Tagged: Digital marketing strategy

The Top 7 Digital Marketing Podcasts of 2023

- by Alyson Shane

It’s no secret that podcasts are one of the most popular ways to consume media these days. According to data from DemandSage, 41% of people in the United States tune into a podcast every month, with 28% of the population tuning in weekly, so if you’re a regular podcast listener, you’re not alone!

Personally I like to listen to political podcasts, miniseries, and (of course) podcasts about digital marketing and marketing in general. 

I’ve actually been listening to podcasts since 2006 when I got my first iPod Nano. I decked it out in a skin from TokiDoki like this one and would listen to them on the bus on my way to and from work. My commute was a minimum of 45 minutes each way, so I got a lot of listening in!

My obsession with podcasts has only gotten stronger over the years. I find them to be a great way to learn new things and stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends.

So today I’m going to be sharing some of my top marketing podcasts for 2023 so you can get your learning on, too!

How to Choose the Right Podcasts

Just like movies and music, choosing the right podcast is a highly personal decision, and with so many out there it can feel overwhelming to sift through them all and find the right one for you.

While I’ll be making some recommendations below, here are a few things to keep in mind when considering what to listen to:

Consider Your Listening Goals

Do you want to be inspired by your fellow marketers, or do you want to learn practical insights from case studies and niche topics? 

Also consider whether you prefer interview-style content, or if you prefer lively banter between a couple of hosts. Personally I don’t like “acted” podcasts where it’s more like listening to a radio play, so I tend to tune these out. 

Consider Your Preferred Format

When it comes to podcasts, format matters. 

While podcasts are typically auto-first, you might find that you prefer to listen to podcast that also provide transcripts for accessibility, or that you prefer watching video versions because they can be more engaging. 

Experiment with different styles and find what works for you!

Consider Extra Content

Lots of podcasts offer additional materials that can increase your learning experience. Some things to keep an eye out for include:

  • Episode highlights
  • Links to mentioned articles and resources
  • Timestamps
  • Downloadable guides
  • Blog post summaries

Consider the Hosts

The host’s personality and style can really make or break a podcast, and if you don’t connect with the host(s), chances are you won’t be listening to that podcast for long. 

Personally I’ve found that this ties back into the podcast’s format more than anything; some hosts thrive doing interviews while some just want to chat it out, and what you wind up listening to really comes down to your personal preference.

Consider the Editing

The way a podcast is edited can really elevate the listening experience. Of course, the type of podcast editing that elevates your listening experience is highly personal, but some things that can really make or break a podcast include:

  • Sharing previews of upcoming topics
  • Using extra audio or musical clips to add context or atmosphere
  • Using editing techniques that turn interviews into immersive journalism pieces

The 7 Best Marketing Podcasts of 2023

Now that we’ve talked about how to choose the right podcasts to subscribe to, let’s explore some of the best marketing podcasts out there:

1. Six Pixels of Separation

Hosted by Mitch Joel

Confession: I started with this podcast because it’s my favourite. I’ve been listening to Six Pixels of Separation since 2007 and Mitch Joel’s insightful, thought-provoking interviews played a huge role in shaping how I think about my industry.

While some of the podcasts on this list are specific to a certain niche, what I like about Six Pixels is that it’s a bit all over the map. At first glance some of the topics might not seem 1:1 about marketing, but trust me — you’ll walk away from every episode having learned something new that will make you a better marketer.

2. The Science of Social Media

Hosted by Buffer 

If you’re looking for a quick, snackable podcast then don’t sleep on this essential listening from the team behind Buffer. 

Most episodes are 10-15 minutes long, super straight and to-the-point, and tend to be focused on timely topics like the ideal TikTok length, algorithm optimization strategies, and more.

While new episodes aren’t published that regularly — right now they update about once a month — there are over 200 archived episodes to explore and the quality is excellent.

3. Ethics in Marketing

Hosted by Mikhail Myzgin

As someone who was around pre-social media and witnessed how digital marketing has leaned into big data and gamification (among other tactics) to keep audiences engaged, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t aware that there’s a dark side to my industry.

I’ve also studied philosophy and ethics, and think a lot about how to balance achieving our clients’ marketing goals without wading into ethically gray areas.

