Reaching 1.2 Million Downloads Per Month With a Daily Podcast with Eric Siu - S1E06
Eric Siu, co-host of Marketing School, shares his journey from 30 downloads per episode to podcasting superstar with an $800,000 deal.
- 🤯 Eric's strategies for growth hacking, marketing, and repurposing your podcasts
- 🎁 What Single Grain did to land a $800,000 per year deal for Marketing School
- 😍 How to leverage relationships from your podcast to become leads for your business and build a community around your brand
- 😄 Consistency works best: a combination of hitting your email list hard, tackling your SEO over 24 months, and pumping out episodes as promised will mean people can’t help but talk about you
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For this week’s bonus, Eric talks about the power of one-person media companies, building a community through online events, and how a podcast benefits from keyword ranking.
Jason Sew Hoy: Hey everyone. Welcome to Supercasters. I'm Jason Sew Hoy, co-founder and CEO of Supercast. And on this show, we interview world-class podcasters, deconstruct their growth strategies, and find out how they build sustainable independent businesses that thrive in a strong relationship with their listeners.
In this episode, we're going to hear from Eric Siu, the CEO of Single Grain, a multimillion-dollar digital marketing agency that he bought for just $2. Now, the interesting thing about Eric is he doesn't just help his agency clients with content marketing. He actually practices what he preaches. As a veteran podcaster with over 2,000 episodes recorded, Eric's the host of the Leveling Up podcast, a weekly podcast interviewing entrepreneurs and savvy marketers, as well as co-host of the daily podcast Marketing School, sharing unconventional marketing wisdom with fellow marketing guru Neil Patel as co-host. If you want to connect with Eric he's on Twitter and Instagram at Eric O Siu, it's @E R I C O S I U.
Before we jump in, one final note. If you want to get behind our mission of sharing the growth strategies that help podcasters on their path to independence, please spread the word about Supercasters and feed the algorithms by writing us a review on Apple podcasts.
We would really, really appreciate that. So without further ado, Eric, welcome to the show. How's your day going?
Eric Siu: Doing great. Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Jason Sew Hoy: Awesome. So as a primer for our conversation, could you maybe tell us a little bit about what Single Grain does?
What is Single Grain?
Eric Siu: Yeah. So I'm actually not the CEO of Single Grain anymore. I’m the owner of the company. We actually hired a CEO a while back but Single Grain’s an agency that primarily works with big tech companies or software companies, with the Ubers and Amazons of the world to, mainly with paid media and SEO and yeah, that's what Single Grain does.
Jason Sew Hoy: Awesome. And to wind back the clock a little bit further, how did you get involved in internet marketing and then venturing off to do your own agency?
How did Eric Siu get involved in internet marketing?
Eric Siu: When I first graduated from college, this was right after the financial crisis, so I couldn't get a job. The best job I could get was a data entry job that paid me $32,000 a year. So I was balling, living at home, balling. And it wasn't until I saw someone that was 30 years old that went to Harvard that was doing the same exact thing that I was doing, where I realized I was like, Oh man, I need to do something and nobody's going to come save me. I need to take control. Fortunately, one of my friends who now works at Airbnb at the time, she told me she was doing this internet marketing internship and she said I might like it. And so I picked up an internship myself and then never really looked back from there. I mean, right after the internship, I picked up five jobs within the first year.
So it wasn't like I was fired. It was more so I kept chasing the opportunity. I felt like my growth capped out within the first month I moved on to the next job. and then eventually I became a VP of marketing for an online education startup and had a good run there. And then eventually that led over to Single Grain, which was a whole Hey, you saved this startup, Can you help save this company? And that's my journey all the way up to Single Grain.
Jason Sew Hoy: So tell us a little bit about how that deal happened and how you decided to take the dive into Single Grain.
How did Eric Siu get involved with Single Grain?
Eric Siu: I think the way to look at things for most people, I think you and I we're Asian, so I think probably our parents are like, Oh yeah, you should be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, or at least in the United States, you have to go to at least a UC, like a University of California school, at least UCLA, if not higher. You have to have kids by a certain age. And also my mom has like this weird template going on and they always brag to their kids and all that.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, you're behind schedule. She's got a schedule for you at every step.
