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The Four Minute Podcast Hack

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Hello everyone, welcome to the digital brand builder podcast. Joining me today is Samuel Donner and we’re going to talk about four minute podcast episode drops as in that’s a new thing in marketing four minutes. I know our attention spans are shrinking, but very interested in what he has to say about this and how you know that is moving the needle for for us marketers and some of the sales people so Samuel Welcome to the show and you go by Sam, or Samuel.

Yes, Sam is fine. Hello. Hello. Marks audience.

Mark Fidelman  05:17

All right. Can you give us a little bit of a background of yourself. In 100 words or less try to keep it Telenor


Yeah, for sure. Um, so, I graduated, UCLA mechanical engineering a few years ago realized I was kind of bored with it, and started doing production work, ended up getting a few clients after college and and gravity into 30 people. And now we produce our own podcast finding founders, but we also make podcasts for television and fennel and kind of like as an VIP game.

Mark Fidelman  05:53

Okay, and you have your own podcast, right. Yes, called finding founders. And what is that about just finding people that start businesses.


Yeah, so I mean it started off. When I was when I was studying mechanical engineering, I was applying like to tons and tons of jobs and was literally getting no callbacks and then I started doing some freelance work and I did some work for Netflix and realized I like that more and then started to try to apply to full time gigs for creative work, and just got nothing back and one point I’m like okay I’m using all these editing skills. How can I apply it to a different medium, and maybe actually secure an interview with some of these people that I wanted to work for. And I initially just interviewed my roommate. Tim Connor says, I bet a cap and gown company ended that together and then that next interview ended up being with the founder of American Apparel, and then things kind of snowballed from there and so we interview. We started with entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, but now we’re doing series around the world. So, a couple weeks ago I was in Puerto Rico, doing a series on Puerto Rican entrepreneurs and delving into like a question on that that came up when I was looking at Puerto Rico and saw that their entrepreneurial community grew a ton after the 2017 hurricanes hurricane Maria. And, and they have this burgeoning entrepreneurship fraternity post 2017 it’s like much more vibrant than it was before the destruction. so the question was highly structured so the seasons seize opportunity and growth and so now we’re doing these series that doing kind of close up looks at entrepreneurial communities around the world. Okay, well, wonderful.

Mark Fidelman  07:41

I mean, certainly there’s a lot of interest in that and how many episodes have you done so far.


We’ve done around at. So we started doing it. So I started doing this a few years ago, but was like splitting that between full time work when I was working for some other companies and then the beginning of the school. And, and but now for the past year, we’ve been doing an episode every week.

Mark Fidelman  08:15

Well, okay. Wonderful. And I know how difficult these can be to put together and edit them and all the rest of that. So, um, you know I I really admire people that do one a day I don’t know how they do it they must not have any life whatsoever. Certainly, they’re out


there, imagine doing one a day once a week is enough for us but we’re also specializing in this like narrative audio. Yeah. So we put in music and sound effects and voiceover we have this whole six week production process that goes to the whole team, where we start from the research team and then going through script writing and going into the editing team music department and

Mark Fidelman  08:55

yeah you’re doing a full production, whereas you know I’m just here with the beginner’s mind just kind of winging it just based on my interest, and I you know I just try to pull things out of people as best I can. But you’ve got a full production going,


oh there’s quite quite a fall we’re definitely getting where you’re

Mark Fidelman  09:14

going, if you’re scripting it out and you got music and you got special effects throughout doing a lot more than I do. So, so let’s,


let’s not just add effects


for the experience, you know,

Mark Fidelman  09:27

I might even do a, an episode like that where I put it on the special effects just to see if it’s annoying, or if it actually works, just to throw it out there like that, or something. All right, let’s get to the heart of it so as you know I like to show people what others are doing that’s innovative and unique and that works and most importantly that works. So, you know, I want to talk about this concept of a four minute podcast episode drop First of all, you know if you’re not doing podcasts, you should really look into it, it’s not for everybody. And frankly I think if you can do video well video probably pays off better but there’s a lot more expensive when it comes to creating videos on YouTube. So, going back to podcast this four minute podcast episode drop What is it, can you tell us what that means and what that looks like.


