Podcasting's Evolution from Engagement to Revenue Generation
Dots Oyebolu, Strategy and Marketing Director at Content Allies
In this podcast episode, Harshit Gupta, the Director of Business Alliances at WYTLABS, engages in a conversation with Dots Oyebolu, who holds the position of Strategy and Marketing Director at Content Allies. Dots shares valuable insights into his professional journey and the strategic role he plays, emphasizing the significance of finding a cultural fit in job searches. The discussion covers Content Allies’ role in assisting B2B companies in creating revenue-generating podcasts, specifically through account-based podcasting. Dots elaborates on the benefits of podcasts in the B2B space and shares success stories with notable clients. The conversation delves into key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring podcast success, highlighting downloads, listeners, consumption rate, and SEO rankings. Dots provides advice on outsourcing podcast production and discusses the role of AI in tasks such as transcription. The episode concludes with Dots reflecting on his role in founding Listen Network and expressing gratitude for contributing to industry innovation.
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Hello, everyone and welcome to another episode of WYTPOD. My name is Harshit and I’m the Director of Business Alliances at Wytlabs. We are a digital agency specializing in SaaS and e-commerce SEO and I’ve got Dots with me. He’s a Strategy and Marketing Director at Content Allies which helps B2B companies build revenue-generating podcasts and marketing strategies and campaigns.
So, Dots is also doing tons of other things working in parallel. He runs his marketing leadership podcast and is a Co-founder of Listen Network which helps grow B2B podcast audiences with highly targeted ad campaigns. A big welcome to you Dots and I’m so happy to host you today.
Thank you so much.
It’s an honor having me on this podcast. I’m excited. Let’s do it.
So, let’s start with your journey on how you became the strategy and marketing director of Content Allies. And what inspired you to enter this niche focus on, podcast marketing and strategy.
Yeah. Thank you. So, I will split that into two stories. Let me tell the first story about my journey. I have been in marketing for 13 years now, I started in 2010 with my very first right out of Nigeria, I’m based in Canada right now, right out of college, and started to freelance until I got work and kept on going.
And it was, as you probably know, as a marketer at that time, you just dip your hands into different soups, if you put it that way, whether it’s social media, you are doing PPC, you are doing email, bring the work. And I did for a couple of years, I worked a lot in the client, what we call the client side, the brand side, financial space.
And then moved with my family to Canada where we are based right now and moved on to the agency side. Okay. That was where I started to it’s nice to create a niche for myself and I’ve had both internal and external appraisals and it’s agreed. Everyone knows that strategy is what I do best.
So, my full name is Oyebolu Dots. So, the D O T there, adding the S, and then people will tell me, you connect the dots with strategy which is a tagline I always like to use, so That was how I got into that strategic role. And strategically working for smaller agencies out here in Canada, doing a lot of freelancing.
I’ve been freelancing since 2016. Yeah. And, that leads me to the second story with my involvement with content allies. Honestly, I think I can say this on camera when they were hiring at that time, they were looking for, like a brand manager, an accounts manager, an accounts director.
I came in from a strategy client, so I guess along the way I got lucky and they felt maybe we might need a strategist more than an account director. And then, I was hired. I’m sure they were. I will tell you today. I’m sure that there are a couple of others. X factors involved. I think what I would, what I learned from that is that when you are trying to look for a job, always find as much as possible, always find a cultural fit.
That is, I’m sure there’s something, there must be something else, that must have happened, but of course, it was a job I prepared to get and I got, but while getting into that, I realized the future of podcasting in general. Of course, we’ve always had podcasts. People like me were avid followers of the social media.
Examiner podcast with since 2013 and I don’t know these other podcasts that have popped up. But what started to come in the last two years is that people are starting to see that podcasting is a much better way to consume content. It’s a much better way to consume knowledge.
Even if it’s a one-hour podcast, like if you’re going to transcribe a one-hour podcast, it’s almost like a pamphlet. It’s almost like a book. Some people don’t want to read books. I don’t like reading books. I like hearing the books. So, the starts are there, right? We are getting close to, if not already, there, a hundred million Americans listening to some podcast.
Average podcast. Listen time between 1.2 and two hours a day and all these other statistics, whether that’s on the B2B side or the B2C side. I’ve been doing a lot of B2C marketing in the early times of my career. So, working for a B2B podcast agency made sense because I needed to get that kind of experience as well.
