Join us as we talk to Todd Hines, Head of Content Production for the Martech Podcast. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the podcast as a medium, why is it considered an ideal marketing tool, as well as specific techniques you can use to promote your show. Enjoy!
[excerpt] Todd: Well, it’s like anything in life I guess. If you’re not in business… if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind.
[00:00:25] Nemanja: Welcome to the Nootka Sound Podcast, I’m your host Nemanja Koljaja, a professional Sound Engineer, Audio Editor and Podcast Producer and a CEO and Founder of Nootka Sound, a professional podcast production facility. Today with me is Todd Hines, Head of Content Production for the Martech podcast, a show where marketing innovators and industry experts discuss their career paths and how they use technology to drive business growth. Okay, Todd, welcome to the show, thank you so much for being here.
[00:01:00] Todd: It’s great to be here Nemanja. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:01:02] Nemanja: Yeah, it’s my pleasure. And the first question I’d like to ask is how did you get into podcasting? Can you tell me about that? And what is your first encounter with this magical format?
[00:01:14] Todd: Yes. Yes. Well, it was an unclear path, indirect path. I kind of stumbled upon the world of podcasting. Let me start with your second question. You know, I was relatively a latecomer to the podcasting world as far as just being a listener, but I remember when Serial was first published and one of the first major podcasts, and I was working with a group of people who were really into it and would come into work and talking about how they had listened to Serial on their commute in
And for whatever reason, you know, being busy with work or other things, I never actually listened to Serial, but I absolutely felt the energy and the buzz. And that’s kind of put podcasting on the radar for me. And then one of my favorites… So for a long time, I would maybe listen to a show here and there, but never really you know, subscribed or listened on a regular basis to any podcast until I found Joe Rogan…
[00:02:12] Nemanja: oh yeah.
[00:02:12] Todd: So I’m going to be, that was pretty much, you know, one of the most major podcasts and someone who I listened to, Neval, who’s an Angel investor, that interview with Neval and Joe Rogan was really great. So that kind of you know, inspired me to listen to Joe Rogan, his style and the people that he has on his show. He’s a great listener and asks great questions.
And then rewinding, I guess. So how I came to work in podcasting is I was working with someone who was vice president of marketing at a startup we worked together called Rinse based in San Francisco. And we both left the company and afterwards Ben started a marketing consultancy and I was helping him with various projects and he decided to roll out a podcast as a way to grow the audience, really find clients that might benefit from his consultancy. So we started the podcast just as a way to find people that might want Ben’s help.
And the podcast just took off and it started to grow and become its own thing. And so I started focusing the vast majority of my energy on helping build up that podcast, the Martech podcast.
[00:03:20] Nemanja: Yeah. That’s great. I mean, while you were talking, I got a sense of you know, destiny or something, getting its hands dirty.
[00:03:28] Todd: Yeah. Yeah. That’s right, man. That’s a strong word, but yeah, I’ll go with that. Absolutely.
[00:03:33] Nemanja: Yeah. Okay, so the words I quite often see together are actually the word marketing and podcast, and it seems that the marketers were kind of the innovators when it comes to adapting podcasts technology. Do you think that’s true?
And if so, what makes the podcast and ideal format for marketing purposes?
[00:03:54] Todd: Yeah, great question. You know, I haven’t thought a lot about this really in depth. However, one thing I can say that I’ve perceived is there’s a special connection in the medium between a podcast host and an audience that is not really found in other channels. And specifically for marketers, one of the first things that are asked is who is my audience? And then how am I helping them? What’s my value proposition and who exactly do I see? I can add the most value to. And so as far as connecting with an audience and engaging, podcasting is really special. And so it’s a very unique format. And so that’s, I think as far as my experience and what I’ve found so far, I think that’s the best thing I can say.
[00:04:39] Nemanja: Yeah, I totally agree. In my perspective, I see the podcast, not simply as a medium, but as an intimate format in a way that it approaches the potential listener or the potential customer, if looking from a company’s perspective, for example, and basically addresses them directly, what do you think is responsible for that feeling of intimacy between the listener and the host?
[00:05:03] Todd: Hmm, the conversational nature of podcasts, I think can put a listener at ease and help a listener to feel like they are sitting in the same room and maybe a fly on the wall. You know, maybe just being able to listen in. In situations where, you know, I can be in my car on the way into work and feel like I’m sitting in to a conversation with two really, really interesting, smart people with great insights. And I have the treat of just, I get to sit there and I just get to listen to this.
