Creating a Content Carousel for Your Podcast with OpenView’s Meg Johnson
Lindsay Tjepkema: Welcome to season five of the Casted podcast, where we're focusing exclusively on our own users. Why? Well, because, by becoming Casted customers, it's pretty clear how committed they are, not only to podcasting as a key piece of the future of their marketing efforts, but also to the bigger picture of how these shows fit in to their integrated marketing strategy. They're the most forward- thinking brands that are harnessing the perspectives of experts with podcasts, but they're not stopping there. They're then bringing out those interviews to be amplified across other channels. They're practicing what we preach, and I want you to hear all about what they're doing and why they're doing it, and even better, how you can do it too. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and co- founder of Casted, the first and only marketing solution for a brand podcast, and this is our podcast. Today, I'm talking with Meg Johnson of OpenView Partners. If you don't know already, it's time you knew. OpenView is doing some really cool stuff with their content. They started their podcast a couple of years ago and have since used it as fuel for lots of other content. So listen in as Meg tells you all about how she works her magic. You'll get real examples of how they're amplifying the voices of their experts across other channels, which you can dig into on the Related Resources section of our episode page on the website. And definitely, definitely stay tuned to hear how carousels or merry- go- rounds or whatever you'd like to call them fit into this whole situation.
Meg Johnson: My name is Meg Johnson, and I'm a multimedia marketer at OpenView Venture Partners. We host the OV Build podcast, which you can listen to on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Awesome. And I am so excited to date into your strategy around that podcast because you're doing some really, really cool things. So let's start really big picture and then we'll zoom in. How do you see podcasting fitting into a brand's just overall strategy? Where do you think it fits?
Meg Johnson: I think for us, we primarily use the podcast as a form of branding and of thought leadership, particularly around product led growth, or PLG, as we like to call it. It's a little bit unique in that our business model as a VC firm differs from a more traditional sales process, but it's still really important for us in the marketing department to create programs and create awareness and excitement around OpenView before our investment team even reaches out. So one positive is if we have a podcast where people are excited to participate, that helps us create a great first impression with the types of people we want to invest in. On top of it, just being a great way to get a warm welcome with some prospects and build our network. It also provides us a lot of content that we use on our blog and in our newsletter. And then in turn, the blog and newsletter kind of turn it back to the podcast, which is something I like to call the marketing merry- go- round or the content carousel.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love that.
Meg Johnson: Thanks. I'm not sure which name I'm going to go with. They both have that nice alliteration going on-
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah.
Meg Johnson: But like a carousel, people come along for the ride. And so there'll be ups and downs and engagement with your content when people are more or less interested in what you have to say, but as long as they're still on the ride at the end, you must be doing something right. And on the other hand, if people are flying off your merry-go-round before the ride's over, but it's also, when that happens when people are flying off your merry-go-round or no longer interested in your content, that's when you need to ask yourself, is the ride that you're providing worth it for them? And if not, how can you change it so it is?
Lindsay Tjepkema: So, yeah, I guess, tell me a little bit more because it feels like there's a big play on humanizing your marketing efforts. Podcasting, it's one of the things I love podcasts is that it's that human element of something that is otherwise, content is otherwise words on a page or a brand can feel very sterile. Tell me more about how podcasting helps make this happen for OpenView.
