Finding a Unique Perspective for Your Show with Lumavate’s Stephanie Cox & Michelle Lawrence
Finding a Unique Perspective for Your Show with Lumavate’s Stephanie Cox & Michelle Lawrence
Today’s conversation is with Stephanie Cox, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Lumavate, and Michelle Lawrence, the Content Marketing Specialist at Lumavate. Stephanie is the host of Lumavate’s podcast, “Real Marketers” and Michelle leads the content and social media strategy. Stephanie talks about how your podcast can influence your company and build your brand, and Michelle discusses the importance of add value by creating more content from your podcast. For Stephanie and Michelle, the most important aspect of creating a show is figuring out the unique perspective you can bring to the table. Michelle and Stephanie want to be experts in the space of digital marketing and want to be a place where audiences turn to for great content. However, the biggest challenge in creating marketing content is sharing your authentic self and genuine thoughts with other marketers.
Hear about how to find a unique perspective for your podcast and determine a content strategy for your show in today's conversation.
Stephanie CoxVP, Sales and Marketing, Lumavate
Michelle LawrenceContent Marketing Specialist, Lumavate
Lindsay Tjepkema: Welcome to Season Five of the Casted Podcast, where we are focusing exclusively on our own Casted users. Why would we do this? Well, because by becoming a Casted customer, it's pretty clear how committed one might be, not only to podcasting as a key piece of their content strategy, but also really as a centerpiece of all of their marketing efforts. And they understand the bigger picture of how their show fits into their integrated marketing strategy and their brand strategy and their sales and marketing strategy. Let's just say, they're the most forward- thinking brands and they're harnessing the perspectives of experts with podcasts. And they're ringing out those interviews to be amplified across other channels. They're practicing what we preach here at Casted, and I want you to hear all about what they are doing, why they're doing it, and how you can do it too. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and co- founder of Casted, the first and the only marketing solution for brand podcasts. And this is our podcast. Today, I've got not one but two guests for you to listen in and learn from. I've got Stephanie Cox, who is a senior leader at Lumavate. And, as you'll hear, she's along with Michelle Lawrence, who, among many, many other things, works her magic behind the scenes to run and ring out their show. So Lumavate is a really great example of a show, a brand and a team that refuses to settle for well, anything really. But definitely they refuse to settle for simply publishing their show and then moving onto the next thing in the punch list. So hear their perspective on brand podcasting, how and why you should amplify that podcast content across other channels, and how their show has linked Lumavate with some of the biggest brands in the world.
Stephanie Cox: I'm Stephanie Cox, I am the VP of Sales and Marketing at Lumavate. I also oversee our customer success support and product teams. And Lumavate as a platform where marketers can build apps without code.
Michelle Lawrence: And I am Michelle Lawrence. I am the content marketing specialist here at Lumavate. I lead the content strategy and social media strategy.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Wonderful. Welcome to both of you. This is an extra special interview cause I have two guests, not one but two. So thank you both for being here. This is going to be really fun. So tell me about real marketers and kind of how that came to be and your history with podcasting at Lumavate?
Stephanie Cox: Yeah, so we started our first show about two years ago. It was called Mobile Marketers and it was really focused on really marketing and tech leaders in the mobile space. We had that show for about 60 episodes, and then we decided, I guess I had a crazy idea, is that the best way to describe it Michelle? And I was just kind of like tired of the same old content as a marketing leader, where everyone talks about how wonderful things are and how easy it was, which feels like lies to me. So it's not how marketing is, marketing is hard, marketing is complicated, it doesn't always work the way you think it would. There's a lot more to it, and there's a lot of challenges that everyone faces. So I wanted to have a show that really spoke to people that were like me, that ask forgiveness, not permission, like to move really fast, obsessed about driving results, are constantly fills the brand with these crazy ideas. And that's really where the idea for Real Marketers came in. And the name really was because to me, that's what a real marketer is, it's someone who is constantly pushing the boundaries of what's possible. And so we decided to kind of really rebrand the show and head in that direction based on that. And I would tell you, it's kind of taken on a life of its own now. It's become more than just the name of our show, it's really becoming a lot about who we are as a company, the type of marketers we want to work with and really our philosophy on what marketing should be today.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So tell me what that's been like behind the scenes to do that, to kind of iterate and change over time?
