A whole lot of lawyers are trying to be something they’re not, but Jared thinks you all really ought to cut the crap. The truth is, marketing yourself as some unapproachable superlawyer isn’t going to get you nearly as far with clients as just being yourself. (1:56)
Building on this theme, Jared welcomes Darian Kovacs to discuss ways to develop your online authenticity by telling your story, your way. They chat about compelling marketing tactics to employ on a number of platforms, including Google My Business, YouTube, blogs, newsletters, and more. (8:13)This time on the Rump Roast, the interview continues! Jared asks Darian about his unique experiences as a podcaster and what led to his Marketing Jam podcast getting picked up by Amazon Prime (27:20).
Darian Kovacs is a founding partner of Jelly Digital Marketing and PR Agency.
You want to be authentic? Be personal. Be intimate. And what’s more personal and intimate than an acoustic guitar? The answer: nothing. So, unplug, and settle in.
Our opening track is Two Cigarettes by Major Label Interest.
The music for the Legal Trends Report Minute is I See You by Sounds Like Sander.
Our closing track is Take Me Home, by Adrian Walther
Special thanks to our sponsors Scorpion, TimeSolv, Alert Communications and Clio.
Jared Correia: I’d like to take a moment to thank my mom for listening to every episode. Now, my mom is the real reason you’re listening to this show right now, but the sponsors have a little something to do with it as well. So I’d like to thank our sponsors too. Clio, Scorpion, TimeSolv, Alert Communications.
As the largest legal-only call center in the U.S., Alert Communications helps law firms and legal marketing agencies with new client intake. Alert captures and responds to all leads 24/7-365 as an extension of your firm in both Spanish and English. Alert uses proven intake methods customizing responses as needed, which earns the trust of clients and improves client retention. To find out how Alert can help your law office, call 866-827-5568 or visit alertcommunications.com/ltn.
Intro: It’s the Legal Toolkit with Jared Correia. With guest, Darian Kovacs, how to become a successful podcaster, and we show why Flash Gordon is the greatest space opera ever set to film. Suck it Star Wars. But first, your host, Jared Correia.
Jared Correia: The Legal Toolkit Podcast is happening right now and not later. Yes, I’m your host, Jared Correia. Art Fleming was unavailable so you’re stuck with me. I’m the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, a business management consulting service for attorneys. Find us online at redcavelegal.com. I’m the CEO of Gideon Software, Inc. We build chat bots so law firms can convert more leads. You can find out more about Gideon at gideon.legal.
Before we get to our interview today with Darian Kovacs of Jelly, I wanted to take some time to talk a little about something I like to call authenticity, or not. I talk to a lot of law firms about marketing and branding and I’m always surprised about how reticent lawyers are to just be themselves. Most of the attorneys that I talk to are looking to uphold some ideal of what a lawyer should be even if that’s an image that they don’t entirely believe in, and many don’t. So you’re probably thinking that I’m talking to a bunch of older lawyers, right? Who aren’t ready to give up those traditional notions they still cling to as they shuffle papers at their desks. Only, you’d be wrong. A number of young lawyers that I talked to including those that are about to start a new law firm are trying to be something they’re not. It’s strange days indeed as John Lennon would say but these young lawyers are trying very hard to define themselves, and to do so they’re looking for a template. So what they’re really asking me is what’s a lawyer supposed to be like? And throw into the mix the pandemic where traditional services, businesses have changed significantly including law practice. So everybody’s feeling a little untethered. So drill down a little bit more into that question and what people are really asking me is, what are lawyers supposed to be like now so that I can be that way myself? And my answer is usually pretty much the same. Fuck that noise.
The fact is that there’s no definition for a lawyer should be. Is it Atticus Finch? I don’t know. Atticus Finch was written and acted out by Gregory Peck 70 years ago. That’s probably not a modern template for a lawyer, right? No matter how much you like that character. Is it Harvey Birdman? Probably not. He’s a bird and an animated character. Is it somebody from LA Law? I guess not, but I wouldn’t know. I’ve never watched LA Law before. Is it Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul? Definitely not. And most pop culture lawyer representations when you think about them are about trial lawyers. What happens if you’re not a trial lawyer?
So the point of this exercise is that there’s no defined lawyer prototype and that every lawyer has to answer that question differently. But honestly, what do you care what other lawyers think? What’s more relevant is what your potential clients think about you. So potential clients work with small service businesses like law firms because they trust the principal. And if you’re a stuffy looking attorney, is that the kind of business person a modern legal consumer wants to engage? Perhaps not. In a world in which everyone’s been wearing sweatpants for the last 16 months, wearing a suit probably only makes you look more expensive. If it says on your website that you went to Harvard Law School, hello. You got to pay that student loan off somehow, right? Who pays them for you? Your clients. They know that. They’re not stupid. Super lawyer sounds expensive. How about if I get a good lawyer? Are you seeing where I’m going here?
