Pioneering a B2B Media Brand To Build Affinity w/Obaid Durrani

Today, I had the privilege of interviewing Obaid Durrani, Head of Content at HockeyStack. We delved into the intricacies of content creation, the importance of having a centralized platform, and the transformative power of data. Join me as we explore these compelling insights from Obaid and learn how you can harness the potential of content creation to captivate your audience, drive engagement, and achieve your marketing goals.

Here are my top three takeaways:

1. Harness the Power of Purposeful Content

Obaid emphasizes the importance of treating content creation as a purposeful endeavor. Each series, whether it’s “Worst Marketer in the World” or “Can You Dashboard It?”, has a specific objective, whether it be educating people about the product or tying SEO success to demand generation initiatives. By aligning your content creation efforts with clear goals, you can create content that pushes your narrative forward and helps your audience understand your product or brand.

2. Leverage the Right Channels for Maximum Reach

Obaid emphasizes the need to share your content on the right channels to reach your target audience. At HockeyStack, LinkedIn and their platform, The Flow, serve as primary channels for content distribution. By strategically repurposing old posts and cataloging new content, HockeyStack maximizes the reach and impact of its creations. Additionally, Obaid discusses the benefits of having a separate streaming platform—a centralized hub where creators can showcase their work, making it easier for users to search, discover, and engage with specific videos.

3. Embrace Data-Driven Content Creation

Data is the lifeblood of successful content creation, and Obaid highlights the significance of leveraging comprehensive data to optimize your marketing strategy. With platforms like Audience Plus, HockeyStack can track various metrics, including podcast mentions, webinar attendees, sales calls, and content viewership. By using insights from this data, HockeyStack can measure the performance of different series, understand the customer journey, and make informed decisions that propel their marketing efforts forward. This data-driven approach brings clarity and measurable results to your content creation process.

Episode Transcript

Dan Sanchez [00:00:01]:

Welcome back to Audience Grow School, where I’m documenting how creators and businesses have grown their audiences so you can do the same. I’m Dan Sanchez, and today I’m talking to Obed Durrani, who is the head of content at Hockey Stack. Obed, welcome to the show.

Obaid Durrani [00:00:15]:

Thank you, my man. Appreciate you inviting me on, and it’s awesome to meet you and looking forward to our chat today. I think it’s going to be awesome.

Dan Sanchez [00:00:23]:

Absolutely. I mean, we were debating in a post that James Carberry posted about the media brands that you just launched, that Lavender just launched. And we were talking and debating kind of the nuances of launching a media brand and positioning it like a streaming service. And it ended up becoming like, a little debate within the LinkedIn post. So immediately I reached out, I was like, dude, we need to talk about this on a podcast episode and have it out once and for all.

Obaid Durrani [00:00:52]:

Yeah, absolutely.

Dan Sanchez [00:00:53]:

Because obviously I’m a dan of media brands, you’re a fan of media brands, but let’s get down to the nitty gritty. But before we get down into the debate, let me hear a little bit of the story and set some context for those who don’t know what hockeystack has been up.

Obaid Durrani [00:01:09]:

Yeah, so I think it’s important to go over that and kind of discuss how we got here. So I joined hockeystack as Head of Content back in March of this year. And when I was joining them, one of the co founders, Amir, that reached out to me was talking to me. We had a pretty similar vision with how we wanted to go about marketing hockeystack, the product. And one of those things in that conversation, I was just like, I want to do this, this and this. And he was like, Cool, you got it. And I was like, and I want to do it this way, and I want to do this and that. And he was like, all right, you got it. And then one of those things was like, so when he was just like, okay, you got it. I was like, Let me see how far I can push this. I was like, and I want to build a streaming platform. And then he was just like, go to theflow And I went to it, and it was already in its alpha stage. He was already building out this one resource where you could consume all of the content that Hockey Stack had put together, because usually the way that we go about it as marketing teams is things are kind of divided. Like your learning hub or your academy will be in one place. Your blog will be in one place. Some companies may combine them together in some sort of like a library, but it was never something like what Audience Plus allows for today, or what the flow is doing or what Lavender is doing with the streaming platform. So he was already building that out and we kind of had the similar vision. So I joined hockey stack. Now, the streaming platform thing, it’s kind of like the middle of the story. It’s what we were doing before that naturally led us here. It was almost like a natural order of progression, almost like the next practical or logical thing to do in our marketing strategy. And the reason for that is todd Klauser from Lavender. Todd and I created a framework last year called the Easy Mode Framework. And in that framework it’s an eight part framework. So part two, just really quickly, it’s this process called the Content Journey, which helps you establish the purposes behind the content that you’re going to be creating. And it goes that you need to create top down content, middle out content, and bottom up content. Top down content being the content that you create that’s meant to reach the people at your target orgs that are going to drive company wide change. So like leaders, executives, decision makers, what have you, your middle out content is the tactical content meant to reach the people that are actually going to implement that change. Right? Because if we look at the example of, like, lead gen versus demand gen, if there’s a marketing agency out there that talks about companies need to switch from a demand gen model to a lead gen model, some SaaS founder out there might be convinced and then he or she would go to his or her team and they would be the ones that would implement the processes in the tech stack that’s actually going to help that company transition from a lead gen model to a demand gen model. So even though that executive person is bought into the narrative or the mindset shift, they’re not going to be the ones that are implementing that change that your narrative is suggesting. So you have to create middle out content, which is tactical content meant to reach the people that are actually going to implement that change. And then the last one is bottom up content, which is content meant to reach the end users that are going to drive awareness and admiration from the inside. So it’s kind of like somebody asking within their like, hey, have you guys heard of Hockeystack? We just had a demo with them. And then like four or five people from inside their company going like, oh yeah, I love that brand. They made this funny commercial or they create these marketing songs or whatever. So that makes the conversation for my Ae hockey stacks Ae a lot more easier because now not only does he have a buyer champion, he also has people within that that are like admirers of our brand. So not only in theory, but we’re seeing it, it makes the conversations easier, right? So that was our plan to just create these three lanes of content in a more simplified way. You can think about it like, hey, we need to create content around our product so people know what it is, how it works, what it does, what benefits you can get from using it. Secondly, we need to create content around our narrative so people know why they even need to implement such a product in the first place. And then the last thing is because we know that not everyone’s looking to buy right now, because we know we need to stay top of mind. The third thing that we wanted to create was entertaining content that associates our product with certain outcomes by building that content on creative concepts. So it’s just these three lanes, essentially, that we have parallel running next to each other, and we try to keep a good balance of content supplying these three lanes. So as Amir and I set out to do that months go, now we have tons of videos. We have Dan Academy, we have marketing music. We have four different series of skits on one hand. On the other hand, they were already doing influencer marketing when I joined, right? We were already paying creators and popular leaders in our space to post about hockeystack on LinkedIn. So then again, we naturally thought like, okay, now that we’re following this model where we need to create product driven, narrative driven, and entertaining content, and we’re creating all these series because side note, the thing with series is why series, right? So I would create like a one off skit or like a one off episode of some sort of concept, and it would do really well. And then from there, because it’s doing really well, we do it again, we try it a third time, and then we’ll serialize that content because that allows us to continue to build on that concept and reiterate it and refine it without abandoning that concept altogether. And then, as in the background, we’re creating more and more content that’s either going to be serialized or not, depending on its performance. So on one hand, we’re creating all this internal content, product driven, narrative driven, and entertaining content. And then on the other hand I’m sorry, I’m so distracted right now. I have WhatsApp open, and my nine year old, she’s just like, blowing my WhatsApp up right now. So I’m just getting these constant notifications from my nine year old and I’m like, oh my God, I hope she so no problem. We’re doing that internal content. And then because we were already working with influencers, we were like, well, instead of paying them to post about us, how about we just pay them per episode to create their own series for our brand? And then to go one step further, just so it wasn’t Aimless influencer content, like, hey, we’re working with a popular creator who’s now just posting about hockey stack every day, because on one hand, that’s going to alienate their like, that’s not why that person tuned into their content to hear them just randomly plug a brand, right? Especially if you think of a creator like Todd, who’s funny and also smart and helpful, and sometimes he’s coming at you with this helpful content, and sometimes he’s just like, making you laugh. Then all of a sudden he comes out and he’s like, hey, sponsored post, go use hockey stack, right? It’ll probably get like ten likes because that’s not what his audience is there for. So we utilize Influencers, but it’s like, hey, we have a model. We know what we’re creating content for. We’re creating content to accomplish specific purposes and specific objectives. So let’s just do more of that. But have these creators and popular influencers do it and put their audience and their face and their following and their expertise behind our messages that we want to deliver. So that’s where the influencer, or the external creators, as we like to call them, we have internal creators and then we have external creators. We don’t really refer to it as like, influencer or thought leader or anything like that. So with these external creators, that’s more of what we’re doing. We’re utilizing external creators to create these series, to accomplish different purposes and build these multiple faces for our brand. And kind of the reason that that happened is when we started building out the Flow, the original goal was to have so let’s say we have like ten series on our streaming platform. The original goal was to have eight series from internal creators and then like two series from external creators. But then we realized that the popularity of those external creators may outweigh the platform itself, right? Because if you have just, like, Tim and Todd and then a bunch of faces you don’t recognize, like, let’s say me, Amir, right. From our company, then I had a feeling that people would go from referring to our platform as the flow to referring to it as that thing that Tim Davidson is doing or that thing that Todd Klauser is doing. So to prevent that, we flipped that number around. So now if we have ten episodes, instead of having eight internal shows, we have eight external shows and two internal shows. So now that we have all these popular faces on the platform, it kind of balances it out. And so people now refer to it as The Flow. Oh. Have you seen the flow? That thing with all those popular creators as opposed to, have you seen that thing that Todd’s doing, that streaming platform? So that’s how the Influencers came involved, or the external creators. And then the way that we even sort of came to the conclusion that we should create the streaming platform is that on one hand, Todd and I this is something that Todd and I were trying to do last year with easy mode because we had created a lot of content and we saw that we distributed on social. We’re using it to create our following on LinkedIn, but it’s kind of just fading away into the void. So it’s just like we should host it on one spot on our website. So from my side, that’s where the idea came from. From Amir. It’s just something he naturally had the idea for himself. So now when we got to this point, it’s like, yo, we have all this content. We have an academy up. Our academy is broken down into Marketing 101, 201 and 301. Several episodes under each. We have all these different series going. We have product driven series, we have narrative driven series, we have funny series. So it only made sense to sort of collect it all in one place, catalog it into different categories and present it to you in a way that you could easily just consume all that content in one place. That was the initial idea, owning your audience and all that. To be very honest, that wasn’t a thought. That wasn’t I don’t want to say it wasn’t a thought, but it wasn’t like a driving factor. Like something like, oh no, the reason we’re doing this is because we have to own our audience. The reason we did Actor Now, not yet, because, I mean, we have like 1000 subscribers to the Flow, but we haven’t sent out a single email yet. So we understand the value of it, but we’re kind of still in just like building creating mode where we just want to put out value, put out a ton of good content. And I think it maybe might have more to do with the fact that up until a week ago, it was just me and Amir’s also focused mostly on demo calls and whatnot, all that stuff. So it was just me. And it was just a matter of how much could I handle doing alongside the internal content that I’m creating, the external series that I’m working on, on top of that, like maintaining a newsletter, I’m already maintaining the company LinkedIn profiles and all of that stuff. So it’s just a matter of how much can you do as a scrappy team? But it’s definitely something that we talk about often, like, yo, we got to sign into MailChimp, we have to get the newsletter going and all that stuff. But yeah, at this stage, the whole owning an audience thing, it’s not really one of our driving factors. One thing that I would say is a bigger driving factor is the data that we can get from having all of this content be consumed in a site that we own.

