In today’s digital age, growing an audience is a crucial aspect of success for content creators and marketers alike. It requires mastering the art of engagement, connecting with your target audience, and providing value that resonates with them.
In this episode of Audience Growth School, we are joined by Mason Cosby, a seasoned professional who has successfully grown his audience by leveraging the power of connection. Join us as we uncover Mason’s strategies and lessons on connecting people, building relationships, and growing an engaged audience.
Dan Sanchez [00:00:01]:
Welcome back to Audience Growth School, formerly the Attention Podcast, where I’m documenting how creators and businesses have grown their audiences so we can do the same. I’m Dan Sanchez. And today, I’m talking to Mason Cosby, who has built an audience on LinkedIn and with this podcast, the marketing ladder.
Mason Cosby [00:00:18]:
Soon to be a whole new show, but we’re gonna get into that in a moment. Mason, welcome to the show. Dan, thank you so much for having me. I’m so honored to be here. I’ve learned so much about how to grow an audience from you. So I feel like I I get to speak to the master and just share a couple of things that I’ve stolen from
Dan Sanchez [00:00:35]:
Yeah. It’s if you repeat a few back to me, I’ll be like, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s good. And I probably forgot that I was the one who might have even said it. But everybody has a different path to audience growth. It’s one of my favorite things about the journey is that everybody’s journey is a little bit different. and we could learn a lot from the common threads, but we can learn a lot from the individual ones as well. And you have been you were I mean, since I’ve even come into contact with you, like, a year and a half ago ish, like, you’ve been crushing it. I think before I got connected with you on LinkedIn through through James Carberry. I remember thinking, I’m like, someday, somebody’s gonna join the career bucket with the marketing bucket and put it together and talk about just essentially niched down on both and just talk about career marketing career progression and is going to freaking dominate because it’s just a massive field. I mean, there’s a lot of marketers out there, and a lot of us are wondering. I know I was when I was an entry level marketer, like, how do I become a manager? How do I become a director? Dang. Even now, I’m still like, dang. Getting a VP’s heart. What the heck is the break between those two things? I’ve been a director for, like, 10 years now. my goodness. And I’ve learned piece by piece, but then I knew somebody was gonna come along and just destroy it with that. And then you came along, and and that’s exactly what you did. Now but I’m excited. I wanna kick it off with a kind of the first question here, which is for everybody else, Mason, who is your audience what kind of content do you make for them? I know I’ve previewed it a little bit, and where where can we find it right now?
Mason Cosby [00:02:05]:
Yeah. So this will be an early interesting conversation because I would say I actually probably 2 specific audiences. So like you’ve mentioned, I have been building a podcast for about 2 years at this point called the marketing ladders. And Man, there was a very large audience of either, like, young career marketers or, to your point, they’re they’re a lot of people, they get to this point in their career, and they’re like, I don’t know how to, like, move from manager to director or director to VP. So, like, a lot of people that were kinda stuck in, like, one specific role for the long time, and I wanted to make that level up. And then the other one that was really interesting again, a year and a half ago, I feel like we just saw a ton of teachers transition out of education into marketing. So I had a super large audience and very engaged audience of career people that are making a massive career transition. So that would be kind of one audience. And then the other audience is for the past 2 years, I’ve worked at an ABM agency, and I’ve been posting a lot around, like, tactical ABM type stuff on LinkedIn. So the two things that people have known me most for have been marketing careers and ABM and trying to figure out Now, and this is kind of what we’ll we’ll talk a little bit probably about is around, you know, how do you not have 2 distinct audiences? because the goal is that you have one main audience that you serve really, really well. So, yeah, that’s those are my two places. Podcast really serves the career audience and then LinkedIn really probably serves more of the the ABM audience. Okay. And that’s what your new show is all focused on? So, yeah, the new show is gonna be entirely focused around account based marketing and scrappy ABM because to to your point around, like, owning career and marketing, I’ve actually seen a number of other people that have come up, and I I built the marketing ladder out of a desire to help people But, like, there’s no business around the marketing ladder. Like, it’s just a great show, whereas what I’ve actually seen are some really, really influential, really solid people that have built businesses around being able to actually help pass their their content. So I’m kind of passing the torch off to some of those people in the last episode here in the next couple weeks, but yeah, moving forward, I’m gonna really hone in specifically on the scrappy ABM audience.
Dan Sanchez [00:04:25]:
How large is your current audience on LinkedIn and the marketing letter?
Mason Cosby [00:04:30]:
Yeah. So as we look at LinkedIn. I’ve got about 16,000 followers. So not the most massive audience in the world, but I would say a fairly audience at that. And then with the with the marketing ladder, you know, as we both know, podcasts are a little bit difficult to tell. So I can see on average, I’m getting roughly, you know, 80 downloads an episode, but we’re also live streaming every single episode, and I’m typically getting you know, 30 likes on a livestream of an episode plus 500 impressions on a livestream to LinkedIn. So as I have tried to quantify the exact audience around the marketing ladder, I would say there’s probably about 250 people that religiously listen to the show. And I’ve got a lot of people that kinda float in and out. That’s the the other interesting thing is I’ll have people that listen for a very period of time because the other piece around the marketing ladder was I was specifically interviewing those that were hiring. So if someone was looking for a job, they’d hear about the marketing ladder. They would binge 40 episodes, and it was always it was always fun because it was always on a Saturday where I had my lowest listens typically, but then there’d be, like, the occasional Saturday, like, probably once a month where I’d see, like, 500 downloads. And I was like, oh, I guess a couple people just decided to go binge the show. Like and you just kinda you see that in your in your data. So that, I would say, probably the the dedicated audience from the marketing ladder of actual listeners was probably 200 to 250 And then, again, just a lot of in and out. So I think the show has probably been listened to by about, I would say, roughly two thousand people just based on the people that have actually said, like, I loved this specific episode.
