Building a B2B Podcast Empire

The Power of Owner Marketing

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Let’s dive in…

This week, we’re covering B2B podcasting with Tom Hunt, founder of Fame, a podcast agency that's revolutionizing how companies approach content marketing. Tom's journey from demand generation specialist to podcast mogul offers valuable insights for anyone looking to build an agency and leverage content in their marketing strategy.

Fast Facts

  1. There are over 464 million podcast listeners worldwide, projected to reach 504.9 million by the end 2024.

  2. The average podcast listener spends about 7 hours per week listening to podcasts.

  3. Spotify and Apple Podcasts are the leading podcast platforms globally.

  4. Podcast advertising revenue is expected to surpass $1 billion by 2021, with 54% of podcast consumers more likely to consider brands advertised on podcasts.

Source: https://backlinko.com/podcast-stats; https://promo.ly/facts-about-podcasts/; https://www.quillpodcasting.com/blog-posts/22-podcast-stats-and-facts-you-should-know

The Fame Growth Story

Tom's path to building Fame is a masterclass in finding opportunity where you are. He created a podcast while at another company as a way to meet and better understand marketers who were his employer’s clients. The podcast was successful and helped his company land a major client (Intercom).

Tom quickly realized that lots of other companies could benefit from the same service so he founded Fame in 2019 with his old employer as his first client.

Less than 5 years later he’s grown the agency to an ARR of $3.8 million with over 100 clients as of June 2024.

Navigating the Growth "Black Hole"

But nothing is ever easy and like many young companies, Fame hit a growth plateau around the $2 million ARR mark. Growing a business to $2m means you’ve figured out how to sell but the rapid growth starts creating chaos because you haven’t figured out how to manage.

Tom was in hub and spoke mode with him as the hub and everyone else as a spoke. There was no management layer to help him run the company.

Tom's solution was to step back from day-to-day operations and promote internal talent to leadership positions. He built a leadership team structure with Heads of Account Management, Operations, and Growth to keep the ship steady.

And as I usually recommend, Tom used that freed up time to drive much of the leader generation by focusing on strategic growth and personal branding. Similar to our newsletter on Adam Robinson last week, he has been using LinkedIn as a key organic marketing and growth driver.

He grew his LinkedIn following from 25,000 to 125,000 in 3-4 months and the results have been impressive. Not only has LinkedIn become a source for new client engagements but it has also greatly improved recruiting lifting applications for positions from an average of 50 to over 500.

What was his LinkedIn strategy?  He engaged daily with others in his target audience; he posted content aligned with his passions and business goals AND he treated every post as an experiment and learned from the results.

The Future of B2B Marketing

As traditional channels like SEO and paid social become more challenging, Tom sees a shift towards owned media and personal branding. He predicts that founders who build strong personal brands will have an edge in attracting both customers and investors.

Tom sees the modern B2B marketing funnel as:

  1. Organic social content (top of funnel)

  2. Email newsletter (middle, optional)

  3. Podcast (bottom of funnel, deepest relationship)

As far as those podcasts go, Tom has four key pieces of advice for making a good one:

  1. Define a clear niche and unique angle

  2. Aim for 30-minute episodes (balances depth and production effort)

  3. Keep a regular cadence. If you post infrequently or randomly, you’ll never grow.

  4. Use internal hosts and a mix of customers, influencers, and partners as guests.

The Small Business Mentor’s Take

What Tom’s built is impressive and I think we can take three key lessons away:

  1. Owners are almost always the best growth leaders. As we see with Tom, the more time he can devote to marketing and sales, the faster the company grows. Owners are almost always the person best positioned to market and sell.

  2. Personal branding feels like more than a fad. I’m increasingly convinced that the owner’s role should involve some sort of personal branding that aligns with the marketing funnel. In a social world, customers want to know the story of the company and they want a trusted relationship with you. It’s probably most important in B2B but I think also to an extent in B2C.

  3. Growth creates chaos. The more successful you are at creating that growth, the more work there is to manage. The more work there is to manage, the more processes, systems, and managers you need. You need to build an internal management team as you grow past $2-3m to help contain the chaos.

That’s it for this week.

Keep growing,

Alan

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