Lindsay Tjepkema: If you had one magic wish, what would you wish for? Go ahead and think about it, I'll wait. Okay, stop. That was kind of a trick question, because everyone knows the first thing you do when you get a magic wish is to wish for more wishes, because the thing you do with an opportunity is use it to make more opportunities. The same thing goes for podcast content. For the conversations you hear on shows like these, with experts like the one we have on this episode today, bottom line, when you have the opportunity to talk to an expert, record that conversation, and make it into a podcast, but don't stop there. Doing so would be as much of a waste of using your one magic wish on a hundred dollars, because sure, it's a hundred dollars, but it could have been so much more. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and co- founder of Casted, the first and only marketing platform built around branded podcasts, and this is our podcast. Welcome to season four of the Casted podcast. We are back, and we are talking to marketing leaders linked to brand podcasts that you love, all to understand the role that these shows play in the brand's overall marketing strategy. You're getting the behind the scenes, or perhaps maybe a better way to say it is behind the mic look at why these brands are investing in podcasting, why these leaders support them, and how they're driving strategies forward. Today's conversation is with Muhammad Yasin, Executive Vice President of Marketing at PERQ, and hosts two, not one, but two podcasts, The Bridge, which is by PERQ, and a separate show called the Agile Marketing podcast. Both are great for you dear marketing listener, and both are helping Muhammad churn out a wealth of additional content to reach, and connect with more people like you in myriad ways. It's safe to say that Muhammad understands the whole magic wish scenario. He's turning every conversation, every episode into many other pieces of content, and multiple opportunities with everyone to connect with his audience.
Muhammad Yasin: My name is Muhammad. I am the EVP of Marketing at PERQ, as well as Co- founder of Agile Marketing Indy, and with two podcasts. PERQ's podcast, which is called The Bridge, and then, also, the Agile Marketing Podcast, which is about agile marketing in a podcast.
Lindsay Tjepkema: How fitting? You're on the Casted podcast, which is Casted's podcast, so I'm all about the direct, just be direct [crosstalk 00:02: 50 ].
Muhammad Yasin: Here we go.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So, speaking of which, I'm glad that you're here. I'm glad that you're on the Casted podcast, and we're going to be super meta, and talk about podcasts of which you have a lot of experience. Give me kind of the sweetened condensed version about how you in particular got your start in podcasting, and then, we'll kind of talk a little bit more broadly about like the organizational business level, what it means to you.
Muhammad Yasin: Sure, sure. I'm one of those people who listened to podcasts for a very long time before they got started with it, and then, had a little bit of a start and stop. I'd say maybe, it was probably six, seven years ago, did a lot of podcasts from a semi co- hosting, and then, also, guest perspective, had a lot of friends that were doing it, loved showing up on those. Lots of more organic, rambling conversation around topics related to marketing, or recruiting, or things like that, and then, kind of fell off my radar for a bit, to be quite honest until a couple of years ago. I was still listening to them, consuming them voraciously, especially, comedy podcasts, and some marketing podcast. And then, decided, there are a lot of channels in marketing that are just getting so crowded. Email marketing was getting super crowded, events space was also getting incredibly crowded, and I've always been a big proponent of making large pieces of content that can be broken into much smaller consumable, snackable bite- sized pieces, and also, with creating content that can be delivered to people where they're at, and there's space in the car right now, there's space in that commute to deliver some content in a way that's easy to consume, and getting it away from kind of the eyeball fatigue of reading emails over, and over, and over again, so I decided to go back into the area of podcasting. Also, a great space for storytelling, I believe, and when you're in a, especially, B2B space, but honestly, any market telling the stories of not only your customers, but also, the stories of the people inside your organization is much more compelling when you're able to actually hear people's voices. That's how I ended up back in this space. First for Agile Marketing, that was an expansion we'd had a multi- year in- person networking event that was going really well, but one, we wanted to be able to bring in some new voices, because we kind of ran through all the major speakers in town. We wanted to find a way, one, that we can bring new voices in, podcasts allowed for that. And two, a way that we could provide the content that we had, not only to people who may not be in our immediate vicinity, but also, inside of our audience. We were finding that there was a pocket of marketers who were somewhat forced extroverts. They would come out to events, because they felt like they had to, but in reality, they really wanted that same content at home watching Netflix, or eating chicken wings. That was kind of our model was, how can we deliver this content to someone where they can sit at home, and eat an ice cream if they want to.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I like that.