If you want to get the root of a traditional law firm web presence and build that out, make sure you smile like a constipated serial killer in your headshot to really maximize the effect. Hey, you’re the one who wanted to be a traditional lawyer, right? So here’s a simple resolution for all this. Let’s assume that you can both talk and write because you’re a functioning human being and further that you can talk and write well since you went to law school and that’s what you paid all that money for. Apply that to a content marketing strategy so that when people find you online it’s because they know exactly what you do and why. Do that and then it’s just a matter of being likable. And you’re more likable when you act like yourself. So be yourself at all times. That’s the secret to marketing. Uh, in parentheses (like a lawyer) and you just happened to be a lawyer. The business terminology for this is authenticity. But I kind of hate myself now for even using that term. And most people take that to mean you should enthusiastically try to play a character, your business owner persona. And now I’m upset I even brought this up.
So don’t be authentic, be yourself, put your dog on your website but only if you like your dog. And if you like your dog but think that’s cheesy, then don’t do it. If you like plaid shirts wear the fuck out of those plaid shirts. It worked for me and Paul Bunyan. If you’re a geek and invented your own strategy game called the Cones of Dunshire, wear it. If you like Rolo’s candies, tell people that and you’ll get plenty of shipments of Rolos. Uh, trust me. If it’s not a shtick, if it’s what you do in your personal life and what you enjoy, then you can use it in a business context effectively. I mean, have you ever listened to this podcast? So market like a well-rounded human being and you’ll add more well-rounded zeros to your business and personal bank accounts. Now don’t go anywhere because we’re going to do an exceedingly authentic interview. Shit, I did it again, with Darian Kovacs of Jelly. He’s got something that most attorneys can only dream about. Stay tuned to find out what that is. That’s next. But first, let’s take a moment to listen to the Clio Legal Trends Report Minute.
Joshua Lenon: Did you know that 42% of solo law firms operate without commercial office space? In fact, 9% of solo law firms gave up their office space in the last year alone. I’m Joshua Lenon, Lawyer-in-Residence at Clio. We’re seeing an overwhelming number of solo attorneys migrating their legal practices to internet-based cloud technologies giving them the freedom to practice from anywhere. New research based on data from tens of thousands of legal professionals show that with the right technologies, solo lawyers can make $50,000 more revenue than other law firms on a per-lawyer basis. This is because cloud solutions like online payments, client portals, and client intake software create the types of efficient legal experiences that today’s clients look for. To learn more about these opportunities and much more for free, download Clio’s Legal Trends Report for solo law firms at clio.com/solo. That’s Clio, spelled C-L-I-O.
Jared Correia: Okay, it’s time for our guest interview. We have a Canadian guest today. So let’s get to the savory gravy on top of this delicious pile of poutine. Our guest today is Darian Kovacs who is the Founding Partner at Jelly. Darian, how are you?
Darian Kovacs: I’m good. Thank you for having me on your show.
Jared Correia: All right. Hey, my pleasure. I know you’re a podcasting veteran, and hold that thought, everybody because we’re going to get to that in the next segment. But for now let’s talk marketing. I talk to a lot of lawyers about marketing. A lot of lawyers have issues with web marketing let’s say tactfully. So I think a lot of what you speak to is interesting in terms of where this all starts and it starts from being able to create a brand, being authentic, being able to tell stories that are compelling to people. That’s true of legal consumers and non-legal consumers and I know this is kind of a focus of what you do. So can you talk to me a little bit about that? Like lawyers are maybe some of the most inauthentic marketers I’ve ever met. So how do you beat that out of them?
Darian Kovacs: I think the times we live in now that like when you Google Search something, the search engine result page, right? The page that shows up their digital footprint tells a story. And you know whether that’s a good story or a bad story, it’s there. And whether people like it or not, you know thanks to things like LinkedIn and ZoomInfo and whatever thing you did back in university that’s still kind of clinging onto the internet. You can either proactively work to tell your story in a way that you want it to be told or you can just kind of be passive and let whatever is out there tell your story. And I think that’s what I love about now is showing lawyers and putting up the mirror to say hey, this is what the world, this is what the internet thinks about you is a bit of a rude awakening in some cases.
