Salesforce: Storytelling in Podcasting

In this episode, we talk to Michael Rivo, director of Salesforce Studios, about their incredibly produced show, Blazing Trails, and how they use podcasting to grow their brand.


Episode Summary

In this episode, we talk to Michael Rivo, director of Salesforce Studios, about their incredibly produced show, Blazing Trails, and how they use podcasting to grow their brand.

Tune in to learn more about Salesforce crafted its flagship show, how they built a network of shows for different audiences, how they work with their PR team to repurpose podcast content, and so much more.


Name: Michael Rivo

What he does: Director of Salesforce Studio and host of Blazing Trails

Connect with him: LinkedIn

Key Takeaways

It all comes down to creating content that brings value to the listeners.

The focus of the Blazing Trails podcast is to create content that helps people be better at work. In large organizations, it’s easy to fall into the mentality of thinking about yourself first and falling back on those company talking points. But Michael says it’s important, particularly in an intimate medium like podcasting, to have those conversations be really authentic and centered around how they’re going to help the listener.

Take a newsroom approach to planning podcast content.

One way the Salesforce team puts episodes together is by topic. They come together as a team, discuss what’s happening in the world, what’s most important, what’s top of mind for their listeners, and then figure out who would be the most interesting person they can bring to cover that topic. Then, they ask themselves, “Who at Salesforce is really tackling this issue? And how can we bring those people together?” It’s a very organic approach.

Get your leadership team involved in the podcast.

Provide your team a vehicle to have exciting conversations with thought leaders in their space. This will help you expand your network, bring value to the show, and helps foster relationships inside the organization. Salesforce connects directly with their SVPs and leaders in the company, presents them with a podcast topic, and asks who from outside the organization they would want to have a conversation with about that topic. It gives them a say in the content.

If you’re going to use your podcast for product announcements, make sure there’s a story behind it.

Don’t just think of it as an announcement. Really think about the why. Why is this coming out now? What’s important about it? What does this mean for a listener in another company? Explain the reasoning and story behind the product vs. just how they would use it. You can also bring on guests who believe in the mission of the product, use it regularly, and can talk about how it benefits them.

Podcasts are the perfect medium for brands to employ storytelling.

In most other marketing situations, you have a few seconds or minutes to grab your audience’s attention. Whether that be with a tweet, a 5-minute blog post, or a short 60-second video. The constraint of other marketing channels is they make it hard to have in-depth conversations. With podcasting, you’re able to be in someone’s ear for 45 minutes and really tell a story from start to finish.

Think about your podcast like a Thanksgiving dinner.

From one recording (i.e. Thanksgiving meal), there are so many other pieces of content (i.e. dishes) you can create to increase the number of touchpoints you have with your audience. Blog posts, embedded audio clips, audiograms, LinkedIn posts, Twitter threads. And now, with all those pieces of content, you’re better able to see and track the ROI of the podcast. Treat each episode as a content generation center point.

Podcasting is a pretty level playing field.

Nothing is stopping you from creating a top-level show. Particularly with remote interviews, you can now bring on guests from all over the world. All you need is a strong brand identity, compelling copy, a unique hook, and an interesting guest list. Anyone can do it. You just need to be willing to put in the work and be consistent with it long enough to really build an audience.

Successful podcast hosts are not afraid to show their personalities.

Your host doesn’t have to be a performer, but they do need to understand they’re creating an intimate relationship with the listener. They should approach it from a journalistic standpoint where they can be really authentic with their personality and are comfortable speaking and facilitating conversations.

Interview prep is key.

As a host, you need to take a couple of hours to prepare for each interview. You should be comfortable with the topics, the materials, and the guest’s background, and you need to come up with a strong set of questions to guide the conversation. But with the right prep, you’ll also be able to deviate from your list of questions and have a real conversation. Think about yourself as a stand-in for the audience.

Less is more when it comes to creating a podcast network.

You should only consider adding new shows to your network if the audiences you’re trying to reach really are so different that they need separate shows for each. Michael believes in the less is more approach. There are only so many shows that your ideal listener is going to have in regular rotation. So your best bet is to build up your singular feed and use series or seasons to separate out topics rather than asking them to subscribe to yet another show.