Dan Sanchez [00:15:46]:

If you’re familiar with dive into data. Could I just recap, make sure I understand what you’re saying?

Obaid Durrani [00:15:53]:

Totally, yeah.

Dan Sanchez [00:15:54]:

You and Todd, like a year ago, set out to build the easy Moan Freight work, targeting three groups of people. Right? Essentially, you have the buyer in the middle, generally, who is the main decision maker, who generally is the one who has to implement the thing, but you have their influencers, which are the people above them, the executives, and the people who usually have to be the users of the thing usually beneath them. Right? The end users logging into the thing and probably using it, I’m sure more people using it. But that was kind of like your framework. You’re like, Dang, we need to implement this framework. You get picked up by Hockey Stack, and Todd gets picked up by Lavender, and you’re both like, Dang, here’s companies that wanted, essentially because that’s a lot of content, those are three different groups. Usually companies struggle just to create great content. For one of those buyer personas, you’re going after three and you’re like, we’re going to do a lot of content. And the companies you found are like, let’s do it. But you’re creating all this content from internal people, and then you’re hiring other creators external influencers to create it, and you’re just like, damn, we got content going on all over the place. Why don’t we all house it in one place, one streaming platform? So if people like what they see, they can go Binge it all. They have a place to binge. Because, you know, on social, especially like LinkedIn and Twitter, dude, if you liked that last one, you ain’t going to find the last post unless it was literally like that’s only thing you talk about. But usually it’s not. If you do a series, it’s broken up with lots of other things. YouTube’s. Probably more like well, usually you’re pretty consistent on YouTube, but you needed a house to not only bring the series together from one creator, but all the internal creators. All the external creators in one place. Where all three of the buyer personas you’re targeting the decision maker, their executive influencers and the users at the bottom can find everything. Right? And in a place where it’s nicely packaged, it looks great, it works well, and you can track some of the data. Is that about right?

Obaid Durrani [00:17:54]:

That’s 100% correct, yes.