Eric Siu: Yeah. Yeah. And you can never meet those expectations. So instead of whatever your parents think, it's more so, Like I mentioned earlier, are you chasing the opportunity? Forget about the money, because if you keep chasing the growth, you keep chasing the opportunity, the money will follow behind as long as you're getting better, as long as you're adding more value. So I came into this online education startup with a great product, we had a great team, great CEO, we just needed to add marketing. That's all I did. I just bet the entire company on YouTube ads. That was it. It wasn't super hard. I saw something. I said, let's do that.
That worked out. Right company. We raised our series B, company was saved. Move on to the next thing. Neil, my podcast host said, Hey why don't you come help this agency Single Grain. First of all, I worked in agency before, I hate agencies. I just hate the business model in general. And so for me, I'm looking on the outside, I thought it was a house of cards because Google Penguin and Panda updates had hit, meaning that the services, the SEO services that we're providing at the time, it was our main service, were no longer working. I knew that.
I didn't even have to talk to, learn about Single Grain that they were getting hit by it. And so Neil was like, Hey, why don't you come help save this company? You did a good job with this other one. Why don't you come help save this company? So I was like, even though I think it's a company that might fall apart, I was like, man, if I can save this company, the opportunity here is if I can save it, then I can do anything. That's the original kind of thinking behind it. So I come into the company, six months go by and there were four partners aside from myself. So you have Neil and then there's three other partners. So I like to always say it's four brown guys and one yellow guy.
I'm the yellow guy, Neil and a couple of other Indian friends that I still talk to nowadays, they decided that they wanted out. Basically Neil was like, you should get out too. There's no brand equity here. This thing's falling apart and I said, you know what? I think I'll stick with it because now I was thinking about it. It's like, if I could really save this and I could make it happen, my upside's unlimited. So what I did was I said, okay, let's do this guys. Neil, I will pay you $1 for 10% of your shares and his partner, Hiten Shah, who's well known in Silicon Valley, I'll pay you a dollar for your shares as well so 10%. And then the rest of the dollars owed would be through the profits of the company. And the contingency I set was if the company failed, I would owe nothing.
So keep in mind. I'm 27 years old at this time. I have no idea what I'm doing. And I realized like a couple of years later, Oh, this is actually a mergers and acquisitions deal, except it's from a guy that doesn't know what he's doing. So we got the deal done. A year goes by, we drop all the way down to one employee, everyone's quitting around me because I've no idea what I'm doing. I read this book and I took it literally, it's called Let My People Go Surfing. It's from the Patagonia founder. So I was like, yeah, don't micromanage your people, let them go do their thing, blah blah.
So I literally, I was like, you know what? Not going to come into the office, let my people go surfing, let them do their thing. It was me. I misinterpreted the book. So people were… it just got bad. It got so bad to the point that my outside accounting firm called me and said, Hey, Eric, I think it might be time to shut it down. And at the time I was about to accept this job in Dallas being basically on the executive team. VP of marketing, they offered me good six figures, 300, 400 grand a year, a million in bonuses. I was like this is great. And then I realized something. I said yes to the job offer.
Immediately the next day I knew something was wrong. So I was like, I can't do it no matter what. I can't. I got a taste of freedom. I can't do it. So then I just made up some story and I was like, Hey, I can't do it guys. And that was that. But anyway, long story short, I already went through a lot but I just continued to power through. I was amazingly able to get great people to help me out along the way to help save the company. And slowly but surely we were able to build the thing back up. And the other thing I'll say too, is what's good about an agency business is, my whole thinking when I first took it over was to use the cash flows, if I were able to make it happen, to use the cash flows, to go buy or go invest in other businesses, because it's a great cash flow business and fortunately enough, everything worked out and that's where we're at today.
