5 Stories That Explain Jerod Morris (Plus One Massive Marketing Lesson)

Last week Jerod dedicated a third of an episode to 5 lessons he learned from me. It was a humbling episode. Now it’s his turn to be humbled.


This week I kicked Jerod off the show so I can turn the tables on him. But instead of giving you five lessons, I want to give you five stories.

Five stories that explain Jerod Morris.

But don’t tune out because you think this is going to be some kind of fraternity bromance moment. That’s not the case at all.

In fact, this is a family-friendly episode with a huge content marketing lesson behind these five stories. A lesson you probably have heard before, but one that we all need constant reminding.

So, listen now.

In this 20-minute episode you’ll hear about:

  • Our walk in the rain to a lounge where we planned to dance our brains out to a Portuguese polka band
  • Our early Sunday drive to see the giant spaceship known as the Dallas Cowboys football stadium
  • Jerod’s Authority Rainmaker presentation that shamed every single man in the auditorium
  • The birth of our boy band
  • Jerod’s stint as the Copyblogger blog overlord
  • The thing that Jerod is really good at (which we should copy if we want to build a healthy audience)


The Show Notes


5 Stories That Explain Jerod Morris (Plus One Massive Marketing Lesson)

Voiceover: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at RainmakerPlatform.com.

Demian Farnworth: When husbands tell their wives, “Listen, that image of ‘that’ guy that you have in your mind, that perfect guy, he doesn’t exist.” Then Jerod rolls up to the scene and makes us all look really, really bad.

Welcome back, everybody, to The Lede podcast about content marketing by Copyblogger Media. The Lede, as always, is hosted by me, Demian Farnworth, and my cohost, Jerod Morris, one of the VPs at Rainmaker.FM.

However, there is just one problem. Jerod is not here today for reasons I am not at liberty to discuss. Actually, he’s not here because I kicked him off the show. Not the entire show, but actually just today.

If you caught last week’s episode, Jerod took me to task, I guess you could say. No, he was very kind to talk behind my back, but talk behind my back in a very kind and generous way. The excuse that I had was I was on vacation with my family. We had an episode of The Lede to do, so he did a potpourri and dedicated a third of the show to lessons that he learned from working with me. It was a very humbling episode. I think it’s only fair to turn the tables on Jerod and now talk about him behind his back.

Instead of giving you five lessons, I want to give you one very big lesson, one key takeaway, but through five stories that explain Jerod Morris and what it’s like knowing Jerod Morris.

Before we get to that, let’s deal with one piece of housekeeping business. Jerod’s fiancée is real. That’s correct. The legend known as Heather, the myth, the woman — she’s alive. She is real. She’s not a cardboard cutout, as some of us speculated. She is flesh and blood. I met her at Podcast Movement in Fort Worth a couple of weeks ago. She actually came up to the booth, introduced herself, asked me if I was Demian Farnworth, and then introduced herself and said she was Jerod’s fiancée.

Jerod and his fiancée live in Dallas, so she swung by the conference. She was a great woman to talk to. We sat down. I invited her to sit down behind the booth. We talked about books. I’m very proud to announce that she loves physical books, like the actual print books. We had a great conversation about Jerod, too.

Here’s the thing that I learned, very short amount of time that I spent with Heather, and what, of course, Jerod’s always told me about her, is that he will marry above his pay grade — which is true for any man who has any kind of success in his life. That person, you can be sure, has a woman behind the scenes who is on a level beyond what that man could ever touch.

Heather, welcome to the family. Yes, we are family. Jerod is my little brother, which is why I can make fun of him.

These funny stories that I’m about to tell you, they explain Jerod Morris. Let me be really, really honest with you and just say there is a content marketing lesson here, so don’t be a party pooper and tune out because you think this is going to be some kind of love-fest bromance. That’s partly true, but not entirely true. The overriding message here is keenly content marketing. It’s a message that you have heard before, but we all need constant reminding. Let me start with story one.

Our Walk in the Rain to a Lounge Where We Planned to Dance Our Brains Out to a Portuguese Polka Band

We’re in Austin. It’s March 2013. It’s at night. I believe it’s a Friday night. It’s raining outside, and we’re walking from our hotel room. There’s about 20 of us down dark and open streets with lots of people milling around and lots of noise. There are bands playing throughout the street. South by Southwest is going on.

We were walking down, Jerod and I, with a group of about 20 Copyblogger people to a bar/lounge where there’s a Portuguese polka band playing. I’ve got my heart set on dancing my brains out to that polka band. On the way, Jerod and I sort of distance ourselves from the rest of the crowd.

We start talking. The things that we start talking to are unusual, because Jerod, he kept peppering me about questions on parenting, marriage, and raising children — where to send them for school, and how do you know when you’ve met the right one?

