Ian Faison's serialized content framework

Ian Faison's serialized content framework

Ian Faison, Founder of Caspian Studios, shares his serialized content framework.

People love serialized contentβ€”from TV shows like Friends and The X Files to podcasts like Dirty John and movies like the Marvel movies. B2B companies can tap into this obsession by creating serialized content.

Today, Ian Faison, Founder of Caspian Studios, shares his Serialized Content Framework.

In this Marketing Powerups episode, you'll learn:

  • Why serialized content is effective in B2B marketing.
  • The 5 pillars of great B2B content series.
  • An example of a successful B2B podcast series.
  • Ian's career power-up.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcast and Spotify now, or watch it on YouTube.

⭐️ 6 components of a successful B2B series

Creating a successful B2B series involves more than just great content. It's about engaging your audience, structuring your series effectively, and leveraging multiple platforms for distribution and promotion. Today, Ian Faison, Founder of Caspian Studios, shares the 6 components of a successful B2B series.

1. Audience focus πŸ‘€

Aim to provide insights, knowledge, or entertainment that establishes your brand as an industry authority.

"You've got to provide a ton of value to the audience and a spotlight to the person that you're talking to. Help them help you, and then it ends up being this great relationship where you both win."

Motivate guests to share their expertise, promote their businesses, and reach a wider audience. Tailor your content to be both informative and engaging for your audience.

2. Format and structure 🎧

Offer your series in audio, video, blog, and short video formats. Organize it into episodes and seasons, each covering specific topics, industry trends, or guest interviews. Keep episodes substantial but concise (20-60 minutes), and include segments like introductions, discussions, Q&A sessions, and closing remarks for a smooth flow.

"You've got to focus on what the consumer wants. People want to consume content in the way that's comfortable for them. So, you want to have it in different ways: video, short video, blog posts, and long-form audio."

For example, the success of the podcast "Murder in HR" lies with it's compelling format and premise. It highlights the challenges of HR professionals in a murder mystery story.

3. Experience 😍

Prioritize high-quality audio and video production for a professional feel. Interact with your guests in a conversational and informative way.

Ian brings up how effective late-night talk shows are:

"Bringing late-night talk show entertainment concepts to B2B is really getting hot right now. It's a really good way to think about how to have fun and also how to make business and entrepreneurs more approachable and more real."

4. Distribution πŸ“’

Host your podcast on platforms like Apple, Spotify, and Google. Use social media to share teaser clips, behind-the-scenes content, and episode announcements. Embed video episodes on your website to boost reach and SEO.

5. Marketing ⭐️

Promote your podcast through social media, newsletters, and your website. Encourage guests to share episodes with their followers to leverage their networks.

"The future of marketing is going to be centered around the content, the words, and the contribution of that content. Undergird that with the relationships of this person's following, that person's following, and that person's following."

6. Attribution πŸ“Š

Utilize podcast analytics tools to track demographics, engagement, and episode performance. Seek audience feedback to improve future episodes. Properly credit and promote your guests to acknowledge their contributions.

πŸŽ‰ About Ian Faison

Ian Faison is the Founder of Caspian Studios, the first Podcast-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider. He's on a mission to help marketers build remarkable podcasts, content, and communities that improve people’s careers.

πŸ•°οΈ Timestamps and transcript

  • 00:00 Ian Faison's serialized content framework
  • 03:55 Create serialized content, build audiences, take cues.
  • 09:39 Podcasting is intimate; technology aids its success.
  • 11:01 Tailor content for audience, go the extra mile.
  • 15:30 People crave mystery, humor, and connection in stories.
  • 20:01 Pitched story, secured A-list talent, perfect synergy.
  • 21:07 Highlighting mistreatment of employees in company storytelling.
  • 27:15 Creativity and clarity are essential for marketing.
  • 28:23 AI can help with serialized content framework.
  • 33:17 Developers' show created from authentic nostalgia.
  • 36:48 Farming is their passion and means everything.
  • 39:06 West Point connections opened doors for success.
  • 42:42 Support, help, connect with others for success.
  • 45:39 Check out castbeanstudios.com for exciting murderverse shows.
  • 47:07 Subscribe to Marketing Powerups for actionable insights.

Episode transcript

Ramli John [00:00:00]:
People love serialized content. From TV shows like Friends and The X Files to podcasts like Dirty John and movies like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. B2B companies can tap into this obsession by quit eating serialized content. Today, Ian Fizon, founder of Kaspien Studios, shares his serialized content framework for B2B. In this Marketing POPs episode, you'll learn, first of all, why serialized content is effective in B2B marketing. 2nd, the 5 pillars of great b to b content series. 3rd, an example of a successful b to b podcast series. And number 4, Ian's career power.

Ramli John [00:00:33]:
Are you ready? Let's go.

Ian Faison [00:00:36]:
Marketing power ups. Ready? Go. Here's your host, Ramli John.

Ramli John [00:00:47]:
Ian, thank you so much for joining us. We're gonna be talking about S3L's content framework. I really love it. I'm a big fan of podcasts and video. And also, like, I've been checking out some of Castman Studios' show, like Murder in HR. We're gonna talk about that. Like, that's just like, absolutely fun. Like, it's, like, stuff that b2b marketers and b2b marketing teams aren't doing as much as they should be, especially with AI.

Ramli John [00:01:13]:
Like, you know, like, oh, now AI is gonna come and like you can you can write content, but it stuff like this is something that, even it I believe you know creativity is gonna be more and more important with it I mean let's dig in the let's talk about serialized content first like why why is it so effective? And like, I mean, I'm asking 2 questions here, but like why is it so effective and why should BDM marketers care about this? About like, sera, the content that's in series.

