Dive into Jonathan’s methodology on growing HubSpot's “My First Million” podcast through paid and earned strategies, along with how a numbers-driven organization thinks about attribution for what is traditionally a dark, unattributable channel.
In this first episode of BTP Season 2, we talk to Jonathan Barshop, responsible for all podcast growth at HubSpot, a company that needs no introduction. HubSpot is making major moves in the world of podcasting and is building one of the most impressive podcast networks with top shows like “Goal Digger” and “My First Million”.
We talk to Jonathan about the paid and organic channels he’s either used, is using, or plans to test to grow HubSpot's “My First Million” podcast, along with how a numbers-driven organization thinks about attribution for what is traditionally a dark, unattributable channel.
We also dive into TikTok’s effect on podcast growth and how Jonathan thinks about social attribution. This episode is full of advice for other brands who are thinking about starting a podcast or want to grow a top show.
Name: Jonathan Barshop
What he does: Head of Podcast Growth at HubSpot where he grows shows like “My First Million” and “The Hustle Daily”.
Connect with Jonathan: LinkedIn | Twitter
HubSpot was tired of renting space on other platforms and felt like they milked all their SEO juice as far as they could, so they looked at podcasting as a platform they could both own and grow that could feed into all their other marketing channels.
“Basically, they kind of tapped into all the SEO juices they really could. And so they looked at the ecosystem and we're like, okay, what are other channels that we can leverage? And that we're just tired of renting space on. And podcasting was kind of the biggest one. Podcasting is something they've been doing also for the last 5-7 years. And so they had some experience there and a lot of the content that they're making on these podcasts are transferable to the blog, to YouTube, etc. So it just made sense for it to be the cornerstone of all the other strategies that we're building.”
With HubSpot being a data-driven organization, it’s important for them to track their cost per download, which equates to the number of downloads per dollar spent and the number of subscribers per dollar spent. Jonathan says it’s important to keep the range between $1 to $5. Anything lower typically translates to lower quality, short-term listeners.
“Ideally across all of our paid strategies, the average CPM is in the $1 to $5 range. You can pay 50 cents or less per listener, but you're going to get very, very, shitty listeners generally. It might not be like a click farm per se, but that's kind of what we're seeing on some ends. Some of those campaigns drive a good amount of downloads, but almost none of them end up staying.”
When creating scripts for host-read ads, focus on a happy medium between open-ended and highly scripted. Jonathan suggests using Jordan Harbinger’s talking points as a template and recommends giving the host 3 episodes from your show to choose from to call out in the read.
“Think about it in that way of what's scripted enough to where they don't miss any of the key things, and what's not overly scripted to where they can like still freestyle a bit? Rather than giving the host a laundry list of episodes to choose from, let me just pick three that I know will play well in an ad read, and then if they want to expand on it, great. But if they just mentioned, ‘Hey, they bought Michael Jordan's home or they want to buy Michael Jordan's home and turned him into a museum,’ it would still turn out good.”
The best way to do that, according to Jonathan, is through giveaways. Dedicate a portion of your budget to a giveaways contest, like Jonathan did with My First Million. Anything you can do to entice listeners to subscribe over a short period of time will help you move the needle and increase your chart rankings.
“Number of subscribers over a short period of time is the biggest driver there. We did that early on and we got 300 plus reviews in 14 days, which was incredible, but it didn't really move the needle. Then, we did a more dialed-in [giveaway] where you can win 60 minutes with Sam and Shaan if you follow My First Million on Apple Podcasts and that worked. We got to the number 4 spot in the entrepreneurship category and 15 on business. But it's hard to do that really well.”
You can absolutely create video content from your podcast in-house using programs like Descript. However, Jonathan says if you want something with more “virality” for a platform like TikTok, you need to be prepared to dedicate 3+ hours towards scripting, finding B-roll footage, and editing. In this case, you might want to consider hiring outside help or working with a video editing agency if you don’t have the talent in-house to create that level of content.
“Do you want to just focus on TikTok and have someone pull those clips and make those style videos and have a huge opportunity to go viral there? Or do you want to be everywhere and then edit it in Descript and pull all those clips for all the different channels and sort of do a spray and pray approach? I don't think either of them is wrong, but you just got to decide what your goals are.”
If you have a smaller budget to dedicate towards podcast growth, Jonathan recommends staying away from host-read ads and network ads, and instead focusing on guesting on other shows, running targeted Facebook ads with your video clips, and working with other podcasters on cross-promotion.
“Save your shackles. Buy Descript, figure out that workflow, and then go the route of testing a few Facebook ads, just to see if that could be a viable option, guest on other shows, find cross promos. And then you have some budget to play around with and decide, ‘What can I funnel back into the quality of the show to make it better?’”
If your goal is to start a podcast to get to the top of the charts, good luck! Jonathan says, even with wildly successful shows like My First Million, it’s a really challenging goal to run after. Instead, think about how podcasting fits into your business goals.
“I think first things first, just get real with yourself. Do you want to do it for the clout? Or do you have other business goals? If you have other business goals then perfect. Podcasting is the perfect thing for you because you can use it as a way to build relationships. You can use it as sales collateral. You can use it for so many things like that. And you have to ask yourself, ‘Is this something that I would want to do for five years on this topic?’”
Jonathan Barshop: Do you want to just focus on Tik TOK and have someone pull those clips and make those style videos, and you have a huge opportunity to go viral there, or do you want to be everywhere and then edit it into scraped and pull all those clips for all the different channels and sort of, you know, do a spray and pray approach.
I don't think either of them is wrong, but you just got to decide what your goals are.
Jeremiah: Hey there, welcome to brands that podcast each week we talk with the people running podcast strategies as successful brands. So you can learn how to grow your company through podcasting
today's guest is Jonathan barbershop. He's responsible for all podcasts growth at HubSpot, a company that needs no introduced. What is notable is that they've made major moves in the world of podcasting. Recently, they're building one of the most impressive podcast networks I've ever seen. Acquiring top shows like Digger and my first million to join the network.
I was eager to talk to Jonathan for a few reasons. First. So many brands are developing podcasts, especially this year. It seems, but I don't know that I've ever seen any marketing teams dedicate an entire role to podcast growth. Second podcasting is relatively uncharted territory for lots of marketers. I think sometimes we forget how much preexisting infrastructure there is to help us understand things like paid ads, SEO, or conversion optimization.
For example, if you want to learn how to grow organic site traffic, there's a million guides you can read, but there are not many resources or people talking about how to grow listenership of podcasts beyond the basic stuff. Like keep going and have good content. Third, you'll be hard pressed to find someone who has their ear so close to the ground on the podcast ecosystem as Jonathan.
He's one of the smartest people on this topic that I know. So I thought you'd love hearing from him. And besides that, who doesn't want to know how HubSpot arguably, one of the most recognized brands in sales and marketing is thinking about using podcast to benefit and grow their company. In this episode, here are a few themes that you're going to hear.
We'll talk about the paid and organic channels. Jonathan has either used, is using or as tested to grow. HubSpot's newly acquired my first million podcast. We'll talk about how a numbers driven organization like HubSpot is thinking about attribution for what is traditionally been a dark, an attributable channel.
We'll also learn about tick toxic effect on growing my first million. How Jonathan thinks about attribution, what can be tracked right now and what can't advice for other brands who are thinking about starting a podcast and loads more. I hope. Jonathan welcome to brands that podcasting so much for your time, man.
Jonathan Barshop: You bet pumped to be here super honored and excited to have you. And first off, congrats on your new role. You run podcast growth at HubSpot and your official title is if I saw this right. Senior podcast growth marketer, is that right? Yeah, I'd
kind of, it's more or less that it's kind of senior growth or senior marketing manager is my official title.
And then I work on the podcast team, so I just combined it two.