So that was really how I got in there and how, yeah, it’s been a great experience. I tell you.
All right. And because with content allies it’s helping B2B companies build the revenue engine through podcasts, right? Can you explain a bit of the key benefits of using podcasts in the B2B space and how exactly it can solve the ultimate goal of generating high-quality leads for you when you do business?
Yeah, so very good question, I must say. So, there is a term, a very new term for you guys listening, it’s called account-based podcasting. [00:08:00] Actually, let me put it this way. The original term, I, if we call it a grandfather term, is an account-based strategy. So basically, it’s created more as a template to say accounts based this account based.
So, we have account-based sales, we have account-based marketing, we have account-based this and that. Now it’s account-based podcasting. And what it simply means is running accounts-based marketing with podcasting as the, excuse me, with podcasting as the engine, with podcasting as the revenue stream, if I will call it that.
And we’ve seen in an experience, we’ve seen people use this in a lot of ways, but the most common ways are this. People use this as a way to engage with prospects. So, for example, you adapt at the point of guest scheduling, and we are looking for guests who might turn out to be your customers one day.
And then you talk to them as interviews, during interviews, you get to go back and forth. You get to do some prep calls, with each other, there’s a bit of networking and relationship there. And if you do it right, you don’t want to be very salty at the very start. So, the person will most likely remember you afterward as, oh, I was on your podcast.
I know you guys do this. Can we do something right? And even if my podcasts have closed Maybe one or two people, right? So it’s a bit like, oh, if you’re very good you can get up to 10%. Customer closure conversion rate from just getting podcasts who are like leads and speaking to them, and then building their relationship.
From there we’ve seen people also use this that they lead nurturing into, so they’ve got existing leads. And then they want to get them to go down the pipe as we call it a B2B. So, they interview them and they’ll be like, Oh, okay. I know I’ve been delaying you on this deal, this contract. How about we, it’s time to move it forward.
So, we see people do that. We also see people that take it even a step further. They look, they interview customers. And people will be like they’re already customers. Why should we interview them? But the truth is that we are starting to get to a point in marketing whereby customers are becoming more educated and they can see, they can smell a rat from far away, so they want authenticity, right?
So, they want to see customer stories and things like that. And people talk about how the business has helped them and that we will bring in more business to them. I saw your story out there. I like it. I would like to work with you. So, it’s slowly become a very powerful tool. And I think it’s the future, if the smart speaker space matures properly then it’s going to, it’s going to even explode even more because people don’t want to read right now.
They want to watch; they want to listen.
I agree with you, and there’s a reason for it. There’s a scientific reason for it. People tend to consume video and audio content better than reading. Yeah. And, we have put brilliantly all the use cases, touching this multiple. Consumer journey, to be honest, and that’s brilliant.
While I was reading and researching about you, you may I stumbled across this thing where you mentioned that you’ve worked with some of the very giant enterprise clients out there, notable clients out there. So Meta was one, Alibaba was one, many more. Could you share someone’s success story and any numbers, any KPIs?
That was delivered for their objectives.
Yeah, it makes sense. So, I would say I’ll be very fortunate to work with those brands. There comes a time in your career, you keep working, and there is this chance that takes you from level one to level 60. Out of a hundred that was that level with content allies So I’m incredibly grateful to the management For allowing me to work for that company depending on where you are listening.
It should be almost two years now so back to your question When I joined, I think we first had Meta as one of the big clients. And then after I joined a couple of these other big brands came in, I think Alibaba was also around before I joined. And the thing is case studies.
More for these enterprise brands. They use podcasting as B2B podcasting for a couple of things. I mentioned the other one, which is the retention one. They interview customers, uh, but we all, they also use the tool as a means to drive a goal that we call user adoption or customer adoption.
So, it’s time to talk about the metaverse. Put some things out there about metaverse development and let people use more of metaverse Whether as a B2B side [00:13:00] or users using the metaverse and that’s just one example we’ve seen clients your customers use these as a recruitment tool So they give a couple of series about why you know it is good to work in so and they interview employees and do that.
So, we’ve seen people who do that. There are some companies I’ve seen that do this out of regulation. For example, in all this, all these industries that are heavily regulated, tobacco and stuff like that. And, you may have all these companies that need to share what is going on in that industry and things like that.