Ian Faison [00:01:39]:
Yeah. I, you know, I was I was recently listening to, an interview with one of the founders of of Marvel Studios. Mhmm. And and he was talking about how when they did the math back before Marvel was Marvel, like before the you know, when it was just comic books and toys and things like that. And he was talking about how if you look at how hard it is to bring a movie to market, extremely difficult. Right? But way, way, way easier to bring a sequel to market. And so I think in B2B, if we were to look at what we've been doing for a long time, it's just bringing single, you know, one off type content over and over and over and over and over again. And every time you gotta refine an audience for it, every time you gotta market that thing, every time you gotta do that, it's, like, just way harder to do that.

Ian Faison [00:02:29]:
Whereas if you build a series, you can promote episode 1, you can promote episode 7, you can promote promote episode, like, 25, but it all funnels back to that series, and you can build an audience over time. You know, there's a great, Coca Cola adage that they used to use back in the day. It's like, Coke isn't trying to get, you know, it's hardcore Coke drinkers to to drink more Coke. What they're trying to do is to get you to drink 1 Coke a year if you don't drink Coke. Right? And I think that that's, like, the way that we should be thinking about marketing is if you build a series and you build a bunch of inroads to your series, if someone comes and listens to 1 episode a month or 1 episode a year or whatever it is, and they start to know, like, and trust you, like, that's a really big win. And, hopefully, they become a subscriber. Now, hopefully, they'll listen to 5 seconds and then a minute and then, you know, 2 minutes and then a whole episode, and then they, you know, binge the whole back catalog and all that. And that might not always happen.

Ian Faison [00:03:25]:
But if you build a series, there's a place for them to subscribe. There's a place for them to that's a good question. And so I think that's a good question. And so I think that's a good question. And so I think that's confusion equals no sale. Well, in marketing, it's the same exact thing. And so if you build a series with a very clear premise, what, like, we at Caspian Studios called, like, the promise to the listener. If you're gonna build that promise and deliver on that promise every single episode, then they know what they're getting, and it's much easier to build an audience that way.

Ian Faison [00:03:55]:
And so, I think that, like, what I wanted to do in in writing the serialized content framework was to just, like, even though it's very wordy, sort of silly, title, was to figure out, like, how people can build serialized content, whether that's like, podcasts or video series or shows or events or whatever it is that can bring people back, over and over and over again that are interested in that sort of thing without having to, like, recreate the wheel every single time to create more one off content. And so that was the sort of goal of it. And, and as we studied a bunch of b to b companies that are doing this really well, we found that, you know, that they've been able to build audiences. And then when you study, like, non b two b, when you study Hollywood, when you study Marvel Studios, what they did with the MCU, when you study what, you know, what all of these sequels, why they've why they've done this, is that, you know, the data shows that it's much easier to do that. So, we're trying to take our cues from Hollywood, trying to take our cues from, b to c, and take our cues from, people that are building really good stuff, and trying to infuse that back into into our b to b marketing a little bit.

Ramli John [00:04:59]:
I I love that so much. The other thing that from from the audience point of view, like, sometimes especially with b to b specifically for b to b, it takes longer to purchase something sometimes where, you know, you can involve multiple people at the same time, you know, multiple stakeholders within that same team. And you're building that relationship over time rather than like, Hey, here's, here's content and then that's it versus this. Like, they keep coming back so that when they are ready to purchase, they're like, what was that podcast? Like, I was listening to Iain about that show. Like I should go check out, like, you know, what they're doing, what they're up to, what they're selling because now they've kind of built that relationship over, over time through through the serialized content. Is it probably another benefit that your b to b companies have with this?

Ian Faison [00:05:47]:
Yeah. For sure. I mean, it it goes back to, like, know, like, and trust. Right? They have to know you, then they have to like you, and then they have to trust you. And if they do know you, and if they do like you and if they do trust you, they're much more likely to buy from you. And I think that most of the time, like a one off blog, for example, is not really gonna get someone to know, like, or trust you. Maybe they know you by the fact that they're gonna, you know, from an SEO standpoint, like, stumble across your website. Maybe they're gonna read that and say, hey.

Ian Faison [00:06:17]:
This is pretty good. But at the current like, where we're at, if you stumble across a blog, and you're like, this is pretty helpful, you're probably just gonna close out and go on to the next thing. You know? Yeah. I think the stat is like people convert. So 1 in 1 in 400, you know, people convert. Right? And so, that's really hard. That's a really hard sort of like conversion number, for like a one off blog post. But if you were to do a series where you saw that same conversion number, but you, you know, build this thing out over time and you can bring people back over and over and over again, then that conversion rate is gonna go, you know, up a ton.

Ian Faison [00:06:54]:
And the other piece of, like, serialized content, which I think people don't really, understand is that, which is so obvious when you say it, but, like, meet your customer where they are. Right? Like, meet these people where they are. And if they wanna be on Spotify, you should meet them on Spotify. If they wanna be on YouTube, you gotta meet them on YouTube. If they wanna be on Apple Podcasts or if they wanna read your information in a in a email newsletter, then that's where you gotta do it. Where they're really not is just cruising around your website on your blog. Like, they're just not doing that. Like, people don't do that.

Ian Faison [00:07:25]:
And so it's silly to even try to, like, reverse engineer this process that doesn't work. Whereas where they are spending their time in LinkedIn scrolling around on, you know, Twitter or Instagram or TikTok or, or, you know, in in feeds, you know, listening to a a podcast while they're walking their dog or, you know, have a YouTube video on in the background while they're working. Like, if you meet them in those places, then you're much more likely to, to win the day. And and I think that a lot of people are sort of just making stuff that is not, not designed for those mediums. And then the listener or the reader or the viewer just turns out and is like, this isn't this isn't sort of for me.

Ramli John [00:08:08]:
I love that. That reminds me of, a story you told when, you know, your your, story of how Caspian Studio started where, like, you were talking about mentors. You're like, I'm gonna go to meet with Apple and then you're like, I'm I'm gonna meet with, I need to, like, listen to my mentor and your mentor the mentor was a podcast episode.

Ian Faison [00:08:29]:
Right.