Dan Sanchez [00:06:07]:
Okay. So you’re averaging, like, 300 ish downloads an episode? Yeah. Makes sense. Still, you got a pretty dedicated crew with 16,000 on LinkedIn 300. I mean, it’s it’s funny as people are a lot of people, and I’d had this argument at Sweetfish a lot. Like, well, we only have 300 listeners compared to our thousands we’re getting on whatever short form platform. And I’m like, you’re not comparing apples to apples. Like, think you gotta if you wanna compare apples to apples, compare minutes consumed. Yep. Maybe they spend 1, 2 minutes consuming a LinkedIn post versus the 30, 45 minutes consuming a podcast episode. If you compare them like that and add up minutes, they’re actually much more like, a few 100 on one podcast is more comparable to thousands of views on Twitter or maybe even tens of thousands of views on Twitter, maybe thousands of views on LinkedIn. Right?
Mason Cosby [00:06:56]:
Dan Sanchez [00:06:58]:
So it’s funny that you’re you’re changing now with from marketing ladder to an ABM approach it’s it’s I find that this is one of the biggest hurdles. Like, even even once you have get established, just trying to figure out, like, well, what niche should I be. Right? should I stay in the one I’m in, or should I pivot later or pivot to something else that may be in the b to b influencer space? It it I feel like what niche you pick is also plays into, like, where I can be employed later, like, what potential employers wanna find me as an expert in to And and, of course, if you’re well known for that one topic, you know, that could lead to a much higher salary than normal. At least that’s the hope. Right? Yeah. I mean — Unfortunately, I don’t see B2B Companies picking up influencers hardly ever because of their reach and use of them. It’s just pure evangelists. very once in a while, you see that, but it’s it’s still very far and few in between. Still, I could see the leaning into ABM is going to make a big difference in in that regard. Still, I know it’s probably, like, a huge battle internally, like, trying to feel like, oh, well, how much of my LinkedIn content now should I take there? Is that how do you how do you even see, like, promoting your new show knowing that a lot of your LinkedIn content people were expecting a certain amount of, like, marketing career advice there. Yes. I mean,
Mason Cosby [00:08:23]:
I think that there’s a a delicate balance for sure. And I think that, admittedly, I mean, LinkedIn is a is a platform for career professionals. So I think that there will still be the occasional thing. Like, even I mean, for example, Chris Walker had a a season where he talked a lot about career advice. it got a ton of engagement. And then what he recognized for himself is this is growing the audience, but it isn’t serving the audience in the way that I can best serve the audience uniquely. So he’s talked publicly about how he stopped doing that because it didn’t actually drive specific business results for Refined Labs. So I think that there will still be the occasional piece, but again, I think the value, and I actually don’t see it as like moving away from careers, I see it as kind of an evolution of my own personal brand and better serving the audience because as I look at what I’m able to do from this idea of a scrappy ABM type approach, I feel that the marking ladder in a 120 episodes has helped people figure out a lot of ways, how do I land the first role? How do I grow in the career? The challenge is now how do I actually get the results? how do I actually, like, do the functional job versus the contract negotiation and figuring out compensation and how to network, it’s now more of, I’ve landed the role. What do I do now? So I think that in helping people create con or by creating content on LinkedIn around scrappy ABM, it will still help people advance their career. It just won’t be necessarily dedicated to, like, here’s how you negotiate a salary.
Dan Sanchez [00:09:52]:
Yep. It will it’ll be less career, more marketing. Yeah. Which doing better marketing, of course, is the number one way to progress your career as a marketer. all the other stuff is in the mix, but producing good results is what people are looking for. Absolutely. So let’s talk about how you got to where you’re at today. When it comes to audience growth, the number one thing you first have to figure out is how do I acquire new audience? How do I find them? How do I get them interested? And what I have going on? How did you do this in the beginning? How did you start?
Mason Cosby [00:10:24]:
Yeah. So I think it was serendipitous at the time, and now looking back, I can say, like, oh, here are some really helpful lessons. So to that point, the marketing ladder was started because a friend of mine that was an agency owner said, hey. I got LinkedIn live. Who would wanna do a LinkedIn live together? it was supposed to just kinda be a one off episode. And then he he was like, well, what if we turn this into a podcast? I was like, alright. Let’s do it. And I had you know, I’m a relatively young career marketer myself. So he was much further along in his career. So I just said, you know, what if we did a careers focused podcast because I I looked up on Spotify and to your point, there were 2 other podcasts that even were focused on marketing and careers but they were both posting, like, once every 4 to 6 weeks. So, I mean, there just wasn’t there wasn’t really anybody trying to do a lot in that space. That friend ended up being not being able to commit long term. So what ended up happening is we had already lined up 6 or 7 other guests. And it just kinda turned into a, well, this show is now happening. So it makes an like, why don’t you own it? So I started to own it, and the I think the immense value there was again being relatively young in my career, I was the audience as the host. So I was asking,
Dan Sanchez [00:11:46]:
10, 15, 20, 30 year veterans,
Mason Cosby [00:11:49]:
How did you do this? And to that point, again, if you ask anybody how did they get started in marketing they would always typically say, oh, I kind of fell into it. So again, then the show became really diving specifically into no. How did you land this role? Like, how did you get started? What did you learn there? What were the lessons you took away? And then how did you leverage that into your next role? And it actually ended up What was interesting, people have compared it to the show like how I built it. And it was instead of like a business, it was like how I built my specific career. And over time, again, people started to listen in, and this is a I think a fairly commonly known tactic at this point But it’s, I would create these episodes, and then people would post about those episodes, and I draft off of their audiences. And the other thing that I would do To your point, because there’s a ton of people on LinkedIn that talk about careers. There’s a ton of people that talk about marketing. There was not a lot of people that talk about specifically marketing and careers. And there was, like, only one real podcast dedicated to it. So I just found a bunch of other people either talking about marketing or careers and then would share lessons from the marketing ladder in the comments. And I wouldn’t, like, link back to the episode and, like, try to hijack the post, but it’s like, I was just engaging, and I’m speaking with CMOs and VPs on a weekly basis, so I’m learning a lot myself. And as a result, people then come check out my profile. they’d see host of the marketing ladder. They then go click on the LinkedIn page and then go find the podcast. So like that, to your point, This is nothing crazy, and I I’ve done it kind of as an experiment to see, but I’ve never made a post from the marketing ladder LinkedIn page. Never made a post. But it already has over a 1000 followers after a year because of just tagging and, like — Yep. — people finding it. So, again, from that perspective, it was experiment around the company page of, like, how do you grow a company page without doing anything just to kinda see what would happen. But from that perspective, Like, that was how it all got started and how we started to build the audience of, let’s get guests lined up. They’re gonna post about it. Black. actively engage with them. We’ll find other people that talk in a similar space. Essentially, I’m providing additional content in a different format than anybody else is providing. and I can drop off of their larger audiences to actually grow the show.
