Today’s guest is Justin Jackson, Co-Founder of Transistor, our favorite podcast hosting platform. In this episode, we talk about ways companies can use podcasting to build a community of supporters.
You’ll learn more about the number one metric businesses should be measuring when it comes to their podcast ROI, how critical it is for shows and brands to be transparent, and the different use cases of internal or private podcasting.
Name: Justin Jackson
Justin and his business partner, Jon, were able to build a community of supporters for Transistor right from the start through their podcast, Build Your SaaS. They weren’t afraid to address real problems and have hard conversations on the show. Not only did this help them build an authentic community, but it helped them grow as partners.
They want the hero’s journey. They want to see someone struggle and not be there yet because it’s more relatable than a typical corporate podcast where everything is cleaned up and they have it all together. Your audience wants transparency from you. They want to follow along as the hero faces different obstacles and overcomes them.
Does anyone actually respond to your show? Are you compelling your audience to take an action? Did anyone care enough to reach out and give you feedback or a review? Did anyone write you an email to tell you how much your podcast helped them? Did anyone tweet about an episode and recommend it to their followers? That’s the best way to measure success, not downloads.
There’s a spectrum of how transparent you can be about certain situations. You need to be judicious about what you choose to share in a way that serves your audience. For Justin, sharing Transistor’s revenue from the inception of the company worked until they reached about $30K in monthly revenue. After that, the arc of the story passed. They made it from $0 to $30K, and it was no longer advantageous to them or their audience to see their revenue numbers.
The reality behind marketing and podcast ROI is most attribution is dirty, meaning it’s incredibly difficult to get right. There’s usually a lot of noise surrounding the tools that track people and their activity, particularly in podcasting where metrics and attribution have challenging history. That’s why Justin prefers measuring success through a simple metric, like response rate. There’s no need to put it in a spreadsheet or track every comment. It’s a simple feeling of the general momentum of your show.
During an episode, use prompts and questions to get your audience to engage with you. You can ask them what they think about a certain portion of the episode and have them email you their thoughts or even tweet them. You can’t expect the audience to act without giving them a reason or asking them to.
The only way to turn qualitative data into quantitative is to actually have conversations with your listeners. If you talk to 100 listeners and 85 of them say, “I loved the episode you did on X,” now you have a quantitative metric to show that that particular episode was important. You can then take it a step further and figure out why they thought it was important so you can replicate the success in future episodes.
Justin suggests companies take advantage of internal podcasting by using the platform for training and onboarding. Create a compelling 6-episode series that explains your company, how you got here, what to expect, etc., and share that with every new hire. You can even drip feed the episodes where the employee only gets one episode at a time to really help maintain the storyline.
You can use them for customers too. If you could give your best, most important customers an inside look into things you’re working on, what you’re thinking about, what you’re wrestling with, etc., you’re making them feel like they’re an exclusive part of your brand.
Rather than having to manually download your episodes, edit them to add a special announcement (e.g. you’re hosting a conference and want to share with your audience), and reupload the episodes, you can now use Transistor’s dynamic ad insertions to set up campaigns. Your announcements/ads will run on all live episodes for whatever specified time you set in the backend, and once it’s done, the ads are automatically removed from all episodes.
Justin Jackson: The results any podcaster should want is response. Does anybody respond to the show? So response could be like these very practical KPIs, like more leads, more sales, all this, but for me, response just means, did anybody care enough to reach out? Did anyone care enough to write me an email and say, "Hey, I just got to tell you like that stuff you and Jon are talking about is exactly what I'm going through right now."
Or did anyone care to tweet and share the episode and say, "Man, I just listened to this in the car, and it really had an impact on me." You're looking for response rate not download rate or anything else.
Jeremiah: Hey there. Welcome to Brands that Podcast. Each week we talk with the people running podcast strategies at successful brands so you can learn how to grow your company through podcasting.
Today's guest is Justin Jackson, co-founder of Transistor, our favorite podcast hosting platform and the one we use to publish Brands that Podcast. Justin and his co-founder Jon bootstrapped Transistor into what I think is one of the best hosting platforms available. I wanted to have Justin on the show because he's on the other side of the industry.
Most people we interview are marketing or content managers behind brands that are running podcasts. I wanted to learn Justin's thoughts about companies using podcasting from a different vantage point. He's a really smart marketer, a great founder, and they've built a really amazing product. He himself was early to podcasting and their own podcast, Build Your SaaS, has been the chronicle of their founder story from $0 a year to over $30K monthly recurring revenue when they stopped publicly sharing their metrics.
In this episode, you'll hear how the number one metric that businesses should be measuring, but most aren't is response rate. People actually caring enough to email you about your show or share it on social. How companies can use transparency to build a community of supporters and early adopters, and how critical it is for shows to use transparency to be interesting rather than to come across all buttoned up and safe.
We'll also talk about use cases of internal or private podcasting for onboarding, training, sharing the company's story and more how most attribution has some dirty data in it. And isn't really that reliable and how to think about podcasts attribution, and driving revenue at your company. We'll also talk about how to use dynamic audio inserts to promote other things your company is doing without having to completely ripped down and replaced all your old episodes and loads more.
I think you're really going to enjoy this episode.
Justin, it is an honor to have you on this show. We are huge fans of Transistor. We talk about it to everybody. I'm a huge fan, as we've been talking about off mic of you and your work at Transistor and your blog. So thank you so much for taking the time to come talk with me today.
Justin Jackson: Yeah, no, I'm excited to talk to you. It was fun having the pre-chat a good pre-chat is indicative of how good the actual chat's going to be. So we are fully warmed up right now.