And we’ve seen some brands who are just interested in certain topics like engineering or AI, and they want to be the thought leader in that specific side or even sustainability, want to be a leader in that specific side. Podcasting is just part of that what we call content hub. So, the content we have a couple of other things like blog posts, white papers, and then podcasts.
So, we often like the idea of content hubs because if you probably know this, folks like Chris Walker and Joe Polizzi often talk about building a media company or building a brand department that is not just producing content, but building a community through the content that they produce.
That’s what you’re doing at your end as well. So, they do that and they use podcasts as a means to Impact some of those objectives now some people might say. Oh, these are not driving straight to revenue but the thing is that consumer journeys have changed these days.
Like I said before people are smelly rats from far away So if you give them ads from the start without building a relationship, they’re going to go away. So Podcasting is used to influence some of these other software KPIs so that people can, better be better connected and they can build their market share as they would.
Yeah. Makes sense. And because it’s a versatile medium, once you get the podcast how do you tailor your strategies? And align it with the unique goals of your clients at Content Allies. What do you, what your process looks like?
That’s a very good question.
So, I will make it very simple because of time but the first thing is I need to understand what I have said before in terms of how people Can apply podcasts at different stages of the funnel, right? If you do it well, I think you can even apply it at every stage of the funnel Okay, but from a production or strategy perspective, I would say Let’s say it’s split into five parts.
The first part is strategy. So why? What is the podcast? Why are we doing this podcast? Don’t do the podcast just because somebody else is doing it or a competitor competition is doing it. Oh, let’s get there before them. No, Let’s do it because there is some sort of, what I call, a commercial purpose behind it. It is supposed to serve as more education, to generate more demand, and to be a better ABM. To educate those who are not yet customers of your product. So, you’ve done that, then we can start production, which includes a lot of guest scheduling to schedule your guests. There are a million steps involved. Podcasting is very difficult. There are a million steps involved in getting a guest that is, that will say yes, and then you start to produce what kind of technology you want to produce.
What is the kind of hosting? For the podcast hosting platform that you use, we use co-host and cast but there are a couple of other good ones, to be honest. We work with any platform, but those are our favorite. Yeah. And then once that interview is done for the clients. And then you’ve got a bunch of interviews, then you can launch your podcast.
So, the reason why a launch is important is because it’s like a show. And when you are launching, you should launch with a couple of episodes, right? So once that launch happens, then you can, some people might say, okay, that’s it, the podcast will do its job. No, you need to produce content and you also need to push that content out.
You have to repurpose your podcast into different formats, a lot of formats nowadays, audio, visual, and even image quotes, if you want, as well. And then you need to promote those things that you did. So, do you want to use organic promotion like podcast SEO? Podcast SEO is a very new term coming in now and everything is still very rudimentary, but it works if you can, do design keyword research, optimize your titles and descriptions, and things like that.
Yeah. And then you can take it. I had to say this podcast. I needed to get more downloads. I needed to reach the people I wanted to reach. So, you can then promote those podcasts and use them to get, and use them to get downloads. So, this is different from the kind of podcast as people see nowadays, where.
They say, oh, this is dots, uh, sign up here. And that runs in somebody else’s podcast. No, this is running ads through different other channels that you may be familiar with and finding a way to attribute a download to that channel through the ads. Yeah. So not once you complete this, of course, there is the KPI and optimization process and always measuring stuff.
But I would say at the high level, this is what these are, we should be if you’re starting as a podcaster, you don’t have to make everything complex. As long as you touch every step one way or the other, I think, you are on to something as a personal tip, record more episodes than you would love to.
The reason is that this podcasting is not easy and you get to a stage where you start to get tired. For example, in Adult Loves Marketing, we’ve recorded over 120 episodes. But now I’m getting tired. Like, I know I’m not even in the mood to make podcast episodes anymore. We’re already at all that 100.
In the backlog coming out, I can re-rest through that. So that’s something that’s, that has helped me personally. So yeah, that’s the that would be my high-level overview.
What are the main KPIs that you keep track of to measure success? Let’s do episode-level traction let’s talk about that front.
