When Ash Read, the Editorial Director at Buffer, reached out to Emmet Shine, Executive Creative Director at Gin Lane, he was hoping to learn more about how this creative agency became such a success. But a few minutes into the conversation, Read was presented with some news he was not expecting to hear — they were shutting down Gin Lane and turning it into a direct-to-consumer company called Pattern Brands.
Why would an agency like Gin Lane, one that had helped launch brands like Harry’s, Sweetgreen, and Smile Direct Club, make such a big move? After working with over 50 startups — and creating nearly $15 billion in market value — Gin Lane would be leaving their past as an agency behind in order to build a direct-to-consumer business of their own. Read knew this was a big story to tell, so he jumped on the opportunity to share it with Buffer’s second-ever podcast, Breaking Brand. But, the road to actually producing the show and sharing it with the world was a long and winding (however fruitful) one.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane for a minute. Buffer saw a ton of success with their first podcast, The Science of Social Media, which was a more traditional, interview-style show. But for their second podcast, they really wanted to try something totally new.
“We launched The Science of Social Media in 2017, and it has attracted a pretty big audience — 25,000 downloads per week and over 2 million in total,” says Read. “That proved to us that our audience is interested in podcasts. With Breaking Brand, though, our main motive was actually to try and do something different.”
“With Breaking Brand, though, our main motive was actually to try and do something different.”
But that doesn’t mean Breaking Brand was purely a passion project for Buffer. It was a business decision, propped up by three main findings and beliefs.
First, was the alignment between Buffer’s target customers and the people who like to listen to long-form narrative podcasts. After doing some research, it turns out that millennials, marketers, and the folks that make up Buffer’s target customer persona all enjoy listening to in-depth, narrative-style posts.
The second finding that helped make the case for Breaking Brand was a recent report from Spotify about podcast listenership. The report stated that 60% of Spotify’s users who listen to podcasts tune in in order to educate themselves.
And last but not least, Buffer simply has a core belief that marketing can and should be entertaining. Too often marketers fall into the trap of thinking that they’re only competing with other brands. But, these days, they’re really competing with every other brand and business for attention. And Buffer thought they might be able to hang with the best of them.
“We wanted to create a show that showed our customers how the experts at Gin Lane built a brand in real-time, but we also wanted to make it so gripping and entertaining that they’d binge-listen to it,” says Read. “It’s like what Masterclass is doing with Steph Curry teaching shooting or Gordon Ramsey teaching cooking — we had Gin Lane showing our audience how to build a brand.”
What attracted Read to Pattern Brand (formerly Gin Lane’s) story in the first place wasn’t just that they were trying something new — it was that they were going all in on it. And following along on this type of journey firsthand is something you don’t often get to do.
“From the outside, Gin Lane was incredibly successful, and it seems crazy that the owners would willingly shut it down,” says Read. “But success looks different for everyone, and I think that’s powerful. Success isn’t the biggest clients or the most money — it’s about working towards a mission that you’re passionate about and feeling fulfilled by your work.”
Pattern Brand’s story was also the perfect one to explore over multiple episodes. By doing so, Buffer thought they could create a series that their audience would hopefully stick with to the final episode.
“If we spent a 45-minute episode covering the story, we wouldn’t do it justice,” says Read. “To create a great show, you need compelling characters and tension, but that’s really hard to build up over one episode. You can definitely add points of tension throughout a single episode, but if your audience hasn’t gotten to know the characters over two, three, four episodes, those points of tension aren’t as impactful.”
At this point, Buffer knew they wanted to invest in another podcast, that they wanted it to be narrative-driven, and that they wanted to focus on the story behind the making of Pattern Brand. But before they could actually get started, they needed to get the green light for Breaking Brand from the powers that be.
When it came time to make the case for their podcast, they knew the first place they would have to look is their marketing budget. Luckily for Buffer, they always set aside a portion of it for freelancers and outsourcing. So that means if they ever wanted to produce a video series or a podcast throughout the year they already had a healthy budget for it.
Next, Read highlighted the fact that a narrative-style show could build brand affinity rather than brand awareness.“There are a lot of potential customers who vaguely know what Buffer is. So Breaking Brand wasn’t so much about building awareness — it was about how we can build trust,” says Read. “Building trust with 5- or 10-second Facebook ads is quite hard, though. But If we can get a couple of thousand target customers listening to a five-part, 20-minute episode series, that’s a huge step in building these relationships.”