Ramli John [00:08:29]:
And I I love that because, like, you're not you you know, maybe you're gonna read a blog post before you you do the pitch, but you're gonna go back to something that you listened to in the past, and maybe refer to it to to get that hype. And that's the other, I think, benefit to this is that you said know, like, and trust, but that trust piece is so important in that, you know, building a relationship over time. They start seeing whoever the host or the whoever, is in that show, as a mentor almost, especially if it's something that they're sharing to establish their their credibility and their, you know, their expertise or the topic?

Ian Faison [00:09:03]:
Jason Ehrlich (zero zero six:fifty four): there's an interesting thing that happened. I was listening to a pretty famous podcaster, And they were saying that when they used to do radio, that they were sort of had a celebrity status, that it was, like, they were sort of, like, a radio DJ sort of a thing. Right? Like, they they they would get seen places, and they're like, oh my gosh. This celebrity. And And then when they transitioned to podcasting, and they did a podcast for a long time, that people would just come up to them in the street like they knew them. What? So they just come up and be like, oh, hey. How's it going? It's like, do I know you? It's like, oh, no. I've just been listening to your podcast for years.

Ian Faison [00:09:39]:
And they know all this information about them. They know all that stuff. And I think that that's, like, such a really important data point for marketers because the idea that someone would feel comfortable enough to come up to you and, like, like they know you just shows how intimate the medium is. Right? Like someone is speaking directly into your ears. And and and there's a big that we could go, like, I could go on and on and on about podcasting in general because there's all sorts of interesting things that happened that sort of led to this. But one of the big things is is just the change in technology with, like, AirPods that is like, now you have this super easy way to just, like, you know, throw in an AirPod, continue listening where you left off, and that person is just, like, talking into your into your brain. Right? And, and, again, it's just it's just a much more intimate medium. And so that's why you see, you know, a lot of, success with that stuff.

Ian Faison [00:10:31]:
And I think, you know, all this to say, it's really hard to build a B2B podcast. Right? You are competing with all sorts of, you know, different, other types of shows that are, frankly, usually a lot better than yours. Whether it's like if you're competing with Smartless, right, for like ear time or whatever you want to call it, Yeah. They're professional comedians. They're way better at their job. They have a bigger team. They have more producers. Their content is always gonna be better than yours.

Ian Faison [00:11:01]:
Always. But you have something that they don't have on the SmartLess team or Joe Rogan or or whoever is you know your audience better than they ever could. And so, that's a huge advantage for you to say, like, if I'm making a podcast for, you know, developers, or, like, you know, whatever, like, UI designers or something like that, I know them better. So, I can make things that are much more tailored, that are much more interesting for those for those people. And usually what happens is when someone goes to make something, they sort of just, like, go 50% or they, you know, make something good enough, and they don't go sort of the extra mile. And, like, at Caspian, what we talk about all the time is, like, you know, there's no traffic on the extra mile. If you go the extra mile, if you make the show that's so good for that audience, that's delivering so much value to them, and you do that over and over and over and over again, you know, you know, consistently, and repeatedly, like, you can have a lot of success. And that's where you can sort of, you know, win win the the mindshare or the earshare or whatever of of an audience and to make something that's actually, like, you know, edutaining them, rather than rather than just sort of, like, you know, spitting some some stats at them in a in a blog post.

Ramli John [00:12:18]:
Yeah. And that's the other thing that's super interesting. You know, when you were talking about, like, the extra mile, I'm thinking about, like, murder and HR and, like, hacker Chronicles. Can you talk a little bit about, like, how how did that you can just choose either one of them or both. Like, how did it come about and, like, you're, you know, totally out there. Something that I've never heard. Usually, when I think about b two b podcast, it's like, let's get the founder or the the CMO or whatever to interview a bunch of folks, and we're gonna publish it. And we're gonna, you know, we're gonna be sound like experts, but, like, there's a ton of interview related podcasts out there.

Ramli John [00:12:53]:
But, like, when when I heard of Murder in HR, I'm like, dude, this is this is the future. Like, can you talk about that? Like, how did that come about? And, like, you know, it it got got that out there.

Ian Faison [00:13:05]:
Yeah. I so in the book, in serialized content framework, I have this little graph that I call the edutainment graph. And, basically, it has, the x axis is, educational or entertaining, and the y axis is is educational. Shows how good I am in math that I know that we even which is x and which is y axis. But, anyways and so what I sat down and did sort of a number of years ago was sort of try to figure out what would it take to get in the top right quadrant. Like, what could we create that actually is entertaining for a B2B audience? And what could we create that is actually educational at the same time? Like, it's a very hard thing to do. And so, like, how can we create something? And so what we did, and I'll use murder in HR as an example of this. So what we looked at was basically the the 3 most popular genres in podcasting are essentially, like, what I call murder stories, but basically, like, either true crime or murder mystery type things.

Ian Faison [00:14:04]:
Right? So that's very popular. Comedy is very popular. And then for us, like, you know, business content is the is the third thing. Right? So not not a very popular genre compared to the other 2, but popular for for what we're looking at. Right? And so so we said, well, if if we could tell a story that is a mystery that has, like, a propulsive element to the story. Like, a mystery is is very easy. Right? Like, murder in HR. You hear it and you know somebody there's a murder.

Ian Faison [00:14:34]:
Right? And so we gotta introduce the the detective at the very beginning of the mystery. Say, hey. This is our detective. There's a body that's gonna drop, and this person has to solve it. Right? So, you know, from the first, you know, 30 seconds of listening to this show exactly what you're gonna get. There's no, there's no, guessing, you know, exactly that this is a murder mystery. Right? And so then we looked at, this murder mystery genre and this comedy genre. So how do we infuse comedy into this to make this, you know, more more entertaining? So if you look at some of the really popular mysteries right now, if you look at knives out or any murders in the building, for example, these are extremely popular, franchises because they have this, this levity in in the story.