Jeremiah: Okay, perfect. What does that role, I mean, it sounds straightforward, but what does the role entail? Is that like, like one of the first things I was curious about when I saw it was, is it driving listeners to my first million or is it driving listeners to like eventually all shows in the HubSpot net?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah. So I started in October. So my first like 100 day roadmap was grow my first million to a million plus downloads a month. They're out around like 700,000 downloads when I joined in October and we hit the million download mark, but without, it was under the idea of like, okay, test a lot of things, you know, figure out what semi works, because a lot of the things you test in podcasting is really tough to track and then kind of build like a growth playbook from that.
So that's, I guess what I'm like three or four months in the process of doing. And then the idea is once we build that playbook, roll it out to other shows we're gonna be launching.
Jeremiah: Okay. So basically hit the benchmark, hit the goal of the million downloads, but while you're doing it, be tracking, what's working, what's not.
So that we can have like sustainable growth utilizing those channels heavier after the first hundred days. So yeah, my first million, obviously, you know, uh, Eric, for anyone who's not familiar, our founder at lemon pie is a huge fan. I dive into like probably every three or four episodes. I really enjoy the show.
I imagine a show that good. Like it's just very, like some of the most dynamic hosting, like you're going to hear in a podcast and some of the most interesting business content and guests. So I imagine that makes having content that good makes growth easier. And is the plan to work on any other shows after that and like apply that to all of them then?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah. We're actually launching the, you know, the hustle, which is an email newsletter read by 1.5 million tech, business, you know, people in entrepreneurship base space has probably heard of it. We're rolling out daily news podcasts at the end of this month, or I guess, early February. So yeah, the ideas kind of take the learnings from my first million and then use those best practices to launch in like sustainably grow this next podcast and then so on and so forth, or then launching Kieran Flanagan and Kipp Bodnar, the CMO and VP of marketing and HubSpot, they're launching a marketing podcast.
So it's like kind of copy paste, copy paste. The thing about it is, is like we're also building the plane as we fly and figuring out what works is is difficult. But when you learn a few tricks of the trade and we'll be able to like, you know, dive into that in a bit, but it is tough to create like a super repeatable playbook.
So we're just sort of trying to figure out what's working now and then, you know, double down.
Jeremiah: Yeah, your like podcast growth now I feel like as like early, it was like SEO, like early, early days. You're like, we're still trying to figure out like how this works and what works to grow it. Like now, if anyone gets hired for like an SEO role, there's tons of great blueprints for like how to go do this.
And like, pretty much the common thing I feel like you hear around podcasting growth is like have great content, have great guests, you know, maybe run some ads, like, you know, try and share it on social. There's not like a ton of like organized structure. So I'm sure if it's, it's a big challenge, you're undertaking.
Jonathan Barshop: Totally. But like you said, we do have great content, great hosts, a lot of resources to leverage through The Hustle through HubSpot. So it's like kind of a playground in some respects, but also, you know, HubSpot's very data-driven so I have to back up some of these kind of like more ambitious tests, but it's fun.
Jeremiah: Yeah, that's awesome. I'm super excited for you. For anyone who doesn't know, Jonathan probably has a better handle on the podcast ecosystem than most people you're going to find. You just like you are someone who it's like how people are with NFTs, you are with podcasting. You're like, "What is this? I love this." And you kind of like dove all the way in. And so I'm excited to chat with you.
Out of curiosity, before we get into some of the growth centered questions, The Hustle newsletter, is that going to be what it sounds like? Like somebody essentially just like reading it audibly. So if people don't have time to read the newsletter at their desk, they can listen to it on their way into work or something?
Jonathan Barshop: Kind of, it's going to have elements of that, but, you know, if it was just one of the writers reading through the email, it's not the most engaging. So it's going to be somewhere in between like Snacks Daily and, you know, a read through that.
There's also going to be like guest interviews. There's going to be panels, that kind of thing. But you can expect like Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, uh, is just like a straight read through 5, 10 minutes. And then other episodes might be like 10, 15, 30 ish minutes. But generally it's just like news delivered in your ears every morning.
Jeremiah: Awesome. That's super exciting. Can't wait to hear that when it comes out.
I'm going to talk with Alanah like more about this at your team, but I'm curious, like. I mean, HubSpot's obviously making a huge bet on podcasting. Like the network is super impressive for anyone who doesn't know, we're going to have a separate episode with the person responsible for growing that network and managing that network at HubSpot.
But so I know you're going to be ultimately responsible for like building out the playbook that grows the shows, but it's super interesting. Like, can you share anything? If not, it's fine. But can you share anything around like HubSpot's belief in podcasting or belief in audio as a channel or the, like what, what's the philosophy driving this huge investment in audio content?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, hopefully I don't butcher this. I feel like Alanah is going to be able to paint this picture a little cleaner than I am, but I think essentially, you know, HubSpot has this huge marketing brand, a huge blog that's like, you know, just absolutely crushes it. If you look up anything marketing related, you're probably going to see HubSpot on the first page somewhere.
Basically, they kind of tapped into all the SEO juices they really could. I mean, there's still other avenues, but it's like, they've really milked that for all it's worth. And so they looked at the ecosystem and we're like, okay, what are other channels that we can leverage? And that we're just tired of renting space on.
And podcasting was kind of the biggest one, you know, YouTube is there as well, but, um, that's a little bit bigger or beast in that, you know, podcasts is something that they've been doing also for the last like five, seven years. And so they had some experience there and, you know, a lot of the content that they're making on these podcasts are transferable to the blog, to, to YouTube, you know, all these things.
So it just made sense for it to be the kind of like, you know, cornerstone of all the other strategies that we're building.
Jeremiah: That's incredible, man. Yeah. It's it makes sense. Like if they felt like not that they've saturated, like obviously I'm sure there's always more keywords, always higher rankings, but yeah, to that point, I think that makes a ton of sense and like the two do play really well together and like search seems to be prioritizing audio content or will increasingly prioritize audio content. That's awesome.
So how does, like you mentioned this how's very data-driven. Podcasting is, you know, stereotypically traditionally like a pretty dark channel for attribution, unless you're going to like have, like, we do like an open, "how did you hear about us?" box and let people write in the submission.
I feel like podcasting is like, does a ton of the grunt work of being some of the core touch points of why people come to check out your brand, but it never gets proper attribution because like, you know, they'll hear a piece of software referred or read about it on G2, go listen to the podcast a few times finally be, or hear about someone on guest interviews and be like, all right, I'm gonna go check out that product.
They Google the name and like SEO gets the channel credit or like direct gets the channel credit. So being such a data-driven organization, what metrics are you being held to when they think about growth? Like how are they thinking about it? Is it like pure downloads and estimated like subscriber growth? Or is it, do they want to see like all the attribution coming from all these channels as well and are you having to like, think about that?
Jonathan Barshop: Yes, pretty much both, but you know, the core of it is, is how can we tie like a cost per download to what data we can get. And so it is like downloads per dollar spent and subscribers per dollar spent. And the way we're tracking that is kind of like, you know, so if we're advertising on a podcast player, they give us data on how many clicks we got or how many listens we got.
If we're doing it for host-read ads, which you know, is a big part of our playbook, you have to use the tool like smart, uh, sorry. Chartable Smart Promos. And you know, the kind of best case scenario there is you get like a percentage of the traffic that's coming from one of those host-read ads. Kind of like industry standard or ideal industry standard there is to try to get that in like the $3 to $5 range per download specifically through Smart promos, because here's the thing is like, you know, you could pay $5,000 for a host-read ad and it could perform super, super well, but you're only going to get a percentage of that data through Chartable.
So, you know, it might say that it's like a $5 CPM. That really, it could be like a $2, $1 CPM, but you know, the data that we have handy just tells us it's five. So, so that's kind of like the benchmark and that's what Jordan Harbinger benchmarks to as well. He tries to get roughly like the $3 to $5 CPM for host-read ads specifically.