Stephanie Cox: Well my job's kind of maybe the easier one. I come up with the crazy ideas and I typically source all of our guests for the show and do the interview. But then I kind of like throw it over the fence to Michelle and like," Here's what I did. Can you make this into a show and promote it and figure out how we're going to get listeners?" So that's really my part of it, but she's kind of behind the scenes making the podcast magic happen.
Michelle Lawrence: So I am the recipient of the crazy ideas Stephanie has. And so it was really fun to kind of take this new idea of the Real Marketers podcasts. Prior to this new podcast, I had never really done podcasting before. So it was a really great way for me to get my feet wet and exploring this new brand, like Stephanie had mentioned, it was Mobile Matters before. And so this time around, it was a lot more punchy, we could swear a little bit on social media, which was really fun for me. So it's been really interesting kind of iterating on what works, what messaging works on social media and then try and different things.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. So over the last couple of years, as we've discussed, you have tried new things, you've iterated, you've listened and watched what's working, you have adapted to the needs of your audience and also to the ideas of your team, and Stephanie's crazy ideas. And I'm curious how that has impacted your business and the Lumavate brand. What role has the show played in all of the other marketing efforts and brand building efforts and sales efforts that you're working on for the business?
One of the things that I love most about podcasting, and I have a different take on it than some marketers, I know that, so some people really do focus on podcasting as a lead gen tool where they're trying to drive leads from it or they try and get guests on the show that they want to sell to, and that is definitely one approach. We just think about it differently here. I have no lead metrics tied to the podcast, that's not what our goal is. Our goal is really around, we want to be seen as experts in the space of digital marketing. We want to bring a unique perspective and we want to really be one of the places that you would turn to for great content. And it starts with the podcast, but really goes across everything that Michelle does from a content marketing perspective. And that I think is what we've been focused on. So if you think about the first season we have with Mobile Matters, we had brands on like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, MGM, huge brands that everyone knows, and none of those were customers. Most of those people, I didn't even know personally, right? We just reached out and were able to get them on the show. But then it starts to put your brand, right, we're a startup, scale up company, right? Not everyone's heard of us. But when you can put our name next to Google or next Amazon next to Microsoft, and it gives you a ton of really great brand value. And there's a perception that you're in the same class as them, which is really fantastic, and that's, I think, been a huge benefit. And then with the switch to Mobile Matters, to Real Marketers, it really, like I said earlier, it's taken on a life of its own. It started as the name of our podcast. We'll be launching a whole community for Real Marketers. And it's becoming part of what our brand Lumavate's about, right? We're for the ones with the crazy ideas, we're for the people that need to move fast. That's what our platform allows you to do. We find that people that have those personality traits get the most use out of us. And I think when we start to think about podcast content, I think there's a misconception that you launch a podcast out, you put it on iTunes, Spotify, at your website, everywhere. And people just love that. And I think that is definitely great, but there's also this huge amount of content within every episode. And so part of the challenge that Michelle, I think, can talk to you more about is how do you turn a 30-minute episode into blog posts, social posts, audiograms, just different pieces of content and use that to fuel your content strategy.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Music to my ears, I love that. So I definitely want to get into that, I want to highlight a couple things you said I was sitting here taking notes because there's a lot there that I wanted to highlight. One, I mean you are, obviously you're a very senior leader at, at Lumavate and you were leading the way, not only at Lumavate, but also in the industry by what you just said, which is, we don't have lead gen metrics around the show, it's all about building the brand, building credibility, building trust, tying your name to other big brands that people trust and see as credible, and also building those relationships. Now there are people at Google and all of the other great brands that you interviewed, who know you, who know Stephanie, who know Lumavate, who know the shows that you've done over time and that see you in a favorable light. So that's huge, I just didn't want that to be missed by our listeners because that's really big to say, no, we're doing this and it's important and we're measuring it in this way, not that way. I want to come back to the community, but I think that it's not just about the show, the show is great, the show is an amazing way to fuel so many other things that you're doing. So tell me about that, tell me about the community and the other forms of content, the other channels that you're fueling from your show. I want to really hear about how you're doing that.
