“Brand Affinity,” in more concrete terms, is essentially the amount consumers identify with and support your brand. Or, to put it more literally, the number of fans for your brand and the depth of their fandom.
Unfortunately, however, short of personally interviewing everyone who uses your product, visits your website, or interacts with your content, it’s impossible to objectively quantify how many people feel such a connection with your business and how deep this connection goes. So, in order to measure brand affinity, we have to get a little scrappy and look at some proxy metrics together to get a fair and accurate benchmark.
In this post, we’ll cover the metrics you should be tracking when executing a Brand Affinity Marketing strategy, broken down by how easy they are to access.
For the following metrics, all you need is access to your Google Analytics dashboard and permission to export data from relevant social media platforms. Let’s dig in!
Time spent with content
As human beings, when we care about the content we’re consuming — whether that’s video, audio, text, or a combination of the three — we invest more time and energy in consuming more of it. An individual’s investment of time, or “time spent” is, therefore, the simplest and most straightforward KPI to quantify brand affinity.
Luckily, it’s very simple to get an aggregated number for the overall “time spent” with your content from Google Analytics. Simply multiply the number of sessions by the average session duration.
Your goal should be to see this number increase over time, so it’s worth benchmarking on a monthly basis. However, in order for this data to provide any meaningful insight, it first needs to be cleaned. Be sure to discount any trivial or transactional interactions from the data, and only take into account data from users who could reasonably be considered “fans.” While a new PPC campaign, for example, may result in a lot of new traffic (which can spike the time-spent metric), unless these users are coming back again on a regular basis, the touches they have with your business are not meaningfully contributing to brand affinity.
This is very simply done with the following “Engaged Regular Users” custom segment, which restricts the data only to users who have come back to your website three or more times, for at least a minute in each instance.
When looking to understand “time spent” with your videos in Wistia, head over to the “Project Stats” page on any Channel or Project in your account. Just select your desired date range and then click “Export stats to .CSV” to get a detailed breakdown of the Time Watched for each video, which you can simply aggregate in Excel. Unfortunately, it’s not yet possible to see these numbers directly within your Project Stats yet, but stay tuned for more updates on this front.
Facebook Insights provides data on “Minutes Viewed” for your videos in aggregate, but on its own, this data is not very helpful, since it includes every 5–10 second impression on any videos you may have in your account. Because of the nature of Facebook’s “feed,” huge numbers of passing viewers and bots tend to inflate metrics in a way that gives the impression of more engagement than is probably the case. It’s very common to have thousands of “hours watched” on Facebook, comprised solely of thousands of brief encounters with users nonchalantly passing by your content as they scroll. These interactions don’t represent a genuine investment of time in your brand, so they should be discounted.
As with Google Analytics, the data needs to be cleaned of trivial interactions in order to give a fair overview of the amount of time actually being spent with your content. And, unfortunately, Facebook makes this very hard for you to do.
First, you need to export all of the video data from Facebook Insights.
Then, look at the granular breakdowns of how many people have watched past a certain percentage or absolute duration. By multiplying the 95% completed views number by the video duration, you end up with a much truer reflection of time spent with your content than the default metrics they provide.
You can easily find the default “Watch Time” metric within your analytics dashboard on your YouTube profile.
However, the more useful data is held deeper within the platform, where you can segment by traffic source.
YouTube (deliberately?) doesn’t let you discount trivial interactions when trying to calculate time spent, so bear in mind that the data will always include users who watched a bit of a video, weren’t very engaged, and then clicked away. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to clean the data in the same way you can with Facebook.
Here, it at least makes sense to remove all the data from YouTube advertising, since really only voluntary engagements demonstrate affinity (people don’t like you just because you forced them to watch your videos). You can then use this information as a benchmark combined with data from Google Analytics, Wistia, and other platforms.
Going beyond time spent, by using more advanced third-party tools, cookies, and email addresses, we can get a more granular view of the emerging fanbases we’re building with Brand Affinity Marketing.
Brand search volume
Google Search Console, which is a free tool, is incredibly useful for understanding how users discover your website in Search. Within the “Search Results” report, you can see the queries people are typing into a browser bar or search box on Google in order to find you. If you add in query segmentation to this report (by clicking the bar at the top) you can restrict the data to just show queries that include your brand name:
Assuming your brand name is unique and doesn’t conflict massively with search intent for another business, the “impressions” data here is a reasonable proxy for how many people are actively searching for your brand, which we call “Brand Search Volume.”