​​Michael Rivo: When you think about the podcasts that are really successful, it's a lot of it is about personality and not necessarily, you know, you're a performer type of personality, but it's this intimate relationship with the listener. So the person who is the host or doing the podcast really needs to embrace that and understand that having a conversation with the audience and being really authentic and comfortable with doing that and speaking and facilitating, coming at it like a journalist is really important.

Jeremiah: Hey there, welcome to Brands that Podcast. Each week we talk to the people running podcast strategies at successful brands so you can learn how to grow your company through podcasting.

Today's guest is Michael Rivo, director of Salesforce Studios and host of the Blazing Trails podcast. I wanted to talk to Michael because among all the content that Salesforce produces, Blazing Trails has had some really world-class guests and thinkers on, and it's an incredibly produced show. They've also built out an impressive podcast network.

I wanted to hear how a company like Salesforce is thinking about utilizing podcasting as a whole to help grow their brand and grow their customer base. In this episode, you'll hear how they crafted their flagship show, how they build out a network to add more role specific value to their audience. How they work with their PR team to take product announcements and craft them into stories that their customers actually helped tell the importance of repurposing your podcast and a specific example of how they repurpose their Olympics episodes and advice for your company if you're thinking about getting into audio, along with a ton more.

Michael, it is so great to have you such an honor to have you on Brands that Podcast. Thank you very much for coming on the show and giving your time. 

Michael Rivo: Yeah, absolutely. Jeremiah, thank you for having me. I think a 

Jeremiah: good way to get started would be, I know, I'm curious.

Can you unpack your role a little bit? What you're specifically responsible for, with sort of your flagship podcast and the network at large at Salesforce? 

Michael Rivo: I am on the Salesforce Studios team. So we have a team of content producers. Uh, primarily our team is focused on video and audio, and I look after the podcast group.

So I host the Blazing Trails podcasts, and then there's a team of folks that work on a bunch of other podcasts that have happened kind of organically over time at, at Salesforce, across lots of different units. And so, um, helping to pull those together and create a podcast network across all of Salesforce.

Jeremiah: What was sort of the initiative. I'll go off script here in a moment because I want to start with, um, specifically want to dive into Blazing Trails before we get to the network. But I am curious what was the driving factor behind creating the network at large versus staying sort of with like a flagship show?

Like a lot of these companies do? 

Michael Rivo: Well, I think the network idea happened kind of organically. And in fact, it's related to Blazing Trails too which that show was started by our wonderful head of social Marissa Kraines. I can, I think it was 2017 and it was a companion to a video show related to Dreamforce.

So it was kind of a get ready for Dreamforce type show. So listed people who are going to attend the conference could listen and get an update on what was going to happen at the, at the conference. And then we started to run some of the content that we did there on the, on the podcast channel. So that effort happened.

And then it was sitting for a little while and there were lots of other initiatives that we were working on and we realized, Hey, this podcasting stuff is really blowing up. There's this channel that we've already created. We haven't been doing as much with it. Let's put some effort behind it. And it was the 2019 Dreamforce where we took the top 10 episodes.

And this was Tim Cook from Apple and lots of other luminaries that are always there at Dreamforce. And we took those sessions. We did a light edit of those to make them as pod. I kind of set them up as a, you know, as a host, but it was really just a simple setup to get into the episodes. And we did 10 episodes and ran it as a podcast on this Blazing Trails channel that exists that had been kind of dormant for a little while.

And we just got this great response. It was fantastic. So it started as a way to kind of repurpose content that we were doing elsewhere. And then as it grew, we started doing more and more original content. And now we release an episode every week. Yeah, 

Jeremiah: from what I could see of it, it looks like you've had a give or take, you know, one or two, a hundred and eighty four episodes now for Blazing Trails, it's been running, you know, for those five years. 

At this point, some of the more recent episodes you've had guests from MasterCard, Stitch Fix, we were talking off mic before you've had you've interviewed journalists like Kara Swisher and the premise of the show for people who haven't checked it out is it's exploring Salesforce values, taking Salesforce values and exploring how those are in action at other organizations or how other leaders are thinking about those. Is this considered like the flagship show essentially like of the next. Yeah. 