Meg Johnson: Yeah. I love that, and I am a huge advocate for making marketing more human. For a little bit of context on like how we kind of take a pulse check on our audience or stay connected with our audience, before joining OpenView, I really didn't know much about product led growth, but coming from a small SaaS startup, I understood some of the problems we were trying to help our audience solve. What was most eye- opening to me was as we were interviewing extremely successful CEOs and CCOs and all these higher ups at huge really successful companies, I started realizing they were experiencing the same pain, and that made me realize that there are shared pain points across all different parts of the industry, and that's the kind of key to really connecting with people. It might be hard creating that inaudible for your podcast and thinking who is this for and if people are flying off your merry- go- round or is this the ride for them? You can't really please everyone. And thinking about who is this podcast for and really tightening up that show positioning statement of what are we here, who are we here for, and why are we doing this, is really how we try to connect most with our audience. And I also think that checking metrics, especially, this is a little bit of a plug for Casted, and no, Lindsay is not paying me to say this, although I do accept payment in the form of sushi or donuts, but the of Casted metrics have been extremely helpful for us as we look through what episodes are performing the best, what short clips or pieces to the episodes is really interesting. Whether it's the person or the topic, it really allows us to dive a little bit deeper than just that general downloads or that general listens number. And so just kind of, again, looking through the metrics and also just seeing what people are commenting and saying about the show, or maybe what they're not saying. If no one's saying anything, it might be a little bit difficult. But again, always doing a pulse check on your audience and what they want and what they need in that moment. For example, that might be something very crystal clear today, but next week, who knows where the world will take us? And that might be a totally different message, that you need to stay agile, able to pivot so you don't come off sounding like a tone deaf jerk raving about how awesome your podcast is when the world's in flames or something like that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, absolutely. And metrics are important, and that feedback and that constant loop of understanding how things are going and what to do more of and what to do less of. And yeah, I'll absolutely send the sushi and donuts to you after the show. Speaking of loops. I want to loop back to that merry- go- round and dig in a little bit more to what you do with your podcast content. So one of the things that I love about working with you at OpenView is how great you are at doing this. You see beyond a show. You see beyond, okay, interview, editing, production, publishing, onward, right? You're constantly looking for ways to get more and more and more out of every episode and of every conversation, and to harness the voice of that expert, which I'm a huge advocate of. So tell me more about how you're doing that, about what you're doing, and about how you're constantly looking for new ways to use that content.
Meg Johnson: I think I really learned the importance of repurposing content from being on the work creative side of things. So I work primarily as a designer, and if I spend X amount of hours, days, weeks designing something and then it gets one social post, that kind of feels not so great. And it also doesn't feel like the best use of our resources because I spent all this time creating this big thing and we only share it in one avenue or one time.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Sure.
Meg Johnson: So that's kind of where I first really learned the importance of it because, on the receiving end, it just doesn't feel great for the people that are putting in all of the hard work and effort into it. And then, as I kind of branched out into more of a social media marketing role, I started thinking," Okay, I need to fill this content calendar and also get more podcasts listens, how can I creatively solve this problem in a way that hits two birds with one stone?" so to speak. And for us, we do blog posts. We'll have usually around two to three blog posts per episode. So the first one will be the day the episode launches, and that'll just be the social copy that I write that we're going to share on LinkedIn and Facebook and et cetera. And then we do two other posts based on topics discussed throughout the episode. And so what I try to do when I'm writing that initial social copy, I give a little bit of a brief intro and then I'll have three bullet points that say," You're going to learn one, two and three takeaways from this episode." And basically, you talk about the first one in the first bullet point in the first posts with the social media copy, and then the two blog posts are just those two other bullets. And so it makes it a lot easier when you think ahead of time about," All right, what can I do to really extend the shelf life of this episode while also calling back to it at a later date so that people come back to the feed, they listen not only to this episode, but the episodes previously?" And we've seen really great success with that. And we also do that in our weekly newsletter. So we have a pretty large subscriber base there and I just think we'd be total fools if we didn't utilize that. So instead of just saying," Hey, listen to the podcast, listen to the podcast, listen to the podcast," over and over and over again, we're saying," Listen to the podcast," over and over, but in slightly different ways so that whatever language connects with that person brings them back to whether it's a blog post or the podcast, whichever. And it's really great, embedding that Casted player into our blog posts, it's such an easy avenue for us to get people to listen. And especially with those short clips, you can kind of hop in and say," Oh, this is that point that I really wanted to learn," and then they can continue listening, and then they can continue listening to the rest of the episode. So yeah, we do a little bit of blog posts, weekly newsletter, and then of course, just the kind of basic social media stuff. We try to do two photo posts or audio grams each episode. And that way also, we can share those with the guests and hopefully they'll share on their platform and share it around their company. So it's a little bit of a co- marketing team effort, but those are kind of all the avenues that we try to spread our message far and wide.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love this. I love this so much, which is why I was so excited to bring you on the show because, so if I'm keeping tally, it's about three blog posts, you said two or three blog posts, you mentioned the newsletter, but not just," Listen to the podcast," but like actual digging in and approaching it from different angles, and then a few social media posts every time out of every single interview you do. And that's so important because it goes beyond just making a podcast. And one of the things that you said was like why in the world would we do X? Why wouldn't we? Why would we leave so much value behind? And so often, that's the truth. I mean, you're doing a lot of the hard work already. You're scheduling the interview, you're having the interview, you're producing the show, you're publishing the show, why would you stop there? And you and your team do such a great job of, yeah, a recap post that kind of does an overview, but then digging deeper and looking at what was covered in that interview from a couple of different angles, and then sending people back to it and sending people to the articles that you created and sending people from the articles back to the podcast, and social media ties it all together. So just kudos to you and your team. And I want everybody who's listening to go back and listen again and take notes and then go to, quick plug and we'll come back to it at the end, but where can people find all of this to go dig in deeper to see. Whether they're your target audience or not, see examples of what you're doing? Like where on your site, where can they find your show and where can they subscribe, and all those things?