Finally, Read pointed out that the cost of not producing a narrative-driven podcast for Buffer was simply too high to ignore.
“If we hadn’t started blogging years ago, Buffer isn’t what it is today. But if we kept solely relying on search, which is still huge for us and always will be, and Google just changed the algorithm on us at some point, we’d have no defensibility against it,” says Read. “If we have a podcast audience, however, we can still supply the demand for our content. We can still reach our audience. In some ways, there’s more risk in doing what you’ve always done than taking the leap to try something new. ”
“In some ways, there’s more risk in doing what you’ve always done than taking the leap to try something new.”
Buffer had produced The Science of Social Media in-house, but they had never crafted a narrative-style series before. So, from day one, they knew they were going to need some help.
“Honestly, when we got the go-ahead for the series, the first thing flying through my mind was, ‘Don’t mess this up. You’ve got a really good opportunity here. Make something great,’” says Read. “But to do that, we needed to hire people who knew how to make something great.’”
Those people were Message Heard, a podcast agency that has crafted many branded and original docuseries, and Buffer worked with them to coordinate just about everything for Breaking Brand.
For instance, to record the interviews for the show, Buffer would meet with Message Heard in a studio in London, and the Pattern Brand team would go to a studio in New York. Then, from across the pond, they’d all connect and record the interviews.
Message Heard also connected Buffer with a sound engineer in New York to record additional interviews. He was the man on the ground, frequenting Pattern Brand’s office and launch parties and interviewing a few minor characters, like a New York Times journalist whose focus was on startups and burnout.
For any brand that hasn’t produced a narrative-style podcast before, Read recommends they learn from the pros like he did. “We brought in the experts who know how to do this stuff because I don’t know how to produce a narrative podcast from scratch. There were so many moving parts,” says Read. “I’d also never booked a recording studio before. I’d actually never been in a recording studio before. I don’t speak that language. I don’t know how to pick a good sound engineer in New York. There are just so many things to juggle. That’s why it’s so important to hire the pros to help you out.”
Since Buffer was following Pattern Brand’s journey firsthand, one of their biggest challenges was mapping out the series’ plot points. Initially, Read sat down with his team at Message Heard and scribbled down what they thought the story would look like. Then, they mapped it out on the wall, moving stickers around to figure out how they could introduce the characters and hook people into the story during the first episode.
But when they had to identify the points of tension, it threw a wrench in their entire creative process.
“It took us three or four attempts to find a narrative that felt right. But as we learned more about the wrinkles to their story, we had to move sections around, add in new scenes, and cut ideas during production, even though we mapped everything out beforehand” says Read. “Sometimes a point of tension that we thought was there actually wasn’t, so we had to adjust accordingly. But planning out the narrative beforehand enabled us to adapt on the fly with the end goal of the series in mind.”
Another challenge for Read? Gin Lane was trying to launch a new business — that’s right — Pattern Brands — all while being a part of this podcast. “How can we go behind the scenes, but not get in their way? How can we be there, but not be there?” says Read. “We just really had to be empathetic to everything going on in their lives. They can’t say yes to everything. They’re going to say no. Ideas that we were really passionate about were going to get canned because they just weren’t feasible.”
Fortunately, Buffer was able to overcome this challenge by relying heavily on over-communication and planning. “If we wanted four behind-the-scenes pieces of footage, we needed to ask Gin Lane ahead of time,” says Read. “That means if the other two got rejected, we’d still get two pieces. But if we just pitched two pieces and both got rejected, we’d get nothing.”
Based on the lessons they learned from producing Breaking Brand, Buffer decided to refresh The Science of Social Media’s production process. They’re also exploring potential topics for Breaking Brand’s second season and evaluating what other stories they can tell.
“Maybe we’ll revisit Pattern Brands, or maybe we’ll see if there are other brands out there,” says Read. “Hopefully, it’s another once-in-a-lifetime story.”
How to Promote Your Podcast With Email
When it comes to growing an audience for your brand’s new podcast, tapping into your email and marketing experience is the best place to start. If you’re building a new list from scratch, you can grow your email subscriber list by utilizing your existing marketing channels to spread the word.
