Why Copyblogger Media is Betting Big on Podcasting

Back in 2005, I came up with the idea for Copyblogger, a site that taught people how to create text content and copy to sell products and services. Right … everyone knows that.

But did you know a competing idea was to instead start a podcast? To say that would have been the wrong move (in several ways) is a monumental understatement.

For one, I had never recorded anything other than bad tape recordings and a few .wav files. And for another, it was way too early for the medium and the technology.

But even now in 2015, why is Copyblogger Media–a company that came to prominence in part by teaching people how to write–now embracing the podcasting phenomenon this strongly? Well, in many ways, audio makes more sense for more people than text. The Internet is just now catching up.

If you want to know why (and how) we’re betting big on podcasting, you’ll have to tune in. And if you like what you hear, you’re about to have a whole lot more to listen to when it comes to digital marketing advice and commentary.

In this 48-minute episode Robert Bruce and I discuss:

  • More on why I didn’t start a podcast in 2005
  • A short history of Copyblogger audio content
  • Why we’re betting big on audio, and you should too
  • The thinking behind our decision to build a podcast network
  • A brief overview of the current Rainmaker.FM lineup
  • What’s coming next (and soon) for Rainmaker.FM …

The Show Notes

Why Copyblogger Media is Betting Big on Podcasting

Robert Bruce: I guess we should start with the fact that we’re in new digs here. We’re in a new home. Rainmaker.FM has been around for a while, but this is the first episode that we’re doing this. What do you think of this new place?

Brian Clark: I think it’s kind of crowded. It used to be just us and those guys on The Lede.

Robert Bruce: Right.

Brian Clark: There’s how many shows?

Robert Bruce: There are 10 shows, eleven if you count the Master Feed, which is all of the shows in one feed. You’re convinced that not many people are going to use that Master Feed, but we’ll see.

Brian Clark: Yeah, who knows? I don’t know. I just think it’s ironic that we’re announcing our podcast network, and I have a cold and I kind of sound like Barry White, baby.

Robert Bruce: Do you have a fireplace going, and some scotch next to you?

Brian Clark: Oh yeah. Smoking jacket on.

Robert Bruce: What are your plans for the evening, Brian … Barry?

Brian Clark: I think I’m going to stop doing that before I embarrass myself further.

Robert Bruce: So here we are, Rainmaker.FM. If you’re listening to this through iTunes, you should go check out quietly. We’re not announcing this actually until next week. When this goes up it will be Thursday morning, but we’re not actually publicly announcing this till next Monday, but check out Rainmaker.FM. Tell us what you think. It’s the first live episode that we’re doing here.

Brian Clark: Don’t forget to give us a rating and a review on iTunes because all of these upstarts are coming along, and we need to increase our lead, so to speak.

Robert Bruce: Yes. You listening to this right now are among the first who have seen it, so thank you. Brian, there is a little interesting news item this week, and a bummer. We’re starting this brand new media property, Rainmaker.FM, the same week that a major player is going down, and that’s GigaOm, the news of GigaOm.com.

Brian Clark: Yeah, it’s shocking to me and sad. It’s been around as long as Copyblogger actually. It was about the same time that Om transformed it from a personal blog into a true media property. It just caught me by surprise because I think Om left a year ago to go join True Ventures as a venture capitalist, and there was an infusion of $8 million at the time. Now, on one hand, they either spent $8 million amazingly fast, and are completely broke, but I think probably that was a buyout of Om.

Maybe the cash didn’t stay completely in the company or at all, and they had changed to a content marketing focus, in that they were primarily looking to sell research to make money. I think it just brings up one of these eternal questions. It’s obviously not that content marketing doesn’t work. If you’re not in sync with your product or service matched up to your audience, you can still fail even if your content is fantastic like Gigaom. Yeah, It’s a bit sad.

Robert Bruce: Fantastic.

Brian Clark: But it’s also kind of a lesson at the same time.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, really good content, but also major property, major audience, major numbers going on over there for a long, long time. It is a bummer.

Brian Clark: The whole point of having an audience is listening to what they want to buy, not deciding what you want to sell, and that’s been the Copyblogger story all along. Here we are launching a major new authority site based on audio, which is a way to reach a different audience than the core Copyblogger audience. Yet what we’re selling — the very platform that it’s built on — we know people want it, because from the launch in September, we are now into seven figures easily and growing every day.