Stephanie Cox: So on the community, really, I think a lot about myself and what I kind of miss. And I think every senior marketer that has had a lot of success has kind of their little inner circle, right, the people that they can have real honest conversations with, where they completely tell the truth and are super transparent about what works, what doesn't, what's hard, what's not. And my thought was like, where can I get that? From LinkedIn, I can't, right. So much of LinkedIn and Twitter, any social media is so positive these days, it's not truly authentic. And even some of the other groups I'm in, yes, you can have authentic conversations with a couple of people, but there's not a place where people are really just kind of pulling behind the curtain and showing you like the good, bad and ugly of marketing. And that's what our community's got to be all about is, we're going to make it fun, right? So you don't have to take a fun little quiz to get in, around whether or not you fit these personality traits, because that feels a little bit like us. And then when you get in, you're going to have access to not just our team, but all of the people in our community to ask your harvest marketing questions, to say what you're struggling with to get help and feedback, and really a place where marketers help marketers. Because so many of us, I think, think about marketing as like, well, I can't share my secrets. And I'm kind of like, it doesn't really matter, right? What works for you may not work for me. And even if I'm your direct competitor, I can already see the stuff you're doing. Like it's not new, right. So stop holding back and start sharing, I think is really what we're all about. And the Michelle, I think has a ton of insight to bring on how we think about turning one episode into so much content.
Michelle Lawrence: Yeah. So the other day... So our episodes are about 30 minutes, and so the other day I took one episode and created this whole content strategy around it. So for example, I created three different mini blogs based on the three main takeaways of that episode. You can create one overall blog post with the overarching theme of the episode. And then based on that, you can create as many as 10 to 15 different social media posts. Whether that's just taking line- by- line little excerpts from the episode and just posting it on social. Or, like I mentioned earlier with the audio grams, some people don't have the time to watch like a 30 to 45 minute episode. So those audio grams can really pick the most important snippets from your episode and then put it in a more digestible form of content on social media while you're just kind of mindlessly scrolling anyways. And then you can take pick these little mini blogs and you can kind of put them together in a larger form, maybe like an ebook or an infographic of like, lessons we learned from this episode. And then you have the rest of your team create these different social media posts based on what resonates with them. So you can really kind of beat the horse to death on content generation with just a single podcast episode.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's so true because, once you have a subject matter expert, you have somebody who's telling a great story or sharing real, engaging, relevant insights that your audience really cares about, why in the world, and you all do such a great job with this, why in the world would you leave it at just that show? Why would you capture all of that gold dust and put it into one episode and then be like, well, that was great, let's just move on to the next one. When you could, like you said, ring it out, share snippets of it on social media that yes, hopefully people do come through and click through and listen to your whole episode, but even if they don't, they are getting a little snippet of it. As you said, they're scrolling through social media, they're still getting some of that gold dust. And then yeah, a recap post is really great, but how can you take a little snippet of something that interviewee said and dive a little deeper and create something that's even a little more engaging based on something that they kind of a thought starter that they did and putting it all together and something that's even longer and richer that your audience that's interested in that subject matter can go deeper into and just really consume from all different angles. It's really smart, I love the way that you're doing that.
Michelle Lawrence: Right, and I would just add that we're lucky enough to be marketing to marketers, which is what we are. But even if, let's say you're a startup company and you're a marketer and you don't know a ton about your ICP: Starting a podcast is a great way just to learn from people who are thought leaders in your industry. But it's a great way just to learn for your own personal growth about who your target audiences.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So, what have you seen from being able to use that content across other channels and other formats? What has that done? Whether it's internally, externally, efficiencies and effectiveness, how has that been working for you?