Jared Correia: Right, like I would agree. There’s like relatively little intellectual curiosity about attorneys in terms of attorneys about what is out there about them online, which is surprising because attorneys are intellectually curious about almost anything else. It’s like I love Googling and consulting clients I have and being like did you know this existed or do you know this is like the second result on Google. And they never know. So speaking of someone who’s lucky to be old enough that none of those college pictures are online, I think this notion you talk about about controlling the narrative is important. I still get people who are like you know, how do I fix this or how do I get that result down? And it’s not a magic trick, right? Like part of it is building a narrative and then controlling it, but in order to control a narrative you have to build it in the first place.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. And I think we live in a time where Google has this amazing child named YouTube, like Google bought YouTube years ago and so in the same way if you are really good and friendly and nice and generous to someone’s child, when you go to their house you feed them broccoli and healthy foods and granola bars, the parent looks fondly upon you. So if you can be nice to Google’s child YouTube for example, and start filling and investing in YouTube with great content, if your name is googled your YouTube videos pop up. If a term is googled and you’ve got YouTube videos about it, those begin to pop up. And so if you can begin to control small things like that. And there’s this old really bad SEO joke where it’s like where is the best place to hide a dead body?
Jared Correia: You specialize in dead jokes on this show.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, great. Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? Second page of Google. Right?
Jared Correia: Perfect.
Darian Kovacs: In reality, no one goes there. Right? So what are they saying about you, what are they saying about the type of law you practice, what are they saying about your firm, and can you change that and can you proactively claim your Yelp account? Can you claim your Google My Business? You know Google My Business, I’d say more than anything is having a significant impact on people’s story and who they are and who their brand is. Probably half the lawyers’ Google My Business pages haven’t been claimed or haven’t been updated in years.
Jared Correia: Right. So now we’re getting into nitty gritty stuff which I like. Great analogy, by the way. I’ve never heard YouTube referred to as Google’s child before, but here we are. And I think what most people don’t realize is that if you call YouTube a search engine, which it really is, it’s like the second biggest search engine in the world after Google. So in terms of — let’s do the video stuff first because I think that’s compelling. A lot of lawyers I talk to they don’t want to do the video because they feel very self-conscious. So is there a way to get over that? And then how do you build out a video library that’s going to be compelling to legal consumers?
Darian Kovacs: There’s an old term that’s quite violent about killing multiple birds with one stone, right? So my grandma has an alternative which is feed multiple birds with one grain.
Jared Correia: Yeah. That’s beautiful. That’s almost like a parable.
Darian Kovacs: Thank you, thank you. So when we present this to lawyers the idea being is, sure you don’t want to be on video. But the video is a means to an end, and so we say hey, we want to shoot a video over Zoom because right now we’re doing a lot of remote video interviews so we do it over Zoom. And then from there we’re then able to get content not only for LinkedIn which LinkedIn loves it when you post video content natively right to the LinkedIn platform. We then use that same video for YouTube. We can use that same video for other places but more importantly we then can take the audio from that and possibly start a podcast, possibly use that audio for other reasons, but more importantly that audio can then be transcribed into a blog. And so because of that they say, okay, why charge out X dollars an hour if you’re able to efficiently use an hour of my life to create video for multiple channels, audio from multiple channels, and that audio can be turned into a blog? You know something clicks in their brain and they realize, wow, for an hour of time, that produces a lot of content.
Jared Correia: Yeah, repurposing. Like I would think that most lawyers I talk to like are pretty old school about this stuff. So if you talk to them about dictation, they’d be like, yeah I dictate into work perfect all the time. But if you talk about transcribing a video and turning it into a blog post, that’s currency that they understand. So I think it’s really smart that you play it off that way.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. And what I’m finding too now is that with that as well and sometimes we see it as well, it’s like doing an interview for a newspaper. Think of it like that. You would talk to a newspaper and you would give terms, legal terms and legal context in a way that the lay people of this world can understand, and usually that produces some of the best blog content because instead of them writing it in legalese and very professional and like university-level writing, we almost get like a grade 12 to grade 8 level writing material because they’re verbally saying it.
Jared Correia: Yeah, which is what you want. Yeah, I think that’s a great point. And then this repurposing thing is useful to lawyers because they’re always time stressed. So I do one thing, I get multiple aspects out of it. That’s great.
Before we go too deep into the world of video, the other thing I thought you brought up which is really important is Google My Business. So I’m always surprised at how few law firms have actually claimed — not done anything with it but even claimed their Google My Business profile and it’s free. So how do you convince lawyers to do that and what are some stuffs they could take at like a baseline level to build out a compelling Google My Business profile.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. In the same way, you know Google, you know and where someone ranked — there’s a lot of ranking factors and Google My Business being one of them, Bing listing is one of them as much as there’s not everyone really Bings these days, there’s a segment of people that do, those that either work for the government and are stuck with a PC Internet Explorer and their default search browser is Bing.
Jared Correia: Right.
Darian Kovacs: Or the elderly, right? They bought a PC computer, they didn’t download Chrome or any other browser and they use Bing.
Jared Correia: I like this conversation. It does happen.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah.
Jared Correia: People do use Bing. That’s a real thing.
