Trent Dyrsmid is a serial entrepreneur, a husband and father, and the founder of Bright Ideas. Bright Ideas is a podcast he started in 2010, when people didn’t even know how to spell podcasting (let alone use podcast marketing as a business strategy).
He’s had nearly 10 years of experience with digital marketing and eCommerce, and interviews eCommerce entrepreneurs and other fascinating people in that niche on his podcast.
Profit magazine named Trent’s company as Canada’s Profit 100 Fastest Growing Companies for two years in a row before he sold it in 2008. Business in Vancouver magazine also named Trent a Top 40 under 40 entrepreneur.
Bright Ideas Podcast
Trent first started with writing. He quickly realized that in order to make his blogs successful, he was going to have to write a lot, and while he could write, and even wrote a book on top of the hundreds of blog posts, it was not his favorite thing to do.
When one of his mentors and greatest inspirations started a podcast, Trent decided to start one too. He knew it would be an easy way to create content, which would then attract an audience to sell his stuff to. But something very unexpected happened, which led Trent to encourage virtually everyone to start a podcast.
Trent believes that being a podcast host is the single greatest networking tool he’s ever discovered. Podcast marketing enables you to email a complete stranger, set up a conversation, and extend an invitation to them to be on your side.
Of course, it doesn’t work every single time. If you email someone who is fairly famous, they’re probably going to say no. They already have plenty of visibility on their own platform. Still, there are lots of people who like being on shows, and being asked questions. It’s a way to begin building a relationship in a very efficient way. You can go to conferences, which is time consuming and expensive, and maybe you’ll meet somebody interesting, but it’s more luck-based.
With a podcast, you can be very specific about who you want to reach out to, and how you utilize your resources.
Lessons in Podcast Marketing
Recently, Trent posted a YouTube video about some of the biggest lessons podcast marketing has taught him. Below are a few of the highlights:
Having an Editorial Calendar
Planning your content in advance allows you to align any product launches with relevant content. Trent admits that before podcasting, he didn’t utilize this, but now he considers it a vital tool for maximizing your efforts and content. He recommends asking yourself these questions:
- What am I going to produce, and why am I going to produce it?
- Who am I going to interview?
- Are there any other connections or opportunities I am missing?
Amplification Using Ads
Trent believes his single greatest mistake was not putting ad dollars towards promoting the show. Early on, when there wasn’t a whole lot of competition, it was relatively easy to get traction, but these days there’s an endless number of shows, and the production quality of the shows has gone up.
First of all, it’s really effective to get on other people’s shows, because you’re tapping into an existing audience that is hopefully looking for more creators and content somewhat similar to what they’re already consuming. This is a key component to podcast marketing.
To truly succeed, you need to become proficient with advertising.Trent would dabble in it, and he would lose money every single time because he didn’t really know what he was doing.
There are very clear and well-defined best practices when it comes to creating campaigns, and it’s a huge waste to stay ignorant in this area.
Investing in Equipment
To keep up, you’ve got to make sure that you have good audio, which means no cheap microphones. Most people still listen to podcasts, rather than watching them. Making sure that you have really good audio, and that you’re recording in a dedicated space to avoid interference like dogs barking is incredibly important.
For many years, Trent’s show was audio only, and he did a survey at some point asking: Do you listen to the show, or do you watch the show? The vast majority of people said they listened to the show, and because there was a lot of extra work in producing the video version, he simply chose not to do it.
Now, Trent has a full team, including a video editor, and while it’s not easy to do, you eventually must get to the point where you have the systems, the people, and the teams to get on YouTube. YouTube is an incredibly powerful place, so if you’re not putting your show on YouTube, you’re just missing out on views.
If you’re going to go through the effort to create the content in the first place, you might as well try and get as many views and downloads as you can.
Adventures in “Aha Moments”
Trent has had two “aha moments” that have radically changed how he approaches his business.
The first? Repurposing Content.
When you produce a show, you get a 40 minute long piece of video, but very few people who haven’t listened to your show before are going to listen to all of a 40 minute show. Especially if you don’t get to the good stuff within the first 5 to 10 minutes of the show, these new listeners are not going to stick around.
For this reason, Trent and his team developed a system that they call the “Social Media Content Engine.” Basically, they take the raw content, watch it through, and search for 15-32 second clips, 1 minute clips, and 5 minute clips of the best pieces of the conversation.
They then follow their standard operating procedures to turn 1 piece of content into somewhere between 50 to 100 social media posts. In the beginning he didn’t do this because, as one might imagine, the process sounds daunting.
It sounds like an incredible amount of work, but if you have the right systems in place, and you employ a virtual assistant or two, they can be the ones to follow the systems and do the majority of the work.