Dan Sanchez [00:17:57]:

Okay, so tell me about the data. I’m really interested in this. What kind of data are you getting? Because that’s the one thing I know you’re using Audience Plus, which is that new software just came out. It’s all shiny and everybody’s like, new software? How is that going for you? I haven’t been in it, but I’ve seen some demo shots, of course, of what it can do. How’s that been?

Obaid Durrani [00:18:17]:

So, unfortunately, at the moment, we’re not using Audience Plus. We will be using audience plus soon. We didn’t know what Audience Plus was until Anthony Kennedy did that event. I think it was Audience Plus Meets World, where they had like topanga and stuff join as well. And that was like the platform reveal when there was advisors and other people that knew early beta users that knew what the platform was. But then that’s when the public learned about what Audience Plus was. And that’s when we found out, like Amir and I, that’s when we found out what Audience Plus actually is. But by that time we were like 90% done building the Flow on webflow. We used an external agency to build it on webflow, which is now probably our biggest regret, just building it on webflow. But we’re now in the process to transitioning to Audience Plus. Unfortunately building it on webflow. We had an issue to where the URLs weren’t working. So there’s no URL for any individual series or any individual episode. So you can’t track anything interesting. But the cool thing is, now that the URLs are fixed, we can insert hockeystack script on this page and then see Inside the Customer Journey, where you can also see like podcast mentions, webinar attendees, sales calls. We can also see what content they’re watching, how long they’re watching it, which series that they spend most time on, and stuff like that. And then aside from that, the data that we have been seeing just through sales calls and demo calls and people hitting us up on Slack and sending us screenshots from other Slack communities, self reported attribution, things like that, we’re seeing know people are coming to demo calls, informed about what our product does because of a specific series that we made. So, like, can you dashboard it?

Dan Sanchez [00:20:33]:

They’re mentioning the flow on inbound.

Obaid Durrani [00:20:34]:

They’re mentioning specific series from the Flow. They’re mentioning we watch the Flow, but they’re like, oh, I learned so much about your product and how I can have my marketers use it efficiently through Can You Dashboard It? One of our series. So at the end of the day, it’s kind of like, this is the content that you were going to create anyways. This is the blog post you were going to create, this is the ebook you were going to create, as in these individual series, right? This is the content you were going to make anyways. But going back to one of my most fundamental beliefs about marketing is that it’s all about creating memorable experiences. And that to do that, your content has to be insightful, interesting and entertaining. So all of this stuff, it just comes back to simple concepts like this. And I think if you really believe in doing marketing this way and not just that, more importantly, if you’re in the right spot, right? If you’re in the right spot with a leadership team that supports that way of thinking, enables that way of thinking, promotes that way of thinking, and actually allows you to do that act on those ideas. Act on those concepts. I think it eventually comes to a place like this where it’s like, hey, we need to accomplish a business objective, and we need to do it through our marketing. So instead of creating a new blog series or creating a new podcast or something, let’s think of a creative concept that allows us to tie our product to that specific outcome in a way that whoever’s reading this or watching this or listening to it is going to find it enjoyable. And they’ll also leave with that. Takeaway that. Like, okay, on a small example of that, we released the feature that you connect gong to hockeystack. And when people mention your podcast on sales calls, hockeystack takes notes of that and it can add it to your reporting, right? So then you can play around with things like in the past six months, out of the converted close one, which percentage of them listened to our podcast versus which didn’t? So you can do things like that. I just thought, and I still think that feature is super cool. So when we released it, we did the standard feature launch video with the cool rock music type stuff, right? Standard thing. We did that. But I was like, man, it’s such a dope feature. I want to make more content about this feature without that content being about the feature itself, right? So I recorded the skit where I was a marketer pretending to vent to his therapist and I was talking about how they want to shut down my podcast and how am I supposed to show ROI when it’s only been a month and the sales team’s bullying me and all this stuff. And then the therapist helps me calm down, and then he eventually goes like, oh, there’s Hockey Stack, and you can use it to show podcast ROI and all that. And then at the end, I even did one of those medicine commercials where it’s like, Hockey Stack, like, helping marketers since 1973. And so I even did like that at the end. And that video had over like 20, 30,000 views on LinkedIn, got over like 130 likes, ton of shares. And the point is, people watch this content, they laughed, they shared it, but that message stuck with them. That Hockey Stack now has this feature that lets you pick up that includes podcast mentions in the customer journey. And so had I tried to deliver that message through, let’s say, like a news article on the website, hockey Stack launches new podcast feature, right? Like, how many people am I really going to get to go from LinkedIn to our website to read that article? That was the big thing that I created. This almost like broad reach content that associated our product with a specific outcome versus a lot of times when we try to create that broad reach content, it may just be entertaining for the sake of being entertaining. So that’s why the whole product association thing is very important when you create that type of content.