But ideally, you know, like across all of our paid strategies, the kind of like average CPM is in the $1 to $5 range, because you can not to get too in the weeds, but you can pay, you know, 50 cents or less per listener, but you're going to get very, very, you know, shitty listeners generally. It's, it's it's, you know, it might not be like a click farm per se, but that's kind of what, what we're seeing on some ends is like none of the listeners that we get from some of those campaigns.
Drive like, you know, a good amount of downloads, almost none of them end up staying. And so still early testing of a lot of these things, but that's kind of the general philosophy.
Jeremiah: All right. So some of the things I want to ask you. Okay. So I'll take a step back before we get to like overall channels that you're using specifically.
It sounds like. So for people that aren't familiar, there's numbers of ways you can reach podcast listeners on shows they're already listening to and like get them to come on. So you're saying there's like sponsoring would be akin to like, there's this a show you like, you're pretty sure they're your target audience.
You think that they would resonate with your show as well? You go, and what's the idea essentially like strike a deal with them and be like, Hey, if you read this ad about us or recommend our show or whatever, um, and then there, there actually is a way to measure that, like for those like native host-read things?
Jonathan Barshop: And it's imperfect and you know, I've gone into the weeds to like, kind of figure out exactly all the technicalities of it, but we don't have to like dive too in, but basically yes, you can roughly attribute a download for someone who listens to your ad read.
And the way the TLDR of that is, is like, if someone let's say you're listening to Joe Rogan and you hear him promote My First Million, you hear that on your device at home, and then you go and check out My First Million, they can just through a pixel basically they can see that you listened to that Joe Rogan episode and you listened to a My First Million within like, you know, 24 hour period, 48 hour period, and so they can attribute that.
But where you run into issues is like, maybe you have an ad-blocker set up on your phone or, you know, uh, iOS 15 is making it increasingly more difficult to track. Or this is another interesting one where it's like, let's say you hear the Joe Rogan ad at home, but then you go to walk the dog, you go to the coffee shop, you download the, My First Million ad, those don't get tracked as even, or a one-to-one because, uh, two different IP addresses. So there's a lot of like technical things involved. But so, you know, I actually reached out to Chartable to see what's, you know, if we run a host-read ad, what is the percentage that we can expect to capture in Chartable through Smart Promos?
And they, of course didn't answer that, you know, they didn't want to give me a hard number, but I would have guessed it's somewhere around like, I don't know anywhere between like on a really bad performing one or a let's just use an example where Darknet Diaries, like, you know, all the listeners of that show are probably like into, you know, hackers and stuff like that.
So they probably have a ton of ad blockers. So you might only be capturing like 20% of that audience through tracking versus a normal show that maybe you get like 75%. I don't know. So that's kind of the back of the napkin math that I've kind of come to.
Jeremiah: Okay. Do you, do you, do you dive deep into this? I'm curious like, oh wait, I guess another way to do it would be like for the stuff that's like super dark when people have all the ad blockers on and are switching IP addresses, I guess you could also look at like, what your, if you're not doing any other tests, what your month, well, month over month growth has been, and then like you run that and you're like, oh, okay.
We went up about like an additional five or 10% this month. Okay. So again, like going back to basics for people that are just thinking about growing their show. So this specifically, this channel is a way of talking on other shows is through sponsoring where you're like getting them to do native ad reads.
You're identifying the show. The other one you mentioned was, is it it's called self-serve. So basically like you're going to like one of these other podcast players and you're, it's kind of like running Facebook ads or Google ads, right? Like you're identifying shows. Do you get to select the shows that they're listening to?
Jonathan Barshop: So for podcast player ads, those are just like banner ads in the podcast player. If you've ever opened up Overcast and you see an ad for a recommended show, that's one example. Yeah. So usually it's like a banner ad on a pop on a podcast player.
Jeremiah: So there's no, like, self-serve like, I'm curious about that. Like, is there, like, let's say you wanted to, or let's say like I wanted to record a 30-second spot for Lemonpie. Can I like, same with Facebook. Can I go like upload a 30-second audio file? And there's like a hundred shows that are just have open slots and I can pay like, there's like a bidding platform and I can just insert it dynamically into whatever's open that month?
Jonathan Barshop: Yes. So I think there's some tools that are trying to make that process like super easy. One that comes to mind, and I might butcher the name cause it's got some weird German name, it's like Voox. I think it's like V O O X. I might be getting it wrong, but they have something like that where basically, like you said, it's like you say, I have a whatever, like thousand dollars budget and I want to buy host-read ads on these types of shows.
You can filter it and it'll spit out like your options, basically. It doesn't have, you know, every podcast on there obviously it's, you know, a directory of the ones that they work with, but it's pretty robust and it's pretty cool. So I'd definitely check that out. Yeah. What you're talking about. If you want it to make it, you know, simplified version of like, you just create one ad and you just want that to run across an entire network.
That's what, basically I, Spotify, I heart. That's what those, uh, companies specialize in is, is like running networks ads is what they call it.
Jeremiah: And I mean, has Spotify, I haven't seen anything. I'm not as up to date as you on this up. Has Spotify opened that up? Like where businesses can just go run ads now?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah. I think they have like a minimum you have to spend and all that, but you have to have, you know, a platform where you basically run an ad across their network of shows and the Spotify, the audience, I think it's sorry. It's called the Spotify audience network. Or you can, uh, what they just released actually this past week is you can now do like display ads.
So if you've ever opened up a Spotify and you've gotten hit with like a checkout, this album or whatever, you can now do that, which I think is really interesting. I don't know. I haven't looked into it enough to know like what the dollars and cents come out to if it makes sense. But I think that's a test we're definitely gonna run in Q1. And then I want us to have like one or two other options, but that's, those are the kind of two core ones that they offer.
Jeremiah: So have you ever used the self-serve like within Spotify?
Jonathan Barshop: We ran some tests in Q4 and, you know, I think generally running networks are great for like brand recognition, but if you're trying to get new listeners, you know, think about it, it's like kind of like a radio ad. Like what percentage of people actually go check out that car dealership or, you know, the car dealership or whatever. And I think that's kind of that the same thesis with like running network ads for a podcast, especially, I mean, especially with the podcasts where it's harder to really convert a listener, but yeah, those haven't proven to be super effective, so we're probably going to shy away from them.
Jeremiah: And that's basically like, I would imagine your ad is something like, Hey, listeners of like, well, can you do it per show then? Or is it like, you just have to pick demographics and it'll serve them?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, you basically, I mean you can get like an AB test where you try one ad set, try another ad read and kind of like run them together, AB tests.
But generally it's like, yeah, you, you create an ad. It runs against all the shows for a specified period of time. Once you hit that like impression cap or, you know, the number of people who listened to it, then you've used your budget and onto the next.
Jeremiah: Interesting. Okay. Yeah, it'd be super. I mean, like if you could select and bid to the top for like specific shows, I would imagine those could be a lot more compelling.
Cause you'd be like, Hey, like, you know, it would be like serving, I don't know, like I long ago, like working for a client, I like served Reddit ads to like a specific subreddit. And you're able to be like, Hey, like suburb, like, Hey, bourbon lovers, like, and to like speak their language and stuff. But I guess like, I mean, the good thing is right for people listening, like whereas running ads on getting super targeted on, you know, Instagram or Facebook or something like that. You at least know you're getting podcast listeners. Like these is not audience that enjoys consuming long form content. It's just a matter of like, is your show compelling enough for them to come over and check it out?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, totally. I think there's some other cool things you can do with like Facebook ads to drive downloads that we're going to test this quarter. And I mean, the long and short of it is, is I would go if I were you and kind of interested in that world, I would go check out a guy on YouTube named Andrew Southworth. He's like probably the sharpest dude I know in terms of reverse engineering, how to grow your listenership on Spotify. And he's a musician, but I think the same tactics can work for podcasters. And so what I'm looking very closely with what he's doing is basically like run Facebook ads to some sort of like engaging visual via Instagram stories, and then get that person to convert to this Toneden page. Toneden is this like intermediary tool that basically is really good for tracking listeners going from Facebook to this page, to then your podcasts.