The trick for us is not that we have to figure out what people want to buy. We’ve done that from listening over the years. Now, it’s how do you reach more of the type of people that are going to go for Rainmaker as opposed to self-hosted WordPress or something like that.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. Okay, we’ve broken this down into three parts, today’s episode. We’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about audio content in general and specifically what we’ve been doing in the past for part one, what we’re doing right now in the present with Rainmaker.FM, and then also what some ideas about what the future may hold.

We’re going to stick to that little format. Some of the parts of the story is just going to be me interviewing you, or before I knew you, actually, then moving to the present and the future.

Let’s go back to 2005. You launched Copyblogger in 2006, January of 2006. But I know you’d been thinking for a long time about what you wanted to do, what type of content, what format, what type of topics you wanted to do.

But there’s one thing in particular before you came up with the idea of Copyblogger. You had another idea. Tell us what that idea was and what this thing might have been.

More on Why I Didn’t Start a Podcast in 2005

Brian Clark: In 2005, I exited the two real estate companies that I started, sold those to my partners which was a disaster, and ultimately left me with not much of anything. Just to keep it clear that I was not flushed with cash at that point. I had to hustle doing a few online projects in the fall of 2005 just to survive. Looking around at the time, you’ve got blogging, which is growing up into pro blogging or commercial blogging.

The other interesting thing that happened and was going on was early, early, early podcasts. Remember they were named after the iPod? I don’t know if that’s lost on people at this point given that the iPod has been discontinued, and it’s really the iPhone and various other technologies that have really caused podcasting to finally explode 10 years later, 9 years later. I was just so fascinated with the concept even though I’d never done any form of audio recording outside of … You know those little push button tape recorders we had when we had to record songs off the radio.

Robert Bruce: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

Brian Clark: And try to catch it before the DJ started talking or get that instance of the song. That must sound so insane to younger people. Then we’d have to carry around a boom box on our shoulder, and we thought the Walkman, which was the size of a small attaché case, and yellow.

Robert Bruce: Okay, we can reminiscence all we want later.

A Short History of Copyblogger Audio Content

Brian Clark: Yeah, I was fascinated. I wanted to start a podcast even though I was completely unqualified to do it, yet I was qualified to write. Smartly, I would say, I started Copyblogger instead. I played to my strengths and that was fortuitous in lots of ways. Number one, I probably would have been terrible. Number two, podcasting crashed and burned. The big VC funded network, I can’t remember what it was called, but Scoble was involved and some other technology people tied to blogging and RSS, and it crashed and burned.

Adam Curry, the former MTV VJ was known as the pod father and he was a big podcasting advocate. He was very persuasive about how powerful podcasting was, and his venture completely failed. I’m not even sure what he’s doing anymore. But he was the man. Everyone listened. Well, everyone being us nerds. We all listened to that show. Did you ever listen to Curry?

Robert Bruce: Oh, I was only aware of him from MTV. I was not aware of podcasting in general till about 2006, but no. No, I missed him in that format all together.

Brian Clark: Yeah. So I think we met in 2006, and you have always had this fascination with audio.

Robert Bruce: Yup. What’s interesting to me about this is the crash and burn, the first crash and burn of audio online largely because it was expensive. A lot of the tools that we have now weren’t around, so if you wanted to both produce it but also consume it, it was a lot more expensive and difficult to do all the way around. It’s still not easy to do well. We’ve been doing this now for a number of years — and we’re starting this podcast network — and there’s still bumps and bruises along the way. It’s difficult to get really good audio quality all the time.

Brian Clark: Especially when you’re managing a lot of people, and kudos to you for that. You and I, for four years we talked about it, 2006 and 2010, wasn’t it 2010 that we launched the first?

Robert Bruce: Yeah.

Bring Clark: You wrote me an email. I was lying in some gutter somewhere, and you wrote me an email and said, “Hey, you want to come work with us, with Sonia and I and everybody?” One of the first conversations that you and I had was about starting a podcast, and that’s exactly what we did.

It was in November of 2010, and it went really well. I mean it was mostly you and I, and Sonia would come on a lot, and then you or I would interview people, basic format, but it was a hardcore teaching format mostly, like everything else we do. And it went really well.

Why We’re Betting Big on Audio, and You Should Too

Brian Clark: Yeah. It’s interesting, because that show had rabid fans, yet here it was our perception — because we were killing it with text content. Part of the evolution here is it was hard, and the web from a search and sharing standpoint was just so text focused, yet a lot of people don’t read. It’s not necessarily something you can do while you’re doing something else, like driving a car, one would hope. Although I do see that occasionally on the freeway, and I’m like, “What are you doing?”

