The origin story:
In the spring of this year, we came up with the idea of capturing some of the ongoing rants we indulged in around sleeplessness. This extended beyond a few of us into many social gatherings to the point where it became an ongoing joke.
And there was something about 4 am. It seemed to be the time that many people woke up.
That became a bee in our bonnet at c+p digital.
The strategic connection, and the solution
At the time, we were working on some brand refinement for ourselves as a team, with some consultant help. One of the patterns that became repeatedly evident in the research we did was our ability to build relationships and help solve problems. Sometimes problems that had plagued people for years.
This became a key point of strategic action that was defined by us for 2019.
We needed to find ways to showcase that skill and use it to generate leads, essentially. And up until the summer of 2019, our marketing efforts were too fractured to show definitive results.
Why did we choose the podcast medium to capture our sleeplessness vision?
- Audio is the new video
a) yes, it’s back on it’s retro run
b) and it will stay because of voice search.
- Very few people are finding ways to use audio in shorter formats than the 45-60 minute in-depth talk show
- Susan likes to go off on rants and tends to get very articulate when she’s excited.
- Will likes to interview people and learn new things.
So we created what we called a ‘micro podcast’. Short podcast episodes.
It sounded cool and gimmick-ey on the front end. And fed into our experience that micro content has worked successfully for us, consistently.
Why did we choose to name and brand our podcast, and invest in visual assets?
The naming of the thing came together sort of organically.
The 4 am report
Finding collaborative solutions to the things that keep marketers up at night
A hook was created.
And tested against our values.
Is it simple?
Is it smart?
Is it funny?
While we’re not fans of branding things, using a logo/visual unit fixed our UX needs for podcasting channels and we went with a unit and the name, with our company logo within it.
It fixed the problem of not wanting to clutter thumbnail imagery with a name unit, and logo unit, and a descriptor who we are.
Further, we had recently invested in some team headshots, and some of them lent themselves well to using in thumbnails to cut clutter.
How did the podcast come to dominate our content calendar each month?
Our original calendar for The 4am report was 5-minute episodes.
Once a week. (We were always keen on once a week, because we want for the content to count on an SEO front)
If we’re lucky we’ll get guest for 2 weeks a month, and make it 10 minutes, we said.
Well, we’ve had a guest on every episode except on the pilot.
(And this latest one where we took a break from regular programming and pushed a guest back to share some thinking close to our hearts.)
We now do between 10-15 minutes and have to seriously edit because we get so much good info that we repurpose in other ways.
We’re sorted for production 2 cycles ahead.
We have guests booked/pencilled for for the next 15 episodes.
What are our results with this micro podcast?
Our first investment for this was to pay $129 for a professional microphone that plugged into our computers. We recorded in one take, and said that would be our format.
We quickly reassessed that when we saw the reaction to the testing of the name and associated imagery.
People wanted to come on the show after the pilot.
So we got brave and asked a few smart friends.
And the guest list filled up.
We paid a few more 100s to get a sound editor and make some cuts to stay true to the micro format.
And next a couple of 100s for a podcasting software and some basic analytics.
A sum total of $500 (and our team’s time) kept our podcast up for a season. 10 episodes.
From it in the first 30 days came:
- $20,000 in immediate business
- 5 podcast production consults, in various stages of conversation. We’d estimate that conservatively translated into 100K in the pipeline
- And we’re building a business network that is invaluable (from conversations, introductions, collaborations and contracts)
That is a 40X return on investment, and we haven’t even got started!!
Halfway through this time, we put in more money, invested in better photos, some technology and a better website build to support it, better storytelling, and now we’re ready to see what this thing can really do.
Sometimes digital miracles can happen. Yes, even with the same old tired stuff.
- You need a clear audience
- You need a hook
If you’d like help giving your content (regardless of format) a hook or an audience, or both, we should talk. Book a free marketing simplification call here. Wizardry when it comes to amplification of your digital marketing results is our magical talent.