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Everything We Did Wrong When We Launched a Podcast
34 Min Listen

Everything We Did Wrong When We Launched a Podcast

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About the episode

Season 1 of Re:Growth is packed with marketing knowledge, but it also taught us a lot on the production and launch side of things. Looking back, there’s a lot of things our team did well, did terribly, and will never, ever do again.

In this episode, host Matthew Kammerer is joined by Josh Schnell and Vanessa King from BuySellAds’ very own marketing team. Learn all about the behind-the-scenes successes and mistakes from Season 1 including how we got buy-in from executives for a podcast, how we royally screwed up our editing process, and the thing we did that really impressed our guests (even the veteran podcasters!).

You can connect with the marketing team on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Don’t have 30 minutes to spare? Jump ahead to key sections outlined below, or keep scrolling for a full transcript of the episode.

  • [00:35] Were LinkedIn videos worth it?
  • [04:55] What was the effect of sticking to B2B marketing strategy as a topic?
  • [07:39] Did we mix up our guests enough in Season 1?
  • [10:25] How do you create a podcast launch strategy?
  • [13:35] Is short and sweet or conversational better for podcasts?
  • [16:00] How do you create an efficient editing process?
  • [18:15] Why should you ask persona-based questions to guests?
  • [24:20] The surprising benefit of bringing in other teams to work on a podcast
  • [29:30] How do you create great sound quality with remote interviews?

Episode is brought to you by

  • Matthew Kammerer
    Matthew Kammerer
    Show Host
  • Vanessa King
    Vanessa King
  • Joshua Schnell
    Joshua Schnell

Show Transcript

Matthew: On today’s episode, we’re doing things a bit differently. I’m joined by Josh and Vanessa from the marketing team at BuySellAds to talk about everything we learned from producing Season 1 of Re:Growth… the things we did right, the things we did wrong, and the things we will never, ever do again. If you’re thinking of launching a podcast or just find delight in our misery, this episode is a must listen. Let’s dive in.

So one of the things that we did that worked really well was diving in on the LinkedIn video train a little bit. So we all did a short video clip and posted it to LinkedIn and all saw different results. I think we all have different network sizes and folks that we’re connected with. I saw some interesting insights that were a little bit different than others. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?

Josh: I would say as a team we probably have an intermediate level of experience with LinkedIn. We don’t really use it too much, until recently. So doing these videos was a little bit eye opening for us. Our key persona for the podcast was intermediate marketers looking to take the next step in their careers, looking to get advice and ideas from both customers and marketers at companies that we admire or would like to work with. For us that tends to be in the tech space, companies that are focused on developers or designers. Once we got these videos online promoting the launch of the podcast, we started seeing a lot of really cool companies consuming the podcast. Companies like HelloSign, RackSpace, Atlassian, New Relic, Apple. Which is actually a really good indicator that we were kind of right on target for our core personas. How did it play out for you guys?

Vanessa: One thing I find interesting about BuySellAds is we’re a remote company, so I think in most cases if we were based in the same city, we would have seen a lot of the same results in terms of companies. But one thing I really noticed was from Drift and HubSpot viewing my video, most of my people were from Boston, which is pretty cool since I’m not based out of Boston. Being able to see that reach and analytics was cool on the LinkedIn video.

Matthew: I had a similar result with HubSpot and Drift being really heavy on the top. But then San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, LA.

Josh: I noticed my results seemed to be really circling around Jackie at HelloSign. She’s a guest on one of our episodes, recommend checking that out. Maybe what’s happening is we’re piggybacking on the traffic a little bit of some of the guests we had on. Which is awesome, that was something we set out to do but we weren’t expecting it to play out on LinkedIn that way.

Vanessa: That’s interesting about LinkedIn, though. Because a lot of times in marketing circles a lot of people will either be in the camp that it’s great for B2B marketing or that LinkedIn is just what people go to when they want to change jobs. I think we’ve found it’s actually really good for the B2B outreach stuff both in our campaigns and this launch.