It’s portable. It’s on demand. It’s all this perfect stuff for the modern world, yet it took a long time to shift. We never took that podcast too seriously. It seemed like just a novelty for some people because we had an audience full of readers, and you write a post that goes viral, you do a podcast and you’re like, “Hello?”

Robert Bruce: Yeah. One interesting aspect of that that we realized quickly was that this was tapping into a whole new audience that we’ve never talked about. Obviously there were some overlap from Copyblogger, of course, but there was a whole new audience of these audio people who we had never had the opportunity to talk to before.

Brian Clark: Yeah, and I think that’s incredibly true today because there’s a big portion of the web that doesn’t read 1500-word articles, but they’ll easily consume an hour of podcast at the gym, on the run, in the car, whatever the case may be — in the background while they’re getting work done. It’s radio, except it’s on demand and portable.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, 2005, you’re thinking about starting a podcast network. You veer into text, which was a smart decision at that time. Five years later, we start a single podcast, and then four years later, actually, let’s finish that part. We abruptly ended Internet Marketing for Smart People — you just stopped doing it.

Brian Clark: It actually morphed into The Lede, and then we handed that over.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. There was a period of downtime, and then Jerod came on and Demian, and they started it up again as The Lede. It was pretty abrupt, and we just kind of stopped doing it. I mean we got busy like everybody else, building the company.

Brian Clark: Yeah, as key products and services.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, right. It’s interesting to think about, ultimately, at some level, that we never would have probably articulated this, it was like this is something that can be left behind. If anything has to be, this is probably the thing. That wasn’t a conscious decision, but of course it’s the decision we made nonetheless.

Brian Clark: Yeah, it was a thing that if you don’t have enough time in the day, then that was a thing, that we didn’t see the return that everything’s brought to us.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, and that’s 2010. Now fast forward another four years, and we are launching the Rainmaker Platform, which from a product standpoint is really the future for us.

Brian Clark: That’s the reason Copyblogger Media was formed in 2010 when we merged the individual businesses together.

Robert Bruce: But here’s the thing, you came to me and said — we started talking about audio, and we’d been talking about audio constantly throughout this whole time — but you said, “I think I want to launch the product, specifically with a podcast.” I said, “A brand new podcast or what are you talking about because we don’t have any traction.” Of course, again, Copyblogger will back that up, but you wanted to start a brand new podcast leading up to the launch of the Rainmaker Platform, and that was going to be the way that we were going to launch this. Let’s talk about that a little bit.

Brian Clark: We launched the pilot program.

Robert Bruce: Right. Correct, be specific.

Brian Clark: It was crucial because the pilot program got motivated people into the service, and we were able to take their feedback and evolve it from 1.0 to 2.0 before we ever mentioned it on Copyblogger. We did launch a product without ever mentioning it in text or at least on Copyblogger. We did do it with audio. There were three webinars there at the end, to try to boil down into some very intensive education, the concepts that were behind this media not marketing approach, which is a better way of explaining content marketing. A lot of light bulbs went off there.

It was almost unbelievable. I think it was Mike Stelzner who told me that he was listening to — we did the actual announcement of the Rainmaker pilot program was by audio. He was like, “I couldn’t stop listening. It was fascinating.” I was like, “Well, thank you,” but I was just hoping I wasn’t losing people because it was a completely different medium for me compared to writing the announcement post.

Robert Bruce: I got to give it to you because I was worried — and we talked about it – but I’ve really got to give it to you for that because it worked. I was wondering if it would or how it would work, but it really did.

Brian Clark: I hear that all the time in this company. Everyone keeps waiting me for to make a crazy decision that fails, not to say that all my decisions aren’t crazy.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, right. Let’s be clear here.

Brian Clark: There’s usually a method behind my madness.

In 2013 as we’re coming into the New Year, it’s almost like you feel like coming, and what a year 2014 was for podcasting. Now I can’t claim to be prescient enough to say, “Yeah. I saw a serial coming.”

Robert Bruce: Yeah, right.

Brian Clark: It’s intuition. It’s just an overall awareness that this is gaining momentum, and this is where the future of the audience is beyond the audience that we have. And it’s time to go down with it. I was nervous too, frankly. I just didn’t tell you.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. Well, and what do we know about this medium. Audio is so powerful from a logical standpoint, that you’re talking into somebody’s head on a regular basis and you become the listener — and this is true for me of the podcasts I listen to anyway — there’s a sense of getting to know the person. Of course, you’re not really getting to know them but there’s a sense.

