In this episode, Zach and Rock speak with Bryan Barletta, creator of the Sounds Profitable newsletter and podcast of the same name. Barletta is passionate about podcast ad tech and makes it his mission to stay on top of what’s going on in the industry. Tune in to learn about how you can use podcast ad tech to your advantage, where the future of advertising is headed, and more.
Barletta wants you to know that he’s available! Hence the episode’s name. What does he mean? You’ve gotta tune in and learn!
BRYAN BARLETTA: I hope that individual podcasters can use it, but I feel like they just, you just got to understand that you just might not make money. It might just need to be for fun and that’s okay. Like it’s okay to just do something for fun.
ROCKWELL FELDER: Welcome to Between Two Mics.
ZACHARIAH MORENO: I’m Zach.
ROCK: And I’m Rock.
ZACH: We’re the co-founders of Squadcast [dot] fm.
ROCK: The best way to record remote interviews in studio quality like this one.
ZACH: Here on Between Two Mics, we explore the challenges, opportunities, and new ideas with the people who are pushing the limits of what’s possible in podcasting.
ZACH: Let’s go, Bryan Barletta. Welcome to Between Two Mics.
BRYAN: Hey, thanks for having me here.
ZACH: You are a seminole voice in the podcast community around ad tech. I think, you know, is a safe to say. And just to kind of, that can be a nebulous term. So just to kind of define up front, like how would you define ad tech for podcasters in the community?
BRYAN: Yeah, I’ll set the bar super low. So because of how simple podcast ad tech can be on like the complexity scale, not on the knowledge scale. I would say that anything related to hosting a podcast episode is in some form or another ad tech. You know, even if you’re not putting in ads into it, the technology that hosts the podcasts is what is the gateway to allow you to use the advertising technology to expand on it. So if you have a podcast, you have experienced ad tech in one form or another.
ZACH: Yeah. And, and that can come about in a number of different ways. Like I always get these questions from people in the community, like who should I host with? And I always encourage people like, well, who do you want your analytics from? You know. So that’s another way you can kind of like, think about that decision. Is like: It’s hosting until it’s analytics and then you kind of cross that bridge and then you get into this, uh, this space of ad tech. So I think that’s a, that’s a beautiful way to kind of, uh, weave these, uh, these topics together. And the analytics space in, in hosting has, uh, has evolved quite a lot and, um, you know, standards and all of those things are, are positive. Uh, what, what’s your kind of perspective on, on how that evolution has played out and maybe where it’s going?
BRYAN: I think that we’re starting to be comfortable with what we are in podcasting, right? Like I think there’s so much of advertising that is this big behemoth. It’s impressing this person with a giant unlimited budget and it’s trying to lure them into what you’re doing. And, uh, I call this out to sales people all the time. Like don’t make excuses before the people have given a chance to explain their hesitation. So the past, like five years of podcasts ad tech, the past five years of advertising, and all these things have been like: Hey, um, we have this thing, but, uh, it’s not listens. It’s downloads. Okay. We’ll take a lower rate. Okay. Um, we’ll change it this way. And we’ll bow down to whatever you want. And in the last year, people have been like, we track on downloads because it’s accurate. It might not directly reference listens, but we have listens on an aggregate level that will show you the value that we’re providing. And the more confidence that we can have on that, the better it is. Because podcast hosting is Dropbox. It is glorified file serving, right? It is, uh, someone makes a URL call by pressing play on a podcast, and it goes to the host and requests the file. With very limited information. And that is where we get all of our analytics from. Everything else comes from the players themselves who hold all the cards, have all the details, but they have no incentive to share it with us. Right. Because they think they own that relationship, whether they do or not. I would love more publishers to get involved in that argument. But at the end of the day, we’re getting IP address user agent and what content it is, and maybe the speed and size at which they’re downloading the file. You can do a lot with that. And then from there you can layer on other views. So I think we’re getting to a really stable point and I think that people just have to be confident for what it is. Right. My favorite example of social media influencer marketing, right? Instagram posts. That’s a $10 billion industry that can’t do a tracking pixel that, depending on the size of the account, can’t do a click to anything. The best thing I’ve seen anybody do is they put a specific hashtag that that company then has to target ads specifically to that unique hashtag so that they can get impression and click metrics so that it lines up. But then you’re double paying for it. So we’re an industry that has this cool tech. People like podcasting because it’s cool. So just be chill, like just don’t freak out, man.