But I can also be at ease and, you know, I guess in my comfort zone, in my bubble, you know, whatever that is, wherever I am, you know, just kind of relaxing. And so I think there might be something there, but these are really phenomenal questions, actually and inspire a lot more thought into it.
[00:05:50] Nemanja: Thanks man! As you were talking about being in a bubble, I mean, the way I perceive podcasts is actually as not being distracting at all, it’s like having soft background music when you’re working or studying or whatever.
And I think that’s interesting because for example, video formats, like YouTube videos and stuff, I think those can be really distracting. And I think that is what really makes the podcast stand out. You can just sit back and do whatever and not be distracted by the content you’re consuming.
[00:06:23] Todd: Yes, absolutely. I totally agree.
[00:06:25] Nemanja: Okay. Would you say the podcasting content is compatible with social media, even though sites like Instagram are primarily based on the visual experiences and in this case, I’m talking about the audio only content. Do you think that it affects in some way or takes away from the listener’s experience?
[00:06:46] Todd: I think it has potential to feel like at times, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, possibly, where you mentioned Instagram, which is very visual. And then if you want to promote a podcast, which is based on audio and your, it could maybe feel forced or at a first glance, maybe not totally compatible, but I’d love to share a technique that Ben came up with that we’ve been using on the Martech podcast.
That kind of marries the two in a pretty cool way. And we refer to them as headliners. And what we do is we take an image and we overlay, we essentially automate over this image, moving sound waves, as simple as it sounds with a caption bar underneath. And so we’re actually creating these 22 second snippets, these audio snippets, headliners.
And so we have the guest image in the, you know, the show’s graphics as a static image. And then over that sound waves, as the audio is playing with a running closed caption, and that’s a pretty cool way to present some audio visual and you know video even. So it’s pretty cool.
[00:07:55] Nemanja: Yeah, that’s pretty amazing. I’ve actually heard of people using them. And as far as I know, they’re referred to as the audiograms, but I do think that is a really interesting way to sum up the idea of an episode and you are right, it really does tap into the visual experience that the sites like Instagram are providing. And speaking of which, in your opinion, what are some of the best tools for marketing a podcast?
[00:08:21] Todd: I think for us and being in business, LinkedIn has been really great. And Ben going into this had a pretty large network of other marketers. And so he was able to use LinkedIn to directly promote to his existing network, this podcast, which being a marketer before he started this podcast. And so having already a lot of marketers in that network through LinkedIn just made sense and because he was making a marketing and technology podcast, so that’s been really great for our show, LinkedIn. And I think the majority of our organic growth I think comes from LinkedIn.
So I would say another one that’s been successful for us is guesting. Ben has guested on other podcasts and that’s been helpful as well. And so he’s linked up with other podcasters and then he’ll go on their show and that’s a great way to cross promote and to help share, I mean, both sides win there…
[00:09:14] Nemanja: Yeah
[00:09:14] Todd: And there’s promotion on throughout both networks. So that’s really great. So other podcast, guesting, and then other podcasts advertising too… There are ways… there’s a company now called Choozle that will advertise on other podcasts. They’ll essentially take your ad and then feed that into other podcasts. So the thought here is people that are more likely to listen to your podcasts are the people that are already in the habit of listening to podcasts.
So it’s great to identify current podcast listeners, find listeners that are already listening to business related podcasts, and then put your podcast in front of them. Because they’re an easier person to bring into your audience than someone who’s just, I’ve never listened to a podcast, or I don’t even have a podcast feed set up.
So those channels are good as well. Just podcasts advertising… For us. Those are the three that we’ve used pretty well.
[00:10:07] Nemanja: That makes total sense, to be honest. So we met when you guys hired me through Upwork and in my experience, many people prefer outsourcing the editing work since it’s very time consuming.
What do you think is the relationship between the freelancing industry and the podcasting industry?
[00:10:26] Todd: Ooh. I think it’s hard for me to imagine building a podcast from the ground up without relying on freelancers and bringing in people who are already highly skilled in a specific area. And I couldn’t imagine, and most places being able to assemble a team of people that are in one geography and bringing all those people together in the same room on a regular basis.
It just makes so much sense to work with a team that’s located in wherever they are, but has an ability to collaborate online and using platforms like Upwork. It’s just, you know, for example, your help with the shows that we’ve done… I can’t do that. You know, Ben can’t do that. I mean, that’s invaluable. So I think that’s necessary.
And again, I think just because the chances of being in any geography and just being able to assemble people of that skillset that are in your area. I mean, you know, that would limit podcast to probably only certain areas, certain cities.
[00:11:23] Nemanja: Yeah. You’re making me blush.