Brian Clark: I think there is some truth to that. I mean I’m certainly more me in this format than I am in writing.

Robert Bruce: Right.

Brian Clark: Because in writing, every word has to be the right word, and I don’t really have that luxury. The early new Rainmaker episodes were scripted, which was something we had never done before because we were trying to create this kind of NPR/educational experience that no one in our space had really done before. We forgot to mention that that part of it was not only new to us, but it was new to the market.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. That was 2014 in terms of our story of using audio in the ways that we have. To kind of close out this first section of the past, you and I have talked for years about the idea of a podcast network and kind of liking that. As we said before, it was impractical from a production standpoint and even from a cost standpoint.

Brian Clark: Do you remember that we always talked about it outside the context of Copyblogger because we just felt like our audience didn’t like audio enough.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. We’re Copyblogger. We write articles.

Brian Clark: Yeah, exactly. Until, the fall of last year and two light bulbs went off at the same time.

The Thinking Behind Our Decision to Build a Podcast Network

Robert Bruce: Yeah. Something happened there, I’m not sure, but we both kind of agreed and it came together in a single conversation, I do remember that. We’d been building for several years and we thought, “Okay, this is crazy. Are we stupid? Let’s do a podcast network.” That brings us to the present.

I guess in talking about what we’re doing now with Rainmaker.FM, I wanted to talk a little more philosophically about it, like why are we doing it, what were the decisions that we made. Some of it was just gut instinct and we just want to do it. But let’s start with the general idea of audio versus text. As we were having these conversations, why do you think we were bending more towards audio in the last, let’s say, two years?

Brian Clark: It is a way to reach other people. I think even more of our core audience is consuming more audio.

Robert Bruce: Yup.

Brian Clark: They’re becoming podcasters themselves. It’s just an evolution. I mean it’s not like in the real world we are only readers and never watch video or listen to audio. Of course, we all do all of those things. We tend to prefer one medium or another. To this day, if someone tries to sell me an educational course — it could be the best course in the world — but if its video-based, I’m just going to go, “Well, that’s useless unless they have transcripts,” because I can get an idea from video, and I certainly like to watch entertainment like “Better Call Saul” last night.

Robert Bruce: Yup.

Brian Clark: Have you started watching the show yet?

Robert Bruce: I got the first episode in.

Brian Clark: Then?

Robert Bruce: That’s as far as I am.

Brian Clark: The latest one is so good, but I’m not going to spoil it.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, don’t. Don’t. I’ll reach through this microphone and strangle you. I got caught back up in “Sopranos,” so I’m screwed for another six months or whatever.

Brian Clark: I still haven’t tried to do that because I know It affects my work productivity.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. You should take a sabbatical, a three-month sabbatical.

Brian Clark: Yeah, you let me know when I can do that, okay. You watch the house.

Robert Bruce: Just for the “Sopranos.” Yeah, where the audience is a big one here, and obviously everybody is aware of the kind of the rise of digital audio content and the ease of which the consumer’s able to grab it.

Brian Clark: I think why we decided in that one conversation it was smart. The Rainmaker Platform is not a podcasting platform, but it’s got some of the best podcast functionality anywhere.

Robert Bruce: Yup.

Brian Clark: You can create an entire network with it. It’s got stats built right in. It’s got submission built right in. It’s really powerful, and of course it does about 50,000 other things. And Rainmaker.FM itself will demonstrate a lot of those things because audio is content, but it’s not the entire aspect of what works best for lead generation or cultivating community, or conversion, all of that kind of stuff. It’s a big part of what Rainmaker does. It’s not the only thing. We’re not selling it as a podcasting platform, but with the growing enthusiasm for audio content, almost every marketer should be using audio at this point.

We’re kind of keyed in, and we’re like, “We need to reach the people we’re not reaching, and we’ve got all these great features, and we want to do more audio and it’s just perfect.” It’s so funny, you and I decided this in a conversation, then we had to tell everyone else. The response was amazing, right? People were like beating down your door to be involved.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. This idea of not only the podcast because like we said we’ve got the new Rainmaker podcast, which we should talk about the change in name here so there’s no confusion a little bit, too.

Brian Clark: The change back you mean.

Robert Bruce: The change back, right. The original name of this show was New Rainmaker. We changed it to Rainmaker.FM for various reasons. Now because the network is itself Rainmaker.FM, this show is again what it once was.

