Welcome to the scaling SAS operations podcast where we talk to SAS founders and industry experts who share their experiences, strategies and insights to help you build a customer centric high growth company. Here's your host, Kristine Esparza.
Welcome back, everybody. Today's guest is Ryan essence who is the co founder of kick caster, a podcast booking agency that currently serves over 150 clients. He has an expertise in leveraging podcasts for meaning and profitability and currently validates and scales Kip caster products. Prior to kick caster, Brian owned a media and marketing agency for 10 years. During that time, he hosted the top launch podcast, which consistently ranked in the iTunes top 100. Brian, thanks so much for joining me. It's a pleasure to have you on today.
Absolute pleasure to be here, Kristine, thank you so much.
So I really would like us to really leverage your experience in podcasting, and talk really about how that can be leveraged, especially with new SAS startups, or as founders and co founders and maybe other SAS leaders really are trying to connect with their user communities. So could you maybe talk about how you've seen or how you can really leverage podcasting to not just generate leads, but also build up a good user base?
That's a great question, when to kind of tee that up, I should add that kick caster. We book entrepreneurs on top podcast, almost all of our clients are funded startup founders, entrepreneurs with exits, or C suite execs, we work with b2b SaaS companies every day. So kind of where we start of, you know, how can you take advantage of podcasts interviews, it's gonna really depend on the outcomes you're looking for. So if you're validating ideas, great. There's opportunities there. If you're finding traction, if you're scaling, wherever you are, in your journey, podcast can be there to help you. Some of those outcomes might be prospects, of course, everyone's looking for customers, it might be recruiting, everybody needs not everybody, but many people, many of our clients are looking for engineers and hiring. So you could go and podcast interviews to find those applicants, brand exposure, just kind of top of funnel, word of mouth is great with podcasting, the content itself, networking with podcast hosts, so depending on the outcomes they're looking for, we can kind of tailor a podcast interview campaign to meet those needs.
Now, and thank you for bringing all that up. I have had really a great experience Ryan working with you and your team on this. My I've had several SAS founders and other experts come on here from kick caster. And it really, as you mentioned, really helps not just exposure, the brand, but I think also just building up that content engine and really giving a lot of these SAS startups have great products. And so it they really have the ability to really become leaders in content creation as well. So have you seen really a lot of opportunity with podcasting to really also start to build up more of a campaign or like a content engine from a marketing perspective?
Oh, 100% Yeah, creating evergreen marketing assets is every marketing directors best fantasy? You know, give me something to work with. Podcasts are rich for that. One thing that we do for our clients, after our clients going to podcasts will we send like little handwritten thank you notes to podcast hosts, because we really appreciate it. We'll also ask them for the day that it's publishing. And ask them if they're comfortable sharing the raw audio and video of the podcast in most times, they are what I think is kind of beautiful about podcasts in general, is this like, baked in reciprocity? So the spirit of the thing is like hey treaded us and share it. We're looking for listeners, you're looking for eyeballs. So it's really cool like that. So podcasts shares, you know, let's say this, we're recording on Zoom shares both the audio and video that gives those marketing departments opportunity to repurpose this content. So that could be artwork that could be little video snippets. It could be long video snippets, you can use the transcription of the podcast to create web copy or email copy or marketing copy are great quotes. Really, the challenge with creating marketing collateral is like sitting down with a blank piece of paper is really hard. But generally talking to somebody especially if they have kind of a sympathetic interest is a lot easier. So you can generate like massive amounts of content from podcasts, not just the interview itself, but by repurposing the content into other kind of marketing apps. So let's
Yeah. Now that's a great point. Because yes, you can definitely start to really extend a lot of your content and reach a lot more people. What has been like in your opinion? I mean, there's so many podcasts. I don't even know what the latest number is, maybe you do. But what do you see kind of as the future of podcasting? Do you feel like this is going to be the same type of platform? Or do you think like, there's going to be some other ways of connecting with people other than podcasting?
I think there will always be new ways. But I think podcasting is here to stay. I think podcasting began with the Greeks. I don't actually I don't think they're recording anything. But Plato was right. He had scribes back then. There was a lot slower, but probably they could polish up your points a little bit better. No, but I think what what podcasts, at least what we do is interview type podcast, which is to new people bringing their views together to find something new is that kind of like, platonic method of like, analysis, analysis, synthesis, something new comes out of a conversation, if that's your intention, I've got plenty of conversations that go nowhere. But that's the Greeks may be brought it to like, kind of a organized structural thing that people have been doing sitting around campfires for 200,000 years. So. So podcasting is is has always been with us only because it just represents the best of what humans bring to the table as far as relationships, which is like taking the best of who you are presenting to somebody else. Also, with kind of like this feeling of reciprocity and kind of a benevolent one, or you're you're giving someone the benefit of doubt so that you can get somebody with compensation. So I think podcasting is is just beginning. I mean, this is it's my business. So maybe I'm understandably bullish on it. But you know, you we saw the rise of clubhouse, and then everybody jumped on board with kind of some different conversational type tools. But podcast is exist now, which is two microphones and a couple of pairs of headphones, and you just have a new conversation, I think, will always exist in this capacity from here on out.