Dan Sanchez [00:14:09]:
Did you have a LinkedIn audience before you started the podcast? Or did you grow your LinkedIn audience because of the podcast? I think it was a
Mason Cosby [00:14:18]:
yes and. So I Again, I worked at an ABM agency, and I had no no audience at that point. To give quick context, I had come from the the fintech lending space before I was in the marketing agency world. So, like, there was no audience carryover when I moved to the agency world. And what audience was there? I mean, there may have been, like, 300 lenders that followed me for how to grow their lending business. And, like, it was just so small. It’s not even worth considering. So what I have been tasked with doing for the agency was building an ABM program that was really scrappy. So, like, I had started to specifically connect on LinkedIn with target accounts and sort of creating content there, but it was not I mean, the audience at that point, I think when I started the podcast, I had 1600 connections and followers. And to be clear, They were only followers because they were connections. Like, there was nobody that was specifically seeking me out to follow me from my content. They were connecting with me because I had sent them a connection request. when the show really started to pick up was when I started to have days where I would gain 300 to 500 followers in a single day because an an episode would drop. or I would make a specific post that was really tactical and really specific around how do you grow your career and it would blow up. Or the other thing I ended up doing This is still to this day, Ben. Some of my most helpful, but also audience growing posts is I would look at everybody that had ever been on the marketing ladder and I would create a list of everybody that was actively hiring at that moment and tag them and their company. And those posts always got you know, tens of thousands of views because everybody’s looking for a job, and they’re always hearing you gotta connect with the hiring manager. So then essentially took that content and said, get career advice from your potential future boss. This is their episode. This is what they’re hiring for. If you match this, go check out this episode and then go use that as a way to personalize your outreach and actually get on their calendar. So, again, those kinds of posts really help to blow up the audience But, I mean, there was no real audience prior to the marketing ladder. It was just those intentional steps that helped to develop that audience.
Dan Sanchez [00:16:32]:
Man, I mean, you essentially did something magic by finding 2 groups of people who wanted to meet each other and you’re you’re just connecting them via podcast. Right? You’re taking people who wanna meet the hiring manager, people who wanna find more applicants, Bam. I did find there was one podcast that did this to, like, a whole different degree They I mean, they they ended up getting, like, 90 k downloads an episode because they went after Google. and then Facebook. I think they, like, landed Spotify as their first guest and then talked about their internship programs. That’s who they did. They’d find people who are the intern manager for their big these big intern programs, and then what allowed them to promote and talk about their internship program at these, like, wildly, like, like, sought after roles. And then they’re of course, naturally, if you just have Salesforce, Facebook, Google, Netflix, all the internship programs, yeah, they got a lot of downloads because they’re connecting 2 different groups where it’s kinda like, where do you find out about these internship programs? They’re kinda hard to find even now. and they were making it available and then just killing it in the process. You’re doing something on a smaller scale and much more niche, but still kind of finding that same thing of finding 2 different groups of people on trying to help find each other. But what I think is really valuable is how you used it to grow your LinkedIn audience, especially, like, taking the things you’re learning from it and then bringing it back into comments, Were you tagging the guest being like, what I learned from tag so and so is this. And then, like, continuing to build that relationship, getting more engagement into it. Is that what you were doing? Yeah. I mean, it is so
Mason Cosby [00:18:10]:
which is a great point. And for lack of a word, there are some lessons that were just so repeated that it was like, this is what I’m learning out of the show. But then there were other lessons that were, like, very tacky and very specifically one individual. So I actually did a mix of, like, if this was a theme throughout the show, I would tag the show if this was a lesson from specific person on a recent episode, I would tag that person.
Dan Sanchez [00:18:35]:
Man, we’re a great way to build community. So we all know, like, LinkedIn if you’re listening to this and you’re not, like, you’re not in the LinkedIn game. LinkedIn is very much a social social platform. Like, you could probably post the TikTok and grow a following there without actually commenting and engaging too much, but it helps. you could probably grow viral without commenting a lot. But on LinkedIn, no. Yeah. It is, like, comments and conversations are the game. That is how you grow and build the build something on LinkedIn. So being able to pull your past guesstimate of things you’re learning in there, like, oh, I haven’t done that that that much. I think I need to start doing that with this exact show and just bringing bringing guests back into the sations strengthening the relationship because it’s based on the relationships that helps you go viral. I don’t know how the the algorithm can kind of understand your relationship to people and how strong it is because you’re talking to each other more, little DMs, a little tag, a little comment here. LinkedIn keeps track of all this stuff. and then brings your content back in front of those people more often.
