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Marketing Showrunners

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By: Molly Donovan on October 29th, 2020

Why Listeners Like It: Death Wish Coffee’s Fueled by Death Cast

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?

What does your company sell?

It sounds like an easy question, but it’s not. If your answer is just “we sell…our products,” then you’re missing an opportunity to go deeper with your customers. You’re missing an opportunity to make a real connection. 

For example, what does Google sell? It sells knowledge — and the ability to find answers to your own questions. What does Disney sell? It sells happiness, fun, and magic. Really successful companies — companies that have built strong, recognizable brands — are so much more than just the products they sell. 

Death Wish Coffee, makers of the world’s strongest coffee, understand this intrinsically. They sell so much more than coffee — rather, they pack purpose and passion into every cup. The company’s mission is “to fuel you wherever you go,” and it’s explicitly “made by passionate people for passionate people.” The company’s mission matches the boldness of its beans.

It only makes sense, then, that Death Wish has created a podcast just as bold. Fueled by Death Cast is not about coffee. It’s about more than coffee — it’s about purpose. 

Why Listeners Like Fueled by Death Cast

Fueled By Death Cast: The story behind our podcast

Each week on Fueled by Death Cast, listeners hear a new guest explain what fuels them. It’s a simple premise that drives the entire show — and it keeps superfans engaged with and passionate about the Death Wish brand. 

“My favorite thing about Fueled by Death Cast is the surprising and inspiring conversations that come out of virtually the same line of questioning,” says showrunner Jeff Ayers. “No matter who the guest is, we examine the journey they took to get to where they are today, and how we are all fueled by the same thing to get there. We want to leave this world a little different before we inevitably leave it for good. I can be talking to a successful musician, actor, or astronaut, or someone who is just starting their dream business or beginning to write their first book — we all are connected by the journey we take and the reasons we take it.” 

That premise — that we’re all fueled by our legacy — is the connective tissue that has allowed these surprising, inspiring conversations to continue after nearly 300 episodes of the show.

“The way to maintain this through-line throughout the now four seasons of the podcast is to stay true to the theme of the show,” explains Jeff. “The format has changed drastically since the beginning — I started out with a co-host, and we had a lot of extra content before getting to the interview portion — but the theme has remained a constant. We are all fueled by death — and that isn’t something scary or depressing. Death is inevitable, and how we choose to live our life and leave our mark upon the world before we go is what connects us all.”

The premise is what anchors the show, and it’s what fuels the community of fans who love the show — and listen to it over their daily cup of Death Wish coffee. As Jeff said, the format is secondary: the beauty of the show derives from that single overarching question: what fuels you? The ability to tune in each week and here another inspiring story from an eclectic mix of guests is why listeners like it. 

Your Favorite Podcaster’s Favorite Podcasts

No one knows good shows like a showrunner. As a bonus, here are Jeff Ayers’ favorite podcasts:

My favorite ongoing podcast is the Conan O’Brien podcast. But I do love limited series podcasts as well, and both Drawn: The Story of Animation and S Town are excellent examples you should definitely look up. 


Join Our Weekly Journey to Answer One Crucial Question:

What does it take to create your audience's favorite podcast? Join peers from Red Bull, Adobe, Amazon, Shopify, Salesforce, Roku, the BBC, the NY Times, and thousands more creative, audience-first marketers.

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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