And so having tested at all, I've just been like nerding out on all the, all the details with it. But I think that's the, you know, Facebook ads towards a podcast is very difficult, but this guy has proven he can figure out how to grow his listenership on Spotify. So I think there's something there, but still early stages of figuring that out.
Jeremiah: Yeah, it's super. I mean, it's like, you knew there's going to be a lot of players in this area. Cause this is something like all marketers, most marketers, want these kinds of numbers and want it, like want to be able to tie dollars to downloads and subscriber growth. But yeah, that's super interesting.
We'll make notes in the comments. If anyone's listening, we'll uh, we'll retroactively go back and find all these podcasts nerds he's talking about and we'll link to them there. All right. So zooming out from that a little bit, those are the two channels you mentioned, right? Like, so essentially like go sponsor specific shows.
So that's the way of, like, if you do want to go after a specific show, you could go reach out to them, see if they'll do a read, actually, I guess before we leave there and kind of zoom out to all the channels you're using last thing would be any advice for people that want to test that out. Like have you, I would imagine it's like testing different like headlines or, you know, or different, like, is there an approach that works better?
Like I know we've read reports, that's like a host read ad that's like really organic versus like them reading a script or versus like them playing an audio clip of you would be like a game. It comes as like a Hardy recommendation to your point. It's like the difference of like, I've heard ads where Joe Rogan's just like reading it or Spotify like autoplays it versus when he's like, "Guys, I use this product, I use it every day, dah, dah, dah." It's like, that's, you know, way more effective. Have you come across any interesting learnings as far as your test there? Like, "Hey, this worked a lot better when we did blank."
Jonathan Barshop: This again has been three or four months into the whole process, but definitely a lot of learning. So like, you know, we've actually talked to Jordan Harbinger cause you know, this is the crux of his playbook, right? And so he's got a script that he just sends everyone. And, and if you go to JordanHarbinger.com /talkingpoints, you'll see the script. And like, you know, you don't have to read through it all. But the key things that he makes sure to call out are, at the very end he says, listen, wherever you listen to this pod or listen, wherever you're a podcast player of choices like Apple, Spotify, wherever you listen to podcasts. And he leaves it open like that, that way, you know, if he tries to drive to his website, I don't know, the guy's just tested everything and he's discovered that that's the best CTA at the very end.
He also has each host recommend at least one episode, if not two and call out the specific episode name. So that's, you know, another piece of it. And then generally, like he's been in a really good position because he's built so many relationships with podcasters over the last decade of hosting and so he can get a lot of those genuine ad reads just because he's got connections with them.
What I've noticed in the last three months of like sending scripts or whatever to hosts. If you leave it too, open-ended they're not going to know what to do with it, and it's not going to turn out well. If you make it too scripted, then it's going to be too scripted and it's not gonna turn out well. So it's like, I'm still trying to massage and figure out what the best medium is. But if you know, like you're this podcast or that you want to work with, like knows and loves your product, then that's the best place to start because you don't have to like really work on that script and work it out.
That's obviously like the needle in the haystack. So if you are sending over a script to someone it's like, definitely take a look at Jordan's talking points, but kind of, you know, think about it in that way of like what's scripted enough to where they don't miss any of the key things. And what's not overly scripted to where they can like still freestyle a bit.
One other thing I'll mention is like specifically for My First Million ads, it's like, okay, how do you differentiate it? You say it's a business show that Sam and Shaan have both built these huge companies and they've sold them and they talk about cool business ideas. But, you know, having heard the ad read a few times, I'm like, okay, what's the most interesting nuggets here.
And whenever they mention, like, they talk about how to buy Michael Jordan's home and sell it and turn it into a museum or whatever, like those types of things really grab my attention. And so what I realized is like, okay, rather than giving the host like a laundry list of episodes to choose from, let me just pick like three that I know will play well in an ad read and then if they want to like expand on it, great. But if they just mentioned, Hey, they bought Michael Jordan's home or they want to buy Michael Jordan's home and turned him into a museum, it would still turn out good.
Jeremiah: Yeah. Okay. So this is a super exciting idea. Like having them mention a specific episode and like why they like it is super compelling. Like that definitely, like I think that's super interesting. That would get my attention I know, as a, as an avid podcast listener a lot more than like, "Hey, here's another show for you to go check out." Because the moment you hear that you're like, I'm all stocked up on shows. Like I have one for my commute, one for my walks one for my like, it's like, I'm all done, but like, oh, like, I'd go give an episode a listen and you know, if I could hook them in.
It also makes me think, have you ever heard anything like this, but you know, like you are able to reverse engineer this with yourself cause like you're a big fan of the show and it makes me think like, have you ever, two ideas for anyone listening and wants to try this would be like one would be go find like, you know, offer an Amazon gift card to like your top listeners, like, you know, on the next podcast, be like, Hey, go to this URL and submit this.
Like tell us you're an avid listener. Show us stats from like the podcast better. We'll give you a $50 Amazon gift card and just record a 30-second thing on your phone of like, why you like the show. That'd be a cool idea just to be like. That like, play that as the ad, you know what I mean? And then a second thing going along with that is like polling your audience to be like, why did you subscribe to My First Million?
Like, why did you, or, you know, any, any show, like why do you enjoy this show? And leading forward, like sorta reverse engineering and saying, we've found our top listeners then pulled from them the things that they most enjoy, then we hold them out in the ad so that like, we attract more of the same. So just modes making me think.
All right. So zooming out, what's like a list of all the things you've tested or I know again, like, I know you're super early days with this and there's a long way to go. But besides those podcasts sponsorships and like self-serve podcast ads, what else have you tried?
Jonathan Barshop: So we ran a lot of YouTube ads last quarter, and that was honestly, because we, because we had an extra budget. Like, I don't think running YouTube ads is the best way to grow podcasts. It was honestly also a test just to see what kind of results we could get. It drove a lot of, you know, views and, you know, got a decent amount of subscribers from that. But, you know, to varying degrees, like how good are those subscribers?
Are they like, you know, genuine fits for a, to try to attract all that stuff. Like big question marks there, but, uh, it did drive decent numbers. So that was one big play.
We did podcastsnotes.org, which is, you know, a popular blog. They do write ups on your show. Hard to track results, but just good, like branding play and, you know, good to get, you know, they cover anything from like Joe Rogan to Peter Attia so it's like on brand with the type of listeners My First Million has. Um, sorry, if need to, this is too in the weeds, but. Yeah, Spotify, a few Twitter ads, giveaways.
Giveaways was a big one. We ran like three or four giveaways and you know, I think it's My First Million, their audience is very rabid. And so we can really like say something and make things happen quickly, which is awesome. So I don't know if this would work for everyone, but basically, you know, some of the giveaways we ran were a reviews contest where Sam and Shaan and whoever posted on, on Twitter saying, "Hey, go leave us as many reviews within this like 14 day period." And the goal with that was to try to drive up the charts and you know, I should've known this ahead of time. I think I did, but it was still just a fun thing to test, but, uh, reviews don't really drive charts at all. So they're good vanity, but I mean, almost positive on that. It's like almost entirely subscribers within a short period of time and then downloads and listen rate and all that stuff is sort of secondary.
But number of subscribers over a short period of time is the biggest driver there. We did that early, that, you know, we got 300 plus reviews and like 14 days, which was incredible, but it didn't really move the needle. Then we did a more dialed in like, okay, you can win 60 minutes with Sam and Shaan if you follow us on Apple Podcasts and that worked, we, we got to like the number four spot in the entrepreneurship category, like 15 on business, but it's hard to do that really well.
Basically you need to get as many people to follow your podcast within a really short period of time. And when you're going up against like the Tim Ferriss of the world and stuff like that, those numbers have to be really impressive. And so we got you know, top 15, which is amazing, but we didn't get to that like top five spot, which we were hoping for.