Muhammad Yasin: And, we started there, and then, expanded it off to PERQ as well.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Very cool. Very cool, and how long ago was that?
Muhammad Yasin: It's probably been maybe a year and a half. We're on season two right now, season one lasted almost a year. Went really, really, really well for us, and another thing we found is that like people love to be heard. We were able to get some really great guests right off the bat in season one. I mean, we got American Express within the first couple of episodes, we were able to get Trello, Gong, Edelman, Discover our Work. We got the Indianapolis Colts on, Red Hat. As we reached out, we realized that folks were really excited to talk, especially middle managers. They're people who are doing things constantly, and very rarely get asked what's going on by anyone outside of their boss.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That is so true, because middle managers are... For all of you middle managers listening, we see you. We know you, because you're at that point in your career where, obviously, you're learning forever. You're still learning forever, but you've been there long enough, that you're in management, you're leading, and you know some things, you play a very important role, but you're not seen, and heard as much, because you're not typically the one speaking, you're not typically the one on stage, you're not typically the one leading a big organizational meeting, but you have a lot to share, especially, about some of the tactical processes, and implementation, and strategic execution. That's a really good point.
Muhammad Yasin: Exactly, and our audience really likes that tactical stuff. It's the, how do you actually get the thing done? And, those folks are just talking about manager level up through directors for the most part. These are usually people who they know all the stuff, they know all the pieces of how it works, they know where it's going to break, they know what's going to work. They may not be on stage, but they're the one that prepped for that meeting, and coordinated that entire meeting, and makes sure that it goes flawlessly for whoever is on stage, so they know things, and they're also looking to grow constantly, and we wanted to make sure we could give them what they needed in the time that they had available.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely, so that's kind of part of this. I mean, and you talk about all the different people that you were able to get so quickly, and I think that this middle management pocket that you're talking about is really, really smart, but then, also, these companies, all those brands that you just listed off, I'm curious if they would have been as quick to submit a blog post to you, or chime in on some piece of written content, or some heavy lift collaboration, but like you said, people like to be heard, and going back to what you said earlier about how noisy and crowded content is. I mean, we know that, everybody listening knows that it's been some very noisy loud space for a very long time, and we actually did some research recently that there's like more than 600 million blogs right now, but we just recently surpassed a million podcasts, so even though-
Muhammad Yasin: That is wow.
Lindsay Tjepkema: ...it feels like podcasts, like everyone has a podcast, like there's still such a huge opportunity in podcasting.
Muhammad Yasin: It's a lot of work to create a piece of content though, and one of the reasons that I love podcasting in particular is the inaudible for some of these organic conversations to happen. You can pivot in the moment, you end up with a much more, I think, authentic piece of content, and then, you can use that on the back end to write blogs if you want. Even something as simple as a transcript, or you give that audio to your content manager, and they're able to maybe pull four, or five, six topics out of it with quotes that were out of that podcast, and have blogs for weeks, or months sometimes, and then, you mix in some audio clips maybe with that, and you've got some great audio grams for social media. You've got snippets of quotes you can use, that you can turn into images that you post on social, or on your Instagram, and your stories, or whatever. This is a great spot to start with really authentic content that you can remix into other formats down the road versus the other way around, which is far harder.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, and far more inefficient, and a lot clunkier. I think, you're totally speaking my language. I couldn't agree with you more, because when you start with this conversation, like what you and I are talking about right now, there's so much in here, and so many different directions that you could drill down deeper, and explore further, and provide more detail, and some more research to back up some of the different things that we're talking about. This is a starting point, and you get that-
Muhammad Yasin: Yes.
