Growth Hacking Growth — Benjamin Shapiro & Todd Hines // MarTech Podcast

For this episode, Ben and Todd talked about how our team’s initial reactions with the pandemic shockwave, getting incremental growths from our app store optimization campaign and realizing we’ve hit the ceiling. They’ve also discussed MarTech’s biggest learning experience so far, our very own, content syndication scoring.

Show Notes


  • “MarTech’s growth wasn’t an accident but it was surprising because our budget went down on spending and our monthly downloads went up. It feels, in many ways, like a tipping point and I feel like it’s a manifestation of a better strategy that we used for some of our guest outreach and understanding how best we can make an impact on the MarTech community through relationships and collaborations with others who are also making a positive influence.” -- Todd“In January of 2020, we had taken a pretty nice jump forward. We were somewhere around 40 to 45,000 downloads a month in December 2019 and we stumbled upon an app store optimization campaign which basically is something that drives downloads, and generates reviews, and boosts the podcast in the Apple app store. By being boosted you start to get more organic downloads so we were relying on that channel but we were also spending three to four grand a month on marketing.” -- Ben “When we turned off that channel to test whether those downloads were real, and what would be the repercussions if we didn’t continue our app store optimization, we went from 57 to 54 so there was about 5% loss but most of the people who were still listening ended up being real, valuable listeners so we went from 45,000 to 54,000 downloads after the app store optimization campaign.” -- Ben “Then we hit March and we decided when the coronavirus happened, the economy tanked, marketers were getting fired and unfortunately, we had some sponsors who reached out and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to cancel our relationship.” -- Todd “It definitely called for a moment of pause and re-assessment. It’s like when the ground shakes beneath your feet and the first thing you do is to reach for something to hold on to stabilize. That’s how I remember that feeling being when we felt a lot of the shockwaves and we realized things were changing. It’s like, let’s brace ourselves and fortunately, we had money in the bank and we thought about how we can be of value to organizations even at this time where they are tightening their budgets, and to reach out to our audience who are still hungry for marketing knowledge.” -- Todd “When we got into April we started to feel like it was normalizing so we got back to our app store optimization campaign but didn’t do our paid marketing buying podcast ads which are our tried and true marketing channel from 2019 so we saw our podcast to about 59,000 downloads. We kept that strategy going for a couple of months and what we realized was that we kind of hit a ceiling. It was a nice way to up-level the growth that we have but it wasn’t necessarily generating new growth.” -- Ben “We saw really good incremental growth in that quarter. It went from 60,000 to 70,000 per month.” -- Todd “We put in a place a system of ranking guest applicants and we’ve come along way along the course of almost three years now from having to spend a portion of our time seeking guests, we now have a flow of excellent guest submissions for people requesting to be on our show and so we’re in a great position now where we can be selective and we can look through applications and figure out the right way to prioritize our invites.” -- Todd “There’s a ranking system that you, Ben, came up with and it takes various factors such as LinkedIn followers, Twitter connection, SEO rankings of websites into a formula who will give us a score to rank the influence of these various guests. We’re able to use that to help us prioritize who to invite and it was an incredible leap forward for us.” -- Todd “It’s the biggest win for us this year. What we call our content syndication score. And I always say that we are open-kimono on this podcast so we’re going to talk exactly about how it works.” -- Ben “When I sat down to figure out how to prioritize which guests we should have, it was basically out of necessity where PR reps are reaching out to our podcast at a faster rate than we can respond and get people on to the show.” -- Ben “There’s a couple of factors here. First and foremost, we want to create great content. It doesn’t matter who we have on the show, it doesn't matter who they can reach if the content stinks it’s just not gonna put forth a good impression. So the first thing we do is ask what type of content that we want to talk about on the show but we are organizing the list of sponsor applications based on the content syndication score.” -- Ben “The content syndication score multiplies LinkedIn followers, we feel like LinkedIn is the most important channel for the content syndication for this show. So LinkedIn followers X10, Twitter followers aren’t as valuable, so Twitter followers divided by seven and a half plus domain rank X5 plus email list divided by a hundred. Those aren’t the exact numbers that we use but you get a general idea. That spits out a number and we can start to organize the incoming guest application.” -- Ben“When we started launching our content syndication score, we were at about 66,000 downloads. We’ve gone from the mid-50s to mid-60s and we spent 10 grand to gain that extra 10,000 downloads. When we launched the content syndication score without spending, we went to 76,000 downloads. Then for the  month after we went 78,000 and last month we were at 90,000 downloads.” -- Ben“The big lesson here, mostly when you’re developing a content marketing strategy, content syndication is so incredibly important. It is not just about creating pieces of content that people get value out of, there is a community aspect when you’re creating content with someone else. Understanding who you’re working with and thinking about syndication prospects with partnerships, collaborations, they will help you start to promote your content.” -- Ben “We’re getting credibility when we are creating our content because we have interesting guests that are subject matter experts. Hopefully, they are giving us links that are starting to drive our organic traffic but really, this is about virality.” -- Ben “This has been the biggest learning for us. Without increasing our spending, the podcast in the last little over a quarter has gone from the mid-60s to the 90,000 downloads. So all of a sudden we went up with 30,000 downloads per month when the previous quarter we went up 10,000 downloads. That is our biggest growth hacking strategy.” -- Ben

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