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So What? Content Marketing – subscription versus advertising

So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live

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In this week’s episode of So What? we focus on content marketing. We walk through the differences in subscription and advertising models, competing platforms, and how to make money with your content. Catch the replay here:

So What? Content Marketing - subscription versus advertising


In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • The differences in subscription versus advertising models
  • Which platforms get it right, which ones are broken
  • Can you make money with your content? Should you?

Upcoming Episodes:

  • TBD


Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here:

AI-Generated Transcript:


Katie Robbert 0:27
Well, Happy International Thursday, everyone. Welcome to so with the marketing analytics and insights live show. I am Katie joined by John and special guests Chris Penn From where are you? Chris? Belgrade, Serbia? Wow. And what time is it? In Serbia right now?

Christopher Penn 0:45
Just turn six o’clock. Wow,

Katie Robbert 0:49
I would be asleep already. I personally cannot handle any kind of time change in inelegant fashion, like I crashed immediately. So, you know, kudos to you for still being awake and mostly coherent. Alright. On today’s episode, we are covering content marketing, subscription versus advertising models. We want to talk about the differences in the in the models, which platforms get it right, which ones are broken? And can you make money with your content? Should you? So John, this was a topic that you requested that we chat about a bit? So, you know, where do you want to start? I’m going to toss it to you first.

John Wall 1:30
Yeah, you know, there’s a lot of stuff on this front. I mean, this was really the impetus is what’s going on Twitter, right? We’re watching probably the largest ever possible transition from advertising based content to subscription based content, right, there’s talk now of people paying to get in. And we can, you know, there’s all kinds of things to be said about, you know, they’re not going all the way it’s a partial offer, there’s still going to be a free tier and all this kind of stuff. But it does give us a great opportunity to talk about all the different methods to dig into this and how, you know, when you’re publishing and getting content out there, how do you get paid for it? Do you get paid for what works? And it’s funny, goes all the way back to 2005. I was at the portable media expo, this was years ago. And they were first talking about blogging and podcasting and the ways to monetize this stuff. And they had Leo Laporte, this guy who does this week in tech was talking about, he basically came out and just said, like, content should be free all the time. You know, it was the, the classic, like the internet is gonna be all good all the time, and all free, and everybody cheered. And then after he gave his 40 minute keynote, the next step on stage was Jason Calacanis, the guy who he actually spun up a bunch of tech blogs and got them sold to AOL made a ton of money became a VC. And he stood up and said, Look, there’s five ways to monetize your content he made no, he was like, the free thing is a joke that you have to jump in, and figure out how you’re going to pay for this stuff. And so the lead to our advertising and subscribers, right? I mean, that’s where the models we see most often what gets done. After that, there’s things like licensing and affiliate links, or basically getting acquired, like cashing out because someone wants your audience, those were, you know, five paths to go down. And, you know, the ways to get the money flowing behind it. So yeah, there’s a bunch of ways we can go from there. I mean, do you guys want to do some opening comments for just what you think about this stuff? Or where you’re at?

Katie Robbert 3:27
Well, I would say, let’s take a step back first, and sort of talk through like, what is the subscription model? And what is an advertising model? And what’s an example of each? And so you know, John, as you’re talking about Twitter, for example, Twitter makes its money through advertisers. And right now, and so you can pay for the Twitter blue. And with the new leadership, they are asking that people now start to subscribe to a verification check mark, which kind of takes away the whole verification part of it. So Twitter is looking to sort of migrate away from strictly an advertising model to more of a subscription model. So what are some other examples, John, that you were thinking, as we were talking about advertising and subscription? And you know, Chris, please chime in with your thoughts here, too.

