ANTHONY KENNADA & 55 min

Why You Need Exclusive (not Gated) Content to Convert Your Audience


APL is a monthly live broadcast for AudiencePlus subscribers where we deep dive into different elements of Owned Media execution. This month we're discussing the role of exclusive content. During this interactive live event you'll learn: • Subscribers: Why you need to start measuring them and their role in strategic decision making. subscribers for direct access to first-party data, informing production and distribution decisions. • Exclusive Content: Tips on how to use exclusive content to grow subscribers and impact pipeline.



0:00

Welcome everybody to, this is our first ever

0:04

Audience Plus Live event.

0:06

And so thank you so much for being a part of it.

0:08

And we're gonna be talking about a topic

0:12

that has come up quite a bit,

0:13

the more we're kind of digging into this idea

0:15

of owned media.

0:16

And it's really this language around exclusive content,

0:20

which to be clear, which we'll talk about at length here,

0:23

is quite different than the gated content concept

0:26

that we've all been doing for some time

0:29

through kind of the traditional kind of inbound marketing

0:31

motion.

0:32

And so we're gonna talk about that at length here,

0:37

as well as get very practical.

0:39

So get into some very specific ideas

0:43

for how you can kind of leave this conversation

0:45

with ideas you can implement around what content

0:48

should be exclusive, how do we kind of draw the line

0:51

and what does that even mean in general for our audience.

0:54

So with that, I'm gonna just kick us off really quick here

0:57

and then before we bring Todd up

0:59

and talk again about why this idea of subscriptions

1:02

even matters in B2B companies.

1:06

And I think a part of it is, you know, for decades now,

1:10

people have been saying that every company

1:13

is becoming a media company.

1:15

This is a mantra that has been around for quite some time.

1:19

And skeptics are pretty quick to point out

1:21

that years later, it still has not proven to be true.

1:26

And so if we walk through like a very practical

1:29

kind of thought exercise here,

1:31

imagine a marketing team spends a decent amount of budget

1:35

producing a video campaign.

1:37

They put it on YouTube.

1:38

Maybe on launch day, we amplified on LinkedIn

1:40

or we send an email kind of driving attention

1:42

to that YouTube link.

1:44

And weeks later, when our CEO asks us,

1:46

"Hey, how did that go?"

1:48

We don't really have a great talk track around impact.

1:51

Does that sound familiar to anyone else?

1:55

And I think the big reason for this

1:58

is that this idea of like this media company trend,

2:02

it has a data problem.

2:04

In fact, I think many companies today

2:06

are leaning into this idea of building media brands.

2:09

I think that's the quote kind of that has been

2:11

gonna gain some traction by creating episodic video content,

2:15

podcasts, maybe streaming live on LinkedIn and so on.

2:19

And by the way, that's great stuff.

2:21

I'm honestly like really glad to see B2B

2:24

content marketing getting modernized

2:27

and kind of leaning more into like consumer

2:29

and creator kind of concepts.

2:32

But I think the challenges, the same skepticism

2:35

that was true of this trend a decade ago

2:38

is still valid and warranted today

2:41

with the broader media brand trend.

2:44

We're sort of inviting the same deluge of questions

2:47

from our CFO, from our CEO around impact to pipeline,

2:52

around maybe time to value.

2:54

And whether or not your time and certainly your budget

2:57

are better spent on programs that have

2:59

a shorter feedback loop around impact.

3:02

So more often than not, especially in this kind

3:04

of economic climate that we're living in,

3:06

your leadership team may not have a lot of tolerance

3:10

for ideas whose impact can't be measured.

3:13

So what I believe is true of this age-old mantra

3:17

is that the missing piece that makes this whole media company

3:21

movement valid for B2B companies is found in the data.

3:26

Or said another way, building a media brand

3:29

is not the same thing as owned media.

3:33

I'm convinced actually that if we can define

3:36

owned media together, this is a strategy

3:38

where we can really leverage the modern kind of creative

3:42

marketing formats, content marketing formats

3:44

and experiences that can do two things,

3:46

actually break through the noise,

3:48

but also impact revenue.

3:50

It's the convergence of brand and demand

3:52

and one that many of us have actually been waiting for

3:55

for some time.

3:57

So let's do that.

3:58

Let's define owned media because a common misconception

4:02

I see folks have is really over indexing

4:05

over the media part.

4:07

So owned media by definition refers to building

4:11

a first party or owned audience of subscribers,

4:14

leveraging media or modern content formats

4:17

like episodic video, podcasting, digital experiences.

4:22

And I found that the media part of this value proposition

4:25

is actually pretty widely understood,

4:27

but the owned part is often forgotten or under invested in.

4:32

So why does it matter?

4:32

Why should you even consider the owned part of this?

4:37

I think about the value of building subscribership

4:40

across really two dimensions, defense and offense

4:43

and forgive the sports analogy a little bit here.

4:46

So we'll start with defense.

4:48

When we rent our audience on social media

4:51

or if we reach these or any other kind of content network

4:54

platform, call it YouTube, Spotify,

4:57

our reach to our audience on these platforms

5:00

is throttled by an algorithm that we don't control.

5:03

And our audience of followers can be taken away from us

5:06

without our consent.

5:08

Now when we pay for our audience through digital advertising,

5:12

we engage in probably one of the most inefficient channels

5:15

in B2B marketing, which under the CFO call

5:17

for efficient growth is pretty difficult to defend.

5:21

And as Google clamps down on third party cookie legislation

5:24

and early 2025, things like retargeting traffic

5:29

from our website are going to get even more complex,

5:32

even more difficult.

5:33

But again, owning your audience is more than just

5:37

playing defense against some of these headwinds.

5:40

Companies who are building subscribership to their brand

5:42

are creating a rich set of engagement data

5:45

about their audience.

5:46

Think about it like a digital breadcrumb trail

5:49

that most companies just don't have access to today.

5:52

And this is data that is de-anonymized

5:54

down to the subscriber level, down to the human level

5:58

and can be mined to generate signals that help us inform

6:01

the type of content we should be producing

6:03

or how we should distribute our content

6:05

and ultimately how to prove the impact

6:07

of our content and experiences on revenue.

6:11

And this is how companies like Netflix

6:13

are managing their content decisions.