Darian Kovacs: There is a segment and Google uses it to verify. So you got to make sure your Bing hours and the information is correct and it matches what’s on your website, it matches what’s in Google My Business, and it’s just a nice controllable way to respond to reviews, engage with your audience, and really control who your brand is and what your brand is in the same way you wouldn’t want the world to have control of your website. We often use that as an explanation that’s saying hey, if your website was out there unclaimed, you wouldn’t just leave it there for anyone to write reviews on and write messages on. You’d want to own it and you’d want to control it.
Jared Correia: Controlling the narrative thematically again. And then you also make a great point about not just Bing profiles, Google My Business profiles, like directory profiles in general, like that all has to match up and be consistent. So part of the story you tell is how consistently you can write it and we’re talking about web marketing.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. And Google these days, and if you’ve seen this great movie, Lindsay Lohan stars in it named Mean Girls.
Jared Correia: I’ve seen every Lindsay Lohan movie.
Darian Kovacs: Okay, exactly. So those really mean girls in that movie is a great way to look at Google. Google stands against the locker judging your website as your website walks down the hallway and Google is kind of leaning back, looking at your website. And the two things Google is looking for; number one is what is your website wearing? What sort of brand names, what’s your hairstyle, do you have braces? And that’s all kind of like the technical SEO things. Those are the things that are you know H1 headers, the things that your web person can fix, the things that you can run an audit and do those technical fixes. But the second thing that google is looking at, Mean Girl Google, is who’s talking to your website in the hallway, and what are they talking to you about, and do you have an authority on a topic. So again, Google My Business, Bing, Yelp, listing pages, media interviews linking back to you talking about a certain type of law and your name and your law firm’s website. Those all have an impact on the authority and where you rank.
Jared Correia: Four for you, Glenn Coco. I’ve never had the opportunity to say that on a podcast so thank you. So you’ve got your Google My Business profile going, you’ve got your YouTube channel. You talked about transcribing that to create a blog, and that’s something I want to come back to, which is how much of this content needs to sit on your website, how do you get it to your website, and what kind of effect does that have on SEO?
Darian Kovacs: I know there’s a big wrestle and our own internal team wrestles with it because we’re both an SEO agency and a PR agency. And so in the same way, you know if a friend of yours, Jared, came to you and said, “Jared, check it out, man, I wrote this book on oils. You’re going to love it, man, it’s so good. I published it in my basement. It’s all the oils that are going to change your life. I’ll rub some of that on your face right now.” And you’re like, “Oh, cool.” You’re like, “You should buy my book, it’s $10.” And you might think man, that’s an interesting book and I really like and respect my friend, I might consider that.
Jared Correia: As long as someone’s not rubbing oil on my face, I’ll definitely buy a book. That’s the trade I’ll make.
Darian Kovacs: Perfect, Perfect. And if that same friend though came to you in a different scenario and said, “Jared, hey I just got this book published. Harper Collins published it. You can pick it up on Amazon, you can pick it up on Barnes & Noble. Any bookstore has it,” you might actually just think differently about them and about that book and you’re like wow, my friend actually knows his stuff. And so in the same way when you self-publish on your own blog, you want to think about blog content that is for SEO purposes mostly. So think about using terms like “versus” and “best.” There’s also a section, actually it’s a free thing in Google. If you Google Search something and you scroll down, there’s a section called People Also Ask. That’s one of the best resources you can use. So they take information from a thing called Google Trends. There’s also a really fun website called Answer The Public that kind of collects those people you know commonly asked questions and those are the things you want to have on your website. But you always want to say for everything that you self-publish and you’ve self-published for SEO purposes, you want to also try to get published so that you can, A, get a section on your website that says “As Seen In” to build up that verification, but also more importantly, to hit up Google and say, “Hey, Google, we are an authority in this region, in the state, in this country on these topics. Here’s verification from x publication and we wrote what’s called an op-ed,” so an opinion editorial or what’s really big these days is listicles, so an article in the form of a list that breaks down some things that people can better understand.
Jared Correia: Oh yeah, you see those all the time, right? The six best ways to do x.
Darian Kovacs: Which used to be just a BuzzFeed thing and eventually the influence of BuzzFeed and the influence of people wanting shorter bite-size articles and clickbait, major publications began to adopt this BuzzFeed style of writing to the point where it’s actually in the dictionary the term listicle.
Jared Correia: So that’s like I think these are some great time-saving tactics for attorneys. So let me ask you just one more question as far as this stuff is concerned. So even what we talked about today, I think it’s a lot of concepts for lawyers especially to get their arms around, especially because a lot of law firms are new to web marketing or don’t do it very often. So if you’re starting to engage this notion of like let’s do more SEO without necessarily knowing too much about how that works, what are like — here’s the listicle portion. What are the three things you would do as a law firm?