Josh: I think it’s a little bit sign of times. Professionals are kind of getting tired of the drama surrounding Facebook, Twitter can become a bit toxic at times. And if you’re just in the market for opportunities to learn new things, especially on a professional level, I see more people moving towards LinkedIn to do that.

Matthew: Same thing I was going to say. Professional development doesn’t have a space anymore because Twitter has been overrun by politics or this and that. Facebook has changed what we’re seeing so rapidly that it doesn’t really fit into the same space, even with hobbies. I think that LinkedIn has made that jump as a place where you turn on Premium when you see who’s looking at your profile and look at job offers to a place where you’re growing professionally. I don’t even know if they made big changes for that to happen, I think it was all external.

Josh: Yeah, absolutely. The thing I really like about LinkedIn versus Facebook. We run ads on Facebook predominantly for top of funnel things. So one of our strategies internally is to grow our newsletters through Facebook ads, and that works really well for us but we end up getting a lot of sign ups using Gmail accounts and stuff like that. So it’s really hard to know who’s subscribing to your podcast unless you really deep dive the accounts and try to find these people. Whereas even just a brief overview that LinkedIn gives offers so much visibility into our targeting and demographics and whether or not we’re missing the mark right away. It’s super valuable for us.

Vanessa: Something I think we also did that was different and good was picking a niche and sticking to it. I listen to a lot of marketing podcasts, and I find in a lot of cases only certain episodes actually interest me because they jump around from B2B to B2C to tactic to strategy and it’s just all over the place. Whereas we really narrowed in on B2B strategy, which definitely narrows who’s going to listen but also makes us more interesting to the people who actually have something to learn from that or are interested in it.

Josh: It was really interesting coming up with our guest list. We set out to do a handful - I think it was 10 originally, then we ended up scaling back to six. But even during that early brainstorming we started finding people at companies that were more B2C and constantly had to remind each other that B2B was the goal for us. It’s a hard thing to do to stay on niche like that, especially for a business based podcast.

Vanessa: And something Matthew flagged early on was that getting B2B guests was probably going to be harder than B2C because B2B tends to be more secretive and competitive than B2C.

Josh: How do you think that played out, Matthew? Were you surprised by how open everyone was or did you still find them to be closed off?

Matthew: I was surprised at some of the depth that was given. I wouldn’t say that I had every question answered that I was looking to have answered. I dug deeper into some that I would like to have, and my personality leans towards making a joke about something if I want to go deeper. So people can either laugh that off or be like, oh yeah we can dive a little deeper. I didn’t make it as uncomfortable as I could have made it. The most important thing for me is people getting practical information out of these things. I don’t just want to tell a biography of somebody’s work history because we’re not looking to replicate somebody’s experience here. So it was interesting. The hard part for sticking to B2B which paid off in the results is it is harder to produce a set number of interviews, valuable content. The diversity happened organically based on people’s experience so we didn’t ask the same questions every podcast, we had a nice specialty that happened through each of our guests’ experience. But it’s definitely a lot harder than Vanessa’s experience of listening to other marketing shows. If we could go broad on this and talk about a little bit of everything, we could have a show twice a week and never run out of guests. But it’s also not really what we were looking to prove out. Do you think that we mixed up our guests enough? Could we have done anything different?

Josh: That’s a loaded question. So at BuySellAds, Vanessa and I joke a lot that we have 10 personas that we chase because we’re a two-sided marketplace with all kinds of different channels and stuff. I think we hit the bulls eye right in the middle of where we needed to be that we could go broad enough to cover all of our personas but also specific enough that anyone who fell outside of the personas might not be as interested in our podcast. If I were to do it over again, I’d like to see some of our larger clients or feedback from agencies because we do work with them a bit. I think they’d have a completely different perspective on what marketing looks like than some of the companies we did interview.

Vanessa: I think one of our strategies for the first season to get people interested was to get those bigger names. Personally, when you read a headline that Slack does something or HubSpot does something, you pay more attention than if they’re a new startup in the space. So I think that was definitely part of our strategy with who we ended up talking to. But that said, in future seasons it’s still our plan to narrow in on a few marketing channels or strategies or ways of thinking, and then I think we can open the field to a lot of different sized companies and not just the big people in the space.