6:15

They're leaning on their first party audience data

6:18

about all of us to inform what shows they should produce

6:22

with which actors in order to drive their subscription goals

6:25

for specific audience segments or regions or demographics.

6:29

And I think that the importance of this kind of first party

6:32

data trend couldn't come at a better time.

6:35

So many of us have heard of this research now

6:38

coming out of the Ehrenberg Bass Institute

6:40

for Marketing Science.

6:42

So Professor Dawes here claims that 95%

6:45

of the traffic to our website is comprised of an audience

6:49

who is currently not in market to buy our software.

6:51

So let that sink in for a moment.

6:55

And what we've done as an industry is we've become satisfied

6:58

or at least okay with letting 98 to 99% of our traffic

7:03

bounce off of our site.

7:05

And many cases are qualified audience

7:07

in favor of the one to 2%.

7:10

Or at least that's what the data shows.

7:12

If you look at the traditional B2B SaaS website conversion rate

7:17

as an industry, I'm not sure if anyone wants to venture a guess

7:21

as to the average conversion rate.

7:23

It's 1.1% and yours might be slightly better

7:29

or slightly worse than that.

7:30

But this is prototypical of companies who lead exclusively

7:34

with a commercial CTA like get demo, talk to sales,

7:38

start using the product or whatever.

7:40

And this conversion rate, I think, is reflective

7:43

going back to the research of an attempt to convert

7:46

the 5% of your audience who is in market.

7:49

It's a good thing.

7:49

We want that.

7:50

We don't want to get rid of these CTA's.

7:52

But it's interesting to think about

7:54

what a subscription CTA could,

8:00

what some of the benchmarks look like for that.

8:02

And I think an industry that does that really well

8:04

is the consumer media industry.

8:05

And he guesses on their conversion rate.

8:08

It's 10%.

8:11

So industries who lead with this idea of a subscription

8:15

see about a five to 10X improvement in conversion rates.

8:18

And back to the research, they're better capturing

8:21

the 95% of their audience who may not be in market

8:24

for your product or service today.

8:27

But they're there seeking education or inspiration

8:30

or entertainment or belonging.

8:33

And that's a pretty astounding data set

8:36

when you wrap your head around it.

8:38

If you think about how to talk to your CFO or CRO

8:42

about a five to 10X improvement in web conversions.

8:45

So part of the insinuation here though,

8:47

is that a subscriber is not necessarily

8:50

the same thing as a web conversion.

8:52

A subscriber is indicative of a relationship.

8:56

Someone who's interested in learning from you

8:59

or who identifies as part of this movement

9:01

that you're creating.

9:03

In the past, if you think about the traditional

9:05

kind of inbound marketing playbook,

9:07

we've almost like tricked people into filling out a form.

9:12

Again, not passing on guilt here, we've all done it.

9:15

And then what do we do when somebody fills out a form,

9:17

seeking education or inspiration?

9:19

We put them on a five email cadence

9:21

with three SDR calls and so on.

9:23

And that's a pretty bad idea for your subscribers

9:27

who likely again are not in market today

9:30

for your product.

9:31

But we'll come to you as the perceived market leader

9:34

when they are ready to engage in a sales process.

9:36

So we have to think differently too

9:37

about how we treat folks who are subscribing to our content.

9:41

And this idea though of subscribing to content,

9:45

I think it might sound novel.

9:46

It might sound super progressive to us in B2B land.

9:50

But this has been happening for quite some time

9:53

in the consumer and the creator economies.

9:56

Even if you put the streaming services

9:58

in consumer media outlets aside for a second,

10:02

companies like Substack and Patreon have proven,

10:05

I think it's a pretty decent scale here

10:07

that people are willing to subscribe

10:09

to their favorite content and their favorite creators directly.

10:12

I think these companies have actually proven

10:14

a willingness to pay for access to that content as well.

10:18

And it's not just in B2C.

10:21

Companies like Salesforce, Qualified, Drone Deploy

10:24

and countless other B2B businesses

10:26

are embracing owned media.

10:28

And by that, meaning building a first party audience

10:31

of subscribers, this movement is happening in our industry.

10:35

And brands who are investing now

10:37

are creating an early advantage.

10:39

I think in many ways, this feels like the next evolution

10:43

of inbound marketing or marketing automation.

10:45

These playbooks that are about 20 years old

10:48

whose very pioneers now admit no longer works

10:52

in today's modern go-to-market.

10:55

So how do we do it?

10:57

So if we've convinced you this is important,

11:00

how do you drive subscribers in a scalable way?

11:03

Well, a decent starting point is to build

11:05

and not just build, but actually market

11:08

and communicate a value proposition for a subscription.

11:11

Why should an audience member,

11:13

why should your audience subscribe to content?

11:15

Can't they just get everything for free

11:16

by following you on LinkedIn

11:18

and you guys going to your YouTube channel

11:20

and maybe hitting up your blog?

11:23

Well, before we get to it,

11:24

here's our subscription value proposition at Audience Plus.

11:28

So about 80% of our content program

11:31

is on a volume basis, is on the left side of the slide here.

11:36

We've daily content drops across various formats,

11:39

whether it's articles, videos, podcasts,

11:41

with how-to guides and templates.

11:44

We have an online job board for folks

11:46

looking for careers and owned media.

11:50

And anyone can access these resources

11:51

on our website at any time.

11:54

But about 20% of our content on the right side of the slide

11:58

is exclusive, meaning only our subscribers can access them.

12:02

But the value behind an Audience Plus subscription

12:05

is hopefully pretty high if you are within our audience

12:09

and the cost of admission pretty low, it's zero dollars,

12:12

it's just in the email address.

12:15

So for subscribers, you'll get a weekly insight newsletter

12:19

every Sunday, monthly webinar broadcast,

12:22

which you're on right now,

12:24

a monthly town hall, which is almost like a Q&A open mic session

12:28

for our subscribers to compare notes within our practice.

12:33

Upcoming courses that we're actually working on

12:36

and developing right now, even deep research

12:39

that we're spending time and money to develop

12:41

and exclusive access to our global events and conferences.

12:45

So I said the word like access and exclusive quite a bit

12:48

as we walked through that.