Jeremiah: We're ready. We're ready. We just have to stay on topic and not talk about like bootstrapping. And so I want to start with this. I think this is a good place to start.
Well, just to give everyone backstory to, who's not aware. So you and be, I'll just give like the ten second version and you tell me if I missed anything, but you and Jon, your co-founder met in Portland in 2014. You had a podcast, you've been like a big community builder. You had a podcast. Jon was working on a podcast hosting
Justin Jackson: tool.
Yeah. He built the first version of simple cast. No way. Yeah.
Jeremiah: I used simple cast for myself, like for pollen, which we talked about off my way, like early on. Anyway. That's
Justin Jackson: cool. So did I, he's the guy that built the first version of it and oh, I was a fan and he said, I give you a free account on simple cast.
So you can give us some product and marketing advice. And, uh, I helped them launch on Product Hunt and a bunch of other things. And, uh, yeah, it was used them for a long
Jeremiah: time. That's awesome. I think a good starting point is for this is you started the company with him and you started Transistor in February.
And for anyone who's listening is unaware. We talk about all the time. Transistor is a podcast hosting platform. You built that where you launched it in February, 2018. And you built the podcast complimentary to it, Build Your SaaS, which was your podcast around the same time, right? Like, so this is a starting point for me because like, like most brands we interview are like, we're going to do a podcast that talks to our target audience.
So for you, that would be like creators and makers and podcast hosts. But you did like a, which seems very Justin Jackson-ess in retrospect, but you, I want to guess that like eight reasons why you did this. So I'm just going to ask you why that, in terms of like a podcast that transparently like shared your story, as you built the product, versus like here's a podcast for podcasters, you know, like, like you see a lot of companies do.
Justin Jackson: Yeah. There was a bunch of. First Jon had never really been on a podcast. And we were both like, if we're going to do this for podcasters, he needs to be on a podcast. Like he needs to have that experience. And we also want to be using the product the way that our customers would. So our customers are going to be creating episodes and uploading them and getting stats.
And we want to be doing that as well. We want to be in the mix. The other reason is, you know, there's examples like the Gimlet start-up podcast, where they kind of transparently shared the journey of building a company. And that was fun to listen to. And there's tons of podcasts like this that I had been listening to for a long time.
There's the Bootstrapped Web with Brian Casel and Jordan Gal. There's Art of Product. There's all these podcasts in this kind of sphere. And I enjoyed listening to them. And I felt like this could be compelling for other people to listen to because we were starting from like, we just signed the partnership documents and then it's like, okay, let's start a show.
And it's going to have all of these benefits. It's going to be an ongoing record of what we're doing, how we're feeling, what we're trying, what worked, what didn't work. And it's also going to be a compelling story because we don't know how it's going to end. Here we are, two guys were just like joining together.
Let's see what happens, you know, and not knowing. Like, are we going to fight in two months and break up? Are we going to, is this just going to not get off the ground? You know, we had no idea what was going to happen. It's just a world of possibility. And you know, for us, it was exciting cause we were in the midst of it, but sharing it with an audience and inviting them along for the journey also just felt compelling.
And, uh, the benefit of. I mean, there's been tons and tons of benefits on one hand. I think Jon and I will continue to do the show whether or not anyone's listening, because there's something good about us getting on the mics and confronting issues in public. But it's also just like, we know that people are going to hear it, but it doesn't mean we can't talk about hard stuff.
And in some ways that sometimes makes it easier because I know it's going to make for good. You know, I was like, Hey Jon, I remember one time, one thing I was worried about is I just get so much attention. Like in our partnership, I get a ton of attention. People sign up, they always say like, Hey, I read your blog or, oh, I heard you on this interview.
And, and he's just not as well known. And I said, you know, does that bug you? Because I was worried about it. Like, is he feel bad about this? He's like, Justin no, he's like, I do not want any of that attention. I am happy to just sit over here in the quiet, you know, and confronting that in public was cathartic.
It was like, okay, we can do that. But there's other benefits as well. You get a bunch of people early on who are cheering for you, who can be your advocates who want to help you. And so we'd be like, oh man, like we have no idea how to get into Spotify. At the time, Spotify was very closed for podcast distribution.
And we're like, we have no idea how we're going to get in here. And then, you know, we released the episode and a day later, two engineers from Spotify email us and say, "Hey, I work at Spotify and really want to help you out. Here's the contacts for people you need to talk to." And I was going to New York at the time and they invited.
Go and meet them at headquarters. And there's just tons and tons of benefits to have people on your side that are supporting your story, cheering you on for awhile. Patrion supporters and advertisers on the podcast was like, that was more revenue than we were making from Transistor, you know? So that, that like the first money we really ever made.
I mean, we got our first customer in early access probably in February, I think. But after that first customer, I think the next money in was podcast sponsorship. So yeah, there's benefit there and it's also, it becomes another way for people to share our story. Like, oh, you got to hear about these guys.
Like, this is their thing, you know, they started over here. They met in 2014. Now they're trying to do it. It's exciting to share that as opposed to anything else, you know, it's like two guys started a company, like, who cares? Why would I care about that? But the story, the narrative, the arc, the unknown of it is what makes it compelling and made people want to come along for the journey and kind of support us as we were going.
Jeremiah: I love that it's such a different answer than like then we typically get, and these interviews, because companies have like set goals, they have set thing. Like we want to do these three things. I often ask how they're defining success. And usually it's like downloads or like they want to see X amount of like leads or revenue or like whatever it may be.
And this is so much more practical in some way. Like it started very, it sounds like it started very practical for the two reasons you said it's like, it's a forcing function to talk and to get together, to work through issues and to. It's going to let us test our product and real life, but then some happy benefits of that, that I almost never hear anyone.