John Wall 4:22
The big thing with advertising, there’s so much that goes into the fact that, you know, the idea is to just generate traffic, right, people are paying money to get traffic. And so there’s no incentive for the platform to really do a serious job and Mark moderating fraudulent accounts and accounts that are just designed to create traffic, because they never want to go back to the advertiser and say, oh, yeah, you know, we we ran the bots out of town and now the audiences only 70% of what it used to be, you know, because all of the advertisers have to go back to their management. So you know, every quarter the number of clicks is going up, the traffic is continuing to improve. Now, you can argue over the long run, that keeping the neighborhood clean is important to do, because ad results, ultimately you will have less purchasing over the long run. But the problem is, so many companies are on the quarterly treadmill, that they just, you know, they kind of just as long as the numbers are going up to the right for clicks and users, that’s enough for them to keep management happy and stay around, at least you know, and now, that’s why the average cmo retention is 18 months, you know, because eventually that just runs out and dies. So you kind of have this weird pyramid of yeah, there are companies that are advertising, just, you know, hey, come click and get to our content and see our thing. But then you have advertisers that are up there to drive traffic to landing pages that are just filled with a bunch of AdWords related stuff that’s just driving traffic, and they’re getting paid on. I mean, it’s, I mean, I’m not gonna say it’s outright outright fraud, but it’s kind of just this whole pyramid scheme of junky clicks and traffic. And you know, everybody sees this, like, when you go to Twitter, what’s the third post? You see, it’s that one of like, some weird celebrity thing, you know, here’s what these married couples did, or whatever. And it goes to these pages where there’s like, 20 billion ads. And, you know, they’re just sitting there. And as you’re scrolling, the ads, just keep loading and loading and loading and the cash registers ringing for somewhere. And, you know, the neighborhood is a dump. So that’s kind of the the advertising hell you fall into. At the other side of it, subscribers is so pure, it’s ridiculous, right? It’s the people that pay the money, get the content, and that’s it, you know, where the money’s coming from. But, you know, it can’t be all good news. The bad news is you have the, the public television model of 99.9% of the people aren’t willing to open up their purse, and you’ve got, you know, point 1% of the audience actually funding the thing. And for most networks, that’s not enough for it to survive. So, you know, and there’s a whole nother rabbit hole we can go down into now as far as like, okay, so what kind of content do you get with those models? You know, what are you encouraging to get published? And you can argue that, you know, public television does have great quality stuff, right? You never have junky infomercials on public television. Like that doesn’t happen. There’s the cost gets paid other ways. And that’s how it runs. So yeah, that’s the rant that was brewing. To take a breath and let you guys throw back at that. Well, I

Katie Robbert 7:23
will say two things. Number one, I do love a good John Wall rant. We don’t get them often enough. And number two, I love and live for those junky infomercials, so I will never give them up. Chris, what are your thoughts on subscription versus advertising content models?

Christopher Penn 7:39
Introducing new Slap Chop? No, I’m just kidding. I do love Slap Chop. I think John boil it down really easy. You can either sell your stuff or sell other people’s stuff. Those are two revenue models, right? And selling other people’s stuff is usually ads, usually sponsorships, things like that very straightforward. Selling your stuff, there’s a few different avenues that we see successful creators doing. One is subscription, right Patreon only fans Gumroad substack, you name it. So there’s all these different ways to basically get people enrolled in a monthly recurring revenue, setup of some kind. And the other thing is selling your products, right. So in our case, for example, Trust Insights has our Google Analytics 4 course which you can get at trust, for course, there’s our infomercial. And at that point, you’re what you’re doing is you’re basically building an audience then, kind of, at the end of the day, we’re all collecting attention. And attention is kind of like a spotlight and goes in the general direction that we try to shine it in. So the question is, what do you want to do? Now when you’re selling your own stuff, you sell a lot less of it? Typically, the new the new advertising, because advertising is basically by tonnage, how many eyeballs do you send someplace, but the margins are way, way better? When you’re selling other people’s stuff? You know, a sponsorship. Sponsorship is usually by the CPM model. Cost Per 1000 impressions, you do get some cost per click, or pay per click models. But for the most part, even with affiliate sales, you’re getting your 5% of the sale a lot of time one to 5%. So you if you’ve got tonnage in terms of raw audience traffic, you can send somewhere that might be the better Avenue particularly if you don’t have the time or the effort. You can’t put in the effort to make your own stuff. It’s easier to sell other people’s stuff. But in general, the margins are much better on newer stuff. Even if you’re just selling your own book on Amazon, you’re still getting 30 35% from Amazon, you know, they keep 65% at regular Kindle, and KDP you get 70% of your price. When we sell stuff on like Gumroad you get 95% of the sale price. When you buy from one of our courses and things you get it’s like 97% Like there’s a 3% transaction fee for the payment plan. So so if you’re, if your content is valuable enough, you can probably make more money selling your own stuff than selling other people’s stuff. But if you just got a loosely engaged audience, but a lot of it, you’ll probably make more money selling other people’s stuff, those kinds of the ways I divided up,