12:50

So I have found that no strategy converts unknown audience

12:55

into owned subscribers better than exclusive content

12:58

and exclusive experiences.

13:01

Now exclusive content can mean many things,

13:03

but in essence, I view it as any content asset or program

13:08

that is accessible only to subscribers.

13:11

Could be a newsletter, could be a webinar,

13:13

could be a conference or an event that you're hosting,

13:15

or an exclusive content series that you're producing.

13:20

It's also important to say that exclusive doesn't mean gated.

13:25

The idea of gating content means interrupting

13:27

the experience that your audience is having with your brand

13:31

or with your content and introducing friction

13:34

in exchange for information.

13:36

It's unnatural and at the end of the day,

13:39

I think not very effective.

13:41

I think the world's getting pretty wise to us marketers

13:44

as we look to kind of create those

13:45

interruptive patterns within content consumption.

13:48

On the other hand, exclusives aren't about gating content,

13:52

but rather about getting access to membership

13:55

into your audience.

13:57

You subscribe once and you get access to everything

14:00

without any friction moving forward.

14:02

Again, very similar to our experience as consumers

14:05

on Netflix or Substack or any other media platform.

14:08

So to walk us through how to operationalize exclusive content,

14:12

I'll pass the mic back to Todd here,

14:15

our head of audience marketing at AudiencePlus.

14:17

Take it away, Todd.

14:19

- Good stuff, everybody.

14:21

So before you build an owned audience,

14:24

the first step is you need to build an unowned one.

14:27

So that means you need to create content

14:30

that you give away and distribute in these public channels

14:33

to establish yourself or your company

14:36

as the leader in the space.

14:38

And the good news is that most of us

14:40

are already doing that with our current content efforts,

14:43

things like your blog, your podcast,

14:46

maybe YouTube videos.

14:48

These are all content assets that you should be giving away

14:51

because your audience has come to expect these things for free.

14:55

And this is going to be a large majority of your content.

14:58

Anthony just said about 80%.

15:02

But as you're building this audience,

15:05

you also need to be thinking about how do you convert them?

15:08

Not to opportunities because remember,

15:10

these people are still part of that 95%

15:13

that aren't in market,

15:14

but converting them into your own audience

15:17

so you can ensure you remain in front of them

15:21

until they become part of that 5% of the market

15:24

that is in market.

15:26

Or even if they never buy,

15:28

they can still refer people to your content or your product.

15:32

So let's spend the next couple minutes

15:34

talking about the 20% of your content

15:38

that needs to convert people into owned.

15:41

So the first question that you need to ask yourself

15:43

is what is so good that it should be exclusive?

15:47

You need to think about the conversations,

15:50

the guest appearances or experiences

15:53

that are so good that people will actually want

15:55

to subscribe to your brand.

15:57

And in the past,

15:59

this was kind of a matter of opinion

16:01

and really easily gained by the marketing team,

16:05

but we've defined a set of parameters to help guide us.

16:08

So it's not a game metric anymore.

16:10

So there are three types of exclusive content

16:14

that we're gonna cover.

16:16

The first comes in the form of strategic content.

16:18

Now, this doesn't mean that all strategic content

16:22

should be exclusive,

16:24

but when determining if it should be,

16:26

you need to ask yourself,

16:28

does this content give the audience

16:30

non-opinion-based insights

16:33

that allow them to take strategic action?

16:36

And the key here is non-opinion-based.

16:40

This stuff typically comes in the form of original research,

16:43

white papers and survey data,

16:44

but it's not limited to that.

16:48

This is the type of content that people are used to paying

16:50

big money from analysts, firms and consultants to access.

16:55

So if you're creating this type of high-level strategic content,

16:59

it 100% needs to be in your exclusive library.

17:03

The second pillar is the tactical stuff

17:07

that teams need in order to take action on all of that strategy.

17:12

And the problem with most strategic content

17:14

is that it leaves your audience to try and figure it out themselves.

17:17

How do you actually action all of this data?

17:20

So you need to enable your audience not only to be successful,

17:25

but be as efficient as possible in the process.

17:28

So part of that is giving them the path

17:31

to implement these strategies that you're presenting.

17:34

But again, not all tactical content

17:36

is going to be exclusive.

17:38

So to determine what content is going to be exclusive

17:45

in the tactical bucket, you need to ask yourself,

17:48

does this content teach your audience step by step

17:52

how to do something?

17:53

Again, keyword here being step by step.

17:57

Now, this is typically delivered through playbooks, frameworks,

18:02

or step by step implementation guide.

18:05

So I want to show you an example.

18:08

Easy mode is a perfect example of a framework

18:12

that we use as episodic content in order to drive subscribers.

18:16

So if you haven't heard it, it's an eight-step program

18:19

that teaches you how to transform your traditional content

18:23

marketing engine into a media engine using creators.

18:27

And this framework was typically implemented

18:30

through a consulting engagement.

18:32

But we scripted the whole thing out and recorded it

18:34

as exclusive content.

18:35

Now, if you look at the slide, you

18:38

can kind of see how we presented here.

18:40

So we created an overview episode that

18:43

doesn't require a subscription as the first one.

18:46

So you can see what you're getting into first.

18:49

And then we allow you to determine

18:51

if the rest of the episodes are even worth subscribing for.

18:55

And then we made those episodes afterwards

18:59

available only to our subscribers.

19:02

Now, I know Anthony mentioned the average conversion

19:06

rate of media CTA's with something around 10%.

19:10

But this series has an 82% conversion rate

19:16

from the people that clicked the first video

19:20

to subscribing to watch the rest of it.

19:22

So when the content is good, people

19:25

will gladly subscribe to it.

19:28

So this fits that threshold of exclusive content

19:30

because it's a step-by-step framework.

19:33

But I also mentioned that people usually

19:35

have to pay for it through a consulting engagement, which

19:38

brings us to the third pillar of exclusive content, which

19:44

is paid content.

19:45

So how are you utilizing content that your audience would

19:49

otherwise have to pay for?

19:51

This could be paid in a monetary sense,

19:53

like events or conferences.

19:56

Or it could be paid in the sense of things

19:59

that people are accustomed to paying with their email,

20:02

like courses, academies, webinars.