Josh: That’s important to highlight because when you’re launching any marketing program, but specifically a podcast, if you don’t have a go to launch strategy that includes leveraging your guests’ audience, you’re in trouble. It’s going to a long, slow growth curve. So definitely keep your eye on people who have followings or people who are already social online and see if you can leverage them to expand your audience quickly. That said, I’m also a really big fan of talking to the little guys. They’re new to an industry, they’re doing really crazy things that might not be established because they have to be scrappy. It would be really interesting to deep dive those marketing plans with startups. The teams that are ten or less, I think there would be a lot to learn there.

Matthew: Talking about that launch strategy, I think that was one of our major strengths. The document that Vanessa created about the 15 things we were going to do as soon as this goes live. How did we have the insight to do that? It covered everything and more that I could think of from the outside of only ever consuming podcasts and never producing one. It was critical and it impressed folks who we worked with. They were excited to see the social media images and the taglines prepared, and suggested quotes and independent landing pages. All of those things made the experience better for the folks who wanted to share it afterward who were part of the show. I think that really drove initial growth and folks listening right off the bat.

Vanessa: We definitely benefited from the fact that both Josh and Tyler, who was the designer who worked on all of that stuff, have run podcasts themselves in the past, and Tyler currently runs one. Our team definitely had a lot of experience there that I didn’t personally have.

Josh: Something we realized early in the planning stages was for us to be successful, we had to make sure the guests we had on looked great. That was going to include getting them assets and helping them promote their episodes, because as you said, not a lot of people think about that. We wanted to make sure we were giving everyone all the opportunity we could to have assets to share on their social networks. One of the critical flaws of launching a podcast or app or product is people just assume that if they build something, people will show up. That Field of Dreams mentality does not work. You have to push the envelope online, you have to constantly be talking about what you’ve built or are launching. So we looked at it through that lens a little bit and right off the start, we wanted a good launch strategy. It ended up being a six week plan where we were launching episodes, taking a week to launch round up articles, and spread out the timelines for our launch. Honestly most of the high fives for that should go to Vanessa.

Vanessa: I will share those high fives with the entire team. It was really a team effort.

Matthew: Do you think that if we released one episode a week the impact would have been different than pushing all of the episodes out on the first day?

Josh: If I were to do the launch again, I would cut our episodes for launch day in half. So we launched with all of our episodes at once because we wanted people to be able to deep dive them. I would probably launch three and then have a nice week after week episode lined up for three weeks. What we were seeing was a huge influx of interest that day one and then it’s kind of slowing down over time. The worry now is that people will forget about us by the time we get Season 2 out there. So I would definitely at least keep one in in the chamber that you can immediately update within a week. That’s definitely a lesson learned.

Matthew: So another piece of feedback we got on Facebook and in some of the iTunes reviews was they liked the speed and how we condensed the podcast into just being the meat, there wasn’t a lot of downtime. I kind of wished we had more conversation, it was a confidence point for me the first time around. I didn’t really feel like I could dive deep into some of these things without throwing people off or even being able to carry the conversation myself. So I think it was two-fold. It was partly you guys did a great job editing that. So I’d like to hear how you guys made those decisions. I also think it was partially on me for not breaking free from our core points.

Josh: Well, I just want to say upfront that the growth from episode one to six. I should clarify the episodes as they’re posted aren’t the same order that we recorded them in. But from the first episode we recorded to the last, the growth and the change was phenomenal. You did a fantastic job of pushing yourself to get better and buy the end, I would have assumed you were doing it for years.

As for edits and length of episodes, Vanessa and I are both really good at pointing out the things we really do not like. When were talking about what we wanted the podcast to be, both of us were like, longer episodes are hard to dedicate time to, let’s keep it short. We had a hard 30 minute length for an episode. We wanted people to be able to listen on a commute to work and that’s about 30 minutes. We didn’t want people coming back to an episode that’s 3 hours long. So we worked really hard to record as long as had to, and then condense and cut parts of the episodes to get them to that length.

The other thing that’s pretty common is as you get more professional editing and turn more into a radio show, you realize that not everything is worth publishing online and there’s duplication in points and stories between guests. So we took those out.