Michael Rivo: Uh, this Salesforce Studios team that I'm part of is part of our brand team.

And then the Blazing Trails show sort of sits at the, at the brand level where we talk about a lot of stuff that that's relevant for Salesforce. And we, we try to make it newsworthy and relevant for our audience as well. And strategically the way that I think about it is Blazing Trails is really a platform for Salesforce voices and the format where we've landed that we, we try to do is we pair an external luminary with a Salesforce executive to talk about a relevant topic.

And then I host and moderate that conversation. So it's a great way. It serves two purposes. One is it provides an opportunity for our Salesforce executives to get out there and have their, their voice and tell our story. It's a great way to bring. Luminaries who can really shed light on issues that we hope are interesting to our audience.

And it's an opportunity for us to, uh, tap into our, our Salesforce network of customers and partners and stakeholders across the board to, to talk about these topics. So it's been a great vehicle for that. This 

Jeremiah: is more of like a brand play of like aligning Salesforce. These, like you said, like luminaries are like these great thinkers, making sure that Salesforce sort of this show maybe serves as like giving Salesforce a voice and sort of aligning them with these rising stars or like thought leaders in the industry.

Michael Rivo: I think that's right. I think ultimately it really all comes down to can the content that we make help people be better at work. That, that, that's how I like to think about it. And it's very easy inside of an organization to think about what we're trying to say, what Salesforce is trying to say and anywhere else where, you know, people who may be listening, we all know we have our sort of company talking points.

We're trying to, this is what we're trying to achieve. These are my goals. I think it's so important in particularly in, in the podcasting space with the intimacy of the medium, to have those conversations be really authentic and to think about how is this going to be helpful to the people who are going to listen.

So if. Listened to an interview with someone like we had Scott Galloway on, who's going to bring a big picture point of view. That's going to be helpful to you at work. You can bring those, those ideas and those talking points back. And at the same time, if you're listening to a marketing trends episode and learning about a new piece of technology or automation or some technique from a, you know, from a CMO of another company, that's great too.

That's going to help. I think the way we look at it from an editorial point of view is that that's where we can help. That's where Salesforce sits is, is the ability to help our customers be successful and to help our listeners be successful and be better at work. So that that's the overriding principle and sort of wherever that audience is or the, where that conversation is taking place on the fun.

I'm not always a huge fan of the funnel turbo, wherever that is on the funnel, it really needs to serve that purpose. So that's what we tried. Yeah, 

Jeremiah: no, I love the way of thinking about that. I also think the funnel terminology is a bit too simplistic, especially for how people shop and buy now. So you know this because especially podcasting, I think has the ability to serve as.

Retention or building a moat around your brand, like why they wouldn't leave to go try another CRM. Cause they feel, maybe feel more endearment towards the Salesforce brand because of the content that they're listening to and the information as well as a top of funnel, brand building awareness sort of tool, or like what we've seen it used at, which is like sales enablement sort of bottom of funnel.

So yeah, I like the way of thinking about that, that sort of north star metric of how can we be valuable to people at their job? And if you're valuable to them, you're hitting your. 

Michael Rivo: Right. Exactly. And so there's a brand building, you know, a very honest kind of brand building there, which is, you know, Salesforce trust is our number one value in the company.

It's something that we really do believe in and, and try to act on. So I think that's where if you think about the content, it's a very simple way, which is are we helping people learn more and be better at work? That's going to build trust. And you know, you just, you get that virtuous circle happening.

Jeremiah: That's a super interesting concept. I don't, I'm trying to think. I don't think I've seen anyone do quite what you're doing. I really liked this hook of sort of you moderating, but like, so there's this sort of value Salesforce embraces, and then you're finding a luminary who can speak to that value or, or exhibits that value.

And then you're finding the internal Salesforce person that can speak best when Salesforce that value. And then your facility in that conversation. You don't have to go super into detail cause I'm sure you could for an hour, but how do you put together an episode? Like, do you start with the luminary and reverse engineer the value or do you start with a value or like, how do you think about putting an episode together like that?

Michael Rivo: Yeah. You know, there's a lot of different ways to approach it. One is by topic. So we try to take a newsworthy approach. I work with a great producing partner, Rachel Levin is her name. She comes from a news background. So we, we do kind of a newsroom meeting where what's happening in the world. What's most important.

