Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Content Allies helps B2B companies launch revenue-generating podcasts. We schedule interviews between our clients and their ideal prospects & strategic partners. You show up and have conversations, we handle everything else.
Our customers are B2B companies doing $1M+ per year in revenue who want to drive new revenue to their business through account-based marketing while building a large amount of content at the same time.
Today Content Allies is doing ~$75k MRR. We produce 20+ podcasts and we have released well over 500+ episodes for our clients.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
This isn’t my first business, in a previous post I wrote about the journey of building up Lead Cookie. Before Lead Cookie I did a lot of consulting around sales and business development.
I’ve also built up my personal brand for years at Jake-Jorgovan.com where I hosted a podcast called “Working Without Pants”. The show has over 200+ episodes and I used the show heavily for networking with other influencers and strategic partners.
At one point, I realized that over 68% of Lead Cookie’s revenue was directly attributable back to my podcast and the relationships I built there. This showed me just how powerful podcasting was as a marketing channel.
After years of using a podcast to grow my own business, I decided it was time to start a business focused on podcasting.
Get the right people on the boat, and the wrong people off. Whenever I have had the wrong people on the team, they were toxic and hurt the potential of the business.
Yet, in reality, I actually went through about 3-4 pivots in Content Allies before I landed on the podcasting niche.
I knew I wanted to do something with content marketing, but it took a lot of failed attempts before I landed on podcasting.
First, we did Linkedin content as a service.
Then we did ghostwrite as a service.
Then we tried to be a generalist content marketing agency.
And eventually, we realized podcasts were the perfect fit for us and our best clients.
Fortunately, I had built Lead Cookie to a stable place when I started Content Allies so I was able to focus a majority of my efforts on Content Allies while Lead Cookie ran without me. This enabled me to bootstrap Content Allies and hire a support team from day one as we launched the business.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
When we narrowed down on podcasting as a service, I went all-in on the process. I utilized a software called Process Street and built out a robust production workflow for all of our podcasts. I spent about 2-3 weeks heavily working on the process. It was a lot of work but once it was built we were able to 10x our production and be more efficient.
The hard part was nailing the packaging. Fortunately, I brought on Add1Zero as a sales consultancy and closing service. They helped me tighten up our offering into distinct packages and really increased our close rate.
After that, it was really about just building and improving, and iterating on our processes. There are so many parts to podcasting so it really came down to improving each of our individual processes.
For example, social posts, quote blocks, audiograms, social media videos, repurposed articles, each of those was its own process to create. Each new “process” in a service company is almost like a new “feature” of a software tool.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Initially, we launched this under Lead Cookie as a service called “Lead Cookie Nurture”. It was basically Linkedin content as a service.
We ran that for almost a year, and it worked decently well, but ultimately I was not interested in scaling that. I did not want to be dependent on Linkedin as a platform and so I stayed away from this business idea even though people wanted to buy it.
Yet that cash flow from the early Linkedin customers helped us move into the podcasting niche which was what proved to be a much more fruitful approach.
Since I was already 200+ episodes into my own podcast, I knew the podcast process in-depth and I was able to walk others through launching theirs.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
There have been a few avenues that have worked well to attract customers.
Network - A lot of early customers came from my own network or they were past customers of Lead Cookie.
Leaders of B2B Podcast - We launched our own podcast where we interview B2B executives. We practice what we preach and this had lead to over $100k in new revenue for us.
Top Podcast Production Companies Article - I wrote this article on my personal blog which has a great domain authority and it quickly started to rank on Google and attract leads.
Referrals - Our current customers are already referring us to new ones!
Partnerships - We are the official podcast partner of the SaaS Connect Conference. This is a new initiative that hasn’t brought us clients yet but we are hopeful for the future.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
The company is quite profitable and I am working on making it more profitable each day. Initially, we did many things in a more expensive but quick way to get them started. But over time we are replacing contractors with full-time hires to reduce costs and increase our margins.
Our sales and pipeline are healthy and looking very promising. Marketing & sales are working which is amazing to see.
You are in for a hell of a ride, find your niche. Do one thing, and do it well.
Our operations are growing quickly. We have a small core team that oversees all of the projects and a large pool of contractors who handle various tasks like audio production, writing, and video editing.
We keep the core team small which keeps overhead down and lets us scale as needed.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Get the right people on the boat, and the wrong people off. Whenever I have had the wrong people on the team, they were toxic and hurt the potential of the business. It’s easy to let emotions get in the way but once you get those people out of the business everything will improve.
Watch your legal contracts. I ignored legal matters for a long time and didn’t take it seriously, then I had a team member get poached and it cost me, 2 clients, churning as a result, now I am happy to pay for legal bills to make sure I have all the proper terms in my contracts to safeguard my business.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Process Street - All processes and work management goes through here.
Airtable - We use this to organize all of our lists, client information, data, podcast schedules, etc.
Streak for Gmail - A great tool for working leads in an inbox. We use this for guest scheduling.
Mailshake - We use this to run outreach campaigns to schedule guests for our client's podcasts.
Riverside.fm - A great tool to record high-quality audio and video for podcasts.
Headliner.App - Great tool for creating audiograms and social videos.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
My business advisor has a community called Scalable Services that I am a part of. This is a great group and I have gotten a ton out of the resources and the community in here.
Ryan Tansom and Arkona have also been amazing to learn more about exits and how to build a more valuable company.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
You are in for a hell of a ride, find your niche. Do one thing, and do it well. Don’t doubt yourself or think your “idea is bad”.
I’ve had so many great ideas over the years that were really good ideas, but I abandoned them and just jumped from one to the next because I was too impatient to make them work.
Instead, pick something you want to do, and then just go for it, and iterate, and adjust along the way. You learn by doing. So just do more stuff.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes, we are consistently looking to hire for:
- Podcast audio editors
- Content Writers (Articles & Show notes)
- Podcast Producer - This is a big role of someone who will step into my shoes at some point and handle podcast strategy for our clients.
Email [email protected] for more details.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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