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. I think first of all create a baseline. Find out what is your organic traffic that’s coming to your site. So you can get that information for free directly from Google Analytics. So talk to your web person, whoever manages your website. Find out how much on a monthly basis our website does organic traffic bring. Right? And the difference being is someone could type in your domain name directly or someone could be referring to your site from another website, but organic traffic how much comes to your site from that and then more importantly how much of that organic traffic is qualified, meaning it makes something happen so something converts. So they fill out a contact form, they make a phone call, they spend more than five minutes on your site. And that is another free tool that you can add on your site called Google Goals or if you’re using a tool like Clio Grow, Clio Grow manages that and monitors to say every time a lead comes in through Clio Grow, it marks it and says where that lead came from. So that’s number one is the baseline.
Jared Correia: Right, yeah. A lot of free tools from Google and essentially like I’ve been talking a lot to firms about using CRMs forever and Clio Grow fits into that category. The adoption is coming slowly but you’re right. It’s a great way to manage leads, what happens to those leads, and also do some other things with those contacts once you get them like follow-up emails. Okay, that’s number one.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. And Clio Grow automates it all whereas honestly the majority of our clients were using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. And so when the receptionist gets in a lead, she marks where it came from and then we follow it for the next three to six months to see if it became an open file and then we mark it as an open file and then we’re able to track to say, okay, the best qualified leads are coming from xyz and then we’re able to then come with data to the partners and say, hey, look this is where all the qualified leads are coming from that are turning into open files. We need to spend more time and energy in these areas to continue to get more open files.
Jared Correia: Lawyers love spreadsheets, man. That is an affinity that will never go away. All right, so that was number one. I’ll let you do number two and number three.
Darian Kovacs: So number two is you know, offering micro articles to the media. Find out whether it’s your local media. If you want to kind of get your feet wet look at your chamber of commerce, your board of trade, your business improvement association. Those are some really great low-hanging fruit places. But just offer a short listicle about your form of law. You don’t want to give away too much information, but just provide something that it gives you — you know you may not be promoting your firm in the article but in the author bio, they call it a byline, get a link back to your website so that you get a nice backlink. So that’s number two.
Jared Correia: Oh backlinks are huge. I’m glad you brought those up.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah, yeah. And number three we mentioned already, but claim your Google My Business. Make sure that you have updated it and literally every month, and I’m amazed by this. Google is updating and adding new features into Google My Business to the point where you can actually get a free website through Google My Business. You can add offers, you can add specials, you can add if you are a female lead firm, whatever kind of unique things about your firm, if you are veteran friendly. All these kind of cool significant things you’re now able to add into your Google My Business listing.
Jared Correia: Right. And folks really don’t spend enough time when they look at directory profiles or even social media profiles about what they can add in. And just looking, small level of intellectual curiosity helps with that. Go ahead.
Darian Kovacs: And I’m just shocked still that most lawyers are also so excited about like Facebook or Instagram and all these other channels. And my kind of pushback on that is like I grew up in this place here, just right on the 49th parallel called Tsawwassen or Sawwasen to some.
There’s actually a little blip of land called Point Roberts which is America because when they made the 49th Parallel they didn’t realize there’s a little blip of land. There’s like two gas stations, a supermarket and amazing American cereals if you ever go down there.
Jared Correia: I love American cereals, my friend. That’ll be a whole other episode.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah, they’re the best. And so, but there’s a section of land which is owned by the Tsawwassen First Nations. And so they have a hundred-year lease on this land and so you can still own a property there, you just don’t own the land. And so in the same way, if you look at your Facebook, your Instagram, your LinkedIn, you don’t own that land, you’re on leased land. But Google My Business is so crucial for your brand and the second one being would be an e-newsletter. E-newsletter is the only form of media that you can socialize with that you own. And so if you don’t have a ton of energy or resources but you want to be into like media that socializes, e-newsletter would be number one, and number two would be your Google My Business profile.
Jared Correia: Good stuff, man. Not only useful tips, but the staggering part is that most of this is free or cheap and it just takes a little bit of discovery to get there. Are you going to come back for the next segment? I hope so.
Darian Kovacs: That’d be great, that’d be great.
Jared Correia: All right, all right. Thanks so much. That’s Darian Kovacs of Jelly. But as I just mentioned, we’re not finished with Darian quite yet. He’ll be back in a little bit. We’ll take one final sponsor break so you can hear more about what our sponsors can do for your law practice. Then, stay tuned for the Rump Roast. It’s even more supple than the roast beast.
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Jared Correia: Welcome to the rear end of the Legal Toolkit. We call it the Rump Roast. It’s a grab bag of short form topics of my choosing. Today, we’re going to depart from my usual program of shaming and embarrassing our guests during this segment so we can continue our interview with Darian. As regular listeners know, I take a perverse pleasure in making our guests feel uncomfortable. But Darian has done something really cool which probably every lawyer wants to do, so I want to take a little bit of time to talk to him about that. Here’s the basic backstory. Darian launched this podcast called Marketing Jam which became really popular and added some A-list guests like Malcolm Gladwell. I’m still waiting to book Malcolm Gladwell for Legal Toolkit but I digress. Then, Amazon picks this up as a series and it’s now got 10 episodes on Amazon Prime. Pretty amazing.
