How To Stop Making Excuses and Start Your Podcast with Privy's Dave Gerhardt
How To Stop Making Excuses and Start Your Podcast with Privy's Dave Gerhardt
Today’s conversation is with Dave Gerhardt, Chief Marketing Officer at Privy, and host of The Ecommerce Marketing Show podcast. Privy is an e-commerce marketing platform, however, podcasting was the first step in their marketing strategy. As a podcast lover, Dave has hosted three podcasts and has helped other companies start their own. He believes in the power of content as a marketing tool and uses podcasting as a way to appeal to niche markets and loyal consumers. Hear about why you should stop making excuses and start your own podcast in today's conversation.
Dave GerhardtChief Marketing Officer, Privy
Lindsay Tjepkema: Just do it. Create. Go have a conversation with someone who has something interesting to say. Someone whose insights your audience should hear. Record it. And, there you go. You've got the foundation of a podcast. Depending on who you are, who your brand is, and who your audience is, your show may already be ready to ship. Just that way, as is. Or, it may be ready for a whole lot of production work. But, with this first step, with that conversation, you've started it — that connection. But, where do you go from there? 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. We're back, and we are talking to marketing leaders and business leaders linked to the brand podcast you love to understand the roles that those shows play in the brand's overall marketing strategy, and the business story. You're getting a behind the scenes... I guess, rather behind the mic, look at why those brands are investing in podcasting. Why those leaders support them, and how they are driving strategies and businesses forward. Today's conversation is with the one, the only, Dave Gerhardt. It's no secret that Dave and I share a deep love for podcasting. This medium has become a huge part of both of our lives, which made it really special to hear how his love affair with podcasting began, as well as how he's leveraging the microphone still today. You'll even hear a few ideas that you can take action on today.
Dave Gerhardt: I'm Dave Gerhardt. I'm the chief marketing officer at Privy.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Awesome. I'm so glad that you're here. I'm so excited to talk podcasting with you. Tell me a little bit about how you fell for podcasting and where it started. Part of your story from a marketing strategy, marketing leadership perspective.
Dave Gerhardt: So, I started my first podcast in March of 2014, and it was called Tech in Boston. I was not even working in marketing at the time, but I wanted to... It wasn't actually a marketing endeavor. I wanted to start a little bit of a side project of my own, and I always wanted to start something, a blog, a newsletter. And, I was just like," You know what..." I got really into podcasts, and I was listening to them all the time. At a time when it was like... It was not even that long ago. But, 2014, I'd be on the bus, riding home, listening to a podcast, and I'd talk to someone like," Oh, yeah. What do you do on the bus?""So, I listen to podcasts." He was like," What? A podcast? How do you even do that? Do you need a USB cable, and do you have to hook it up to your computer?" And so, I was listening to a podcast called" This Week in Startups", and I was really into startups at the time. Through that show... It was cool, but it was always, always about entrepreneurs on the West coast. And so, I was like," I'm in the Boston tech scene. There's a lot happening here. Why hasn't anybody..." And I tweeted out," Why hasn't anybody started a podcast about entrepreneurs in Boston?" Two people responded, and they were like," Oh, you should just start that." And I was like," Okay, sure. I'll figure it out." And so, I figured out how to start a podcast, and 60 episodes later, it became this thing that I did in addition to my job, and it was this amazing side project that got me connected to 60 entrepreneurs and CEOs in Boston. I'd built an email list of four or 5, 000 people. I learned how to sell sponsorships, learned how to do audio. It was such a cool project for me, because it didn't feel like a podcast. It felt like I built a little mini business. It was from that podcast that I actually got my job at HubSpot. Mike Volpe, who was the CMO at HubSpot at the time, they wanted to start a podcast at HubSpot. And so, he hired me, because he knew me locally, to run their podcasts. So, I helped them launch the Growth Show, and after I had done those two things... When I went to Drift, I had a really cool opportunity to work with David Cancel, and I was the first marketing person at Drift. I just needed to get marketing content out of him, and so I just started interviewing him with my podcast gear that I had. I was just going to ghost write for him, and then that transformed into us... He wasn't very good at just being interviewed, and then just having to talk for 30 minutes. And so, it became more of... I had to do an interview back and forth with him to get more stuff out of him, and that morphed into this really cool conversation about these two people at completely different ends of their spectrum from a career. You have this proven CEO and this no name up and coming marketing person, and we ended up turning into a podcast called" Seeking Wisdom". So, really quickly, over the course of a year and a half, I had launched three podcasts, and now it's just become a pillar of anything that I do in marketing because I think it's like having your own...if 20 years ago, somebody said to you, "Hey, you could have your own radio station, and you really wouldn't have to pay much to do it." And like, "If you do it right, you could get thousands of your dream customers to listen to you. Would you want to do that?" But, for whatever reason, people still don't seem to think of that when they think of podcasting.