Brand Search Volume is a good indicator of Brand Affinity or “brand interest,” since it specifies the number of people going out of their way to navigate specifically to your website for one reason or another. All healthy brands tend to see this number climb at a steady rate, and effective Brand Affinity Marketing will usually lead to an increase in Brand Search Volume over an extended period of time. At Wistia, our “One, Ten, One Hundred” video series permanently lifted our brand search by 11%.
Number of subscribers
If you’re using Wistia Channels, you can sync up your subscriber counts with your CRM or Marketing automation platform, and then track the number of subscribers directly from there.
It’s worth combining this number with your YouTube subscribers to get a holistic overview of how many people are engaged enough with your video content to ask to receive things from you on a regular basis.
Number of engaged regular users
Using the aforementioned “Engaged Regular Users” custom segment, we can also set a benchmark for the number of visitors reaching that threshold of engagement. This metric can get slightly muddy, however, because users may regularly visit your website to check support documentation, for example, and not just to engage with your content.
It’s therefore worth modifying this segment if possible to just include users whose sessions involve engagement with your content marketing. Any investment in Brand Affinity Marketing should show a steady increase in the number of users matching this criterion.
Capturing an email address in the form of subscribers gives you yet another benefit — the ability to identify and track people regularly returning to your website or app.
This enables us to use the principles of marketing automation to “score” our users. However, rather than thinking about this as lead scoring in the traditional sense, in the world of Brand Affinity Marketing, this represents “fan scoring.”
Amount of content consumed per user
If you’re sending data from Google Analytics and Wistia to your CRM, you can add triggers and qualifiers that contribute to the score of any particular user.
Particularly good triggers to include here are “Reached end of a blog post” and “Watched 90% of a video.” Scoring users in this way allows you to track the amount of content consumed by any given user, assign them an engagement level, and then also observe patterns about the types of content they’re engaging with.
You can also then create groups and assign “Fan” status based on specific behavior. If you don’t have a CRM or Marketing Automation platform, however, you can do some of the work just by using Wistia Audience Stats.
For instance, we can see this suspicious-looking person has consumed a significant amount of content and is clearly a highly engaged fan. We can, therefore, benchmark his viewing consumption over time, and hope to see it remain stable, or even better, increase.
Mentions on social media with positive sentiment
If you have the budget and the inclination, it may be worth investing in a social monitoring tool for brand marketing, like Mention or Brandwatch. With these tools, you can track whenever someone mentions your brand and then run sentiment analysis to further drill-down into the types of mentions you’re receiving.
Shares of your content, positive recommendations, and affirmations all indicate strong brand affinity, whereas mentions in passing, complaints, or general conversations can indicate brand awareness without the accompanying positive sentiment.
Now, let’s take a look at some metrics that are often used in brand marketing to measure awareness and engagement — two metrics that are not reliable indicators of brand affinity.
Conversation, amplification, and applause rates
Conversation (replies), amplification (shares) and applause (likes), provided by tools like TrueSocialMetrics, are often used as an important brand marketing metric. Frequently benchmarked against competitors in crowded B2C markets, these metrics essentially compare the level of engagement you get on each social post to your historical approach, and the approach of competitors.
The problem with these metrics when used as a brand marketing benchmark, is the false premise that social media engagement leads directly to brand affinity. What these metrics essentially show is how good you are at using social media, but that doesn’t necessarily mean consumers start liking your brand more.
Brand affinity is all about personal values and meaningful connections. For example, if someone likes a picture of a dog posted by a bank, it’s because they like the dog, not the bank.
As is often observed with “boring” companies that embrace bizarrely irreverent and off-brand behavior on social media, if you try to optimize primarily for conversation, amplification, and applause, you’re going to end up doing a lot of things that play for the attention of the lowest common denominator. Ultimately, you lose any unique voice your brand truly has in the process.
That’s not to say that these metrics aren’t useful — they absolutely can be — but they lose their value when treated as a KPI for a brand.
Number of views and impressions
Views and impressions are important marketing metrics, ostensibly demonstrating “reach,” but their perceived importance in the task of brand building is a hangover from the golden age of TV advertising. It used to be the case that the number of impressions would essentially translate into the number of people who would sit down and watch your ad, but with the ability to skip over them and increasing ad blindness, the two metrics are increasingly being pushed further apart.
As we often say, the number of impressions is not the number of people impressed. And when measuring brand affinity, you really care about the latter.
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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