You can go to Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or anywhere on your podcast platform and search OV Build. Honestly, I think there is room for improvement on our website to kind of feature the multimedia content a lot better. And so that is a kind of sneak peek at what we're hopefully kind of tackling over the next few months into next year. So right now, it's kind of on our blog as a section on our blog sidebar for all of our podcasts episodes. Usually, they're in the product like growth section. And yeah, I think we're trying to kind of bridge the gap between our blog and our website. And I think the podcast might be that kind of connecting element. We're just working on a design UI and things like that before we kind of fully commit, but highly suggest making your podcasts accessible. I think that is one thing that, yeah, we have area for improvement on and I'm actively advocating for that OpenView.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. So let's zoom back out again. Obviously you're a big advocate of podcasting, I am too, but let's talk a little bit about why. Like why is podcasting so important today? Full stop, I mean, why are we so passionate about it?
Meg Johnson: When I think about the podcasts that I listened to most closely, it really makes it feel like a friendship. You listen to these people, whether it's every week, every two weeks, every month, the more that you listen to someone, you really start to feel like they're your friend and you're in on the conversation too, even though it's really just a one-way listening street. And that's kind of what really inspires me to think that podcasting is so important right now because I don't know anyone in the year of 2020 who couldn't use an extra friend or use that little bit of humanity and support during such a difficult time. And I think back at the beginning of the pandemic, back in March, there was a lot of data around podcast listens being down due to the lack of commute, but it's actually been the opposite for us that we've seen for our show, and I feel very grateful for that. So last season, we had around 29, 000 listens or something like that, and this year, we're over 50,000 listens. And we're just really glad that people are still here for the ride, but there's also some data out there that's saying now video content and multimedia content is increasing over a hundred percent since then because people are home and they're able to consume more content. So it's a little bit weird in the way that the data kind of points to one thing or the other, but for me, I think the reason why podcasting is so important right now is that people need a friend and they need support and they need other humans [inaudible 00:14: 31 ]. An easy way to do that as a brand is to create a podcast and really share your voice and your true self with your audience.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love that. Yeah, share your voice and your true self with your audience. And yes, that goes for the host, but that also goes for the brand, right? I mean, the brand has an authentic voice to share. And I think the brands that are willing to step out and willing to humanize themselves, as we were talking about before, are the ones that are winning and the ones that are creating those connections and the ones that are becoming that trusted relationship in this crazy, crazy time with their audiences. Okay. So tell me about how long, let's give kind of a timeline for this, how long has the show been going and what kind of changes have you seen? How do you see things evolving from there? You talked about kind of how things have changed since the pandemic hit, but give me a timeline sense for how things have evolved since you've been involved in podcasting and kind of where you see things going.