Lindsay Tjepkema: ...in the hands of your marketing team, however, small that might be. That might be one person, if you're at a very, very large enterprise, that could be 50 people in multiple different departments. If you equip them with that conversation, and yeah, whether it's a transcript, there's so much more that you can do.
Muhammad Yasin: Honestly, it's even more valuable the smaller your team is, I believe, because when you're a team of one, or two, or three, or even five, from a content perspective, and there are many content teams of one out there.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Many.
Muhammad Yasin: You'd be surprised even in some of the larger, especially, SAS companies, how few actual people that are writing content are responsible for it inside of that organization. You start with something where you spend an hour interviewing someone, even if it's them doing that interview, that content manager doing the interview, that is an hour of just pure gold that they got, that can feed them for a while.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely, and tell me if you've been this person where you're that content marketer who's charged with writing content about some subject matter that you don't know about. I mean, you work for an insurance company, you work for a manufacturing company, you work for a life science company.
Muhammad Yasin: I literally worked for a insurance company doing content, so yes [crosstalk 00:11:02].
Lindsay Tjepkema: I worked for a life science company. We manufactured life science equipment, and it was all about mitigating risk for contamination, and I was like," Why am I the one writing about this?" I know how to put together a great blog post, and I know like cadences, and strategy, but I should not be the one coming up with this, and I was relying on, one, notes that I took from an interview a month before that, and because this was before we were recording things, but if I had, or somebody else, my colleague had done an interview with that subject, with that product manager, or that engineer, or that scientist imagine how much more efficient I could have been, more confident I could have been, more relevant I could have been, more effective that content could have been, imagine.
Muhammad Yasin: Imagine. I mean, my director of content has a journalism degree, and she was reporter for a while before she went on, and eventually, fell into my team. One of the things that reporters do when they're doing a story, they may have a concept, but they're immediately going to go out, and they're going to find sources, and they're going to sit down, and they're going to interview those sources, and what happens from those sources is going to shape the story that they write in the end. Those quotes are going to fuel it, and if you ever sat down with a reporter, the first thing they usually ask," Are you okay with me recording this?" She approached content the same way when she joined the team about four or five years ago, and it was just kind of, I think, a bit of a revelation as well. Like, I mentioned, I had done podcasts before, but had gotten away from it, and it was a bit of a revelation of," Oh, you're doing every month, two or three interviews to write a blog post, and then you're just throwing away the audio, like what in the world's going on here?"
Lindsay Tjepkema: What else can we do with that? You've got podcast content from two different podcasts. Tell me either or, maybe the process is the same for both. What do you do? Do you go have a conversation then what? Then you turn it into a show, and then, are there other things that you pull out of it? Or, how does that work for you?
Muhammad Yasin: Yes. We approach things a little bit differently between the two, and I'll talk about Agile Marketing podcast first, I think, so that one, first season was really about gathering traction via logos. We knew right out of the gate, if we were going to be successful at what we were doing, if we were trying to bring new voices, we wanted to bring the biggest possible logos that we could. We were trying to build a logo wall when it comes down to it, if we're being honest from a marketing perspective, but we wanted great voices inside of there, so what we did was, we identified companies we wanted on our wall, and then, we used LinkedIn to go out there, and started finding people inside those organizations who were contributing good content of their own on the topics that we needed. American Express is a good example there where... Actually, there was slightly different where we were actually just following hashtags on LinkedIn, around agile marketing, and found her talking about some content that she'd been creating, and speaking about internally evangelizing agile marketing, and we loved what she had to say, and just reached out like," Hey, loved what you're doing." She just had like her first big presentation, and she was really proud about it, and posting it on LinkedIn, and we're like," Let's talk." Like," Let's talk more about what you did there, because we'd love to hear about that." Our strategy for outreach has been identify companies, do some searching, stalk on LinkedIn, slide into the DMS. Some people ignore you, some people don't. I have a partner on that podcast, Eva, and between the two of us, we kind of go back and forth on who's going to do the DM sliding based on who we feel like's going to get the best response. She's far better than I, I would say.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Got to work to your strengths.