Matthew: So do you wait to edit everything at the end so you don’t have that overlap? We have that advantage, because we were saving everything.

Josh: Yeah, we did. Vanessa and I got together in person, which is rare for a remote company and for three or four of the six episodes, we knocked out rough edits in two hours maybe.

Vanessa: I’d say that that editing process probably wasn’t as efficient as it could have been.

Josh: No. That’s true. That’s definitely under a lessons learned. We went back adn forth between editing this thing internally and getting a company to edit it for us. We did some research and got a few companies involved in that process. One of the biggest hurdles that you’ll have launching a podcast internally is buy-in. A lot of companies don’t see podcasts as being a scalable program. Stakeholders are always a little bit worried about the time that goes into those things. So we were very conscious about how much time we were putting into this, so we thought a professional editor could do the long edit process. In hindsight, that wasted more time than it was worth and doubled our workload. That’s a little bit like any freelance situation where they’re learning your standards and expectations up front so it’s a bit unfair to expect things from them. But for Vanessa and I who have experience in this thing, it ended up being a better episode when we took the reigns ourselves.

Vanessa: But it does mean that some of the content that’s in the articles in our blog about these specific interviews have content in them and really great insight in them that didn’t make it into the podcast because we wrote those before we had the final podcasts. So definitely check those out because there are a few things in each blog post that aren’t necessarily covered in the podcast.

Josh: That part of the process, we duplicated a lot of work. I say we, I mean mostly Vanessa. How many times did you listen to those episodes?

Vanessa: I’ve listened to all of them like 10 times.

Josh: Which is good, because it lets you create awesome articles and gives you a high level understanding of what’s going on across your episodes, but at the same time it’s kind of unnecessary too. I’d recommend making sure you have your final edits before you set out to do secondary content. We were trying to be too efficient and it ended up making us really inefficient.

So one of the things we set out to do with this podcast was not only create a great podcast, but get an opportunity to speak to customers and ask them questions that would help us develop our personas a bit more. Normally those conversations are difficult to have with customers because when they know what you’re getting at or what you’re asking them is to help you sell them better, they can be standoffish. One of our ideas was to create a podcast with an environment where we were sharing ideas and it would let us weave in some persona based questions or jobs to be done questions. It gives you the ability to ask sales-y questions to them and get their perspective on things like why they’re buying, and what they do, and what their day to days look like. Matthew, how did you find that go?

Matthew: When you’re doing a sales pitch to somebody or you’re working on a renewal, sometimes when you ask these questions they can be completely ignored. So, what I try to do instead if build the trust upfront and then create a conversational dialogue where they’re in this habit of diving deep and trying to provide that useful information because they know where this content is going. Once you get in that pattern, it was really easy to slip in a few questions that I really wanted to know from a sales perspective working on their account or approaching to work on their account. I would ask questions like, how do you move this outside of your unit? How do you measure performance on something like this? How do you make a decision on this versus this? Those questions weren’t terribly relevant to the broader topics we were discussing about B2B, but they knew me and they associated these questions with me so it flowed nicely and we were able to tie in that edit process afterwards and cut things that weren’t universally applicable but that we could still learn from. That was a cool benefit for us internally that we don’t really talk about a whole lot.

Josh: Yeah, when you’re doing a podcast for marketing reasons, it is really important to have this ideal situation where you’re doing a top of the funnel marketing program where you’re going a new audience. But being able to collect that information in a meaningful way and give it to your sales team or give it to your stakeholders or leadership team and say, this is what our customers really look like and this is how they solve problems adds value internally to a program like a podcast.

Matthew: I think if you’re working to validate this as a tool or project inside of your own company, one of the pieces of advice I’d give you is write those things down that you’re gaining but you’re maybe cutting out and storing in your memory back. They’re definitely going to change the way you’re doing things, but if you have to validate this to the rest of your company, you’re going to need some sort of notepad to point to with the five things that we gained as a team when we were working on this. One of the things I’ve had time with because it’s been so spaced out, is if someone asks me a pointed conversation about an interaction I had and how we gained some sort of benefit from it, it’s so tough for me to say “That response triggered this and here we are now.”