Yeah. I mean, like I said, one of the best things that I've enjoyed about podcasting is just the availability of people that I can meet. I don't think without without starting my podcasts, I probably would have never talked to the people that I haven't met the people that I have and learned as much as I have in the past year. So it's really for me, even somebody that is interested in SAS and scaling, like it's really given me that opportunity to to do that. So it's been really a great just a great tool, a learning tool. And for me
100% Absolutely. I couldn't afford your hour, Christine, on a consulting basis, but we hit record, it's like suddenly, Chernenko? Exactly.
And let's just really also just, I guess, a way to really expose yourself to other people in other countries, like the people that I've met. I mean, from all over the world has been just really enlightening. It's just been so nice to connect with people outside of just my own little sphere outside of this country. It's I've really enjoyed it.
Yeah, I totally agree. It's interesting, right? When you see, you see the analytics, you're like, wow, somebody's in Saudi Arabia,
you know, exactly. It. I mean, you really, it's really does connect people in such a way, not just like a nice forum, but just very, it's like a quick, easy connect with people. I don't know, like, you can just pick up the phone. And like, I couldn't pick up the phone maybe and call your Ryan, maybe I would have but just because there's a commonality here, like we've got to get on podcast, let's talk about things. And people are very, very open to that.
You bet. Plus, you get some reason divided attention, like how distracted are we, particularly with the people maybe we we love most someone's kind of half talking to you already, like deep into your phone. So you get kind of a unique environment to have a conversation that's has focus and attention to it.
Now that the end it gives you an opportunity to listen to other people's stories like I've learned so much about people's backgrounds and how they got there. Every time I interview assess founder asked like what got you to where you started, or your founded your company. And so it's just that diversity of thought diversity of background is to me been been very, very just rewarding, just on a personal on a human level. So I've really enjoyed it. Nice.
I totally agree.
So Ryan, what kind of what is your lessons learned? I know you started kit caster. So you're kind of like a startup founder yourself. What would be some of the lessons learn one or two that you would share with a new startup founder? Because as there's just a lot going on with startups in general, what would you share? Yeah, yeah,
that's a great question. Kick casters, probably, you know, I don't know my 10th 11th startup Got a lot of losses? Well, no. So we learn, right? Absolutely, absolutely. And you get you get used to failing faster. You know, it's it's kind of like almost just cliche to fail fast. But it is Sound Advice. And maybe before that if you're a new founders, especially if you're new SAS founder, there's a lot of hype around entrepreneurship. And I think people will wrap their identities around that on the on the entrepreneur guy, the dangerous thing about that is it it, it doesn't really inoculate you for the failures that are gonna come. If you can, if you can identify as an entrepreneur, it's great because it's broad, and it means you're on a journey. But if you're the guy who does the Fang, or the gal that sells the Fang, and that thing isn't working, then it it's hard, emotionally to separate, like this thing isn't working to, I'm not working. I've done that personally and spent 10s of 1000s of dollars just draining it down the tube that I knew it wasn't going to work. And even more importantly, months, sometimes years of work on something I knew wasn't gonna work. But I was so emotionally engaged with it, that I felt like if it didn't work, then I wasn't a value that I wasn't working. Okay, it's really hard to separate those two, it may be impossible without some kind of catastrophic loss. There's something about getting older when the weight of the world is crushed your dreams a couple of times inoculates you for further pain, so to not discourage anybody. younger folks that are really getting into it, if you can keep a differentiation between the project between the product and behave like a scientist, would you have a hypothesis, this is going to work, what you learn by it not working is just as valuable as what is working, if not more valuable. Now, that's
a great point, Ryan, because I think that as a startup founder, you get so invested personally, emotionally, financially, in what you're building, I can see that absolutely being challenging to separate yourself from that. And then to start really opening up your idea of opening up your startup to other people that can actually come in and help which could be which could help grow the business scale the company. And so I definitely see that that attachment there. And I think just recognizing that, it that it is a potential risk by not being able to separate yourself, because at the end of the day, you've got to get your product out there, you've got to market it and do all those things. And you may not know them all. And so bringing in the people to help you with to help you do that is really important. But separating yourself and your self worth with the value that that product is bringing is I think is important, as you mentioned.
Yeah, I think so too, especially when you're starting out too, knowing that you don't know everything is okay. There's, there's so much I mean, just from the product side to the marketing side of the sales side of the management side to the HR and hiring side, like all of these things, I suppose there's probably another kind of thing that goes along with entrepreneurship is just that imposter syndrome of like, you have to pretend like you know how to do all this stuff. And it's okay, if you don't, it actually opens you up to great people, and actual people are amazing resources to have we need them. We all have probably a subscription of 26 different SaaS products that are buttoning up something for us, but to have people support you and help you and you can go to and be like, I don't know what I'm doing on this thing. Can you help me? That's really valuable, too.
Yeah, no, that's a great point. So Ryan, can you talk a little bit about how caster can help start SAS startup founders? How do they work with caster? Can you talk us through that process? A little bit?
