know, transcripts are great for that. Do you guys ever go out and do things like get your podcasts backlinks or try to get on to different, you know, podcasts' lists? I mean, is there an SEO strategy involved in that distribution though?

HP (23:10):
Yes and no. We're in the process right now of building the brand before necessarily the podcast. So our focus is a lot more on when we are going out and doing third-party placements and things like that. We're just going to send people back to Casted because we're still in a space of, we need people to know who we are, and what we're doing. That said when we are on, especially our host and our host is our CEO. So we have obviously an entire communication strategy around what we're doing with her. And because she's the host of the podcast, there's a more opportunity for us to talk about the Casted podcast with her and it not be a weird shameless plug, if that makes sense. And so yes, we do look for backlinks in that standpoint, but it being a huge piece of that strategy, it's not honestly,

DA (24:02):
No, that makes sense. And I'm only asking from curiosity of myself with this podcast, right? Like, should we spend more time on that, but you know, I think you're absolutely right. One needs to focus on the content more than anything, you need to focus on who you're talking to you, how to make that content engaging. And also make sure you're tracking what's working. And I think you also said something that was really smart, which is you look at the content that's being shared to find like hidden nuggets or little areas that could really accelerate content marketing in general, by finding a topic that's talked a lot about on the podcast or had a lot of engagement. You then double down on that, on the blog. We also talk a little bit about in that segment around repurposing content. And I think, you know, there's, there's a ton of different content marketing channels that you can use for repurposing. Like again, you can do a video, turn that into a podcast. Like you said, podcasts can be repurposed into video and stuff. How are you guys going through that? What are you thinking of when you're finishing your podcast? And you're going to repurpose this stuff, are you looking mostly at, Hey, let's turn this into a blog, let's turn this into a social post. Like, what does the campaign look like? And then how are you tracking it? That's been one of my hardest things with this podcast, just in general.

HP (25:08):
You're not alone. Right? It's hard, which is why we're kind of going down the thought process of what we said earlier. And it's being our best use case, right? Because we know that the challenges people are facing and trying to do this. So I'm trying to do all of these things. So I can say, well, actually this is a really great way to do this or this doesn't really work, so don't go down that road. But one thing when I think about repurposing and I love reusing and repurposing. I think it is a underutilized piece of content strategy because you spend so much time creating something like a webinar or an ebook, and you put it out there for a little bit, and then you kind of forget about it, right. Then it just kind of goes into the wings and you move on to the next thing.

HP (25:49):
And we talk a lot about content marketers just in general, having a really hard job because you're expected to be the expert on everything produced, not only quantity, but quality. And then you're supposed to just be doing it on this continuous basis, right? It's a never ending cycle. So you're always learning. You're always producing. You're always doing this. But if we stopped and said, let's take a look at actually what's working and kind of dip back into those topics and those things versus again, and this is why I go on a, I hate focusing on keywords, I hate focusing on product features. You should be focusing on what's working and what your audience actually wants. So being able to look back at those different things is super important. When we finish an episode, we start off with, there's just a certain number of things that we already know we're going to do.

HP (26:35):
First thing is we're going to do a really quick summary. Second thing is we're going to do a use case because every episode we have someone talks about how using their podcast in their business. And even if people are using them in similar ways, no two businesses are the same and no two podcasts are the same. So automatically we have a different way that someone's looking at podcasting, which is only going to help our audience who's thinking about podcasting, thinking about different ways that they can be using it and kind of utilizing it and over utilizing it into their work. So those are the first two things we look at. Then we start actually sectioning off topics. So within the Casted platform and this is, you know, a little plug about who we are and what we do, but something that's really cool is you can create key takeaways.

HP (27:19):
So you can actually go through and highlight clips in a transcript and actually set aside basically an outline of what your podcast is about. So then on your landing page, you have all these different moments in the episode that are big moments that you talk about. So for you, it might be all the different questions that we've gone through, that you could kind of highlight those. And so people can click around and listen. So we look at those topics and we pull them out. And we also look at topics where that's happened, that they overlap with other episodes, so that we can automatically start pulling together more content around these topics. But instead of it just being from one episode, we're also starting to bring in other perspectives. And so it all automatically becomes more valuable. Outside of that, in a season I also look at, is there an opportunity to create two things. Some kind of ebook.

