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Robert Rose of CMI Talks Podcasting and More

Phillip Brooks
Robert Rose of CMI Talks Podcasting and More

Robert Rose is one half of the hosting duo for leading marketing podcast, PNR's This Old Marketing. Alongside the great Joe Pulizzi, Robert comments on the week's developments in both digital and traditional marketing – often with hilarious results.

That's not to say the show is without format. Robert and Joe have a set show framework that gives them freedom to roam topic-wise, but still rigid enough to give the listener a defined structure so that you always know what segment is coming next. It's a great formula:

Each episode runs less than 60 minutes, and includes:

  • Content Marketing in the News: We’ll cover three or four stories that hit the content marketing scene each week, and give our perspective on the happenings — and how they impact our industry.
  • Rants and Raves: A one-minute rant on something that we feel is “hard to swallow” about the current content marketing landscape; or a one-minute rave on something epic.
  • This Old Marketing Example of the Week: Digging into the vast archives of CMI, we will discuss an amazing content marketing example from the past that we can all still learn valuable lessons from.

Several weeks ago, I chose This Old Marketing as one of my favorite marketing podcasts out there.

When our blog editorial team decided to do a Podcast and Webinar Theme Week, I knew immediately I wanted to speak to Robert Rose.

Robert was kind enough to share his takes on such topics as: creating This Old Marketing every week, how podcasts fit into an overarching content marketing strategy, and recording a winning podcast.

Read on!

Robert Rose of This Old Marketing and CMI

Phillip Brooks: This Old Marketing is the leading marketing podcast in a very crowded space. What do you think makes you and Joe so popular? Robert Rose: Well I’m not sure we’re "leading" – but maybe "one of the leading." I honestly think our success is based on the fact that we’re clearly having a good time. While we had a plan, we didn’t set out with a specific formula, but let the right format find its way over time. And we listen to the reviews and the critiques – or at least some of them.

PB: How do you prepare for a podcast? Do you do much research, or does your conversational tone come from being off-the-cuff? RR:The conversational stuff is off-the-cuff. In fact, we don’t tell each other what we’re going to say in advance – and that keeps it "real." We have a shared Evernote where we both send in show ideas over the week – and of course we get story ideas from the audience as well through #ThisOldMarketing. Then, Friday or Saturday I usually assemble the show – including writing the introduction. I send that to Joe on Sunday or Monday morning – and we usually record on Monday evenings. We chit chat for five or 10 minutes and just go through the flow, really just understanding which of us has the bigger "take" on a particular story. And then we just go…

The conversational stuff is off-the-cuff. In fact, we don’t tell each other what we’re going to say in advance – and that keeps it "real."

PB: Do you use an editorial calendar to plan topics out in advance? How far out do you plan your shows and subjects? RR: We do not. It’s week by week because of the topical nature of what we’re covering – the news.

PB: What role do you think podcasts play in an overall content marketing strategy? RR: Well, they’re like any other channel – they’re meant to build an audience and deliver value to that audience. One of the coolest podcasts I’ve heard about is a company that does an "audio version" of their white papers. And, one company, I think it was Adobe – had famous actors read their White Papers. That’s a really cool idea for a B2B podcast.

PB: Describe your podcasting setup. Where do you record? Do you have a dedicated space? What are the "must-have" tools for a prospective podcaster? RR:Mine’s a little different from Joe. I have an Apple laptop, in a small dedicated room (it’s a converted closet) that I’ve soundproofed with studio foam. Joe has a similar setup in his house, but he’s on a Windows machine. I have a Shure SM57 Microphone – my favorite mic – that plugs into an audio board and that goes via USB into my laptop. I use GarageBand to record in stereo. Joe’s setup is more podcast-like. I forget his microphone, but he goes directly into his laptop and uses Audacity to record. We chat through Skype and each record our stuff separately. Then I send my audio file to him, and he combines into one audio file for uploading.

I think the only critical tools are a good microphone and a quiet place.

