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Announcing the Business Class Lounge podcast

Will Critchlow

8 min read
Business Class Lounge by SearchPilot

If, like me, you are interested in hearing from senior marketing leaders and executives about how they really run their teams, how they lead and manage, how they think about finance and budgeting, where they get their news and how they learn new things, then you will want to subscribe to the BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE. It’s a new podcast from SearchPilot, hosted by me, and the first episodes will be coming to your favourite podcast player soon:

Of course, you can also subscribe wherever you get your podcasts:

Drop your details below if you would like to be the first to hear when we release new episodes:

What is the Business Class Lounge?

The Business Class Lounge is an interview-based podcast in which I interview people with roles like CMO and VP of Marketing. My goal is to press for specific stories and details from my guests that bring to life their priorities and the decisions they make.

I obviously come from an SEO background, and most of the folks I interview will at least have SEO reporting into them or they might even have direct oversight of the channel. This isn’t an SEO podcast, though. For the purposes of this show, we won’t be trying to learn tips and tricks because for the most part these wouldn’t be the right people to ask - even if they came up through the SEO world, they are not likely to be doing a lot of hands-on SEO these days. What we will do in many cases, especially where a guest has an SEO background, is to seek to learn how they think about organic search as a leader - so that might include:

  • How to hold an SEO team accountable
  • What to expect in terms of forecasting and planning for organic search
  • How to think about budgeting, headcount, team structure etc
  • What the CEO / board / their manager wants to see from them with regards to the channel

The “Business Class Lounge” name is a combination of two things: firstly, we have a lot of flight / airport / plane language internally at SearchPilot building off the “pilot” part of the company name, and secondly, I liked the additional meaning of “business class” as in “a place for learning about business”. I hope it’s not trying too hard to be clever.

Why are you doing this?

A big part of my motivation is to learn things (and one of the SearchPilot values is to stay curious)! I expect that the audience that this podcast will resonate with most is anyone with the same kinds of curiosity that I have. I will be directing the conversations and make it the most interesting and useful to folks in similar positions to the interviewees I’m bringing on the show. This isn’t the largest audience by number, and I hope it will also be useful to founders and CEOs (who might manage such people), and experienced SEOs (who might report to them) but the north star is to be interesting to CMOs and VPs. My rule of thumb is that I’m looking to speak to the level of leader who manages the most senior person with “digital” (or maybe “SEO”) in their title.

I have long felt that there is a gap in content produced about and for this level. There is a lot of “how to be a great CEO / founder” content and masses of tactical channel-specific content (we publish a lot of the latter ourselves), but I have found there to be a dearth of content answering questions like:

  • What media do CMOs consume?
  • How does a VP Marketing think about budgeting?
  • What’s it really like to report to the C-suite?
  • How do big financial decisions get made at larger organisations?

I plan to ask my guests questions like these, and then try to drill down into the details to get real stories and concrete examples. In my experience too much of the content produced by, about, and for this level succumbs to being full of buzzwords and management speak. I’m sure we won’t avoid that entirely, but you can judge my success on whether I manage to break through that level to the human being underneath.

I’ve been thinking for a long time about doing some kind of episodic content, whether audio or video, and something specifically targeting senior decision-makers. The main thing that moved me over the line to giving it a try is that I think even if it ends up being just one season, I’ll have learned some interesting things, and you will too! If you end up liking it and would like it to be more than one season, then, as the kids say, like and subscribe when it comes out!

Why can’t I start listening today? When will the first episode be available?

At the time of writing, I have the first few episodes recorded and have some content completely ready to go, so I’m confident that it’s all coming together. The way it works with new niche podcasts is that the process for being listed and available in all the players takes a few weeks so right now, the trailer is available:

And you can sign up here to be the first to hear when we start releasing real episodes:

And you can subscribe to get the show wherever you get your podcasts:

Who’s going to be on the show?

The first five episodes are well into the editing process now:

Kieran Flanagan, Cian Weeresinghe, Lisa Schneider, Adam Monago, Brian Provost
  1. Kieran Flanagan - SVP Marketing at HubSpot
  2. Cian Weeresinghe - CMO at Wise
  3. Lisa Schneider - fractional CPO and former Chief Digital Officer at Merriam Webster
  4. Brian Provost - SVP & GM at Yahoo!
  5. Adam Monago - the Vice President of Global Marketing and Digital at ADEC Innovations

I am finalising the first episode right now which will feature one of these five speakers.

Subscribe to find out who will be on the pilot episode!

Can I pitch to be interviewed?

Yes - if you fit the characteristics of the kind of interviewee I’m looking for, drop me a line: podcast@searchilot.com. If your boss does, ask them if you can introduce them to me too!

What kind of things might I learn?

Some moments that have stayed with me long after the conversations were over that I hope serve as teasers for the content to come:

  1. Find out what Kieran did that led to a fellow exec telling him “that was the most utterly depressing 45 minutes of my life”
  2. Learn how Cian has his team think about content as a depreciating asset with a balance sheet-like concept of value.
  3. Find out what happened next when, in the first few weeks on a new job, Lisa had to show a feature that had been built without their input to experts with 40 years of tenure
  4. Learn from Brian (who IMO is the best in the business at this) how to present the value of the organic search channel to boards and CEOs in a way that made me say “yes, of course”
  5. It’s not all business as Adam and I discuss genealogy and Babylon!

Behind-the-scenes details

Since so many of you are marketers, you might be interested in some of the details of how we got to this point and the plans from here:

I am currently using the mic I already had (though I debugged a problem after the first few recordings so my audio should gradually improve). I am using a Blue Yeti Nano, mounted on an elgato low profile arm - I love how it reaches under my monitor and stays neatly out of the way. I encourage all my guests to use headphones and I’ve moved to airpods after my open-backed over-ear cans bled sound from my guest into my audio channel in the first recording.

We’re recording using riverside.fm which does a great job of streaming audio and video to the participants but also recording high quality versions locally at each end to enable editing of the tracks to a high quality finished product.

Speaking of the editing, most episodes will likely be in the region of 30 minutes long after editing down from a ~50 minute conversation. Initially they will be recorded remotely and published audio-only, though all of that could be subject to change as we see what works best! Our producer is Mark Cotton.

The artwork was designed by Vicke McCarthy-Cheung who we’ve worked with on a load of graphic design projects.

We are hosting with acast after researching a range of options, I settled on them because they power some very large podcasts, have nice-looking interface and good analytics, but are free to start with and comparable price to others if/when we want advanced features later.

Check out the acast system by listening to the trailer here:

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