What's important to our audience. We're talking to the rest of there's a big content team at Salesforce. So we know what's top of mind. And once we understand that, we say, well, who would be the most interesting person that we can bring to this? And we start to think about who we would have on the show.

And then we say, well, who at Salesforce is really tackling this issue? And can we bring those people together? So it's pretty organic where we, where we do that, but we've had great success too. And I think this is really helpful for folks who might be thinking about this and in your own company. We'll reach out to the SVPs or the, these senior folks that we want to have on the show and say, we'd love to do an episode about X and who would be.

Oh, an amazing person that you want to talk to. And then we go out and try to get them, you know, so, uh, so there's a little bit of relationship building and good stuff that can happen there in expanding your network, showing the value of the show, just making those relationships inside the organization and providing that vehicle to have that conversation so that your internal folks are excited.

For external people to be able to reach our Salesforce audiences is really powerful for them. So we've done it either way where we'll identify who, who we want to talk to and then match the Salesforce person or go to the Salesforce person. Say, we want to talk about this. Who do you want to get? I'm 

Jeremiah: just curious if, if nothing comes to mind, that's fine.

But is there, has there been anyone in Salesforce who's like, oh, I'd really love to talk to play. And you're like, that's a big name, but then you were able to go get them. And it kind of like tickles the other person pink to get, to talk to like this person that they admire out there. 

Michael Rivo: Yeah, we had an interesting one where we were able to have Ray Daleo on the show and we reached out to our internal Salesforce person and she really wanted to talk to him about who was at the early in the pandemic and sort of get his thoughts about that and other topics.

So yeah, we were able to work the network and, and find our way to him and pair them together with Karen Mangia. Who's on our go to market team and, uh, yeah, it was great. And that was exciting. That was sort of early days when we were. Coming up with this platform for Salesforce voices idea. And, uh, we were excited that it worked.

So, uh, so that was a good one. 

Jeremiah: There's a perception I have that once you get Tim cook, there's nobody that you can't get on the, on the podcast. I'm sure that's not true. So can you confirm or tell me that I'm wrong and that perception like it's still, these people are still busy, but it's just, it's wild.

The, these luminaries you have been able to get on, is it easier than, than you anticipated, it would be? Are there still quite a few challenges with this? I'm sure they're busy. 

Michael Rivo: Yeah, well, Tim cook, I should say that was a replay of a conversation with he and Mark at Dreamforce. So that's, that's all Mark. Thank you.

Thank you, Mark, for making that happen and the whole team that puts together Dreamforce, but we have had lots of other folks who, you know, are, are notable and know I've been really impressed with people's desire to come on the podcast. And I think that's something about podcasting too, which is it's pretty low lift.

You know, you come on, you have a conversation, we, we record it and you're done. And I think that's something that's really helped the medium grow from the creator side. And I think listeners feel that, that it's, it's so authentic. It's, you know, it's not much more than, Hey, can we jump on the phone and, and, you know, have, have a call.

So I think that it's a combination of, we've got a great platform with Salesforce and people want to participate, but it's also relatively easy to do. And now with the, with the pandemic and everybody learning how to work more remotely, people have microphone setups, and they're comfortable with doing it remotely.

So I think it's opened up a lot of opportunities and sort of flatten that world a little bit where you can reach people who will participate. 

Jeremiah: Yeah, I agree. It's even been funny to see people's, you know, it's like two years ago, I think every call I was on, whether it was, you know, zoom and client-facing or whether it was like podcast related was like everyone apologizing for everything that was about to happen in the background.

Like kids, dog, whatever. And not like nobody, you know, no one explains anything anymore. No one's background looks amazing. It's been wild. To watch that change. Right? Like, it 

Michael Rivo: was funny when the clip went around of the guy who was on BBC news and his kid walked in the right. Yeah. It's like, ah, yes, that, that's what we do 

Jeremiah: now.

Yeah. Now, no. Yeah. It wouldn't like make the news now, which is, which is funny. Another question I had about the show is. Is there any interplay between the comms or PR department? Like, is there ever a time any sinking between them? I'm not sure quite how to ask this, but it seems like you have comms and PR that are working on brand reputation.