Jason Sew Hoy: That's interesting in terms of that foresight into thinking, okay, I'm getting this agency for a great deal. And if I can do this, I can do anything, but also having that future vision of, when I make this succeed, I'm going to go and use this as the stepping stone to get into these other, different businesses as well. Single Grain today, just give us a little bit of an insight into that collection of different businesses. Can you give us a little bit of a taste?
What other businesses is Eric Siu involved with?
Eric Siu: We have Single Grain, which I've mentioned, and then we have Clickflow, which is SEO software that makes you grow your traffic while looking like a genius. That's the tagline we use. And we have Marketing School, which I do with Neil. We're actually going to record right after this, we have Leveling Up, these are all separate projects. And then I have a program called Consulting School where we teach you how to build your agency. It's very meta. Fortunately people love the program. And there's also a book that's coming out called Leveling Up that's coming out in February. I think those are kind of the main things. And then we have, oh with the single Grain website, we've actually also converted into an affiliate website too because my background is in SEO so we're also leveraging the domain authority that we have to rank for certain keywords.
And then there's an affiliate marketing play there as well. So there's a lot of mini projects. Right now, I'm looking at a couple of SaaS companies to buy. One's doing, it's not that big, it's doing about $2 million a year or so. But just looking at OK I have this marketing audience, as long as it's martech or sales, if I think I can help it explode, if I like the team, if I think it's a great product, then I might think about bringing it into the family.
Jason Sew Hoy: great. And so how did you get into podcasting and how do you think about the podcasts that you're involved with in terms of how they fit into that overall empire?
How did Eric Siu get into podcasting?
Eric Siu: I started the Leveling Up podcast, formerly it was called Growth Everywhere, in 2013. So this was before Tim Ferriss even started his podcast. And at the time there was a guy named Andrew Warner. Great guy, he interviews a lot of entrepreneurs. And I was like, yeah look, what if I could interview entrepreneurs, but also talk about what my spin would be on marketing. So I just did that. The first year I spent six hours a week on it. I was doing the editing. I was reaching out. I was doing the write-ups as well. And this is while I was trying to save Single Grain. So stupid, very, very stupid. After the first year, I was only getting nine downloads a day for that podcast. But I kept going. Same thing, six hours a week, still trying to save Single Grain.
Next year I was getting 30 downloads. Okay. So not much at all. Most people would be like, what an idiot. You should have given up the first year, probably in the first six months. But to me that's wrong because I was doing a podcast to learn, because I can learn from super successful people, I can ask questions that I want to ask and it's free advice from people and I'm also building relationships. Some of my closest relationships have come from that podcast. It's also generated clients for Single Grain, our customers, for other stuff. So I think for me realizing that there was a very long-term play with the podcast and being patient with it.
So two years of nothing is a lot. We did that. Four years goes into it and then one day I'm just hanging out with Neil and then I'm telling him about how great podcasting is. And then all of a sudden he turns to me and he's like, yeah, let's do it. I'm like, what are you talking about? He's like, yeah, let's do the podcast. I was like, what do you mean? So that's how we started Marketing School. And the very first podcast we record in Vegas when it's super hot and he has to turn his AC off because we don't have any things to help dampen the sound so it's too echo-y or the AC is too loud. We're burning up, getting sweaty, we’re cranking out as much as we can, that's how we made it happen. And so that's kinda been the journey. Leveling Up now is about a hundred thousand downloads a month. And then Marketing School keeps growing through kind of the times that we're in. It's on track for about 1.6 million downloads a month. That's been the journey so far.
Jason Sew Hoy: The frequency of these two podcasts is obviously different. I'm interested in the fact that you sit across two very different shows. They're both in marketing, but one is an interview-based show once a week and the other one is a daily podcast, which I think it's more just you and Neil sharing your insights and learnings on a daily basis. And also the traffic profiles, completely different. A hundred thousand versus 1.2 million downloads per month. How do you think about your contributions to each of those and the purposes that they serve?
How do Eric Siu's two podcasts differ?