Darian, I feel like everybody wants to have a podcast these days and everybody wants that podcast to be successful and you just did that. You created this extremely popular podcast, you got your own series on Amazon Prime. That’s crazy. I think most people would be very envious of that result. How did you do it?
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. I heard a stat recently. It was 46% of the podcasts that are in the Apple iTunes podcast world have one episode. And so I think anyone I know, I want to encourage anyone out there who has more than one episode on their podcast, you’ve made it. You have cracked that kind of glass ceiling off the 46%, so congrats.
Jared Correia: Now that we’ve set the bar very low, how did you surpass it by a wide margin?
Darian Kovacs: I think what it was was I originally way back in the day had run a conference and that was where the impetus to the podcast, and so I would host this event, invite people to the event. And if anyone’s ever hosted an event, whether small or large scale, it’s a lot of work and it’s a ton of risks.
Jared Correia: Oh man, it’s a hassle, yeah.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. A lot of expenses, whether it’s renting the venue, the speaker system, paying the speakers to come, flying them in. And so, while they were there, we interviewed them backstage for this h podcast. Again, this was almost six years ago now and so it was a very small thing and most actually didn’t even know what a podcast was back then but we had a little audio recorder and did this. It was very niche. And then, we ended up getting the conference acquired by another agency, and so I didn’t have a conference anymore, but I missed the Green Room Conversations. I missed getting just to talk off the stage to all these incredibly bright people. And I think that’s where I think the best conversations happen and my own personal and professional development happened. And so, I just kept emailing people or going on LinkedIn as a Nigerian podcaster who has an inheritance and say, “Would you like to come on my show?”
Jared Correia: People were like, “Where’s my $10 million? It’s supposed to be in my checking account.”
Darian Kovacs: Oh yeah, seriously. And I just interviewed people that I actually wanted to talk to and that I found fascinating. And what kind of irks me now as I meet these people and there’s these like podcast coaches and podcasts strategies you can do where it’s all about bait and switch where you use the show to build up your brand or use the show to pitch to that person or use the show to, I don’t know, make money because you sell something else on the show. But for me I was just kind of leveraged the show to say, hey, I want to learn from you. Someone actually gave me — they were trying I think to give me a criticism but I took it as a compliment. They said listening in your show is like I’m at Denny’s and there’s a couple drunk people in the booth next to me and I have to overhear a drunk conversation.
Jared Correia: That’s amazing to me.
Darian Kovacs: We’re typically sober on the show, but again, I think I just dive into it because I think for me, I’m a practitioner and I also am fascinated and so curious about how people, whether it was the the Co-founder of Netflix last week, and I would find some random fact about his mom was one of the early investors. The fact that Netflix was created commuting with one of his best friends, right? And so those stories, and then I want to dive more into it of like what did it feel like? What was it like being there? And even for me it was more for him finding out like what was that talk? Because we always see that meme that’s like Netflix tried to sell to Blockbuster and Blockbuster laughed them out of the meeting. I talked to him. He was truly laughed out of that meeting and he was devastated. But what I wanted to get to is what was going through your head though? Because I’m trying to think if I’m getting turned down by something. If I’m being laughed at, what is the self-talk that I could get and what can I learn from Mark from that situation. And so I just pursued people that I thought were smart, way smarter than me. Seth Godin knows so much about marketing and publishing, and again, it feels like I get this opportunity to drink from a fire hose and then I just happen to record it for others to listen.
Jared Correia: It sort of reminds me of that Chris Farley skits from Saturday Night Live when he’s interviewing Paul McCartney. Have you seen those?
Darian Kovacs: Yes.
Jared Correia: And basically all you can get out is like you’re amazing. But you get added a little bit more in-depth than that. I like this notion of like Green Room Conversations that don’t happen during like a televised show. That’s really cool. And from my perspective like the drunkenness would work, although I think if I was ever in that situation I would probably talk to you for five minutes, drink an entire thing of maple syrup and then pass out, but I digress. So you’ve got some high-powered guests on there, man. You’re doing like CEO of Netflix, you had Malcolm Gladwell, and I’m referenced you got Seth Godin, like I think most people would be afraid to just reach out to guests like that. So how did you work up the courage to go ahead and like say, “I’m going to book this person and get it done”? Like is it a chicken and egg thing where the podcast needs to get popular first or were you pretty ballsy in terms of like I’m going to go find these people just because I want to talk to them?