On the other hand, if you already have an existing database of people who love the content you create, you can hit existing relevant lists while also growing a dedicated inventory for your show!
In this post, we’ll share how you can leverage your audiences differently and give you best practices for promoting your podcast via email. Let’s start getting your podcast in front of the right folks!
Your show’s subscribers are the folks you’ll email regularly about teasers, new episode releases, exclusive content, and more. These people are highly qualified because they have opted-in to receive news about your show! We’ll cover how you can grow this type of list where your podcast lives, on your actual podcast with a call to action, and across your social media channels.
Ask people to subscribe wherever your podcast lives
If your podcast is on streaming sites like Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Overcast, you should include extra information about your show to help build a direct relationship with listeners. Profiles about the show hosts and guests, show episode notes, and full episode transcripts are just the beginning!
Including information on your website about your podcast doesn’t hurt either. Get creative and think of different ways to provide value, like with a show “starter kit” for new listeners or by including other content formats, like related videos and blogs, on the same page.
Be sure to focus on the value your show will provide your audience, and include an email collector for listeners to subscribe to stay in the loop about future releases, show news, and exclusive content.
Include a CTA on your show
Another great place to remind listeners to subscribe to your podcast? During your actual show! If you include a call to action at the end of your podcast, you’ll catch listeners who made it all the way to the end of your show — folks who are already super engaged and the most likely to want more. For listeners who found you on streaming sites instead of your website, suggesting the next step during your show might be the only opportunity you have to get them to subscribe directly.
For example, at the end of our new original podcast, Talking Too Loud, we say, “Listen to Talking Too Loud wherever you listen to podcasts. And hey, rate and review us wherever you listen. And check out more content from Wistia Studios at Wistia.com.”
Another example of a podcast including CTAs on their show includes How I Built This with Guy Raz. At the end of his show Guy says, “To see our full interview you can go to facebook.com/howibuiltthis. And if you want to see all of our past live interviews you can find them there or at youtube.com/npr.”
To sum it up, your CTA could be any next steps you’d like your listeners to take. Both of these examples don’t outright tell folks to subscribe, but lead people to places where they can discover more about your brand (and where they can take the leap to subscribe for more content).
Spread the word on social media
You should also use your existing social media channels to promote your podcast and find listeners who could lead to new subscribers. Use clips and content teasers to give people a taste of what your podcast is about — pique their interest! Social media is a great way to drive people to where your podcast lives and entice them to subscribe to your show.
Here’s an example of a Twitter post on Wistia’s account promoting Talking Too Loud:
Some social media platforms, including Facebook and LinkedIn, even offer direct integrations with email marketing and CRM providers. These connections make it easy to build and nurture your lists without manually exporting and uploading contacts across platforms.
What should you send these folks?
Remember, email subscribers for your show are different from folks you include in your general marketing sends — it’s important to differentiate these sends and be hyper-targeted about your content. For the podcast email subscribers, focus primarily on promoting your show. To sweeten the pot, include exclusive content like behind-the-scenes clips and additional show content to this show subscriber list.
While you’re building a dedicated list of raving show fans, keeping your existing database informed is also important. Whether these marketing lists exist for product updates or blog content, folks in these audiences might also be interested in your podcast’s unique content.
Your marketing automation and onboarding sequences can be a great place to start plugging your podcast — just make sure you’re not promoting your show right off the bat. Showcasing your podcast too early or too often in your email campaign could distract and take away from someone’s learning experience with your product.
Here’s an example of a callout we used in one of our blog content email newsletters for The Brandwagon Interviews podcast. Since this was a more broad list, we kept this section short and sweet and allowed the creative to steal the spotlight and drive traffic to our podcast page.
So, now you’ve got a solid plan in place to promote your podcast via email. But what does a great podcast email look like? And what types of emails should you be sending for your show? Check out a few examples of emails we’ve sent to support our very own shows!
New Show Announcement
Build excitement and anticipation for your new podcast by sending out an announcement email. This is a great place to leverage your existing email lists — either by sending a dedicated email or by including the announcement in a newsletter-style send.
Alternatively, you could get ahead of the curve by collecting emails before launch and then send an announcement to your dedicated show list.