Ian Faison [00:15:30]:
And there's and I think people right now crave this type of story. I think that people want to be they like the mystery component to it, but they just want something that they can watch or listen with their spouse or loved one or a friend and talk about it. And it's lighthearted enough that it's funny and it keeps you smiling, but also there's this sort of, you know, other element to it. So we took those two things, and we sort of, like, mapped those together. And then we said, okay. Now let's take a business, you know, audience and draw that other concentric circle on there and say, could we make this hyper focused for a very specific persona? So we got, linked up with Gympass, and they have an awesome CMO, Ryan Benicci, and a bunch of really cool people on their team. And we pitched in this idea of of this murder mystery said in HR. They sell the HR.

Ian Faison [00:16:24]:
And, you know, they're awesome, and they were super gung ho about it, about being the sponsor and all this other cool stuff. And, you know, and then we sort of, you know, filled out the cast and, you know, filled out the story and and all those things. And so, really, like, you know, the the sort of rest is history, and we've done, you know, 1,100,000 listeners on the show, and it hit number 1 in in fiction, for all of all podcasts, hit number 1 in fiction, not not like b to b podcast or business podcast, but like all fiction podcasts.

Ramli John [00:16:52]:
Yeah. I

Ian Faison [00:16:53]:
think it was up to, like, number 36 on the top 100 charts for all podcasts. Wow. So it did it extremely well. It was, like, commercially very, you know, successful in that in that sense. And, and Kate Mara plays the lead. She's amazing. And Brett Gelman plays, her costar, and he's amazing. And it has has all of these elements, and it's funny, and it's silly, and it's, you know, this ridiculous sort of murder mystery.

Ian Faison [00:17:17]:
But we're able to tell all of these HR related things that are hard to do in nonfiction. Yeah. You can't really poke fun at the profession in nonfiction. And you need to be able to expose all of those little secrets and insecurities and idiosyncrasies that, like, make business ridiculous, but also, like, where we spend, you know, 40 hours a week of our lives. And so, what you get is this story that feels, like, grounded and real in a business sense, even though the circumstances are super, super insane. And you have something that is like you could literally listen to with with your mom, or you could listen to with your spouse, or you could listen to with your colleagues. And, yeah. And, you know, and it took off within the HR community, and it took off sort of, you know, with with another audiences.

Ian Faison [00:18:13]:
And I think that, you know, we we know that. And, obviously, you know, we're we're, you know, doubling down on that with a bunch of other stuff that we could talk about. But but that's sort of like how it all how it all came to be, was just looking at audience and looking at, like, how we could make something that, that is able to do that.

Ramli John [00:18:30]:
That's super cool. So what I heard was, like, you came up with this concept with your team, and then you looked at the the categories that are popular podcasts. I mean, it makes sense, like, you know, what murder stories you you mentioned, and then comedy, and then business. And I and you kinda smashed them together. I love that. It's like almost remixing like old classics to make them more relevant, and that creates something new. I forgot this book called, like, how to steal like a pro. And it essentially talks about, like, how to take 2 inspiration and put them together, and that's how you put this, pretty much together with Murder and HR.

Ramli John [00:19:02]:
Then you went to Gympass, and I guess it's interesting that it's the other way around. Usually, you know, you come to a client or a company and be like, oh, we wanna create a podcast for you. But this is the other way around where you already had the concept. It's very strong. Did you have, like, the stars already, like, signed up? Or was that part of the pitch where, like, we're gonna get kicked tomorrow and

Ian Faison [00:19:24]:
Eric Weiss (3five forty six): Yeah. We knew based off of the size of the budget that we were going to go after A list Hollywood talent for sure. All of these productions, we, you know, we have a budget. You know, it's a sizable budget. You know, like we're, you know, these type of productions are 300, $400,000. So they're they're you know, it's not like a cheap production. It's a very high end sort of production and and a lot of moving parts to be able to deliver that. And it's honestly incredibly complex, to build a production like this, and there's all sorts of moving parts, and it's very difficult.

Ian Faison [00:20:01]:
So we didn't have the stars, those particular stars, but we knew that we wanted A list talent. We, you know, we work with Hollywood agents and all that stuff, and and they're amazing. And so, yeah, we, you know, we we we pitched the story, and and and luckily, fortunately, that those 2, amazing actors, in addition to the rest of the, you know, voice actors that are that were on the cast, which were also amazing, were able to, truly like the story. And, you know, and and I think Gympass as a sponsor, you know, it it it works really well because they want they, you know, love HR people. Obviously, they're selling into HR, but they wanna, you know, uplift their profession. And they wanted to, you know, thematically talk about things like toxicity at the work in the workplace, which we were gonna talk about on the show. So, you know, it's it's a it was a really good synergy to have them as a sponsor, and the presenting partner for the entire series, in that way because we believe in the future that they believe, and we believe that, like, HR people who are extremely misunderstood. I used to work in HR, and, and get treated honestly like crap a lot.

Ian Faison [00:21:07]:
And so, like, we wanted to be able to tell a story that shows that they get treated like crap and also, you know, that, that they have a such an important job, to play, you know, in in companies. So, yeah. And, you know, it it all worked. And, you know, I'll juxtapose that with the Hacker Chronicles, which we created with Tenable. And that show was very different in the sense that that show, was a much lighter brand touch in terms of there wasn't as much product placement in there. But they wanted to tell a very real grounded story of how a hacker could become a hacker. Sort of like breaking bad, but for, like, a coffee barista that that that turns into a a cyber criminal, and how accessible it is and how it's possible. And we're not talking about, like, nation, like, you know, nation states and threats and all those sort of things.

Ian Faison [00:21:53]:
We're talking about something that is realistic. That someone going out of the dark web, spending a few bucks, and, and starting, you know, a budding career in this. And they and that is weird for a cyber cybersecurity company to wanna tell that type of story. But what they wanted to get across is that, like, these threats are real. This stuff happens. This is how it can be done, and have sort of an empathetic and have sort of an empathetic look at hacking and and exploring that.