ROCK: That’s really encouraging. And honestly, something that I’ve talked with, the representatives at a few of the podcast after attribution companies. And I think I heard you say something similar where like influencer marketing, there’s tons of dollars put poured in there TV, regular TV ads. There’s like, you know, obviously billions and billions put in their radio as well. But like podcasting it’s like they’re trying to fit into all of those models. It sounds like our metrics and attribution is actually a lot better and more focused in those. So is it just like communicating the benefits to these different ad companies or like, or, or is it just like being, you know, knowing who you are and knowing how to communicate that better? Like where do you think, is why has it taken so long for advertisers to see the magic of podcasters through ads? For ads, rather?
BRYAN: Because the person making that decision is making $40,000 a year, their boss three levels up is the one deciding all of these things, and all they care about is the arrow up into the right and the right dollar value. Right. So podcasts advertising. Very very few people in podcast advertising have experienced other advertising technology. Most of these hosting platforms, their investors are just like, that’s cool that you can host a podcast, but how are you going to make money? So they built their own things. And these things, they train people up internally how to use them. And the salespeople came over from digital. So if I used to sell on Facebook, if I used to sell them banners and videos, I get every bit of information about you. I get levels of information that no one’s going to target, but I get to brag about it. And I can say, yeah, we can do that to anything. And that’s the salespeople coming over, right? If you brought someone from radio from out of home, from social media, influencer marketing from terrestrial TV, right? Just like cable television. And you were like, this is the data we have in podcasting. They’d clean up. But that’s mostly older markets. Those are people who are set in exactly what they’re doing and except for the influencer part of it. And podcasts, sales and podcasts, technology, and people working at it are younger. So their only experience is with something that had more. And now we’re telling them they got less.
ROCK: I could see that, that makes a lot of sense. So I’ve been a big fan of yours. Your newsletter Sounds Profitable. I think it’s really interesting how you take these kind of complex, somewhat dense topics and break it down to the essence of everything that you’re, that you’re trying to communicate. So it’s not like a long newsletter, but there’s a lot of stuff that’s, that’s packed in there. But one of the things that was super apparent to me was like the passion that you have for the topic. Like, why are you so passionate about podcasting ad tech? Where’s that come from?
BRYAN: I can’t draw. I will, sometimes we’re writing, uh, I’m getting more comfortable with my voice and things like that. I do like improv and things like that. But what I really like is supporting creative people. And like, it’s just so exciting to me. Like, I, you know, I’m 35 now. I moved to New York around 22, 23, and I’d meet all these people and they’d be like: what’s your entrepreneur idea? And I just like, I don’t know, man. I want to be a right-hand man. I want to help everybody with a cool idea, do something cooler. And so my passion with this is just. It’s like, like somebody grabs like the Lego set and it’s just like, ah, the Millennium Falcon’s too difficult. I’m going to just make the Landspeeder. And I’m just like, it’s not that difficult. Let’s do it. Like, I’ll get it started. And then you run it from there and then you can like freestyle on it. And that’s just, it’s so exciting to me because all I just want, I want people to look at things and explore them. And I remember, uh, my ex-wife and I worked in mobile rich media together. I got out of the job and there, she didn’t couldn’t care less what it was, but she liked the job. Uh, and there was like a new spec that came out, and I was like, so excited to learn it. And I like kick in the bathroom door, she’s showering. And I was just like, did you read this? And she’s like, get out of here. I’m not at work. I was like 6:30 in the morning. Something about it’s just neat. Right? Like these are tools. These are, it’s like someone looking at the tools to build a house and the materials to build the house. It’s like an artist looking at a stone. Uh, it might be the lamest form of art, but like, to me, it’s just, it’s fun. And I, I’m trying to show people like: here is like a really ones-and-zeroes way to do it. You are creative. You now know that it’s accessible to you. Put a better skin on it, try it different, make something of it so that people realize it’s not that daunting.