Here’s an example of an email we sent to announce Talking Too Loud:
New Episode Announcement
Keep your listeners in the loop on an ongoing basis by sending out emails for new episodes. These emails can be short and sweet. It’s also important to send these emails consistently to your audience. The email cadence for announcements should follow your show cadence. Showcase your show guest (if you have one), craft a compelling preview for the episode, and drive folks to listen.
Here’s an example of what we typically send for Talking Too Loud:
5 Brand-Building Lessons from The First Audio Conference for Marketers, “Built to Last”
What does it take to build a brand that stands the test of time? How do you make someone fall in love with your brand? Is it possible to build lifelong audiences and advocates for your business? There’s a good reason these questions still remain at the forefront of marketer’s minds today. And that’s because, in 2020, your brand has never mattered more.
That’s why we teamed up with Buffer to bring you Built to Last, the first-ever audio conference for brand builders. Throughout the event, attendees received exclusive access to a private podcast feed where we released six episodes over the two-day conference. Each episode featured lessons and key insights that can be applied when crafting memorable content and campaigns that build engaged audiences.
We heard from marketers and creatives behind some of the world’s most-loved brands and learned a ton of valuable lessons when it comes to building brands that thrive. In this post, we’re sharing our top five takeaways from the event. But we’re curious — what lessons did you learn? Be sure to share them with us in the comments!
Throughout Built to Last, one theme that consistently rang true for our speakers was the power of focus. From picking very specific target customers and understanding exactly how your business fits into their lives to prioritizing building a community and crafting super-specific content — when it comes to building lasting brands, focus is key.
Emily Heyward, Co-Founder of Red Antler and author of the book Obsessed — Building a Brand People Love from Day One, pointed out how important it is to consider the context of the world we live in today when it comes to getting people to care about your brand.
“Consumers have more choice, more information, and therefore more power than ever before. Think about how what we used to buy was controlled by gatekeepers. We were only able to buy whatever was available at the drugstore or the grocery store. We only learned about brands through national TV campaigns. Now we learn about brands through Instagram. We can Google exactly what we’re looking for and access niche brands that have millions of consumer reviews and are being written about on forums that contain people who are similar to us and have similar needs.”
Co-Founder, Red Antler
Emily recommended that brands come forward with a simple, clear offering right out the gate so they can spend more time focusing on what they stand for and what it matters, rather than getting bogged down by every detail of their product offering. This can help businesses more clearly articulate the value they bring to the table, rather than having to explain away a ton of complex features of variations of their product.
Ben Witte, Founder of Recess, a consumer wellness brand in the beverage industry, touched on a similar concept throughout his episode. He noted the importance of staying focused when it comes to attracting the right audience.
“I think you want to identify who you’re speaking to very early on. I think [Recess] is relevant to all age demographics and psychographics. But your content strategy has to be very specifically defined. And if you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one.”
Founder and CEO, Recess
Another, perhaps, not-so-surprising thread that was woven throughout the conference? The marketing evolution from focusing on brand awareness to actually cultivating brand affinity. Businesses are doing this today by investing in high-quality, narrative-driven content like video series and podcasts (just like Built to Last).
Wistia’s very own CEO and Co-Founder, Chris Savage, spoke to this concept throughout his talk and explained how Wistia ended up on the journey towards creating this type of binge-worthy content with the goal of building brand affinity.
“We started to ask ourselves the question — we’ve been trying to go wider and get more awareness, but what if we go deeper? What if we go above and beyond for our customers and our audience members who are still engaging with us? What if we try to use the audience we have to grow an existing audience? How do we do that? And what we settled in on was we would go bigger on the scale of the content. We would try not just a blog post, we would try something much larger and more impactful and see how that would work.”
Co-Founder and CEO, Wistia
As brands continue to build niche audiences of people who love their content and the experiences they provide, these people are more likely to recommend that business and share that content with the people they already know and trust. This creates an incredibly powerful organic growth for your brand, which Helena Hambrecht, Co-Founder, and Co-CEO of Haus, a modern aperitif brand, spoke to throughout her episode as well.
“Our theory was if we put 100% … 200%, everything we have into the product and the customer experience upfront, the customer will be delighted enough to share that experience and share it with their friends. Put everything that we can into the experience up front, and we will grow the word of mouth. Those were the bets that we made, and it worked. All of our growth — we grew a ton in the first six months — was 100% organic.”
Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Haus
“My biggest advice to our founders creating consumer brands is that your brand better have something to say.” Ben Witte shared some words of wisdom for brands during his talk that seemed to ring true for many other brand-builders throughout the conference as well, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise. After all, consumers these days are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on what a brand says, how it acts, and what it stands for.
Certainly, the pressure is on for brand-builders — why does your business even exist? What are its purpose and mission? Your values and what your brand cares about can play a huge role in shaping how your brand is perceived and the direction your business takes in the long run.
Madison Uttendhal, Founder of Utendahl Creative, a branding, content, and social media storytelling agency, highlighted why she believes it’s so important for brands to take a stand.
“In order to have returning customers and ones that are loyal to you, that have genuine brand affinity, it means that they really have to believe in you because they stand with your values. For me personally, as an African-American woman, brands that have taken stances on Black Lives Matter, on supporting marginalized groups, I’m going to continue to purchase from them. And I’m going to go out of my way to make sure I am purchasing from them rather than purchasing from a brand that isn’t saying anything at all.”
Founder, Utendahl Creative
Joel Gascoigne, Buffer’s Co-Founder, and CEO, also shared his thoughts on the importance of authenticity when it comes to building brands that stand the test of time.
“I do believe that modern consumers expect more transparency and authenticity from brands. I would say, in a lot of ways, they’re even demanding it. I think that they’re demanding that companies take a stance and become an aim to be a net positive for society.”
Co-Founder and CEO, Buffer
And last but not least, Helena shared some pretty telling insights around her modern aperitif brand, Haus, and some of the data they’ve uncovered around purchasing behavior. “I encountered a treasure trove of Nielsen data and consumer trends around millennial and Gen Z consumers and how they’re looking for something that alcohol wasn’t providing. They’re concerned about their health and their image, and they care deeply about authenticity, transparency, convenience, and quality. And you see proof of that in other industries that have been disrupted by more millennial-leaning brands that represent their values.”
Another trend that came up across several episodes was the idea that content is one of the best ways to showcase your brand. We’re not just talking about any old content though — a one-off blog post or Instagram Story won’t do. For brands to last, they need to understand their audience to the core and then create entertaining content that speaks directly to them.
Ben Witte called out brands like Red Bull, Gatorade, and Monster Energy, commenting on the fact that they are effectively media companies that monetize through “selling cans.” He also noted that the era of being able to launch a brand through ads alone on Instagram is over, and that “You should use paid as an accelerant, not to establish yourself.”
Chris Savage also spoke to this idea of creating and promoting content like a media company, just like Red Bull does with their extreme(ly dangerous) looking content. “With Brand Affinity Marketing — making podcasts, making video shows, and longer-form content — you’re making content that you are marketing like a product and treating like a product. And so just like when you’re doing product development, someone goes and asks customers, ’What do you like about this and what don’t you like?’ You just have to do the same thing with your content.”
Other speakers commented on the importance of solidifying your story and the content you are going to use to share that story, rather than focusing all your energy on racking up empty impressions. In other words, getting your messaging down and establishing what your brand is and what it stands for before you start hunting down exponential growth.
Madison also puts a finer point on the age-old quality vs. quantity debate. “I believe that quality wins over quantity any day. It is more impactful to have three posts a week that are beautifully done — thoughtful, intentional, informative than it is to have seven posts in a week that look half-hazard and a mess. Taking the time to create beautiful content and letting that project marinate so that it can be the best it can be is really important.”
Finally, and this one is sneaky because it might seem super obvious, but businesses need to remember that their audiences are made up of real people, just like them. An endless sea of demographic information, tracking pixels, and retargeting campaigns have made marketers forget just how important each individual in their audience really is. For brands to make it for the long-haul, they need to get back to the basics and remember what businesses are built on — people.
“In order for brands to make it for the long-haul, they need to get back to the basics and remember what businesses are built on — people.”
“I think that people like to forget that humans work in businesses,” says Chris Savage. “I think it’s kind of that simple. We talk about people’s job titles and we’re like, ’I’m trying to market to the VP of Marketing, I’m trying to market to the Director of Customer Growth and Acquisition.’ As opposed to, ’I’m trying to market to Kelly, I’m trying to market to Chris, I’m trying to market to Kristen.’ And they’re a person, and they watch Netflix, and they watch YouTube, and they have all these interests and all this richness. And their job is part of their life, and their career is part of their life, but they’re a human being. It’s just that simple.”