And, you know, as I've heard PR people tell me, like shorten the gap between how the company perceives itself and how its audiences perceive itself. It seems like. Blazing Trails is, as the flagship show would be a natural interplay or channel for them. Is there any way that you're working with them at all?

Do they ever come to you and say, Hey, w we really are trying to highlight this one, a value this quarter or anything like that? 

Michael Rivo: Yeah, I mean, I think it's really natural if you, if you, if you break it down and you were going to release a new product or a new feature, a new. So for example, we did an episode recently on our, our new Net Zero cloud product.

Well, there's so much to talk about there, you know, because yes, we can talk about what the Net Zero cloud product does and how you, how companies can start to capture and understand the data around their emissions and, uh, you know, several other topics that Patrick Flynn who runs our sustainability group is on the show to explain that.

Luckily I don't have, I don't have to explain that. I can ask him and he can do it and say the right things. And we had somebody from cliff bar who's using the product to talk about what they're doing, but she runs that sustainability group inside of cliff bar. And it has thoughts about that. So we try to get underneath it to say, here's what the, here's why this is important.

This is what the product does, but why, why is this coming out now? What's important? What does this mean for our listener at another company? Not only why would they use this product, but what's the reasoning behind it. You know, if we're going to put the effort into making it, there's a story there. So I think, and I think that's the story people want to hear, they want to know about the product and what it does, but ultimately it's the why behind it.

And I think approaching it like that, you can get to all kinds of interesting. 

Jeremiah: It's a super interesting use case. I think this is maybe another one that I've not talked to anyone about that like would be utilizing a podcast for a more like product marketing feature announcement, but not in the pure raw form of just, Hey everyone, a quick one to tell you about a feature before the episode comes in, blah, blah, blah.

But actually unpacking the why behind the feature. Like, like you said, we developed this for a reason, there's a story behind it. And then I love this idea of connecting it to a customer who's using it and would find value in it. And so taking it from like story behind why the feature got built, what the feature does and why it matters.

And then like a person who believes in and embraces the. Talking about the benefit there. That's just an incredible, uh, yeah. For anyone who's listening. I think that's an incredible way to think about using your podcast. 

Michael Rivo: And again, I think it's very natural, which is, uh, you're really just talking about why this is important.

I mean, if, you know, if you're, if you're buying and using that piece of software, you probably have something to say about it. And, you know, in that example, what I didn't know and learned in that episode, which I thought was so fascinating is that companies are using this to look at their whole supply chain.

So now if I'm, we did another episode with Marriott about this. So if you think about environmental impact and Marriott, right, this is a huge organization with tons of infrastructure. And, you know, at scale, this is there's big environmental impacts. And so what they can do is look at each of their vendors who, you know, from laundry to transportation, to food across the board and using net zero.

They can see the impact and the performance of all of those different suppliers that they work with. And if the supplier, whether they're using our tool or a different tool, doesn't have that information, then they might not even be included in a bid to be able to continue to have the, have that work. So all of a sudden you see how.

This technology is driving change from the bottom up where if the companies agree that yes, sustainability is going to be part of our RFP process, we're going to look at these numbers and you know, those companies that are scoring high on those in addition to other factors are going to win contracts.

You can see that scaling across our whole world and having a real impact. And that's the story. And I would not have known that unless we had that conversation. 

Jeremiah: Yeah. I mean, the way you're saying it makes a lot of sense. I just have never seen it executed really well. I think a lot of brands without. I think a unique thing Salesforce has, you know, and I'm not just saying this to be complimentary, but like you're very thorough.

I think the things, you know, I'm sitting here thinking like, assuming like, okay, there's a lot of work and effort you're calling this like fairly easily. This is, there's a story behind it's like, yeah. But that's because you think like a storyteller or like, uh, you know, If think if companies are employing someone like you, marketers that aren't thoughtful about this or business leaders that don't understand marketing or storytelling or journalism are not going to make this resonate and like such an org, like you're spinning out a whole organic episode out of this.