So what we're probably gonna retool there is like make a more dialed in concerted approach to just drive as many downloads as possible or sorry, subscribers as possible and, and really nail that. So that's something where else elsewhere toying with, and then we did a clips contest at the end of the year, which was like a crowdsource, like, "Hey, take a few moments from My First Million and turn them into 15 to 120 second clips for Tik Tok, for IG, all that stuff."
And our audience, like we just went, just ran with it and like made a few videos that went viral, which was really cool. We end up hiring the guy who won the clips contest, and now he's making Tik Toks for us, which is a cool story. So that was sort of another, just general branding play, but, uh, those are some of the key ones.
And then for this launch coming up for, uh, The Hustle podcast, you know, we're going to be leveraging all the channels, you know, HubSpot's, Hustle's, all that stuff, but it's mostly entirely going to be driving to a giveaway. And the reason is, is because of what I just said. It's like, we're trying to get as many followers within a very short period of time as possible so when we launch on February 2nd, as many people download as possible, we climb up the charts. It's, you know, a pretty, you know, thing we can put on our website, all that stuff. And that early momentum I think will like help us. Now, you're not going to sustain that. Like, if you have a really great launch and you get into the top, say like five or whatever, that's great. Definitely take a screenshot, but it's probably not going to be longterm, but having that as a marker and sort of being able to use that for, you know, if you're trying to land bigger guests and all that stuff, that's important.
Jeremiah: Yeah, man, what an incredible. Everyone listening could just go back and reverse it and take notes and try it each one of these things for their business.
So yeah, I mean, it totally makes sense. It's like, it's so funny, right? Cause like reviews is like, everyone's called actually a bit of a pocket. It's like leave a review, leave a review. And then, but it makes sense. Like I know in the SEO world, like, like traditionally the way it seems to have played out with the algorithm, like with, with Google is like anything that can um, be manipulated, will be, and so should be deprioritized. And I felt like that's always where like Spotify seems to be the same, like just driven by like, you know, probably some combination of like listens over days or listens over months, subscribe like subscriptions or favorites or something like that.
I'm sure they're tracking like clicks of like link shares and stuff.
Jonathan Barshop: I know an important metric that I haven't really like highlighted is listen time, but you know, it's impossible to know exactly how big of a pie that has in their algorithm, but I know that's important, but yeah.
Jeremiah: Is that like, listen to like total minutes listened or percentage of an episode finished kind of a thing?
Jonathan Barshop: A percentage of an episode finished and like your average across all your episodes. So you want that to be as high as possible obviously, but I don't know how much that's weight in the algorithm. It seems like for whatever reason, at least on Apple, like follows as the main thing and then downloads within a specific period of time, like is a secondary thing, but seems to be follows.
Jeremiah: All right. I have a couple of questions about that, but you mentioned TikTok so I'm just going to go there now and hope that I remember to come back. So, all right. Tik Tok I'm super interested in, I enjoy Tik Tok and, uh, I was checking it out and it's super interesting. It looks like there are over 15 My First Million clips channels on TikTok. I'm guessing you all only own like one or managed like one and the rest are just fans that have created them?
Jonathan Barshop: We just bought one from a fan. So technically none of them are ours. Yeah.
Jeremiah: Oh, wow. Okay. Wow. That's amazing. Yeah. So like for anyone listening, here's something super fascinating about this. Uh, and this will bleed into a philosophy question I have for you about the way you're thinking about growing.
So I'll do my best to tie the two together. So @MFMSnips, My First Million snips has 29,000 followers. TikTok, like followers on TikTok just from clipping it. It has 260,000 likes. And then basically it's looks like the link in bio is like a link tree, which lets, which lets people go view on YouTube, Spotify, Apple.
Then like I said, there's like 15 other clips channels. So a few questions related to TikTok. One is it made me think like that's such a huge audience consuming My First Million content natively on TikTok. Is you're like when HubSpot's asking you to drive growth is like, for me, like in a head of marketing role, I'm like, well I'm fine if they never come over and check out the podcast, like in long form, as long as they're like, I'm getting my brand out in the place where they want to be. If they prefer those prefer like the opposite of podcasts, like super, super short snippets. I'm I'm really okay with that. Is that, is it purely for you like trying to get those TikTok listeners over to the podcast as much as possible over time?
Or is it, or is it kind of viewed internally as like, "Hey, like let's just grow TikTok because like, whether they consume 60 minutes or six seconds, they're still consuming something that HubSpot is behind."
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, I wish it was the latter. I mean, I think there's a ton of value in that, right. It's just like building the My First Million brand, which in turn builds HubSpot's brand.
But for like the numbers that were being tracked against it's, it's all about how many people listen to HubSpot ads in our audio feed. And so that's getting them from TikTok to the RSS feed is important for that reason.
Jeremiah: Okay. Do you know if there's any play? I mean, you don't have to show a speak if you can't or if you don't know, but like, is there any play to like, just somehow give a subtle, like nod to HubSpot, like in those clips, like natively, like versus like losing people over that transition or that bridge?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah. I mean, that's definitely an option. I think if people are enjoying My First Million's content enough, they will go check out the site. That's kind of, the idea is like, you know, eventually you're going to be like, who the fuck are these guys? Like, what is this? You go check it out. And then, you know, ideally you become like a lifelong listener.
I think there's, there's areas that where we could like test that and like do a subtle nod to HubSpot. But I think that would probably hurt us in the long run because ultimately an organic fan that comes through and just becomes a diehard listener in the RSS feed is super valuable versus like maybe sprinkling a few ads here and there.
Jeremiah: Yeah. That's super helpful. That's a good clarification. And then Instagram, I mean, a similar thing is the same idea. Like you're just basically taking the best moments, chopping them up, putting them out on Instagram and then same thing. Like over time, the people that are compelled enough will come over and then hear of HubSpot and kind of become like diehards within the podcast channel.
Jonathan Barshop: Yep.
Jeremiah: Okay. Yeah. Super interesting. Have you had any way to track, how many, like, how are, is there any way to measure that? Like have you like TikTok to podcast subscribers?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah. See that that's all another thing is like, you know, because I'm still new to this role and stuff like that. Um, I'm learning like, okay, everything has to be pixeled and like what's actually allowed to be tracked.
You have to have cookie, you know, consent forms on every page. Like all this stuff like is a lot. And so I'm pretty sure there's a way you can pixel a TikTok listener to a page like Chartable to then see, okay, what was their next action? Did they listen on this player, that player? Whatever. So, yeah, I'm pretty positive there's a way to do that, but there's other, you know, I guess what I'll say is like, I'm still early to that world just trying to wrap my head around it, but I'm almost certain you can, can track TikTok listeners to a podcast if you have the proper, you know, things set up in place.
Jeremiah: Okay. What would be like, do you have a guiding principle on when you go to share content on other platforms to try and like, it sounds like generally the play is take insightful valuable moments from the show, share them natively contextually in ways on, on platforms your audience is hanging out on and likes to consume on and over time, like you said, they'd be like, who are these guys come over and check it out and, and become subscribers. How are you identifying? Is it more art than science?
Is it like art over algebra or a mix of the two? Like how are you identifying the moments to share? And I know this is something I'm curious about. I'm asking because a lot of companies that are listening, like a lot of, I know what I'm seeing a lot is companies that want to outsource this aspect. And I think this is like a really important part that they shouldn't outsource, but the tendency is to be like, well, we did the hard work of recording the episode.
Now just send it off to some chop that's going to like clip it up. And it's like, but they don't know your audience or like these like whoa moments, you know? So how do you all think about that?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, that's been very tough to do, I think. Okay. So yeah, I think there are diamonds in the rough that you work with them, they can get up to speed on like your brand voice and all that stuff.
One I'd recommend is Daily Growth Machine with, with Sean Wes. I feel like they do a really, really good job. There's other versions of that out that out there, but you know, to varying degrees, like what's the budget and all that stuff, if you're trying to do it more, in-house I, you know, I think it's possible to find like that right person who can find some, some of those clippable moments, but I think it'll always be a collaborative effort.
