Like many business owners and entrepreneurs you’re probably always searching for a new and creative way to get content out to your audience. Have you considered podcasting?
Podcasting is a great way to serve up actionable items and valuable information to your audience without necessarily having to write out content in the way you would a blog post. Podcasts allow for infinite creativity in how you go about it, and it’s not expensive or that daunting of an undertaking. Plus, a podcast can give you and your business credibility while also allowing your audience another way – besides reading it – to enjoy and consume your content.
Rich: Tyler Anderson is a social media marketing entrepreneur, speaker, and host of the Social Media Social Hour Podcast. He’s also the CEO of Casual Fridays, a social media marketing and content marketing agency. He is the co-founder and CEO of Tack, and he’s also the Executive Producer of Social Media Day in San Diego, one of the top social media day events worldwide. He is also a taller, better looking version of me. I just needed to throw that out there. Tyler, welcome to the show.
Tyler: Hey Rich, glad to be here. I will take taller, I don’t know about better looking.
Rich: Alright, we’ll let the ladies sort it out in San Diego. So one question that I wasn’t planning on asking you but now I am going to ask, tell me a little bit about Tack. I think I’ve heard you talk about it briefly on your podcast, but I’d love to know a little bit more.
Tyler: So Tack is a SaaS product – software as a service – that we developed in our agency. I’m sure some people in your audience are familiar with Basecamp, and Basecamp was initially to help the project management of this 37signals design firm. And so it’s weird because Tack is very similar. We had a pain point in our agency with a lot of the client work that we’re doing, so we built Tack to help us out with that. And then we said let’s go ahead and license this out and let other people use it too. So that’s what people are using it for.
And essentially what it is, if you’re a social media manager one of the pain points is of course coming up with great content, and we’ve seen a huge surge in user generated content. And a lot of people don’t know this but you can’t just simply take someone’s photo from Instagram and rip it and give them attribution and own legal rights to it. You have to actually have permission, especially if you’re doing social media for bigger brands.
So we used to manually do that process like messaging people asking if we can use their photo for social media marketing. And then they might say yes – or no – but we’d always have to go back and check those messages or threads, and it’s just a very painful process. And Tack simplifies that. So we can basically search Instagram for any location tag or hashtags. And now we’re leveraging customers of brands to basically power the marketing for that brand. We can do real-time engagement with it, and of course it streamlines the process of all that content. And the keyword here is “legally”.
Rich: Very cool stuff. I didn’t know that that was your company, so I’ve already learned something new. So you run an agency similar to the way that I run flyte new media, tell me a little about how you started Casual Fridays and what you do there.
Tyler: So Casual Fridays I started in 2009. My background was in traditional media, so I worked in radio but pretty much advertising and marketing was in my blood. That was pretty much right out of college and I did that for about 8 years.
I was also an early adopter. When social media kind of took off with MySpace – literally I was about 23, 24 – I was right out of college, not a lot to do on the nights and weekends when I’d get done working. So I spent a lot of time on MySpace, probably more than I should be admitting here. But I kind of felt the power and the impact of it, so while I was at a radio station and working with clients like Pepsi and Riven Water, in addition to the traditional media that they were doing I was creating promotions through MySpace to help amplify what we were doing for them. And we thought this was going to be impactful, this is the future of marketing and advertising. And so I continuously started integrating social media campaigns, and this is all around 2005 -2006.
A totally funny story, I remember we had this young kid who was new to our staff and that’s when I first saw Facebook because he was right out of college, but this was when you couldn’t get an account if you weren’t in college. And I remember looking at that thing and thinking that will never make it.
But fast forward to 2009, I climbed the corporate ladder because of my successes, but nobody was really giving social media the credibility that it deserved in the traditional media space, particularly the local media agencies that were here in Southern California. So that’s when I went to a few clients that I had great relationships with and I said this is where it’s going here, would you pay for my ideas and concepts? And they said, “absolutely”, so I left my traditional media job and I had 5 clients to start. And fast forward to today, Casual Fridays went from a team of 1 to now a team of over 30 with operations here in San Diego but we also have teams in Atlanta, New Orleans and South Florida.