That's like now all of a sudden it's like, oh yeah. Any business leaders should be thinking about how to Inmar more RFPs, like getting competitive with looking at like net zero. Oh. And by the way, like now planted in my brain is here's a tool to help me do it. But there's a ton of effort. I think. Maybe it comes naturally to you, but I think there's a ton of effort that goes into this, but it's definitely a use case we're thinking because yeah, if you're talking to your, if you are making a show for your target ICP, however, broad or narrow, that is thinking about how to not just announce new products in like a dynamic intro or outro, but that can be changed or updated to promote your whatever event is going on.

But baking it into a narrative form is really compelling. 

Michael Rivo: I think this is really an incredible part of Salesforce is that story is an incredibly important aspect of across the company. Not, not just in marketing. So yeah, I think that's, it's really important. Now, as you were saying that Jeremiah was realizing that podcasting is such a great medium for this.

What I'm describing, because you can have these long form conversations. It's much easier to do. And in many other marketing situations, you have a tweet or you have a small bit of copy or something that somebody's going to see for a second and not really pay attention, or maybe so the constraints of many of the other channels that you need to work with, make it much harder to have that depth of story and understanding.

So I am grateful to get to work in this medium. You can expand on that and it's much easier to do. Just for all the marketers out there. It's nice when you have 45 minutes to talk about 

Jeremiah: it. Yeah, no, I think on two things on what you're saying, the first is yeah. That you podcast listeners by default are an audience that are sort of saying I'm here for this.

Like I'm, I'm inviting you into my head space while I'm walking the dog while I'm commuting. I want to hear what you have to say. There's no rush. I'm kind of like the more natural, the more ums and AHS, sort of the more trust that there is even that like, it's not overly. So they're, they're a unique. And I also think what you're getting at with Salesforce is like, this is something I've seen in a lot of the companies I've interviewed is the ones that seem to be really successful and are able to keep investing in podcasting.

Longterm are the ones who at like the highest level sort of believe in storytelling, believe in doing things that build brand that build awareness that build trust. You know, they maybe want to make sure that the download numbers are sort of. Going in the reverse like that, you know, that people are still picking up the message, but on the whole there's a lot of belief in storytelling and in that kind of marketing.

And I think it becomes dramatically harder for companies thinking about starting podcasting when they're like, if this has to prove some sort of like positive ROI within three months, you're just not going to see it like that. Or they're thinking about it the wrong way. Talk to marketers that believe in it.

They're like, man, if, if, if we could just run this for 12 months, you know, we could make an impact, but their feet are being held to the fire. So I think that's one of the things is it's really, it's a channel that's best used when there's a ton of belief in storytelling and brand building at a company level.

Yeah. I 

Michael Rivo: think there are two things I was thinking about there. One is having the person who's working on it be passionate about, I mean, that, that's another trigger word for me, you know, passionate, but somebody who's really wanting. Do this. So are they interested in the story? Can the, you know, the work it takes to put out the pod, you know, it needs to be something that people, the person in charge really wants to do.

And you find that in the podcasting world, I, you know, the more people that I meet who are interested in it, people love it. I love to do it and are really into it. And it's fun. And so I think having that person is, is critical. In addition to the buy-in from your leadership. That's the first thing that I think it needs to be there where the person really wants to be, wants to be doing it.

And then secondarily, that ROI story is, is tricky. And there's some different ways to, to think about that. I think, you know, podcasting is sort of notorious for you don't really know your audience as much. Most people are listening on third party platforms. You don't get the data. Pretty hard to drive people to a website to do that, where you could get more data.

You're not going to see necessarily those form fields. That classic sort of demand gen story is, is hard with podcasts. And the other way to think about it as sometimes. Um, I think about the podcast is, uh, like a Thanksgiving dinner where from this one piece, from this one meal, the podcast recorded. There are so many other pieces that you can create to make a bunch of touch points.

So it's less like, well, there's, I put it up on apple and I there's a download number, but no, actually we took it out. We wrote a blog post out of it. And so now we have that and we can see that what's happening on that channel. And we embedded an audio clip in that as well. And we can see that. And then we made a social clip and we created an audio gram and we were on LinkedIn and Twitter and all the different channels.