I've never heard anyone articulate. Who's been a guest on here is building sort of not just the community, cause that's common, like building an audience, but like building an early rap, like supportive community and a way to like it kind of. Was a forcing function to bundle your journey in a package like your founder story.
And then people could like, come on board, follow that, resonate with that. Super interesting.
Justin Jackson: Yeah. And it was happening in real time. So like to sell it retroactively, wouldn't have been as fun or as compelling. It's like, Hey, we made it now come along and hear how we did it. That's not as interesting, but Hey, we haven't made it where listen, we're two guys in our late thirties, we feel washed up in the tech industry, we feel like who knows if, what our future, even as in, we're old for the tech industry, and we've tried to start multiple companies and it's never worked. And here we are. Is this going to work or not? There's something about that. That was compelling. And it also just happened to be our real life.
Right. But I think there's something instructive in that, which is a lot of corporate podcasts are just boring because they want to be all buttoned up and all cleaned up and all already have it all together. And people don't want to listen to that. They want the hero's journey. They want to see somebody struggle and not be there yet.
And then follow along as the hero faces different obstacles and overcome. That's interesting. And in terms of response, this actually bugs me. Cause I, I think that people are getting a podcasts. Like what goals are you looking for? What results are you getting for the results, any podcasts or should want is response.
Does anybody respond to the. So response could be like these very practical KPIs, like more leads, more sales, all those things. But for me, response just means, did anybody care enough to reach out? Did anyone care enough to write me an email and say, Hey, like, I just gotta tell you like that stuff you and Jon are talking about is exactly what I'm going through right now.
Or did anyone care to tweet and share the episode and say, man, I just listened to this in the car. And it really like. Had an impact on me. You're looking for response rate, not download rate or anything else. If you have 20 listeners and five people respond, that would be unbelievable. Like that alone is incredible.
I know people with thousands and thousands of downloads per episode, and they tell me in private they're like, man, I just don't know if anyone likes to show cause no one ever reaches out. So it's response rate that you want. Are you moving people? Are you compelling them to take some sort of action? And whether that's just to write you an email or to actually do something.
I love that
Jeremiah: as a metric, as the thing you're looking at, because it also can be something that defines how you build the show to begin with. Like, if that's the goal, then the goal is to get a response. It would be to me than to be like, forced me to think, like, are we being interesting enough? Like if that's the goal, like, then it's like, well, how can we be like so interesting that we have a higher chance of that, which like to your earlier point about being more transparent, less buttoned up, like all these things, it allows you to be like, yeah, are we sharing.
We often talk on the show about like the mixture of like art and algebra that like, it can't just be like, okay, we're going to serve this audience. Talk to this niche of pot. There has to be some art thing that like makes you feel some component that makes people feel moved or like connected with it emotionally.
Justin Jackson: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And I mean, I know there's a tension here, especially as you get bigger, but I was at my first job in the software industry was with an email newsletter company, like the email newsletter. And we had so many employees like government employees and public relations people, and they were trying to figure out how to create compelling email newsletters.
And I did a workshop where I basically said the same thing. I said, it just can't be all buttoned up straight-laced stuff. Like nobody wants to read that. It's just not interesting. You have to. And I said, I know it's hard, you know, in the government and public relations and big companies, I know it's hard to be real.
But if you're going to create content, it has to be interesting. And one of the best ways to be interesting is to be real. So I listened to a few like branded airline podcasts that launched during COVID. They were just so buttoned up. Like the airline industry is taking the COVID pandemic very seriously.
And we have all the things in place it's like, I don't want to hear that. I want to hear the executive speaking truthfully and saying, oh man, like, I want to hear him recording into his iPhone at 3:00 AM going, Hey, I just, I can't sleep because. I just don't know what we're going to do. Like I'm going to have to fire a bunch of people.
Like, that's what we want to hear. I understand it's hard, but that would be compelling. And I guess if you're just doing it, just because you, you want, you want to check off that you have a podcast and that's fine, but if you actually care about making an impact, then. You've got to get real and getting real is how you get fans.
It's how you get people in your corner. It's how you get cheerleaders. It's how you get people who are actually invested in what you're doing and who understand what you're
Jeremiah: doing. Because companies, I think, think if we share too many weaknesses, we'll be perceived as weak as weak. Where, like, in your example, they're like, oh my word, Justin, you're doing an amazing one.
A rally around. You want to share your. Sorry, like you experienced the opposite and it sounds like you're bullish on that being like that could be the case for more companies. Like people don't expect you to be
Justin Jackson: perfect. Yeah. It's a little unfair for me to talk about this for bigger companies. Cause I've never worked for a bigger company.
So I do understand that that's probably not easy, but honestly like go and listen to the best, how I built this interviews and just listen to what Guy Raz gets out of those interviews. He's pulling out these personal anecdotes and what resonates is the struggle. So tell me about this time here, where you thought you were going to lose.
Like, I love his interview with the founder of Patagonia. Go listen to that one, if you haven't listened to it, but it's like this compelling vision, like how did this come about to be ecologically friendly and to actually encourage people to buy less stuff. And what was the struggle like when this happened?
How did you overcome that when this happened? How did you deal with it? You know, and it's the struggles, it's the missteps, it's the obstacles and overcoming obstacles that are interesting. I think it's possible for more brands to do. In a podcast.
Jeremiah: Yeah, I totally agree with you. It's actually, it's funny. We used to run creative strategy sprints for companies like for, especially like we mainly worked with like some B2B SAS brands who wanted to launch their own show.