Brian Clark: We actually changed the name before we made the decision, and then we just left it because it got the brand out there.

Robert Bruce: Yeah.

Brian Clark: We even changed the Twitter account. It became Rainmaker.FM. The platform became associated with Rainmaker.FM, and that was a very conscious decision to make sure that people understood the difference.

Robert Bruce: Yeah.

Brian Clark: The only thing you call New Rainmaker from now on is this show.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, so the ‘why podcasting’ question I think is relatively obvious, but the next question that begs — in terms of what we’re doing — is why a podcast network? Why this group of shows under one banner that we’re starting with 10 shows? You’ll see that this is going to rapidly grow in terms of the number of shows and as we work on issues of quality both in content and in production. Why a podcast network? Why even think along those lines?

Brian Clark: It’s this other trend. Jay Baer has been talking about it a lot — employee generated content, tapping in to the people within your organization, whether it’s a huge enterprise or a smaller business in order to create relevant content from the people who are in different facets not just ‘marketing’ or in our case, ‘editorial.’

The people on the front lines, your chief of operations, your head of product development, all these people have perspectives that the folks of marketing need to understand better, yet why do we have to filter everything through marketing or editorial. In fact, some of those voices may turn out to be breakout stars. We started looking around our own organization, and we have a lot of Internet celebrities. Chris Garrett has been a blogger longer than me.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, in his own right. Yup.

Brian Clark: Yeah. Tony Clark used to write but as soon as he met me, he quit because he wanted me to do it all.

Robert Bruce: He does write. He writes a Copyblogger post every seven years, once every seven years.

Brian Clark: Is that it? Okay.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, that’s the rule. The idea of tapping into your own resources and your own people — obviously if you’re in a smaller organization or you’re on your own, this is not necessarily going to apply — but the other side of this that does apply is talking to your talented friends and colleagues around you if this is the way you want to think.

In a moment, we’ll do a quick overview of all the shows on the network, but you’ll notice that we’ve got currently two non-Copyblogger shows, folks that have been or are starting their own thing, and we’ll be looking more into that as well. These are people who are not Copyblogger employees, but again, like Chris Garrett, in their own right, subject matter experts and interested in these topics.

A Brief Overview of the Current Rainmaker.FM Lineup

Brian Clark: People like Loren Baker, he founded Search Engine Journal. He works with Greg Boser at Foundation Digital. This guy knows his stuff. He’s not really creating content on a regular basis. He has the expertise. He’s got a great voice, and he was interested in doing a podcast. I’m like, “Hey, Loren, how about a show that’s kind of focused on modern SEO?” He’s like, “Yeah, absolutely,” because we can assist in building his audience much more rapidly than he would be able to do alone.

Jon Nastor of Hack the Entrepreneur, that was just me and him hitting it off. I’m like, “Hey, we’re doing this network.” He’s like, “Yup.” I’m like, “Wait, I haven’t asked you yet.” It was flattering that he would bring that because that’s a great show. It’s not going to be our approach to add existing shows to the network like in the way of recruitment. If it happens to happen, great. We’re more interested in finding people with subject matter expertise, say Tim Hayden in mobile. They’ve got an interest in podcasting we help them get started fresh. That makes more sense to us.

Also, what about this? In our audience out there, there’s got to be a huge amount of talent aspiring to start their own show. Those may be the people we need to talk to because we can give them the most benefit with production, promotion, wisdom, what have we learned, what have we screwed up. All that kind of stuff becomes ingrained within the production of this site, and we’re able to help people join us in a way that’s mutually beneficial.

Robert Bruce: Yup. You mentioned Jon Nastor with Hack the Entrepreneur, Loren Baker’s new show which is called — I got to say probably my favorite show title in the entire network right now — which is Search & Deploy.

Brian Clark: He threw out like five different titles to me, and I’m like it’s Search & Deploy. No, that was like the first or second one, and he kept giving me ideas, and I’m like, “No, it’s Search & Deploy.”

Robert Bruce: Yeah. You can stop now. You started this — let’s go briefly through the other shows. Sonia Simone, our Chief Content Officer, she’s running a show called the Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer.

Brian Clark: Which is another great title and the greatest show art ever.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, the show art is pretty amazing. Thank you, Lauren. She’s doing a quick weekly monologue-rant type thing. I won’t get into super detail with some of these descriptions. You can go to Rainmaker.FM and right on the homepage read a description of each show.