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely. Absolutely. That happens so often, right? As the young no- name marketing person, we go to the people who have that subject matter expertise. We go to the people who know what it is that you want to be, but you're charged to go talk about. And quite often, we take copious notes or... I always used to do the same thing for myself or for my team, where you record that interview, and then you use it to create all that written content to spin out a ton of other content. And somewhere along the way, it was like," Why don't we just turn this into a podcast?" Right? And those are the most interesting podcasts to listen to, because it really is inviting the listeners in on a conversation, right? It's allowing them to listen in on something that they wouldn't otherwise be able to be in on, right?
Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. From that, we told the story of building Drift as it was happening on the podcast, and so there's people who heard us talk about getting our first a hundred customers on that podcast. I think you're exactly right. You create this relationship. I think it's such an intimate marketing channel. It's the only one that I know that...I could be at the gym listening to your podcast...I could be listening to this interview in a couple of weeks, when I'm working out in the morning or mowing the lawn or shoveling the driveway or cleaning the house while the kids are napping. And I don't know of how many other marketing channels have that opportunity, and I think it is really cool, because you can just be yourself and just turn on the mic, and if you have something that's interesting to say to even five people, it could become a podcast, right? You have now started a company about podcasting that's a niche, right? And I think that's what's so powerful about podcasting to me. I love sneakers, right? There's a million different types of Nikes and Jordans you could have, but you could have a podcast that is only about the Jordan 1 sneaker, which is one of 500 sneakers, and you would have a loyal, passionate following because of the nature of the marketing channel.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, absolutely. I see you all the time on LinkedIn. I'm a huge fan of LinkedIn, too. And, you're talking about like," Publish all the time." And that can look like a lot of different things depending on who you are and what you have to say, but don't stop creating. Keep testing new ideas and sharing those ideas. Where do you think that balance is between constant creation and sharing that content and sharing those thoughts, and taking a step back and being strategic, and saying," Okay, what do people want to hear?" What will be engaging enough, so that it's not just me hopping on an interview with someone and talking because that was what's available that day? Where do you in particular find that balance?
I don't know. I don't know if I've done a good job with this, because I think... The only podcasts that I've done have either been me talking about myself or having a guest to interview. I don't necessarily think that that's right or wrong. I've done it, because I think... If marketing is not fun, you're never going to be any good at it. And so, talking and hosting a radio show has been a dream, and so I get to just do it on podcasts. That's fun for me to do, where maybe if I was more of a methodical storyteller, I would do a podcast more of like the NPR style. Lately, I've been thinking about... Maybe I should do something like that and learn that skill, but I think it's... The other format has been a little bit more natural to me. Through marketing, which is kind of my niche, and through the companies that I've worked at, we've had... At Drift, for example, the whole strategy was like," Let's talk to the best marketers out there." And at Privy, the whole strategy is," Let's talk the best e- commerce marketers out there." So, it's not about me. It's about doing interviews with them. So, that has made for an easy format, but I do think that, especially in B2B, we tend to interview the same 15 people over and over again. There is a huge opportunity to do something that is more creative. I think the best marketers have to think about evolving any channel, right? Like, email has to continue to evolve, social has to continue to evolve. Maybe I need to think about evolving the next version of what I do for a podcast. But, yeah, that's just kind of what I've done.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I always say," Who's it for? Why are you doing it?" With anything. I mean, that's just marketing. That's content. That's podcasting. I said," Who are you doing this for?" The more specific you can get, the better. And," Why are you doing it?" Because, you can't serve everyone with everything. I think just hearing you say what you just said, I would add one more thing: Who are you? What do you bring to this? Because, like you said, if one format, one approach is more natural to you, that does not make it the natural engaging content for someone else, so I think that that's a really important part of the equation, too.