Eric Siu: You know what's interesting. I'll share one interesting fact. Single Grain gets about 15% of its clients from podcasting. That's like the last click attribution. Let's just call it that because people that follow the blog listen to the podcast but half come from Leveling Up and half come from Marketing School, which I think is fascinating because Leveling Up is so much smaller. Then again, you have a daily podcast. I will tell you the effort that goes into Marketing School is a lot easier because when I go record with Neil in about an hour, we have ideas queued up, he edits it. I edit the ideas a little bit and we just go. Every episode is five minutes, sometimes up to 10 minutes max, we're on to the next one, onto the next one, onto the next one. So zero preparation required because we can just riff on that stuff.
Now the Leveling Up podcast. Today I did Superhuman, Rahul from Superhuman and I did Sam Corcos from Levels, the little patch. My patch is coming today. I think it's actually downstairs. I'm gonna go pick it up. But here's a lot more preparation, a lot more thought that goes into it. And it's a deeper conversation. And I think about, okay, what are the angles? What do they need exactly? How can I help them afterwards? And then also what are the other angles? So for example, Rahul comes from game design. He used to play World of Warcraft. I used to play World of Warcraft. My book coming out is called Leveling Up. This is something he can align with.
Levels, Leveling Up. There's something there too. There might be a book angle or there might be sometimes afterwards with Leveling Up thing if they have a really large website, OK, here's an angle here. Oh, it looks like they have a large website. Hey by the way, who handles SEO and content on your team. So if you're looking to generate leads you can do that too. There's always a different angle, but I approach with help first and then I might have something in mind that I personally need support with as well. That's how I think about it. But to me, I learned a lot more from the Leveling Up podcasts. I think it's different with Marketing School because I'm more so articulating my thoughts, which is a different way of learning, but they're both helpful.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, that's, that's fascinating. So despite it seeming like you're doing seven shows for every one, the actual work that you're having to put into creating those seven shows, it's not seven times obviously what you're putting into it.
Eric Siu: Every time I do a session with Neil, we do it for an hour and we crank out 10 episodes. But see with Leveling Up alone today that took me lLet's just call it an hour and 15 minutes. So that's two episodes.
Jason Sew Hoy: And then in terms of your relationship with listeners, how would you contrast your engagement and how you interact with listeners for both of those podcasts?
Eric Siu: I would say the Marketing School audience is a lot more, I think because you have a much wider range. You have people that are starting out, people that might be struggling with their business, or people struggling with school. So it's wide-ranging and people engage with us all the time on social media. And we've even put together a live event before where a good chunk of people came. We did it for free. Last year we created a— I hate using the word mastermind so let's call it a peer group where people are paying $25,000 for the year and they get three events. They're all mostly seven to nine figure entrepreneurs or executives. There's that.
I think with Leveling Up what tends to happen….I remember I was at SaaSter, which is the biggest SaaS conference I think, a couple of years ago. And at that conference there was probably four or five occasions where I was walking around and then someone was like, Oh, podcast guy, podcast guy. And I can tell you one of the deals we signed, it's a seven-figure deal, it's just because I happened to walk by and we just started talking a little bit and then one thing led to another. And then I think we actually got two, so five interactions, two of them became long-term clients. I will tell you that fascinating thing about podcasting if you have a services based business or I guess any business where you have clients and interact with the customers, the sales cycle is a lot shorter. The lifetime value of the deal is a lot longer. I can tell you those two deals they've been with us since then. It might even have been three years now, at least two.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, that's fascinating. And why do you think that is?
Eric Siu: You know the person. And when you know the person you can't help but reach out because you feel like they're your friend already. And so then you have a conversation. You realize that person is just no different than you, just a person. It's similar. For example, when we met in LA… I might've seen your stuff before, you might've heard my stuff before, but then that one touch point alone takes it way further. So I always feel, using a basketball term, it's an alley oop almost, your alley ooping the relationship. And then you're engaging. And then now you're actually, you're at least an acquaintance, if not a friend. And then at that point, you want to do deals with people that you like. So I think that's what happens.