HP (28:07):
So it could be, we just did a look book of our customers of all the use cases. Or another podcast. That sounds crazy. I know, but the opportunity to create a narrative podcast from the lessons you've learned from that season is really fun. And interesting. And we were actually able to do a really cool one for inbound last year, because we just happened to interview like five of the founding members of the Growth show and unbeknownst to us, like they each talked about it. And so when we were done, we listened back and we were like, wait, there's like a really cool story here. We should take it. We should run with it. We should write it. And then from that, we were also able to unpack, like, how did we do it? Why did we do it? What are all the different things that came out of it? And so right there, we created more content that then helped us create more content. If that makes sense.

DA (28:56):
It does make sense. Then it goes back to what you said earlier, which is just like trying to find those hidden nuggets, right? Like how can we analyze what we're doing to find what's really working for the bigger kind of marketing play here. And I think there's a lot to be said, like podcasts have so many things that you can do. Like you said, you can do like a behind the scenes narrative story. You can do a writeup based on some of those topics. I love that you did a look book. I've been thinking about doing some type of like coffee table book of like great quotes from maketers. Like that could be a really cool thing. And it's just, it becomes a brand play. It becomes a content play. You could do like an award ceremony at the end of the year for like top rated guests, or companies that are rated the highest or something like that. There's like a lot you can do. So, so I love that. And I think every day people are coming up with unique ideas and to your point use cases for podcasts and how to run them, you know, with more and more podcasts being launched, you know, what are you guys seeing as like winning unique podcasts that are coming out? What is really standing out?

HP (29:57):
Interestingly, I think the companies that are winning are the ones that are actually diving really deep into what they're good at. So, you know, the saying of like, the riches are in the niches, or niches, or however you want to say it.

DA (30:10):
I don't think anyone knows how to say it, by the way.

HP (30:13):
Is it niche or niche? Nobody knows. But whatever it is that is the area that I think podcasts really shine because you know, we've talked at nauseum, you know, for us internally about, especially with our sales team, when they're out talking to people about podcasting, all these different things. And it's like, well, I don't want to start a podcast because this or that, or, and it always kind of ends up to, or I want to do it because of my competitor, but I'm worried that there'll be too similar. And the thing that we always kind of start talking about is two companies. Like we could have the same podcast, right? You could also have a podcast that was about podcasts, and because you are a different host than the host we have, you could have the same guests on, and you guys would still have very vastly different conversations.

HP (31:00):
Right? And so thinking about what is your super power, who are the people behind your brand that have those unique perspectives that can either be great at pulling information out of other people, or can be really authentic, right? Because nobody wants to listen to a podcast where everything is like robotic and straightforward, and this, you know, people are choosing to listen to this over choosing to listen to The Daily or the new album that just dropped, you know, from their favorite artist. And so you have to be super in tune with what your audience wants and authentic to that, or it's never going to work out, right? Like the moment you start to like, pivot away from that, and the brands that are trying to look too big or too, unless you're a huge brand where you have a huge audience and it makes a lot of sense that you can have a mass appeal show.

HP (31:49):
Right. But if this is something that you're getting started in, and I I'm specially in this mindset, when I think about people getting started in podcasting, right. Start with what you know. And the companies that are succeeding and the companies that are doing really well at that are the companies like the Drifts and the HubSpots of the world, because they started with one thing. And then they were able to say, this is really working. Let's start another show that targets this piece of our audience. Let's start another show that targets this piece of our audience. And I think that that is something that can't go unstated. You know, that you shouldn't try to make a show that appeals to everyone, because once you start going down that road, it's going to appeal to no one, because you can't go deep enough. And some of the things that really make you unique in why podcasting is so great.

DA (32:38):
So it's a beautiful answer, and I think, you know, a lot of the lessons that you're saying could be painted to any kind of marketing channel that you're in. Right. I mean, that's, what's so great about podcasts is it's, it is just another marketing channel, but it has its own you know, systems and nuances that you have to learn. And I love that it's, you know, it's voice communication. Is just conversations. It's stories. It's, you know, it's basic storytelling. It's like the basics of humanity in a lot of ways, right. Podcasts, but on your own time. So async. Looking back over the past year though, looking back, you know, through the tailwinds of COVID that you guys got there and all the changes, were there any tough lessons, opportunities you feel like you missed, or you wish you could have capitalized on, those are always great areas to find wins?