Rich: Wow, fantastic. So you’ve got all this success with your agency and you start this thing Tack as a way of getting rid of this pain point. So why do you start a podcast?
Tyler: So here I am talking to all these brands about how they should be using social media as well as content marketing and creating content, yet I hate writing, Rich. I can’t stand to write long-form content. And I knew the thing I needed to do was create long form content – as well as just content for my website – to help people with local SEO, to help with SEO in general, to give me content to share across social media that is not just promotional but solving people’s problems.
I always kind of had the podcasting bug and I definitely tried a podcast around 2010, which was before I knew anything about podcasting and what went into podcasting. I was literally just walking through the Apple store and I saw the blue Yeti microphone and I thought it looked really cool, and maybe because I worked in radio I thought I could record like 2-3 minute bits. And then I was hosting them on my website – which is a big no no – and I kind of just let it go because they really weren’t’ that good and I didn’t really have a structure to them.
And then when I kind of got the podcasting bug again was the very first Social Media Marketing World when I learned about it. I met guys like Cliff Ravenscraft and Pat Flynn, I had no idea who these guys were, and now I saw how they were so successful at podcasting I thought this was how I could create content. So that’s what I did and that’s primarily our main form of content that we create at the agency, and it’s definitely helped our business grow big time over the last couple of years, where I can actually reference clients that we’ve gotten big clients as a result of the podcast.
Rich: Alright, and I want to get to that piece of it, I want to talk about some of your results. But I’m sure there are a lot of listeners here who are blogging or email marketing or on Facebook and doing social media, and it seems like sometimes the audience size for podcasts is much smaller than for blogging or Facebook, so why should I bother with that? What do you say when you hear that kind of question or concern?
Tyler: Well there’s 2 reasons I still love the podcast – well, there’s multiple reasons – but first things first and I probably failed to mention this. So by doing the podcast I was still getting the content for my website by the form of show notes. So the show notes can be anywhere from 300 to 600 words sometimes, summaries of each episode. So in theory those became the blog post, too. And then we’re embedding, so that was my way to create the content.
So we’re still getting written content on our website which is driving traffic to the website, but then we’re also getting the benefit of having a form of content that people can consume in their car or walking the dog or at the gym, and we’re also getting the other metric of downloads and how many people are consuming that.
So you’re definitely right, you’re maybe not going to get immediate traction – and I don’t know about you with Agents of Change or how long you’ve had it – but everybody might get that “new and noteworthy” bump, and then it kind of goes down. And the numbers rule that people told me with podcasting is that you’ve got to stick with it, and a lot of the reasons podcasts fail is that they kind of quit after episode 13.
I just made a commitment that I was going to go all in on this, and I definitely saw a decline after my “new and noteworthy” bump on iTunes. But I stuck with it and it slowly grew, and if you fast forward to today, I’m proud of where my numbers are. Am I getting Pat Flynn numbers, no way. Am I even getting Michael Stelzner numbers, no way. But I am averaging about 30,000-40,000 downloads a month, which I think is pretty good.
And the most important thing is I’m seeing results from it. I’m seeing clients who are coming to us and when I ask how they found out about us, they say they heard about us through our podcast. So that’s how I’ve quantified it.
Rich: That’s awesome. Now so you get that initial bump from “new and noteworthy”, but then once you’re out of that 8 week golden time, what things are you doing specifically to keep interest up in the podcast, keep people coming back, and gain new subscribers?
Tyler: I definitely think you’ve got to have good content. I’m maybe a little lucky because I did come from radio and I have some connections in there and I understood the structure of what makes a good show. I literally was talking to my friends who run morning shows and I asked them how do you plan for a show, what goes into that. And they taught me about this thing called a “runner show”, and I literally create a runner show for every podcast episode that I do. It didn’t cost me a lot but I was actually able to tap in and get some professional imaging. What imaging is – some people refer to them as you intro and outro bumpers and sound effects – and of course it’s also about having good quality audio equipment, because that’s what can make you stand out, too. And here I can record this podcast and I have 3 places that I record it, my home office, my office office, and I also record a lot when I’m on the road traveling.