I’m not a fan of too many KPIs, so I’ll give you about three or four. The first one being the down, yeah, the first one being the downloads themselves, right? You, a download as defined by Interactive Advertising Bureau is a 30-second buffer of the episode. Download of the episode, a 60-second, sorry, 60-second buffer of the episode.
So of course, you want to get as many people to download as possible that are also relevant. And there are other download-related KPIs. For example, you also want to track listeners. So those people listening, all these are available in the hosting. But what we do sometimes is that we want to track how many episodes or how many times people listen to the episode.
For example, is a user listening more than once? Yeah. Are they downloading more than once? That way it shows that people are loyal to the show, and they are not like, as we call it, one episode stand. It will put it that way. One important KPI is consumption rate. It’s just like how people are obsessed with that KPI on YouTube.
The consumption rate is very important. And one of the keys to having a good consumption rate is looking at your episode runtime. You might get loyal followers who listen to one-hour episodes without issues, but you might also have, people who just want to listen to something for 15 minutes or listen to it for 20 minutes, which is like the average time it takes to drive to work or something like that.
Or the average time to commit. Consumption rates must be as high as they can be. There are no benchmarks per se. As I am, 100 percent. But yeah, that would be, there are a couple of other KPIs like SEO. So, companies nowadays are starting to rank podcasts based on keywords.
This is all, it all works like Semrush or Ahrefs, but for podcast platforms, not Google search or Bing search. So that is coming up. Some people are trying to do that and it’s working partially. It’s not working entirely, but I would say at the basic level, those other KPIs should be your start.
Gotcha. And because with lesson now you are helping these companies grow their audience as well. And basically, through the. Ads paid ads for would love to approach that and what that typical process looks like.
Yeah, it’s first of all, I’m very fortunate to be part of the team that worked on this.
So, it’s beyond ads agency. Anybody’s an ad expert these days. You can, then, these platforms are made it very easy, but the problem with podcasting is that it’s grown so fast in the last two years that there’s not enough. standards in place in terms of what a download is, how to even track a download, and things like that.
So, we’ve been very instrumental in building the ad tech that deals with attribution. E-Marketer recently released a report on it, and they said this continues to be a problem in how to track what a download is from an ad. And people are trying different things, different tools, charitable tried it or B2B the backed-out attribution is probably the biggest problem in podcasting. And we’re happy to say that we’ve been able to crack that from a, not just a download standpoint, but if I get this right from the tech team. The click-to-play and also one-minute listens. I also, have some of the art techs so it’s like they build an app, right?
And that app is supposed to advise any ad publisher that this is a download. So, the other on the other side is the ad strategy. How you run ads for podcasts is different from text ads video ads or anything like that. You should be able to run ads, for example, in a way that it shows on the new YouTube podcast platform, or even on YouTube music, or even tag some level of targeting that is, the kind of keywords you use.
Not necessarily sales keywords because it’s a knowledge thing. I know that there are many others in this strategy that are very different and the art tech is very different. So, we combine these two and try to help brands, not just B2B and B2C. That one or use, all these ad channel ad networks that use no drive downloads and a bit of it sometimes also grows the audience in terms of subscribers.
Although I’ve noticed that 99 percent of people don’t want to subscribe only 1 percent do. That’s still a prevailing issue in this part of the, in this industry right now. It also helps in a way as well. So just say in your head, there’s the art tech side that deals with the attribution and there’s the art strategy side that’s.
Let me give you a very good example. If you talk to any YouTube person now, they will tell you they run in-stream ads. Now, what if I told you that in-stream ads are not great for podcast promotion on YouTube? Outstream ads are the great ones. So that is the strategy of our stream, which I don’t have the chance to explain much here because of time, is, is what works for podcast promotion on YouTube.
And how you can make all the attributions and things like that. So, it’s, I would say we’ve yet to figure everything out, but to be at the forefront of setting the standards and testing things out and inventing stuff is fun. I think that is the, with somebody like me, you have come from a very high PPC background.
Both on DV 360 and Google Ads side and all the other ad platforms out there. Yeah. It’s very exciting to see podcasts and ads come together.
That’s brilliant. That’s great. And building and running a podcast. Definitely. It was a lot of tasks. I would love to know what.
Typically, the set of responsibilities that your Content Allies team takes on their shoulder. And what all do you leverage your client’s basic on, or is it something that you have in and out?
It’s like I said before, it’s very complex. Yeah, I will say this and I’ll say the reason why I said it.