Stephanie Cox: So we've seen, I think, a ton of excitement around the podcast, both internally, but I think more importantly, externally from people that I don't know. I got a message yesterday from someone that I've never met. They're like, Oh, I listen to your show all the time, right, and I had this question about something completely unrelated to what I do at Lumavate but specifically on the show. And so I think there's that right? More people will listen than you probably think. But I think to Michelle's point earlier around how she thinks about content, one of the things that I like most about it, and I think that a lot of marketers fail with in regards to podcasting, is they think that like once they get the episode out, they promote it for a week, two weeks or whatever, and then they never promote the episode, that's such a huge mess. And the reason why I say that is if I look at like our analytics right now for the last seven days and I look at our top five episodes, obviously four of which are the most recent, the fifth episode is one from January of 2019. And that content is still relevant, it's not news- related, right, nothing on my show is really tied to the news. So all the content's helpful really at any time. And I think what Michelle's done a really great job about is not just promoting stuff the first week or two it's out, but also coming back to it and thinking about how we can continue to post a thought or an insight on social and link to that episode that might be from a year ago. And I think that's one of the things that I wish more people would do because it does create this excitement, it also gives you an opportunity when you talk about the impact it has. So we promote an episode from a year ago with a previous guest, we can tag them and get on social. And what's probably going to happen is they're probably going to like it or comment on it or share it again. So now I've just gotten another opportunity to engage with them in their network and get even more value out of it. And I think the other thing that I would share too is, is it hard to create a ton of content from a podcast? Yes and no. It's hard when you get started. But I think what you really need to think about as a marketer, and I think this is where Michelle is really starting to excel, is how do you come up with kind of like, what is your strategy and process for taking one piece of content and turning it into 20 or 30 pieces of content. And once you get going on that, and once you have templates set up or a process, or even just like a architecture in your mind, it goes a lot faster than it does in the beginning, and so you can crank that stuff out more and more. And once you start to see the results, I think that even encourages you to do it more so than before.
Right, and I would just add: There's different types of learners out there. You have visual learners, you have auditory learners, you have people that learn best from reading a two-minute blog post. And while it might seem overkill to have all these different pieces of content that you're creating from one episode, if you're not hitting all of those different types of learners, you could be missing out on a large group of your target audience.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely. Because yes, you can be missing out on, and people who are not seeing what you posted this morning in this one place, right? But then also you're missing out on an opportunity to engage even more with some of your super fans, right? So, I'm interviewing you both here. If somebody likes what they hear and is getting all excited about this information and these ideas that you're sharing about how to really get more out of your content, they will probably I hope, go into our related resources where we are going to share examples of what you've done and we're going to provide more information and more blogs and more details that those people who want even more of what you're saying will be able to dive even deeper. So it's like a doubleness if you're just publishing and moving onto the next thing.
Michelle Lawrence: Exactly. For sure.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So I also, I want to go back to something that you said Stephanie about, yes, there's a lot of external excitement and some of the big successes that you've had about the show externally, which is what we're always thinking about as marketers. But you also said something about internally, it's creating a lot of excitement and good old Tim Kopp always talked about how your most important audience is your internal audience. And you head up sales and marketing, so I'm sure you are very well aware of the gap that can occur between sales and marketing. So if you are achieving excitement about content inside your business, that's something to be celebrated.
Stephanie Cox: Yeah, it is. And they want more, which I guess is like a good thing. I think that's one of the things where if you're doing content right, your sales team is always asking, can you create more, can you create more? Which is like a blessing and a curse all at the same time, right? Blessing, because they want it and they find it valuable for them in their outreach and just really even helping position us as strategic partners with these enterprise brands that we work with, right? If we're providing content and we have people on the show that are leaders that they would look up to, it really does help us, especially from a sales perspective. The flip side is, there are only so many hours in the day. And as I tell Michelle and another person on our team Lily that writes a lot of content for us, I don't want to break your brains. So there's a balance between getting enough great content out there that people are excited about, but also making sure you don't, it's not even over saturate, but it's more about like, but it's still quality content and it's content that is going to be engaging versus, can Michelle create like a hundred 100 social posts off of a single podcast episode? Yeah, definitely. But is that going to, at some point, diminish the value? Probably. So I think we're trying to find the balance between how to create content that is engaging and the team loves, with also this ability of not creating so much that it breaks anyone's brains, but also I kind of like this idea of always had them wanting more, both internally and externally, right? I always want them to ask for more because that tells me we're doing our job and what we're providing and the value of it is so high. When they stop asking is when I get worried.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Let's zoom out and knowing what you both know, from the different roles that you play with the show and within Lumavate, where should a brand podcasts fit within the overall brand strategy or the overall content strategy or integrated sales and marketing strategy, where should it fit within a company?