20:05

So let's start with events and conferences.

20:09

Most companies that hold conferences

20:11

let that content go to waste.

20:13

They either don't record it.

20:16

They put it behind a paywall, or they

20:18

throw it up on a resource center that never gets seen again.

20:22

So quick question.

20:23

Has anybody here heard or seen a golden hour in their feed

20:29

over the past month?

20:31

The in-person event was over a month ago

20:34

and we're still seeing people tag us and talking about it.

20:39

Several weeks later, why?

20:41

Because we were very intentional about the content that

20:44

was released from that event as a slow drip of exclusive content

20:50

after the fact.

20:51

Same goes for webinars.

20:53

Typically, the recording is sent to the registration list,

20:56

and then it disappears onto a resource page,

20:58

never to be seen again.

21:00

Turning these resources into exclusive content

21:04

allows you to see the benefits long after the event is done.

21:10

So these are like the three pillars

21:12

of your exclusive content engine.

21:15

But there's one thing that, again,

21:17

sets this apart from gated content

21:20

beyond what Anthony just mentioned before with subscribing

21:25

once and then getting access to everything.

21:27

And that's that you're building trust with your audience

21:30

when you do this, because in the old marketing automation

21:35

playbook, we would bait the audience into downloading

21:37

something through a form fill.

21:40

And then we would typically hide our true intentions

21:44

on the back end.

21:47

Typically, that meant enrolling them into a nurture sequence

21:50

until they hit a specific lead score that we determined

21:53

and then passing them off the sales.

21:56

In the new world of own media, we don't do that.

21:59

We showcase everything that the audience can expect

22:02

when they decide to become a subscriber.

22:05

So on screen here, here's an example of what we offer.

22:10

Everything is upfront.

22:11

The audience knows what they're getting into,

22:14

and they can opt out of it at any time.

22:17

This is huge in not only gaining the trust of your audience,

22:21

but keeping it until they're ready to move and market.

22:25

And I think that's the main differentiator here

22:28

from the old playbook.

22:29

It's like we're trying to keep them in our land of content

22:36

until they're actually ready versus trying

22:38

to convert them when they're not.

22:42

So now what?

22:43

We've gone over all this content.

22:45

Let's assume you're creating all this content,

22:48

but unless you get really good at distribution,

22:51

it's not going to do anything for you.

22:52

So I want to get your questions on this specifically,

22:55

because this is typically a sensitive topic

22:59

in the B2B marketing space.

23:01

So either drop them in the chat or raise your hand

23:04

if you've got one.

23:06

But let's talk about zero-click content and content

23:10

that lives on your website and what's the relationship there.

23:13

So if you're building an exclusive library of content,

23:18

how do you share it on channels where people expect

23:21

all that information for free, right in their feed?

23:26

So I want to ask a quick question.

23:29

I know everyone's on mute, so you can drop it in the comments.

23:32

But who here has a podcast?

23:36

And then out of those people, how many of you

23:40

share clips of that podcast onto LinkedIn or some other channel?

23:47

I'm assuming that anyone who has a podcast is doing that.

23:51

When you share those clips, do you link to the full episode?

23:57

I mean, of course we do.

23:59

Like, we want people consuming the full content.

24:01

We want people going and subscribing

24:04

or becoming followers of our Spotify or Apple or whatever.

24:08

We've been using this distribution strategy effectively

24:12

for years now.

24:14

The only difference is that we've been sending them

24:17

to other channels where we still can't get first party data.

24:21

And don't get me wrong, like, podcasts are still almost

24:25

in every case, non-exclusive content.

24:29

But as you put time and resources into these super valuable assets,

24:34

these heavy lifts, you need to be able to get the leading

24:37

indicators to track success if you want to continue to keep doing them.

24:42

So like, episodic content is a perfect example of this.

24:46

Like, trying to get buy-in to do something that's episodic is not easy.

24:53

But when you have the first party data and you're building subscribers off of

24:58

that,

24:58

it's much easier to present it as a valuable use case.

25:02

So I'm going to pass it back over to Anthony so he can talk about scaling that.

25:07

All right.

25:08

Thank you, Todd.

25:09

That was awesome.

25:11

As we were thinking about how to really scale and implement an exclusive

25:18

content

25:18

strategy, a lot of what we had learned is that the traditional CMS platforms

25:24

that most of our websites or blogs or resource centers are built on,

25:28

WordPress, Webflow, you name it, don't really support this idea of a logged-in

25:33

experience, as you would, with a media platform, like a YouTube or others.

25:39

And so we've really had to-- that has really given way to this idea of gated

25:45

that we've all-- honestly, had been forced to live with as to the point Todd

25:49

made there

25:50

at the end.

25:51

We have to be able to prove impact of our content.

25:53

So let's do the gated approach.

25:55

Because that's the only option we have, really.

25:58

So what I'd love to do is to show you just really quickly within Audience Plus

26:01

how we

26:01

enable exclusive content.

26:04

So I'm going to quickly jump here to a demo instance of Audience Plus.

26:11

So think about this platform again as an extension of your website.

26:15

Here the media property is called Golden Hour Plus.

26:18

As Todd just referenced, we have some content coming out of our latest

26:22

conference.

26:23

So we have a collection of content here that has a video trailer that was meant

26:27

to kind

26:28

of get folks excited about attending the event.

26:31

We have a written article that is basically recapping one of the top sessions

26:36

from the

26:36

event.

26:37

We have an audio-- not necessarily podcast in this case, but imagine we

26:42

actually recorded

26:43

an original song about the event.

26:46

More on a whole other webinar for that one.

26:48

And then we have this exclusive content that we shot on site that's available

26:54

for folks

26:55

to view.

26:56

So you get a sense.

26:57

So we have different formats here, but content that has varying degrees of

27:01

value as Todd

27:01

kind of stepped us through.

27:03

So if I go to the backstage within Audience Plus here, what I can do is

27:07

actually go into

27:08

this content that we've created.

27:09

Let's say this session video that happened on site that people would typically

27:14

have had

27:14

to pay for.

27:15

With one click, I can set that asset as exclusive and then I go ahead and hit

27:20

publish.