HP (33:22):
Oh, yes. We did. You know, the reason I tell people to be like, very specific about the type of podcast you're going to start, and understanding why you're starting it and who it's for and all these different things. When COVID first kind of happened, and we all shifted to being home and not in the office, you know, there was a lot of spinning, a lot of spinning of like, what are we going to do? You know, conferences are getting canceled. People aren't buying. Budgets are getting put on hold. All of this stuff was happening. And so we decided one of our founders really wanted to start another podcast and it'd be a little bit more about people. And so we kind of went down that road, but we went down without really planning it out the same way that I have planned out the other seasons.

HP (34:04):
And it was a disaster. Not a disaster in the fact of like the content wasn't great because it was. It was really great authentic conversations. But trying to manage the process of getting that to market and then figuring out what we're going to do with it. We were such a new brand. It was a mistake. Because we were taking eyes away from the brand that we wanted to be. And so for me, it was kind of one of those moments of like, I wish I would have asserted my, no I know better. We're not going to do it versus yeah, okay, I want to make everyone happy and this sounds like a good idea. So I felt the pain of going down that road and it not equating a lot. And I think we all know that starting a podcast can, can be super easy, right?

HP (34:45):
You can just get out and have a conversation and do this, but most people are going to want to take some time to edit it and add music and do all these different things. And that quickly can become a burden if it's not something you're prepared for. So that was one. Two, I was really scared to spend money when COVID started happening, you know, just because at a startup, our budget is very small and, you know, every penny counts towards something and it counts towards if you're going to get that money and then some next year. So that was something that maybe wasn't a mistake early on. Obviously I got over that because I implemented a PR strategy and lots of different things that we're doing on our side. But it was something that I realized it was a budget we had. So there was no reason for me not to spend it just because I was scared of what was happening because it was budgeted. So, so that was one, cause then I probably missed in a couple of months where I could have done some things that could have helped us, you know, have a few more leads or, you know, build a better pipeline, but it happened and it's over. And I learned from it and that's what matters.

DA (35:51):
That is, that is exactly what matters, right. Learning from it. I think we all have that mentality, especially when we're bootstrapped and startups, you know, it's like we have to protect the cash flow, but you also have to make the bet of when to invest. And I think the other side, the resource element that you mentioned about building another podcast is, you know, you have to be very careful with, with your resources and you have to, you know, look at every new campaign that you run in the total pipeline. Like, will this take away from something else that we can be doing by doing this? Because no matter what campaign you work on, it will take time. Like everything has some time elements into it. You can't just like even do a social campaign without investing time into it. Right. So everything has to be weighed. And it's a great lesson to learn because in the future you run into that, you know, a lot more. And then speaking of looking forward and looking in the future, you know, what are the new challenges or opportunities that you see here in 2021 with things maybe, you know, getting some sense of normalcy later with, you know, maybe a challenger brand like you know, like another social platform coming out, anything exciting or scary maybe?

HP (37:03):
I think that podcasting is going to continue to be a thing people are talking about. And I think the challenge for us at Casted and maybe even marketers, right, is I still think that we're challenging the conversation about where podcasts fit, how they can be used, and they don't necessarily live in this separate Island. I still think that there's a long way to go to educate people and to get people on board realizing that podcasts are just conversations. And so conversations can turn into so many different things. I think one of the statements that I like to combat a lot is people saying things like podcasts are only for brand awareness. Well, they're only for brand awareness, if that's the limitation of what you're putting it out there, but if you unpack your podcast and you turn it into all sorts of content, that content has the opportunity to convert. That, you know, social tweet or whatever you're sending out, has the opportunity to bring new people to your website and get new eyes on it and ultimately convert, right.

HP (38:00):
If you're bringing people to the podcast or to these different things. So kind of challenging people to think outside the confines of what we've defined podcasting is up until this point. And I think a challenge is still going to be finding a place in budget for things like podcasting. I think it's still a relatively new medium and phenomenon. And I think people are still having to fight to have some kind of a budget to work within that. You know, maybe that's PTSD for my last company where I had to prove every dollar, you know, even with our podcast. Even as we said, it's just for brand awareness and it's bringing in all these different things, but I think that that's going to continue to be a challenge until we unlock some of these. So more people are seeing the value in what podcasting can actually be.