And so you start. As you start to increase those touch points from that single interview, that single conversation, then you can tell that ROI story better. You can just reach a bigger audience, et cetera. So I do think it's, if you think about it as the content generation center point, that kernel, then there's a lot that can come out of that.

Jeremiah: Literally, it was going to be like my next question for you was how are you all thinking about repurposing? So do you, you know, do you work closely with the content marketing teams at Salesforce? Do they like, do they sort of like have their content calendars and then they kind of pick selected like bits from the podcast?

Or do they sort of, do you have like a rinse and repeat machine? Every episode runs through where we're always going to derive like one article, 10 social posts. How, how are you thinking about. 

Michael Rivo: Yeah. I mean, we've done a lot of different things, so there's different ways that it, that it happens. But recently, so we're now Salesforce is a sponsor of the Olympics.

So we just did a big effort across the board. I'm not sure if you saw our ad with Matthew McConaughey, which was, which was great, really fun, congrats to all the folks that worked on that. That was a fantastic. And across the whole content team, we created a ton of different content across lots of different teams.

So we've, we have Tableau, that's doing all kinds of really interesting data visualization around the Olympics, and we've got our blog, that's writing a lot of content. And so within the content team, we put together a program where we use the podcast, as again, as that sort of generation of a lot of this content.

So we had interviews with four athletes, Paralympic and Olympic athletes, Jessie Diggins, the cross country skier, and Elana Meyers Taylor, the bobsledder. So we did those interview and then those became blog posts. They became, we did a consolidated episode where we took several of the different Olympians and mixed it together into an app into a single episode.

We're able to tell a data story for Tablo, where they were used. They use pieces of that interview along with data visualizations and this sort of spread across the whole, all of our digital channels. It was an incredible effort by the, the content team as a whole to organize this and bring it all to.

Jeremiah: That's amazing. It's a, it's a great example. And it's, this is another thing that I'm seeing. A lot of companies have conversations around. I think it's something like I would recommend to companies. Even if like, so the ROI conversation, a lot of ways I'm even hearing brands articulate. This is that it's worth it for them to run the podcast, even if there's no download numbers at first, just because if they have a very small content team and they don't have sort of the luxury of like a full content calendar that are really able to.

Start with the podcast as the sole thing, have these conversations generate content a lot faster through just audio. Like it's just a lot faster to sort of capture the CEO's voice or other like thought leaders, voices. And then that simply dictates. So like, rather than them kind of coming up with a calendar or an agenda that whatever the podcast was literally dictates the next a week or two worth of content.

So it really is a unique channel, I think, in, in that way as well. 

Michael Rivo: You know, that speaks to what we were talking about earlier, which is people's availability. You can do it remotely and you can do it quickly. It doesn't require, you know, a ton of equipment and money, et cetera. So, and you know, once it's up and running and you have.

Even as you say, even if the show is small, they're small download numbers, everybody kind of looks the same on, on apple podcast. You know, you know, you know, you write good copy for it. You get some good guests. You, you know, you got a nice looking logo, you know, you make it look good. And uh, if you build it, they will come maybe, but you have a thing.

And so now when you reach out to. You can build it and it, and it does take on a life that way. So I think if you're thinking about getting started, that it really has those advantages of it's a pretty level playing field. Now, you know, how many podcasts are it? It is growing and it's harder and harder to get a share of voice for sure.

But that's where you go back to again, really targeted, targeted that sort of ABM story. Like are you, are the people who should be listening to this? Can you reach them? And then can you use these conversations in all these different ways to, to generate. 

Jeremiah: I have probably like 10 more questions I'm leaving on the table.

I could probably talk to you for another hour, but I want to be respectful of your time. So I'll wrap with the, um, sort of the last question I've been asking everyone, which is, and I'll expand it for you a little bit to include the network, but what advice. Would you give just generically, wherever your mind goes, what are things that accompany who's considering getting in?

You know, it could be B2B SaaS but it could be anything. If a company is thinking about getting into podcasting in some form, what advice would you have for them? What things might they think through maybe, you know, and I'll kind of ask a follow-up if you can sneak it in, which is if they have. One running, which increasingly they do.