Meg Johnson: Yeah. So I was very lucky to join the OpenView team when they already had a very successful podcast. I think for me, the stressor was, okay, now, how do I not ruin it? So thinking about when I first joined, the few points that I thought were most important were having a consistent host or inaudible host. Again, you can really build that relationship with the person. Previously, OpenView had a different host for each season. And I was kind of learning more about their brand and listening through random episodes. I'd be like," Who is this person? No, wait. Now I'm listening to another episode. Who's that person?" Like how can I ever, if it's a different person, which felt every episode, it was really every season, if it's a different person, how do I really build that trust and build that relationship and to really care about what they're saying? And so that was kind of the first big stake in the ground that I kind of put there was having a consistent host and, again, humanizing that host, and making it so Blake, our host, is the person that people turn to and rely on and feel supported by and want to hear more from. And so getting a consistent host was number one. And number two is something that we found out kind of as we were getting through building the different episodes, was that giving your episodes inaudible was actually really beneficial. So we originally started releasing episodes every week. And me, as a team of one on the podcast production side, it just wasn't doable. I was burning the candle at both ends, really trying to prove myself, I could do all this stuff, but it came down to there's just not enough hours in the day for me to do all of this stuff. And so we were like, all right, what if we do it bi- weekly? And just for a little while so I can gain my footing and it kind of gets us back on track so I'm not feeling so overwhelmed. And what was a temporary solution at the time actually ended up being our primary strategy moving forward because we saw so much more engagement with the podcast once we gave it time to breathe. And I think it also helped the guests feel a little bit more special that they weren't just one social post and done, but over that two week span, we had multiple social posts, multiple blog posts, different things kind of really giving them the spot in the limelight that they deserve, versus just kind of grinding through episode after episode, just trying to check all the boxes to get things done. And really, giving us that breathing room allowed us more space for creativity and generally just a better engagement experience I think.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That is fantastic. And I was so excited when I heard about that on our side. I can't remember who else on the team that you were like," Hey, guess what? We actually started doing podcasts less often and our results got better." And I love that because it's so important. We've talked a lot about humanizing your brand. We talked about knowing your audience and kind of why you're doing what you're doing. And I'm a big advocate for doing whatever is going to resonate with your audience and whatever's going to get the best value for the investment of time and energy and dollars in your show. And for some podcasters and for some brands, that's a five minute every single day, and for others, it's once a month. And it is so much, I mean, that missing piece that a lot of people overlook, that you at OpenView do so well, is to say," What can we do to wring it out? What can we do between shows? How can we get this value out of each and every episode?" And like you said, room to breathe is a great way to say it because you're getting all that value out of every single episode and you're not tripping over yourself still publishing the blog from last week when you're launching the next podcast this week. And that doesn't mean that that's right for everybody, but you all have looked at your internal capabilities and your internal bandwidth. You've watched how your audience responds to spacing things out a little bit, and you've looked under every rock for ways to uncover as much value as possible. And I think that that's a really, really important and really cool lesson for our audience to learn. What came out of you kind of needing a little bit more space ended up being a really good move for the show and for OpenView as whole.
Meg Johnson: Yeah, definitely. I think it was an experiment gone right in that aspect.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. So this is a really good segue into what advice that you might have for other marketing teams or other people who are in similar roles to you who either already have a podcast and are looking for ways to optimize or are overwhelmed because they can't make it all work, you've been there, or who haven't jumped on board yet. What advice would you share?
I think I'm going to sound kind of like a broken record at this point, but repurpose absolutely everything. And that doesn't mean just in that two week period if you're going to do the bi-weekly scheduling or between episodes, but even after other episodes are launching, you should be calling back to previous episodes. And so inaudible season nine of the Build podcast next week. And so we have a few weeks or to a month in-between seasons. And during that time, that's when we're going to be pulling back to the first episode, the second episode, really pulling back to each and every single one of those episodes so that whatever you're interested in, we have the person and the insights that you're looking for. And again, it's not just dead air, it's not just the shelf life of a week or two and it's one and done, I think that you can constantly be calling back to things. And it's really just about getting the most value out of the hard work you've already done. I just think it's such a disservice to people's time and efforts if what they do only gets that one social post or that one bit of promotion. And I think, yeah, just reuse absolutely everything you can. Another thing I would say is: Stay tuned to your audience, what they need, what they want, and be aware of the emotional climate that you're producing in. Again, no one wants to be that tone-deaf jerk raving about new content while the world is hurting. And there's really a balance between being a good marketer and being a good human, and you should kind of wear both those hats every day and think about is what I'm doing, does it make sense for the audience? And we need to act and talk like humans.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that is, it's all part of humanizing your brand.