Dan Sanchez [00:25:27]:

So now after you’ve kind of given the background on this, we know what this is built on, what you’re getting, how it’s shown some success so far. It’s funny because my debate has now been fizzled because you’re like, well, we’re not even trying to build an audience which means my next question is, dude, why the heck not? How are you not trying to build an audience with that? Isn’t that the whole point? Isn’t building an audience and getting people to the site so they can binge it? Wouldn’t you want to capture some of that and retain them longer, get them watching more, reading more, spending more time with you?

Obaid Durrani [00:26:02]:


Dan Sanchez [00:26:04]:

Why not gate some of it? I’m a big fan of Gating, by the way. That’s the one thing that audience I think audience plus can do. I don’t think they do it. I’d be like, you get to watch 30 seconds of this, but you have to subscribe for free in order to watch everything in here, because then we can track it all, and then you can get updates about new series we add. It just kind of makes sense. I mean, Netflix and Disney do it, absolutely, but just don’t put a price tag on it. I’m like, that seems like the best way to go for me. What’s stopping you from that? Or is it just like, we haven’t gotten there yet?

Obaid Durrani [00:26:36]:

There’s a few things, there’s a few answers to that. On one hand, the shortest answer is functionality. As I mentioned, we’re not using audience plus just yet. We’ll be on it in a week or so, a couple of weeks. But up to right now, we’re not using it. And we had other things and issues that we needed to fix, like the URL issue I mentioned. My goal was to make it to where people can create a free profile on the platform by connecting their LinkedIn profile. So you could use Google, like the whole just continue with Gmail thing. But I wanted to be able to also add the functionality to where people could connect their LinkedIn profile to create a profile. So on one hand, there’s that just functionality. When we switch to Audience Plus, I think they already have that functionality, so we may just do that right away. But I think the funner answers are the reason we didn’t do it deliberately. I think maybe even if we had that functionality at this point in time, as in, like, August 24, 2023, I don’t think we would do it. Because I think on one hand, it’s like a quality thing. Not that I don’t think that content is not good. I think all of it’s good. But I also understand that our platform is in its infancy. In the sense that up until last week, we didn’t have much of a budget. We had, like, a $5,000 per month budget for the flow. Right? And so that’s not like, hey, let’s rent out a camera crew. Let’s rent an Airbnb for a weekend and let’s all meet up. Right?

Dan Sanchez [00:28:33]:

Tell me, is that including soft costs? Like, does your salary get billed against it? No, because then it adds up real fast. You have hard costs, $5,000 a week to hire extra freelancers up until gear.

Obaid Durrani [00:28:47]:


Dan Sanchez [00:28:48]:

Okay, so that’s not too bad.

Obaid Durrani [00:28:53]:

So I wasn’t going that approach at all in terms of gear and this and that. Everything so far has been us working with the equipment and stuff that we already have, right? Like, I have this camera, I have my phone, all that stuff. So I’m just creating concepts and we’re recording these shows. Our team has been super helpful. Like, our lead customer success manager, Courtney, she’s the host of Can You dashboard it? It’s not something that she needs to do or has to do. She just does it for us. And she’s super awesome. She’s really good at it. Our designer, Borja, she’s been really good at just out of nowhere, she had to jump on video editing and stuff. She’s been really good at that. So it’s just a matter of one at quality at this point. Somebody said something I don’t think it was you, but somebody said something on James Carberry’s post about audience expecting more or something like that. And it’s just like, that was me.

Dan Sanchez [00:30:02]:

That was me.

Obaid Durrani [00:30:03]:


Dan Sanchez [00:30:03]:

I was like, hey, if you’re telling people, hey, head over to our streaming platform. I’m like, by calling it a streaming platform, aren’t you kind of comparing yourself to Disney or Netflix and then you’re essentially saying, we have content on a comparable level, which nobody does because they spend millions of dollars on each freaking show?

Obaid Durrani [00:30:23]:

Yeah, absolutely. I think on one hand, that’s why I think it was important to add the little four B two B marketers, like, streaming platform for B, two B marketers. It provides a little bit of hint of like, yo, we’re trying, right? Like, we’re just getting this thing going. Don’t come in here expecting the new Barbie movie or something. And so on one hand, I think that’s cool that our audience kind of lets us slide or allows that they know that, okay, I’m going to go to these and I’m going to see 1080p webcam video, or I’m going to see 4K video. I’m not going to see Hollywood level post production and stuff. Right. That is the goal though, right? The goal is to work ourselves there. As we grow our team, as we grow our budget, as we work with more and more creators, the goal is to eventually do that. Right now, we’re focused on we’re talking about everyone that does have sort of like a talking head style series for the flow. We’re having them upgrade their setup so it looks at least like ours does, as opposed to just like your Mac webcam. You’re sitting in a bedroom or something.