That’s why I love Ethics in Marketing: it offers a chance to think about how to make ethical decisions with our marketing strategies that are fair, kind, and respectful to our audiences. Episode topics range from how nonprofits can handle ethical dilemmas, to advertising and disinformation, to manipulation and dark patterns.

4. Perpetual Traffic

Hosted by Ralph Burns and Kasim Aslam

If you’re looking for a podcast with hands-on advertising strategies to attract and convert new leads that you can apply today, this is the podcast for you.

This podcast is great because it’s easy enough to understand that someone new to the industry can get a lot out of it, but the hosts and guests are subject matter experts so they’re able to go deep on a variety of topics and pull insightful suggestions and pieces of wisdom out of every conversation.

If you’re looking to learn more about the nitty gritty of social media ads, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and how to build a robust, competitive ad strategy that gets results, you won’t want to miss this one.

5. Hidden Brain

Hosted by Shankar Vedantam

Okay, this podcast isn’t actually about marketing, specifically, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a spot on this list. 

I’ve been listening to this podcast for years and first became interested in it because it explores “the unconscious patterns that drive human behaviour” and (as you may have noticed) I like to apply a multi-faceted understanding to my work as a marketer. After all, I’m marketing to humans, so understanding our behaviour and motivations helps me do that more effectively.

Topics covered on this podcast range from compulsive consumption, the psychology of self-doubt, how stories help us make sense of the world, and much more.

6. A Bit of Optimism

Hosted by Simon Sinek

This is another podcast that isn’t specifically about digital marketing, but offers conversations and thoughtful insights that can help shape the way you do business, think about your brand and industry, and provide inspiration for creative success.

I love this podcast because it reminds me that my life is so much more than just the work I do. I’m a creative person and I get to run a company that allows me to enjoy creative freedom, flexibility, and to continue to grow personally and professionally while doing something I enjoy.

7. Today in Digital Marketing

Hosted by Tod Maffin

Back to basics with this one! This daily podcast gives you a quick, 10-minute-or-so rundown of what’s been happening in the world of digital marketing. 

From the latest Twitter/X drama, to updates and feature rollouts, changes to policies, and more across the largest social media platforms, this podcast is a must-listen for those of us who want to stay at the bleeding edge of strategy and results. 

Bonus: The Social Media Marketing Podcast

Hosted by Michael Stelzner

Here’s another podcast that’s been around for ages, which in my view speaks to its importance and usefulness for people in my industry.

This podcast is one of several offered by the folks at Social Media Examiner, and don’t let the cutesy aesthetic of their website and brand fool you — these folks are some of the savviest out there, and their website and podcast have been a go-to for me for years.

Each weekly episode runs about 45 minutes and provides a deep dive into new skills, strategies, and tactics to get the most out of your efforts. Michael also does interviews with industry leaders, breaks down algorithm changes and updates so you can be agile in your approach to each platform, and lots more.

Build Your Digital Marketing Skills Today!

By listening to these podcasts (or just a handful, I know the list is pretty comprehensive) you can elevate your skills as a digital marketer and easily stay in-the-know about the latest industry news.

If you’re more of a reader, you can subscribe to Starling Social’s weekly digital marketing newsletter. Each week I choose the most timely news and resource articles and sum it up in a short, snappy email that you get every Tuesday morning (because nobody wants more emails on a Monday). You can sign up for next week’s send here.

Ready to take those digital marketing to-do’s off your plate? We can help! Click here to learn more about Starling Social’s managed digital marketing services.


10 Easy Ways to Promote Your Business During the Coronavirus Outbreak

- by Alyson Shane

Social distancing is our only option to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus spread. But the impact could be devastating for many businesses, especially those that rely on foot traffic and offer on-site services.

As a result, businesses are looking for easy and efficient ways to promote themselves during the outbreak. Luckily, there are lots of tools at your disposal to stay connected and build awareness about your brand.

Below are 10 ways to keep your customers engaged from a distance:

1. Be active on social media

People are turning to social media to stay connected so make sure your brand is active online.

This is the best time to focus on community engagement. Leaving comments and having conversations with your audience and followers shows your business is tuned-in and humanizes your brand.

If your business can afford to contribute to local food banks or other community services, now is the time to lead by example. Share the news on social media and encourage others to do the same. 