ROCK: Do you have podcasters hitting you up asking you the, how do I monetize question or how all that stuff? I got to imagine it to some degree, but what’s a typical response?
BRYAN: So that’s, I mean, that’s the hard part. A lot of the stuff I’m talking about or that people are in the industry, right. This is tools to make your business better. And all of that, um, I am not a great resource when someone like we were on, I was on a Clubhouse once, uh, which I now quit. And we can talk about that in a minute, but someone was just like: Hey, I did 12 episodes and it went kind of good. I took three months off and, uh, you know, I want to get back into it, but I really want to make sure that I can make money. And I was like, well, you should just not get back into it. And they were not happy. Nobody was happy with that response because like, yeah, I want to play video games for a living. No, one’s going to pay me to do that. I can’t, if I said, I’m going to go stream on Twitch full time, like I get laughed at. So, you know, if you want to take this seriously, you got to invest as much money as you expect to make in a year. For your first couple of years and then see what happens, right? You gotta partner with people. You’ve gotta give cuts of things. You have to, you know, spend money. You have to spend time and really make it work. And nobody is, nobody is owed revenue from all these things. So on like the lower podcast end or the podcaster, and my real hope is that they understand all this. And then they make decisions where it’s, maybe they take their podcasts to be part of a bigger team. And then they can add more to that team without losing too much. But there are some smaller to medium-sized people that I’ve worked with. You know, I give ideas and my favorite is there, like you just give this away. And I was like, yeah, because there’s two outcomes. One, you run with it. And I have a peer to talk to. That’s going to be so awesome. So I can ask someone to like bounce ideas off of. Or two, you come back and you’re just like, Bryan, how much. Never upset about that answer either. Um, but you know.
ROCK: Nice options.
BRYAN: Yeah. Right? Like this, there’s nothing unique about what I’m saying. I’m just the person who’s been given the time to say that. And I’m able to do that because of my sponsors. Right? Like this is now my full-time job. Sounds Profitable is the priority of everything I do. And my consulting comes secondary, you know, the deep dives are part of Sounds Profitable, but I get to sit here and be like, well, I can spend 16 hours tinkering on this. And if it fails, I don’t write an article about it. But if it succeeds, I get to tell the world. And the people that I’m hopefully getting this in front of her, that people who like had that idea and then their boss didn’t tell them what’s going on in the podcast world that week, didn’t educate them. Isn’t growing them into a management position or anything like that. And so the idea of them like bubbling up this idea to try, it just gets squashed. So I hopefully they can like read the article and be like, oh, it does work. They can take it, use it as a basis to get more buy-in, you know, that’s, that’s the audience I’m aiming for the people that are in the industry or want to be in the industry. I hope that individual podcasters can use it, but I feel like they just, you just got to understand that you just might not make money. It might just need to be for fun and that’s okay. Like it’s okay to just do something for fun.
ZACH: Where do you think that that kind of a misconception or misinformation, what do you think the root of that is? Because it does seem to be like a common narrative where people think that when they’re coming into the space, right? Like, oh, I’m going to, I’m going to do this professionally within a couple of months. Although, you know, I really love the kind of truth that you’re sharing here because it does help to set those expectations and be realistic. And, while anything is possible. Like there, there is a dose of reality here, and I’m really grateful that you’re sharing it. So do you have any kind of ideas to where that could be originating or like, how can we make that more clear for people coming into the podcast space?