Stephanie Cox: For me, it's a pretty easy answer. I think other companies might struggle with it, but for me, it's 100% brand building. It's not demand gen, it's not about getting leads to come in. We even had this conversation as a team, earlier this week around, should we add a promotion about the company at the end of the episode, right, as a way to generate leads? And we're not going to do it. And part of that reason is, the more and more I think about it, even if it's at the end of the episode, it really does soil a little bit of what we say we're about. We're about commencing great marketers with other great marketers and giving you education. And the moment you start flipping that into any type of sales conversation, it feels a little bit of a bait and switch, and I think I want to be away from that. So for us, it's the focus of brand building. And it's really about, like I said, took a life of its own, because now it's become kind of like about who our brand is. And what I mean by that is obviously we're a platform for enabling marketers to build apps about code, which is unique in itself, but that's what our technology does. What our brand actually is, it's about enabling the marketers that have a crazy idea in the morning and want to get something out that afternoon. It's about the people that want to iterate test and move rapidly because they realize that the only thing that kills a business is time, right? Speed to market matters. And when you start thinking about not just what your product does, but who it serves and what their real needs are, it's kind of like this great mesh together of, well, our podcasts brand is Real Marketers and it stands for these things. But now that our community at Lumavate is going to be called Real Marketers and it's going to be for customers and for people that aren't customers. And if you look at our website content, a lot of the language, to Michelle's point earlier, we've gotten a lot more punchy. It all started with the podcast. And the podcast I think is just another expression of that brand. And we're using it as the catalyst for, if you think about breaking through the noise and marketing, we've been able to do that with the show. And now we're saying like," Well, how do we make that more about who we are? How do we take what we love about the show and what it's created and make that part of who Lumavate is." And so now Lumavate in the show, we're this bigger brand together, which I think is a little bit unique compared to what other people have done. I would say like, if you're thinking about a podcast for the first time, I would highly, highly encourage you not to think about it being a lead gen tool and think about it being a brand building tool, which I know is super squishy and hard to measure, right? Like CFOs don't love it when you say that, because they're like, well, what's the ROI and it's hard to measure, right? But what I will tell you, and I think it's to your point earlier Lindsay, right? The fact that we've gotten our name next to some of the biggest brands in the world at such a young age in our life as a company is such a big deal. It also means that they know Lumavate, they know who I am, and it's given us the opportunity to really grow who we are as a company that I don't think there's any other channels that would have enabled us to do this at the speed at which we've been able to. And if we would have done it as a more of a lead gen tool and every single person that you want to show, we tried to sell to right away, we wouldn't have had that impact. Because a lot of the people that we get on the show are because previous guests recommend them and connect me with them because they've had such a good time. So that I think that's just like, what I always tell everyone is that is the secret sauce. If you want to know about podcasting and what really causes it to take off is that you do such a great job with guests that they invite and connect you with other big, main guests that they know in their network. And now your network has gotten bigger and you're connecting your brand to other brands that you may not be able to have your name and the same sentence with them for decades potentially, right? And now you're doing it and someone at Google's promoting it.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And I love that. And what we hear a lot, we talk about a lot and we hear a lot from guests and from customers, is this recurring theme of becoming more human, it's humanizing the brand. And obviously I think anyone who's listening to this episode, that's very, very clear that, that's what you're doing anyway at Lumavate and it's absolutely what you've done and you're continuing to do with the show. But what I'm also hearing is that the show has helped to humanize not only the perception of the Lumavate brand, but also the actual Lumavate brand. I mean, you are a young company, but you're doing big things and you're moving very fast, but it sounds like, by getting out there and trying new things and being even more authentic and kind of pushing your own limits, you're growing, it is taking on this really human personality, life embodiment of this kind of human version of Lumavate. And that's really, really cool to hear you talk about it. It almost sounds like you're talking about a person when you're talking about the brand, which is really cool.