And so I would interview their target audience. I'd be like, okay, well, like put me in touch with five to 10 of your best customers. Like more audience members you'd like to talk to. And it was always, I did hear multiple times, they would say like, all right, look, if this is going to be a podcast, like their customers would tell me, like, There's too many podcasts that just make it seem like we have it all together.
Here's the best practices, blah, blah, blah. They were like, if you're going to do this concept, we want to hear from peers of ours. Like if you're going to interview peers of ours that are really successful, we see enough of that on LinkedIn. What we also need to hear is like how they did it, the ups and downs, they experienced the failures they had, like, that was something anecdotally like the audience really wanted to hear as
Justin Jackson: well.
Oh, totally. Completely sure about this, that the parts of people's stories that resonate are the struggle, because there's part of the hero's journey. That's in this, but there's also just like people. And that's one of the powerful parts of audio is that when you're out walking the dog and you've got your earbuds in and somebody articulates a struggle that you've only felt internally and you've never heard anybody express outwardly, there's just something so wonderful about that.
It just resonates so deeply to know, oh my gosh, like this person struggles the same way I do. Or I've experienced a struggle like that, or I know how that feels. And then if you can also share how you overcame it, then it gives people hope it like motivates them. And I think that could definitely be done in a lot, especially if you're not just interviewing the CEO, like interviewing the CEO is hard because there's just like, there's so many areas he can't go. But in an industry podcast, like if you're talking to salespeople and you don't want to just hear like the salesperson, just talk about all the things he's done great. It's like, okay. Now tell me, like, what was it like to get started and to do those first cold calls? How did you get over it?
What were those like? What were the tricks that helped you along the way? Do you still feel awkward about doing cold calls? What, tell me some calls that you've just thought were going terribly. That ended up being okay. Give me some hope. Show me how doing this, putting in the work every single day for years at a time will actually bring me somewhere worthwhile.
I think there's something about that. Could be accomplished a lot more. Do you have
Jeremiah: any examples? Like, it sounds like one thing you see businesses get wrong specifically who try and enter podcasting is like they are too buttoned up. They do like, they follow maybe like the same blueprint. Are there things that come to mind that either you can take it whatever direction you want, positive or negative, but like positively is there.
Companies you've seen using it, innovatively things that you've not seen before, things that you think are clever, or I guess to word it a different way. Are there other things they should avoid? In addition to that, like, if one of the things is not being transparent enough, what are some other mistakes that, that companies should avoid?
If they're thinking about starting a pod. I
Justin Jackson: think transparency is like, it's not a binary. It's not like there's a spectrum of transparency. So like when Transistors started at $0 in revenue, we made a decision to actually, that's not true. We started $0 of revenue. And then once we got to, I think, $3,000 a month in revenue, we decided to start sharing our revenue numbers publicly.
Like you could just go and see all of our graphs, all of our stats, everything. And we decided to do that until we got to $20,000 in monthly revenue, and then we stopped. Maybe it was 30. No, it was 30. And the reason was that transparency was no longer serving us. Like competitors were using it against us. It was becoming thick, had to see everything customer data was anonymized, but everything else was there.
And at that stage, I was like, I don't think this is helpful for the audience anymore. Because going from zero to $30,000 a month is the story. That's the arc. That's the hardest part. Everything after that is honestly pretty boring. It's one reason why I'm okay with us only releasing an episode on Build Your SaaS, the podcast that Jon and I did, we only released an episode every month and a half or so because the arc is we're on the other side of that story arc.
And I think we still have things to say. The story is kind of done as far as the podcast is concerned, right? That's, we've done it at the beginning. It was like, are these guys going to be able to get, to replace their full-time income with this thing? And then we did it and then it's like everything after that is just gravy, but not super interesting.
So I think transparency, it's not like, I just want people to apply this without any filter. You've gotta be a. Judicious in the way that you kind of choose what you're gonna be transparent about. I'm just saying that in the right time, a certain type of transparency can be very interesting and compelling.
And if you're in that time and place and it makes sense, you should do it. And even now there's other ways, Jon and I are being transparent. We've got our employee handbook out in public. These are the values were that we make all of our decisions. And we've shared that publicly. We've talked about our own mental health struggles.
We've talked about when COVID ha we, we talked about like how we were worried. We were gonna lose 50% of our revenue overnight. And then we celebrated when that didn't happen. Like we're still being transparent. And I think for the people that still like listening, it's still compelling, but yeah, I think there's good at, you've gotta be careful still.
It's not like you should reveal every. You still need to have some sober judgment about what you're talking about in public, but I think applied properly, it can be really great for the audience and really great for the.
Jeremiah: I'm curious what you think. I made a note here on one of the interviews I was listening to with you on, you talked about you referenced the window of opportunity or how long the window would be open.
I think it was in your founders retreat episode, like for podcasting as a whole. I'm curious to get your thoughts. It's rare to get someone like you in here because most times. Brand and marketing content people sort of trying to utilize the channel while it's here. I'm curious to get your thoughts from someone sort of on the other side, maybe of the industry.
I don't know. I don't know how you'd word it, but what do you think the future of podcasting holds that? You'd be willing to share with companies. Like, do you feel, for example, I've seen a trend. I feel like increasing in short form CEO led updates. Like I've seen more like sort of quick snacks, like journal stuff where like, I mean, it was pretty much dominated by like 45 minute guests interview podcasts.
We're also seeing a rise, some brands, uh, some companies are starting to lean more into like storytelling, narrative style shows. When you look at the next five years of podcasting, how do you think it shifts? What things do you think may be up and coming? Do you have any thoughts that you would be willing to share around that?
Justin Jackson: yeah. I mean, there's lots, lots of things going on in the ecosystem. I think the ecosystem itself is interesting. We have Spotify coming in and really shaking up how the industry sees itself and works, spending all this money acquiring shows and companies and making a lot of shows exclusive to Spotify.