Jason Sew Hoy: Interesting. So you're kind of contrasting or making the case, I guess, that having the podcast and having someone listen to you and spend an entire, whether it's five minutes or an entire hour listening to your voice, you’re kind of getting a little bit of that alley oop feeling of having met someone in real life?
Eric Siu: For sure. I mean, I'll tell you what. In my old apartment building I lived here in Los Angeles, I was in the elevator and I was talking once and one guy turned around, he's like, are you Eric Siu? He recognized my voice. And that happened to me twice in the elevator. Just one guy turned up and he's like, Oh my God. And he was talking to his girlfriend, I listen to these podcasts every day, blah, blah, blah. It's funny. And you can't help but to be grateful for it, but it is funny.
Jason Sew Hoy: That is funny. In terms of being a growth guy, being a marketing guy, obviously you have to think about growth hacks and long-term strategy for both those shows as well. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?
How does Eric Siu grow his podcasts?
Eric Siu: I think the most helpful thing. I don't know how helpful this is going to be. I think if you're fortunate enough to have an audience already, if you have an email list already, hit the email list hard. If you have a notification tool, a push notification tool like subscribers.com, hit that one as well. If you have a big social media following, do that too, use the swipe ups. If you have an audience, you're fortunate enough, do that. The other thing I would say is, everyone is doing an interview podcast right now, so how can you make it a little different?
For example, Jason, you're doing an interview podcast, but you're also doing a behind-the-scenes as well. So it's kind of different. Now the reason we decided to make Marketing School daily and we didn't want to make an interview podcast is because nobody was doing it that way. So who else is going to do a daily? And the thing is we have never missed one episode for four years. It doesn't matter, there's been times where I'm sick, Neil almost never gets sick, but we power through it anyway. I might have a fever or whatever, actually I don't think I had a fever for a long time, but the main point is we power through it.
So the consistency alone. We just see it continue to build and build and build and stacks. I think even without hitting our email lists, the podcast would have continued to grow. And what I would say is, because you're so consistent, people can't help but to talk about it. Even with the people that hate it too. And then just over time, it's the same thing as SEO. SEO takes, to me, if you're starting from scratch, it's an 18 to 24 month journey. I basically saw the same thing with podcasts too, so it just takes time to compound. So I don't really necessarily have a hack for you. I might say try these engagement pods or whatever, but I've tried all the low-quality stuff in the past, it just doesn't work. And plus it doesn't feel right.
And generally the barometer for me now is if it doesn't feel right, just don't do it. I'm just good at the long-term stuff. That's what it is. I've tried paid media, I've tried contests. I've tried all these things, just doesn't work. But there is one other thing, those of you that want a hack. When I was struggling with the Leveling Up podcast, Product Hunt had this podcast section and you could actually upvote podcasts. So what I would do every day is I would throw out Marketing School and I would throw up Leveling Up and then I would just have my team go upvote it. And it would be number one and number two every single day. And then they took it off. I'm pretty sure they took it off because of us. But that’s what happened.
Jason Sew Hoy: I did use the word hack, but that wasn't exactly what I was thinking about.
Eric Siu: That’s a hack right there. I'll give you another hack. So here's the key thing: hacks get you banned. So we basically got banned from Product Hunt. Here's the other thing, Russell Brunson with his Marketing Secrets podcast, it used to be called Marketing in your Car. So CEO of ClickFunnels and they do really well, he's a great marketer. What he did was he incentivized people. He said, Hey guys, I have this MP3 player with all the episodes in there, all you have to do is opt in. And he basically put people into a funnel. And what happened there was when they opted in, he was incentivizing them to write reviews. And so his podcast was exploding and he actually shot up to number one I believe in business and Apple banned him. I actually even interviewed him on the Leveling Up podcast. I asked him a little bit about it and we kind of just brushed through it quickly. I was like, Oh, he doesn't want to talk about it. So I can tell you that if you try to hack or game the system typically, even if it doesn't work in black hat SEO, it still doesn't work here too. So just be careful.
Jason Sew Hoy: Right. Got it. Your emphasis is purely on long-term consistency, producing great content. And then just making your show better and better for the audience that you're serving.