And so, the way to bridge that gap is use a tool like Descript and then find someone who has like a nose for good clip, or just has a nose for sort of like editing in that tool specifically. And then you can more or less guide them. Cause there's like comment features. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Descript is an audio recording platform that then transcribes what you're saying into text.
And then you can edit that text like you would a Google doc, which makes it it's the best tool I've ever used in my life. I'm obsessed with Descript and basically, that would be my work flow is recorded in Descript or upload into Descript and then you can go in there and mark through it, like you would a Google doc and say, "Hey, this is a really great moment here."
Then have someone that you either train up or has an ear for that type of thing. And then have them actually pull the clips. And then, you know, from that step, like they, I guess they'd have to have a little bit of editing chops, but you can actually do a surprisingly cool amount of stuff in Descript.
So if you find someone who, who just gets up to speed on Descript specifically, I think you could get a good enough quality content out of that, that it would sustain, you know, for a period of time. And then if you want to level up, then maybe go to an agency, et cetera.
Jeremiah: And you could, so yeah, I mean, I completely agree with you.
We, we use it as well. Like, so what we'll do is like Claudia will go through and like, you can actually highlight like text, like it creates a trap for anyone. Like Jonathan said, if you're not familiar, it creates a transcript for you when you upload the audio file, select the bits that you like as like, oh, that's a gold moment.
And then you can spin those out. You could also probably send those clips to a place like growth machine, right? Like you could just be like, here's my descript all commented up and they'll do stuff.
Jonathan Barshop: And that's the ideal scenario that we've, you know, growth machine is actually very tough to work with in that respect, like, cause they various set up in their processes, but most of them do it.
So not out cold, but basically yes, most places are happy to do that and work with you in a tool like that because it makes their life way easier to right? Like they're not having to go through and edit all the cuts. You're identifying them for them pretty much.
Jeremiah: Yeah. It's like, it's just so interesting. I think it really requires, I agree. Like I think a good agency could do it. I just think it needs to be either an agency that's going to really take the time to get inside like the you know, to wear the shoes of your listeners and really like, think about it from their perspective or have a really good like list of you know, like marching orders that you give, or I think it's super crucial to have someone like, you know, Claudia is awesome on our team who does that for us.
And like, she's very in tune with like, okay, this is what the audience wants is what they find relevant. Let me chop up these moments. But yeah, that's helpful. I think it is some mix of like art and algebra. Like there's just moments where like, have you ever listened to like Dave Gerhardt's podcast? He'll literally like interrupt and be like, clip that like, this is like, this is a moment, you know, that's really.
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, I think for what we're talking about, like, if you just need someone to go and pull clippable moments, like that's a great solution. If you're wanting something that's like has more virality on a place like TikTok, that's where the art really comes into play. Because if you look at the TikToks that have gone viral from My First Million, those all probably took like, at least three hours plus of scripting and kind of like, you know, identifying and pulling in like the B roll and all that stuff. So that's not a light lift by any means, but it's doable as, as like, you know, you can see through this clips contest, we had 15 pages created. We had like three of them, uh, get like 30,000 subscribers over 30 days, which is nuts. It's a lot of the videos got like millions of views. And so it's doable, but I think, like you said, it's like context specific. How do you want to just focus on TikTok and have someone pull those clips and make those style videos? And you have a huge opportunity to go viral there? Or do you want to be everywhere and then edit it in Descript and pull all those clips for all the different channels and sort of, you know, do a spray and pray approach? I don't think either of them is wrong, but you just got to decide what your goals are.
Jeremiah: Yeah, no, that's a helpful framework. And like, like pros and cons, like trade off of it. Um, cause it's easy for people to be like, oh, they just like pulled a clip and you know, it went viral on TikTok it's like, well, no, there were like eight hours of work that went into one clip that we bet on and it could have flopped and that would have felt like a lot of wasted time.
What, like the last thing on this route as like what overall, I've got some questions, like more advice related questions for people that are trying to grow more what you see as like standard B2B shows who might be listening. But before moving to those, my last one would be what I guess in summary or like has either been the most, the best growth channel for you all?
And then like piggybacking on that, what would be like the first three you'd start with? Like, if you, if you weren't doing it necessarily for My First Million, like let's say you're, you know, like you're at some like, you know, series A like SAAS company and there's 500 downloads a month, a thousand downloads a month, but like what would you do to grow.
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah. I mean, every tactic I've said so far is all paid. I haven't even touched earned, you know? So like, guesting on podcasts as you well know, that's a, that's a big one. Finding cross promos where, you know, basically you promote your show on, on that podcaster's podcasts, vice versa. That's another big one.
Um, all those, uh, earned plays like those are all great and very effective. But if you're like, let's just say you have $10,000 of budget to spend like this quarter on your podcast. Host-read ads are going to be prohibitively expensive, so I wouldn't recommend that. You'd only be able to buy, you know, like five to 10 of them or at most, I would say probably way less because you sorta have to buy them in packages and stuff like that.
So I would say stay away from host-read ads unless, you know, you really want to like test that out and see what's what. I think this Andrew Southworth play for someone who has the time to like dig into Facebook ads and like wants to nerd out on that stuff. I think that is a really great opportunity. It's not crazy expensive, but you also be spending like five, $10 a day to test these different things.
And so, and you know, if your podcast isn't great, that might not be super effective, but I think that's good to look into if you're on a budget and know that whole world of Facebook ads and stuff like that. You know, giveaways, that's a great way to drive some like quick momentum. You know, that would be like a flat fee of like, let's just say you give away $5,000 in prizes.
So that would eat a lot of that, you know, budget. But if you're trying to rank really high and get a specific goal for that short period of time, then that's a really great way to spend that money. And then, you know, you can buy on the podcast players and stuff like that, but I don't think that's going to be the best bang for your buck.
I think like save your shackles. Buy descript, like kind of figure out that workflow and then go the route of like testing a few Facebook ads, just to see if that could be a viable option, guest on other shows, find cross promos. And then, yeah. I mean, then you have some budget to play around with and decide like, what can I funnel back into the quality of the show to make it better?
Jeremiah: You know, in other shows, like, would you recommend the play there then is like, instead of kind of giving the pure, like the primary call to action as like your company's URL at the end and driving people to that, you'd be like, when people are like, well, where can they learn more about you? That seems like that natural place to play that like, oh, well we run a show that talks more about this because I would guess like, ideally like you're talking to the same audience on different shows, since you're able to be like, "We actually run a whole podcast on this. If you're interested, come check it out."
Jonathan Barshop: Totally. Yeah. And just like you would have host-read ad, I think you treat them the same way where you drive them to a specific episode or to maybe a landing page. Landing pages don't have the best conversions. But I think that would be worthwhile is to try to drive into like, "Hey, we've got a greatest hits episode with sort of the best moments. If you liked what you heard here, go check that out." Or, "Hey, I know y'all are really into sales and marketing. Like I interviewed this person, we dive all into the, behind the scenes stuff on XYZ, check out that episode, blah, blah, blah."
Jeremiah: Like you touched on this as something that I missed earlier. Are there any, like, you all have a pretty robust website for My First Million. That like, that would also be something like, I don't see a ton of brands that are just starting out put enough emphasis on is like one central place that features like your best clips, resources, the episodes, the show notes, like all that stuff.
The My First Million website is really solid. Have you experimented at all with any, like trying to get listed on any like, uh, best of lists, or like roundup lists, and stuff like that?
Jonathan Barshop: Oh, yeah, those are great. I mean, we have, you know, hiring a PR agency to do a lot of that stuff is sort of where we're at with it.
But if you have the time and resources and wants to go that route, like yeah, definitely submit yourself to publications to try to get featured, especially, you know, be very mindful of like their content calendar. So we got Black History Month coming up. We got Valentine's day coming up. Think about how your show plays into those and that's probably your best chance to get listed.