Josh: We can talk quite literally to this because just last week we had a conversation with the leadership team being like, the podcast has launched, it’s doing great, we’re getting great feedback. Then they asked what kind of answers we received to persona questions that help us. And we just had this pregnant pause moment where we didn’t keep track of this, and of course someone was going to ask us. People are going to want to know. It’s not like you have to justify what you’ve been working on, but people are genuinely curious about the answers. So make sure you can take those things and make them actionable to make your internal teams better is something you should be thinking about through the whole process. One of things that I would say we should have done better is debriefed the persona questions specifically. We should have called out the notes we had for those persona-based questions, and we should have made sure we kept raw edits of episodes. We didn’t really have a clean, raw edit where we could go back and listen to everything, even the stuff we cut out.

Vanessa: One thing that’s cool about having the podcast from an internal perspective as well, is sometimes we’ll see questions be asked by sales team members. And it’s fun to be able to say, go and listen to what MOO’s senior marketer had to say about that in the transcript. So yes, keep that encyclopedia about all of the things you really want to get out of it, but it’s also good to have that transcript to point back to for those specific questions that come up over time.

Josh: For us internally, the point of doing this was to challenge our assumptions. I think as marketers that’s probably what your motto should be to begin with, especially if you’re the first marketer at a company or you have a small marketing team. A lot of things have been decided or programs built based on the information they had at the time. But your job as a marketer is to get done to the facts. So being able to do these persona interviews help you separate assumptions from realities and build an accurate profile that makes everyone’s lives easier. It’s going to make your landing page content clearer, it’s going to make your sales team’s processes assets better, it’s going to shorten sales cycles. It can be an uncomfortable thing to have these conversations, but once everyone realizes you’re actually trying to make things easier for everyone and help them close deals faster, there will be more excitement for these types of programs.

Matthew: Yeah, so we haven’t really had a big chance to work cross team outside of this podcast. So spurred from our collaboration so far, one of the things that I’ve taken back into the team that I lead on the sales front is to try to create some projects that have cross-team overlap. So not only has it given us a better foundation to work on projects together. Some of the earlier conversations came with hesitation and not really understanding the direction because we didn’t have insight into the personality and work style that we have now. Doing this gave me a clear indication that everything that you guys touch has 100% passion into, and it gave me the ability to better communicate and to show you my weaknesses.

And then you take that process and put it into other parts of BSA to create collaboration in different divisions. Which is kind of crazy to think about. We’re only 40-something people. Why wouldn’t we work together more? So I think this was a kick-off for us to think about how to do this better internally and it’s definitely unique to your company size.

Josh: Funny story. I had a 1:1 with a senior executive at BSA last week. Normally those calls are about lead generation and what kind of progress we’re making there. I was asked what is the number one thing that came from this podcast? I think they were expecting an answer of 100 leads. The first thing I said was alignment between sales and marketing on this project has been phenomenal. It’s brought the teams closer together, we understand each other, we understand our language a bit better, I think we appreciate each other’s struggles a bit more. They were taken back.

Yeah, there’s other business revenue goals tied to the podcast, but that was always kind of a strategy for us. We work on case studies together, we work on end of funnel content together to help the sales team convert passive interest into active leads but it kind of ends there. For marketing, we’re so far top of the funnel that I think we become unaligned pretty easily without constant communication. Being able to talk every week about these things and talk about the customer persona questions was a phenomenal experience, it aligned the teams better but it also brought you, me, and Vanessa together better as a unit. What do you think about that, Vanessa?

Vanessa: Sales is so important to what we do, simply because it’s easy for you and I as marketers—we mostly market to marketers—so it’s easy for us to say we are our audience. And we aren’t necessarily depending on what persona we’re trying to reach. So I think that’s something the sales team really is in invaluable for. It’s speaking to our customer every day and knowing what questions they’re asking and what they’re worried about and what other solutions they’re using is huge. Now that we’re all working closer together on this project, both through the podcast we were able to hear that from the customer but also able to get those insights and learnings more often from Matthew’s team because they know what we’re after.