Ramli John [00:22:19]:
That's super, super interesting. So it looks like hack, Merton, HR, the Hacker Chronicles came out first in terms of, like was that the first show where you had a list, Hollywood stars being, the guest, or did you have experience before that with other shows?

Ian Faison [00:22:36]:
Yeah. It's a great question. So I actually had experience, doing this in the past. In my previous job or my so at my previous company,

Ramli John [00:22:45]:
jeez.

Ian Faison [00:22:45]:
What is it? So my previous company, I co founded a media company, and we were making podcasts and a bunch of other stuff. And we were doing nonfiction work with actors, a bunch of different really cool actors. And so I had a chance to do that then to work with with a bunch of different really cool folks like Alec Baldwin

Ramli John [00:23:04]:
Oh, wow.

Ian Faison [00:23:04]:
And Jeffrey Wright and a few others. Yeah. And so we were doing nonfiction voice over narration, and and it sort of led me to to to where we are now with, with fiction because,

Ramli John [00:23:16]:
you

Ian Faison [00:23:17]:
know, I think fiction, nobody's doing it in b to b. Yeah. And I think it's, you know, I think it's a huge missed opportunity. It is. It's funny because we as marketers, we wanna control the narrative. We wanna control the story. We wanna do all the stuff, but nobody wants to make fiction. I'm like, this is your opportunity.

Ian Faison [00:23:30]:
This is how you do it. Like, you can control the entire story. You can control all the inputs. We should wanna be doing fiction. We should do way more fiction.

Ramli John [00:23:40]:
Yeah. You're right.

Ian Faison [00:23:41]:
But, but we focus on on nonfiction. So

Ramli John [00:23:45]:
Yeah. So that previous company was not B2B Focus. I think it's called The Mission. I just checked on on Isiah. And then then you moved to Caspian and now you're like bringing fiction and other types of shows to b to b world essentially.

Ian Faison [00:23:59]:
Yeah. So yeah. Yeah. It was, it was a network of podcasts and, and sort of like a new media company. There was a bunch of business focus there and a bunch of different types of shows that we're making, but it's very much like a media company. Caspian is is really different. So we're a services business in the sense that we're, like, working with B2B marketing teams to build content for them. And then we're also a production company that is, like, producing, you know, these fiction series, obviously in partnership with with, with b to b companies.

Ian Faison [00:24:30]:
So, yeah, it's just a different approach. I think that, I think that companies need to be making better stuff. You know, I think that, like, there's sort of a bunch of different reasons, but just like, you know, we all know b to b content is, like, pretty boring. And there's just so much room for experimentation, whether it's with fiction, whether it's with comic books, whether it's with, you know, music. You know, there's just so many great examples of people just like pushing it a little bit further, and having outsized results and, being more memorable, being more remarkable. You know? I have a podcast called Remarkable, and the reason why it's called that is because the point of marketing is that you talk about it, which means you have to remark about it. You have to, like, go tell someone else, I just saw this thing, or I just heard this thing. Like, that is the point.

Ian Faison [00:25:20]:
It's not good enough just to have it, you know, resonate in that person's heart. You need it to be, like, something that's so good that they wanna tell somebody that they have to tell somebody. And, and there's and if you if you honestly look at your work and if you're to use the edutainment graph, if you were to plot your content, how many and you say, like, at scale 1 to 10, how entertaining is it? Yeah. Yeah. I'm a 2. Scale 1 to 10, how educational? And you're like, it's, like, a 6. It's, like, you should not be making that. If it's a 2 and a 6, like, don't make it.

Ian Faison [00:25:53]:
Nobody wants that. Nobody needs more bad stuff. Like, take the 2 and the 6 and figure out how do I get this to an 8 out of 10 educationally? How do I get this to a 5 entertaining wise? Like, what can I do? And then publish it. But if you can't get it there, like, just you shouldn't do it.

Ramli John [00:26:13]:
That's so true. And often, the the pushback I hear is, like, well, you know, it's gonna take a lot of budget and blah blah blah blah, like, there's so many tools out there and things and tutorials on YouTube, like, that excuse doesn't fly. Like, this whole creator, like, economy and people, there's so much tools and cameras gotten cheaper and, like, wax has gotten cheaper, like, like, it's you're totally right, like, there, you know, that is getting a lot of things like rolling in my head that I think that it's not an excuse anymore, especially this is not on the list I had in the question but it's in the back of a lot of B2B marketers' minds around AI You know? Like, this is how like, can you talk a little bit about that? I I feel like this is a perfect way to stand out from bad like, we're gonna see a ton more crappy content because people are gonna use AI to, like, create blog posts or other things like that. And, you know, the one that stands out from the rest are ones that do what you're suggesting.

Ian Faison [00:27:15]:
Yeah. I mean, I I would say, you know, 1st and foremost, like, you need to have an angle that starts with the audience, that starts with creativity. Like, you with marketing power ups, like, you have this power ups angle that stems from, you know, clear love of video games and, mixing that with sort of, like, you know, business knowledge and and figuring that out. Like, you have this angle, and you have a clear concept of design in the way that you send the show notes for this and, you know, the prep doc and all that stuff. Like, you have a very, so I was excited to be on the show. Like, you have a very defined sort of, like, brand and thoughts around how, like, you're building the show. And just so many people lack any type of creativity or clarity of of a of a of a hook, of a premise that can set you apart, that that some reason for being that, like, your content's reason for being that can, like, do something that stands out from the crowd. And so I think that that's the first and that's like AI is not gonna help you with that.

Ian Faison [00:28:23]:
Right? It's like AI can figure out, you know, like, for serialized content framework, like, like, AI could help me write the book by plugging in a bunch of stuff. Like, it could help me write the chapters. And the reason why I didn't do that and the reason why I didn't, like, even write chapters in the book is because who cares? Like, you don't need to go read all those words. Like, you really don't. That's why, like, we went extremely, visual heavy. We went extremely, like, list heavy, short explanations, try to have, like, no words, no paragraphs more than a couple sentences. If you need a 150 words to write a book, like, for a 150 pages, like, dude, you're a bad writer, like, at this point.