Um, I know they also like, like Apple, Spotify. Well, maybe less so Spotify. I know Apple is super big on indie creators, and so like they prioritize indie creators that are like people of color typically is, is who they like to feature. So it's like, anyways, it's not like a, a tried and true thing, but you know, think about how you play into what's either they're featuring or like what they're kind of like general, you know, goals are, as it relates to the DIMB, that kind of thing.
Jeremiah: And then like the roundup list would just be a pure play of like, if you did it internally, you, you know, like, let's say you're like a SaaS platform for developers or something like that. You would just like, look up lists like best SaaS, like best developer podcast or something like that. And just try and get like, added to that list.
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah. I think that's, you know, any publication that would, maybe you find publications that don't cover podcasts, but are really big in that space. And you say, "Hey, I put together this list of the top podcasts in the space. Do you want to turn this into a blog post? And then like, yeah, I'm going to be ranked number eight on the list. So like, just a heads up." So I think that could be an interesting play.
Jeremiah: Doing the work for them and then like just submitting it in. Yeah. That's clever too.
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, because it's free content for them. It's on the nose for like what they would share with their audience then. Yeah. Like I don't see why they wouldn't want to do it unless, you know, they get hit with that kind of stuff from like out princesses and Nigeria and all that stuff. But, but yeah, I think that could be a good play.
Jeremiah: Yeah, it's interesting, like looking at the website play because a lot of people, like if your podcast is not being found sort of organically, like within apple or within Spotify or something like that, like Spotify, from what I can tell, like running some, some strategy sprints over the past year for brands is like, seems to be very keyword driven.
Like they seem like maybe more early days. Cause like if you search the same keyword within Apple and within Spotify, like there, they're like, there's like a 70% overlap give or take like in results. But Apple definitely seems to be like prioritizing more like hidden metrics where like Spotify is more keyword based.
So we've always recommended like people try and throw a keyword in the show description to get discovered or something like that, but, or in like the title itself.
Jonathan Barshop: So Podchaser, you know, the IMDB of podcasting, I think there's, uh, I've, I've talked to some of the team members there and like, they rank really well for like top X podcast.
And so there's a play there also where you could create like a list. You can do that on their website where you create a list of podcasts top, you know, and you can uh, very targeted. So it's like, you're trying to attract, I don't know, consultants, or that's not, that's pretty broad, but anyways, you'd say consultants in the swimming space, you could create the ultimate swimming consultant playlist and create that on Podchaser, and then that'll that'll rank really well because they have great SEO juices already, and that could be an interesting play. And then also, as I mentioned, it's like the IMDB of, of podcasting. So if you list out all the guests you've had, and like, let's say you land a Gary Vee or whatever, and then you just have a better chance of like ranking in their algorithm for any time Gary Vee comes up.
So it's like small things like that, that, that don't take a ton of effort, but can potentially have some interesting awards.
Jeremiah: Yeah. That's super amazing. Is it like when you select the list, are you choosing from like a catalog that they're scraping? So you're just like selecting the shows you want in your list?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah. I mean, they've, they've got, they have every podcast, just like any of these databases have to have every podcast on there. And so yeah, you just search your podcasts and 10 others in your space and then put them on that list. I think any even make like episode playlist. And so you, maybe you say the best of the swimmer consultants or whatever, and you can go to list a, an episode list just for that. That could be another play there.
Jeremiah: Yeah. That's uh, it's amazing, man. I appreciate all of this.
Jonathan Barshop: And that also, that also carries over for Spotify too. You could create a playlist of your episodes on Spotify. So yeah, that, that could be interesting too.
Jeremiah: To like share on social, embed on your website, or just like use anywhere?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, that. And who knows maybe, you know, the algorithm picks it up and now every time people type in swimming consultants, I don't know where the fuck I got that from, but anytime someone types in swimming consultants in Spotify, you're the top of the list.
Jeremiah: Amazing. I love it. All right. I want to be respectful of your time.
I've got a listener question to ask you. And some like a rubber meets the road. I mean, it's already been pretty rubber meets the road, but advice for other people. So a lot of people listening will be like marketers running podcasts at brands. Like they've just started. They've just launched. They're looking at start in 2022, or they've been running their show for a year. They have 500 downloads or a thousand downloads a month. You mentioned some of the first things you do to help them grow. This is maybe a hard one to answer, but like when is it time to rethink the content versus like your growth strategies. Like I think something, people miss is how good like My First Million is and probably would be, it would not be as big as it is without efforts of yours and the rest of the HubSpot team and the things you guys are doing for sure.
But it would, you know, it's going to be a big show just by virtue of it. When is it time? So kind of flipping growth on its head. Like, I know it's nebulous, but like, are there any telltale signs looking at metrics that you're like, maybe this isn't like a growth effort problem. Like maybe we need to rethink like making shorter or pivoting the direction or changing the niche or something like.
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, that's a really good question. And Sam's mentioned that a few times, Sam Parr of the host of My First Million, and he's like, I mean, one of the big reasons why we have gotten so popular is because we have improved the content over time too. It's like that that's something that kind of gets swept under the rug is we have two full-time researchers that are helping Sam and Shaan with getting some of the bits that you hear in the podcasts.
A lot of it is honestly just like ad-libbing and then just like going off script, but like, they have a shit ton of research there at the ready so they can say, you know, a few interesting things that then we can turn into a sound bite or whatever. So that's something that I definitely can't get understated.
So, I mean, I think test things and see what the results are for sure. But like also just take, uh, reviews you're getting, or feedback on the streets from your friends or whatever, as, as like pretty high, if you're not getting any good feedback, then that's probably a sign that you have a not interesting show or whatever.
I think you can kind of get a sense for like what's good content and if people are resonating with it just based on feedback from people in your circles and then, you know, yeah. I think if you try like this like micro content strategy that we sort of talked about a little bit where you're taking the bits and turning them into micro piece of content, you don't have to say that like, okay, if this video doesn't get 50 likes or whatever, it's like a bust.
Maybe you maybe like take some of those comments to heart that people leave or whatever. So I dunno, it's kind of like imperfect, but if you get a sense that you're creating good content from whatever you tell yourself inside that makes you feel good, as well as people leaving like positive reviews or, or maybe giving you constructive feedback. Sometime that's even, that's even better than like, just getting a bunch of bullshit, like, oh, your podcast is so good.
It's like, no, tell me what sucks about it. I want to improve. So I think that kind of stuff is really valuable in terms of like, getting real with yourself, if your content's good enough.
Jeremiah: I mean, all of it's good. I especially like taking clips and being like, oh, consistently over time, this would require you to like catalog and categorize your clips so you'd know this, but it's like over time ones that cover A, B or C always outperformed. Like, let's add more of that in. Yeah. I just think that's something, people miss a lot. You know what I mean is like, they're going to go right. To like, okay, we, like, we did the thing. We started the podcast that the SaaS for lawyer, like we're a SaaS for lawyers and we're like the lawyer podcast.
It's like, how are you differentiating from all the other lawyer podcasts or swimming consultant podcasts, you know? Yeah. I just think that, that, like, that's something that's super challenging when people, you know, meet need to revisit. All right. So I have a question here. If you got hired to grow, actually let me ask this listener a question.
I think that's going to be more relevant. All right. So Tim Davidson from Directive Agency the, uh, the ad agency, wants to know what's the biggest thing you would do different if you were starting a podcast for the first time, but knowing what you know now and like growing it?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah. I think it's, if you're a business understanding what your business goals are and being realistic about them.
So like, I always say if your goal to start a podcast is to try to like, get to the top of the charts, like good luck. It's going to be really fucking hard. Even with a show, like My First Million, like, you know, it's still really challenging. So I think first thing first, just like, get real with yourself. Do you want to do it for the clout? Or do you have other business goals? If you have other business schools then perfect. Podcasting is the perfect thing for you because you can use it as a way to build relationships. You can use it as sales collateral. You can use it for so many things like that. So, but if you're looking at it from a hobby perspective and you want to grow it, you know, into like I pointing to Darknet Diaries cause this is an Indy podcaster who started as a hobby while he was doing it while he was working as a software engineer.