Dave Gerhardt: I think you also have to learn... Your audience also needs to drive some of this. The audiences that I have marketed to have told us what they want to hear. They want to hear from the experts, and they want to have a conversation, like, they're having a coffee with an expert with someone that they wouldn't get a chance to meet in real life. And so, that's been an insight that has driven some of that. I think the cool part about marketing is it has to be this continuous feedback loop, and so I would be listening to what my customers and actual people that have a relationship with my business are saying.
Lindsay Tjepkema: How does podcasting fit into your CMO at Privy, into your marketing strategy now? Where does it fit in? How does it fit in? What role does it play to your company's overall marketing strategy as it sits today?
When I started at Privy, it was the first thing that we did, and it was intentional because we wanted to create something that was an anchor for the brand. The short answer is I think it's the most important piece of a brand opening strategy, not an overall marketing strategy. You've got to generate demand, and your podcast is not going to be a direct response marketing channel, at least in the early days. But, from a brand-building standpoint, it's the number one strategy. I would do this for any business, any company. If I got into business with my father-in-law, who I see down the driveway right now—he's a carpenter—the first thing that I would do to try to help build his brand would be: we'd start a podcast. We would literally make a show about building houses, and he would be the star of that show. Because, if you start with that podcast, then you have audio, and ideally you film that all, so you have video too. If you have those two things, then you can easily — you can get so much content out of that one episode. You can get blog posts. You can get video clips. You can get decks. You can get graphics. I've seen a lot of people think that you build a brand through..."Well, we're just going to blog our way to a brand and tweet our way to a brand." That doesn't work that way. And so, at Privy, the brand that we're trying to build is around e-commerce marketing. We want to own e-commerce marketing and be known for e-commerce marketing. And so, what did we do? The first thing that we did in January, was we launched the E-commerce Marketing Show. Not the sexiest name in the world, but it's exactly what we wanted. It is a weekly show about e-commerce marketing that says, "Hey, we're the experts in this thing, and we're going to bring on the best people from around the industry to come talk to you; come and listen to us." And now, we've planted that flag for our brand and said, "This is who we're for." Then, from there, we can turn all of that podcast content into all the other things that are going to feed the marketing machine that we have. So, the podcast drives email content. It drives video content and all this stuff that I mentioned before. It was honestly the first thing that we did because I think it's the most... it's a marketing channel that gives you the most leverage, I think. If you can start.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, I think. Quite often, a lot of people stop short, right? They go have a great conversation, then they publish it, and then maybe they share it on social media. It's a separate, siloed part of the overall strategy, right? So, you have your other content and you have your email marketing strategy and you have your website, but you're not fueling it with those great conversations you have as part of the podcast. I mean, obviously that's how I feel, because that's the whole basis of Casted, but... Is to have those great conversations. Yes, they're a show. Yes, they're a podcast, but it's just the beginning, right? It's just step one of what else you can do with that great conversation.