How should they be thinking about a network? Should they even think about it? When, where, when do you begin to break into like network territory and what makes the juice worth the squeeze 

Michael Rivo: there? Well, the first one, sort of, what, what should you be thinking about? I think podcasting it's, it's a creator's medium and when you think about the podcasts that are really successful, it's a lot of it is about sort of personality and not necessarily a persona. You know, you're a performer type of personality, but. It's this intimate relationship with the listener. So the person who is the host or doing the podcast really needs to embrace that and understand that having a conversation with the audience and being really authentic and comfortable with doing that and speaking and facilitating, coming at it like a journalist is really important.

So having the right talent work on it, and I think many people are capable of doing it. Do you need to think about it and spend some time developing a style? So that would be one, which is everything you can do around. Oh, we have to get the right software where we can distribute it and we have to come up with the right topics and we've got to figure out how we can measure it and all of those things that you need to do.

Yes. But the show needs to be really good. And that's going to come from ultimately from the voice that you're hearing and what they're talking about. So the end to help with that in addition, You know, a person who's passionate about doing it and has some skill. There is preparation is just really, really key.

I know if I don't prepare enough for the interview, you can really tell. So I think it's like, know your stuff, really understand the, you know, it's just just an hour or two. It doesn't have to be a ton, but. Do preparation, where you're comfortable with the topics and the material you come up with a set of questions, don't be afraid to deviate for them and have a conversation.

I think it's important to think about yourself as a stand in for the audience. I'm having this conversation as if everybody would want to have this conversation with this person. And so. Don't worry about the list of questions you have just have that conversation. You're the stand in for the audience and make it, make it interesting for them.

So I would say talent, somebody who's committed to do it, wants to do it. Right. Preparation is key. And then, um, you know, how. The ability to produce and edit the show and understand that it's, there's definitely some effort there. So putting enough commitment where it's a good part of somebody's time, if you're putting out a show every week, um, so know that you're committing to that, it's going to be a big part of somebody's job and they, they need to spend the time doing it or it won't be right.

So I've rambled long enough on that. But I'd say those are, those are some key factors to think. 

Jeremiah: I love those too. Um, and then any, any advice if they're like, if they've got one show going, should they consider a network? And if so, what should they be thinking about? 

Michael Rivo: Yeah. I mean, I think it depends on the goals, you know, for Salesforce, we were structured around, uh, sort of, we have the whole Salesforce platform, but then there's individual clouds around, you know, marketing and commerce and, uh, you know, lots of different pieces within the Salesforce universe.

So it makes sense for us to have role-based content to reach those audiences at our scale. I think there's some other ways of approaching it, where you could have a single show and then rotate in different topics that you wanted to talk about. But I think it's really just mapping back to the audience that you're trying to reach.

And are they similar enough or different, you know, That you would need different shows to reach them. My instinct is less, is generally more, which I know may be out of fashion these days, but I think a focus on that singular channel, you know, like we've been talking about, there's only so many shows that are going to be in your regularly listened feed, you know, four or five shows or something.

So each time you're asking the audience to take on another one of these shows in this sort of channel model that we have right now is, is tricky. So I would think if you can get somebody to subscribe to an audio channel, you know, thinking about it more holistic like that. Yes, it's a, it's a podcast, but they are subscribing to get audio from you and get this storytelling.

You can move the topics around, run Siri. You can do them as short series. You can do it as individual episodes, lots of different ways that you can get creative with that feed. But ultimately it's like any other subscription feed model. Once you have somebody in. It's tough to ask them to go do another.

And if you do, then you know that you're going to have to nurture that feed and get people there and do cross promotion from the other feed. So I think it's something to consider around how much time can the audience really give you how different does this content need to be and how can you really make the most of the time you're going to get?

Because as we all know, it's, you know, that's the, the really tough commodity. Yeah, 

Jeremiah: I love that. Those are so helpful, Michael, thank you so much for your time today. I really have enjoyed talking with you. It's been great having you on that. 

Michael Rivo: Jeremiah. Thank you. I get it's a treat to get to talk about this stuff.

I hope it's interesting and helpful to somebody out 

Jeremiah: there very much. It's. This is going to be one of, one of our, our best episodes. So thank you. Great. Thank 

Michael Rivo: you.

Jeremiah: 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 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.

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