Muhammad Yasin: Work to the strengths, and that kind of inaudible we'll do that, we'll reach out, say," Hey, this is something in particular that we've found really interesting. We'd love to talk to you more about that." And then, we'll do a intro call, kind of a discovery call. Just a open chit chat about 15, 20 minutes. This is what our podcast is about. What are you about? Is this going to work between the two of us? It's kind of like a, if we're going back to like the dating world, this is our Starbucks state. This is, let's meet at the coffee shop, and just chit chat really quick, and just see if we're kind of vibing, and also, we try to spend that time getting a little bit more in depth about what that person's passionate about, because we don't want to force a conversation. The authenticity is important in that podcast. It's going to feel weird if the person's not talking about something that they're passionate about.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It feels forced, you can hear it. If you-
Muhammad Yasin: It does.
Lindsay Tjepkema: ...you can feel it, yeah.
Muhammad Yasin: I'd say 50% of the time we end up pivoting from what our original conversation was going to be about based on what comes up in there, and we'll ask them, what's your deal? What like really gets you going? What are you passionate about? And, let them talk, and then, start pulling strings out of that, and we'll build an outline, a couple of questions. Our podcast is about 20 minutes or so usually, so we'll build four or five questions, because you're not going to get more than that, and we'll call that our outline. We'll agree upon it, and then, we'll get them on the call as soon as we possibly can. Like, honestly, we've found that it's best if between that LinkedIn message, and the actual recording is like a week max. LinkedIners can you jump on the phone with me later today, and just chit chat really quick?
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's like, can we record later this week?
Muhammad Yasin: Exactly. What are you doing tomorrow? And then, we just get it done while it's fresh, while it's hot, and let that outline kind of guide us along the way while still knowing we can bounce around, and we tell them," If you say something, we might rip off something that you said in the conversation, just to make sure the conversation goes where it needs to. We're not going to force it to go any particular way." So, that was season one. Season two, we approached it slightly differently. We inaudible thought about seasons before, and I know that's a big thing now, is the idea of having seasons for your podcast [Crosstalk 00:16:35].
Lindsay Tjepkema: I'm with you. The first podcast I did was just every week, forever and ever. It hadn't even occurred to me to do a season.
Muhammad Yasin: Exactly.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And, now I-
Muhammad Yasin: That's how it worked.
Lindsay Tjepkema: ...do a season. Like, do it by the season, give yourself some breaks, give yourself opportunities to pivot, to change [ crosstalk 00:16:49].
Muhammad Yasin: Yeah, we have NPR to thank for that, and the Serial Podcast. I really feel like Serial Podcast changed everything when it came to like the organization of how you release something, and the fact that you can put it out there, then step away for a minute, and watch how it goes, then come back again. That was not allowed five years ago.
Lindsay Tjepkema: No, no, not that long ago at all, until it was like, okay, maybe I should think about this differently, yeah.
Muhammad Yasin: Exactly, so we took a little bit of a break after a while. We like let it hit a point where like," Okay, this feels like a natural stopping point. We're going to step away, watch how it's going, get some feedback, and then, we're going to approach a second season." And, we cheated a little bit. We decided we're going to have a theme, but then, we couldn't decide on a theme, so we decided that our theme was Themes [crosstalk 00:17: 32 ].
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's fun.
Muhammad Yasin: Yeah, I'm talking inception here again, and basically, the idea was, we're going to continue getting people who were really passionate about something, and the theme was whatever that person was passionate about, and we're going to lead with the idea of what you're going to get out of this particular episode. This episode, we're going to learn about like sales enablement, this episode, we're going to learn about how to manage an SDR team, this episode, we're going to learn about what it really means to like remix content from this person who really loves doing this thing, and that's how we're approaching season two. The PERQ podcast, season one was just, does this work, and will anyone listen to it? It was just get out there, and get some people on here.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Which is good. I think a lot of people get paralyzed because they're afraid of doing that. They're like," No, that's no way to launch a show." And, it's like, what if it is?
Muhammad Yasin: You know what?