Eric Siu: There's that, but I know people are probably let down by that answer. So I'll say, OK we use Restream. This that we're doing right now. What I would have done was I would have Restreamed it, which is simulcasting basically. I would hit Twitter, I'd hit my YouTube, I would hit my LinkedIn. I would hit my Twitch as well. And so I'd just hit all the other, if I can simulcast to Instagram at the same time, I would do it. There's one thing called yellowduck.tv but that allows me to hit multiple channels. And what ends up happening there is, I get people that say, I see you everywhere. Even if you think, Oh I'm only getting 50 views on this channel or a hundred views or so, that's fine because you might have, even if it's one person out of a hundred is one of the people that you're trying to reach, then you've done your job. So don't just focus on Apple, try to diversify as much as you can. We try to hit all the channels for podcast feeds but then we also try to simulcast, which is why we will use Zoom for it. We have no other reason to use Zoom other than trying to. You know, hook it up with Restream and then hit all our channels.
Jason Sew Hoy: Interesting. For your audience, what are the channels, besides the podcasts, that have proved valuable for you?
Which marketing channels have been most valuable to Eric Siu?
Eric Siu: SEO and content marketing is 50% of our customers. 15% comes from podcasts and the other 35% is from..there's networking, there's speaking, there's me throwing my own events. There's me kind of throwing dinners, and by the way, I'm not an extrovert. I actually like being at home. Like once I'm in an outdoor type of environment, like a conference, I want to go home within the first hour but I find that whenever I make the event for my own purposes, that works out really well. And then those people inevitably will think about you and they want to work with you in some capacity in the future, whether it's as just friends or maybe they need something, maybe you can make an introduction for them. It's just good to have that in-person stuff once we get back to it.
SEO content marketing is obviously still the long game. I enjoy the stuff that Kevin Indig, he's the VP of SEO at G2, he puts out good stuff. Grow and Convert is a great blog as well. Ahrefs actually has some good stuff too. That's the SEO tool. Beyond, I mean we talked about podcasting already, but beyond that, it's just straight up boots on the ground, getting out there and by the way, never knew how to speak. Introverted person. My first talk on stage was in front of 30 people. My hands were sweating like crazy, so nervous, but you get used to it because you realize that all you're trying to do, even if you throw a dinner or whatever, or you throw an event is you're just trying to serve people or you're trying to help people. And then once you take it off, it's no longer about you. It just becomes a lot easier.
Jason Sew Hoy: In terms of creating income streams from your content and repackaging that in various ways to make money, what are some of the things that you've tried there and both succeeded at and failed.
How does Eric Siu monetize his podcast?
Eric Siu: I'll just share numbers for the podcast first. So for the Marketing School podcast, we run ads for it, and this is public on Neil's blog so I can talk about it. So we have a hosting company that pays us about $800,000 a year and it's for an annual deal and we'll help them every now and then with their marketing as well. But that's good because you split it between two people. It's basically all profit. We're not charging on a CPM or anything like that. If we were, we could probably be like $1.2 million a year or so, but that's good for a podcast and some people are making even more than that. So on 1.6 million downloads, not bad. And that's.. we monetize with ads.
Then the other thing I'll say is that's why we created the live event. Once our live events are back, they'll probably do, we'll call it two and a half, $3 million. And most of that will be profit, but then we're also able to network with amazing people and kind of create our own event that we want to have at places that we want to be at. So you’ve got events, you've got ads. We've continually toyed with the idea of adding a subscription as well but obviously that's a discussion with Neil and myself and he's just like, let's max out the other things first before we even think about it. So it's a discussion we might come back to later, but even beyond that, there's courses too.
But the way I'm thinking about courses is if we're called Marketing School, I'm taking a look at who's actually doing something innovative around education right now, and I think Lambda School was doing something interesting. So can we do a type of income share type of thing, or just a regular boot camp where we teach people the zero to one, you go from knowing nothing to becoming pretty good at marketing in three months, and then even us helping you get a job. And that sounds interesting. So we're even thinking about doing something like that. Just keep in mind, I think for those of you looking to make money quickly from podcasting, we didn't make any money from it for the first three years. For Leveling Up, I didn't make any money from it for the first three years as well so be willing to defer as long as you can.