Ramli John [00:29:07]:
Like,

Ian Faison [00:29:07]:
you know, that I always go back to the Mark Twain quote of, right. Sorry. I wrote you a a a long letter. I didn't I didn't have time to write you a shorter one. And, like, that that's the truth of the matter is, like, more people need to figure out a way to edit their work. This is sounding very, you know, the old man yelling at the cloud sort of thing. But people need to figure out a way to edit their work, not shove it into an AI to give you all sorts of of stuff and then plug that in. You can use the AI as your assistant.

Ian Faison [00:29:35]:
That's the best use of AI right now for for marketing, for this stuff. Use it as your assistant. Ask it questions. Have it help you do research. Have it help you refine your ideas, like, do all of that stuff. That's great. But you need to come up with the premise and the ideas yourself, to figure out, you know, what that is. And, you know, I'm a firm believer.

Ian Faison [00:29:53]:
There's a great, writer and podcaster named Jason Concepcion. And he, you know, he talked about, like, there's no such thing as writer's block. There's reader's block. Like, if you you need to go read more, if you can't figure out what to write, like, you need to go read more. And I think in business world, it's like, you need to go talk to customers. You need to go talk to your prospects. You need to figure out what they're asking. You need to go on to know, Slack channels and things like that.

Ian Faison [00:30:18]:
Go on to Quora and Reddit, all these places. Figure out the questions that they wanna know. Build a show around that. Make it shorter. Could you do it in 7 minutes? Could you do it, you know, could you do something that with faster cuts? Could you do, you know, better editing? Could you distill your information? I think that, the biggest problem with, like, chat gpt in my mind, is just people plugging it in and then cranking out a 1500 word article. Like, who who can I I don't ever wanna read a 1500 word article ever for anything? Like, no way. Tell it to me in tell it to me in, you know, one eighth of the amount of words, because you don't need them all.

Ramli John [00:30:55]:
I know that. That's totally true. I think that the creative piece is something that AI and chattybd can't like it can give you ideas but like to like come up with a premise like you mentioned like to come up with an angle like that, that comes from somebody's experience and somebody's brain and somebody's, you know, taste with music or videos or whatever. And it really does like, I think that's what I'm hearing here is that come on B2B marketers, You gotta get a little more creative.

Ian Faison [00:31:25]:
Well, and I can tell you the words, but, like, you have to like, with Murder in HR, like, you know, you we could've we could've asked it to write us a script for that show. And I guarantee you, it could've come up with a pretty good script. But that's not the reason why, like, marketing content you know, that's not the reason why it doesn't get consumed. It it doesn't get consumed because you have a bad premise. You have bad branding. You have a bad hook. You're not asking the right questions or answering the right questions. Like, all of those things like that can't be fixed by, you know, plugging into AI.

Ian Faison [00:32:00]:
You can get a 1,000,000 great ideas from AI, you know, if you're asking it stuff. But, you need to be able to package that stuff into something that's very digestible, for your audience, and and meet them where they are. You know?

Ramli John [00:32:13]:
I like that. You've been talking a lot about premise and hook, and you probably, you know, I you probably have, like, produced hundreds of shows already, and you have a taste already of what makes a good premise or a hook for a serialized content? Like, are there certain qualities where you say, hell yeah, and some qualities where like, that's crap. You need to go back to the the drawing board.

Ian Faison [00:32:35]:
Yeah. So first off, like, it starts with audience of of finding the smallest, most, you know, viable niche audience that you can possibly start with. So, like, find the person on LinkedIn. Find 5 people on LinkedIn who are the exact type of people that you wanna make that show for. What is their job title? What do they do on a day to day basis? Like, you know, all that stuff. So first, it always starts with audience. And then what is the most important thing that they are seeking information on, right? So, find that thing. And then create some sort of hook that makes it easy to digest.

Ian Faison [00:33:17]:
So, you know, listicle works great. You know, 3 ideas to improve your skills as a UI developer. Let's just, like, use that as an example. Right? How would you make a show about that? Right? Like, what's the show? Are you gonna do a long open? Are you gonna do quick cuts? Are you gonna do you know, how long is it gonna be? Why is it gonna be long? So I think it's about figuring that stuff out. And it's like, well, what do developers like? Oh, they're super into nostalgia or something like that. Right? And they don't like to be sold to, and they don't like, you know, and they like stuff that's super authentic. So why don't we I we did this, so I should just use an example. So we made the show, we made this show, that's really cool for developers called

Ramli John [00:34:01]:
Let me look it up.

Ian Faison [00:34:02]:
Oh, sorry. So we made the show called the dev morning show at night. And, it's a great show, and it's starring Cassie Williams. She's, like, an, awesome developer, evangelist personality. She's freaking hilarious. And we made it as a as a web show that we made for, YouTube. And we're like, let's, like, let's let's make a late night talk show, but for developers. And it's gonna be some somewhere between, like, a morning show and a and a late show, and it's gonna be filmed a 100% remote, and it's gonna Cassie's gonna be the host.

Ian Faison [00:34:35]:
And we, like, crafted a bunch of different stuff. And so we made that show, and it was super super successful. I think it did, like, listens on the 1st series, on the 1st season. And, yeah, it was just cool. It was was interesting. It was funny. It was different. It looked different.

Ian Faison [00:34:48]:
It had cool visuals. It had all that stuff. Like, that to me is a show. Right? You say, I'm gonna interview our customers. That's not a show. Right? Like, hopping on Zoom and and interviewing people. So that's what I mean. Like, you need that promise to the listener.

Ian Faison [00:35:05]:
What are they gonna get every time? Are they gonna is it gonna be fun? Is it gonna be funny? Is it gonna be fast paced? Is it going to be a super deep dive into topics? Is it going to be a super deep dive into like one type of topic? Is it going to be, you know, like all that stuff and, you know, and tweak and tweak and tweak until you get it right. And then keep your format and keep it consistent would be my recommendation for most folks.