[00:11:24] Todd: I don’t mean to be blowing too much sunshine your way, man.
[00:11:29] Nemanja: So I heard that Twitter is for example, allowing all of their employee base to actually go back to working full time at home because of all of the stuff happening with the COVID-19. So do you think that the future of generally tech related jobs can be dependent on actually staying at home and working full time remotely? Is that the future we’re going to see?
[00:11:51] Todd: I think the technology is there.
[00:11:54] Nemanja: Yeah
[00:11:54] Todd: I think there are trade offs. So from a cohesion standpoint, a team morale standpoint, a unity standpoint, and a company culture standpoint that is difficult. I think one thing that separates companies, a major factor’s just what great companies have a great culture generally.
So how companies can figure out how to create that and maintain that while everyone’s dispersed, that we’ll see how we can innovate around that. But I think that the technology is there. And another piece of that I think is the human health and happiness standpoint that we as people and maybe more social people, maybe more extroverts, more so than others, but we crave the interaction and going to a space where you’re sharing a space and you’re having conversations with people that you’re working hard to achieve a specific goal together with them.
It’s important to be able to share a lunch, you know, get coffee. So that type of interaction, and you cut that off and people are now totally isolated in their homes and it’s rough for some people. And I think it can be a challenge on mental health if we’re not aware. So that’s just another potential obstacle to look out for.
[00:13:02] Nemanja: Yeah, totally. I mean, especially now when the times are so challenging and I think it’s even more of a challenge on the mental health than the physical, even though the virus is a big deal and it obviously harmed a lot of people. But I think the bigger effect is going to be on the mental state and the mental health of people being confined to a small space.
[00:13:22] Todd: Definitely. And there’s opportunity there that I anticipate companies will figure out how to solve that problem. It’s a real problem.
[00:13:29] Nemanja: Yeah
[00:13:29] Todd: So I’m excited to see what innovations come out around that.
[00:13:31] Nemanja: Yeah, totally. Do you think there’s a link between scaling a business and scaling the outreach of a podcast? Do you see any similarities between the two?
[00:13:41] Todd: Absolutely. Absolutely. Depending on… So there are different ways that a podcast can be monetized. So either you’re serving ads to your audience on that podcast, could be one major way. Another could be like a top of the funnel type thing where you’re actually, the goal of the podcast isn’t to serve ads. It’s just to bring people in and then let people know what kind of value that you can offer. But the podcast is just the means by which you can bring people in. But in either case, I think scaling is necessary.
A static audience… Well, it’s like anything in life, I guess, if you’re not in business… If you’re standing still, you’re falling behind.
So I think if in podcasting, if you’re not actively looking to expand your audience and find more people who you believe can benefit from what you’re providing, then I think you’re falling behind.
[00:14:32] Nemanja: Wow. What a beautiful answer to my mediocre question.
[00:14:36] Todd: I’m glad it came out well.
[00:14:39] Nemanja: Okay. What do you think makes for an entertaining content regardless of the format?
[00:14:44] Todd: I think conversations generally are easy to follow and are more enjoyable. So when a podcast is a healthy balance of back and forth, As opposed to maybe a lecture style, where it’s more one sided. So maybe not so much entertainment, but maybe ease of listening, I think the conversational type of flows… A big factor I think is in the quality and the timing, two separate things, the quality and the timing of questions that the host can ask. And I think that’s the secret sauce and I’m just an amateur podcaster here, but as far as I can tell in my experience, that’s what the best thing a host can do is just figure out the timing and the quality of the questions asking. And then that brings about a lot of pretty cool content I think
[00:15:29] Nemanja: that’s true.
[00:15:30] Todd: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:15:31] Nemanja: Yeah, I kind of had a follow up question, but you kind of already answered it, but I’m going to ask because of the context it implies. So I wanted to ask you what makes for an entertaining audio content? And if we look at a comparison between just listening to music and listening to music while watching a video… So a music video.
In that sense, do you think the video really did kill the radio star and that with removing video, people are kind of taking away from the experience and limiting the outreach because they’re essentially removing that visual component of the human experience.
[00:16:08] Todd: I’m a visual learner and I’m a visual guy. I enjoy… If I can watch something and also listen to audio at the same time, I am at a different level of engagement at that point. However that really, unless you are in a place where you’re just sitting in watching, then it becomes a lot easier to just listen to the audio and still be able to engage without maybe that distraction of your eyes dancing around or, you know, watching something moving around.
