Morey Creative Studios (MCS) President Jon Sasala recently appeared on HubSpot Academy Manager of Education Kevin Dunn’s podcast, Agency Unfiltered.
A biweekly web series and podcast, Agency Unfiltered features interviews with agency owners and peels back the layers of operations, growth, and scale. In the nearly 30 minute conversation, Sasala deconstructed operations and recent growth at MCS, touching on podcasting, inbound content creation, as well as how agencies can skill up and get ahead in the marketing industry. Sasala also revealed what it’s like to be a marketing agency in the current “remote access” circumstances.
But before touching on that timely topic, Sasala met Dunn’s question regarding how MCS built its content team with a tip to all agencies: Hire journalists.
“When we were hiring, we were looking for people that had HubSpot experience or came with a marketing background,” said Sasala. “We learned pretty quickly that taking journalists and teaching them the best tips and tricks in inbound marketing is something that's very easy. Teaching a marketer how to compose copy quickly, that's clean, that's well researched and citing things properly, that’s difficult.”
Pivoting to podcasts, Dunn wanted to learn more about the audio efforts of MCS, which includes three current podcasts, News Beat, Inbound & Down, and Grow For Good™, as well as a forthcoming show centered around InclusionHub, a web accessibility resource site.
Sasala revealed that the very first podcast under the Morey name—News Beat—was born out of that same journalism sensibility. He said it all began by having people on staff that loved the mission behind investigative journalism and wanted to give a microphone to those who didn’t have a voice.
“Our team went and started producing a show that’s still going on today called News Beat,” said Sasala, adding that listeners can find it at www.usnewsbeat.com. “[The podcast] focuses on social justice, and focuses a lot on systemic racism issues.”
That passion project, as Sasala called it, led MCS to launch additional podcasts, including Inbound & Down, a series that covers the life of a marketing agency and all that entails. Those first forays into podcasting, particularly with Inbound & Down, all led to more opportunities for growth at MCS, according to Sasala.
“We started seeing some really significant business benefits,” said Sasala. “As we started getting more popular, we started having more people reaching out to us saying, ‘Hey, can you do this for us?’ And we were saying ‘absolutely!’”
Sasala said that podcasts can foster a more intimate relationship between a user and your content and can help build trust.
“When people spend 45 minutes listening to you talk about something and demonstrating your authority in that space, they feel like they know you and they start to trust you,” said Sasala, adding that trust is built much more quickly through a podcast than through a blog they might find six months after it’s written. “When they discover your podcast, it fast tracks that trust.”
Sasala also touched on some of the finer points of podcasting as an agency, including what the investment might look like for agencies starting a podcast, inevitable questions about ROI, studio space, and how to measure the success of your podcast.
As for the latter, Sasala cited a couple of tangible benefits that are bound to happen. First of all, the internal morale tends to go up, as team members will feel pride in being associated with a company that’s producing great content. Secondly, people on staff who hear the content that’s being produced will naturally skill up as they listen.
As for how you measure success, Sasala said that’s a bit more fuzzy.
“People listen to podcasts in different ways. You can download an episode, you can subscribe to an episode, or you can listen to it and do neither. And you have many people listening, but it doesn't necessarily get reflected in your subscriptions,” he said. “I will say, you can't expect, from an expertise podcast, wild fame and thousands and thousands of downloads, and even the volume of listens to justify someone paying you for advertising when you’re clocking in at 30 or 40 listens.”
However, Sasala notes that “those 30 or 50 listens per episode might be somebody who’s going to make a substantial investment or a new employee who’s going to join your team and take you in a different direction.”
To close out the show, Dunn inquired about the weirdest part of agency life—a question that naturally generated an answer relating to the current unprecedented times.
“We were always a partially remote workforce, but for the people that have been used to coming into an office and having the culture of high fives and hugs and lunch together—we're losing that,” said Sasala. “So the weirdest part has been trying to replace that and trying to make sure that the way that we respect each other and engage with each other, and continue to develop our friendships and our relationships, that it's still there.”
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