Thinking about your audience in this way can also help you unlock some of the core tenants of your brand. For Joel, Buffer’s brand evolved over time thanks to how they approached sharing the story of their journey as a business. “We always wanted to focus on sharing our journey, gaining insights by sharing a lot of the details of things we’re trying, things that are working, things that are not working. And so all of those things formed our approach and formed the brand.”
Madison spoke to the importance of building a strong community when growing a business and shaping a brand as well. She noted that businesses can’t lose sight of the fact that there are people behind every single dollar that goes into your bank accounts. “Ultimately, if a founder has the ability and balance to reach out directly to top purchasers, it’s a beautiful, incredible, and impactful way to build community and makes people feel that you see them and you value them for their loyal service.”
We heard from so many great speakers throughout Built to Last and took away a ton of learnings about everything from how to increase the lifetime value of a customer to unique tactics for creating thumb-stopping content on social media. But, believe it or not, there’s still so much we didn’t cover in this post.
If you missed this first-ever audio conference while the episodes were dropping live, don’t sweat it. You can still sign up to get access to all of this amazing content on-demand, right here.
And like we said before, we want to hear from you! Leave us a comment below and let us know what jumped out to you throughout Built to Last. What new strategies are you going to employ at your business so you can build a brand that stands the test of time? We can’t wait to see what you come up with.
How a Former Lawyer Became the Head of Podcasting at MarketingProfs
If you had to guess what the Head of Podcasting at MarketingProfs’ career path looked like, what would you imagine? A former blogger? Maybe even a former journalist?
What if we told you that she was a lawyer in another life?
We sat down with Kerry O’Shea Gorgone, host of Marketing Smarts, to learn how she jumped from a lucrative law career to a well-known marketing podcaster. Read on to learn her story and how anyone from any background can craft a unique and memorable show.
On paper, the beginning of Gorgone’s journey seems pretty in-line with her current career. As a Business Communications major that held several marketing internships during her time at Bentley University, Gorgone seemed destined for a career creating content.
But after she took a law class with Si Horvitz, her future mentor, her interest in law was officially sparked. She was recruited to join and eventually lead the Bentley Consumer Action Line, a service-learning program, where her interest evolved into a passion.
By the time Gorgone had to choose her post-graduate career, she realized her newfound interest in law and her top skills — research, public speaking, and psychology — were an ideal match for a legal career. She decided to enroll in law school at Suffolk University.
As a law clerk, Gorgone would sit in on hearings, do research, and then write opinions for judges. This might sound like your run-of-the-mill entry-level law job, but Gorgone absolutely loved it. “I loved clerking. It was all about finding the right answer,” she says.
“I loved clerking because it was all about finding the right answer.”
After two years of clerking, Gorgone decided to climb up a rung on the law ladder and work at a big law firm. At the ripe age of 24, Gorgone was an associate attorney and well on her way to becoming an established suit. But almost immediately after landing her new job, Gorgone started falling out of love with law. Big firm law didn’t seem to care much about justice for their clients. It was all about money.
“Big firm law was very billable-focused. I didn’t necessarily love that my boss would tell me, ’Oh, just hurry this one up because this person doesn’t have a lot of money,’ and then tell me ’Oh, this person’s got all kinds of money, so just take your time,’” says Gorgone. “I didn’t like that. It felt icky to me.”
“Big firm law was very billable-focused. I didn’t like that. It felt icky to me.”
A year-and-half later, Gorgone decided to move on from big firm law to work at a smaller law firm, where she dabbled in several new areas of law. She tried her hand at everything from municipal law and entertainment law to criminal law, family law, and more. But at the end of the day, none of these ventures really scratched her itch.
However, there was one thing that she did love about small firm life — she was reintroduced to creative work and quickly developed a craving for it. Gorgone couldn’t help but drift toward the creative side of things again, but she didn’t want to abandon law altogether. So, she decided to blend the two together.
“When I worked at the small law firm, I was always like, ‘Oh, that’s so cool that this firm actually does cool creative work, and I’m just over here making up a contract,” says Gorgone. “I just kind of gravitated more towards the creative again, and teaching is sort of a mix of the two.”