About three weeks ago, we published an interview with a guy named Nik Sharma, who's a direct to consumer brand guy. And just today, before this interview, I was catching up on stuff in Slack. And Lauren, who runs our podcast and our blog, she posted a draft of a blog post that was," Five brands that are doing email right that you should learn from." And that whole post is taken from the stuff that Nik Sharma said on that post three weeks ago. The post is not about Nik Sharma. It's about three brands you should follow for email, which we know that our customers want. They want more email examples. And by the way, that's also a money term from an SEO standpoint for us, and so that's an example, just tactically, about how one podcast episode drives more than the podcast. I think that the biggest misconception is that people like, "Oh, you don't use the podcast enough, and that means that you need to email your list more about your podcast and promote your podcast more." No, it's not that at all. You need to take content. It's like writing a book, right? If you wrote a book for your company, it would be silly to not try to... if you had hired a writer and you had a 300-page book about your core topic as a company, would you only use that content in a book that's going to sit on a shelf? No way. I would want to break that out and write two blog posts a week based on that content. I would want to start a YouTube channel based on that content. I would want to make decks and presentations based on that content. So, I think it's to use the podcast as a way to get all of this content for your brand.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely, yeah. Wring it out. Wring every last drop out of it. Every drop. So, we're all still social distancing. Everyone's talking about the new normal. I think that assumes that there was an old normal, which is a whole other conversation, but in the absence of events in whatever conferences are going to look like as we emerge from quarantine. Tell me what role you think all of this that we're talking about with podcasts, in rich content, in rich media, fit into marketing as we know it from this state forward.
To me, I think the thing that's changed the most is there is... I think everything is blurred. Even in our podcast, for example, people are just listening at all different times than they were. I've even noticed this in my personal life. I don't have a commute anymore, and so I have to put podcasts on at different times. The thing that I've been thinking a lot about is: How do you create more on-demand content, as opposed to being like, "Go to our webinar at 2:00 PM tomorrow." And so, I think creating more on-demand content, but also creating content that you don't have to necessarily... you should let your customer, let the listener or the consumer, dictate the channel. So, "Hey, great, you want to get this new deck? You can flip through it, or you can watch the video version of it, or you can listen to it on our podcasts." We recently started taking webinar recordings and replaying them on our podcasts, because when you send out a link on Zoom, who's going to actually listen to that replay? Now, your webinars are on the Apple podcast feed or Spotify, and you can go listen to that while you're at the gym or doing whatever you're doing.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. I mean, again. Say it louder for those in back. Everyone is doing these online events and virtual events and webinars, which is great. That's awesome. Do those, especially if they're working for you. But, that's great content, and everything that you're seeing here, turn that into other content. Pull blog posts from it. Pull recap, email from it. Pull podcasts from it.
Dave Gerhardt: Can I give an idea? Let's give an idea for people right on the spot. There's a really cool play that I think somebody could do, which is... So, I just did a talk for Survey Monkey. They did this... I forget what it was called. But, Leela, who's a CMO at Survey Monkey. I got close with her at Drift. She's awesome. She asked me to do this talk. They have 17,000 people. They had 20, 30 different talks. The same day that virtual event drops, I would have also taken all of those audio recordings and created podcast artwork and dropped it as a new podcast in Apple podcasts and Spotify, and make it 30 episodes that you drop all at once. And so, people could get then go and listen to all that stuff on Apple podcasts the same day, versus having to sit down at the computer. Now, on my phone, I have all 30 talks. I can go skip through the ones that I want, and listen to the ones that I want to listen to. I don't know if you remember this. There was a great series maybe 10 years ago called How to Start a Startup, and it was from Sam Altman and Y Combinator. It was recordings that they had from Y Combinator. They just ripped the audio, and they put it in a podcast feed, and it was the number one business podcast on iTunes. So, if you're already going to put in all that work, why not take the audio and also put that on the podcast feed. And by the way, you don't need millions of people to go listen to that. The hundred people who go to Apple podcasts and listen to your freaking virtual event in their podcast app, those are the super fans. Those are the ones that you want. So, I think somebody should take that and go and do that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: You transitioned to this already. As far as advice, you gave a really great idea, but I think bigger picture. What advice you have for other marketers? Marketing leaders, marketing managers, who either already have a podcast and really just want to take it to the next level, or even those who haven't jumped on board yet? What words of wisdom can you impart upon them?
