On Nov. 20, 2013, Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose started a conversation that has stretched over 18,000 minutes. Today, the dynamic duo celebrate their 300th episode of This Old Marketing podcast.
Yes, marketing is still the subject – it’s even in the name. Joe and Robert come at that topic from so many different directions. Though they have been known to stray from a planned topic a time or two (or really 298 times), they have an uncanny ability to still connect all the dots for the listeners.
And that’s perhaps the reason for all those five-star reviews since the very beginning when it started on the Content Marketing Institute platform. It also may be the reason Joe and Robert couldn’t really retire from podcasting after their “finale” episode in 2017, coming back about 20 months later to talk some more (and more).
Let’s go behind the scenes with the guys who have been behind the mic.
You mostly talk about newsy items, so why call it This Old Marketing podcast?
The classic PBS show This Old House was the inspiration. The original hosts, Bob Vila and Norm Abram, had a playful banter and really seemed to enjoy geeking out on the details of building a house. That was kind of what we were going for – just two guys who loved what they did and would gossip and talk about trends in the industry. Even though marketing was changing, it’s just the same old stuff we’ve been doing for years.@Robert_Rose and @JoePulizzi say #ThisOldMarketing podcast's name was inspired by @ThisOldHouse. They liked the playful banter and geeking out on details by @BobVila and Norm Abram. #300thEpisode Click To Tweet
That first episode talked about Google’s requirement for YouTube commenters to post through their Google+ account, their thoughts on who should buy Forbes as a content marketing play, and a positive rant about the business results of a content-focused event like Minecon for gamers.
You definitely geek out on the details of marketing, and you’ve got the banter thing down. Perhaps that’s why it’s always just been the two of you. Are there any pros and cons to a host-only format?
The blessing is that it makes it much easier to schedule. As a news show, we record the last possible day (Thursday prior to Friday release) so that we don’t miss anything that’s breaking. Adding guests into that mix would be quite difficult. It also allows us a certain level of control over the audio quality, which you don’t have with guests.
On the con side, you lose a bit of the “networking” aspect of having guests on which can help you find new audiences. I suppose it can also be a bit of an inhibitor to our recurring audience who may get tired of “just Joe and Robert.” But, honestly, in today’s world, with the number of podcasts focused on guest interviews, I think we’ve made the right choice.Since its 2013 start, #ThisOldMarketinglways has been a guest-free podcast. That makes it easier to have a newsy focus because @Robert_Rose and @JoePulizzi can record it just the day before it's live. #podcasting Click To Tweet
For many creators, the need for that much content every week could be a struggle, but you never seem at a loss for topics.
There are many times when it’s a slow news week, and we are digging deep to find the news that we think is interesting, but we could literally riff on one topic for the entire hour.
Not only has it always been just the two of you, it’s always been just an audio podcast. And yet, neither of you is shy in front of a camera. Why not add video?
Honestly, because it’s two different mediums. We believe that to have a good show you should focus on producing a good audio show and/or a good video show. Most podcasts with video are simply just recordings of the hosts interviewing other guests. And, these days it’s often just two Zoom windows. We don’t think that’s compelling video.
Now, that’s not to say it can’t be done. Howard Stern has managed to really make his podcast good in both audio and video formats. But both are produced as such. He’s got a studio, lighting, multi-camera formats, etc. So we felt that unless we could produce a truly great video show, that we’d stick with what the show was always meant as.
I must clarify. They have only gone on camera when they recorded it a few times at live events. For the 300th celebration, though, they show up on screen. But don’t expect to see them in the 301st episode.
Back to our regularly scheduled interview … While people talk about #ThisOldMarketing on social, the podcast has no presence on social media platforms.
We never felt the need to create more rented land to promote our rented land (the podcast). The show was always about the two of us (and our egos LOL) and bringing more people into our audience.
We’ve never felt the need to really add to the noise of social media with branded This-Old-Marketing this or branded This-Old-Marketing that. When we relaunched the show in 2019, we created a website so we could have a centralized place for the audience to gather to read show notes, subscribe, etc. But, using the show as a means of building our audience was always the goal – and remains so.
Wait, you don’t need to do social media to attract an audience?
The best marketing is to be a guest on other podcasts. It will take a much longer time to build an audience if you are not going on other shows every week of every month.The best marketing for podcasts is to be a guest on other podcasts, say @Robert_Rose and @JoePulizzi. They never created social media channels for their #ThisOldMarketing #podcast. Click To Tweet
It’s especially important with a podcast like ours where we don’t have guests because they would actively share that they were on our show (because it doesn’t exist). So, it’s our job to go out and promote our expertise on other people’s platforms.
After recording 300 episodes, some favorite moments or topics – and least favorite moments or topics – are bound to occur.
It was a tough choice for Robert. “Certainly, our years-long ongoing ‘argument’ over whether Apple would purchase Disney ranks right up here. (Insert meme: Joe should stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen.)
“We also did an episode years ago where we talked about our fathers and influences on our careers – that was one of the more meaningful conversations we’ve had.”
Joe: “I’ll never forget the first live show we did in Sydney, Australia, as part of Content Marketing World Sydney in 2014. Tim Washer and Todd Wheatland were our guests. We never have guests (of course), but they both crushed it.
“It was also strange to see that we actually had ‘fans’ of the podcast. We, of course, see that people like the podcast on social media, but it’s so much better to see this IRL.”
Regrets, have you had a few?
Not really. But we don’t like it when we have to talk politics. We purposely stayed away from politics on the show, but sometimes world events simply force us to go there. When we do it, we love what we actually say, but we wish we never had to go there.
Will you get to 400 episodes? 500?
Yes, of course. The biggest goal is to keep it fun and entertaining. One of the biggest reasons we got into it was because it was an excuse for us to talk and literally just catch up every week. But we think the real goal is to continue to grow the audience, especially into the content creator universe, and really strike that great balance of being an entertaining podcast that both content creators and marketers at companies can enjoy.They hit No. 300. Will @JoePulizzi and @Robert_Rose hit 400? 500? As long as they can keep it fun and entertaining, they say, and continue to grow their audience. #CreatorEconomy #ContentEntrepreneurs Click To Tweet
Now, onto the 300th episode. Yes, it’s on video and begins with a celebrity guest appearance (with a custom song) that you shouldn’t miss. Then, sit back and listen as Joe and Robert reminisce, explain their journey, and answer listeners’ questions.
About the author
Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. Former college adjunct faculty, Ann also helps train professionals in content so they can do it themselves.