Dan Sanchez [00:31:45]:

You know what makes a lot of sense as you’ve been talking, I’ve been thinking about the streaming platform, and I’m like, okay, well, why have a streaming platform? Couldn’t you just dump it all on YouTube? And then I thought, well, if you’re working with external creators, wouldn’t they want to maximize. The content by posting it on their own YouTubes, by keeping it all focused on one streaming platform. You can let all the external creators post it to wherever they got audience and then double dip by taking it into the streaming platform. You know how many times I’ve gone back to find Klauser’s remake of The Notebook because it was so funny, and there’s so many times where I’ve wanted to show, like, a new SDR I’m working with. I’m like, have you seen Todd Klauser’s notebook? Video of he intercut scenes from the notebook? Yeah, I remember that one with an SDR marketing conversation. It was hilarious. But it’s buried in the feed. Luckily, I think he pins that one to do his post, and that’s where I go to find it now. But is there a URL? Like, it’s so hard to find these things, but on a streaming platform. Oh, dude, you could just search up Todd Klaus or Notebook video. Now, I know that’s not one of the videos you’re hosting. You have a bunch of other Todd Klaus or videos, but where else are you going to find these social series? They’re hard. It’s almost like you can create playlists, but with a compilation of creators, with a compilation of internal creators, you have some that are more product focused, some that are just fun ones, multiple personas, all within one platform and track it differently. So it does make sense to have a separate platform for it all, considering you’re working with a variety of creators on these.

Obaid Durrani [00:33:15]:

That and then it also goes back to the data. If all of this is hosted on YouTube, then sure, you have YouTube analytics, but then it’s siloed. And that’s one of the biggest issues. It’s how data gets siloed. Like how salesforce doesn’t talk to HubSpot and they don’t talk to each other. Right? So this data would then just be restricted to YouTube, and it’s hard to then see how all of these series are performing in the context of pipeline and revenue and closed one and generated leads and stuff. So having this on your own platform, on one hand, one there’s Audience Plus. Now, Audience Plus gives you all of that data. But on the other hand, in terms of, like, me and Amir’s perspective, a few months ago, when we didn’t know what Audience Plus was, it was like, hey, hockeystack already shows you the customer journey. If Dan visits our website right now, it’ll show every single interaction Dan had with our brand, whether he downloaded an ebook, he booked a calendar meeting with a bed, he talked to R A, like, it already shows you all that. So once we had this page on our website that has all of this content, it would just include all of that into the customer journey. So now with our reporting, where once we could say, hey, how many people that became customers in the last three months listened to a podcast. We could also change it to how many of them watched can you dashboard it? How many of them watched level up. Right? So we get not just analytics and not just data on how these series is performing, but in the context of how it’s performing for our go to market strategy, our marketing strategy, qualified pipeline deals closed, one new prospects coming in inbound demo request and all of that stuff. That’s the big thing. Yeah, that’s the main reason that we also host it on our own website. Dumping all this stuff on YouTube in specific playlist and all that, that’s still a part of the plan. It’s still something that I’m going to do moving forward simply because it doesn’t happen a lot. But I think there was one instance where somebody was like, hey, can I watch this on YouTube to one of our series. So I was know like, we’ll throw it up on there eventually.

Dan Sanchez [00:35:54]:

It makes sense. YouTube has discoverability absolutely where your own platform? It doesn’t have any. Which leads to my next question of how are you pushing people to this property? Like how do you acquire new audience, new eyeballs to the flow?

Obaid Durrani [00:36:10]:

So, so far the way that we’ve been doing it is through our collective LinkedIn following. And I can’t remember the exact number on this because this was a statistic that Amir dropped in Slack like four weeks ago. So it’s either 800 or 8000. But the first month that we launched the Flow, it was either 800 or 8000 companies that visited it, which either way I think is huge. And it was either 200 or 2000 of those companies that were enterprise companies. So for the sake of the conversation, let’s go with the smaller number. Having 800 companies visit your streaming platform in a month and 200 of them being enterprise companies, I think that’s massive. And we did that through posting about it on LinkedIn. And it was just Amir and I post Buddha, our CEO post a few of the external creators that we worked with, they posted about it and it drove that many people to our streaming platform. There’s lots of lots of small companies, big companies that are talking about it. And I’m sorry, I just lost my train of thought. What was your initial question?