BRYAN: I tried to think back on like how it works with blogging. And I think the hard part there is that blogging and podcasting are similar and it’s just like shouting out into the open. Right. And if somebody picks it up and syndicates it or, or takes advantage of it or it’s, becomes a destination, like that’s great. And that works. Um, but that’s like striking gold. Um, but in both of those mediums, I can start a blog today. I can start a podcast saying I can plug in advertising immediately. Right? There are platforms that don’t gate me. Don’t make me prove myself. I can be six seconds into it, and I can get live. But if I go to YouTube and I want to start a YouTube channel, if I start a Twitch channel, I have to be approved. I have to become a partner, because those are single solo channels. So part of it is the fact that like: It’s probably not in the best interest of a lot of companies to be like, no, here’s like a hard check. Like a lot of them have soft checks and they’re just like, Hey, we can’t really help you out until you hit 10,000 downloads. That seems to be like a pretty average number.
ZACH: Um, you self-select within that. Yeah.
BRYAN: Yeah. But like the problem is, is that that information is on the response email, not on the submission. Everybody likes to shit on Joe Rogan. Um, because like, I dunno, he sat down 15 plus years ago. Just started talking. And never shut up and like, but everybody’s just like, alright, Joe Rogan can do it. I can do it. Yeah. Well, he was a funny comedian and he was popular in MMA, and podcasting was just something that looped all of his things together. And it eventually became a destination, but when it started, it was an augment to his other channels, and he put 15 years into it. Right. And he started before it was big. And so, you know, if you’ve got a time machine, that’s awesome. But I don’t know. I think. The idea of being a generalist, the idea about talking about things too broadly right now. Like if you’re going to start a podcast, you shouldn’t do that. Right. Nobody wants to hear about you and your friends’ opinions, unless you’ve got a doctorate in something, or you’re an expert in something already. And this is like another way to hear. James Cridland does Podland News with Sam Sethi. James Cridland has a weekly, or daily pod, Pod News newsletter. That’s just, bite-sized bits of what’s going on in the news and not a lot of his opinion. And I eat up Podland News because it is the only place where I can hear James actually give his full opinion. And I want to know more about him. That’s great. That’s niche content that adds a lot of value. Mine’s about podcasts ad tech. I’m so proud that we have 2,500 people on the newsletter in a, you know, six months, I got like 250 downloads an episode on average. Thanks guys. But like, uh, there’s like a ceiling to it because it’s niche content, but that means I can get things in a specific way. Right. I go after the right sponsors, I explain that this is an engaged audience. I explained the open rate and the type of people that it’s getting. If your goal is to make good money and do these things, go after something that’s unique that you can talk to endlessly, that’s not going to drive you nuts, creating content for. That there is an audience for both on like the listeners. And there is appetite for companies to sell into it. And you’ll have tons of success there because you could have a hundred listeners to your podcast in a month. But if it’s about cybersecurity and a product that people pay a hundred thousand dollars a year for, right? That could be worth an advertiser dropping a couple of grand on your very small show, because all they have to do is land one client and then 10Xed a year of paying for the ad. I think the truth is a generalist is not great, go specific. But just, you know, evaluate, like, even if you do like super specific on a true crime podcast at this point, like that area might be too saturated.
ROCK: Let’s take a short breather.
BRYAN: We’ll be right back.
ZACH: Are you recording video along with audio for your podcast?
ROCK: Earlier this year, we released our video feature, which allows Squadcasters to record, download, edit, and upload video content to go along with your podcast.
ZACH: Lots of creators use video alongside audio to create marketing elements, to engage with listeners, and to generally make their content more accessible.
ROCK: Squadcasters who listened to this podcast and want to upgrade to a video and audio plan get their first month free with the code BETWEEN that’s all caps and spelled B-E-T-W-E-E-N.
ZACH: And new Squadcasters, we’ve got something for you too. Use code NEWBIE. That’s all caps N-E-W-B-I-E at checkout for your first month free when you sign up for Squadcast.
ROCK: We’re so excited to hear and see what you can make on Squadcast.
ROCK: Again, that’s the code BETWEEN for Squadcasters looking to upgrade.
ZACH: And code NEWBIE at checkout for soon to be Squadcasters, head to squadcast.fm, to claim these offers and start creating.