[00:16:35] Nemanja: Yeah
[00:16:36] But Todd: But as a visual learner, I do find an engagement with audio and video that is not fully there with audio only. But audio only gives that advantage of being able to like do the dishes and your hands are busy and you’re not watching a screen and you’re doing something that’s almost meditative in a way…
[00:16:58] Nemanja: yeah
[00:16:58] Todd: That maybe watching the video would be and just be able to passively listen. And so I’ve definitely found myself in a totally engaged state where I’m able to be doing something specifically with my hands, and then also have this podcast going in the background.
[00:17:11] Nemanja: Yeah, I agree. I think what I cherish the most about the podcast as a format is its educational aspect and the ability to teach people and not just the individuals, but I’m talking about its potential for mass education.
And I think the excellent example of that is the show that you and Ben did, Finding a Job podcast. And I think that’s a great way to teach people about a certain topic. And it really can be any topic. Do you think schools and the general educational system could benefit from using the podcast as a format to incorporate into the studies?
[00:17:46] Todd: I could absolutely see that. And this seems like an amazing time to experiment with this for a lot of schools where. There are restrictions on gathering in person between the written word and the spoken word and podcasting, a blog post for example, they are maybe a little more concise and structured, and the ideas are maybe a little more air tight.
If you’re just reading something that someone has produced and then edited and tried to make it a really digestible, readable format. But when you’re listening into a conversation about that same topic, there can be more nuance. There can be more context. There can be stories, you know, you’ll go off on a quick story, that’s kind of related, but maybe wouldn’t make its way into a space where you’re trying to optimize every word and be very concise and more structured in like a written form, you know, blog post type form. So there’s a lot of value in spoken word. And especially, in conversation between multiple people over a topic, I mean, no doubt there are audio learners who… My girlfriend absolutely can just hear things. And that’s how she absorbs. That’s how she most gets it. So we can think about how education becomes more tailored to specific needs of the learner. That could be so powerful for people who are specifically audio learners to really get so much more from a podcast.
[00:19:04] Nemanja: Yeah, I think we generally, as a species like the whole human population, regardless of the culture and the background, I think we kind of lost the sense of listening. We developed and evolved our speaking abilities while kind of neglecting our listening ability. I’ve found that it’s really easy to speak, but it’s really hard to listen.
And I think most people do struggle with listening and taking in information. And I think today, especially in this day and age, it’s really important to be able to take in information and not just that, but to be able to consciously choose which information you’re taking in. So I think it’s an active muscle that all of us should work on if that makes sense.
[00:19:44] Todd: I think that is so well said. Absolutely.
[00:19:47] Nemanja: Well, to finish it off. What are some of the shows you enjoy consuming? You already mentioned the Joe Rogan show, but what are some other shows that tickle your imagination or better, do you have a guilty pleasure when it comes to podcasting?
[00:20:02] Todd: Oh, man. That is a good question. Oh gosh. So the last podcast I listened to, I found them in a list of like 2020s, best business podcasts, Entrepreneur On Fire, not a guilty pleasure, but that’s one that I’ve listened to multiple times. The Value Bombs, Boom Shake The Room. He’s got some good hooks there… Jeez, Nemanja, as a guy that has had his own podcast and also works on a podcast. I am pretty bare bones on that content I consume. Gosh, that’s about all I have for you, man.
[00:20:37] Nemanja: Yeah. I mean, to be honest, I don’t really spend too much time consuming podcasts in my own free time because I work all the time and I’m knee deep in shows. So I totally understand where you’re coming from.
[00:20:47] Todd: Yeah, yeah
[00:20:48] Nemanja: Okay. Well, Todd, it’s been amazing to have a conversation with you. Thanks so much for taking the time to be a guest on the Nootka Sound Podcast. If some of our listeners wanted to reach you and learn more about your past and future projects, where can they do so?
[00:21:03] Todd: You know, the best way is going to be email. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:21:11] Nemanja: Okay. So any last words?
[00:21:13] Todd: I’m grateful to have been here and to talk to you about this and thank you so much for having me and I look forward to the future of podcasting.
[00:21:22] Nemanja: Yeah, same man. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. I’m so grateful that you shared some insights into the world of podcasting.And I think the listeners will be able to learn a lot just by listening to this episode. So thank you!
[00:21:34] Todd: Anytime. Thank you so much.
[00:21:35] Nemanja: That’s it! Thank you for listening, make sure you share this podcast with your friends and click that subscribe button so you never miss an episode! If you have any questions for us or suggestions about a topic we can cover related to the podcasting industry leave a comment below or send us an email at email@example.com Also, make sure to check out our website, podcastproducer.org. Tune in to our next episode where we talk to Sean Haas about his contribution to his show Advent of Computing.