Ramli John [00:35:28]:
Yeah. I love this as another example of how you bring b2c entertainment to b2b. You know, like, late late night talk show, you you know, like Jimmy Kimmel. There you know, people understand that premise. But like bringing in in like same with Murder in HR or like The Hacker Chronicles. Like I love that concept where like, how do you bring stuff that they enjoy outside of work? Yeah. Into their work. Exactly.

Ramli John [00:35:55]:
They listen to it. It's like, I get it. I understand it. I love it already. Like, you know, how do I get more of it? Is what you're doing well with this kinda shows.

Ian Faison [00:36:04]:
Yeah. And and Tyler, I think it's Lessard Lessard

Ramli John [00:36:08]:
from From Vidyard. Yeah. Yeah.

Ian Faison [00:36:09]:
From Vidyard. He he has a great phrase. Keep him laughing. Keep him learning. And and I love that. Right? It's like, you gotta be funny. And it's so hard to be funny. Like, it's really hard to be funny in b two b.

Ian Faison [00:36:22]:
Right? So you gotta figure out ways to be funny, to add levity. Otherwise, it's just boring. And people all the time, which drives me freaking crazy, when people are like, well, accounting is boring. So if I make an accounting show, it's boring. Or HR is boring. I'm like, dude, it's not boring to the people who spent their, like, career in this field. Like, you might think it's boring because you're a marketer trying to create an accounting show. But to them, this is their life.

Ian Faison [00:36:48]:
This is their livelihood. This is what feeds their family. This is what they've spent 20 years doing. You know, they don't think it's boring. They think it's important, and it is important. So, like, you need to get past, like, that sort of idea, but you need to figure out a way to make it more entertaining, to add those things in, to add in drops, to add in, you know, speed, very, you know, very the cadence in which things are delivered, you know, set things up. We use a lot of signposting, in our in our storytelling of, like, you know, tell them what is coming. Show them the sign that's like this.

Ian Faison [00:37:24]:
Okay. Now we're gonna be talking about this, you know, using segments, using things like that. And, you know, you if you go look at your favorite shows, like, they have that stuff. And some some don't. Right? Like, Rogan does. And this is what everyone says. Well, Rogan Rogan doesn't or or Tim Ferris doesn't. That it's a different utility.

Ian Faison [00:37:41]:
It's a different type of an interview. Like, the 3 hour long form type of an interview, it has a different utility for the listener. That listener is just going there to learn some stuff, to be entertained, and, and they're going there for a different reason. But, like, we're not trying to copy Rogan. We're not trying to copy Smartlist. Like, these are professional, you know, creators that have been doing this for a long time. And, and also they have guests that are also professionals that have been doing it for a long time. So, I would say, you know, trying to figure out your version of that is is a good call.

Ramli John [00:38:22]:
I love that. That's that we probably can go much further in this, but I'm gonna direct people into that ebook that you have. It's available on your site I'm gonna link it in the show notes and description you talk more about pillars and what kind of b2b companies should be taking advantage of this and how to do this but actually wanna shift gears and talk about career power ups things that help you accelerate your career now you've been the founder CEO of Caspian Studios now for 4 years You know, you were at The Mission. Before that, you were, in the army. I'm curious, what's helped accelerate your career, like, to where you're at now? It could be people, it could be community, it could be a tactic, it could be anything that's powered up your your career direction?

Ian Faison [00:39:06]:
Yeah. I would say so first off, I would say, you know, I've been fortunate having you know, I went to to West Point, and so that opens, you know, a lot of doors for you in general because of of, having a network, people once I got out of the army. It's like I got out of the army. I didn't know I didn't know anything about business. I just knew army stuff. And so it was really I was fortunate to be able to, you know, tap into my network of, you know, West Point grads. I got, you know, a lot of, you know, early meetings with people who, you know, frankly, were were very, very generous with their time of of humoring all of my little quests and side missions. But, you know, one of the things was the late great Anthony de Toto, who's a mentor of mine.

Ian Faison [00:39:49]:
He would talk about this thing called naive networking. So Anthony, was this guy. He was he was he worked for, like, family offices and, you know, managed people's money and and things like that. So network was everything to him. Right? So he had this really cool network, and and he used to he used to, you know, spend, you know, his entire life networking. And he, you know, he taught me this thing that he, you know, referred to as naive networking, which is basically this that don't ask for an in person meeting when a call will do. Don't ask for a call when a email will do. Don't don't, you know, don't send an email when a text will do.

Ian Faison [00:40:24]:
And, and always have a clear reason for meeting with a very specific purpose. I am trying to work out blank. And then, you know, at the end of that sort of asking like, how can I help you if there's any way? Now, early in your career or even sometimes in the middle of your career, like, you can't do anything. Right? Like like, me as, you know, whatever, a 28 year old, you know, that was out of the army. I really couldn't do anything for anyone, but I would you know, and he had to do, like, hey. Don't worry about us. It'll come back around. And, and just, you know, help somebody out the way that sort of you got helped out.

Ian Faison [00:41:03]:
So, you know, early in your career, it it's really hard to do that. And, but you can still ask. You'd still say, but is there anything that I can do to help you? And it's like, you know, for someone like, you know, Anthony, hey, if you know anyone with, you know, dollars 30,000,000, then, send them my way. Right? I'm like, let me let me check the role next there. I don't think That's fine. I don't think I do. But, you know, I'll ask around. So it's a big part about not wasting people's time.

Ian Faison [00:41:27]:
It's like all we have in this world. It's all we have is time. Right? That's like the only thing that we that that is every single person. We are losing it every day. Right? So you really don't wanna waste people's time, and you really wanna have clear ask for people of how they can help you. So before you go into that conversation, you need to know what you want, and you need to know what you need, and you need to know how you can get there. So I spent a lot of time early in my career sort of, like, mapping what I needed from people and being able to ask them for those things. You know, and, like, and ultimately, like, your network, you know, is your net worth thing? Like, it is.