Lindsay Tjepkema: What if it is?
Muhammad Yasin: And, that's what we learned, is that it totally did work. We reached out, and asked customers who, by the way, feel really special when you ask them to be on a podcast.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Who might not otherwise do in a case study, but case [crosstalk 00:18: 37 ] studies are scary, but to be crosstalk on podcasts is super fun.
Muhammad Yasin: You even lead with the idea when you talk to them about like," Look, when you get on this podcast, we don't want you to talk about PERQ. We're not going to mention PERQ. We're not branding the company inside of the... The podcast is separately branded and brought to you by PERQ." We warn them over, and over again, but nine times out of 10, they still mention PERQ in the middle of the podcast, and talk about how much they love it. Great, I'm not going to stop you in that moment, but you give them some much needed love as a result of asking them. We also reached out to trade publications reporters who are constantly getting information, and asked them to be on. They're used to be on the other side of asking the question, and no one actually wonder what their idea is, or what their perspective is, even though they're writing it constantly, and that one went really, really well as well. We ended up actually launching with just the idea of, let's see if we can get any of our customers to listen, and it ended up one of the top 15 marketing podcasts on iTunes for three weeks running in the marketing category, and I was like," Okay." And, it was really just once again about having an authentic conversation with individuals on things that matter, and that they're passionate about, so that's how we handled that one. Switched it around, and we're in the middle of wrapping up season two right now, and that one is on a specific topic, or every guest speaks on that topic. I don't know that I liked that approach, and that I would do it again.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's interesting. It'll be interesting to compare the two.
Muhammad Yasin: The traction was not as good. I don't think there was as much for people to choose from. It's like, well, if you're not into this topic, then do you even really care about this entire season?
Lindsay Tjepkema: You real niche real fast, yeah.
Muhammad Yasin: Real fast.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Interesting.
Muhammad Yasin: And then, it was harder to find guests that were really valuable as well. If you're talking about trying to find 10 to 12 really good guests on a niche topic.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Let's zoom out a little bit, and tell me where the podcast fits into the overall marketing strategy for PERQ in particular, where does it fit?
Muhammad Yasin: For us right now, it really fits kind of at the top level. Like I mentioned, I think going forward, we continue to use the podcast as our source of getting authentic interviews, and getting our feel for the pulse of what's really matters out there, and then, using those podcasts, whether it's audio, we're also video recording some of those as well, and using those to remix into other pieces of content, and also, inform what pieces of content we create that are unique from it as well, so it fits up there at the top along with our, we have a video interview series, a couple of other things. That's where we start at, but all of our effort into that, and then, to figure out what we can make from it after the fact. And, I think, that's been working for us. We started pivoting that way inside of COVID. You got to get really smart and scrappy about what you can do, because one thing that a giant timeout does is, is really make you think about what you did wrong or right.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Oh yes. Good way to put it, yes.
Muhammad Yasin: And, what's important to you, it is.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Think about what you've done.
Muhammad Yasin: Exactly. We all got to go home, and sit in the corner, and think about it, and it fleshed out all the extra kind of garbage, and vanity work that we were doing, and really said what matters? And, interviews with real people on topics that they're passionate about, and on things that are engaging to everyone else, that's what matters, and that's really what really drives content overall.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love that. Okay, so before I let you go, I mean, we are so aligned with how you see the podcast fitting into the overall strategy. I love that you're talking about conversations and authentic conversations. It's not a tactic, it's not a channel. It is the thing, it is a source. Couldn't agree more. How do we get more people thinking that way?
Muhammad Yasin: If someone's listening to this podcast, and you're not doing your own podcast, I mean, I'm not going to say it, but it's kind of hypocritical. You clearly value the medium.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
Muhammad Yasin: Just saying [Crosstalk 00:22:33]. You clearly value the medium, you know that it's valuable, and that it works for you. You know that in your very busy life, it is somehow a bounce space where you can consume it, and the fact that you're even listening right now means that it works. Your customers are humans too, and they're not dissimilar to you.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Regardless of what you're selling, or marketing, or...