Jason Sew Hoy: Interesting. And so if some listeners out there that might be at that three-year mark where you've built an audience, you've done the ground work, you've done just the toiling of putting out content on a consistent basis and getting that really highly engaged audience, and then you're starting to think about monetization. How would you guide them to think about all the opportunities available?
How do you start monetizing your audience?
Eric Siu: I think the first thing I would start with, hopefully you're collecting emails from your audience and or at least you're getting them onto your, you can use community.com and you can just text them and ask them what they think. That works well for us. So what I would ask is look, What's one thing that you're struggling with? A) You ask the standard questions: What do you do, what industry are you in, what's your role, all that type of stuff. And what other content, what other types of content would you like to see? What's the one thing that you're struggling with most right now? And then you get a sense of signal versus noise. And then from that survey, because you understand your audience, you can decide what to build next, instead of just saying I'm going to build in a vacuum and I think my audience needs this.
Ads obviously we know that one big hosting provider, they want more customers. So that's their need. Now around the live event, we know that people want more connection and they want to connect with like-minded people, so we did that. We actually now even have a virtual event as well. We're just gonna add more people to it. It's just really understanding, kind of who your customer is and ideally you are the customer, so you kind of understand what to do. That's what I would say before trying to just build something from scratch, which is what I've done in the past and it's been pretty painful.
Jason Sew Hoy: Interesting. And then when you're putting out a survey, are the kinds of questions that people should be asking to be able to work out whether they should monetize via advertising via subscription, via courses? How can people start to tease apart where they should be?
How do you pick your podcast's monetization model?
Eric Siu: One thing we did was we asked them straight up how interested they would be. We gauge their interest level. So it's like, Hey, if we created a subscription for Marketing School, how interested would you be? And I believe their interest was about 3.5 out of 5.
I think we did something around how interested would you be in a weekly newsletter around marketing? So that's something we might create because the interest was around a 4.5 out of 5. At least you have some quantitative feedback, but that's not to say we won't test the other stuff so we can kind of gauge from there. We have the quantitative data, but also we might think from our side, well you know what, based on qualitative things that we've seen, we might want to reprioritize. So you want to kind of have a mix of both.
Jason Sew Hoy: How much do you look at what the competition is doing? Who are the people that you track closely, and who are the people that you think are just doing really, really well in terms of being able to build up an audience and then also monetize that effectively?
Does Eric Siu look at what other creators are doing?
Eric Siu: I think Pomp, Anthony Pompliano, I had him on the podcast, about a week or two ago. And so he's done a really good job with building up his Twitter following, his podcast following. I think his Twitter is like 300,000. His podcast is about 2.5 million downloads a month. And, he's actually talked to Andrew Wilkinson about Supercast by the way. and so, yeah, he's good at what he does. And here's the thing. He's also trained his brother up to be pretty good at Twitter as well. His brother went from like 2,000 followers. He's at 50,000 now. So I think they just do a great job because they add a lot of value to their audience.
Jason Sew Hoy: All right. So, we've covered a lot already, but for those of you that are regular listeners you'll know that this is where we're going to break off and do the bonus section. And so for our bonus episode with Eric, we're going to go further into how to create content that sells and the unique advantages of a one-person media company as Eric calls it. So to check that out, click here to sign up for free.
Eric, thanks so much for sharing your insights with us today and really appreciate you coming on.
Eric Siu: For sure.
Jason Sew Hoy: Thanks for listening, everyone. Bye for now.
- Single Grain (website)
- Let My People Go Surfing
- Marketing School (podcast)
- Leveling Up (podcast)
- Leveling Up (book)
- Leveling Up with Eric Siu (YouTube)
- Yellow Duck
- Kevin Indig
- Grow and Convert
- Anthony Pompliano (Twitter)