Katie Robbert 10:21
I find it interesting that, you know, you both immediately leap toward the revenue piece of it. You know, and I want to make sure that we don’t forget to talk about, you know, the unpaid subscription versus advertising models. And so, you know, it’s the examples that come to mind for me are, so if you’re working on creating content, a subscription model would be your newsletter, so people have to subscribe to it in order to be able to consume, but you’re gonna have a higher engaged audience, because they’ve chosen to subscribe to receive your content. Same thing with sort of a podcast, versus an advertising model, which is essentially, it translates to sort of like organic social, so you’re promoting your content, but you have less control over who it’s going to, because it’s sort of just sort of going out to the ether in some ways, depending on the platform that you’re, you know, promoting your stuff on. And so I just wanted to acknowledge the non revenue generating subscription and advertising models because those do exist. And not everyone has, you know, the means to host it on a Gumroad, or to monetize it right away, or they’re looking to build their audience first, and then start asking for money, which is probably a better way to go. Because you need to demonstrate that there’s value in the thing that you’re creating.

Christopher Penn 11:38
Exactly you you eventually want you want to initially attract the audience and get the attention that you can then put that somewhere. So it’s not that it’s not revenue generating, it’s just deferred revenue, I guess it’d be a good way of putting it. A lot of creators for example, on Twitch, they do live streams, kind of like we are right now. And then they get people into their discord. They get people maybe into their Patreon, but they get people to follow them on Instagram and Twitter and stuff like that. And then there’s this whole series of funnels. Okay, let’s get somebody into into the discord. Let’s get somebody onto Instagram, and then you get them into maybe they have an only fans, you set up a free tier like, here’s the free content just to get you subscribed, or the free tier of sub stacks to get you subscribe. And then in that there’s the upsells, to say, Okay, now that you’re reading the free version of this, you know, upgrade to the paid one. So Avinash Kaushik does this with his newsletter, every fourth issue is free. And then the other three are paid, and so forth, he comes down, he’s like, Hey, upgrade to the premium model here,

Katie Robbert 12:36
which works if you see value in the content that he’s creating. So, John, which platforms do you think are getting it? Right? And which ones are missing? The Mark?