Meg Johnson: One example that I have or I've been thinking about was we were supposed to, I joined OpenView back in March and we were supposed to launch the next podcast season in April. But with the quote, unquote, unprecedented times, we decided that we wanted to do a mini series directly tied to growing a business during a downturn. And so, it took a lot to be like, all right, I already had this completely planned out and ready to go, but we need to throw that out the window to actually provide valuable content during this time. And that really quick pivot to say like," All right, who are the people that have been through this before and could really help guide our audience?" versus," All right, here's the work that we've already done and we're set up, we're not steering away from the plan." I think kind of being able to let go of things that you've already planned and/ or move things around to make room.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So I'm really glad that you brought that up and I'm really happy about the way that you stated it and the words you used and kind of position that it sounds like you and OpenView took, is that you didn't say," What's our opportunity here? How can we kind of capitalize on this situation?" Which is fair. I mean, a lot of people were thinking about how in the world can we stand out? How can we cut through the noise right now as a brand? But it sounds like you all, again, humanizing your brand, humanizing your marketing, you were looking for how can we help right now? Our audience doesn't need to hear about X, Y, and Z. They need to hear about growing a business in a downturn. I love that you were thinking about how you could serve your audience in the midst of everything that was going on, not how can we jump on this? How can we jump on the buzzwords or the opportunities to rank or the keywords that are hot right now? Was that something that you thought consciously about? Is that something that you realized was happening or was that something that hadn't even occurred to you because you all were just trying to put the audience first?
Meg Johnson: I think it was really just human instinct. We didn't really think," Oh, how can we benefit off of this?" One of our values at OpenView is people first. That might even be our most important value that we hold as a company. And I think we all are very aligned to that. And especially in such difficult times, the thought didn't even cross my mind to say like," Oh, could we hashtag coronavirus and get more listens on this episode?" or anything like that. I think it truly came from a place of human compassion and wanting to help.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. And I think that's what you hope a lot of people are doing, but this year has been a big lesson for a lot of people. And again, I just love, I love the approach that you have taken. I love how you've taking it with your show. And it all comes back to repurposing everything and looking for opportunities to be more human with your audience. And so thank you for sharing all of your insights and your experiences and kind of behind the scenes of your show and the strategy. Is there anything else you would share with our audience as they kind of tackle some of the challenges that you've worked to overcome?
I would say try to find a community of people that you can talk about podcasting with. They're out there and I think there's so much you can learn from each other's experience. And I would say just find your community and really flourish on that. Use human-to-human interaction and just the ability to be a human to your advantage. I think a lot of times, women, in particular, are told that their emotions can make them weaker, but I fully disagree with that. And I think that having that emotional intelligence to really listen in to your audience, to your colleagues, to just the world, will set your brand far apart from all the other corporate feeling, drum-beating companies out there.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Well said. Well said indeed, and we'll leave it there. Thank you so much, Meg, for being on our show and for sharing your experiences in podcasting with OpenView, That's our show. Thanks for listening. For more from today's guest, visit Casted. us to subscribe and to receive our show as it's published, along with other exclusive content each and every week.
Today’s conversation is with Meg Johnson, Multimedia Marketer at OpenView Venture Partners, and host of the OV Build podcast. Throughout her career in marketing, Meg has believed in repurposing content and creating added value from each and every episode. She talks about creating a content carousel or a marketing merry-go-round that invites audiences to come along for the ride. For Meg, it’s important to humanize marketing efforts and listen to what your audience wants and needs. Meg believes that it is important to share your voice and your true authentic self with your audience because a good podcast feels like a friendship. Hear about how to repurpose your content and create a marketing merry-go-round that will keep your audience engaged and connected in today's conversation.