ROCK: And I think if any indication of the early success of the whole Sounds Profitable world, the subscriptions reaching that milestone in such a short amount of time, the podcast coming out you know,re relatively recently and coming out with a, with a hit, like you mentioned, is there’s definitely an appetite for it. I mean, for me, I was really fed up with not being able to provide podcasters with good responses to ad-related questions. And it’s just because, well, that’s not our niche. That’s not really what I’m focused on, but it’s like, but I’m not doing our customers, uh, I’m not, I’m doing them a disservice by not being able to equip them with more professional type of, uh, information. So like when I heard about your newsletter because I am a subscriber to Pod news and we’re happy to be helping James and Sam record Podland on Squadcast recently. So you might hear a few episodes where they were using something different, but, um, it was like, I need to get better at, I don’t necessarily have to be Bryan Barletta, but I want to know a little bit of something because, so I can at least help them and be a resource in that particular niche or category or whatever. But what I really also love is like, you’re not just giving all this information away, you’re like really showing us. I mean, like one of the recent articles or addition, rather of Sounds Profitable, like you walk through like a digital ad insertion.
BRYAN: That was fun.
ROCK: It was great, man. And then also on your podcast, you play around with digital ad insertion which is incredible. Cause like I was listening to one of a recent episode, an episode that was maybe a few weeks ago and I got the same Pod News ad that you do that was current for whatever happened last week in pod news. And so I got to imagine that’s what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to not just educate us, but like really show us like how this technology works. That it doesn’t have to be just pre-roll mid-roll post-roll right. I think. Let’s go, come on.
BRYAN: Yeah. And that’s cool. I mean, like, look Sounds Profitable started because I feel there is a failure between the people working and the people making decisions. And then I think there’s a disconnect on education, even from the people making decisions all the way up to the people running companies. Like it is easy to gloss over ad tech because at the end of the day, the sales are still coming in. Like, I could talk my way out of a failed lift report for something that I have no knowledge about and just say, well, we’ll do better next campaign. And guess what? People keep spending money. So there’s not a lot of effort put on that, but we need to get better. We need to improve. We need to draw that moat around what we are and say, this is what we are, and we’re not gonna apologize for it. And so my content, the goal of all of it is to be as unbiased as possible so that you, Rock, feel comfortable saying like, Hey, I read a little bit about this. You should read this from this source. Right. And that’s cool for me. I’m not selling anything to these people. I never want to. Because like, it’s neat that a CEO can expense a membership to Pod News, right. Uh, or, sorry, not a Hot Pod News, right? The, that the $7 a month or whatever it is. But like, if I’m an account manager, I got to pay for that out of my own pocket. That sucks. Right. That’s not cool. So I’m not selling anything. You have a neutral place that you can send it to and even cooler. Like I hope you build content off of it. Content creation is so tough. If I talk about a topic and you’re like, we do that the best. Be like, here’s how Bryan explained how this works and then you get to be, you’d take a seat back and be like, and this is why we are the leaders in that. And that’s awesome. Like I want, I want more people to learn from all this. I got some lofty ideas I’m working on, on certifications, and education, and training because I want to get more people into the space. And, uh, I think you guys are probably comfortable with me saying this, but maybe a few less cis white males.
BRYAN: Maybe a little bit more diversity in here. Yeah. Um, you know, maybe I can fade into the background at some point. And there is someone who looks a little bit less like me and everybody else at the leadership in podcasting who can run Sounds Profitable because they learned enough and then got hungrier and outpaced me. That sounds awesome. Well, we’ve got all, we got to all learn. We got to make space for people and we, this industry, the business side of it sucks for that. There’s no on-ramp, there’s no education to it. I can go take a six-month course right now in DoubleClick campaign manager that Google will recognize as, as valuable for applicants as a four year degree. And I believe the starting salary is 70 or 90 K, for that. Like, that’s awesome. Where’s the podcast equivalent of that? And that’s, you know, that’s my goal this year to figure out how I do that, how I do something like that?