Stop making excuses. How's that? I'm not even trying to be a jerk. I just think that it's so easy to start a podcast today. I have a private group of marketers and I just do a private podcast for them. All I do, Lindsay, is I record it into my iPhone. I don't edit anything. The audio is great because I'm usually just in a room. I literally go right into the voice memos app, I airdrop the file to my computer, and I upload it, and that is my podcast. And people love that, because it's for those people, right? I can't do that to strangers. Nobody's going to like that. So, that's one example. Another example is: everybody's on Zoom right now. All your Zoom calls are being recorded. You already know how to create a podcast. That's already happening. There's your podcast. And so, I just think that if..."I don't have the time" or "who's going to do this?" Those are all excuses, because I think: A) The technology is so easy, and B) It's happening enough already where you probably don't even need to go out and net new content if you don't want to. And so, I think I would set a goal of, after listening to this interview, being like," You know what? We're going to launch our podcast by July 1st." The other thing that I would say though is: if you do want to go take action on that — and I've made this mistake a bunch of times, and so I tried not to do it with Privy — you got to have 5-10 episodes prerecorded, so then you can get the feeling of launching and having momentum go with it, right? To me, marketing is a momentum game in that you want this feedback loop. Speed is important. What happens is: You do a lot of work. You drop that first podcast, and either you forgot about it, or you're upset because nobody listened to it. You have to be out there. You have to probably produce 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 episodes before people might actually start paying attention to it.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I totally agree. I think a lot of people shoot themselves in the foot, and think that they're going to fly the plane while they build the plane, right? But, if you focus first on the content, and then focus on," How am I going to not only publish, but promote and really wring out..." Like we were talking about."... wring out that content." And listen. You have talked a lot about listening to your audience:" I can do this for this group, but I can't really do it for this group." And," Let the audience dictate this and tell you what they want." When you're really busy trying to create that next thing, it's really hard to listen and to pay attention to what's working and what's not, and what to do more of. So, couldn't agree more.
Dave Gerhardt: The other thing is: You have to just put your head down and go, and commit to doing it, and not worry so much about the results and the download numbers in the beginning. And so, one thing that we... When we launched the E- commerce Marketing Show at Privy, we didn't necessarily set a download goal. We set a goal of," I want to publish..." We want to be known for E- commerce marketing, and we think the podcast is one way we can do that. And so, one KPI for the podcast is: We want to publish 50 plus episodes this year, because that means we'd be publishing once a week, and so we use that as a mechanism to almost incentivize us to be publishing frequently. Like," Hey, one of the KPIs at our content team at Privy is going to be held to is like,'Are we publishing...'"
Lindsay Tjepkema: So, it's like accountability, right? It's an accountability inaudible thing. It's like,"Hey, we're committing to this amount of content and stating it publicly and putting it out there, so that you hold yourself to that number."
Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. Yes, you have to have good content, but you also have to be consistent. Go look at a YouTuber like Casey Neistat. That guy was making videos for a decade before he blew up on YouTube, and I think that the same has got to be true for your thing. And so, you should just stack the deck by saying," You know what? We're going to commit to this, and we're going to show up every Friday morning at 07:00 AM, and that's going to be our-
Lindsay Tjepkema: Right, no excuses. Like you said, stop making excuses. I like it. Okay. So, any other parting words for anyone who might still be on the fence or wondering how in the world they can get more out of their podcast?
Dave Gerhardt: I would think a lot about how can you document more of what's already happening inside of your company, because I think it's going to be more interesting than you think. You could have a really interesting podcast about what's going on at Casted and how you're building that company, and I think that would actually be a great brand channel for people to build relationships with you. And so, don't feel like you have to go and get some unbelievably big name guest to be successful and to grow your show. If you worked in sales and you started a podcast that was only talking about how sales is going at your company, and the tactics you're doing and the emails you're sending and the meetings you're running and the plays that you're learning, that would also be successful.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, your insights, your experience with podcasting, and for being a part of the show.
Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I love podcasts, and I'm always happy to talk about podcasts on podcasts.
Lindsay Tjepkema: 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.