Our Own Case Study: How We Turned Influence Podium Into a Media Company

If there’s one pet peeve we have at Influence Podium is seeing companies not walk the talk. Can you imagine how hypocritical we’d be if we preached every single day that PR is dead and B2B companies need to become media companies to communicate with their market (prospects, employees, investors, etc.) and then, us – a B2B company – didn’t build a media arm? 

That’s like when my dad told me to love my mom, but he divorced her. It’s just not a good look. 

Jokes aside, we know this space is bound to be disrupted and we also know there is no better sales case study than showing you do what you preach. Influence Podium is our own client – we’re on our Asana next to our other clients, we have a specific brand manager, and we invest all our marketing resources on becoming a media company. We’re all in – we believe in this 100%.

Now, I want to show you exactly what we do without holding anything back. Full transparency. This is how we’ve brought in $500k+ of inbound revenue in the last twelve months while building great brand equity and disrupting the way B2B companies think about PR and content. It’s worked for us, and it can work for you too.

[PS. Before I dive in, quick note: we’re a fully self-funded company. We’ve never taken a dollar from an investor. There is more stuff beyond what I’ll describe in this article that we’d love to do as we become a media company but we just don’t have the money to invest in those initiatives for ourselves right now (we do them for our clients). That said, we still create more and better content than 99% of companies 10-20x our size.

It all starts with our strategic narrative:

Your strategic narrative is the key that unlocks turning a B2B company into a media company. Without it, you’re wasting your resources putting out a bunch of content that has no direction and it’s not aligned to a solid messaging. It’s the lighthouse in a dark storm – it gives direction. 

The best strategic narrative has 4 components: an old world that doesn’t work anymore, a change that made the old world useless, a new world that paints a picture of the future, and a vehicle (aka, your company) that helps people go from the old world to the new world. 

Here’s how it plays out for us:

Old World: B2B companies needed PR to build brand and communicate with their market (potential clients, potential talent, investors, industry influencers, etc).

The Change: the democratization of attention: social media channels, tech innovation in the podcasting space, anf open online publications moved the market’s attention to open spaces, making PR useless.

New World: in 5 years, all B2B companies will be media companies and will have a content flywheel to reach their market without needing permission. Whoever wins the fight for attention, wins. 

The Vehicle: Influence Podium helps B2B companies become media companies by helping them define a robust strategic narrative and create a content flywheel.

That’s our strategic narrative. It dictates everything we do: our objectives, the people we hire, our website, our sales deck, our sales calls, and every piece of content we put out. 

This narrative comes from years of being in the industry and understanding the status quo was broken + obsessively talking with our market until we were able to define a clear message.

Reverse engineering our audience and choosing first initiatives:

Once our strategic narrative was clear, we needed to build our content flywheel. The way we approach that is like a SaaS company treats their product roadmap: we wanted to first build our MVP of becoming a media company. 1-2 initiatives were a good place to start, and we have continued to stack initiatives on top of that as we learn from the market and have more resources.

For us, our two initial initiatives were CEO Thought Leadership on LinkedIn and B2B Podcatsing. 

To choose our initial initiatives, we followed our 4-corner matrix that helps us decide which initiative makes the most sense (read this for a more in-depth read on roadmapping your media company):

  • Budget
  • Time resources and mental headspace
  • Delivers some quick wins
  • Highest reverse-engineered ROI (Most Probable Success Path)

CEO Thought Leadership on LinkedIn and B2B Podcasting came out on top because they were 1) easier to execute and 2) our markets’ attention was there. 

We did this consistently for 18 months (and we’re still going); we posted 4-5x per week on LinkedIn from my personal brand as the CEO and we recorded about 50 episodes of our podcast interviewing other B2B CEOs.

Our results were great: all our clients came inbound and we closed them at very high rates (50%+) and with a very short sales process (less than two weeks). All our prospects came already convinced and educated that we were the company they wanted to partner with. Qualitatively, they mentioned that they had read my LinkedIn content or had listened / been on my podcast, which made the sales process much easier.

It also aligned our internal team on the vision we wanted to achieve as a company, and it even helped with recruiting – “I see the world the same way as you do and wanted to join you” was something we heard multiple times. 

Our media company MVP was built. Now it was time to take it to the next level.

2nd wave: stacking initiatives:

After 18-24 months of kicking-off our initial initiatives, our team felt that it was time to do more. We had grown as a company, which meant we had more resources, and we had built a very robust foundation. 
We used the same matrix to identify which initiatives made the most sense for the 2nd wave:

  • Budget
  • Time resources and mental headspace
  • Delivers some quick wins
  • Highest reverse-engineered ROI (Most Probable Success Path)

Our answer: CEO Thought Leadership on Twitter and long-form articles.

Here’s the long story short of our rationale: CEO Thought Leadership on LinkedIn has been working very well, so now we want to expand it to Twitter. And if we want to be the best educators of the market, we need to dive deeper into topics, which our long-form articles allow us to do. Their main KPI isn’t SEO – it’s how well they educate our market. They’re also very useful sales and recruiting assets. 

And here’s where we currently are:

  • CEO Thought Leadership on LinkedIn (wave 1)
  • B2B Podcasting (wave 1)
  • CEO Thought Leadership on Twitter (wave 2)
  • Long-form Articles (wave 2)

But that’s not where we’re going to stay. The future is exciting. 

Our vision:

Our content flywheel will continue to evolve. It’s hard to predict where it will be 12 months from today because we think it’s important to stay flexible and open to changes in where the market’s attention lives. 

That said, Team Thought Leadership on LinkedIn is the initiative we’re currently rolling out. Having multiple team members create Linkedin content adds to becoming a media company and compounds all of our content efforts. We’re starting with 2 team members creating 2-3x posts per week, and we’ll continue to add people as we grow. 

I also see short–term video/audio series about specific topics with creative content concepts to be in our near roadmap. These aren’t forever podcasts. Think of it as a limited series – maybe 10-20 episodes designed to cover a relevant concept or topic but without the expectation or pressure to call it a podcast. 

At the end of the day, Influence Podium will continue to find ways to educate the market on why B2B companies need to become media companies. Wherever the attention of our market lives, we’ll be there. We’ll find the right content channels, the right content topics, and the right content concepts to earn our market’s attention and trust, and leverage it to build brand equity and drive inbound revenue.

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