2. Connect with your customers through email

More businesses are online than ever before, so cut through the noise and to talk to your customers where they live online: in their inbox.

Use your email newsletter to promote discounts, events like live streams, webinars and online training, and anything your customers might care about.

Depending on your business, this might also be a good time to do something different with your newsletter.

For example, for the next few weeks the Starling Social weekly newsletter is switching to a “Good News” edition where we’re highlighting positive stories from our community and across the globe as a way to spread a little more joy in these uncertain times. If you’re interested, sign up here.

3. Revisit your pay-per-click strategy

With more people performing searches than ever before, now is a great time to invest in pay-per-click (PPC) marketing to help your business get found.

But if your customers need to leave the house to engage with your business, it may be worth hitting “pause” on any PPC campaigns promoting those services.

If you can, focus your ads on services and promotions that customers can access and enjoy from home. Revisit your keyword strategy and consider what new and different searches they might be making from home, and focus your ad dollars on those searches instead.

PPC marketing is also a great way to use any marketing budget that needs to be reallocated due to social distancing, as Google Ads offers an impressive return on investment (ROI) of $8 for every $1 spent.

4. Revisit your SEO strategy

With more people sitting at home browsing the internet than ever before, it’s vital that your business ranks as high as possible on a search engine results page (SERP).

For reference, before the pandemic started Google SERP rankings have a return-on-investment (ROI) of roughly the following:

  • 1st Position: 31% click-through rate (CTR)
  • 2nd Position 15% CTR
  • 3rd Position: 9% CTR
  • 4th Position: 7% CTR
  • 5th Position: 5% CTR

Organic CTR for positions 7-10 is virtually the same

As we can see, the CTR drops off dramatically after the first few results, so it’s critical to make sure your website ranks as high as possible. 

Looking for more insight on improving your SEO rank? We’ve got some resources that may help:

5. Publish content on your blog

People are hungry for content to consume with all this extra time. If your business has a blog, use this opportunity to share posts that inform, amuse, or excite your readers.

Use any SEO and PPC research you've done to inform the topics you discuss on your blog, since searches give you insight into what people are looking for. If you provide answers to the search in your post, your blog has a higher chance of ranking higher on the results page.

Bonus: publishing blog posts regularly gives you extra social media content to share, making this task a little bit easier, and gives your website a natural SEO boost.

6. Highlight gift cards and take-out options

Gift cards give your business an infusion of cash right away and guarantee that the customer will return to your business in the future. In Seattle, customers are going out of their way to buy gift cards from local businesses to keep cash flowing. 

To promote social distancing, set up an e-card program and promote take-out as an option if you run a restaurant, cafe or bakery.

7. Host contests and giveaways on social media

Contests are a great way to engage your audience and gain more visibility for your brand, just make sure they’re tasteful. Book publishers can give away audiobooks and e-books to their followers as a way to pass the time indoors, for example.

A great way to support other local businesses is to collaborate on a contest giveaway - just make sure all the prizes are either digital or can be sent through the mail.

8. Promote discounts

Now is a great time to entice long-term purchases by offering discounts. If your business offers memberships, encourage customers to lock into a one-year membership now at a discounted rate. If you run a retail store, consider offering free shipping for online orders.

Depending on your business model, you can also use traditional promotions like “buy one get one” (BOGO) and free incentives.

9. Keep customers engaged with live video

If you have a store opening, product launch, or celebration planned, use Facebook and Instagram Live to stream it to your social media channels.

If you don’t have any announcements planned, use video as a way to go behind the scenes with your business. Share how your team is connecting remotely. Walk viewers through how a product gets made. Offer a live Q&A. The possibilities are endless, just be creative!

Video is a great way to keep customers engaged and put a face to your brand in addition to selling your products and services. Promote your live events and increase attendance by offering a special discount code to the first 50 or 100 people who join.

10. Host webinars and online events

Social isolation is leaving people more time to invest in training and personal development, so now is the ideal time to hone any online offerings your business may have, like webinars or online certifications.

Many businesses rely on in-person events to generate income and leads, so if you have a conference or training event that has recently been cancelled, consider reformatting it into a webcast that attendees can join from home.

