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In Conversation

In Conversation: The Rise of Video Podcasting

Podcasting has evolved to be more than just audio. Adding a video component to your podcast can drastically increase content output, audience, and distribution channels.

August 4, 2020

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The following interview is an excerpt from our video series, SHIFT - In Conversation. To watch the full interview and see more video content, click here. Or you can listen to the SHIFT - In Conversation podcast here.

Jared Sanders - Creative Director & Co-Founder - Tobe Agency
Grace Amodeo - Program Manager - SHIFT

Grace:Can you introduce us to yourself and Tobe Agency and what you do?

Jared:
We are, by definition, a content marketing agency. We focus on marketing, creative, sales, and technology. We hit all corners of content marketing in general, from written to visual, and now audio because obviously we're going to talk about podcasting. We do not specialize in a specific vertical, so we are kind of open-minded when it comes to that. We feel like our services fit a wide variety of businesses.
Grace:
So the focus of today’s conversation is video podcasting. At its highest level, what is video podcasting?

Jared:
Video podcasting is definitely nothing new, it has actually been around for quite some time. If anybody's a fan of Joe Rogan or any of these large celebrity podcasts, chances are they're going to have video associated with them. So we kind of stumbled into podcasting early on in the agency realm because we needed to build content for ourselves. We created just an audio podcast first, we thought it was a really good idea for us to get our content out. And between running a regular podcast, which is just audio, and then filming it at the same time, we were able to double and sometimes triple the amount of content that we're producing.

Between running a regular podcast, which is just audio, and then filming it at the same time, we were able to double and sometimes triple the amount of content that we're producing.

Grace:
When you're conceptualizing a video podcast and where all of that content is going to live, are all things created equal? Is either the video or the audio content more important for one reason or another?

Jared:
So, we're a marketing agency first. We always think about where a piece of content is going to live, and what purpose it is serving. So there’s always the “why” before the “how”. We actually think through most of the distribution plan in the beginning of our pre-production. We're doing a very similar model that you would get out of a TV studio or a commercial house or a feature film. A studio is always going to think about the marketing way before they even start to cut the trailer. So going into your idea of distribution, all things are not created equal and we do take that into account. We use this phrase called "micro content", which is all of the content that we’re going to get out of a half hour piece of video and audio. And we format those specifically, we build very specific assets for them. If it's going to live on YouTube, it's going to have a very different call to action than if it lives on Instagram or LinkedIn or Facebook.

Grace:
Do you find that the video podcasting format works best for a particular type of brand or industry, or can it work for anybody?

Jared:
Most of the time, yes, it can work for everybody. The question is, what are the goals of this media? If we’re using it to create top-of-funnel content just to get people to our website, then yes by all means anybody can do this. You're going to create an attraction, you're going to be on every platform you can possibly be on, and you're going to have several pieces of content to drive back. When it gets down to middle-of-the-funnel, maybe bottom-of-the-funnel conversion content, we have very specific strategies that we'll use for this content. And that's where we have to get really, really creative. We need to tailor-fit the content to the product or the service that this client is offering.

You're going to create an attraction, you're going to be on every platform you can possibly be on, and you're going to have several pieces of content to drive back.

Grace:
Once you’ve decided to do a video podcast, what does the production look like?

Jared:
Normally we start with a 2-4 week pre-production, and we build out a treatment deck for the client. This gives us a playbook that we can follow. We go through the schedule, the storyline, and what each episode could potentially look like. We'll build out mockups of what the video and the post-production looks like ahead of time, so they can feel comfortable and understand what they’re getting as a deliverable. Each company has its own DNA. They have their own culture that they need to follow and their own very specific branding. We try to take all of that into account to make sure that the content feels like something they're producing on their own as a media company.

Grace:
And what does the production process look like?

Jared:
If the client is local and they're able to come to us, then we will host them in our studio. If the client has a great office location, then that's obviously a win because it has all of their branding. And if the video needs a very specific look, we'll rent a location. Maybe they need it to look like a kitchen, or a very specific type of meeting room. We usually block out about a week for production and we give the client a choice of three or four days that they're able to film on. We knock out an entire season in one step, there's no way we could keep up with the amount of content otherwise. And it's also not fair to the client to ask them to keep coming back to record. We try to block these things out in larger chunks and just knock production out.

Grace:
Now that on-set production is more difficult, are you still finding ways to produce this content remotely?

Jared:
I think now we've actually ramped up more because we are able to streamline a lot of the headaches of production. Production is amazing, and if we’re able to get people on set we're going to go for that 9 times out of 10, just because you get the best possible product out of it. But the downside of that is now we're blocked out for a week, sometimes we need to overbook, multiply our team, or book out multiple locations. There's a whole other side of production that can be kind of ugly. The crazy thing that's happened now is that our clients that are either onboard with us or interested in coming on board are now really able to jump at this. We give the production reigns to the client. Just like we are doing this right now over video conferencing, we give that ability to them and they can have a little more freedom of schedule. It actually has given a lot more confidence to clients that maybe were scared of the production process, because it can be a little intimidating. They're used to talking on Zoom and Skype and video conferencing platforms, so I think that it gives them a little bit more comfort.

Grace:
Do you see the face of digital marketing fundamentally changing in the next 6-12 months?

With podcasting you can get so in-depth into what people's needs are. It's the perfect platform to really connect with your audience.

Jared:
Just based on human interaction, things are going to change fundamentally. I think the stories that you can tell through video, whether it's live or a podcast, I think these formats are going to just lend themselves to be in the number one position. If you listen to a podcast after a certain amount of time, you really feel like you know the people that you're listening to. There's this deeper level, and obviously with video you can put a face to the voice. With podcasting you can get so in-depth into what people's needs are. It's the perfect platform to really connect with your audience. And that's where branding is going, that's where a lot of this marketing is going. The world is so flat because of technology, meaning anybody can do pretty much anything. The only leg up you have on competition is your brand and your voice. I think that's where the shift in marketing is really going to happen, we're not going to have as much human interaction face to face. By having these other methods to deliver this message for your brand, it's just going to be more relevant.

Grace:
Internally, what does your marketing look like right now?

Jared:
We are big believers in practicing what we preach. We test everything on ourselves. Recently we launched the second season of our marketing-focused podcast, which is called Lights, Camera, Grow. We did a five episode series of that and we took a deep dive into exactly what things looked like before, what things look like right now, and what things could look like in the future. So if you're interested in what we've been talking about, I definitely suggest you check it out.
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Would you like to participate in a future In Conversation video interview? Email grace@shift.io for more information.

Grace Amodeo is a program manager at SHIFT, where she oversees the annual SHIFT Creative Fund grant program. She is a graduate of Emerson College, where she studied film with a concentration in directing narrative fiction. Grace lives in Los Angeles.
Read more by Grace Amodeo