Tyler: Yeah. Probably at least 20 or 30 of my episodes are just on the road traveling, and I do so with a simple $80 microphone that I can plug into my laptop. Does it sound as amazing as my office or home studio setup? Maybe it’s like 90%, so it’s pretty good. So you can do it pretty much anywhere in my opinion.
Rich: So we’re starting with good content for sure, but are you doing things like sending out an email newsletter, do you promote it through social, are you being active as a guest like you are right now on other podcasts?
Tyler: Definitely yes to all of them, and I’ll explain kind of how. So definitely promote on social. Now one thing we have not done – what I’m not opposed to, it’s just been low on the pecking order – is we’ve done no paid promotion, so I’ve never amplified content or boosted posts about the podcasts to run targeted ads. I’m not saying we wouldn’t down the road.
Rich: So let me pause you right there if you don’t mind me asking. I have been in the same boat and I have thought about whether I could get a boost by spending some money on it. But I’ve always held back on that because I’m just thinking that on Facebook it doesn’t seem like a natural fit. Sure I’ll promote the post and send people to the webpage, but if somebody is scrolling through on Facebook, I don’t know that they want to stop and switch over to a completely different app and start listening to 30 minutes of content. That to me doesn’t seem like a natural segue and so I haven’t been interested in spending any money on it. Is that some of your reasoning, do you have other reasons why you haven’t done it?
Tyler: Partially yeah, because the reason I’ve been hesitant to do it is I don’t want to sit there and promote the show notes. Because you’re right, they could be sent over to Safari or they could open it up they’re really going to listen to the podcast right within Facebook and it’s not like a video can keep scrolling and consume the video. The minute they hit the back button or they want to consume more Facebook they’re going to be closed out.
If I were to do it I’d probably take the direct link to my iTunes profile and I’d probably run ads promoting just the show with a simple call to action, “If you want to learn actionable social media tips”, and I would probably run promoting the link to my actual show with a call to action to subscribe. Then if they actually click on that ad in Facebook or Instagram, it’s going to open the iTunes app and they can subscribe. That’s probably my goal. And then if they subscribe, hopefully they’ll consume more of my content and I’d of course target that specifically for iPhone users and I’d take the Google URL for the Google play link and run that and target Android users. So that’s what I would do to see if I could get a bump. But again, I have not tried that.
Rich: I would feel better about it if I could get some Google Analytics into iTunes so I would see which of my links are actually driving audience and subscriptions. I’d be probably more interested in spending money that way.
Tyler: And that’s the one way, too, where podcasting is not quite there yet with the analytics. Really the big benchmark we get right now – we get nothing from iTunes – we get the hosting downloads. Then you can of course try to cross that with any website traffic and you can determine if it’s a success. But again kind of going back to how I do quantify, I will source all new clients that we get at our agency. I’ve only seen a handful, but really big clients come in through the podcast.
Rich: Absolutely. So that kind of gets me back to what my question is which is what kind of tangible results have you gotten from the podcast, and also how do you tie in the Social Media Social Hour to Casual Fridays? Because like you, I have the Agents of Change podcast, but my agency name is flyte new media.
Tyler: So the podcast is always produced by Casual Fridays. So we have those kind of integrated in our bumpers on the podcast. With tying it into Casual Fridays, I don’t necessarily have on the cover art or anything that it’s a Casual Fridays podcast, I don’t use the logo, it’s really meant to establish that brand authority.
Where I’ve also seen a great benefit is when we’d have people actually come – and even if they don’t listen to the podcast – it creates instant credibility. So maybe when we’re submitting a RFP one of our last slides is “agency differentiators” and what I can clear up about data about our podcast as being one of the top ranked podcasts in iTunes on social media marketing and reference links from Entrepreneur on “6 Podcasts You Must Listen To”, that builds credibility.