Mason Cosby [00:19:37]:
And if I may add one thing onto that, I mean, the the monthly post where I’m tagging everyone active hiring. It doesn’t matter when your episode was, like, if you’re in a larger organization, I had some people that were, you know, working at really large companies that were literally always hiring. So they heard from me in a way that was not asking anything but was providing explicit value literally every single month. So just through that perspective, again, it’s thinking through, okay, I wanna grow this audience, and the best way to grow from at least from my perspective is the The best way to grow a larger audience is to have a really, really loyal, small audience that you really take care of, that you really specifically nurture because they will then go and talk a lot about you. So again, from that perspective, I have had a 120 guests at this point but I have 16,000 followers because that 120 that I can manageably keep in contact with. I try to keep in contact with most everybody at least every, like, 2 to 3 months and, like, make a post about them, like, do something to maintain that audience that is the guests. but then they will go and talk about me on my behalf, and that’s how you get scalable audience growth.
Dan Sanchez [00:20:48]:
So your answer there kinda bleeds into, like, my next question of, like, what were you doing to intentionally retain your audience? because it’s one thing to get them to come and tap follow once. But as we all know, I mean, they can unfollow, but more likely, like, people just engage a little less and less over time to the point where they just don’t see your post anymore or think about you. And you talked about one thing, one you’re doing it with the guests right, and building relationship with them and keeping them in the loop 1 through tagging them, though I’d love to hear what else you’re doing to stay in touch with guests. But what are some ways that you’re actually retaining and being intentional about retaining your audience? Yes. I mean, another thing that I did
Mason Cosby [00:21:24]:
is on LinkedIn, you can get notified whenever somebody posts. So I actually went through and picked out anytime I have a guest, I go, and set the notification bell to whenever they post, I actually get notified so I can even go and engage on their content. So, again, from that perspective, when I view my audience, yes, it is everybody that is the listener, but also, like, the easiest way to continue to engage the listener. The listener didn’t necessarily always come for me even though now people generally like me, but especially when it was getting started, they were coming for the guest. Like, the guest was the one that brought the value. The guest was the one that brought the authority. I was just a host of a party. so I can engage with a guest, the more I can associate myself with those guests that are providing incredible value, the more that the audience will then come back to listen to engage to hear than the thought that I have. So, again, from that perspective, I I cannot it is not feasible for me to keep 1 to 1 engagement with 16,000 people. Like, it’s just not gonna happen. Yep. So instead, I focused on the ones that I did build a one to one relationship with through the actual interview, and then by the nature that we’re constantly now showing up on each other’s content. Yep. The listeners see that. They continue to engage. and it creates a symbiotic relationship where everybody is actually being helped.
Dan Sanchez [00:22:44]:
So audience retention just by pulling in, essentially, a lot of other I don’t know, info all your guests are, like, influencers, but our sources of new audience But by maintaining the relationship with them, you’re actually strengthening your relationship to the audience because that that source of new people you’re maintaining a connection to, where you got them from, you’re maintaining a connection with the person you got them from, which means if they disengage with you, like, well, you’re gonna engage with so and so again. that that person you had on as a guest, hence getting your post back out in front of those people, and they might reengage that way. I never thought about it that way, but it’s it’s actually a smart way to stay in touch with your audience. Something I haven’t done as well as a guest when I was hosting for B2B Growth. but now I’m starting to think I need to start doing for the show ASAP.
Mason Cosby [00:23:36]:
Well and again, like, I come from most things with this account based mindset. So as I think about I mean some of the guests ended up it wasn’t always, but many of the guests when I was working an agency were actually target accounts. But I was trying to also then actually reengage to come buy ABM programs. So, like, there is that level at which, like, the more I can engage with the guest, because it’s not just necessarily for a lot of people trying to grow an audience. Like, there is an end outcome that is typically some level of a business result. So, like, I think especially as we talk about the idea of audience gross growth, like, I’m never gonna be a mister beast, and I’m probably not gonna do these massive brand deals. But if I can build a large enough audience that attracts and essentially gives me the social proof that I generally know what I’m talking about, and gives me some level of credibility, I can then engage with people that are my buyers with whatever business I’m engaging in or I need to land a new job. like, the people that can help me lead a new job. Or, again, from that perspective, if I ever decided to go launch my own business, I have a built in audience that trust me already because I’ve been a valuable source for years. So, again, I think especially as you think about audience growth, it just is a matter of Like, I’m I’m probably never gonna have 1,000,000 upon 1,000,000 of followers, and that’s okay with me. Like, what’s the size audience that I’m trying to build and what’s the in state for that audience? My goal is to help them build a better career and actually build better ABM programs. The best ways to do that are through a variety of means, but, like, when I can set that goal from the start, I can then actually have a better outcome.
Dan Sanchez [00:25:08]:
Man, that’s a whole podcast episode in and of itself. The value of a personal brand and specifically, not just a personal brand, but it’s a valuable enough personal brand that it actually has an audience because you’re putting out useful enough stuff because it I mean, 1, it solidifies your career. So it’s easier to get jobs, better better jobs, higher paying jobs, But it also kinda gives you a wiggle room to try other things. It gives you leverage to be able to then launch your own company. You know? With with an audience, it’s more easy to do that, especially if your company is focused on the audience the target audience that you already have. or to have a little side hustle going on, or maybe you sell some courses or some things, and you can diversify your income that way. It just gives you more options if you have an audience you get more career choices, more ways to start a company, more ways to earn some side money. It’s just and it gives you more options to kind of, like, play into all these different ways to earn money, but, ultimately, add value to the world. Right? Or add more value to your employer, add more value to those people hence becomes more financially lucrative. Yeah. So are you doing anything with your audience to help them go deeper? to dive into your your mission, your message. Like, what are some things you’re helping them grow depth? Not just, like, getting them to retaining an audience, but helping that audience care more.