I think it's making waves and where those waves end up, I don't know? I don't know if I could like say, you know, I'm optimistic or pessimistic or whatever. I think podcasting has a really bright future, but it's always tenuous. Like, I think the move away from the open protocol of RSS would be a mistake. I think that people that want podcasting to be, and a lot of brands want this.
I know they want it to be as centralized distribution platform like YouTube, where you just upload it one place and they control this, they give you all your stats. They know when people start, when people stop, they are tracking people and serving ads to those people. I think ultimately that's, uh, if podcasting went that way, that would be bad, both for independent podcast creators, but also for brands.
It's the distributed nature of podcasting that makes it immune to a lot of problems. And right now, nobody owns it. Apple owns a chunk of the player market. Spotify owns a chunk of the player market. Amazon has a player. Facebook has it player, Google has a player. And then there's all these independent developers that have their own apps, right.
Overcast and all these. And what's great about that is when nobody owns the distribution, it holds a balance of power, meaning nobody can come in and decide. Now, if Spotify did own it, It would certainly impact brand's ability to you to use it. Because now they're going to dictate the terms. Maybe if you want a branded podcast under one player, you've got to pay for that.
Now, having it just as a content play or a public relations play, isn't possible. Now it's a pay to play no matter what. So it's more messy this way. The way the ecosystem is distributed using this old crusty protocol called RSS. Certainly you don't get all the same tracking and everything else, but I actually think that's a good thing.
I wrote this piece called it's basically, I'm skeptical of a lot of marketing tracking and automation, and I've been in product marketing for a long time. The tools of tracking people. And you know, this is how many visitors we have, and this is what they're doing. And then this is how many convert and trying to have attribution for everything, every real marketer, the dirty seat.
Is that most attribution is dirty. It's incredibly difficult to get, right. There's usually a ton of noise in there. And this is why I prefer really simple metrics like response rate. And I wouldn't even put it on a KPI. Spreadsheet or dashboard don't force your marketing team to say, this is how many responses we got for that podcast episode or don't force your podcast agency to do that either.
What's important is the momentum, the general momentum, the general feeling. Hey D have we had any responses from the show in awhile? Huh? It doesn't seem like we have, then there's two things you can do. You can make the show more interesting and you can have more prompts and a prompt is just, Hey folks, we haven't heard from you in a while.
And I just want to interrupt this episode to say, if this is moving you or any of our other episodes, move you, please reach out. Like we love hearing from you. It makes a big difference. Just tweet us here. Email us here. You just give them a prompt or, Hey, just as an aside, can you just pause for a sec?
Just as an aside. What do you think about this? Yeah. You who's listening right now. Like what do you think about this? Can you send us your thoughts? Just tweet or email here, the prompts, you can use those, but it's response rate that matters. And for Transistor, like we have. Few metrics. Really, all I care about is how many people are signing up for a trial and how many of them convert to paid and how many customers do we lose every month?
That's really all I care about. And honestly, I don't even check those in a KPI dashboard. I'm just going to. Overall, does it seem healthy or not healthy? Or which direction is it going? And I also, hopefully we all have a healthy understanding that we alone don't move markets or listeners or whatever. So certainly there are some things I can do to move the needle, but the needle gets also gets moved by a lot of other things that are outside of my control.
Jeremiah: I'm super. So yeah, man, I feel like. I actually almost like wrote a post on LinkedIn about this. Cause I was like, I felt like I always want there to be some of that on attributable sort of magic sort of art left in marketing, because I think it allows the people who reverse engineer themselves are like, how would I want to buy?
How would I want to be messaged to like, if they can apply that psychology, they're going to be a good marketer. That's why I've always. Seth Godin or other people like him that I just feel like the stuff they say about human behavior and marketing will be true a hundred years from now. And I think that those things are like, I think it would be really, really, really sad to see it all go to one platform.
I think you're right on two things. One, I think brands forget like the Facebook organic play will just happen all over again. Like your business page is going to all of a sudden get less reach and you're going to have to pay to play and all these things, but also like. It would just be a shame because I think there are shows that are winning because they have sort of like an it factor that can't be measured.
And I think if it all comes down to analytics, that would be podcasting. I like it for that reason. Like, I like that it can't all be measured. Oh,
Justin Jackson: I that's. Part of the reason I love. And it honestly puzzles me. I mean, actually it doesn't puzzle me in one way, because I remember being a marketer who is responsible for KPIs and the boss wants to know how many organic visits did we get?
How many tweets, how many retweets, how many people liked our Instagram? I understand. And then how many people signed up? What attribution can we give for those sign-ups? I remember all of that. And I'm just saying like, most of it is actually not moving the needle and your marketing stack, the way you analyze what you do can actually be way simpler than that.
And the only other thing I do with Transistor in terms of attribution, and you can do this with your podcast as well is I ask people what's going on in your life that brought you here today. What brought you to Transistor today? Then people answer. And then usually the follow up question is if they have an answer this already, I say, how did you find.
Like who told you about us, whatever those two questions for your podcast listener, as well as your business. I think that's all you really need to know. And then are you getting out, whatever else you want out of the show for podcasts? I think what you want is response. Are you getting any sort of response? And then for business you want sales?
You want revenue? Yeah. As long as what you're doing is generating that, that's all that matters. You can analyze it to death. But again, the problem with marketing analysis is that the data is just dirty. It's just not, there's so much noise in there. I remember this one software job, you know, we had this big KPI dashboard and we're making all of these decisions based on these numbers.