I would, if you’re a company, I would suggest you outsource your podcast if you can. And I’m not saying that because I work for Content Allies and I want to get your business, but because I also run my podcast. Yeah.
I think for your podcast, you take the help of Content Allies, right?
Yeah. So, it’s not, they don’t do everything. They do about 70 or 80 percent of it. I do all the proposing, and the recording, but a lot of heavy post-production. There’s a lot of QAS. So, there’s a QA team on the side. Everything has to match. Everything has to be perfect. The schedule has to work. You have to go through, there’s a lot of automation that they use like AI and stuff.
Oh, even with the AI, like it’s, you still have to, a human has to check stuff as well. You have to extract the clips. You have to transcribe, the guest scheduling is even to get a guest, and you have to follow through with your research like you are a salesperson. Then you have to do outreach, you have to do the follow-up.
You have to prepare materials to show that you’re running a podcast and this is not like a fluke or something. It’s a million steps. It’s a million. We have a mixture of full staff and contractors, maybe 70 people, 60 people, working on different accounts at the same time and making sure everything works.
Sometimes like in our case, before we met, I cancelled, right? It was supposed to be a week before, but I canceled. So, it seems to deal with all that cancellation and you have to go and update your CRM. There’s just so much. That goes on. So instead of just boring you with the details Yeah, I’ll say just find a company, an agency that does the, that does this, but that does it with strategic intent.
It’s not just somebody that is they want to get it done and move on. They’re doing this with a strategic intent and they’re going to report on their work too.
And Dots you mentioned using AI, can you tell me a few major tasks where you leverage AI?
Yeah, we use a tool, one of the tools we use is Descript.
So, this script is a very robust tool for podcasting where you’re able to transcribe, you’re able to repurpose. One of the things I hear they said it does is that maybe while recording the audio went bad, the AI can fill in that void with the person’s voice if you can just type in some text in there.
So maybe somebody wants to change something. They said if you just type in the text. It changes what they say, but in their voice, so they use AI for a lot of those things. I must admit I’m not part of that team but a lot of other things that they use to do the AI like even developing show notes and social posts just extracts and content for the podcast to do that AI in conjunction with GPT and things like that.
Yeah, AI has come to stay and it works very well in podcasting.
Yeah. I even stumbled across, one of the tools, the AI tool that ensures that you’re making proper eye contact on your Zoom calls even though you’re moving your head, shaking your head, or whatever the end.
Yeah, it’s if you look back, what’s happened this year, 2023 is huge. I must tell you it’s huge, so I only pity the writers but that’s another subject for another day.
Now coming to my very last question. Now, could you share any memorable or unexpected moment, from your journey?
In podcast marketing altogether that shaped your approach or your perspective in this niche
Honestly, I think it was when I founded Listen Network with my other senior co-founders with an emphasis on seniors. We’ve had a couple, we have a couple of agencies who have tried to do this at a global level, but not at the level of detail that we are doing it.
We are doing it in a way whereby we try to utilize major platforms, whether it’s the Display Network LinkedIn or
And being able to track that attribution again, back to the attribution, trying to solve the attribution problem took us six months before we were able to even figure it out and be able to apply it. So, podcast marketing itself is new. I’m fortunate to be able to know a lot about podcast SEO. Other aspects of podcasts are not very hard.
Like you put a podcast in a newsletter, you send it out. Everybody, anybody can do that. Yeah. The podcast issue is very technical. Yeah. Podcast acts are even more technical because there’s even a tech involved. It’s not just about this, the ad strategy. It’s for me, or maybe for almost my entire career.
Like sometimes you tend to walk and I’m saying this with all grace. Sometimes you tend to walk as a marketer or as anything in a place where you are using tools, you are developing, you are working with solutions already existing, when it comes to a place where you are the one inventing something that changes the industry.
That’s huge. That’s, that is huge. You create your stuff that the industry either buys or copies. Yeah, that’s a legacy that I would like to be remembered for the rest of my life. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate. And the work goes on.
If you’re listening feel free to check listennetwork. co.
Thank you so much. Dots, for all the time, all the information, and all the wisdom that you’ve shared in this session. I appreciate it. Thank you so much!
Yeah, no worries. No worries. Thank you. Thank you for having me again.
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