27:21

It's also the case that this write up from this really important session, this

27:25

blog post

27:26

that we put together, we think has a high propensity of driving real value for

27:31

audience,

27:32

but also conversion for our marketing funnel.

27:35

And so we click one click there with exclusive and click publish.

27:38

And so when I exit out and I go back to our platform here and I refresh, you'll

27:43

notice

27:43

something.

27:44

The exclusive overlay tag got added to those items that we published.

27:50

And so if I were to click on this video that is not exclusive, I'm in.

27:53

I can watch it, I can engage with the content, no problem, similar to that

27:59

original song

28:00

that I referenced.

28:01

I can click on that song and all of a sudden I can now engage with it as you

28:06

would expect

28:07

with a blog or something of the like.

28:09

But now with this exclusive content, when I click on this asset, I'm going to

28:12

be prompted

28:13

to subscribe in order to access this specific asset.

28:17

So let's go ahead and do that.

28:19

Now, I'll fill out this form, I'll authenticate, and I'm going to be asked to

28:25

go into my email

28:27

inbox to validate my membership.

28:29

And of course, the idea behind this is we want to be careful not to have a

28:33

bunch of spam

28:34

basically entering into our funnel from a data cleanliness perspective.

28:39

And so I get the magic link here, I click the button, and then next thing you

28:43

know, I'm

28:43

in.

28:44

I can now engage with this asset that was otherwise held as exclusive.

28:48

Now what's interesting is when I go back to my media property, I've

28:52

authenticated once,

28:53

right?

28:54

I'm not filling out any other forms.

28:55

The subscribe button went away.

28:57

And I'm now in this logged in state that I would otherwise be in similar to how

29:00

we are

29:01

with let's say LinkedIn or something of the like.

29:03

So now with this other piece of exclusive content, when I click on it, I don't

29:07

have to

29:07

fill out the form again.

29:08

I'm in, I can watch it.

29:10

I am now authenticated as a member of this of Gold Nour Plus's audience and no

29:15

longer

29:16

have to fill out any form ever again.

29:19

And the good news is back to the backstage is as a going back to the offense

29:24

concept,

29:25

now as people are engaging with this content, I as a marketer can benefit from

29:30

not just

29:31

web analytics data that we would get from Google Analytics or name your kind of

29:34

favorite

29:35

tool there.

29:36

We'll give you sort of impression based data views and so on.

29:39

But I can actually see who watched this video down to the real kind of human

29:44

level and

29:45

dive in and see all of the content that they've consumed with us across the

29:49

entire library.

29:50

So that's sort of the power of being able to have exclusive content at the

29:54

heart of the

29:55

strategy is one, it's frictionless for your, for your customers, for your

30:00

audience.

30:01

Two, we get the data, we get the data that we really need in order to help

30:05

inform some

30:06

of those decisions on production distribution and so on.

30:11

And something a platform like Audience Plus can help with that.

30:15

So just to wrap things up before we get into any kind of Q and A first, if any

30:20

of this was

30:20

interesting, we have a full kind of detailed kind of tutorial that we've

30:24

written that's

30:25

available now on Audience Plus on our own kind of instance.

30:29

We're happy to share that too and kind of our email follow up in case you want

30:32

to dive

30:32

even deeper.

30:33

And again, if anyone is interested in learning more about the platform, do let

30:37

us know and

30:37

we'll reach out and set and set up some time to connect with you and walk you

30:43

through the

30:43

platform.

30:44

So with that, we'd love to open this up to any questions that any folks have,

30:49

again, via

30:50

chat or if you raise your hand, we can get you connected here in the bit you

30:56

off mute.

30:56

Lindsay is asking if it integrates with HubSpot.

30:58

Yes, the platform, Audience Plus does integrate with HubSpot, working on a

31:02

Marketo and part

31:03

out integration next.

31:05

Effectively, every time somebody subscribes, we will either at creates or

31:10

append an existing

31:11

contact record in your marketing automation platform.

31:15

So any questions around content that should be exclusive shouldn't be like how

31:24

we utilize

31:25

that content after it's created, distribution, anything like that?

31:30

John has a question in the chat.

31:33

So how much of the marketing media makes you the audience building, scaling

31:38

distribution

31:39

compared to strategic exclusive content?

31:42

We talked a little bit about an 80/20 rule around this in terms of volume and

31:47

Todd, I

31:48

think it was a pretty good roadmap for value on the 20%.

31:53

But I think Todd, the second part of this question is something you've done a

31:55

lot of

31:56

work on.

31:57

I'm like allocating time for humor, memes, very kind of human type of edgy-t

32:02

ainment, if

32:03

you will, that may or may not actually be converting you to buying signal, but

32:08

definitely building

32:09

relationship.

32:10

Do you want to speak to that a little bit?

32:12

Yeah, I think there's a, when it comes to like, we'll call it either

32:16

entertaining or

32:17

a lot of people have dubbed it like edgy-tainment.

32:22

A lot of people have over-indexed, I think, on this.

32:26

When I started creating entertaining content like two years ago, the people

32:31

were like nobody's

32:33

going to buy into this, it doesn't work, blah, blah, blah.

32:36

We proved that it did, but in doing that, I think a lot of people have over-

32:40

indexed on,

32:42

you'll see it on your LinkedIn feed a lot, is there's a lot of entertaining

32:47

content that

32:47

doesn't seem to be linked to any sort of objective.

32:52

The way that I've always approached entertaining content, and I did this a lot

32:57

back when I was

32:58

with refine labs, was that any time, if we're doing something like this, we

33:04

know the content

33:05

is going to come out after the fact on LinkedIn or whatever channels we're

33:10

doing.

33:11

If Anthony was talking about why you need to create exclusive content and drive

33:17

subscribers,

33:19

as someone on the content team, I knew that topic was coming up.

33:23

That was the educational piece that kind of lands everything.

33:28

Then what I would do on the back end from my own profile was I would take

33:33

whatever that

33:35

education was, and I would poke fun at it or create an entertaining skit about

33:42

it.

33:42

The beauty of that is the two of those things work very well together because

33:47

entertaining

33:47

content on its own typically isn't teaching you anything.

33:52

But if it is, it's very watered down.

33:56

Purely educational content, a lot of times is pretty forgettable.