To be honest, these weren’t the sort of questions you were used to getting from your officemates — especially, we’d worked together probably three months, not closely. This is the first time we had any close engagement with each other. These were his questions for me.

Immediately, I fell in love with this guy. I felt like his mind was tuned toward being good at the thing that really mattered, which was people. Jerod is just a genuinely really, really nice guy. This is a guy, like I said, tuned toward being good, the thing that really matters — which is people, being focused and attuned to people.

Our Early Sunday Drive to See the Giant Spaceship Known as the Dallas Cowboys Football Stadium

The second story, we’re in Dallas. It’s January 2015, so it’s this year. It’s a company meeting. There was about 35 of us who joined from all parts of the world, Belarus down in Latin America. We had a number of our system analysts and developers come in. Everyone from Canada, I believe, Amelia Briscoe from Australia came in and then all across America.

We were all having a company meeting in Dallas. At the end of the meetings that we were having — we were there for three days — I had to go to the airport. Jerod lives in Dallas, so he was around. He was staying at the hotel, but he had a car. This is the morning that I’m supposed to leave. I think it’s a Saturday or Sunday morning. My flight leaves that morning.

I asked him, “Jerod, can you do me a big favor?” He’s like, “Sure. What?” I said, “Listen, my son wants me to get a photograph of the Dallas Cowboys football stadium.” I don’t know really where that request came from, but Jerod was more than gracious to say, “Absolutely, I’ll give you a ride to go see that to photograph it, and I’ll take you to the airport.”

His heart, again, was generous and giving towards that. We drove down to Dallas stadium. I took him out for breakfast and the things that we talked about, again, parenting, having a good marriage, raising children. We talked about homeschooling, which we do for our children. He asked about the benefits and the drawbacks. It was, again, a very great question which drove the point home that his mind is tuned towards being good at the thing that really matters — and that’s people.

The side benefit was seeing that gargantuan spaceship known as the Dallas Cowboy football stadium, just sort of sitting there like it landed in the middle of a giant parking lot. Jerod and I enjoyed that time together, and I got pictures for my son. My son enjoyed them. My son was grateful for Jerod for taking me out there, and I was grateful for Jerod for taking me to the airport.

Jerod’s Authority Rainmaker Presentation That Shamed Every Single Man in the Auditorium

Let’s move to story three. This is May 2015, and Jerod is speaking at Authority Rainmaker. He’s got the stage. I don’t remember the point of his presentation, but I remember his opening story. I remember his opening story which he told, which it’s an awful story because it makes every single man in that room look so bad.

The story I’m about to tell you, my wife, who met Jerod a different time, actually the first Authority Rainmaker event that we had, I brought my family out there, and they met Jerod. She knew Jerod just from my discussions with him. She had jumped on the phone while we were having conference calls and talked to Jerod, but she got to meet him actually in person and spend a lot of time with him at our first Authority Rainmaker conference.

She tells me that Jerod is ‘that’ guy. When husbands tell their wives, “Listen, that image of that guy that you have in your mind, that perfect guy, he doesn’t exist.” Then Jerod rolls up to the scene and makes us all look really, really bad.

Here’s the story that Jerod tells. He’s on the stage, Authority 2015. He tells the story about how he proposed to Heather, his fiancée. The story is this elaborate scheme. I think they went to Vermont. They traveled through New England. They were in some harbor. They were everywhere.

Each piece of this trip was planned meticulously by Jerod, but of course, his focus was Heather, making this event for Heather. There was even a photographer hiding in the bushes when he proposed to her on that last day. Again, a very, very firm example of Jerod’s mind just being tuned toward being good at the things that really matter.

The Birth of Our Boy Band

The fourth story is a simple one. It dates back to our trip in Austin in 2013 when we were at South by Southwest, where me, Jessica Commins, Robert Bruce, Chris Thompson, and Jerod, we went to go sing karaoke together. I was impressed that Jerod loved karaoke, and he said he always wanted to be a singer. That was sort of the inaugural coming together of our boy band that we often tease about.

That just started a running joke throughout the company through the years. Naturally, when we were doing the Content Syndication series a few weeks ago, I had the running metaphor about content syndication being like a band where you take your original material, and you just toured across the nation. Same content but different places. That’s content syndication.

To top it off, I wrote a song for Jerod. Since he is notorious for his vests, I wrote a song for him called “It’s Hot Up Here, and This Vest Is Going to Come Off.” Then I tried to convince him to sing it. It took a lot of wrangling, a lot of coaxing, and finally having to record it myself and say, “Hey, let me know if this helps.” He ultimately did record it.