Muhammad Yasin: Regardless of what you're selling. It doesn't matter if it's a B2C product, a B2B product. It's all people. It's all people who have the same lives, and also, have jobs, and have things that they need to worry about, and are trying to figure out how to fit something into them that enriches their life. Podcasts is one of those areas. Like I mentioned, my first podcast were not educational podcasts by any means. I definitely got into podcasts listening to comedy podcasts. I mean, they were pioneers when it came into this as well, but that was pure entertainment for me to listen to while I walked the neighborhood, or while I was back when I ran, and was actually a healthy individual. That's what I listened to, or long car rides, and that moved on to more edutainment type of thing with NPR, and Serial, and Radiolab, and things like that, that are still entertaining, but educational. And then, that morphed into," Well, maybe I should do this for work too, because it's working so well in my personal life." Go ahead and do it. It's not incredibly hard. It can be if you make it. If you make it hard, it can be really, really, really hard, but I always tell people, my favorite podcast is literally two guys every Monday morning having a phone call with each other.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Oh my goodness, what is it?
Muhammad Yasin: They talk for an hour.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love it, and you just record it, and share it.
Muhammad Yasin: I just record. Their weekly catch up is called Roderick on the Line.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Roderick on the Line. Okay, we'll [crosstalk 00:24:13].
Muhammad Yasin: Roderick on the Line.
Lindsay Tjepkema: To that in our related resources [crosstalk 00:24:15].
Muhammad Yasin: Yes. I'll shoot you a link over for that one, but they just get on, it's early morning before they get started with work, and for about an hour, they just talk about their week. Sometimes they have some themes. Sometimes they don't, and the podcast title is always some catchy phrase that happened organically during the course of the podcast.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love that, oh my goodness.
Muhammad Yasin: So, it kind of like draws you in, the one [crosstalk 00:24:36].
Lindsay Tjepkema: For it?
Muhammad Yasin: For this one. You do. This one was Medical Lunch. The June 8th episode was called Pass The Dude, and the one before that was called Original Shame, so I haven't listened to any of those, and I'm going to go do that today.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I feel like I need to as well [crosstalk 00:24:53].
Muhammad Yasin: Also an interesting way of looking at how to title things as well though, because I think that's something we think about sometimes as content creators too much. This does not have to be difficult, this can be very easy if you make it easy, and if you listen for the themes, and copy inside of that interview content, because it's literally writing itself for you.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I think, it's podcasting, and then, using the content, the audio content, the interview, whatever it may be to create more content is one of the most interesting ways to be creative in content right now, because we're talking a lot about source, like go find your source. Like, it's all there, all the facts, all the quotes, all of the information, all the data is there, and then, if you-
Muhammad Yasin: The voice.
Lindsay Tjepkema: ...want to take... The voices is there, yeah. If you want to take it, and run with it, and do something really creative with it, like titling, and naming, and what clips are you going to pull, and how are you going to take one sentence that somebody said and drill deeper? I mean, that's creative in a way that we haven't really been able to be before, because you're so under so much pressure [ crosstalk 00:00:25:51].
Muhammad Yasin: Like I said.
Lindsay Tjepkema: To just keep delivering more, and more, and more just straight up blog content.
Muhammad Yasin: inaudible said, and we forget that at the heart we're all creatives, and creatives need input. Most of us can't be really solid creatives in a vacuum, and when we shut ourselves in a room just writing blog posts, we're trying to create in a vacuum, and the output's not going to be as good as if we actually had that external muse, and that muse in many instances, like I said, is an interview, and podcasts are great for that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Perfect place to leave it. Although, we could keep talking about it, because speaking of talking to people who are passionate about things here we are, so-
Muhammad Yasin: Here we are.
Lindsay Tjepkema: ...thank you for this podcast about podcasts, so much fun to have you here, Muhammad. Thank you for being on our show.
Muhammad Yasin: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's our show. Thanks for listening. For more from today's visit casted. us to subscribe, and to receive our show as it's published along with other exclusive content each, and every week.