Yeah, just on the podcasting ever. Everyone know. I actually think it’s like this very interesting medium that that is more what what podcast podcasting is at least how I see it is its top of the funnel content. And so when you sit down and record a two hour podcast, you not only have an integer recording video, you not only have that podcast but then what you can do is you can distribute that content into small videos that you can put to YouTube you can attach graphics to that and make it even more engaging videos. You can even go lower down in the funnel and make them as small like Instagram videos are like bite sized videos like Tick tock, or you can even transcribe it and turn it into a podcast, or you can take little pieces that to transcription and put it in like as as a, as a tweet and Twitter and so I think you’re right, in a sense that like many times podcasts won’t be the thing that people will end up consuming, but it can be a starting point in terms of content production so you can get all the people that are consuming content elsewhere. And so that’s how we’re viewing it like we released, you know, five pieces of content between LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, each week and we have like a social media team that that puts all that together and so I think that top of the funnel marketing is for content production is where podcasts really shine through. Okay.


But why four minutes, why four minutes,


but four minute podcast, podcast. So, I was talking to the founder, or the CEO of wonder. Jen Sargent, and wondery is probably, I think it’s like the fifth largest Podcast Producer, and they’ve had tons of number one podcast throughout the last couple years. And they’ve gotten their distribution and and their, their launches for Podcast Series down to a science, and they try to a bunch of different things. So, one of the classic podcast like drops that people did in the early days that podcast is they would just shout each other out, you know at the beginning of the episode like, I would say, hey, like if I was on fire upon finding founders that the only way to do it would be like, Hey, Mark is doing digital brand builder you should go check out this podcast right. And that worked fairly well coming from the house. And then people what they did is the original one they would shout the house and then just play the rest of the regular episodes but then it evolved to saying, hey, you should go check out Mark’s podcast, let me play the full episode and so that is like that would, what’s called like an episode spot where you would play their episode on your feed and they play your episode on their feed. And then it got to like, okay, they would listen to that whole episode but did they have a reason to actually go to your feed and take the extra few seconds to subscribe, and often they did. So the next thing is like hey can you post half that episode on the feed and that would get people but but the cut off in terms of like the critical kind of critical mass of people to actually get over to that other other feed with drops significantly after the 15 minute mark. And so when we did the series of tests to see what does at what minute mark are people engaged enough to, to have like a reason to jump over to another feed and check them out. Like what like how much of the pockets are there to listen to to jump make that jump. And then, how long is it until people just fall off. And they found that four minutes is that sweet spot. If you can put four minutes of a really engaging part of your podcasts and someone else’s feed. There, there is the highest likelihood that people will jump over.

Mark Fidelman  14:53

I mean what do you I mean videos do that all the time but I guess without listening to these four minute podcast, what’s kind of a frame work of how they’re fitting things into those four minutes interviews one problem solver quickly or. How’s it work.


Um, so, in terms of format for those four minute little mini episodes, is you want to have a hook within the first like 20 seconds you want something that gives a reason to keep listening So, an unanswered question, or a moment of, I guess in a narrative podcast like for us it’s usually an unanswered question with sticks, so there. For example, where there was sky Andrew Warner, that we interviewed a couple couple weeks ago his episodes coming out in two weeks. And he was losing $8 million. Like every couple of months for his company he was in massive amounts of debt, and we put that that’s like comes in maybe towards the end of the episode, we put that little clip at the front but with the unanswered question Hey like we don’t know what is going to happen next. So that’s really important to have that that that hook at the beginning and then you have your intro that establishes, who you are and what you’re doing. That might be longer than maybe it is on your, your regular feed for like your, your regular listeners on this format one you want it to be really fleshed out so people know what they’re listening to and why. And then you have maybe the first couple minutes of your episode that again that ends on a question so ends on a reason that people should continue listening.

Mark Fidelman  16:43

Okay, and where, where would somebody get a listen as to these format episodes maybe on your podcast you’re doing them now.


Yeah, so we actually usually do them on other people’s feeds so we actually try all the, all the different all these different methods so we’re actually doing a four minute drop with this guy Jim quick. In a week so definitely check out his feed. Soon, but I’d say that the best place to look at those is wondering wonder he will play those in the middle of their episodes. Those four minute clips at the end of their episodes especially. I think wonder he really is a leader, wondering, and creating that yacht One reason is, is incredible with that and they and they also I think works best. We get to work with any podcast, but when you have a certain narrative arc, to your podcast that helps a lot. And I think you can create narrative arcs. In talk show style podcast as well. It might be a little easier when you’re actually creating like that narrative maybe like preemptively with a script and we do. But really, that narrative can be created with anyone. It just, it just maybe takes a little bit of extra work.