34:02

Even if someone watches it, I could ask people, "Hey, what was the best thing

34:06

you saw on LinkedIn

34:08

yesterday?"

34:09

A lot of people probably can't even remember what they liked.

34:12

When you combine those two, the education on one side and the entertainment on

34:17

the other,

34:18

it brings those two together.

34:20

People remember that thing that you were talking about because the entertaining

34:24

stuff is so

34:24

much more memorable.

34:26

That's great.

34:28

Alan's asking, "Do we have tools to help repurpose content clips?"

34:33

We don't currently.

34:36

I think there are some great companies that do that.

34:39

I think we'll look over time to do some integration work there.

34:42

No, nothing native to date.

34:45

Thanks, Jean.

34:46

Yes, in the platform.

34:48

Brande Lee, good to hear from you, man.

34:50

Brande is asking, "If exclusive content isn't gated, but is only available if

34:56

you subscribe

34:57

via email, how's this different than requiring email to access content other

35:00

channels that

35:01

were traditional gated content?"

35:03

I think it's two components to it.

35:05

One is first of all, the spirit of it, again, is access to membership into your

35:10

audience,

35:11

not necessarily just access to specific content.

35:14

We demoed that a little bit to show a conversion path, if you will, through

35:19

exclusive, but there's

35:21

always that subscribe button on the top right, or just a subscription

35:25

invitation on every

35:26

content page as well.

35:28

I think the bigger spirit of it here is when you subscribe once you get access

35:32

to everything

35:33

versus putting gates up unnaturally in front of different assets across the

35:40

library.

35:41

As I think one of the core differences that I see from exclusive content versus

35:45

gated,

35:46

one form you're in.

35:51

John's asking, "We use HubSpot.

35:54

Can you identify the best use cases for types of clients that have a working

35:57

HubSpot model?

35:58

We use HubSpot too.

35:59

So we're a HubSpot shop here.

36:02

I think that in general, we think about we are a channel that can collect data

36:09

and send

36:10

and update your HubSpot system of record with a new lead source through your

36:17

media or your

36:18

content marketing.

36:19

Again, much like you would on call it a resource center or something of the

36:24

like.

36:24

That's where this HubSpot integration works really well, where we're porting

36:27

that information

36:28

over into your marketing automation systems where you might send an email,

36:31

campaign, or

36:32

do some lead scoring or whatever it is that you want to do once we capture that

36:37

name.

36:38

So I think one of the things that just opening up behind the scenes here for

36:43

Audience Plus

36:44

that we talk about a lot is how do we think about follow up to subscribers?

36:49

Because again, we're collecting contact information in HubSpot of people who

36:54

may not be interested

36:56

in buying products today but care about this broader topic.

36:59

And so that's where I think it's important as you look to implement something

37:02

like this

37:03

to think about the lead source and be strategic with how we treat leads coming

37:08

from that lead

37:09

source.

37:10

Not to say that all of this is like, you know, all, you know, not like there is

37:15

an intent

37:16

kind of signal that we hope to drive and be able to help you identify.

37:20

But I would probably tailor the follow up appropriately to make sure we're not

37:25

like

37:25

burning the trust in the audience that we're hoping to build as Todd was saying

37:29

Todd, do you want to take Don's question?

37:33

Yeah.

37:34

So are you suggesting to put the clips on to podcast inside the community only

37:39

or have

37:40

the link to drive to the community?

37:42

So for content that is non-exclusive, we treat this the same way.

37:50

So like what we do here at Audience Plus, like I'll use the podcast as an

37:56

example, we

37:57

have a podcast at Audience Plus.

38:00

We distribute it the exact same way that you're probably accustomed to seeing

38:04

typical podcasts.

38:05

Like we cut up clips, we put them out on social channels.

38:09

We link back, we not only link back to Audience Spotify and Apple, but we also

38:15

link back to

38:16

Audience Plus.

38:17

So like for us, the, you don't want to take away the things that people enjoy

38:24

doing.

38:25

Like if I typically listen to podcasts on Spotify, I still want to be able to

38:30

have that ability

38:32

for us with the, with the, with the podcast, we put the video form of it on Aud

38:39

ience Plus.

38:40

But again, the point of that content is to build awareness.

38:45

It's to build the audio, the non-owned audience before you actually convert

38:51

them into a subscriber.

38:53

So like the purpose of that stuff is all the same.

38:55

Like you're, you're trying to build trust, you're trying to educate, you're

38:58

trying to

38:58

entertain all of that stuff.

39:00

But at the same time, you're, you're showcasing that like, hey, if you want to

39:05

go see the

39:05

full thing, like it's on Audience Plus, we're, we're driving people to a place

39:10

where they

39:11

can discover all of this other content that maybe they didn't know existed or

39:15

we haven't

39:15

promoted it yet or whatever in the hopes that they find something else there

39:20

that will drive

39:21

them to a subscription.

39:23

So the distribution of non-exclusive content remains the same.

39:29

And Todd, this very point of bridges to Doug's question, which is basically

39:33

saying, okay,

39:34

there's, we get it, that exclusive content matters, that it's helpful from a

39:38

data perspective.

39:39

Should we just do this in like abandoned in a way?

39:42

Oh, I'm not reading it to too wrong here, Doug, but like should we not do the

39:45

like rented

39:46

stuff as well rented?

39:48

I mean, like post on YouTube, post on Spotify on LinkedIn.

39:52

And I think our conviction is the opposite, absolutely not.

39:56

You have to be distributing your content in these rented channels.

40:00

Think of it like a marketing funnel.

40:01

At the top of the funnel is the rented audience.

40:04

It's the battlefield for attention that we're all fighting each other likely if

40:08

you've

40:08

sell to sell to marketing at least, but certainly to capture the attention of

40:13

whoever is your

40:14

kind of ideal cost, ideal audience profile.

40:17

And so it's just, we want to be strategic with what we distribute on those

40:22

platforms and

40:23

how we sort of link back to our own property as Todd was just stepping through

40:28

from the

40:29

podcast example.

40:31

So podcasts I think is also, I don't know if you have any other kind of

40:34

anything to add

40:34

to it.