Ian Faison [00:42:02]:
I think I spent a lot of time early in my career, especially because I was in sales, trying not to be transactional. And I think that it's really hard to do that. But, you know, I had a good I had a good mentor, my podcast mentor, that that, is is was, you know, one of the lessons that I always remember that they would talk about is, you know, sort of like, there's always another deal. Right? It's okay if you lose this. Like, that's okay. And so, I tried to build my career and I still try to build my career knowing that careers are transactional. There are transactions that need to happen. Like, you need to buy something, you need to hire someone, you need to sell something.

Ian Faison [00:42:42]:
Like, that is part of it. But the other part of it is you can be devoid from the outcome and say like, I'm still gonna support you. You can still support me. If the deal doesn't get done, the deal doesn't get done, but I still wanna be helpful and just always trying to help. And I always try to use my position of whatever advantage I had to be helpful, to try to help people. So, yeah, for Anthony, I didn't know any people with 30,000,000 or more, but it was always my thing that someday, when I know someone with $30,000,000 or when I have $30,000,000, I'll go to Anthony and be able to do that because of the stuff that he did for me. And so, you know, I just tried in any way that I could help people, I could do that. And then the big thing with that was, like, connecting people.

Ian Faison [00:43:29]:
Right? One of the things that that senior people are always looking for is young talented people. So if you have a peer and they don't know young people. So, like, if you're, like, let's just say a CEO of a, you know, big company, you don't know anyone who's young. Like, your kids are probably older than the young people are. Right? So, when you are young and you know other talented people, you can recommend them to be on people's teams. And so that's that's one of the ways that I always try to just think of people as like, hey. Do you need a salesperson? Like, one of my friends is in sales. Like, he's really good.

Ian Faison [00:44:04]:
Or, you know, hey. This person's in marketing or PR. She's awesome. I can connect you there. So, anyhoo, that's that's my, my piece for for naive networking. That's my career power up.

Ramli John [00:44:15]:
Hello. I love that term. That's the last thing the last part you mentioned around, like, introducing people. Like, when you say, hey. Do you need a salesperson? You're actually helping out 2 people there, because that salesperson might be looking for a job and the person that's, like, VP of sales or CEO is like actively looking for young talent. So he really does, you know, really come out to me

Ian Faison [00:44:37]:
all day, every day. Nobody does that. Nobody ever tries to do that for me. I get, you know, 100 and 100 of emails a day as a CEO. Nobody ever tries to do that. They're never like it's it's like, again, there's no traffic on the extra mile. Like, people don't do it. They will not they will ask you for stuff all the time, but they will not go the extra mile and be, like, it looks like you need this.

Ian Faison [00:45:05]:
I know someone in this. I'll happy to introduce you to them. Like, people just don't do that. And, and, anyways, that's one of the things I tried to do.

Ramli John [00:45:12]:
That's a good wrap. Like of everything we talked about, there's no traffic in the last mile. It's so visual. And, you know, it applies to to marketing as well as relationships and and even couriers. One final question before we wrap up where can people find out more about you? I'm gonna link them, Caspian Studio's website, Murder in HR, Chronicles, Hacker Chronicles, and any other shows you mentioned. But, you know, probably send them to LinkedIn. Like, where else can people find out more about you, your work, your company?

Ian Faison [00:45:39]:
Yeah. You know, I would suggest, you know, you could check out castbeanstudios.com. The other thing, we have pretty good newsletter that I send out every week that you could just subscribe to. But the other thing I would just plug is, so we're building out this murder verse of all these different Yes. All these different personas. So we have murder in sales, murder in marketing. We're going to build out all of these shows over the next handful of years. And so if you know someone, if you're in marketing or if you know someone in marketing who wants to do something really cool, whether it's like IT related or or marketing or sales or any business function, AI, data, all that stuff.

Ian Faison [00:46:15]:
We have really cool pitches ready for, people to check out. So if you wanna connect with me, I'm Ian at Caspian Studios. Shoot me an email. Would love to, put you some crazy ideas for, for some stuff we could do together. I love it.

Ramli John [00:46:29]:
What kind of budgets, are you looking at for for something like that? I mean, it could just be a range, but, like, just so that people are like, oh, yeah. That's right up our budget budget out.

Ian Faison [00:46:39]:
Yeah. Like, for for I mean, obviously, we we do stuff, so we have, like, multiple different services. But so, you know, anywhere in the, like, 80 k range, we can build a series for you for the fiction stuff because it has, you know, a listers and all that stuff. It's it's, you know, it's mid, mid 6 figures. But like I said, 300, 400 grand somewhere in there, then we can make something really cool.

Ramli John [00:47:01]:
Yeah. And thank you so much for your time. Really, really, had fun in this conversation.

Ian Faison [00:47:05]:
Cool. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Ramli John [00:47:07]:
If you enjoyed this episode, you'd love the Marketing Power Ups newsletter. I shared the actionable takeaways and break down the frameworks of world class marketers. Go go to marketing powerups.com to subscribe, and you'll instantly unlock the 3 best frameworks that top marketers use, hit their KPIs consistently, and wow their colleagues. I wanna say thank you to you for listening, and please like and follow Marketing Power Ups on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify. If you feel extra generous, have to leave a review on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Leave a comment on YouTube. It goes a long way in others finding out about marketing problems. Thanks to Mary Saldan for creating the artwork and design, and thank you to Faisal Kaigal for editing the intro video.

Ramli John [00:47:48]:
And, of course, thank you for listening. That's all for now. Have a powered update.

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    Written by

    Ramli John

    Ramli John

    Ramli John is the founder of Marketing Powerups and author of the bestselling book Product-Led Onboarding. He's worked with companies such as Appcues, Mixpanel, and Ubisoft to accelerate their growth.

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