Stephanie Cox: Well, and it kind of is, right? And I think that's one of the things that, where I said, it kind of just became a real life of its own because when you talk about brands a lot of times, right? What's the emotion, or if your brand was a car, what car would it be? I guess I just don't think about that anymore. I think about like, if my brand was a person, what is their personality traits, right? What kind of person would they be and what would they do as a person? And that's why this idea of Real Marketers the show has influenced our brand so much because the people that best use our products are the ones that have these personality traits. And our show was designed for them, our community's going to be designed for them, and it's really influenced a lot more than I think we probably thought it would at the beginning of 2020.
Michelle Lawrence: And to your point when Lindsey, the whole no BS marketing from our Real Marketers Podcast has really challenged me to grow that into the Lumavate brand. When I'm writing a blog post or a longer form piece of content, I always think to myself, is this providing value or is this just adding fluff to this blog post? So the podcast has really challenged me and helped me grow the Lumavate brand into more of a place where marketers can get real content and not just SEO.
Lindsay Tjepkema: What do you recommend, both of you, kind of from the inside and kind of behind the scenes and also as a host, where should they get started? What are some common pitfalls that you think they should avoid? What advice do you have?
Stephanie Cox: For me, if you think about your show, really have a purpose. You need to do your research, you need to go on iTunes. And if you're going to do a marketing show or home improvement show, it doesn't really matter where the show is, and you need to see what else is already out there. Because if you're just another fill in the blank type of show that already exists, you're going to struggle. It's going to be hard to break through the noise, unless you have some unique spin on it, or you can get some different guests on that. We started with mobile, we were one of the few shows about mobile that existed from the podcast space. And then we switched to Real Marketers. We had a really specific point of view, right? I know Michelle and I call them like, Stephanie's Rams, right? And sometimes me and a guest will rant about a specific topic. We have a very specific point of view, right? And it's not even just the show flow, right, which is also really important, but what is your point of view? At the end of the day, what are your guests supposed to get out of the episode, and can they get that anywhere else? And if not, then what you're thinking is not the right show. It doesn't mean you shouldn't do a show, it means you need to work harder to figure out what it should be. What's that unique perspective that you can bring that no one else can bring. And if you can find that, then it's really more about a lot of the operational stuff that becomes hard, right? Or not even hard, but just time- consuming, especially early on. Around what software am I going to use? Where am I going to host it? How am I going to think about promoting it? How do I get guests? But I can tell you if you have a unique perspective and a unique take on what your show is trying to provide, it'll be a little easier to get guests than you probably think.
Michelle Lawrence: Yeah, adding to Stephanie's point, regurgitate an episode's content in as many ways as possible. If you currently have a podcast and you were finding this task to be challenging, I think that might be a signal that you might need to change something up with your show, whether it's having more authentic conversations with people, or if it's just you, how can you tell a more humanizing story about yourself? 2020 I think has been really isolating for a lot of people. I think just having a show that allows you to be kind of like a fly on the wall in that conversation, I think that's really where we've seen a lot of success in the show is brand.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And it's such a good show. I mean, just personally, I love it. I love the authenticity and the storytelling and okay, let's talk about this thing that people don't talk about or that people talk about, but not in this circle. I personally appreciate it, I personally can relate to it. I know our audience can too, because both Lumavate and Casted market marketing to marketers. And so if you haven't checked it out already, definitely, definitely do check out Lumavate's show Real marketers, it's a good one. So thank you both for being here. Thank you both for sharing kind of behind the scenes, how the show all fits into what you're doing at Lumavate. I appreciate it. 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.