Josh: It’s really important as a team that you learn how to leverage each other’s strengths and learn how to pave over the weaknesses collectively. Great example: really early on in this podcast planning, I got a few questions from people about why I’m not hosting. I said, Matthew talks to these people all day long, I think he’s going to be phenomenal at it. There was a bit of “I don’t know” and “He’s pretty busy”, but in that regard I recognized that was a strength of yours and I’m not super eloquent. For me, it would have been a struggle. So it was paving over that weakness and in doing so, you make really strong cohesive teams. I think that overarching theme of getting teams realigned and working together is something every company can benefit from. You’d be surprised the insights you get from just having those conversations on a weekly basis.

Vanessa: Yeah, and now Matthew on his calls sounds super crystal clear once he learned how to set up his podcast stuff.

Matthew: Yeah. I learned not as quickly as I should have. I had the microphone upside down. I think it took me posting a picture of my set up and being proud of everything I had put together, and Josh was like, wait you’ve been recording episodes with your microphone like that? It looks right to me!

Vanessa: On that note, we should probably talk about sound quality. And it was a joke we made coming into this episode recording, in that we only realized Matthew was recording right in front of a big window halfway through the season when we went to go edit it. We were like, why is it so echoey?

Matthew: I look out over my backyard so I have two big windows right behind my computer screen.

Josh: Yeah, sound quality is so important, especially for a podcast. If there’s too much ambient noise, you get taken right out of the conversation. You can’t unhear the hum or the person chewing or whatever.

Matthew: It’s funny, not a lot of people had a proper room or setup to use when we asked them. I feel like some of the larger companies probably did, but maybe they didn’t know who to ask or how to ask or where to ask. So making sure people have the correct set up for this one-time, 30 or 40 minute thing was a challenge.

Josh: But I can honestly say I don’t think any of them came out poor quality.

Vanessa: No, I was really surprised with the quality. Obviously we’re remote and Matthew did not fly out to every single guest to sit in a room with them, so I was expecting the worst and I was really pleasantly surprised with how it all turned out.

Josh: That’s one of those things, too. If you have the budget to be in the same room as your guests or you’re in a city where every company is represented, like a San Francisco or New York, you definitely want to get people in the same room. You want to be able to control mic levels live, you want to be able to see each other’s visual cues, it’s going to make the podcast easier. We didn’t have that opportunity. So it was really important to be able to communicate with each other in a way that replicated that a little bit.

So for us, we had a Slack channel opened between the three of us where we could toss each other notes or where to expand and where not to expand. That led to really good questions. The second part of that for audio quality is definitely find an app that you can trust double-end recording from. A lot of people do that manually or just record Skype conversations. We use Zencastr, and that’s a bit of a plug… not an ad. We had some problems getting started, but it’ll record separate tracks, it’ll do a separate audio edit where it will slam all the tracks together. There is a bit of audio drifting, but that was a huge, huge headache saver for us.

Matthew: Yeah, giving people warnings up front on what to expect was also critical. Every application is different but for Zencastr, if you close it when it’s done then we haven’t saved the recording that we just spent an hour on.

Josh: The other thing you did really great was before each episode you would have a conversation with the guest a little bit, you would break the ice, and you’d say, “If I just keep asking you questions over and over again or it feels like I’m being pushy, it’s just that I’m curious and I’m trying to dig into something that interests me. I’m not being rude, so if it comes off that way I apologize.” And then warning them that we’re going to be editing this. So if something came out weird or funny or sometimes people say things they shouldn’t have or talked about something they can’t talk about externally, that there is an opportunity to take a step back and clean things up.

Matthew: I enjoy watching and listening to live shows from time to time, but for the audience we were speaking to and the content we wanted to get deeper into, gaining that trust and letting people know that we’ll be editing it gave them a breath of relief. This is going to be ok, and the goal isn’t to be portrayed as someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

So if the insights we shared today have been interesting to you, and you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, go to Check us out, we finished up Season 1 and have planning laid for Season 2. We want your feedback. Go and listen to Season 1 if you haven’t already, let us know what you like or don’t like, and let’s work on Season 2 together.