ZACH: That’ll be an awesome contribution and, and, you know, I don’t want to move over it too quickly. Like what you just shared with lifting others up, I think is the true definition of leadership. So I love that you’re, you’re transparent and open to that. We live that as well. So that’s, that’s really cool to hear.
BRYAN: You guys do such a good job of that. You’re such good stewards of the space, like you support everyone. I dunno. It’s so neat to see the things that you’re associated with and the, see the people that you lift up and you go out of your way to highlight. I think that we’re in similar situations, right? As these smaller businesses trying to add to this community, because we’re passionate about it, uh, it also means we can take risks. Like there are some things major companies with stockholders or investors and stuff can’t say. But like at the end of the day, like if, if 10, 20, a thousand people unfollow me, because I’m just like, maybe it’s a little too white in here. Like, you know, maybe there’s too many bald dudes talking about this stuff to each other. Like, cool. We’ll figure it out.
ROCK: I think what we share with you, Bryan, and I really appreciate you saying that it’s just this, this passion for helping creators, like you said, and it’s something that I say quite frequently is the content is their job and that’s difficult enough. We’re just here to provide the tools and information and resources to help them be better at creating that content. And so I think that’s, that’s why I think we, we kind of share this mutual love for the space. Cause we’re right-hand people, so to speak, helping, lifting the creators up and, and you’re right. Like it’s, uh, I think podcasting seems to be a little bit more sensitive and trying to be better quicker than some other industries that we can point to in regards to the diversity issue. But obviously we still got plenty of work to do. So I think it’s really helpful for people like you, and us that are really making it a point from pretty much day one to like, no, this is an important issue. This is a core competency to not just what we do, but needs to be to podcasting at large.
BRYAN: The thing I want to say to your audiences, like I am available. Email me. bryan@soundsprofitable. Like catch me on Twitter. Like, let’s talk, you want to get into this space? You want introductions? You want to know about what you need to learn about, uh, you got questions? Like, let’s do it. Don’t ask me how you become rich, because I don’t know yet. Right. Uh, but like I’m here, let’s make this space cool. Right. I, uh, is this the first time in my life that like, you know, Zach highlighted and said like, oh, I’m a great voice in this for ad tech. Like I have been doing what I’m doing now behind closed doors and being told by management and people above me to like, shut up for years. And so like, it’s super cool that like, things that I definitely have lost jobs over in the past is now like what I’m getting paid to do.
ROCK: That’s a great story. Just go with, go with what feels right to you. Cause that’s a dang shame that you were asked to be silenced when the world needs this information.
BRYAN: Yeah. And I want to help people. I just like, if anybody needs help with anything, let’s talk about it and let’s figure it out. And I think the Squadcast guys, like I think the whole team, uh, you know, you’re all great on that end. So yeah, it’s just really, this, this space is fun. I’m positive I could make more money going back into digital or something like that, working maybe a 40 or 50 hour a week instead of what I’m doing now. But it’s about passion, man. Life’s short and do things you love.
ZACH: Yeah. We have an opportunity to, uh, to do things differently. That’s something that strikes me as well. Just kind of in the remaining time that we have together, I, I did want to get a question in about kind of an out-of-the-box usage of traditional ways that ad tech is utilized. And, you know, I think we saw some folks at Night Vale, uh, if I remember correctly, use kind of dynamic ad insertion is like what it’s typically referred to. I mean, it’s kind of a label that was given to that technology by, by the companies who are developing and innovating in that way. But it also applies to content as well. So like dynamic content insertion, or dynamic experiences. We’re used to that on the web, uh, as a, as a software engineer where the page looks your, you know, your Amazon homepage looks very different than my Amazon homepage.
BRYAN: Or it looks different on your phone versus your computer.
ZACH: Right? Exactly. And, and same is true for a lot of experiences where we can richly customize the experience. And, uh, and it strikes me as kind of very, very early days of some version of that in podcasting through this technology. So you have a pretty unique perspective on that. What are your thoughts on using it for like, you know, variable endings, or like different, uh, different messaging for different demographics? Like what are the ways you’ve seen people kind of, uh, explore that space?