Mason Cosby [00:26:31]:
Yeah. So there’s there’s 2 things. 1, and I I used to feel a lot better about it, and it’s something that I’ve seen I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Sam McKenna, but Sam McKenna is incredible at this concept of showing you know me. So whenever somebody would follow or Connect, I would actually typically try to send a one to one message that just says, hey, thank you so much for following or, hey, thank you so much for connecting. like the fact that you think I’m worth being in your feed means the world. I just wanted to understand from your perspective, Like, what is it that got you to to give me a follow? because especially And I I know this is not the right thing for audience growth, but I I did talk for about 2 big things for about 2 years of both ABN and careers. So it just depended on where the audience found me if they wanted to learn more about careers or ABM. But from that perspective, like, building that one to one I can’t maintain that, and I know that I can’t contain it for everybody every single week. But those little touch points that actually said, hey. I didn’t just, like, get the notification that I got followers today, but I actually specifically sent you a message. and wanted you to know that I see you, then I value the fact that you think I’m worth following, is a great way to help actually, again, retain And then what would typically happen is some people would reply back and they would whatever the message was, they would say, this is why I learned about you. That’s what I’m interested in learning more about from you. I can then send them a resource. So, again, if it is about careers. I had tons of podcast episodes that I could then actually say, hey. I don’t know if you listen to this one, but that thing that you’re talking about Like, we talk about that in this episode, and we go really deep on that. So, again, it’s plugging the same content and going deeper on that content. Or if it was ABM, again, I worked with an agency. I was writing a ton of content around account based marketing. So I could say, hey. If you want more about this, like, here’s this piece of content. Or the other thing I I don’t remember where I got this piece of advice, but if you were like, I just really love, like, your perspective on things. you know, being the host, I actually didn’t talk that much as the host, but being a host of a podcast, I ended up getting a lot more podcast guest opportunities I ended up creating I think it was Nick Bennett that recommended this to me. Like, create a playlist of all of your guest appearances in Spotify, and then people are like, I really wanna hear more about x topic. If they’re, like, interested in hearing that, you can then send them the playlist and say, hey. You know, these are all of appearances that I’ve been on. And this specific episode, I go really deep on that topic. So, like, for example, I’ve been talking a lot about how do you use AI for content repurposing, and I know that there’s a lot of mixed feelings and thoughts about AI. So I’m not claiming to be an expert in any way, shape, and form. But I’m like, This is how I’ve been doing it, and I went really deep on it in an episode with Justin Simon on his podcast distribution first. So, like, if you want really deep thoughts on that, go check out that episode. The last thing that has been really helpful for going deeper with the audience is sometimes people will ask me a question and specifically when it comes to like the really deep nuances around contract negotiation. I don’t know that I’ve done a specific dedicated episode to, like, the really nuanced complexities around, like, equity versus bonus versus salary versus commission. Like, there’s a lot of things that go into your total compensation. But by the nature that I built a podcast around careers, and the other thing is, like, I personally just made a career transition, like, 4 or 5 months ago, and and got about 10 different offers in that process and, like, really negotiated hard on a variety of things. So I just have some more personal experience now. Like, I can then send a voice message that 2 minutes, you know, it’s 2 separate voice messages on LinkedIn. that then answer the question directly, and it’d be faster than me typing it, and they feel really seen and valued because I sent a voice message, like and it’s it’s been an interesting transition for me personally as people have, like, sent me a message, and it’s like, hey. I know you’re probably busy, but I didn’t get that previously. So, like, I recognize that people do think I have some level of value. So the more that I can like, try to actually engage in a personalized way. The more that they will feel seen, the more that they will feel valued, the deeper that they will actually feel the personal connection to the content that I create and the more that they’re likely to stick around.
Dan Sanchez [00:31:18]:
It’s one of my favorite ways to retain an audience or go deeper with them is one to one messages. specifically multimedia. I like Loom videos. It’s kind of been my thing, but you’re absolutely right. It’s just faster. because sometimes you, like, dig through your path archive of stuff, you’re like, where was that again? I don’t know. By the time you find it and tell them maybe where it starts in the episode, you’re just kinda, like, screw it. I could just literally answer the in one minute. If I could just record it and bam blast it off to them, and it’s way better for them. It’s actually faster for you. I’m I’m surprised you’re you’re one of the few that does it. I’ve been recommending it. I feel like for a long time and very few still take advantage of sending voice text or Loom videos in order to answer questions even though the the return on that is as far as their their I don’t know. I I think I got loyalty, but, like, they’re all of, like, you is, like, through the roof. I don’t know what it is about it, but, like, they’re like,
Mason Cosby [00:32:15]:
What? You took the time to talk to me? You’re like, dude, it was literally faster, but — Yeah. And, like — It works. If you think about it, I can go refill my cup of coffee, record this voice message, send it off, and, like, I literally didn’t take any time out of my day, but to your point, I got a voice message from Darren McKee. And, like, I felt so valued and so honored, and he was like, yeah. I’ve seen your content on LinkedIn. Like, I’d love to figure out, like, when it would ever make sense for us to like. meet up if we’re ever in the same city. And if it happens or not, I have no idea. But the fact that Darren McGee sent me a voice message, and, like, I can recall almost exactly what he said, and it’s been a month and a half, and it was 17 seconds. And I know all of that just shorthand because I really value Darren McKee, and I’m just Like, I think about that and how I’ve been impacted by that. I’m like, okay. I can do the same thing for other people.