So to that decision maker who’s maybe making the decision on which agency they’re going to go with, that establishes credibility and here’s this podcast produced by our agency and here I’m the CEO leading the team as the face of the podcast, it kind goes full circle. So that’s kind of how we integrate it with Casual Fridays.
Rich: Man, I wish I had been collecting all those random rewards, awards, or certifications that I’ve gotten over the years for the Agents of Change podcast. Now I feel like I am missing out on that. That’s very smart.
Tyler: Every time any of those things come out, which let’s be honest, I like them but I also dislike them too because they’re usually just some contributor’s opinion.
Rich: Of course.
Tyler: But still, for the clients…
Rich: It’s social proof.
Tyler: Exactly, it’s social proof. So I use that app called Pocket – I’m sure you’ve seen it – and every time those articles come out I’m just saving those away and screenshotting them and throwing them in a file so we can build that into any decks that we need to.
Rich: So I know that you’re busy, how do you fit podcasting into your day? Do you block out time each week specifically for it, is it kind of catch as catch can, how much of a priority is it? Like if you’ve got a deadline coming how do you justify getting on the phone with someone and interview them?
Tyler: I try to reserve – I’m not perfect with this – and I try to be accommodating to my guests so there’s two sides of this. One, 80% of the time my show does have guests. Part of the reason why I started to do some shows solo is for two reasons. One is for the time, because you’re right, sometimes it is heard to coordinate schedules with guests and I might be looking at my calendar and I’m going to be busy for 2 weeks traveling, I just won’t record any episodes in that time but I can record a solo show from the road in my hotel room. And I’ve done that, so that’s one of the reasons why I try to record on Mondays.
But the other reason is it’s all about backing. So there’s some days when I’ll have 3-4 podcasts interviews set up with guests on a Monday and I’ll record all of them on that day. That’s great, but then now maybe I don’t need to record the next 2 Mondays. And in a perfect world I like to have about 2-3 episodes in the can. I used to go even more, sometimes I’d have up to 5, 6 or 7 in the can. And while that’s good there’s also times where I might have had a guest on and we talk about a topic, I really do try to make the content as evergreen as possible, but sometimes I’ve had people on the show and then literally 2-3 weeks after I record it but it has not yet gone to air, maybe that platform that we were talking about had a major change.
One that jumps out at me is when I had Viveka von Rosen and we were talking about social selling on LinkedIn. Of course when we recorded it a week later they rolled out a whole new interface. So that’s why I try not to go too far in advance. But I think having 2-3 weeks can definitely help you, and it helps me with my busy schedule.
Rich: Yeah. So another question that often comes up – and I’m struggling with this sometimes – is how do you find your guests? You obviously are running a digital agency, do you ever worry that you’re bringing on somebody who might be seen as a competitor and might actually end up “stealing” a listener’s business from you?
Tyler: I don’t really, because at the end of the day we do have our core niche of clients we want to work with. We’re not trying to work with anybody and everybody in the world. At the end of the day a good vendor would probably be..maybe they do reach out to that competitor, but maybe they reach out to us as well. So I don’t really view it that way at all, I feel like there’s enough business for those trying to get it.
But as far as how do I find my guests, there’s a couple ways. Obviously going to an industry even is great. Next week we’ll be at Social Media Marketing World, I’m sure I’ll probably find 5-6 people I’ve never had on the show who will be on my show now. But I also like to go outside the box and I pride myself in this. I will go out and get people that I’m just intrigued by and they may not even be a “major thought leader”, or sometimes I go look at top brands and what they’re doing on social media. And if I like what they’re doing and I think it’s really cool, I’ll reach out to them and ask them and they’re usually flattered to come on the show.
I’ve had some really random guests, Rich. I’ve had everything from thought leaders in our industry like the Mari Smiths and Mike Stelzners and Jay Baers, etc. But then I’ve also had people that are maybe famous now but I had them before they really took off. Do you know who Zach King is?
Rich: I don’t. Apologies Zach.