BRYAN: So there’s a company and I think they’re in Spain? Um, I know Mindfacts is their podcast. I think they’re YesWeCast, they have like a time machine episode and they’re using it so based on dynamic insertion, they’re like, where are we going today guys? And then like, it’s just like spin a roulette wheel and you get different content. And I just love that. Um, you know, I think you could do a, you know, a choose your own adventure.
ROCK: Netflix is doing that. Yeah.
BRYAN: Like it’s so neat. Ah, there’s so much room for it. There’s so many cool things. Like the biggest thing I can say is that like advertising think, think of like, actually, this is a great question. You, where do you run across ads in your life? ‘Cause I bet it’s not TV because you, everything you do is an app that you pay for ads to be removed of. I, once foolishly, uh, paid for Hulu with ads, I lasted three of the four ads in that slot before I exited out and paid for the upgrade. I don’t listen to radio, you know, I’m sure some people still do. Website, I have an ad blocker. Right. Like podcasts is the only place I hear ads. And I got a two and a half year old, and it’s going to be the only place he hears ads. So you got two options. You sell hard to me and you hope it sticks, or you entertain me. And you hope I remember it because I can sing a handful of jingles from when I was a kid. Uh, and we lost that. We lost that style, but we talk about the Super Bowl and we talk about all the ads on the Super Bowl . Like that’s always a big thing. I have more fun talking about that with people, even non ad tech people after the Super Bowl, always. So I challenge all advertisers to stop repurposing content, stop treating podcasts as an extension. It is a unique thing. And if you can’t do that, sit on the sidelines for a bit. I would love your money to be in here, but I would rather you not get frustrated that it didn’t work how you want it to because you mashed your repurposed content in here. And just take the time to do it. Reach out to people like Pacific Content and Jar Audio and Frequency Media. All these amazing production houses that can take your brand and make a podcast. They can make you ads too. And do it right. Imagine a podcast where there’s a pre-roll, mid-roll and a post-roll about an ad. And it’s compelling enough that you’ve finished, that you listened to the absolute end of the episode, because you want to hear that ad. That’s weird.
ZACH: That’s, that’s how. I’m forgetting, I’m looking it up, but I’m forgetting the name of the podcast. You’ll probably be able to correct me on this, but it’s like the Reid Hoffman podcast. They do a really great job of really…
ROCK: Telling the story.
ZACH: Yeah. Beginning, middle, and an end as pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll. And, uh, it’s wonderful. You get a substory. And, uh, it is unique to them. So Masters of Scale.
BRYAN: Okay. I’m not super familiar. I’m going to have to check that out.
ZACH: It’s like a very startup Silicon Valley-focused like venture capital conversation, but, you know, they have, uh, like Indeed, uh, it was one of the sponsors, and they’ll, they’ll basically tell the origin story of Indeed or a company, uh, using indeed to like, solve a very unique problem very quickly. And they are legit telling a story. It just happens to be about this company with a product and complimentary to the kind of macro story of the episode.
BRYAN: So I got a challenge for you. Give me a pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. Tell me a story, 30 seconds each, create that for me, send it over, and let’s put it in Sounds Profitable so we can show people how it works.
ZACH: I love that. Uh, you, you want us to freestyle this now or send it to you later on?
BRYAN: No, no, no. Take the time on it. Uh, you know, we’ll, we’ll do that in the magic of release dates. We’ll figure out how to make this lines up appropriately for everybody listening in so they can go check it out, but like, I have nothing to lose. If I accidentally don’t serve a podcast episode, like my investors aren’t on me. Like I got, I can make room all day long. So let’s do it.
ROCK: Challenge accepted. Let’s take some risks.
BRYAN: Like you said, a hundred percent, you only get to experiment things with that.
ROCK: Challenge accepted, sir.
BRYAN: I love it. Let’s you know, we’ll talk more about it offline, but I’m, I’m very excited to highlight that. Let’s do something neat. Show people what you can do when you put your mind to it and tell that story.