John Wall 12:46
Yeah, well, like I said, we’ve got this huge transition with Twitter. So we’re gonna see where this goes, you know, the kind of conventional wisdom is that Facebook has just done so much throttling, and, you know, choking of the feed that there’s not much there anymore. And you see the same thing on Instagram. And I know some of the numbers that we’ve run in the past, show them actually loosening some things up, because they’ve just tightened it so much down that they have to go. And I, you know, still, obviously, and I have to, as a disclaimer, say, you know, we are marketing over coffee is sponsored by LinkedIn. So we do a lot of work with LinkedIn. But the LinkedIn having a premium tear keeps out a ton of the spam, right, you don’t see the same time amount of just garbage on the spammy feed. And people paying for higher levels of content and higher access to be able to send messages. It looks like the most attractive, fully public garden to be in, you know, I think now the big thing is, Chris has done a lot of work with these private communities. Some of those are the highest quality stuff you see out there, you know, where there’s actually a gatekeeper. You know, it’s not, you can’t even just show up at the money, like you have to be able to be vetted by the network to come in and talk. Those are the greatest communities to get into. But yeah, LinkedIn, and then, I don’t know, it just seems like Tiktok is just a dumpster fire waiting to happen, you know, you see more and more governments talking about look, there was just a Post this morning, I saw it with the UK talking about how the all the personal data is going straight to China, and what is that going to mean? And where they’re gonna go? And yeah, I don’t see that one becoming, you know, that not becoming part of public education anytime soon, but we’ll see where that goes. So, yeah, that’s where I’m, you know, kind of putting the time and effort into the channels where I feel like it’s at least you know, you’re gonna get the return. It’s the right kind of audience.

Katie Robbert 14:36
What do you think Chris?

Christopher Penn 14:39
The models that we see being successful right now treat public social channels essentially as billboards, right so you have some light engagement there you do your best to, to attract new audiences, and then you get them off those platforms as fast as you possibly can get them to anyplace else. The model that has worked well for as a as a B2B company is getting people straight email straight to a newsletter or some kind of this listing sites newsletter, go to trust You can subscribe there. That model then says okay, we can we now have, you always want to get attention from land that you don’t hold on to land that you own. So it’s newsletters, maybe it’s a text messaging list, John runs a Text group for marketing over coffee, but something that is yours that’s under your control. And then from there, you can figure out, you know, who’s which folks are going to be active, which folks could potentially be monetized, which folks could be brought on as ambassadors like there’s there’s such strong participants that they’re essentially almost like unpaid employees like in the analytics remarketing slack. There’s a couple folks, Hannah and Todd there may comment all the time, and in good ways and useful ways. And not just talking to the salad here hear the sound of voices, but they are by far the most active people in that community. And at some point, what if, you know, if we do decide to do something like an ambassador program, those will be the first two people we call because like you folks clearly, like the community, you enjoy being here. And we want to recognize the the contributions you make by by finding some way to, to elevate your status of it. But it’s, it’s it’s always like a laddering effect. So easy. Here’s a social post, you don’t have to subscribe or to follow, you can just you know, watch it go by no commitment. And then Okay, follow us on social, okay, great, go to the newsletter, oh, join the slacking Oh, take our course and so on. And is that that progression that eventually leads people towards doing more valuable stuff? The ideal outcome is someone becomes a client or if they’re in a position to do so. But even folks who are not it’s just how can we get people more than you engaged? And how can we keep their attention in an environment where attention is probably the most scarce resource in the world.

Katie Robbert 16:57
So if I can sort of summarize what I’m hearing, both of you say it sounds like in terms of subscription versus advertising models, social media is just in John’s words that dumpster fire regardless of, you know, the channel that you’re going to, especially if it’s a, you know, quote unquote, public arena, versus you know, what Chris qualifies as a private social channel, like a Slack or discord. And so it sounds like the subscription model, versus the advertising model, in some ways, is, it’s not that it’s irrelevant. But if you’re thinking about it for your own company, you first have to decide like, what are your goals? What are you trying to do? What kind of an audience you’re trying to bring in? And Chris, to your point, you need to be prepared for a bit of that customer journey in terms of, you know, where are they first finding out about you awareness, that could be those social channels, but you’re sort of like, you know, that’s the risk of who you’re going to bring in. And then once you sort of figure out, this is my audience, hey, here’s all this other cool stuff, come into our ecosystem, you can subscribe to our newsletter, you can start to get some of our ads for other things, whether we’re doing them organically, or we’re paying, you know, to advertise them, hey, maybe you want to advertise your stuff, because we’re all sort of in the same kind of, you know, playground and we want to support each other. And then you start to bring them into these deeper communities, like an analytics for marketers. And then you start to get them even more engaged. And they say, Hey, you know what, I know what’s going on here. I think I want to hire Trust Insights to help me out. And so, you know, with content marketing, it’s always you’re, you’re trying to play the long game if you’re not going for the hard sell. And it sounds like that’s what I’m hearing you say, Chris. And John, I think what I’m hearing you say is that, you know, social media is a dumpster fire.