And then a developer came to me and said, oh, you know, I just fixed some tracking code and it turns. We were tracking this completely wrong. I was like punching the new numbers and all of the assumptions we had made are complete garbage now in retrospect, but what's real is when somebody responds. What's real is when somebody buys your product and then tells you why they bought it and how they heard about it.
That's real. And I think beyond that, you don't really need anything else. As long as you're covering those bases.
Jeremiah: Yeah, we have ended up using it's fairly crude, but it works for us. And I know there's probably better ways to automate it and everything, but what we've done essentially, like now we're an agency, so we have the luxury of like, we don't maybe have the inbound volume that like a SAS product like yours is getting, but what we've been able to do is just like a required open form fill.
More people are doing now, which is just like, when you go to book a call with it's like, how did you hear about us? I'm manually reading these qualitative submissions. And some, some people that leave one or two words, but some people like write a book on there. They're like, well, I heard you about this.
Then this guy recommended you. Then I was in this group and you're starting to see all these like previously unattributable things. And all I do then is like in our CRM, I just tick off like any check boxes of touchpoints that were relevant enough for them to mention that in that. Again, imperfect because it's like imperfect because maybe there were 20 social posts that we did that built a foundation of trust that they're not remembering, but that's why there has to be this like foundational, like just belief in what you're doing and understanding of human behavior.
But I'm, I'm able to, like, if people say podcasts like cool, I know that that was a touch point, relevant enough for them to bring it to me.
Justin Jackson: Yeah, and you can into it as you listen to people as you're actually talking to them and listening, you can get a sense, especially as you have more and more of those conversations, the qualitative becomes quantitative.
Meaning if you talk to a hundred people and 85 of them say. Man, I listened to that one episode you did about this. Then now you've got a quantitative metric to say, wow, that episode really feels important. Like there was something about that that resonated. And if you were really curious, you could go back to those 85 people and say, what was it about that episode?
Like, why was that so impactful? But we want these, like these data points. We want to see what. Big line of data points behind every anonymous customer we get on the internet. And number one. It's most of the time it's actually wasteful it. Doesn't actually give you any meaningful insight. And number two, speaking and listening to real human beings is just for me anyway, far more interesting.
It's where you get the actual sense, you know, and sure you need to do it a lot of times. That's if you have qualitative research, If you do it at enough times, eventually it becomes quantitative. There's enough evidence that you've heard it enough times that you know, oh, wow. This seems to really be resonating.
Jeremiah: Yeah. I completely agree with you. I want to be respectful of your time. So I'm going to try and wrap up with a few quick fire ones. I feel like internal podcasting Transistor makes this possible. We've always been fascinated with this use case and feel like it's way too under utilized, like for brands that are listening, you know, for companies that are listening, Shopify, Spotify, utilize these like to great effect.
I know you've seen use cases. Can you either like sharing anonymous use case or talk a little bit. What do you think the impact could be for brands to start exploring this idea of like the CEO delivering a message to the teammates, synchronously, or sort of like doing like a pass the mic thing interdepartmentally to let them share updates that they're working on?
Like, do you feel like we'll see more companies lean into internal podcasting or private podcasting?
Justin Jackson: It's a lot of use cases. One use case that I've seen done that I think is effective is for training. As people join, you know, you want to get them caught up to speed. Here's our story. Here's how we got here.
Here's what we had to overcome to get here. I think if you could craft a really like whatever, six episodes that just tell your story in a compelling way for new hires, like new employees, that is a great use for it. And one thing that Transistor wants to do, we haven't implemented this yet, but we want to be able to create drip RSS feeds.
So because we're creating a unique RSS feed for each subscriber. Right now, it's just, everybody gets all the episodes at once, but the idea is you sign up for the private podcast and then you get the first episode. Once we can tell you've downloaded that one, we'll send you the second one or you click a link in the show notes and that activates the second download.
So. Giving it to people all at once. There's this like drip sequence of episodes. And I think that could be so cool for onboarding, for training, for courses, for audio books, all those things
Jeremiah: for sort of like emotionally, I love that one too. Like emotionally connecting to the founder's story. Like feeling like this is our history, this is where we come from.
This is the role I'm playing in it.
Justin Jackson: Yeah. Yeah. And you know, every company is. Teams need a little bit of mythology, you know, and so sharing some of that and giving people a sense of that is, uh, I think podcasts are a great way to do that. And then. There's two other things that come to mind. One is I think private podcasts for important customers would be really interesting.
So everyone always thinks about like employees, but if you could give your best customers or your most important customers or your, your special customers access to this inside. At what you're doing, what you're thinking about, what you're wrestling with, you know, a new journey you're going on and you're going to bring them along.
I think that could be really compelling too. So the nice thing is like a private podcast almost makes it feel exclusive. Like we're just sending this to you. This is not for public consumption and we just want you to be a part of the process and here's how you can respond to every episode. Has been underutilized and I'd like to see more folks do that with private podcasts.
And then the third one is paid private podcasts. So we do have already, we have like, there's these industry newsletters for like oil and gas and all these other things. And they've been using Transistor for public podcasts, but now what they're also starting to do is they are charging for the private podcast in the same way that they charge for their industry.
Trade publication or whatever. It can also become a source of subscription revenue where, you know, you get them to pay whatever it is for some of these trade publications. It's thousands of dollars a year. And then you get this access to this private podcast. And as long as you're paying the subscription and yeah, that could still be done a lot more as well, but we are seeing it with certain industry magazines, trade publications.
Having a public podcast and then having that lead to, Hey, if you want to hear the rest of this report, it's only available to private subscribers. You can pay for that here. And then we add them as a private subscriber, Transistor, and then they get access to that. So, yeah, there's tons of opportunities in private podcasting.
Yeah. I love it.