Stefanie Flaxman, she’s Editor-in-Chief over at Copyblogger.com. Her show is called Editor-in-Chief. Talking about things, building your platform from that perspective.

Brian Clark: That’s a really interesting show because it’s instead of just like Grammar Girl or something, which is important, it’s a methodology.

Robert Bruce: Yup.

Brian Clark: It’s incredibly insightful and stuff that it’s hard to talk about in another medium.

Robert Bruce: The grammar angle on that is huge — certainly there will be a lot of direct teaching with that — Stefanie and I were talking about it, building up to the launch of the network itself. She is hardcore in terms of getting all the details right. That kind of thing is going to be infused in her show for sure.

Anyway, that’s kind of a must listen. Then we get into the weirder side of things with Demian Farnworth, which is par for the course, I think, from Mr. Farnworth — obviously it’s some tongue-in-cheek there. But he’s got a show called Rough Draft which is a daily show, very short-form monologue, four minutes. It’s pure Demian for you pure writers out there. I have a great affection for this show already.

Brian Clark: Yeah. I mean everyone I hope is familiar with the epic homerun viral sensation post this guy writes. I mean anyone who’s creating content or writing should listen to Demian, yet Demian is our resident crazy person. I think he replaced you in that.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. I think so.

Brian Clark: You’re relatively sane. You just don’t leave the house much.

Robert Bruce: No.

Brian Clark: But Demian is so much fun to listen to because he’s got brilliance and insanity, right there, that fine line — he walks it every day.

Robert Bruce: Yup. If you’re the pure writer, he’s your man. Rough Draft is your show. Then we move into something like Hit Publish, Pamela Wilson, I don’t know how much you want to talk about what’s been going on behind the scenes here, but this is a phenomenal show on a couple of levels. First of all, Pamela is super smart.

Brian Clark: She’s also been writing for Copyblogger I think longer and more consistently than anyone in history, and we’ve had 150 guest writers.

Robert Bruce: Yeah.

Brian Clark: Something like that. She’s almost been part of the team in spirit for a long time, and then of course she came on board, and she’s just a badass. She’s actually taking over Copyblogger.com.

Robert Bruce: It’s probably a whole other episode in and of itself.

Brian Clark: It probably is. We’ll get Pamela on here to talk about that.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. What’s cool here though with Hit Publish, her show, is she decided to take the high production value road. She’s doing a lot heavy-duty editing, working with our editor.

Brian Clark: She’s kind of taking on what we were trying to do with New Rainmaker in the first iteration.

Robert Bruce: Exactly.

Brian Clark: Remember when we did those two episodes where I interviewed Sally Hogshead and just kind of interspersed it, again, like a very NPR format. She nailed it, though. She’s got multiple voices. I did a recording session with her and answered four questions in a batch on different topics, and she did that with several other people. She’s got all this material, and she just weaves it together with the help of our production team.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. I’m sitting here thinking about all these. We’re going to need to bring some of these folks on to talk about how they do.

Brian Clark: Absolutely.

Robert Bruce: Audio production is a big enough topic in and of itself and how people are putting their shows together, thinking about it, choosing their format, all of that.

Brian Clark: And what not to do yourself.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, which is by the way, we’re going to learn obviously in these first months and first year, there’s going to be some huge lessons on that, what not to do. Then we come to the best show of the entire network which is New Rainmaker.

Brian Clark: No bias there.

Robert Bruce: Jerod and I have an ongoing rivalry between New Rainmaker and The Lede. This has been going on for some time. He thinks The Lede is better, I disagree but we’ll see how that pans out.

Brian Clark: Well, I have to side with you, Robert. I don’t mean to be the impartial, or partial CEO, but I have to admit this is my show, our show, but I’m part of us.

Robert Bruce: Right. I think that’s smart. Speaking of The Lede, a lot of you are going to know about that show which is Jerod Morris, and Demian, again, makes an appearance weekly on The Lede. Sometimes they interview folks. They’re going to change that up a little bit, so if you have been listening to The Lede, make sure you keep on track or check back in with it.
Then we get into some interesting things, a couple of little different things as we close up this overview of the opening shows, something like No Sidebar with Brian Gardner. He’s our Chief Product Officer, founder of StudioPress.

Brian Clark: Yeah. Talk about a personal revolution, no pun intended, for those of you who remember that Brian effectively created the premium WordPress market with the Revolution theme. He has become Mr. Podcaster.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. The last couple of weeks have been really cool. He’s kind of found his new thing. We’ll see what he talks about on the podcast itself, but we’ve been having these conversations, he and I. He’s gotten into editing himself and doing the actual audio editing and dropping his bumpers in and making sure everything is perfect in how he wants it to be. He went out and stepped up on a microphone and built a little a recording studio for himself, so we might have created an audio monster there, we’ll see.