John Wall 18:55
Well, you know, the, the insane thing is, so now you’re talking about a marketing and content channel, yet, that’s the way billions of people get their news, you know, the system that’s manipulated and tweaked by the market. And as Chris is always saying, somebody else’s algorithm, you know, determining what you get. This is how people are trying to figure out what’s going on also throughout the rest of the world. And you just see a bunch of stuff now with Elon Musk coming in at Twitter and engaging with Stephen King and AOC and all these people. You know, there’s a lot of questions being asked about, okay, you know, does the news belong on this channel versus commerce and, and how do we get people in? So yeah, it’s, it’s a hell of a mess. And I do have to give a shout out to Mike to yield from Wisconsin that he’s on board. So I have to say hello to him. Thanks for joining us. But yeah, it is. It’s these are interesting times, that’s for sure.

Christopher Penn 19:49
Jay Baer said something very interesting. One of his newsletters. Our friend Jay said that we live now in a post factual world a world where opinion and emotion matter more than And then facts, you know, to the point where you can give somebody facts and they don’t care. Because they have their opinion, the the silver lining to that fairly dark cloud is that if you have loyalty of your audience and stuff, it becomes very difficult for someone to dislodge you, the only person who can really cost you your audience nowadays, because of that, that deep seated connection and belief is you, right? So if you’ve done a good job of attracting people, into whatever platform you’re on, and they’re all in the year, you stand a good chance of holding on to them, unless the thing that brought them to you changes dramatically. As you were talking, Katie, I was I was thinking through your framework, the five piece which which fits this stuff very nicely, what’s the purpose of what you’re trying to do? Is it is it you want to make money right away? Or trying to build brands, things like that? How quickly can you scale, it depends on how many people resources you have, you know, if you, you look at our social media channels, and you look at, say, Gary Vaynerchuk can be very different because Gary has a team of 31 different people filming, editing and creating content for him, he can be on 40 channels, because he has 31 people working on it, we do not the processes that laddering up to essentially ladders to different types of value. And then that dictates the platforms you’re going to be on maybe some people, they might actually do better on Patreon than, say, Gumroad. Some people their content is it can be done on only fans, some people, their content can only be done in a sub stack. But they don’t make the mistake of choosing a platform first, do the people and process part first. And then when you’re doing the all the stuff, you measure your performance at each stage of every ladder to say, Okay, how how quickly we get people to climb the ladder to a course or the ladder to subscription, paid service or the ladder to becoming a client. So I would say, if people take the time and map out their content, monetization plan to the five P’s, they’ll probably be more successful.