Jeremiah: It's going to be such good inspiration for people listening. Cause I think this is an area that we've tried to like press on a little bit because it just feels like there's so many opportunities, but so few people like, like what I mentioned earlier, like I think we're going to see more short form stuff.
I think we're going to see more CEOs stream of consciousness stuff even to like shareholders or investors. Like I think there's something unique about audio that brands can leverage. You're more engaged even than with video then, like in YouTube, I was saying like, I forget where I was like last saying this, but I think I have this hunch that like, you watch people, I don't know.
Like maybe if you follow along long enough, like you get to know their behavior, but it's still like, they're on a screen. Something about being like in the ears, in your Headspace, hearing their voice, like really intimately up close, like. That's one of the things anecdotally we hear all the time is he'll be like, I feel like I know that host.
I feel like I know that person I've been listening for so long. And so, yeah. I just think there's like tons of opportunity to leverage whether it's the story or getting a message out or being some level of transparent, whatever gradient you fall on. It's just a really powerful medium for
Justin Jackson: that. Yeah. And the other thing we're seeing is the advantage.
Private podcasts is that generally the, the way of onboarding a new subscriber is through email. And that's how Transistor does it as well. You know, you either get added or there's an invite link and you sign up and then you get an, a welcome email that says here's how to add the podcast to your podcast player.
Once you have the email, now you can do. Really interesting things as well. So like one insight we had for team podcasts is the best delivery mechanism is actually not apple podcasts, it's email. And on Transistor, every time you publish a new episode, you can also send that episode via email to your subscribers.
And so they get an email and then they get a web player. That'll play the episode in the browser, and this is all unique to them. And so if you removed them, they would no longer have access to any of that, but going where people are at. And so many people are just in their inbox, especially in the corporate world.
And so yeah, you can meet them where they're at and go, Hey, here's some audio in your inbox, you just click on it. You can listen to it when you get to the office or whatever. And there's still some interesting things I think you can do with both of them. Mediums together where you can email people and you could even say like, um, in the future we will be able to go, Hey, I see that you just finished listening to episode 22.
We had a few questions for you based on that. And here's three things like, how do you feel about our direction for the company this year? We just made that HR change. How do you feel about that? You can actually trigger responses based on what they've listened and get interactivity that. There's so many cool things that are possible.
And actually these things are all possible already on Transistor through our developer API, but eventually we want to build these things in so that people can use them and make podcasts more interactive, reaching more people where they're at, whether that's on their iPhone while they're walking the dog or when they get to work and they click on an email and.
Yeah. So exciting
Jeremiah: to think about all these like possibilities. And that's one of the things I thought I've literally, I heard in your recent episode, you all, well, I dunno, can you, well, we'll edit it out if you can't talk about it, but you're releasing, you're updating your websites, your podcast websites with like liquid.
So like this is like the Shopify template framework, right? So this is super exciting because. Literally in my mind. So many times I've been like, oh, you know what I'm going to do for lemon pie, just to like, make some noise in the podcast is to put it out there for people. I was like, I like tinkering. And I was like, I'm going to do some, like some like Transistor to web flow, like zap, like framework where like when a new episode comes out on Transistor, it builds in the CMS, Portland Whipple.
And I was like, I'm just going to build it. We'll make it available to people. Then when I heard what you're doing, I'm like, oh, well, that's like the obvious end term play. So company. Going to be able to leverage, um, some pretty amazing websites soon. And then the other thing I'm super stoked about this is new to me.
I don't think it's been that new to you is, or new to the product I should say is I've been like, oh, dang. We like, sometimes we've made like slight tweaks to the show and we're like, oh, we're not really like, we did our baked in call to action that we add every episode. And I'm like, oh, we like, kind of, aren't headed that direction anymore.
I'd like to make it a more like general baked in intro. I don't want ads, but I would love dynamic inserts for like intros Natchez. And then I saw that Transistors rolling has rolled those out. So that's super, so can you talk a little bit about the use for like the business use case for like these dynamic intro mid role?
Justin Jackson: Yeah, dynamic audio insertion. It's sometimes called dynamic ad insertion. And the way we use it internally is to, for announcements for things like that, like, Hey, I'm going to be speaking at this conference on March 22nd. You could bake that in, but it makes way more sense to have that as a piece of dynamic content in your audio.
So now you can set that up where, you know, you have an announcement and you go, Hey, Speaking at this conference or we're going to be at this trade show, or we have a new feature rolling out, or we're launching the product on February 1st. And we dynamically insert that audio as a campaign into all your episodes either before the episode starts or in the middle, you can choose.
Your insertion points are at the end or all of those. And then when the campaign's done, you can just make the campaign inactive and it removes all those dynamic audio bets. And I got really excited about this particular application when somebody was telling me. Tim Ferris was launching a book. And of course Tim's got that crazy popular podcast, but you hired somebody to download all 350 episodes or whatever, manually stitch in his book announcement re upload all 350 episodes.
And then when the campaign was done, go back and then manually upload the backup versions. Again, it's just. This makes all of that automated and we've gone one step further. We also have dynamic shownotes. So not only can you have a announcement or call to action in your audio in your podcast episode, but you can also have that text and link dynamically inserted in your show notes.
So in conjunction with the campaign, So if I'm speaking at a conference, I could say, um, Hey everybody, before we get started, just want to let you know I'm going to be in San Jose on March 22nd. You can get tickets here, but then I can also insert that text and link in the show notes as a part of the campaign.
And when the campaign's done, you turn it off. It removes it from the show notes and it removes it from your audio. It's amazing. And now, especially one, now that it's a part of our production process for our show. Every time I publish an episode, I put a mid point insertion point in the audio. So that going forward, you know, pre-roll post-roll is easy.