Dan Sanchez [00:33:04]:
Yep. Absolutely. I love the going back to what you said earlier too, I took, like, a mental note, is that you’re doing things that are unscalable in the beginning, like doing personal messages to people in the very beginning. And it’s honestly that kind of stuff that you need to get the early traction. Remember, way back when there’s, like, a form software, I can’t remember WU forms boom. WU forms. Like, when they were, like I I don’t even know where WU forms is now. I think they got acquired and, like, have died somewhere. But, like, when WU forms was a thing, It was, like, it was, like, the mail chimp of forms. It was, like, the easy drag and drop system for building forms. They got the early start by handwriting thank you card to every single new customer. Completely unscalable, but guess what? It helped them get a lot of traction and build a lot of favor for them. And, of course, those people would talk about it a little bit more and help them get the traction. So doing doing the unscalable things early is, like, one of the things you just have to do if you wanna build an audience you kinda have to do give people a reason to follow you early on in in the beginning. The thing you have more of is time. I know it doesn’t feel like you have more time to do it, but Compared to when you have a lot of audience asking you lots of questions, you actually do have more time than you think. It just takes more time to build an audience than anybody, like, signs up or thinks about in the beginning. Absolutely. So what’s next steps are you taking to grow an audience You’ve made a massive transition from going from marketing ladder now to the scrappy ABM show. What steps are you taking now to make that transition?
Mason Cosby [00:34:31]:
Yeah. So it’s it’s a great question. And the next step is, you know, I love the marketing ladder. And the thing that I’ve always gotten questions around your point is, like, how do we how do I go deeper? Like, how do I learn more? How do I take the next step? And, like, for the marketing letter, it was always just that. Like, it was This is it. Like, you know, if you like, I I dabbled in the idea of, like, building a job board or building a community. And, like, you know, when I looked at those things, it really just came down to, I’m not gonna add any more value if I go build this job board. than I would if I just post about these things on LinkedIn and, like like, I’ve done those things. So from that perspective, like, how I’m now taking the next step, is I again, coming from the agency space, I’ve documented every process that I’ve done for the past 2 years. and I continue to build process documentation around everything that I build. Even like current state, I’ve got my whole content repurposing, like, playbook mapped out just for myself. I’m a big fan of the bus lottery theory, which is I could get hit by a bus or win the lottery today. either way, I’m probably not going to work tomorrow. And my job as an employee is to help make sure that those things can continue without me. So the thought process is I can now and please don’t go to the website. It’s not finished, but it is fucked. If you go to scrappyabm.com, like, I’m building out Playbooks, and, you know, probably get it started. I don’t think I’m even like, there’s not gonna be any dollar sign associated with it. Like, I just want to genuinely help people with these playbooks. So I think I’m a big fan of just, like, doing an MVP and getting something launched. So from that perspective, there will be a podcast. I’ll create a ton of LinkedIn content around it, and there will be free playbooks that are likely gonna be Google Docs, if we’re being honest, that you can just go and clone. But, like, I’ll document all those playbooks, and, like, those will be all readily accessible. The other thing is a lot of people have you know, I’ve I’ll be blunt. starting with another ABMmer recently. And for the past 2 or 3 years, we’ve just given away, like, a lot of free consulting. And, like, we’ll just hop on a call with anybody and just talk through anything. But I’m expecting my first child in August. It’s, like, that’s probably not gonna be the most scalable thing. So, again, creating forums through which I can still provide free advice. So we may do, like, a monthly live people can just ask questions. But, like, if you want a dedicated one on one time, like, I’m now offering, like, just a general consulting service.
Dan Sanchez [00:37:01]:
So, like, that’s — Like a paid Calendly link. Yeah. Like,
Mason Cosby [00:37:05]:
hey. If you want an hour, this is a cost for an hour, and we can just do a really clean and simple. I’ll I’ll show up for an hour and, like, talk through anything that you want. So just kinda working through all of those things because, practically, I, again, I love the marketing ladder, but I think what makes the most sense and the way in which I can own and be more helpful is taking the playbooks that I’ve built, making those publicly and readily accessible. and then being able to dive deeper with people in a way that helps them and meets them where they are today. So that’s kind of the next step of building the audience is And I should say one other thing. I’ve with the marketing ladder, I’ve set up a last live stream. So I’m doing with Alexa Scott and Brianna Do that are both massive career marketing people. and we’re doing it all together. I’m gonna sunset the show in that way and say, look. If you want more of this, like, these are the people that you should go and follow. But moving forward, like, this is my lane. And the goal I’ve got I’ve done a repurpose of episodes where I’ve talked about scrappy ABM, and I should have 20 repurposed episodes like, live by the time we actually did that last episode. So I can say, and if you want to dive deeper into this new lane, then I’m like, staking my claim on. I’ve got 20 podcast episodes that you can go and binge to now get an understanding for this. So I’m sunsetting it in a very intentional and specific way. and then having it immediately available to where the playbooks are ready. The podcast is up with, like, 20 episodes ready to go. And then I can just, like, go and say this is what I’m doing moving forward.
Dan Sanchez [00:38:47]:
I love how you’re sunsetting that. I mean, there’s been a few tens where I’ve wondered, like, it’s you can’t retain an audience forever. And I’ve toyed with the idea of, like, can you graduate audience members? can they learn most of what you have to learn? Even if they haven’t implemented at all, can they graduate? And then you recommend they go on to a next step. In this case, you’re exiting that field to move to a, like, a I don’t know. It’s not entirely different fields. It’s still within marketing, but you’re you’re leaving the career space. Yep. But instead of just leaving them or, like, publishing your last show or just pushing them all, it’s trying to push as many as you can to the ABM, which yep. You’ll announce where you’re going, and they can follow you there. but you’re handing it off to somebody in the career space, building a better relationship with some some people that are gonna be big big advocates for you in the future. — Yeah. — blessing them a lot by transferring your audience over there. But giving the audience some place to go, which I think very, very few I’ve ever seen do that. Usually, they just stop posting, and then all of a sudden, the show just dies. Yeah. Nice. — away. So well done. On on putting a good cap on the end of that show.