Dan Sanchez [00:37:38]:

How are you driving traffic to the was you had initial launch when you were talking about it and everybody and James, the post that brought us here today was announcing the launch and they were excited about it because this is what Sweetfish is all about, helping people build media brands. Now Audience Plus is about it. So they were talking about it because you’re a new customer of theirs onboarding into their platform. But what’s the plan moving forward after the launch? News is there a consistent like oh well, the creators are going to mention push people back to the flow every once in a while.

Obaid Durrani [00:38:13]:

On one hand, as these creators, they create series. Todd, for example, there’s a new episode of Worst Marketer in the World every Wednesday, he posts it links to the Flow. On the other hand, if we recall earlier in the conversation, all of this content is being built to accomplish specific purposes. So the series that I’m making, the everyday content that we post on LinkedIn, it can all be linked back to the flow because that’s where it’s all coming from. Content is being created to push our narrative, to establish it, help people understand it. Content is being created to help people understand our product. It just so happens to be that that content is in the form of video series. So on one hand, I’m posting it on LinkedIn, on the other hand, I’m cataloging it on the Flow. So every single thing that I post, I can always say to see the next episode of this, or to take a deeper dive into this, link back to the Flow. In every single one of my posts, I created, not created, but we already had a Hockey Stack company profile, and I created a company profile, LinkedIn company profile for the flow. So the Hockey Stack company profile, that’s where I kind of post everything. I repurpose posts, like old text posts that I wrote. Drew’s on our team now, drew Leahy, so I’m repurposing text posts. He wrote all of our series, the Worst Marketer in the World level up. I repurposed that. I post product updates. But the want I’m treating it almost like a channel, like a TV channel that you just flip to. And then there’s just constantly like HBO. If you just go to HBO, there’s constantly like movies playing. So with the Flow, it was just like I wanted to just every single day post another episode from one of our plenty of series. So we have 15 series or 18 series in total right now. And then we also have in development 19 series from 21 external creators. So we have 19 external series in development from 21 external creators. Again, all of this content, it’s being created to fulfill one of those three specific purposes. The different goals that it has, that’s a different story. Let me give you an example, right? One of the purposes is to create content around our product so people know what it is, how it works. That’s the purpose, right? Overall purpose for our effort to create series and our effort to create content. Right? When you move one level down, what’s the purpose of an individual series? Like, what’s the goal of this series? So there’s an overall three purposes for our content creation efforts in general. And then when you move a layer down, when you start talking about individual series, what is the goal for this individual series? So, for example, one individual series that I’m developing right now with a really smart, well known SEO practitioner is a series on SEO. My goal for this series was I want demand gen folks to care more about SEO by tying SEO success metrics to demand gen initiatives by using hockeystack. And so it’s product driven content. It accomplishes one of the larger content creation purposes, but it also is accomplishing its own goal that two different audiences would be interested in SEO community and the demand gen community.

Dan Sanchez [00:42:11]:

It’s an interesting influencer you have going on. You’re essentially doing a lot of collaborations leveraging the influencer’s audience. They get to post it to all their people. Meanwhile, you get to fuel your own thing going on with the flow, which is more audience for the creator that maybe that’s not tuned into them. So you get the content and then you get to work your product into it in such a way that it feels natural without being forced. It feels like content rather than feeling like, well, marketing and sales content.

Obaid Durrani [00:42:44]:

Yeah, exactly.

Dan Sanchez [00:42:45]:

So it makes a lot of sense.

Obaid Durrani [00:42:47]:

Thanks, man.

Dan Sanchez [00:42:48]:

Probably have one question because I know we have to wrap up here, but how are you structuring the deals with the creators themselves? Are you paying them per series, or is it different for every single creator who has the rights to the content ultimately? Or do you kind of say, like, we have rights to post it here, but you ultimately have the rights to the content, but we’re essentially licensing it for it to be here?

Obaid Durrani [00:43:09]:

How’s that going? So we’re paying them per episode. So we have like a set number that we can pay per episode. And every creator that we’re working with is going to get paid that per episode.

Dan Sanchez [00:43:27]:

That’s where that $5,000 a month goes.

Obaid Durrani [00:43:30]:

Yeah, that’s where it was going before. But thankfully to the success that we’re seeing in having that $5,000 a month was increased. So now we can do more. Yeah, we’re paying every creator per episode. Initially, it was just me reaching out to people. One week, I messaged like 30 different people. I was like, hey, you want to create your own series for the flow? By the way, Mr. Sanchez, do you want to create your own series for the flow? If you do, we could talk about that afterwards. I think it would be cool.