Tyler: Zach has over 17 million Instagram followers now, but when I had him on the show he was just an up and coming Vine guy and magician, he exploded. And the only reason I had him on the show was I was on Facebook one day and somebody shared his video and said, whoever this kid is he’s genius. So I did some digging and sent him a message told him he was awesome and asked how he was creating these and suggested we do a podcast. And to this day it’s still our most visited webpage.
Rich: That’s pretty funny.
Tyler: But I had him on 3-4 years ago and now he has 17 million followers on Instagram and he’s getting hired by McDonald’s and big companies to create video content for them. And then even another total random one I had on my show, do you play Fantasy Football?
Rich: I am morally opposed to Fantasy Football so I’m going to have to say “no” to that. I’m a huge Pat’s fan, I’m a huge football fan, I think about football all the time. I just can’t get behind the fantasy aspect of it. You know what it is, I grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons and getting beaten up for it, now I’m like that’s just Dungeon’s & Dragons with professional football players.
Tyler: Pretty much, absolutely. And it’s great for degenerate gamblers, too.
Rich: And I’m not judging you, you obviously love Fantasy Football.
Tyler: So when I said I’ll go outside the box, I do play Fantasy and even if you don’t but you watch ESPN professional coverage quite frequently, you may have heard of a guy named Matthew Berry. I’ve actually had Matthew Berry on my podcast because I think he does an amazing job with managing his own personal social media, and at the end of the day he has a personal brand. I think he does an amazing job and so I had him on the show about how he goes about and his strategy with managing his personal brand.
So again, I’ve not just had social media thought leaders. I will go outside the box and with the brands sometimes I’ll find them at industry events, but then other times I’ll just literally go out and seek them out because of something they did. And one that jumps out to me there is Brooks Thomas from Southwest Airlines. The reason I had him on the show is do you remember when they had that major outage about a year ago?
Rich: Oh yeah.
Tyler: They got some praise though form some of the publications like TechCrunch and Mashable just for what he did and how they used Facebook Live to communicate with people. So he as the guy that was on the Facebook Live, so again I just did some social digging and found a couple connections that were connected to him and sent him a Facebook message and said I’d like to unpack how you guys handled this crisis you guys had. And that was the whole focus of that episode.
Rich: That’s great. And I definitely get that sometimes you go for those industry influencers and other times you just go after what you’re interested in. I’m a huge comic book fan and a few years ago I started to discover that there’s an entire industry of YouTube comic book people out there that do different aspects like breaking down episode by episode and doing these deep digs.
And one of my favorites was this guy Scott Niswander, he goes into the psychology of comic books and some really deep stuff. And he seemed to be turning it into a business from what I was seeing, and so I just reached out to him and said I’d love to learn a little bit more about what he’s doing and feature him on a shoe. And he was a great guest and I got to ask him all these cool questions and totally nerd out with him. I don’t know if that was my most popular show, but I enjoyed that one just about more than any other episode that I’d ever done. Until this one, of course.
Tyler: Until this one, right.
Rich: Alright, awesome. This has been great. So where can we find you online?
Tyler: If you want to find me personally just go to tylerjanderson.com and there I have links to all my social channels so pick your poison, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, whatever. That’s the easiest place if you want to connect with me. And the other thing you can do if you want to learn about Casual Fridays is just go to casualfridays.com. And if you want to check out Tack, you can just check out foundontack.com.
Rich: Of course we’ll have all those links in the show notes, and the full transcript. Tyler it’s great talking to you, I will see you next week at Social Media Marketing World. Of course by the time this airs it will be in the past, but looking forward to seeing you soon.
Tyler: Rich, appreciate it. Thanks for having me on your show and looking forward to seeing you.
- You can find out more about all the cool stuff Tyler is working on at his personal website, as well as his work website. And he’s all over social media, including Twitter, so be sure to look him up there and tell him you heard him on this podcast.
- Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, so he knows a thing or two about helping businesses grow and reach their ideal customers. His annual Agents Of Change Digital Marketing Conference is a treasure trove of industry thought leaders sharing their tips and strategies with small business owners. Be sure to grab a copy of his new book filled with easy to understand, actionable items to take your business to the next level.