Mason Cosby [00:39:55]:
I I appreciate it. I, again, I love the show. It And what I know and this is actually what has been so fun is I can tangibly tell you names of people that have have reached out to me and said, like, this show changed my life. Like, I was able to transition a career. I was able to get the promotion. Like, the show has helped a lot of people. So I don’t I don’t just wanna let it, like, fizzle out and die. I really did wanna to sunset it in a way that still helps a lot of people. But admittedly, I think this is an interesting thing to talk through for an audience perspective, my audience growth has slowed significantly because I’ve been trying to serve 2 audiences versus, like, just making the transition. So that’s why I’m now making the transition, and I’m saying, like, look. I will likely have an audience decrease for a little bit of time, and that’s okay because I’m recognizing and I’ll I’ll just put it really bluntly. I know that I can better serve the scrappy AVM audience because I have never had people specifically say, let me pay you money to do career coaching. It’s it’s happened maybe I shouldn’t say never. It’s maybe happened twice I I have had ten people in the past 3 months reach out and ask me to do consulting on scrappy ABM. So just from that perspective, I can see that the audience engagement and the need for what I’m talking about so much clear in the way that peep I haven’t built the website, but people are just reaching out or like, I don’t know how much I need to pay you, but, like, can I pay you to do this for me? I didn’t see that in the career space.
Dan Sanchez [00:41:26]:
Makes a ton of sense. Some markets are better than others and more lucrative. one thing that I wanna make clear for anybody who’s listening who’s like, do you haven’t even started yet? And you’re you’re like, what should I do? Should I pick a, b, or c? like, if I could go back and give my younger self advice, it would be like, it doesn’t matter. Just freaking pick 1. Write it for a year, year and a half, 2 years, You know what? You will end up in a much better place to even see what you should have picked and have more momentum going forward. Kinda like you you picked one. It was good. But now you found something you’re like, okay. The ABM thing actually was better. But you’re lot you’re not launching from 0 anymore. You’re launching from a whole different place.
Mason Cosby [00:42:05]:
you have momentum now. Again, if I can add, like, I couldn’t have launched in the ABM space 2 years ago. I didn’t have a unique perspective. I didn’t have anything to really add to that space. Whereas again when I started with careers selfishly, I was just trying to figure out how to grow my own career and help a bunch of other people along the way And just like, essentially, it’s, hey. How did you do this? And then I’ll let a bunch of people listen into our conversations. Whereas now, Like, knowing what I know now, I know that I can be a far more valuable individual to a very specific audience and grow that audience far more quickly and effectively. based on what I learned out of growing an audience for the marketing ladder, but also know having clear understanding and expertise in a different space. So from that perspective, I couldn’t agree more with the idea of and I know that people have a love hate relationship with the advice of, like, just get started. Like, don’t overthink it because in the process, I love how Gary Bis has also talked about this idea of, like, if you do something for a year and nobody engages, that’s your answer. Like, and that’s okay versus deliberating for a year and you have no new information. Like, just get started, do something for a year and see where it pans out.
Dan Sanchez [00:43:17]:
Yep. Advice, I would have wished I’ve taken earlier, but, you know, we’re in it now. So it’s good. Now last question, before we jump into the rapid fire questions, is that every good story has a b story. there’s the a story of the things that happen, which is all the things we’ve been talking about, and you and all the things you’ve done to grow this audience. tell me a little bit about the b story, the things that are happening inside. Like, how has building growing an audience, like, impacted you inside?
Mason Cosby [00:43:51]:
So the b story and I I have shared this in in some passing conversations, but For me personally, it it has been the greatest career accelerant, period. because I don’t know how else I would have spoken with I’ll put it bluntly. I’ll call out some specific names. Like, I don’t know how I would have met James Carberry. don’t know how I would have met Sangamo Verjei or Chris Walker or I mean, just the Kathleen Booth. Like, the list just goes on and on and on. of the incredible leaders that I’ve had the opportunity to speak to for an hour. You know? It’s it’s nothing like I’m probably not gonna be able to go get, you know, a drink with Chris Walker unless, you know, we’re happy to be at the same conference. But Chris Walker and I have had a really great conversation around how do you build an innovative culture within a marketing organization? Super. Like, I learned a ton through that conversation. So there’s that piece of like I personally have just grown dramatically and I think I’ve been able to cram About 7 years of experience and about 2. So there’s that piece. And the second piece, I I threw out this earlier of like, You know, when I when I finally made looked to make a job transition after about 2 years, I had about 10 offers. And 3 years prior, I’ve been laid off because of COVID and spent 4 months sending out literally a 1000 job applications unable to land a job. But then after the podcast, after growing an audience, and after being able to be a a valuable helpful person within the space. I I had sent 40 messages to people that had been on the show and just say, like, hey, I’m looking this is what I’m looking for. Do you know anybody? It was, like, the week of Christmas. And I still got I had 20 interviews within the span of 2 weeks that resulted in 10 offers. And I was able to really, really choosey, and I specifically said, I wanna work at sales assembly. And I did everything in my power to do that and was able to I think it was over 30 different referrals to the executive team at sales Assembly to hire me. out of the audience that I had built — Yes. — for the podcast. And again, like, all of that comes together into the greatest job security and safety net for my family. So the b story that is the the value of an audience is Again, with this audience, I don’t know that I will ever be unemployable again, and there was a period of my life where I was unemployable, because I had no I I didn’t bring specific value to an organization. Whereas now, to your point, I actually had people that I interviewed with that said, you seem really big in, like, this ABM and career space and, like, we don’t do anything close to that. It’s like we’re not gonna hire you. But for those where I did bring specific guys, so for example, Sales assembly specifically serves the b to b tech space with skills development — Yep. — across the revenue organization. The relationships and the deep relationships that I have in this space made me exponentially more attractive as a candidate because it was an intangible that I bring with me. So there’s all of those pieces that play together And honestly, about a 1000 other substories of people trying to build businesses with me around the marketing ladder and just a ton of inbound job opportunities and a number of people that were like, why don’t you just go build your own, but, like, there’s so many sub plots that could be in that B story, but the long and short of it is with the marketing ladder and with the audience, I have more options than I could ever possibly pursue and I get to be really, really choosy about the life that I now build professionally which then helps build a better life personally.