Trent goes into detail about this system in his published playbook, available for anyone who wants to use their system for content repurposing, all through Flowster.
In the first week of using this content engine, they had a 78% increase in the number of social media posts with no more labor on Trent’s part. They also had a 380% increase in engagements, and their engagement rate per post was 167% higher than before.
The second “aha moment” was using paid amplification, or advertising.
Much to his detriment, Trent had largely ignored advertising because he always incorrectly thought that if he produced enough great content, people would just find it.
10 years ago, you could get away with that to a certain degree, and for many, many years, he didn’t have a real way to monetize his show, including sponsors. In truth, it simply hadn’t occurred to him. In any case, Trent wasn’t really in the selling/training courses space: he was the content creator!
Anytime that he did dabble with trying to create any type of ad campaign, he would lose money, and it just seemed massively overwhelming. There’s so many variables to test, and then how are you going to monetize it? Instead, Trent focused on the things that he knew how to do.
For the last few years, thanks to the support of some affiliates, Trent really didn’t need to worry that much about traffic. They were making a lot of money, and looking back, Trent labels this as the “fat, dumb, and happy” stage.
This lasted until Trent was introduced to the idea of Rapid Testing:
- What problem is the most pressing problem that my target audience of business owners might want to buy a solution to, and what are the words that they use to describe that problem?
- Too many users churn out the software too quickly, which is the kiss of death for software, so many startup entrepreneurs fail for this reason.
- Then, who should he sell his material to?
Using Canva or some type of app, you’re going to make a square (800×800 pixels) and put it on some unusual background – two colors, or something that is going to interrupt people’s pattern as they’re scrolling. You don’t want to use a picture of a girl or a car, just something unusual that will capture their attention for just a split second. Then, you’re going to put a statement, just one short sentence on the ad.
This is the sentence that describes the problem, or a problem that you think your potential target audience might have. For example:
“I’m not getting enough leads.”
“I’m having a hard time delegating work to my team.”
“My team’s letting work fall through the cracks.”
“I don’t have enough appointments in my calendar.”
These statements create a level of curiosity to generate clicks. You’re not looking for conversions, leads, or sales, just clicks.
Using these statements, you need to make 1 ad per target audience. Pick a target audience between 1 and 5 million (Facebook pages help with finding this information). If it’s more than 5 million, the data’s not good.
Now, run the ad set and see what happens. Here’s what you’re looking for:
- 400 impressions
- At least five clicks
- Cost per result at less than 50 cents
If something gets 13 clicks on only 400 impressions, that tells you that this statement is covering a very real problem.
Using this method, in the space of a week, you can test 100 to 400 different messages, or problem statements.
Trent and his team started writing the code for Flowster in the summer/fall of 2017, and they spent a year writing code before they had their MVP. Flowster is essentially a thorough resource for startups, including a team ready for troubleshooting. In fall of 2018 it was finally released, but Flowster was never really marketed as an independent software company until recently.
Flash forward to 2021, and Trent realized that he was doing a disservice to himself and the company by not marketing the software company as a standalone software company. Really, WEBS – the original collection of standard operating procedures they had to offer – was just one playbook.
Now, they have tons of them, and they’re creating more through partnerships all the time. Trent compared Flowster to Netflix: why would you want Netflix if there was only one movie? It would only be interesting to people who were interested in that movie. The team decided to add more “movies” and “TV shows” to appeal to a larger audience.
What was the big problem Trent was trying to solve? He actually started it for himself, as a solution to the work that was slowing him down during the early stages.
Trent realized that, in addition to owning the content, the standard operating procedures, he should probably own the software layer as well.
That was why they decided to create Flowster.
Podcast Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs
Scaling can be difficult (in fact, we talk about it a lot on The Jeff Bullas Show, including this interview with Andrew Bartlow). Trent’s tips focus on the simplest and best ways to succeed in scaling podcast marketing.
Hire an Assistant
Trent wisely notes that if you don’t have an assistant, you are the assistant. The very first thing that you should do is hire an assistant, whether they are virtual assistants, overseas, personal assistants, regardless of what job you need them to do, you need to get help.
Put systems in place so that when you hire people, they don’t have to have experience in your business to know what you expect. All they need to do is follow instructions, and execute those procedures. Basic market research, looking up contact information, managing your inbox: whatever it is, look at what sucks up your time, and identify which of those things can be translated into a simple process for someone else to handle.
For more from Trent, you can follow his wisdom for free through Twitter, or learn more about his work through any of the links already provided. Interested in more content like this? Check out The Jeff Bullas Show!