Katie Robbert 22:08
Well, I think that that’s a really solid point, because, you know, obviously the name of the show is so what so we wanted to be providing some practical advice for marketers who are thinking, Okay, do I want to do a subscription versus an advertising model? But when you’re thinking about your content marketing, think about the goal of the content first. And so you’re absolutely right, Chris, I think the mistake that we see a lot of people a lot of companies make is they’re like, Okay, so I just need leads. So I just need direct converting ads. So I’m gonna go for the advertising model. Okay, I’ll figure out the content later, I just need leads, I just need to get people into the site, and they need to buy something period. And so it becomes very transactional. For some companies, that’s fine, they are purely transactional. But for companies like ours, that, you know, we really want to grow and nurture those relationships to keep people around long term. Our best bet is more of that subscription model, because we want to keep people engaged, we want to continue to provide value that people feel like it’s worth, you know, subscribing to, you know, whether it be the podcast or the newsletter, or we make recommendations of other resources that they can subscribe to as well. That I think for a company like ours is a better bet. Because if we went straight to an advertising model, then we wouldn’t know necessarily who we’re advertising to, we’re going to think we get it right. But we do better when we’ve nurtured those relationships and brought them along a whole entire journey versus okay, hey, you person off the street by this thing, you probably need it. I know. Like, I don’t know who you are. And I think that it’s interesting, because I feel like in your in your example of Jay Barrows, post factual world, people are looking for where they can find trustworthy resources, they’re looking for where they can, you know, believe in the thing that they’re reading, believe in the thing that they’re seeing. And an advertising model doesn’t necessarily allow for that, because it’s just in your face, buy this thing, or, you know, I could hop on, you know, just Christie your site, for example, and find because you’re just trying to make money, ads for like, sneakers, and blenders and things that are completely, you know, off the rails for what it is that you do. And I’m gonna be like, Well, I don’t even know what Chris does anymore, so I can’t trust him. And so I feel like choosing a model starts with what kind of content are you gonna great, what kind of people do you want to bring into your ecosystem? And do you want them to trust you or do you just want their money?

Christopher Penn 24:45
I would agree with you and argue that the transactional model is going to work less and less well over time as people become more emotionally invested in things right. We talked about this on the podcast not too long ago about identity marketing. And you see this, we saw this a lot last six years in politics where specific companies and brands became affiliated with certain voices, and sold really well, because of those voices and other brands did not. There was a study done not too long ago showing that when brands did take a social stand on an issue, they lost 30% of their audience because their audience will be accountable. But the was made up for by the other side, more than doubling their purchases. So the companies that took us down actually ended up making more money, because, you know, they make you support Colin Kaepernick, for example. So the transactional list, just let people buy things not build that relationship seems like a risky bet to take these days, you are better off figuring out the emotional content of your brand. And then figuring out which monetization because you can do, you can do advertising, as long as the advertisers are emotionally aligned with your audience.

Katie Robbert 25:59
So I feel like that this is a really good opportunity, John, to highlight marketing over coffee, for example. So you and Chris have been hosting and producing marketing over coffee for

Unknown Speaker 26:13
two, Yours Yours,

Katie Robbert 26:16
you know, but you have built that trusted relationship with your subscriber base, you know, over the course of 15 years, they know what they’re getting when they’re tuning in, to marketing over coffee. And so you’re at the point where when you make a recommendation, people trust that the recommendation that you’re making is a good one, or a valid one or aligns with, you know, your personal or professional goals or views. And so the advertisers that you then bring in, and I know that you vet them, John, align with the mission of marketing over coffee, you’re not enough. And you’ve actually brought me advertisers to help you that when it’s sort of more in my wheelhouse to say, is this junk? Would this be a bad advertiser, then we have passed on a couple because they just, it didn’t make sense for the mission of a marketing over coffee, that has a long standing trusted relationship with it. subscriber base, thoughts, comments, reactions?

John Wall 27:17
Yeah, it’s strange in that space, because it’s not like, you know, a television show could just advertise anything, and they don’t care. You know what the brand is because it doesn’t really matter. Whereas we spend so much of the content is talking about the tools that we’ve bought, and the things that we’re using in our daily business, that yeah, we feel like we would actually be harming our audience, if we were to endorse something that we know is actually not up to snuff with the other things that we use. And in a related vein to is, there’s certain classes of tools and software where, you know, if somebody is going to become a partner and sponsor and underwrite the expense, I’m fine with going to them first asking for their opinions on things, because they’re providing the same service as eight other vendors that are all the same, as far as the customer is concerned, but the ones that are willing to take the time to support our community and help educate the community, but then I’m gonna give them the first shot. So but ya know, everything you said, is right in the wheelhouse for that it’s kind of we’ve created this community of people that are interested in marketing and tech and just trying to make it work. And over the years, we’ve shared, you know, tips and tricks about how we just get things done and how people have failed spectacularly. You know, those kinds of stories are always huge, too. And so it becomes a virtuous circle of you know, the brands now realize that if they want access to that audience, instead of building their own podcast, and starting out with their house list, who they’re already talking to, they can get in front of, you know, 10 14,000 new people that they hadn’t had a chance to talk to, and if our content aligns with what they’re doing. So yeah, it is a poster child of kind of how it can work for everybody involved. You know, it’s like the we, when the advertisers and the listeners all benefit from an advertising model.