ZACH: Awesome. Yeah. And I think that’s a, that’s a prime example of like experimenting, trying new things, also market research as to other people are doing things like, you know, you don’t have to be this like super successful venture capitalist, former founder, like Reed Hoffman to, to innovate and try something like that. Right. Um, I really doubt it was even his idea to be frank. It was probably somebody good that he’s working with who is of a similar mindset to, so this conversation, so. We’ll definitely do that experiment, but want to encourage our, our audience as well, like try these things out and, um, and see what works. It’s early days. That’s what this podcast is all about, right. Is exploring kind of the boundaries of what’s possible in podcasting. And I think that that is through experimentation that we kind of move those edges outward. And I just realized that’s not a question, just more of a comment, so. [laughs]
BRYAN: That’s good. That’s good. Like you guys have a cool story. I’m glad to give you the platform for it. And to everybody out there, here’s the truth of it. Like if you do something that’s an experiment and you lose half your audience, then you didn’t have them in the first place. So take risks while you can. Do things that interest and excite you, pitch yourself how you want to be pitched. If you need to chase dollars, do it, but make room for the other things, like talk to people and say: This is who I am. This is what I do. And this is what I can offer you and stand your ground. Because, you know, Sounds Profitable started. I set my exact rates for sponsorship. I set my exact rates for everything, and I had zero subscribers. And I got sponsors. And I set what the value is and what it’s going to be. And it doesn’t matter about the subscribers. It’s the message and the growth and the value. And so as it’s growing, yeah. At some point it will outpace, right. Those people that are paying are getting a greater value than they were at the start. But I know what I’m bringing to the table. I know what I need out of them to survive. And I know where I’m going to let them dip into deciding what I’m going to do. So do it. Take risks now. Treat your podcasts like it’s your own. Be creative and in the same way that you wouldn’t put an unedited section of your podcasts live, your editor would never let you do that. Your production team would never let you do that. And even if that’s you yourself, you would never just let that go out there being, without being processed. Ads are the same thing. They’re not like a hole where people forgive you. It’s part of your episode, it’s baked in it’s that whole thing. It’s not like a commercial break. Your episode had ads, not the network that hosts your episode. So take risks. Be cool. Have fun.
ROCK: Yeah. I think that’s a great place to end it as much as I want to keep talking to you, Bryan.
BRYAN: I’ll come back anytime, man.
ROCK: Yeah. Well, like you said to her available and, and you’ve been extremely available and giving to us, even though we’re early on in the relationship. So I look forward to continuing. Watch Sounds Profitable and how it develops in, you know, we didn’t even touch on the product deep dives that you’re doing. Those are great as well. Podcast is, is kicking butt. So yeah, we’re big fans and thank you for making some time to share all of your insight and experience with our listeners..
BRYAN: Awesome, thanks for having me.
ROCK: Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of Between Two Mics.
ZACH: We hope you enjoyed our conversation. If you learned something or we intrigued you a bit, let us know on social media.
ROCK: You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, by searching for Squadcastfm.
ZACH: And if you want to show the podcast some love, you can leave us a rating or review wherever it is you’re listening right now.
ROCK: This show is put together by us, Zach and Rock. It’s mixed and produced by Vince Moreno. With help from Arielle Nissenblatt. Our logo is designed by Alex Whedbee.
ZACH: Since we’re a podcast about podcasts, we want to shout out the brands and products that we trust. We’re recording, using Squadcast.fm. And here’s our current stack. For recording, we’re using ATR2100 mics, Apple AirPods Max headphones, and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interfaces.
ROCK: We edit the show on Adobe Audition and our hosting site is Simplecast.
ZACH: That’s it for us this week. We’re back next week with more from between these mics.
[music fades out]
Vincent Moreno Jr. is an Audio Engineer, head of SquadCast Support, and avid BBQ’er. He aims to make sure Podcasters can create content smoothly while sounding crystal clear with ease.