Darian Kovacs: You know it was funny enough and this is actually I’ve never told this story, but I opened up my phone, I have an iPhone, and I looked at the apps that I love the most and then I just simply went on to LinkedIn and found out who is the marketing person or the creator of said apps and that was my process because I was like why do I love your app so much. Like why am I so obsessed with what’s happening, and then from there it was even like, you know, I have kids and so my son was really into Lego and so fascinated by that. So again, pursued the social media director of Lego. I got really into that Starbucks app, collecting the stars, pursued the brand director of Starbucks. So I just went off of things I was fascinated by personally and then even professionally. So again, I looked at my IT bill that comes every month. So my accountant puts it together, these are all the IT expenses for the month, and I’m like why do I spend so much money on like Hootsuite. You know, all these tools —
Jared Correia: Go get that guy.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah, Ahrefs. And so I pursued them and said like man, our team, our company loves, we can’t live without, you’re a tool to our shop, we can’t operate without your tool, like tell me more about what’s going on behind the scenes. And then that’s the coolest stuff because usually like we had a guy named Guy Kawasaki who would charge a significant amount of money to come speak at an event and you can get a keynote and it’s great and we’ve we’ve done events before. But getting Guy one-on-one was like, hey Guy, this is what I really want to know. This is what as a person in marketing just break this down for me, like what was it like being the CMO for Steve Jobs? What was it like working for this crazy type A person? And then hearing your name in the the movies about Steve Jobs, like how fun was that? And what does life look like now for you? What do you do now with your time? Right? And even for me I found the fascinating thing about him was how he’s using LinkedIn, and he broke down what LinkedIn meant for him. He broke down why he loves Canva and why he became a brand ambassador for Canva and I think just getting into the mind frames.
And I think this time when a lot of people are at home and weren’t speaking as much really opened up a big door to have people come on the show, and so I just went for it and just continued to ask people and said if you have time to be interviewed. Actually, and the Malcolm Gladwell, I will admit this. I also have never — like I don’t come from a lot of money, never had a lot of money. And so whenever events would come, I couldn’t afford it. Right? And couldn’t also muster my brain to pay in our budget to go to event. So I would often sign up as media at events.
Jared Correia: Yes, that’s a great trick.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah, I was media for this event in Vancouver that Malcolm was, but he had just come out with this book called ‘Tipping Point’. I was actually using it as a textbook for a class I was teaching at a bible college funny enough on evangelism and that was my text. And so I went to the press junction room thing and no one else showed up. There was no other press signed up. So it was Malcolm and I for an hour in this room and we just kind of awkwardly hung out for an hour and then at one point I just pulled up my old iPhone 4 or 2 or whatever it was and did a recording, so.
Jared Correia: That’s funny. You’re like, by the way, you down to podcast? But I like how you approach this. There’s some purity to this in the sense that you were like, hey, I’m just going to fanboy on these products and see if people will talk to me about it. So like you’ve got the podcast, it’s popular, and then you got this deal going with Amazon. How does that work? How does Amazon approach you? What does that process look like?
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. No, and that was a weird one and my wife actually teases me because I love wearing New Balance shoes and maybe it’s just a dad thing.
Jared Correia: Who doesn’t, man. I have so many pairs. New Balance and Brooks are my chains, yeah.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah, yeah. Right? Yes, Brooks is my running shoe, actually. I run in Brooks. They’re beautiful. They feel like I’m running on trampolines.
Jared Correia: Oh, Brooks sneakers are just amazing. Sorry, I could do a whole 30 minutes on this. Go on.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. This episode is not brought to you by Brooks or New Balance.
Jared Correia: But it should be.
Darian Kovacs: But if you would like to sponsor us, here are two dads that would rock your shoes. But there’s this show called Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis and she teases me that that’s the level of my show production because literally I’m interviewing someone one-on-one because to take a podcast and make it a TV show, I didn’t know what else to do. Like at one point we had like art behind us. And so that’s as crazy as we got. We like went to a hotel and had nice chairs. And so if you watch the show, that’s as crazy as it gets.
Jared Correia: Did you bring in fauna of some kind?
Darian Kovacs: No, I didn’t. I should have. I should have. I just used what was in the hotel or actually —
Jared Correia: Around a single fern, like no? You just got the lobby stuff.
Darian Kovacs: No, we couldn’t even fit a fern in. It was at one point we actually used a green room, an actual green room of a conference because the only way we could get some of these speakers who were in town in Toronto was we’ll do it in your green room.
Jared Correia: That makes sense.
Darian Kovacs: But the the biggest thing I found from that was Amazon’s desire to create more B2B content and to kind of diversify their content I thought was really cool.