Absolutely. So our onboarding process generally starts with an onboarding interview, where we kind of go over what I was talking about, what are the outcomes you want, which will kind of use that to drill down to the audience? Who are the people that can give you that? And then we'll associate that with the podcast themselves. And then you're going on to these podcasts. And I like to think that the outcomes might be recruiting your prospects or revenue or whatever. But really, what what we're doing here is helping you find clarity. So I've had a few conversations with SAS founders, I talked to him 3045 minutes, and I can't figure out what their product does. And they've explained it to me for 45 minutes. That's a major problem. I'm not doubting that they have something amazing. I have tools that I use that I don't even know what it does. You know what like a H refs trying to figure out what to do with that, that Google does give me but finding clarity as a founder is invaluable. And you can find it in a couple of different ways. One, with just what's happening right now. You're on a podcast, someone asks you tell us a little bit about yourself. You go totally blank. That's a tough spot. You got to go Work out of that. But you work out of it, you figure out new ways to describe your product, you figure out ways to describe your story where you're going. And that's a valuable part of what we do as a service is prepare them for those moments of one going into their past their history. And finding stories that people can relate to people can relate to stories, like I said, we've been gathered around fires telling stories forever. So in if you can describe your history, in a series of stories, it's going to suck those audiences in that I like to call it like a humble beginning story. A couple of things from childhood couple of things, self deprecating stories from high school or college, something like that. Stories that tell the audience why you're a good person, because nobody wants to listen to snake oil salesmen. Yeah, I believe I believe all people are good people. Mm hmm. So harmonizing your past. And then the other side of that is harmonizing the future. Like why is the world a wonderful place? What is your contribution? Where do you see things happening in a positive light? I think it's particularly important right now. Because there is kind of like apocalyptic talk on every single subject coming at us from all angles at all times. Right now. It's, it's important to remind people, in my opinion, that the world is a beautiful place, and that we're going to create something amazing together. I think, finding that voice, which can be kind of difficult, because I don't even know if I believe that in my heart. But that's what I want. That's what I want to bring into the world. And that's a kind of contagion that I think an audience will listen to. And they're like, Yeah, I want to be on board with that. Like, I do believe the world's beautiful place, even though it's kind of hard right now. So finding clarity, both in like, in the moment while you're delivering on the podcast interview, as you're thinking about your past. And as you're projecting yourself into the future, I think for particularly b2b SaaS companies that need to be innovating, they, they need to be forward thinking, having that clarity of themselves is really beneficial outside of podcasts.
Yeah, I mean, that's really, really interesting, Brian, that you're saying that because I think that it is important to really help b2b SaaS founders and other people that are going to be podcasting really dive into that messaging. And I love how you said, like bringing that clarity and harmonizing their whole kind of history, and what that, that what got them to the point they're in. And that helps connect, connect, not just to the podcast audience, but just connect to users of their product. And just really, like you said, like, we're all we've all been going through this COVID And I was podcasting. Through all of this, a lot of the unknowns, things are changing a lot of people here though, there's a lot of just anxiousness, I guess, around all of this. And being able to really be clear on your message and who you are, and why you're doing what you're doing and how your product can add value and how you're adding value to people's lives is so important.
Yeah, I mean, if you really care, you got to say it, you know, you're a b2b SaaS company, you didn't start this business to be a flat blue logo, that's subtly different than your competitors flat blue logo, you care bring that out there, people are spooked, the last two years have been horrible. To the point where it's like, is it okay to feel good, yet? The fact that some of us have that, that question means that we're not expressing the vision of the future that we want? Yes, it's okay to feel good. You know, and actually getting close, or getting good at articulating how great it's going to be is the only way you can create that reality in the future, you got to have the vision of the future you want. So you can kind of grab on to it in whole time into it. So you can embody that. So I see, particularly with SAS founders, it's competition is fierce. They've got investment that they're responsible for. They have customers with bugs and, and needs and issues and they got in are always chasing shiny things. So it's tough. But finding clarity, again, is going to is going to keep you at least bounced a little bit while we're kind of faced with all these challenges.
Now, I mean, you said it really, really well there, Ryan it is we've we've got to get to a more positive place. We've got to make more personal connections. And podcasting is a great tool. So Brian, let's let us know you tell us where people can get in touch with you and caster and what's the best way to kind of start the podcasting process with you?
You bet you can definitely check out kick caster.com There's a very clear button to go to the application page. If you would like to be a guest on top podcast, that's a great place to check out kick caster services you could search me on LinkedIn is probably you know, the church of social media but that's probably where I spend most my time until they dragged me into Tik Tok but I don't think my daughter let me do that. Oh, Um, that's probably the best way to find me.
Mm hmm. Great. And I'll link that in the show notes. It's been a pleasure talking to you, Ryan, thanks so much for your insights. Looking forward to continuing to work with you and your team. It's really been a great experience. And I look forward to connecting with you in the future.
Thanks so much, Kristine. Really appreciate it.
Thank you, Ryan. Have a great day. You too.
Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed this week's episode of the scaling SAS operations podcast. Check back weekly for new shows. Until next time, keep scaling