And now he does a full time. He's the exception. And he's got a ton of really good resources to explain like how he grew the podcast and all that stuff. So I definitely recommend checking that out, but I think for most people to pull that off is very difficult. And so you have to ask yourself, is this something that I would want to do for five years on this topic?
You know, basically like in never get bored of it and yeah, like you can, you can say, oh yeah, of course. I want to interview, uh, people who do interesting and podcasting space for five years, but do you want to do all the 95% of the stuff behind the scenes that it takes to get that episode recorded?
That's what you have to get really real with yourself about is like, okay, I love to show up and press record and then be on my merry way. But the truth of it is, is like 95% of it is all the behind the scenes stuff that takes way more work than the finished product. So if you love doing all that stuff and see yourself doing it for five plus years and all that stuff, and definitely do it, or maybe it's just like a fun hobby and you like to do it every week, every month, and it's just like fills your soul.
I think that's great also.
Jeremiah: Yeah, I love that. I think it's, um, I like the idea of going back to that foundation because I do think there's a lot of unrealistic expectations. Like we, like, we have seen that and it's a matter of like, oh, I want to be at 10,000 downloads. Like, it's like, this is going to take a lot longer.
Like I forget what the stat is off the top of my head, but it's something like if you break like 500 downloads a month, you're more, you're like in the 60th percentile, I was like seven, you know, some like 50th percentile of like all podcasts. So being okay. It's always funny to me how people are, like they would fly across the country to speak to like 500 people or like a thousand people.
They're like, heck yeah. Like I got invited as the keynote speaker, but then you're like, are you going to get 500 downloads a month? And I was like consistent listenership of like, and they're like, nah, it's not really like, you know, worth it.
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, exactly. So it all comes back to like, yeah, business goals in that sense. If you have 500 people who listen and like three of those people turn into customers and that ends up paying for your podcasts, plus some like the production and all that stuff. And ideally these are like, you know, if you're doing something super niche, like, like legal status, like one client can be worth 10 X, what, you know, what you need to sustain the podcast.
So I don't know if these are all things that you've covered in previous episodes and you well know, but like the dollars and cents you tie to 300 listeners can have exponential results. If you pick the right niche, if you have like the right messaging, all that stuff. Yeah.
Jeremiah: It's super interesting. I'm going to get to talk with the team behind Ahrefs, wrote an article on how they, I think this is off the top of my head, but I was just doing the research I think is like $15 or $16,000 sponsoring shows like a few years ago, they wrote this article about it and basically.
Yeah, it was basically, it was like for anyone who hasn't read it, we'll link to it in the show notes. But basically it was like, they ended up spending like $1,200 per like form submission, you know, if they factored it that way. And so they were like, all right, we know we're never doing this again. And then they ended up going to all these in-person conferences and all these people kept coming up and being like, I heard you on the podcast, I heard you on the podcast.
And it was like this light bulb moment of, um, of like, oh, wow. Like, of course they're not going to like, hear about us for 30 seconds and like purchase an advanced software product. The whole thing was like brand recognition, like top of mind, brand affinity, like people were coming up and were like, thank you for, you know, it's cool that you sponsor my favorite show.
So it was all this brand building stuff. And like the moment they pivoted the, I don't know if you'd call it their expectations, but I know they later put out a second, like video or article on how, like now they're moving to like $200,000, like sponsored. So I'm excited to chat with them to like, to learn more about that.
But to your point, it really matters like getting your foundations right. All right. Last question. And I think this'll be an easy one for you. Where do you continue to go? Where have you been going lately to continue learning about the podcast ecosystem? What inspires you, gives you ideas? I think people, I just want to say for, for people listening, like marketers don't appreciate how much of a blueprint and a road has been paved for things like SEO or copywriting or like website conversion.
Like, it's pretty easy to find that stuff like you re there's not a lot out there for podcasting. So if someone was interested in learning more about growing podcasts and just innovative ways to use them, like what they think the future of audio is, where have you been going?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, I think the smartest people and the people who are most transparent about what's going on in the podcast scene are one Jack Rhysider, I think I'm pronouncing his name right. But the host of Darknet Diaries. He has really good, comprehensive write-ups about his results every year and gives you all the download numbers, all like the dollars he spent. So that's a really great resource. And then, I think Tom Webster is probably the sharpest guy in podcasting and he's got a newsletter called "I Hear Things". He's also got an audio version of it, and he's just always dropping, like just bombs of wisdom of kind of where he sees things he's been in the industry for 20 plus years, 30 plus years. And so, and he's also the head of, I might butcher his exact title, but like basically the Head of Edison Research. So he is the one who's like giving presentations on Infinite Dial, which is like the listener report in podcasting. He's like the Oracle of podcasting is kind of what I allude him to.
He just has so much like data knowledge, all that stuff. And so he's got a semi weekly, sometimes monthly newsletter and podcast called "I Hear Things" that is super valuable. Then, you know, just keeping tabs on, on, uh, uh, Pod News, which is like the, you know, daily podcast newsletter that I read every morning and just seeing, oh, Spotify released this thing or whatever, those are kind of the main ones.
And then, yeah, like when basically when I see Spotify releases something, I just like go deep and like, be like, oh cool. Like, cause, um, I'm a Spotify fan boy. I love Spotify. I think there's aspects of them building this, like, you know, walled garden that are problematic for podcasters, but I love the platform. I like where they're trending.
And I think if you're trying to target a younger audience, an audience that at least like I resonate with, that's where they mostly are. And so I'm super interested with anything they do. And I think they're doing cool things in the music to audio space, like, like bridging those two worlds with cool features like that.
They're, you know, slowly going to be rolling out videos and podcasts, that kind of stuff. And so I think there's a world where they become like the TikTok of audio and I'm keeping, I'm keeping a super close tab on like anything they released because I want to be at the ready to double down on that, because I think it's going to be the best discovery mechanism for podcasting as if they were to build basically like a TikTok feature within their platform, which they more or less kind of already are. I mean, they acquired a company that tried to brand themselves to the TikTok for audio, and it was actually a pretty cool platform. So I'm interested to see how they mesh that with podcasting. So long story short, those three channels, plus like keep a close eye on Spotify because they're doing cool shit.
Jeremiah: Amazing. I have goals for the listeners listening to keep this to 30 minutes moving forward cause we've always been like, like long. Um, but dude, I just couldn't, it's too much fun talking to you and you're a wealth of knowledge. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing with people everything that you're learning.
I'm so excited for your new role, man. You and the team are going to do amazing things. I think HubSpot, I'm bullish on HubSpot and its continued growth. And where can people go if they want to keep tabs on you, follow up with you, see what you're doing?
Jonathan Barshop: Yeah, you can just Google my name, Jonathan Barshop. Um, you'll probably see my Twitter and my, you know, all my socials.
So just connect with me there. And my DMS are pretty much open and check out My First Million. I think if you're into this whole like business entrepreneurship and like podcasting world, there's something in there for it. I recorded an episode recently. So I'm just going to tell people to go check out that episode.
It's called "Great Hits Volume 1", and it's basically just like the best moments of 2021. So that'd be a good sort of like entry point. If you've been hearing this thing, I've been saying all episode, My First Million, you're like, what the fuck is this? Go check that out.
Jeremiah: Okay. Awesome. I appreciate it, man. Thank you so much for your time.
Thanks so much for checking out this episode. If there's a company you'd like us to interview or a question you want us to answer on the show, just let us know. You can ask us at brandsthatpodcast.com or DM or tag Lemonpie.fm on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. And if you want to reach your audience on podcasts that they're already listening to, be sure to check out lemonpie.fm.