40:35

Podcast is probably the trickier one too, because of the modality, I guess,

40:40

whereas you could

40:41

have like a clip of a video from a conference session or a webinar that we just

40:46

hosted

40:47

you might see tomorrow in the feed who knows hypothetically, and you would link

40:51

back to

40:52

view the entire episode on property, which is a bit of maybe a more familiar

40:58

pattern

40:59

than listening to a full audio podcast on a website versus Spotify.

41:05

But I think the challenge is the same.

41:07

When we send traffic to YouTube intentionally versus being organically

41:11

discovered in those

41:12

networks doesn't really benefit us on the brand side very much.

41:16

Yeah, and I'll also say that even with exclusive content, like this shouldn't

41:23

be looked at

41:24

as kind of like non-exclusive content is all the stuff that's promoted on

41:29

social channels

41:31

and like YouTube and Spotify.

41:34

And then exclusive content just lives on your website.

41:39

I'll use easy mode as an example again since I just used it.

41:43

But like there's two ways that you can go about promoting your well, there's

41:48

more than

41:49

two, but I'll give two of promoting your exclusive content.

41:54

One is treating it like any other content and posting clips.

42:00

Like I've posted clips of easy mode, exclusive episodes on LinkedIn.

42:07

The key there is providing enough of that clip that it actually provides value

42:13

in the feed

42:14

and it's not like solely promotional in order for them to go back and consume

42:21

it.

42:22

And the other piece that like is important to note here is I kind of went over

42:28

it before

42:28

is we're already using this strategy.

42:32

The only difference right now is we're sending people to other channels where

42:39

we can't get

42:40

that first party data.

42:42

So if I'm sending everyone to Spotify, like that's great.

42:47

But I still, this is why 90% of podcasts never make it past like eight episodes

42:53

or whatever

42:53

the stat is.

42:55

Like you need to be able to show that like it's getting in front of the right

43:00

people so

43:00

that you can continue to do it until it actually makes like a business level

43:04

impact.

43:05

Yeah, absolutely.

43:07

Jeanie, thank you for your question too.

43:09

You're asking about how is this different or similar than what Bres introduces.

43:15

They have, for those that don't know, a very successful kind of marketing

43:20

platform that

43:21

they offer as well.

43:22

I'll admit, I know of Bres the company, but diving deep into this use case, I

43:26

literally

43:26

didn't pulling it up here to look closer at it as we're answering the question.

43:31

But my sense is a lot of the data signals they're pulling from other channels,

43:36

which

43:36

is I think their kind of core use case is again, either inferring relationships

43:43

in those

43:44

channels and basically building kind of like a unified journey across that data

43:49

to a model

43:50

here where we're suggesting you should own that data and own that relationship

43:54

yourself.

43:55

I think that's sort of the newness here where we're still reliant on LinkedIn

44:00

to ensure that

44:02

our followership, remain our followership that when we post, they see or they

44:06

even get

44:06

the impression of our post that would then potentially turn into engagement or

44:11

behold

44:11

it to others.

44:12

And again, it's good.

44:13

It's what we've been living in for two decades plus.

44:16

But I think what's different about our conviction or point of view around own

44:22

media is that

44:23

brands should have direct access to that relationship themselves without

44:26

needing an intermediary.

44:28

So I think that's at least at a high level how to think about that one.

44:33

Elaine Cleary asks about the impact SEO when you make content exclusive.

44:38

I won't answer the question really from the platform side.

44:41

I think there are some different things you can kind of enable there.

44:43

I will say if you're putting content, setting content as exclusive, you're

44:47

probably not

44:47

optimizing around search for that content.

44:51

You're probably optimizing around a conversion.

44:53

And so there's again, different ways to enable that within audience plus.

44:58

But in general, you're not exclusive content.

45:04

Your 80% volume content is likely what you would want to deploy from a search

45:09

optimization

45:10

perspective.

45:14

A question from Mars.

45:15

Thank you.

45:16

This might be a good one for Utah.

45:17

You speak a little deeper about exclusive not meaning paid.

45:22

Does this work for indie creators or mainly brands?

45:25

How do you recommend monetizing without promoting upsells or different monet

45:28

ization tiers?

45:31

Yeah, I think the use case is meant for B2B.

45:38

It's meant for brands.

45:41

My background is YouTube.

45:43

So as a YouTube creator, the way that we monetized our channel was two ways.

45:50

One was eyeballs.

45:54

So as a true media company that media is the business, they typically monetize

46:02

through

46:03

ads.

46:04

So sponsorships, collaborations, paid ads, that sort of thing.

46:10

So the eyeballs are the monetization tool.

46:16

And then for the creator economy, when we're talking about paid tiers, that's

46:21

not really

46:21

what we're talking about here with exclusive content.

46:24

That would be more akin to a Patreon or something like that.

46:29

So I don't know if that answers your question, but hopefully.

46:33

Yeah, one thing I'd add is the way I've seen monetization for the indie

46:38

creators is very

46:39

different than the brands in the sense that it's newsletters as well beyond ads

46:43

for any

46:44

creators outside of the media company thing.

46:48

Paid newsletters, which sub stack and others kind of enable Patreon, I think

46:53

enables a

46:54

lot of paid subscriptions through whatever exclusive content that they have.

47:00

So it's still exclusive content that you're paying for.

47:04

Right on the B2B side, typically, if you ask a few folks on the LinkedIn echo

47:12

chamber,

47:13

they might disagree here, but typically you're not charging for content in B2B.

47:18

We're not trying to monetize in the traditional sense, meaning we don't want

47:23

you to pay $9

47:24

a month to join this webinar series that we have.

47:27

I think the intention is to generate the relationship, which hopefully if you

47:31

guys ever are interested

47:32

in buying software, you would think of us and we would be kind of a part of

47:36

that journey

47:37

for you.

47:39

So that's one thing to consider, I think, on monetization that for brands, it's

47:43

more

47:44

about building your subscriber funnel and then finding folks within that funnel

47:49

that

47:50

might be interested in buying software or other products that you sell.

47:54

Brandly, is there a walk, jog, run approach for lean teams trying to execute

47:58

the own media

47:59

strategy?

