Why Listeners Like It: Build with Maggie Crowley
Creativity doesn’t just happen. Instead, creativity is the result of hard work and a series of choices the creator makes. In this series, we’re diving into some of the most creative branded podcasts out there — shows that have become favorites for their audiences. We’re asking their creators: why do listeners like your show? What makes it special? And how do you deliver that special something episode after episode?
You know what’s an underrated quality in…well, pretty much anything in business?
It’s hard to find in the wild, but authenticity can often mean the difference between something that’s pretty good and something that’s really outstanding. It can mean the difference between a good show and a favorite show. It can mean the difference between trusting a brand and loving it.
The beauty of authenticity is that it can and does come from anywhere. Companies comprise real people, and those people have authentic passions and interests and experiences that make them unique.
Build with Maggie Crowley is a podcast from Drift’s Hypergrowth network. The show is focused on a specific niche: it explores “the inside track on all things product and product management.” At first glance, that might sound like any number of business podcasts that vaguely promise to discuss a broad business topic. Build is different, though — largely because host (and Drift’s Director of Product Management) Maggie Crowley is a product manager herself. Her authentic interest and expertise in the subject matter levels Build up from good to great.
Why Listeners Like Build
So many B2B podcasts feature a host who — bless them — really doesn’t have much to do with the subject matter. For shows with certain premises, this might be just fine, particularly if the host does have other notable skills, like a particularly sonorous voice or an ability to elicit interesting or surprising answers from guests.
Shows with a more focused premise, though, require someone who can “walk the talk.” A host who’s a true subject matter expert can delve deeper, offering real-life experience and practical insights that benefit the audience.
“I think what keeps my podcast interesting is that I’m actively doing the type of work that I’m talking about on the show,” says Maggie. “When I’m asking questions of different guests, it’s because I want to be able to get better at my day job. And when I’m sharing things that I do, it’s because I just tried them out and they worked (or, they didn’t, and it was a good lesson). My hope is that this keeps the show real and relevant for other folks in product and that it helps create a community of people who are trying out different ideas and tactics in order to learn and get better together.”
That sense of community that Maggie is cultivating with Build is a direct benefit of the element that makes listeners like it. Her authentic presence in the show adds both credibility and actionability, which can excite and inspire listeners.
Nearly all of Build’s 62 ratings on Apple Podcasts are 5-stars. In many reviews, Maggie receives special shoutouts for her real, relevant suggestions for people in product. “Maggie’s candor and curiosity consistently shines,” writes one reviewer. “I appreciate the variety of episodes, the super practical takeaways, and the sincere humility of Maggie,” says another. Reviewers appreciate the in-depth details and industry-specific knowledge that makes this so much more than “just another” podcast.
How does Maggie maintain this momentum over the course of a season? “This is cheating,” she says, “but I maintain it because it is actually just my day job! In seriousness, what I do is build in regular moments where I reflect on what I’ve learned, where I struggled, and what challenges I want to tackle next as a product leader. Then from there, I think about what topics do I need to get smarter in? What lessons did I learn that might be useful to others? What’s a whole new area of my role that I want to explore or learn about? And I use those questions to guide the episodes that I record. That way the show is constantly evolving as my own role and experience evolves.”
Build is a show with two core anchors: 1) its premise, which hyper-focuses on product managers and their daily work, and 2) its talent. Build could not pivot to a new premise — the premise is such a core of what the show is. But just as central to the show’s success is Maggie Crowley herself. The authentic journey she takes alongside listeners — essentially, to learn more and to do her job better — is central to the show. It’s one of the main reasons why listeners like it.
Your Favorite Podcaster’s Favorite Podcasts
No one knows good shows like a showrunner. As a bonus, here are Maggie Crowley’s favorite podcasts:
- When she just wants a break, Maggie turns to true crime. “My Favorite Murder is constantly in rotation, and I also enjoy a good multi-part series like Dr. Death, which is perfect for a road trip,” she says. Other just-for-fun shows include Matty Matheson’s Powerful Truth Angels and Desus & Mero’s Bodega Boys.
- Maggie’s an athlete, so she loves Rich Roll’s podcast. “He has the best guests, and it’s a long form show, so you get to hear their stories, ideas, and training plans in a ton of detail,” she says. “Great listen for a long run.”
- Maggie also listens to podcasts that are relevant to her work. On that list? Exponent and Ben Thompson’s daily update.
A somewhat accidental marketer, I’m first and foremost a writer. I’ve spent a decade working with global brands to craft on-target content and streamline complex ideas into clear (and even…exciting?!) language. Now, I get to spend every day immersed in content and strategy here, as Managing Editor of Marketing Showrunners, at my company, Molly Donovan Content & Communications. I’m thrilled to be a part of this community of eager next-generation marketers and marketing showrunners.
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