Christopher Penn 29:06
We’re going to need to increase our rates for marketing over coffee. And I say that not not jokingly, because, again, one of the things that is changing rapidly in the next couple of years, Katie, you have a talk coming up on this soon, is that privacy regulations are going to make it harder and harder to do advertising based targeting. So if you’re saying I want to advertise to senior marketers, while you can work on ever shrinking add parameters, you can say, You know what, I’m just gonna buy a sponsorship to the community where I know it already exists, and I don’t have to build it again. So creators out brand outlets and things and influencers are going to be three of the ways that companies will be able to do that. And so when it comes to monetizing your content, I would expect if you are a successful creator Under, that’s currently able to earn some money now, in the next few years, that’s going to increase substantially. And the hardest part for you will be figuring out how much to charge for it.

Katie Robbert 30:12
Yeah, I think that you’re absolutely right. And, you know, it is interesting, you know, when we’re talking about the subscription versus advertising model for content, you know, the more we talk about it, the more I am, you know, very much convinced the, the advertising model just isn’t going to work at all, you need to have a subscription model, especially if you’re in B2B. You have to bring people in, you have to keep them engaged, you have to provide value, especially as we think about you know, what’s going on in the economy, people are going to be really risk adverse, and they’re not just going to randomly pluck a company out of obscurity and say, Okay, here’s $50,000, I don’t know who you are. So go ahead and do something cool. That’s not going to happen. People don’t have that kind of money. They don’t have that kind of, they can’t tolerate that kind of risk. And so if you haven’t been all along, creating content, that they’re like, Okay, I know who John Wall is, he’s the host and producer of marketing over coffee, I know what he has to say, I have a marketing problem, I’ll bet John would have a really good recommendation and or could solve my problem. Same thing with Trust Insights, I feel like you’re not setting yourself up for success when we start to hit, you know, things like recessions or pandemics when people are looking for who they trust, who they’ve been on the journey with the whole time. And so I personally, I’ve never been a big fan of advertising, it’s just not my jam. It’s I feel like there’s a lot of disingenuous ads that are out there that are sort of masking the real thing. So I’m always been in favor of his of a subscription model, because you’ve demonstrated that you have value to give to someone that’s, you know, they want it every single week, they want it every day, they want it on a regular cadence they’ve subscribed to it.

Christopher Penn 32:04
There’s, there’s another issue with advertising too. And this has to do with the media landscape. It used to be because we had homogenous sort of media outlets, three television stations, you know, one newspaper, two radio stations, pretty straightforward that you could make a general ad and because it was the general population, the general aberrant property land, as what we’re seeing with the media landscape is this explosion of minute channels. And we talk about that a lot with with private social communities where your Slack instance or your Discord server, even though that’s one service is a million communities, each one of that’s sort of its own special little snowflake, you can’t run an ad to every single community and have an ad go to an LGBTQ community and a gun owners community and Ale a an artists community, and a tech a tech bros community and expect that ad to do well across them. If it’s the exact same generic content, your advertising, as media fragment, your advertising has to fragment as well. So I’m going to make an ad specifically for this community. That’s one of the reasons why Tom Webster over at sounds profitable, was talking about this in a recent issue of their newsletter, saying that host read podcast ads for like 3x better than if they just hand you a 32nd spot, because we tune those out. But when it’s the person that you trust, reading it out loud to go, Okay, this is you know, it has an emotional resonance. So if you are going to go the advertising as a brand, you are going to have to create many, many, many more versions of your ads, you can just make the 32nd spot and roll with that the only works for the Superbowl. And if you are the the community who the owner of the outlet publication, then part of your responsibility will be helping if you do want to take advertisers helping those advertisers craft a message that resonates with your community, and you want to see it done badly. Look at the ads that are on Reddit. People trying to advertise to specific subreddits use and attempting to do you know the memes from those Reddits and just failing miserably. Every single one.