Mark Fidelman  18:01

Okay, so you’re saying that this is the way to do the four minute episode is to build it within another episode or when would you recommend that they can do it outside of or just independently of any other episode.


So, I attempt to answer that question. Um, well I and I’m not sure if this is exactly what you’re answering but I also want to address this in terms of giving in terms of where to place that that format episode you want to place it on someone else’s podcast on someone else’s. Okay, so so you want to place it on someone else’s podcast, but you want to also. Place it like integrate it into their content so it would usually come as a mid roll on their podcast. So why would they do this and

Mark Fidelman  18:56

why would they do that, I mean for what what benefit do they get.


So for us, for us, we have extremely high production value so we’re essentially making a documentary about these


people that


people’s lives. And we’ve gotten we’ve gotten feedback or like our people that we talk to you have cried listening to their episode. Because it frames your life in such a way that makes them just reflect on all they have accomplished and how far they have to go. And so obviously it’s an easier ask when there’s an emotional tie to that content. But let’s say you’re making a different kind of content that maybe doesn’t pull out the emotional heartstrings as much. The other way to do that would just be to do a swap. So, you do it for me and I do it for you. Right. And so that’s probably the easiest way to get started on it, but for us like we’re able to reach these massive audiences really quickly with people with millions of downloads because of that of that, you know, toy pulling on the emotional heartstrings but you know if you’re just getting started. Then what you would do is you would look at someone who has a similar audience size to you, podcasts are tricky because there’s not


much pouring. Yeah,


yeah, there’s not much data on that. So I would say that you just look at reviews, someone who has similar appeals to it’s incredibly accurate proxy but it’s kind of like the best one that I found. Okay,

Mark Fidelman  20:34

yeah, I mean that’s the, the key thing for me would be okay. I’m producing a four minute episode and I want somebody else to embed it within their own episode. Well, that would be challenging if somebody came to me, unless it was incredibly valuable to my to my audience and then I’d be thinking, Why don’t they just drop it within their own. Why are they dropping within mine unless they want reach my audience, which I okay I respect


that that’s the point is to reach your audience like this is a this is a clip from a larger episode in which they like that entices them to jump audiences and not be in what you would, what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to have that audience crossover

Mark Fidelman  21:17

right so there’s obviously a call to action at the end of it, or the host comes on and says, you know the rest of this.


So, that call to action should ideally come from the person hosting the podcast. Yeah. So, for example, when we go on Jim quicks podcast and a couple. I think it’s next week or so, what they’ll do is he’ll record an interesting. Hey, I just did a podcast with these guys. You should go check it out. Here’s a four minute clip, right, and maybe it’ll be a little bit longer than that. And then right after he says, Hey, if you want to listen to more, go to finding founders and check Wow, check out what they’re putting together.

Mark Fidelman  21:59

And then, whatever it is that you’re doing in those four minutes, does it relate to the actual episode of the podcast host.


A the. So for us it does. Yeah. So like, we put Jim quicks episode on the Jim quick podcast. So,


what is Jim quick talk about what is Jim quick talking about.


So I mean, he talks about learning, and, and, and like brain improvement and. And so, that’s actually kind of like another part of our strategy is we’ve been targeting specifically entrepreneurs with a podcast. So we know that when we tap into their audience their audience is already primed for content that is like ours and that that people like we know that if they like what Jim Collins putting out they’re probably gonna like us too, because we’ve already screened his, his audience, or his content and made the decision Hey like this guy is similar to ours. So we put together the episode on him, and they see hey like there’s this really interesting podcast that is like well produced that is on this guy that we’ve been listening to for years, then what they’ll do is all listen to that four minute clip, look at the suggestion from Jim, and then those listeners will jump over to our feed subscribe to our podcast and and start listening.