Dan Sanchez [00:47:41]:
So if I hear you straight, it’s in the process, you’ve gamed gained a team of, like, mentors because you were able to go and talk to all these people you didn’t have access to before. It’s almost like being able read, you know, the people I’ve talked about having to try the mentors because you can read all their books and stuff. But in this case, you literally just had one on one conversations with people that charge a lot of money per hour. if you were to hire them for that, except you get to just interview them for free on your podcast. And then at same time, you developed a safety net that makes you know you know you have a level of peace now about if you lost your job, you’d be able to pick one up really quick because of what you built. sort of move on to the rapid fire questions. Remember, these are 30 second 30 second answers — Okay. — or less. who influences your thinking on audience growth the most?
Mason Cosby [00:48:32]:
Dan Sanchez [00:48:34]:
Yes. I probably need to change that. Otherwise, I’m gonna come up too often. Where do you consume? I’ll skip this. I can what’s the largest obstacle you’re running into with audience growth right now?
Mason Cosby [00:48:47]:
Content repurposing personally.
Dan Sanchez [00:48:50]:
what single tactic has been the most reliable for you to grow and acquire or growing acquire a new audience?
Mason Cosby [00:48:57]:
asking people that have an established audience to come on my podcast and being the nicest kindest most helpful person that I can to those people so that they like me and then talk about me.
Dan Sanchez [00:49:09]:
In your opinion, what companies are doing audience growth right.
Mason Cosby [00:49:13]:
Lavender? Doing more? Okay. Sorry. I’ll We’ll start that over and sorry to make you edit. Lavender, Apollo, and I I think Refine Labs still is doing audience growth well.
Dan Sanchez [00:49:32]:
Okay. And exit 5. Apollo Refine Labs. Exit 5. Alright. Great, Mason. Thank you so much for joining me on the Audience Grow School today. I’ve learned a ton. 2 of my actionable takeaways that I wrote down that I’m like, I’m doing this this week is is creating a system to send a one on one message to every new subscriber that comes to Audience Grow School, which I have an email thing going on to where people can subscribe. I’m like, man, I need to get a remind like, a reminder to reach out to them within the 1st couple of days, shoot them a loom video the way I do. Like, I just need to do that. I’m not big enough that I can’t that I wouldn’t be able to do this. And then building a system to stay in touch with guests. I’m like, it it’s something that I’ve seen works so well for freaking James Caraberry. It’s like, he’s the master at that. Right? And I’m like, ugh. It’s working for James. It’s working for Mason. I I gotta build a system for this because I know that it works. I’ve seen it work too many times. So even as an audience retention play, just staying in contact with your guests is a great way to do it because, honestly, relationships matter. That’s why we’re here. It’s what makes it fun. So those are 2 massive takeaways that I’m taking. Is there any final thing that you wanna announce to the audience for this podcast for them to be able to find you online or to check out that website that you mentioned for your new podcast, where can they find you and subscribe to you? Yeah. I mean, admittedly
Mason Cosby [00:50:57]:
LinkedIn can be the the biggest, and this I’ll I’ll be also honest. This is the first time I’ve talked in any level of depth about scrappy ABM. I’ve just kind of alluded that there’s gonna be a new show. So I just wanna be clear, I’m having a baby in August. So for a little bit, there’s gonna be just the initial 20 episodes with the goal of that come September work start doing weekly releases on scrappy ABM and, you know, continue to develop some playbooks, adding people in that I’ve got a number of people that have said, hey. I’d be interested in being a consultant on scrappy ABM. So there will actually be a roster of people with different areas of expertise if you need just specific tactical, like, one off support around the ways in which you’re thinking about growing a business in a very scrappy way. So scrappyabm.com. It’s gonna be that website, and it’s gonna be kind of the main resource hub for all scrappy ABM content moving forward.
Dan Sanchez [00:51:52]:
Nice. I’m looking at it right now, and a lot of this is is up and looking good. It’s not finished. There’s still some
Mason Cosby [00:51:59]:
you know, some sort on the website, but we’re getting there.
Dan Sanchez [00:52:04]:
Go there. Subscribe. Get the guides. Alright. Again, thank you for join thank you for joining me on the show.
1. Leveraging the Power of Connection
Mason discusses the importance of connecting two groups of people and using it to grow his LinkedIn audience. He shares how he achieved high download numbers for his podcast by featuring guests from popular companies like Google and Facebook. By focusing on interviewing intern managers and promoting internship programs, Mason created a valuable resource for his audience and attracted listeners from a wide range of backgrounds.
“Connecting people through my podcast has been the key to growing my audience and expanding my professional network.”—Mason Cosby
2. Building Relationships through Engagement
To deepen relationships and increase engagement, Mason emphasizes the value of tagging guests in comments and sharing what he learned from them. By actively engaging with his audience, he established a genuine connection and built trust, which led to more followers and listeners. Mason’s podcasts grew their audience by leveraging the larger audiences of the guests they featured, creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Strategies for engagement:
- Tag guests in the comments and share valuable insights from their podcast episode.
- Respond to comments and engage with listeners to build relationships.
- Leverage the larger audiences of guests to expand your reach.
3. The Power of Personalized Interactions
Mason shares valuable insights into the power of personalization. From sending personalized messages to answering specific questions with voice messages, he understands the impact of adding a personal touch to interactions. These personalized approaches not only make the recipient feel valued but also deepen the connection to Mason’s content and increase overall engagement.