I think the only critical tools are a good microphone and a quiet place. If you want that "radio feel" you have to have a great microphone – and specifically a directional mic. You don’t want extraneous sound and so you get right up on that microphone and get that nice, quality. I’m a musician, (hence my setup) so I’m a stickler for a bit of compression, and I like to mess with my audio mix (give myself some mid-tones), so that’s why I use GarageBand. But, really, Audacity (which is free) is just as good for getting a good sound. Recording locally, and doing the mix thing takes a bit more time – but really gives you the quality. We could also record on Skype – but we’ve learned depending on an internet connection is a dangerous move.

PB: If you were advising someone who was new to podcasting, how would tell them to find their audience and promote their content effectively? RR: My first tip is to ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish. If you want to be a "podcast star" – then you need to find a unique angle on a broad topic. If you’re trying to drive a content marketing result, you need to find a unique topic and take a broad angle. We are definitely the latter – we cover ONLY content marketing and the process of it. So, we come at it from covering the news more broadly, but every "take" we have on broad news gets very niche and we related it to how it can affect content marketing. This helps you focus what you’re doing from an audience development perspective.

[A Podcast is] like any other product and needs to be marketed.

Once you’ve gotten that, it really is treating it like a product and promoting it like a product. That means advertising, social, email – the whole shebang. It’s like any other product and needs to be marketed. Also – making it available in as wide a way as possible. We’re exploring all kinds of ways to distribute the show. Certainly iTunes and Stitcher are big – but SoundCloud, the website, etc... These are all ways to start making your show available to your various audiences.

PB: This Old Marketing has an irreverent tone and tends to pull no punches when commenting on industry trends (both positive and negative). Have you ever gotten any feedback from people who ran campaigns about which you may have been less-than complimentary? RR: Oh absolutely – both good and bad. And, to be clear, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes here. We’re not always right. Well – we’re mostly right – Ha! But anyway, we’ve on occasion been too mean, or snarky – and we ALWAYS try and self-correct that if it’s brought to our attention. But I’d rather it be that way than the other – where everybody thinks we’re just vanilla. I always want to push against the walls and occasionally pop through – rather than never explore how far we can or should go.

PB: You don’t normally feature guests on your podcast, but if there was anyone out there who would be your ideal "get," who would it be? RR: Well [Comedian Marc] Maron just got Obama so I guess that’s out now huh? So – as you say – we’re not really about interviews so it’s a bit hard. Getting [Facebook CEO Mark] Zuckerberg would be cool. And I suspect my "gets" would be different from Joe's. I’d put Clayton Christensen and Rita Gunther McGrath in there too… I’m pretty sure those would be lower on Joe’s list.

PB: Your podcast is the flagship for the CMI Podcasting Network. What do you look for in other podcasts that make them attractive targets to add to your stable of content creators? RR: Great shows – pure and simple. And, quite honestly, it’s much more about the passion of the team – than the topic. Like any great startup company, the content is likely to change drastically as you get into it. What you can’t change is the passion, and capabilities, and chemistry of the show hosts. That’s what makes or breaks a show I think.


PB: Where do you see podcasting in five years? Are there other content mediums out there that we should be watching as the next big thing in content marketing? RR: Yeah, so certainly video will be the thing to watch over the next few years. I think you’ll start to see a lot more video-based shows. Though I still think audio is critical because it’s something you can listen to on your commute or while you work out. I think it’s a booming channel simply because of that. I think you’ll start to see more "live" podcasts – where the hosts are on location – and using technologies like Meerkat and Periscope. And I think you’ll start to see more serial types of podcasts where things like books, or magazines or other content elements are simply presented as a series of audio files, rather than just PDF’s etc...

In addition to co-hosting This Old Marketing, Robert is also the Chief Strategy Officer for the Content Marketing Institute and a senior contributing consultant for Digital Clarity Group.

His highly anticipated second book –Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing will publish in February of this year. His first book, Managing Content Marketing, is one of my favorites and spent two weeks as a Top Ten marketing book on

I want to thank Robert for taking the time to speak with me and if you have any other questions for him, please post them in the comments!

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Phillip Brooks is SEMrush's Content Marketing Manager.
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