Brian Clark: Brian doesn’t do anything half ass. He just doesn’t. StudioPress runs like a well-oiled machine, and he’s just sitting there going, “What do I do?” First thing, though, he started building his sites on Rainmaker, and he’s become like an amazing evangelist. He’s like, “I had a conversation with so and so, and they’re coming over to the platform.” Like, “Really? I thought that was my job and but thank you. Thank you.”

Robert Bruce: Right.

Brian Clark: Because business development is the hardest in the world, but with the Rainmaker Platform, often it’s just a conversation, and then it’s like we deal with migration issues and stuff like that. Anyway, he got really into the Rainmaker Platform, which was refreshing given that he’s a hardcore WordPress guy, and he got it. I’m not sure he was ever completely sold the whole three years of building because he was primarily running the StudioPress side of things. There’s that, but then he actually got the title of his show, No Sidebar, from one of our shows.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. You were going on a rant about, I don’t think it was landing pages specifically.

Brian Clark: Yeah. I think it was the landing page.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. Stripping everything down. There’s no header. There’s no sidebar. There’s no extra crap, and he ran with it.

Brian Clark: It’s nice to know I can say something random and have it turn into a media property.

Robert Bruce: Right. He’s got his podcast, No Sidebar, but he also built — on the Rainmaker Platform — nosidebar.com, which is a weekly newsletter and is evolving constantly, so we’ll see what he does with that. There’s a lot going on there, and there’s a lot to come from Mr. Gardner on the audio side of things.
Then we get into for you nerds and geeks out there, Chris Garrett and Tony Clark have launched a show called The Mainframe, and they’re going to be talking about a lot of stuff, but particularly the intersection of marketing and technology and how to use these tools that we all have to use and how to use them better and be smart about it. They’re also going to be talking about Dr. Who and whatever it is they’re watching.

Brian Clark: Yeah. It’s like the intersection of MarTech and Marvel. Because if you follow both of those guys on Twitter, they’re just usually spazzing out about the latest X-Men news or whatever the case may be. We’re like, “Hey, you should do a show, and you should do that stuff, too.” They’re like, “Are you sure? Because you’re always talking about value for the audience and whatnot.” I’m like, “But in this medium, people want to hear a little bit about what makes you, you.” It’s not like you and I didn’t just make Breaking Bad, Better Call Soul, and Soprano references in midstream. It’s just our geekery is different from their geekery, although I’m also kind of a Marvel geek, too.

Robert Bruce: Then the last thing is of course the Master Feed, the Rainmaker.FM Master Feed. If you want all the shows in one place, the fire hose.

Brian Clark: This is the fire hose of Rainmaker.FM. With the podcast player now, it’s in your phone or on the iPod or whatever, you could just stroll through everything that’s newest and greatest, so it’ll be interesting to see how many people adopt that. But it is definitely a way to never miss anything.

Robert Bruce: Right. One swipe, other shows you’re not into, one swipe it’s out of there. Yeah, exactly. That’s my thought is if you don’t want to miss anything, grab the Master Feed and you’re good. That will be doable now, but we’ll see in a couple of months when other shows come online.

Brian Clark: As more shows come online, we’ll be able to make categorical feeds. The hardcore marketing stuff over here, technology and development over here with design, we’ll figure that out, but it’s too early to worry about that at this point.

What’s Coming Next (and Soon) for Rainmaker.FM …

Robert Bruce: So that’s an overview of all the shows currently on Rainmaker.FM and that kind of wraps this second part, which is the present. Let’s quickly talk about the future. There’s a lot here that we’re not going to get into, but just as a general kind of thing we’ve talked, you and I, before on this show about how the future of audio itself, the future of radio and the future of audio itself online, as the technology becomes even easier than it is now for the general consumer. This is one reason why we’ve built this podcast network, because we want to be tied into that wave. We want to go where the audience goes. We want to go into the stream in the direction that it’s already flowing, and audio is definitely flowing in this direction. It’s not the only reason, but it certainly is one consideration.

Brian Clark: Well, right now you’ll see on the home page with the headline that it’s focused specifically on digital marketing.

Robert Bruce: Correct.