His response, his resistance was, “This is awful, and I don’t want the people … ,” and his focus is on the people, ” … I don’t want the people to be exposed to this. This could damage our reputation, not just ours, but Copyblogger’s.” I was saying, “It’s great. It’s fun. We will just arrange it so people can go and listen to it and not be forced to listen to it.”

He complied because I think, in a lot of ways, he was wanting to make me happy, which, again, I appreciate. It just shows his attention. Again, his focus was on the audience. Like, “We can’t do this because this is awful.” But then — me being a person and someone he cares about and works with and naturally wants to make happy — obliged me, and he did a great job. I’m not sure why he is so incredibly upset about that because I think he did a great job. If you haven’t listened to it, I’ll drop it in the show notes, so you can listen to it.

Jerod’s Stint as the Copyblogger Blog Overlord

Finally, the fifth story spans the year 2014. This is the time that Jerod was the supreme overlord over the blog. Of course, ‘overlord’ is not the right word to use with Jerod because ‘overlord’ has the connotation of someone who’s a slave master and who is vindictive and a tyrant — and Jerod is far from a tyrant.

I mention that time, though, because of several things. Because of Jerod’s ascension through our company, he has been at the company the same time that I’ve been at the company, but he is now the VP of Rainmaker.FM. He’s had two vertical promotions, where I’ve had none. That’s probably because of who he is, his work ethic, how he gets things done, how he manages people.

Working with him as he was the editor of the blog — and then we brought in Stefanie — his manners with us was, again, he wanted to please us. He wanted to work well with us. He really cared about this. It really showed, again, that his mind was tuned toward being good at the things that really, really matter.

That also shows through a lot of his extracurricular activities — like his site and podcast Primility, The Assembly Call, his blog that he had called Midwest Sports, the Showrunner course that he does — everything that he does is tuned toward people and making people feel good about themselves, making people feel purposeful, and like they’re reaching their potential.

Don’t get me wrong, he cares about content. He cares about the stuff that he creates — the podcasts, the videos, the training course that he built for The Showrunner. He cares about those things immensely, but that concern for the content begins with the people who will be reading it, who’ll be listening to it, who’ll be watching it. His mind being tuned toward being good at the things that really matter creates some content that just really resonates with people.

This is why it’s no surprise that a lot of things that he touches excel and do extremely, extremely well. He has his pulse on those people, and he genuinely cares about it. Jerod is probably the person I look up to when it comes to understanding how I need to operate in a world where people live.

Being a cerebral person who loves ideas, I look to somebody like Jerod. Seeing him on stage and the way he handles stage presence, the way he cares about people who are there, the way he interacts with people there. He’s always making people feel really good about being there, really special. He goes out of his way.

When my family came to the conference last year, he really went out of his way to make my kids feel welcome and to make my wife feel welcome, and I really, really appreciate it. Working with him is a joy.
Trust me, we’ve had our conflicts, but the conflict resolution, once you have that trust between two people, it’s easy to do.

The Thing That Jerod Is Really Good at (Which We Should Copy If We Want to Build a Healthy Audience)

The content marketing lesson, if you haven’t picked up on it yet, is to tune your mind towards to be good at the thing that really matters, which is people. Start there, and your content will naturally flow out of that.

Listen, I’ll close with this. If you like The Lede, if you like me and Jerod, and you want more of us and our surly Midwestern humor, check out some of our personal podcasts on The Rainmaker.FM network by jumping over to, like I mentioned, Showrunner.FM, or Jerod has another one called Primility that he’s just launched. It’s also a daily short show. My show is Rough Draft, where I drop essential web-writing advice in less than 10 minutes a day, four days a week.

If you happen to be a binge listener, too — someone who can’t get enough of podcasts — then you probably will want to subscribe to our Master Rainmaker.FM feed because, if I’m correct, we have at least 18 shows. That’s 18 individual shows ranging from topics to business, entrepreneurship, all the way to writing, to editing, to technology. You’re bound to find something that you’ll love, but also, too, if you want just sort of a crash course in marketing online, you’ll get it from this network of podcasts.

All these podcasts, by the way, all of our shows are brought to you by Rainmaker.FM, which is the digital marketing podcast network that is built on the Rainmaker Platform, a platform that empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales empire.

Yes, we all know you want to take over the world. The cool thing is, for the next 14 days, you can use the Rainmaker Platform for free, and get your hands on the Rainmaker Platform for 14 days without paying a dime. Just visit RainmakerPlatform.com to start your free trial. It’s 14 days.

See if it works for you, but keep in mind, this is not an entry-level product. This is for serious business-minded people who want to build a business out of selling digital products. You can try it free for 14 days at RainmakerPlatform.com.

Until next episode, take care, and remember to tune your mind towards the thing that really matters. Take care.