Software’s Hardest-Working Marketing Showrunner Shares a Framework to Artfully Syndicate Video to Audio
Patrick Campbell is the founder and CEO of the tech company ProfitWell, which sells analytics products that help SaaS companies measure the financial health of their businesses and price their products using data instead of guesswork. (The company was originally known as Price Intelligently, which today is the name of their core product.) Under Patrick’s leadership, ProfitWell has emerged as an early champion of the craft of creating original series. Their team features a total of four different marketing showrunners, mini-CEOs of individual, original series who plan, write, host, and help promote their shows.
While their marketing team has long written excellent longform blog posts, Patrick saw the power of switching his marketing focus from pure acquisition to emphasize the need to hold attention and he watched his audience and revenue grow as a result. Today, the company has embraced the idea that tumbling an existing audience between episodes and even entire shows increases the lifetime value of that audience, while decreasing customer acquisition costs through word-of-mouth. As a result, ProfitWell now runs multiple interconnected shows:
- Pricing Page Teardown, their flagship video show to help market their flagship product, Price Intelligently. In the series, Patrick and company GM Peter Zotto break down the good, bad, and ugly of popular brands’ pricing. Refreshingly, they go well beyond SaaS companies to teach, too, debating the pricing strategies of competitor gyms like Equinox and Planet Fitness, the Wall Street Journal, and even contemplating what a Kanye West subscription service might look like. (The good life, let’s go on a living’ spree // Shit they say the best things in life are free // For a limited time period only until you have to upgrade for a small monthly fee)
- The ProfitWell Report, which resembles a call-in show (the questions are pre-recorded from software industry experts, practitioners, and executives). The show is hosted by Neel Desai.
- Subscription60, their daily, short-form video series hosted by Abby Sullivan, which provides news and insights from around what the company calls the “subscription economy.”
- And last but certainly not least given the lofty ambitions and big-name guests, Protect the Hustle, an admirable attempt by Patrick and co-host Ben Hillman to reclaim “hustle” as a positive word and save it from the hustle porn and hucksters. (Okay, really, it’s a very snappily produced series telling the stories of the best practitioners around the ProfitWell community and beyond, with guests ranging from local entrepreneurs like Wistia CTO Brendan Schwartz to international business celebrities like ex-Netflix exec Patty McCord.)
Patrick and I first met while working together at Google, and although we both stayed in tech in the years that followed, we took divergent paths to the craft of running shows. Patrick is a realist who justified his organization’s use of shows with data. He values driving tangible results. I’m an idealist who justified my foray into creating shows with emotion. I value driving tangible results.
Okay, so I guess we shared something.
This morning, we also shared a bunch of texts about one of the laziest approaches to marketing showrunning: copying and pasting a video series to audio to create a podcast.
Patrick and I have firm beliefs on this. As a CEO, he’s also encouraged his team to embrace what Patrick taught me through these texts: that the order in which you create stuff can change how poorly or effectively you syndicate your content. Do you want to fill a feed, or do you want to serve your audience? Patrick’s approach helps us do the latter and, in doing so, drive tangible results.
Here’s a transcript of our texts. It’s been lightly edited and condensed.
JAY ACUNZO: ProfitWell syndicates Protect the Hustle from video to audio to make it a podcast too. I’m skeptical. It’s meant as a video series. It’s like one is Captain America and the other is Hawkeye. Maybe both can kick ass, but, I mean, I choose Cap.
PATRICK CAMPBELL: I don’t agree, because the medium isn’t a binary choice.
ACUNZO: But there are things you can do in audio that you can’t do in video and vice versa. Better to pick one and maximize the medium, no?
CAMPBELL: Sure, but there are also content pieces that are a fit for multiple mediums really well, beyond just “we recorded a video of our podcast studio.” [Editor’s Note: Here, Patrick is referring to a common technique among marketing showrunners lately, which is to set up a video recording of your podcast hosts recording a podcast episode.]
ACUNZO: This isn’t a knock on Protect the Hustle, it’s just that the first intended medium tends to get the bulk of the creative thought process and then syndicate to the second medium. By the way, I agree: We can do more than just film hosts recording a podcast.
CAMPBELL: That’s not how we think or many others think.
ACUNZO: Right. Also, when you pick just one medium to maximize, efficiency goes down, but efficacy might go up. The creative would be stronger. It’s like how an audiobook can be awkward at times if the author reads verbatim, because those words were meant to be read silently in your mind, not spoken out loud or heard. (Hence Audible requesting discrete versions better suited to audio as their next source of content.) Differences are subtle, but undoubtedly, syndication between mediums renders one as the afterthought.
CAMPBELL: This assumes you’re not focused on the audience through the medium, which is an enormous assumption. With Protect the Hustle, the video cut and audio cut are often different.
ACUNZO: Ah ha! Love it.
CAMPBELL: The audience is the focus. People in the podcast want to hear other things than those who watch the video.
ACUNZO: That’s fantastic. So it’s not a straightforward syndication play for you.
CAMPBELL: No, and it never should be. This is the same reason the blog posts for Pricing Page Teardown are different than the transcripts of that show.
ACUNZO: Love this. Agree 1,000%. But some marketers don’t make changes between pieces. Why do you think it’s often copy/paste?
CAMPBELL: Some people are lazy. Also, they copy others outside marketing but don’t study them closely enough. For instance, [when marketers shoot video of their podcast hosts], they don’t realize that the Joe Rogan Experience isn’t something people watch on YouTube at length, at least proportionally to his full episodes. Most look at video clips — his clip channel versus his main channel.
ACUNZO: Bingo. If they go long, it’s on the podcast. The video part is for short, shareable clips. Basically, creating for contextual consumption beats wholesale syndication between mediums.
CAMPBELL: But the bar for contextual consumption is not high. Efficiency and efficacy can be baked together. For example, creating a blog post from an edited video is easier than creating a video from a blog post.
ACUNZO: Right, the same way a huge podcast episode could have one segment inside it that easily becomes a blog post with minimal editing. Meanwhile, full transcripts or 1-2 paragraph summaries of podcast episodes are terrible to read.
CAMPBELL: It’s an order of operations problem.
ACUNZO: What do you mean?
CAMPBELL: The order in which you create is important for maximizing the ability to add additional mediums.
ACUNZO: I think that’s the best thing you’ve ever said.
Fellow marketing showrunners, take it from Patrick Campbell, the hardest-working marketing showrunner in B2B: If you want to create across multiple mediums, your show can provide efficiencies for doing so. However, it’s all about planning ahead. Create the right thing in the right order: Videos more easily syndicate to podcasts than vice versa. Both of those things more easily syndicate to text than the other way around, which requires some seriously heavy production investment to pull off. Bottom line: We can still benefit from marketing and content creation efficiencies, but we need to think harder about what we create when. Mix in a little light editing, and we’ll have a surplus of great content to publish. We’ll seem wildly prolific and irresistible to our audience — not because we’re faking it, not because we’ve copied and pasted things across channels or mediums, but because we took the time to think through our order of operations.
Founder of Marketing Showrunners, author of Break the Wheel, and host/producer of docuseries about creative work. I’m a believer that exceptional work happens when you find and follow what makes you an exception. Previously in content marketing and digital strategy at Google and HubSpot and VP of brand and community at the VC firm NextView. I write, tinker, and speak on stages and into microphones for a living. It’s weird but wonderful.
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