Mark Fidelman  23:25

Okay. So yeah, I mean, you guys are doing a lot of work around that. And, obviously, it must be paying off you wouldn’t continue to do it. What are the benefits definitely has been and what what are the benefits that you’re getting. As a result, doing this because I know a lot of people are thinking the same thing um thing is yeah I mean high production value. I guess it’s gonna relate to the person’s episode maybe the subject matter of that episode. So, what am I going to get at the end of the day.


Yeah, so I mean we’ve seen like 300% growth podcast going from just a couple thousand listens to like 10 2000 persons and a matter of a couple months since we started doing this strategy a couple months ago. And, and, like, not only are like we we’ve seen those convergence in terms of like the actual listener numbers but we’re getting a lot of emails that are basically saying, Hey, we love what you put together. And, like, like, I actually I actually we got we got one from this guy, a couple days ago saying like hey I agree, I’m actually just reading it off. This was yesterday. I appreciate you asking when it says when is enough. When is it enough this is a guy from Andrew Warner’s audience, also exploring the serendipity of creativity talking about helping trick fail and the evolution of user generated content. He was curious about like what other other other things are other topics that we were going to explore and he actually suggested some, some topics for future episodes, and so like we’re engaging other people’s audiences at a level, while they’ll actually write an email to us. So it’s been it’s been very, like how like in terms of returns the returns have been super high already. Okay.

Mark Fidelman  25:23

So, if the returns have been super high. I mean, what would be I you got to go and do. You know, I don’t know, hyper hyper mode into producing Mustangs and and putting it all over, you know, wherever you can. As long as it relates to what you’re doing, I would assume.


Well, yeah, I mean, we’re trying to do one of these with every person we entered the past like when we have 10 or so in the queue right now, and the past 10 have been founders with podcasts so we’ve been doubling down on this method and I really think it’s one of the best methods you can do but it doesn’t necessarily have to be with founders like if you’re in the health and wellness space. I’m talking about health and wellness with that guest, and then trying to piece together like like let’s say you have, or you know like let’s just like use your podcast as an example, if you have this, if you were specifically targeting other people who are talking about like digital brand questions so like for example Chris Doe, you have a conversation with Chris Doe, and you put together a really kick ass four minute little piece and say hey Chris like was pleasure talking to you. Do you mind if we put this, this little four minute episode in bite you know your episode When, when, in a couple weeks, and he might do that if he sees enough value in it. Or if you could do that with someone, maybe closer to your own audience size. I feel like it’s not too hard to ask especially if you do it for someone else. And then now you’re both growing your audiences.

Mark Fidelman  27:05

Yeah, so growing your audiences and then from that once your audience has grown, you’re upselling cross selling some things that you you’re selling entrepreneurs in. Where’s the monetization.


So for me the monetization actually comes from TCP IP. So, I’m almost using this as a bid step tool. And, and I’ve like met a ton of people that are like wow I really enjoyed what you put together for me, can you create this about this topic so I can set us up. And so that’s what I’m currently working on right now is that is that project for TV. And because like right now. podcast IP is, is, is like the hottest IP for TV, and, and film. What, what like books were 10 years ago, is what podcasts are now so like we’re having a bunch of films and TV shows that are based on podcasts and one of the biggest examples right now, recently was homecoming was a gamma podcast they sold that to Amazon and they made a couple series out of it, or Amazon Prime. And so, and then one reads really double down, doubling down on that model. They make most of the money not from the ad revenue from the people that are listening to this podcast, but they’re making it because they’re selling the IP to a TV and felt so like, what essentially what this podcast is doing is it’s a really cheap way to test whether an idea hits a market, so they can produce this idea for pretty cheap compared compared comparatively to like what what TV would cost. And, and then that I pay like this, so many people are listening to this podcast. We have proof of concept. Now let’s make a show from it that we know can do well because we already have this big audience that’s listening to this one podcast imagine what we can do. If we put it in a more widely consumed medium like TV. No.

Mark Fidelman  29:14

Okay. Got it. Well, that’s interesting. I’m gonna follow you guys and see what happens as a result. But for now, Let’s wrap things up and we do so by asking two final questions. The first of which is, what’s the hottest digital marketing technology that you’re recommending these days.


Um, so, I mean specifically for for podcasts, yeah.