John Wall 34:09
Oh yeah, that’s funny, Reddit it. There’s such a dividing line. The people that think that Twitter gets ugly and rough have not spent any time over on Reddit. You know, that’s just painfully obvious. Because if you think things are bad and mean on Twitter, yeah, go go spend a day and a half over on Reddit. And watch the beatings ensue. It’s a totally different level of thing.

Katie Robbert 34:36
So I think what we’re coming down to is, well, what we haven’t talked about, but I feel like it’s sort of obvious is like, none of this matters if you’re producing crappy content that isn’t going to resonate with your audience. And so you need to start there. You need to know who your audiences you need to know. You know, so for example, if you’re going to go on Reddit, you need to know who’s on there and what would work for them before you can even think about advertising to them. And so you need to read They do that research to understand who they are what they care about, you know, Chris, to your point about, you know, having the emotional side of things, not just, here’s one ad that’s going to serve the general population, it’s going to fail spectacularly. Because people want that personalized experience. It’s what they expect. It’s what, you know, technology has trained us to, you know, expect for every single time we open up anything, despite the fact that we don’t want to give our data, we still expect personalization. And so that’s now the challenge for marketers of how do you personalize without having the data? That’s a whole other episode. But how do you create value, you start to understand just in broad strokes, even who your audience is what they care about, create that content, and give them an opportunity to, to subscribe to something, it’s sort of the same, you know, argument of gated versus on gated content. Subscribe to it, advertise it. At the end of the day, you need to be creating something that is of value to your audience. And then you can ask them for more that you can ask them to engage more you can ask them to pay for it. But until you’re creating good content, it doesn’t matter. You Exactly. So John, final thoughts final rants

John Wall 36:18
find out well, yeah, so I do I have like an old school radio, Paul Harvey wrap up for this. So you know, we started talking about Jason Calacanis and creating content and how that gets supported. And what gets done. Well, now fast forward 10 years, you know, he’s become a VC. He invests in Uber makes a boatload of money, finds a guy who is starting a new electric car business and actually makes payroll for him a couple times when they were having trouble hitting the line. And Jason is now on this team that’s over at Twitter, helping out with this, you know, trying to get it up and going and transfer to subscription. So, you know, he’s a guy who’s been doing this for decades, and now we’re going to see if he can actually make this happen. So yeah, we can see where it’s gonna go. It’s gonna be an interesting couple of months. That’s for sure.

Katie Robbert 37:07
Chris, final thoughts from Belgrade.

Christopher Penn 37:10
Living in the future is fun. No. You’re right to say that good content matters. Having a connection to your community matters. So realize that you have a community. And as you start a community don’t be looking for the big numbers. Look for the most loyal folks first to see who your Kevin Kelly’s words who your 1000 true fans really are. If you can find those 1000 true fans. The rest kind of takes care of itself.

Katie Robbert 37:38
I agree with that. Don’t create crappy content.

Christopher Penn 37:43
Alright, folks, I guess we will see you all next week. Thanks for watching today. Be sure to subscribe to our show wherever you’re watching it. For more resources. And to learn more. Check out the Trust Insights podcast at trust AI podcast, and a weekly email newsletter at trust Got questions about what you saw in today’s episode. Join our free analytics for markers slack group at trust for marketers, see you next time.

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