Jared Correia: Yes, an interesting angle for sure.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. And so the show setup is three options. One is I could have sold it to them and they own it and they have exclusive on it, which that’s option one. Option two is you can get paid for it a small fee and then you can also get it distributed on other channels if you’d like, or option three is you own it still and you own the rights to it all and then they pay you per thousand views. So we went with option three, so we still have the rights to it and we can still distribute it, we still own the audio, but we’re able to give people that option to watch a podcast instead of listen to it, which again, I actually don’t think it’s very popular.
Jared Correia: Are you like that’s really counterintuitive or?
Darian Kovacs: Because I have a friend who has an amazing show out of Toronto which I love it, but I don’t want to spend 40 minutes watching this show. But I love listening to it if I’m like walking or doing something or just like I want to learn something from a show. So long-form content I personally won’t ever watch, and it’s not like they’re juggling or singing or they’re not on the show because they’re really attractive people.
Jared Correia: So just to be clear, you’re not juggling or singing in any of these episodes?
Darian Kovacs: No, no.
Jared Correia: Okay.
Darian Kovacs: No, no. So I like it. It was cool, and I don’t know — you know what, where it might work is like airplane when we start flying again is like WestJet which is an airline in Canada. I would like to get it there because you’re super bored and you are looking for some sort of maybe more business content. That’s where I could see it could work, but yeah, Amazon Prime I’m watching Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. There’s so many other shows to watch.
Jared Correia: Right. So do you juggle?
Darian Kovacs: I don’t. I don’t.
Jared Correia: All right. I was wondering if that was a tease and you’re going to start juggling now. We could release that video, but we won’t. So in terms of the show, like 10 episodes. That connotes the season one, right? Do you do a season two? Like what does that look like?
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. We’ve got season two all lined up, ready to go. And so that will be coming out ideally this summer which would be amazing.
Jared Correia: And Marketing Jam is the name of the show.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah.
Jared Correia: And if you’ve got an Amazon Prime account you’ve got access to it?
Darian Kovacs: Yeah, yeah. In the in the U.K. and in Canada — or sorry in America. That’s where if for some reason Canada didn’t pick it up.
Jared Correia: That’s messed up, man, like your country is turning its back on you.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah, I know, I know. So we’ve kept the audio going and we call that Marketing News Canada, which is the the audio version of our show. So that keeps happening. And then we take like our 10 most popular episodes every season and then do a video version of it that then gets put up on Amazon.
Jared Correia: Ah very clever. That’s really cool. And thanks for taking the time to walk everybody through that process like. And the thing that I take away from this too is like you didn’t launch this podcast thinking that you would have an Amazon Prime show out of it?
Darian Kovacs: No.
Jared Correia: Like that was just a happy accident?
Darian Kovacs: Or monetize, right? Like I think finally. And again, that was the other thing that finally came was there’s actually a podcaster named Tim Ferriss who’s got this great philosophy that I will not bring on an advertiser unless I know, breathe, live, use the product and so we made that commitment early on. And so I actually truly love we have in Canada it’s called the Canada Post, you have the U.S. Postal Service. And so they came on as our first paid sponsor and so kudos to them. We love Ahrefs, they came on as a sponsor, and so Hootsuite sponsored an episode. So those came but in time and it was all because it was a natural fit of a product and a brand that I could truly love and talk about. Like even CallRail which is you can track phone numbers.
Jared Correia: People love CallRail. That’s a great service.
Darian Kovacs: Yeah. So I was able to do the pre-roll but do it in really gen — I love it and so then they then used my pre-roll for other podcasts because it was like here’s a user lover of our product but seeing how he genuinely uses it and loves it, so.
Jared Correia: Yeah, we tried to get the U.S. Postal Service to sponsor us but like we realized that every episode would be two weeks late. Thanks, I’ll be here all week. Now, in all seriousness now, this is really interesting to hear, delightful. Thanks for coming on. I think everybody should check out the show. I’ve watched a couple episodes. I thought it was really interesting, although I’m an audio person myself, I prefer the podcast option. But check it out. If you’ve never seen a podcast on television, here’s your chance. Thanks, Darian. This was awesome.
Darian Kovacs: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Jared Correia: All right. Now, for those of you listening in Booger Hole, West Virginia, yes that’s a real place and I know you’re out there. Our Spotify playlist for this week’s show features some of my favorite acoustic songs because much more intimate and authentic than an unplugged musical performance. So listen in and discover my sensitive side. Our guest today has been Darian Kovacs of Jelly. For more information about Jelly go to jellymarketing.ca. Unfortunately, we’ve run out of time. I wish I had more time to talk about Flash Gordon but it appears that there’s never enough time to talk about Flash Gordon. Perhaps you can go watch TED instead. Now, that’ll do it for another episode of Legal Toolkit Podcast. Thomas Hobbes said that life was nasty, brutish and short. Clearly, he didn’t have an Amazon Prime account. See you next time.
Podcast transcription by Tech-Synergy.com