Brian Clark: As far as we can tell, and we’ve looked, just at launch we’re the largest digital marketing podcast network in the world. If we’re wrong about that, drop a comment, let us know because I’d love to see, but as far as what I can see in iTunes or even in Google, this is out of the gate the largest digital marketing podcast network around. I think we’ll be double the size in a month or so, which is fairly ambitious — I don’t want to overstate the case here — but you could imagine with the brand and the continued ease and popularity of podcast as an on-demand, portable education source for people who need the latest tips, tactics, stories, strategies, all that stuff to stay at the top of their game.

The brand Rainmaker.FM could encompass all of marketing and sales not just digital marketing. That remains to be seen. That would be super ambitious. I mean that’s literally what should be a VC-funded company, and yet to this day, we are still completely bootstrapped and self-funded. We’re just reinvesting more of what we make into the future, as all smart companies should.

Robert Bruce: I want to run something by you to close this out, and that is kind of a picture — I was digging around — This was months ago when we were first really seriously talking about how this might work, and in the 1920s and ‘30s, you look at a company like NBC and specifically with the radio station — that’s what it was, and what they were doing and how they were developing shows and how they were developing talent.

This may be an obvious connection to some, but I think it’s worth saying that it really is no different other than thinks like money and funding and technology of course. NBC building their broadcast system, obviously on a smaller scale and on a more streamlined scale, there’s not much difference there. We’re doing something here, not going to be as big as NBC, of course, that’s not what I’m saying.

Brian Clark: What? Now come on, Robert.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. Right. Sorry, about that.

Brian Clark: Maybe you’re feeling a little overworked right now but let’s not box ourselves in.

Robert Bruce: Let me rephrase. The metaphor stands. This is what — and what you can do as well is think like this — look to the past for those cues, for the cues of quality, for the cues of professionalism, for structure. Of course, the technology has changed, and I find it interesting that in the 1920s and ‘30s when NBC was this powerhouse and even more on the rise. We’re getting into the ‘20s and ‘30s again, and maybe this is something to look at going forward where an individual could do this. I mean this is a lot of work. Maybe someday we’ll talk about what went into this.

Brian Clark: Yeah. Even more, it’s more relevant.

Robert Bruce: But you can build your own radio station.

Brian Clark: Look at Procter & Gamble. I use that as an example all the time. They started off with soap operas as radio shows to reach housewives to sell soap to, literally, soap operas. I like that one even better because we are starting off as a content marketing play effectively. We are our own sponsor, but just like Procter & Gamble ended up being one of the largest brand advertisers in history, there is nothing stopping us from expanding into accepting sponsorship ourselves.

Robert Bruce: Yeah, right.

Brian Clark: Again, that is not on the plate at this point. But you just look how relatively primitive things are in media when they start, everything from the original films which were just stage plays to early television. What comes around goes around kind of thing, which is ironic, but at the same time, we also get more sophisticated. We get more scale, and there’s a lot of money looking at podcasting right now. That’s the other side of things. Are we going to even be allowed to make this into what we wanted on our own?

Robert Bruce: To exist without taking some of that. So as far as the future, that’s the picture. Obviously, more shows. We hope to grow the audience of course. On the company and product side, we’ll see what happens there, but obviously the growth and evolution of the Rainmaker Platform. Really, that’s it. Any other final thoughts before we close this one out and put it in the can?

Brian Clark: No. I’d love to have you guys and gals go over to Rainmaker.FM, sample some of the other shows, poke around. This is very early stages for the site. It will grow and evolve in sophistication using more and more of what Rainmaker has built right in, and let us know what you think just knowing that there’s more to come. Also if you’re listening to this right away, there has been no public announcement of this other than this.

Robert Bruce: As always, you guys are first.

Brian Clark: We’re not going to cry if you talk about it, but the official launch is Monday the 16th.

Robert Bruce: Yeah. A final note on that. If you go to Rainmaker.FM and you want to get everything delivered, there’s a big green free registration button you’ll see. Click that button. That will get you into our weekly email. Right now it’s weekly. We’re working on how to deliver that the best way from that source.

Brian Clark: Yeah, it will be weekly. It may be the best option right now because we’re still getting all the shows into iTunes and all that, so there may be a brief lag between iTunes catching up with us. But as far as our property, our real estate — lesson here, not dependent on iTunes one bit — it’s all ready to go for you to take in the initial shows.

Robert Bruce: Brian, thanks, and wherever or whenever you guys out there are on the Internet, good luck to you. We’ll see you next week.

Brian Clark: Take care, everyone.