I’d say castbox Yeah, it was caspases. Yeah, castbox is a, it’s a platform. But they also do really do really well with ads so they are one of the only podcast platforms that actively I think something about their AI. Well, will update in real time to whatever the listener is doing in that moment and so they might 10 times the amount of downloads, you get for your dollar, as opposed to other, like other things that I’ve tried specifically I did overcast and like per per dollar, I was, this is something that I’ve actually tried out, I got 10 times the amount of downloads from castbox than I did with overpass with the same amount of money, but what are they doing differently as it


really well, what do they drive so they


have they have their algorithm it’s a lot better. It’s, it’s much smarter updates in real time to what the user is, or how the users interacting with their, their podcast platform. Hmm.

Mark Fidelman  30:57

So, we should all podcast owners get it on you know put their podcast on cashbox or is it automatically pulled, honey, how do you get it up there.


So you don’t necessarily have to host your podcast on cast box to advertise on it. You just have to reach out to one of the representatives and I think they also have an advertising portal on your website. And that’s how you can put a ad on there and it’s really like you can just do a banner ad. And so all you need is a picture and a short description that that will do it in terms of bringing listeners to your ad section.

Mark Fidelman  31:32

So when you’re listening to castbox. They say let’s just use mine for example, they’re very interested in digital marketing. And because of that, as long as I’m advertising with them, they’ll show an ad for my podcast and then that person’s got the choice whether to check it out or not as ours.


Yeah, so I mean, they’ll have a banner ad at the end of similar podcasts and what they’ll do is say like they’re advertising, at the end of two podcasts that are similar to your own like pocket same podcast be, let’s say like 10 people like will click on your thing, your, your advertisement from podcast, 85 will click from podcast feed. What it will do is because your ad a podcast is performing better, they will allocate more impressions to that specific podcast, in real time, and they’ll constantly be updating it where they will drive impressions based on where you’re getting the most traffic or where you’re sourcing them of traffic.

Mark Fidelman  32:36

Got it is relatively inexpensive advertiser.


Ah, well, no. Like, I go kind of. It just depends on what your budget is like for us. They had like a limit of 1500, so a minimum of 1500 to start, but they’re rolling out a more. I guess like smaller round where you can try out like hundred like 100 or so to check out what it does, but initially just for their early users. They’re doing


the minimum is 1500.

Mark Fidelman  33:16

Okay. And you think that’s worth it. I mean, what’s the cost of acquisition there.


So, we were getting for, I think, her dollar. I think we were getting 10 lessons like 555 such subscriptions, something like that. Because pretty high. Yeah,

Mark Fidelman  33:41

it sounds like they’re targeting is dead on.


Yeah, okay.

Mark Fidelman  33:45

Well that was a long answer the question one but I was very interested in castbox because I’ve heard about before. Let’s go. Number two, who is the most influential person in marketing today.


I mean, I feel like this is a low hanging fruit answer but I’ve been just following Gary Vee alive. I think what he’s done in marketing has been incredible and that’s, I’ve learned a lot from him in terms of that that that content funnel. Marketing and content model. The idea that that idea where you have podcasts top and then you create little quick form videos from that. I learned a lot from him in terms of how to implement that strategy. Yeah. So I think he’s really, really ahead of the curve that he was super bullish on tech talk really early that paid off well. Yeah,

Mark Fidelman  34:38

I agree. So, alright so let’s wrap things up, where can people find you. I mean, you can find your podcast of finding founders podcast on like any major podcasting platform, of course. But how, if somebody wanted to reach out to you directly. How would they find you.


Yeah, you can check us out on finding founders podcast on Instagram DMS there you can also go to our website, you can email me at Sam at finding founders co.co. Yeah, check out our website finding founders co you can see all of our all of the stuff that we’re up to. We have a newsletter that you can subscribe to on that website we also do events every so often with like live events with our founders on various topics. The last one actually was on Tick tock, and that was incredibly interesting thing to dive into. But yeah, that’s kind of where you can find that so check us out on all of the phone of finding founders platforms. All right, well,

Mark Fidelman  35:44

Sam that was a very interesting and educational input on four minute podcast I have no idea where this is going. It’s very interesting how you’re doing it. And I’m going to give it a shot. And if anyone wants to approach me and do some sort of trade. You know I’d be interested in doing it. I mean I’m just curious as to how this would actually work. So with that, we’re gonna wrap things up and really appreciate you being on the show. Awesome, thank


you so much that.

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