Dan Sanchez [00:44:02]:

That’s funny.

Obaid Durrani [00:44:03]:

Yeah, we’d have to see cool. Yeah. And then so in terms of rights and stuff, it’s your content. You can do what you want with it, obviously, aside from just selling it to someone else. But we just host it on the flow. Right. We’re not trying to take anything from the creator. We’re trying to do our best to collaborate with creators in a way that helps both parties out. US pushing your series, we’re essentially pushing your expertise, pushing your thoughts, hopefully getting more people across it. And then at the same time, you’re bringing your, I guess you could say, credibility and whatnot, and believing or helping us spread this message that you also believe in and whatnot. So in terms of rights, like, these creators own the content. They can repost it on their own, they can host it on their own website, do what they want, repurpose it to TikTok, whatever. It’s just that we also host the content on our own platform. So in the same sense, we’re also accepting series from other companies. So if you’re familiar with, like winter papelaya makes, do you even resonate? I messaged Pape and I was like, hey, would you be cool with us posting Do You Even Resonate on the Flow? And he was just like, yeah, cool. So then I got all the episodes from Carl from Winter we uploaded. Do you even resonate on the flow? So now along with watching every episode of Do You Even Resonate on Winter’s YouTube channel, on Winter’s website, you could also watch it on the Flow. Not that Pape needs the flow to get anyone to find out about who he is, but now it’s also there as well. So cognizant they have their series in the loop. I talked to them today. They’re cool with me hosting that on the Flow. So I’m going to upload that on the Flow. Another company, Contrast, made a show called The Game Show that’s on the flow. So these are the two non hockey stack shows on the Flow right now. And the goal is to just add more and more good shows, create our own and from other companies, from podcasters, from people like you, creators like you as well. The goal is just to make it like the Netflix for B two B marketers, right? It’s not necessarily hockey stack driven, it’s more so just value for B two B marketers. Like the one spot that B two B marketers can go to, to get all of their insights, all of their information, all of their favorite creators to laugh, to learn, all that type of stuff. So, yeah, huge.

Dan Sanchez [00:47:03]:

If you can capture that attention, I’m glad you’re seeing success already. Like, you only launched not long ago, what, two months ago?

Obaid Durrani [00:47:09]:

Yeah, almost two months.

Dan Sanchez [00:47:11]:

Yeah, two months. So the fact that you’re already seeing sales pipeline movement and people talking about it and the fact that you can track to see that they’ve watched some of this stuff is such a good indicator. Hence the budget was increased. But I want the audience, if you’re also listening to this, you’re like, okay, it’s $5,000 a month. Yes, they put a lot of upfront cost developing a website, lots of deals, lots of time, but it’s $5,000 a month for a lot of B two B companies. This is a drop in the bucket.

Obaid Durrani [00:47:34]:

And one marketer, people look at it.

Dan Sanchez [00:47:36]:

And they’re like, oh, you got to spend 200K. I’m like, man, it doesn’t take that much. In order to get this, you probably need to hire one good creator marketer like yourself to kind of kick it off. And then just $5,000 a month you’re able to pay per episode for a lot of creators to start contributing good content. You just find people who kind of already have a track record for getting attention, and you could start owning it. You could start collaborating with them to own some of that attention, which is where the future economy is going around attention. So, man, I love where you guys are going. Three years from now, people will be like, hockey stack. They knew what was up. I still feel like it’s early. I’m still having to defend audience growth to people who are like, why would I need to grow an audience?

Obaid Durrani [00:48:20]:

That’s crazy. Just send them audience plus or send them the Flow or something like that. Be like, look at this. So cool, man. Yeah. Awesome. It was super dope chatting with you. I had a really good time talking about all this stuff. Maybe we can catch up again in a few months and I can update you on progress, how things are going. We can talk about it again.

Dan Sanchez [00:48:41]:

I’d love to. Where can people officially find the Flow and yourself?

Obaid Durrani [00:48:48]: theflow so that would be the Flow. Check that out. That’s the main streaming platform. You could also follow the flow company page on LinkedIn. You could follow the hockeystack company page on LinkedIn. And to find me on LinkedIn, just look for Oped. Durrani.

Dan Sanchez [00:49:15]:

Awesome. I will be dropping all those links in the show notes for anybody listening on the players. Thanks again for joining me today.

Obaid Durrani [00:49:21]:

Yeah, for sure, dude. It was awesome chatting with you. I’ll talk to you soon.

Dan Sanchez, MBA

Dan Sanchez is a marketing director, co-host of the B2B Growth show, and blogger. He holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and BS in Marketing Management from Western Governors University. Learn more about Dan »

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