Gorgone returned to her stomping grounds, Bentley University, to launch her career as an adjunct law professor, specializing in marketing and media law. She also leveraged her prior marketing experience to become the Managing Editor of the school’s alumni magazine — a move that would later launch her full-time marketing career (she just didn’t know it yet).
After four years at Bentley, Gorgone moved to Florida to teach entertainment law at Full Sail University. And a year later, her experience at Bentley’s marketing department enabled her to level up as a Course Director of Internet Marketing.
As an instructor in charge of developing the university’s internet marketing courses, Gorgone wanted to stay on the cutting-edge of the marketing space and attend as many industry events as possible. However, Full Sail University wouldn’t pay for instructors to attend industry events.
The university would, however, grant her time off if she covered the expenses on her own. So Gorgone found a workaround — by writing for industry websites and publications, she could qualify for press passes to events.
As a result, she started writing articles for some marketing publications — one of them being MarketingProfs, the marketing education company made famous by Ann Handley, a Wall Street Journal best-selling author.
But even though Gorgone was technically writing for Handley, she still didn’t know her personally. That all changed when Gorgone’s old college friend posted something on Facebook.
While surfing Facebook one day, Gorgone saw that C.C. Chapman, one of her old friends from Bentley, had published a book called Content Rules with Ann Handley. She made a funny comment on her friend’s post, and Handley commented back. This digital interaction ended up sparking a friendship that has lasted more than ten years.
A few months later, MarketingProfs was hosting a happy hour in Miami. Gorgone decided to drive down to officially meet Handley. They immediately hit it off, and Gorgone left a lasting impression on Handley. While the encounter didn’t lead to an immediate job offer, Handley knew Gorgone had the chops for creating and running a show.
With that seed planted in Handley’s mind, she knew exactly who to offer a job to if their current podcast host left the company. Three months later, Gorgone became the new host of Marketing Smarts.
Marketing Smarts is an interview series where Gorgone chats with marketers from all walks of life about the one thing they do that would be helpful to other marketers. From nonprofit marketers to enterprise ones, she doesn’t discriminate. She’ll talk shop with anyone, including world-class mountain climbers, just to keep things interesting.
Gorgone took over the podcast at episode 79, and the show was already established as a serious business podcast. Naturally, you might assume MarketingProfs would want Gorgone to maintain its tone. But Gorgone knew if she was going to run a successful show, it had to be her own show. Fortunately, Ann Handley was all for it.
“I told Ann, ‘I’m not the old host. I don’t run that kind of show,” she says. “I’m more like USA Network than I am 60 Minutes’ And she said, ’No — you’ve got to make it your own.'”
With her vision for Marketing Smarts set, Gorgone could start building toward it. But there were a few more hurdles in her way — Gorgone had never run a podcast professionally before.
“We knew what the show was about and who it was for, but beyond that, everything else was up for grabs. For instance, how would I record the show? What would I use to record it? Who would I book? How would I do it?” says Gorgone. “And then I had to manage the podcast production calendar, an editorial calendar, and communication with the rest of the marketing team and sales team because they always needed to be in the loop about who was joining the show.”
To make sure she did all of these things before each episode, Gorgone made a checklist. It was about 15 steps long, but, eventually, she got to the point where they became ingrained in her head. Mastering podcasting on her own took her fair share of hard work. However, it was transformational for her career and completely worth it.
“Getting thrown into the craft has been transformational in launching my other shows like Punch Out and The Backpack,” says Gorgone. “Thinking about these things is second nature for me now, and I don’t know if they would be if I hadn’t had to figure it all out by myself. So, I think it’s a good thing to do if you have the stomach for it.”
“Mastering podcasting on her own took her fair share of hard work. However, it was transformational for her career and completely worth it.”
With over 300 episodes of Marketing Smarts under her belt now, Gorgone’s sharpened podcasting skills have enabled her to launch two other podcasts. Punch Out with Kerry and Katie is all about interesting people’s hobbies and has run for four seasons. The Backpack with Chris Brogan is all about achieving personal and professional success and is co-hosted with a New York Times best selling author.
Pretty good marketing resume for a former lawyer, wouldn’t you say?
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