48:00

My take in Todd LeBior is start with 80%, start producing content, maybe pick

48:05

one show

48:06

or one franchise or whatever it is, maybe it's a video podcast and start

48:11

building the

48:11

muscle about just getting on the camera and releasing something once a week and

48:17

playing

48:18

with distribution and finding ways to capture attention.

48:22

And then I would layer an exclusive, probably next, after you've started to

48:26

build some muscle

48:28

around reliably dropping one episode of a content series every call it week or

48:35

whatever

48:36

the case is, around the market that you're serving or the product or the

48:41

problem that

48:41

you want to cast a light on.

48:44

So Todd, if you would have a similar set of feedback, but I'd say my take would

48:48

be

48:48

start there.

48:49

Yeah, I'll give a more tactical answer as well.

48:55

I think for teams that don't have a ton of either subject matter expertise in

49:03

house or

49:04

subject matter experts in house that are willing to take the time to do weekly

49:11

content

49:12

or whatever it is, I know that's a big problem.

49:18

Creating external creators is a huge unlock in being able to scale your content

49:25

operation.

49:26

And not when we talk about external creators and influencers, people, they

49:33

think of the

49:34

consumer idea of an influencer.

49:38

The B2B model that works really well, I did this at Lavender prior to coming to

49:43

Audience

49:44

Plus is creating a series around an individual.

49:51

So there's an ongoing relationship and an ongoing series with that person that

49:58

enables

49:58

them to talk about your brand in a non-salesy way because they're creating this

50:02

content

50:03

for you.

50:04

And I won't go super deep into this because this is a whole nother topic, but

50:09

there's

50:10

ways that you can build product related shows with other people that are not

50:15

actually selling

50:16

the product.

50:17

So if you don't have the people in house in order to do it, using external

50:23

creators

50:24

is a huge unlock in getting started.

50:28

And the beauty there too is there may be a learning curve from the operational

50:35

side,

50:36

but there's no learning curve from the creator in knowing how to create good

50:41

content.

50:42

So you're not kind of waiting through the mud trying to get to a level where

50:48

your content

50:49

is good in the first place.

50:51

All right, we only have about three more minutes.

50:54

I'll try to go rapid fire on some of these.

50:56

Jeannie's asking about the intersection maybe of audience building and

51:01

community, which

51:02

I would agree are different but interrelated things.

51:07

The way we have approached this as a small company is we think about our events

51:12

as kind

51:13

of a way to kind of gather community and get folks talking to one another.

51:18

I think we have some feedback, maybe a mental note or two around unmuting on

51:21

Zoom.

51:22

We can help you guys do that easier where folks can turn to each other in

51:25

conversations

51:26

like this and ask feedback or ideas of each other within person events as well.

51:34

I could imagine a world within the audience plus roadmap where we can enable

51:40

conversations

51:41

within each other.

51:42

Thanks, Brantley, in order to actually have more of that peer-to-peer dialogue.

51:49

So I think community is a subset of your audience, but absolutely as you're

51:53

building that audience

51:55

drag more engagement within it.

51:57

Looking for ways as a brand that we can kind of facilitate those relationships

52:01

and those

52:01

connections.

52:05

Maybe in 60 seconds or less, do you have a backdoor for exclusive content for

52:09

sales enablement?

52:12

Good question.

52:13

He asked that question to I think something that leads to me makes a little

52:18

more sense

52:19

is what's the strategy to use exclusive content in the sales process?

52:25

Yes, which I think affect, I don't know, it's really an interesting

52:29

conversation.

52:30

I think one piece is do you arm your sales team with that exclusive asset and

52:35

giving

52:35

them the ability to green light it fast path it to a prospect so they can

52:40

easily kind of

52:41

engage with it and consume it.

52:43

I think there is sort of like almost like a content enablement kind of

52:47

opportunity there

52:48

to say, "Hey, this is sort of content that we would say is widely accessible."

52:54

We're working hard to create a really valuable assets or series or whatever and

53:00

sales we

53:00

want you to actually learn about what this is and how you can use it to deploy

53:04

to your

53:04

customers or your prospects.

53:08

Nothing kind of operationalized there yet, but I would argue exclusive content

53:13

is a fantastic

53:14

lever for marketing to help your sales team kind of deliver value to your

53:19

audience for

53:20

sure.

53:21

I'm going to piggyback off that one real quick, which is not a direct answer in

53:25

the form of

53:27

exclusive content, but still when it comes to sales enablement, one of the

53:34

things that

53:35

this kind of goes back to like the creator aspect, but in this case internal

53:39

creators.

53:41

At a previous company, I marketed to salespeople.

53:48

I'll use this example, but you could pick your team internally and this works

53:54

the same, is

53:55

that I would create series with my salespeople that would then end up on those

54:03

calls.

54:04

The beauty of this is the content that they were creating became sales enable

54:09

ment because

54:10

a couple of things like people always talk about like your sales team needs to

54:15

be consultative

54:16

and viewed as a thought leader and not someone who's trying to pitch me product

54:21

, which sounds

54:22

good in theory, but if you're ever buying something, I don't know about you all

54:27

, but

54:28

I've never got on a call and been like this salesperson is not trying to sell

54:33

me, they're

54:34

just trying to consult with me.

54:36

We always know there's the sales motion on the back end.

54:41

The beauty of creating content with the people that are going to be customer

54:47

facing or in

54:48

the sales process is you're helping them build a third party.

54:53

This goes to like 80%.

54:55

You're helping them build a third party audience that has followed them or

55:01

engages with their

55:02

content like for us it was LinkedIn that now when they come up in the sales

55:06

process, they

55:07

actually do feel more like a consultant because they've built this third party

55:11

audience that

55:13

has no interest in whether they make a sale.

55:15

They've built an audience around the thing that they're selling.

55:19

If you can incorporate your internal people into those series, it works really

55:24

well as

55:25

sales enable.

55:26

Amazing.

55:28

Well, thank you everyone.

55:30

Thanks for those of you who stayed a little bit late here.

55:32

We appreciate you being a part of this.

55:34

Let us know what you think.

55:35

You'll get kind of a recap email from us.

55:38

Again, the recording will be available tomorrow.

55:40

We'll make sure you have that as well.

55:43

So appreciate you and we'll look forward to doing this again next month.

55:45

Thanks so much.

55:46

Thanks everybody.

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