How to promote your business during the coronavirus outbreak: conclusion

Nobody knows when things will go back to “normal” or even what that “new normal” will look like, so it’s more important than ever for businesses to connect with their customers online.

Invest in your social media and in content that keeps your customers engaged and excited about supporting you during this crisis. If you need help, drop us a line.

If you want more tips like this (plus good news from our community and elsewhere) sign up for our weekly, hand-picked newsletter

Above all, stay safe out there. 


The Starling Social Team


5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

- by Alyson Shane

Are you planning to invest more time and resources into your business’ social media in 2020?

There’s a lot out there about what you should do in the coming year, and the marketing trends to keep in mind… but what about what not to do?

Just in time to start planning your next year’s marketing strategy, we’ve got a list of the top 5 mistakes to avoid. 

So dig in, take note, and start preparing for a successful year on social media:

1. Failing to plan your strategy

Here at Starling Social, we put our clients through a rigorous onboarding process that involves creating multiple, brand-specific documents like:

  • Audience/buyer personas
  • Copywriting style guide
  • Affiliates and competitors lists
  • Company info sheet
  • Content calendar
  • Social media master strategy document
  • How-to documents per social network and deliverable

This might seem excessive, but going through all this work beforehand means that we have a deep understanding of who our clients are before we begin posting on their behalf.

It also means that we can explain our reasoning to our clients, and refer back to agreed-upon documentation when making decisions or reviewing a process.

2. Not doing audience research

Spoiler alert: your audience isn’t “everyone.”

One of the reasons why we build audience personas is to develop a better understanding of exactly who we need to be talking to online.

This research matters because different demographics of people spend their time in different places online. For example, a B2B salesperson in their mid-40’s is more likely to be spending time on LinkedIn than Instagram. On the other hand, a millennial is much more likely to be spending time on Instagram than LinkedIn.

Audience research also helps you understand the specific pain points felt by different people who might want to buy from you. Having a deep understanding of their pain points and how your business solves them is critical for effective social media marketing.

Use our guide to building effective audience and buyer personas, and make sure you’re marketing to the right people in the right places.

3. Using engagement bots or buying followers

Some brands who feel anxious about their social media following may feel tempted to “invest” in tools that automatically like and comment on Instagram posts, or in purchasing followers to boost these numbers.

If this is something you’ve considered, we strongly suggest you reconsider. Here are two reasons why:

  • Fake engagement doesn’t build real relationships with your followers. People want to buy from brands they trust, and that means spending time showing them that you’re paying attention by doing the work of manually engaging with them.
  • Fake followers don’t help your business grow. Fake followers aren’t people who genuinely care about what you have to offer, which defeats the purpose of having them. Sure, having 20K followers might look great. Still, those 20K followers don’t have any value because they aren’t genuinely interested in buying what you have to sell.

We talked about how using engagement bots is against our company values in one of our older blog posts, which you can read here.

4. Posting on too many social media networks

The key to staying ahead of the competition on social media in 2020 is to identify the best social networks for your brand and to develop individual marketing strategies based on those platforms.

Spreading yourself too thin across too many social networks stretches your resources. It often leads to poor implementation of your social media marketing strategy.

Doing the audience/buyer persona research, we talked about earlier is critical to determining the best places to spend your time. Once you’ve identified the top 3-4 social networks, focus on developing unique and exciting marketing messaging for each one and hone as you go.

5. Ignoring LinkedIn and Pinterest

We’ve seen a resurgence on LinkedIn throughout 2019, and this momentum appears to be building as we move into 2020.

40% of monthly active users use LinkedIn every day. People using LinkedIn typically use the platform to find new and relevant content, which makes them more receptive to anything you may be sharing.

Pinterest is a unique social network because it acts more like a search engine than other social media networks. Even better: pins on Pinterest can continue to drive traffic to your website for years after your initial pin.

Avoid these social media marketing mistakes in 2020

Building a social media presence that generates awareness about your brand and grows your business takes concerted time and effort.

By keeping these mistakes in mind, you can avoid some of the pitfalls marketers find themselves in, and create a lasting, positive impression about your brand in the minds of your followers.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning and get posting!

Want more articles like this one delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning along with the hottest industry news and resources? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Want help developing a social media marketing strategy that gets results for your business? Drop us a line and let us know how we can help.


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