We just put it at the beginning or the end, but going forward. Mid-roll points are already in place. And when we do have something to announce, like maybe we're relaunching something new on product hunt, and I need to let people know that day. I just can roll out the audio. And it'll also appear in all of our back catalog in the show notes.
Once that launches done, I just turn it off. And then everything goes back to its prior state. I was so excited
Jeremiah: about this. Like, so for marketers business folks that are listening that are still a little bit lost, like the idea basically is you're putting in. A dynamic intro, mid point and end point or one or one or the other, whatever, you can pick one, but basically you're able to see your episodes remain unchanged, but you just upload the message as you go along.
So like, so to Justin's point. You have a big industry conference. You're trying to promote like two months beforehand, you could record a message on your mic. Like your marketing team could be like, Hey everyone, we're looking forward to seeing you get your tickets at this address, blah, blah, blah. Okay.
Enjoy the show. You could upload that and automatically all 300 of your previous episodes would just be doing that. And that way, when new listeners are going back through your catalog and they're listening to old episodes, instead of hearing like the ad for last year's conference, or like, you know, the old baked in intro you had, they're able to hear whatever current message.
And then like, or call to action at the end. So like, instead of being like, give us a review on apple, blah, blah, blah, like all normal stuff, you could be like go to this landing page because right now this like thing is happening and you could update that on an ongoing basis.
Justin Jackson: Yeah, exactly. I'm glad you re articulated and actually interesting hearing you do that, but yeah, you covered the use case perfectly.
The back catalog is so powerful and this is just a way to leverage that back catalog. And instead of having, yeah. These outdated things like. Leave us a review on iTunes. If you no longer care about that, or iTunes is no longer a thing. It's nice to be able to update that dynamically. Right.
Jeremiah: I am personally excited about this feature because I literally, I was listening to, um, State of Demand Gen by refined labs.
And then the Gary V audio experience like right in the past couple of months. And I was like, All of them are like very current intros. Like there's no way that they're doing this. Like currently I'm like they're using. And I was like, oh, that's clever. They're definitely using, you know, instead of dynamic ads or whatever, they're doing dynamic audio inserts.
And I literally like messaged Claudia, our content marketing manager on slack. And I was like, can you go find out a Transistor can do this? Cause like, this would be amazing. He is so like, you know, before prepping for the interview, I was like, oh my gosh, they released it. So super intense.
Justin Jackson: Yeah, it's so cool.
And yeah, we've done one for contests. Like I did a secret t-shirt contest where we did give away for t-shirts. So it would just be like, Hey, it's, uh, February 22nd, 2022, if you're hearing this, I've got 20 t-shirts to give away, just go to this link quick. And, uh, we had a bunch of people pick up t-shirts we did this for our, our black Friday promotion, which of course is we only wanted to run that for three or four weeks.
And we actually updated it as we went along. So we could say, Hey, it's coming up. Just so you know, we're going to be doing this and this and this on this date. And then the day of I updated the audio again to say, it's live right now. You can go to this URL and get the deal. And then we have a kind of a, just current campaign that we can use whenever called start your own podcast.
Just me going, Hey, it's Justin here. Before we get started, I have a special coupon code just for listeners. Got a Transistor, not a fam slash Justin. And so I know that anybody that goes through that heard about Transistor and signed up based on the podcast. And the dynamics show
Jeremiah: notes, allow links, right?
Like, so those links could be dynamic as well, which is pretty cool.
Justin Jackson: That's right. You can put text and links dynamically before your show notes are after your show notes. So yeah, the way I do it is I'll like for that particular campaign, I say, Justin has a special coupon for you get 15% off your first year of podcasting Transistors on FM slash Justin.
And I've just got that at the bottom. Every episode is a superpower because there's been so many times I've been like, oh, I wish I could go back and edit all of our show notes to say this. It's like, I'm not going to do that. It's going to take forever. And now I can just like click a button and goes and does all the episodes.
Jeremiah: Yeah. And then tied to the, like, what people need to understand is like, If you're a business, you're starting a podcast, go sign up for Transistor. Cause I'm telling you when they roll out these liquid template, like when they roll out these websites, then the ability to make that match what your website content says for your podcast.
Just going to be incredible. And your API, like there's just so many use cases. I get excited about it.
Justin Jackson: That's awesome. Yeah, there's all sorts of ways. And we also have a Zapier integration, which has been used by a lot of, uh, agencies and marketing teams. So you can have things trigger events, like as soon as you publish an episode on Transistor, it automatically generates all these assets.
And then it automatically goes into the spreadsheet and it automatically emails our whole marketing. So, yeah, there's all sorts of automation you can do as well that, uh, could make things easier for you. Awesome.
Jeremiah: Where can people go to test out Transistor? Find out more about what you're doing and keep in touch?
Justin Jackson: Sure. Yeah. Uh, you can go to Transistor.fm. If you want to use my coupon, you can, you get 15% off your first year. The slash Justin, if you want to hear more of my writing, I've got Justin jackson.ca is where I do a lot of writing and share a lot of our story. And then the Transistor podcast we were talking about is Build Your SaaS.
SAS is S a S stands for software as a service. And, uh, yeah, that might be interesting to folks to hear the, the story as it evolved from February. 2018 till now.
Jeremiah: Awesome. Justin, thank you so much for your generosity with your time and your knowledge. It's been awesome talking to you.
Justin Jackson: Yeah, this has been fun.
It was an hour, but it felt shorter to me. I'm glad I could have gone down a lot of rabbit holes. Thanks for having me. Yeah, of course.
Jeremiah: Thanks so much for checking. 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.