DA (38:46):
I think so much of that is also like, like you said, it's just, strategy's not fully baked. It's not having full analytics or full understanding of those distribution channels or how, you know, a podcast can be the starting point. Yeah. Maybe brand affinity, but because of that, you're now creating a lead six months later, right? Like those are the things that are hard to justify to people that don't understand that life cycle. So it's really just getting a better understanding of like the customer life cycle in general. I think technology is headed that direction where we're getting a better understanding of that stuff. But that was a fantastic answer. What I want to do now, Holly is jump over to our lightning round questions. Five quick questions that you can answer with the first best thought that comes to mind. You're ready to get started.

HP (39:27):
I'm ready.

DA (39:28):
Deep breath. You got this. All right. What advice would you give for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing today?

HP (39:37):
Ooh. One, someone told me this once and it has just sat in my head. Everything is a test. You can't go in thinking that everything that you've ever done at another company is going to work here because it's brand new, you're growing an audience, you're doing all these different things. And so just give yourself grace and realizing that you're testing things and you're pivoting and it's going to be okay if things don't go exactly as you plan, just be prepared to take that test and that learning and move on. Additionally, lean into reusing and repurposing. If you are a startup and you are a lean team, that is the best advice I can give you is to tap into what you've already done and look for ways to reuse it and repurpose it, especially if it's working

DA (40:22):
Goes back to that resourcefulness, right, with utilizing what you have and the time. What skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

HP (40:31):
Oh, being human. I think, you know, we're seeing in the world that as consumers, we want to be treated as consumers and people and humans more than a sale. And I think the faster that B2B teams start realizing that and leaning into being people and human and having conversations and conversational marketing the better.

DA (40:57):
I love that answer. That's great. What about a best educational resource you'd recommend for learning about marketing or growth?

HP (41:03):
There are so many, this is hard. One thing I will say is, I don't know if you know who Dave Gerhardt is? Yeah, I'm in, I'm part of the DG marketing group. This is kind of like a plug for him, unbeknownst to that. But it's been super valuable to be, you join this group, you get access to a Facebook group and you get access to lots of content that he produces. And while I'm sure the content is great, the reason I'm there is for kind of the community. So just being able to see what people are posting, you can post questions and all of these marketers from all around the world and all sizes of companies come in and jump in with answers. And it's been super helpful just to learn from other people who are maybe in the same stage that I am, or maybe a year ahead of me versus like trying to scour the internet for those types of things.

DA (41:51):
Is that a Facebook or a Slack group?

HP (41:52):
It's a Facebook group.

DA (41:54):
Awesome. I will have to check it out. It sounds great. I thought for sure, you're going to say, you know, SaaS Breakthrough podcast.

HP (42:00):
Yeah. That one too. That one too.

DA (42:04):
What about a favorite tool you can't live without?

HP (42:06):
Oh man. Can I say Casted? I'm kidding. I do use Casted every day. But I would say I'm a huge planner. So having a tool like, like we use Asana. But a tool like Trello, Asana, I've used Confluence in my past, which I hated, so I could live without that one. But some way to kind of keep track of like, what's coming up, what we're working on. If I don't have access to that tool, I just use a good old fashioned Google sheet.

DA (42:39):
Yep. That works great. No, I totally agree. Notion is what we've been using lately and that's been a great tool, for you to look at. What about a brand, business, or team that you admire today?

HP (42:49):
Oh, that's good. That's good. I love Drift. I've gotten to know like different people from that team, just having worked a little bit with them and I just love the idea of like, you know, being conversational. So I've been following them for a really long time. You know, back since like DG was a part of that team and building things up. And I just think that they've done a really good job of embracing kind of being authentically them and using the people there and the voices and the experience and expertise to kind of drive their company forward. Additionally I love OpenView. I don't know if you, it's a venture company, but they do some really cool things with podcasts and videos. So I like them a lot too.

DA (43:33):
I'll have to check them out. Yeah. I think Drift is going to go down as our number one most recommended brand, business, or team that marketers admire so kudos to them, but we'll have to check out OpenView. With that said, Holly, you did a great job. Thank you so much for jumping on with me today, sharing about podcasting, what's working at Casted over the past year there and really appreciate your time.

HP (43:53):
Thanks, David. This was so fun.

DA (43:55):
It was fun. Thanks again for jumping on and we'll talk to you soon.

HP (43:57):
All right. Thank you.
(...)

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