Content Based Networking

Episode 5: Content Based Networking, with James Carbary

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Content based networking shows how creators add value to businesses and ways to stand out in the market. Learn content based networking here.

James Carbary is the Founder of Sweet Fish Media (a podcast agency for B2B brands) and Showcase (a SaaS product for podcasters). He’s also the Executive Producer of two podcasts: B2B Growth and Young Married Christian. He’s the author of Content Based Networking (a best-selling book about how you can connect with anyone you want to know), and he doesn’t eat at restaurants that serve Pepsi (because…gross). As awesome as James might think he is…he’ll never be as great (or as interesting) as his wife Lisa, who played college rugby and now trains dolphins at Disney World.


What you will learn in this episode is about content based networking:

  • What content based networking is, how it works, and why James wrote an entire book about it
  • Why companies should be hiring more creators, rather than more marketers
  • Ways to recognize “commodity content” — and why you should never settle for it
  • How to make your voice stand out in a seemingly endless sea of other creators
  • Why you should stop viewing like-minded businesses in your industry as competitors, and start valuing them as collaborators
  • How creators add MASSIVE value to companies, and how their insight and influence can transform your business (for good)



Content Based Networking: Full Episode Transcript


Content based networking is a modern approach that prioritizes delivering and managing content efficiently. It improves network performance and security by focusing on content-centric principles. Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI. And my team and I, we created this podcast specifically for you. So, suppose you’re an agency owner, business coach, or strategic consultant, and you’re looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change. In that case, this is our world’s reality. You are in the right place.


You want proven strategies for attracting a steady stream of well-prepared prospects in your sales pipeline. Yup, we’ve got you covered. You want to learn how to step away from the sea of competitors to stand out on the ground you’re standing on. We’re going to talk about that, too. You want to future-proof your business so you can navigate the following challenges that come your way.


We’re going to cover that in episodes as well. Each episode of this podcast will contain valuable insights and tangible examples of best practices, not theory. From thought leaders, experts, and owners who have done exactly what you’re working hard to do. Think practical and tactical. Zero Fluff. So, each of our guests has built a position of authority and monetized it by claiming their ground.


They grow their audience, nurture leads, and convert sales by being helpful. So, every time someone from their audience turns around there, they are given a valuable answer to an important question. So their prospects never, ever, ever feel like prospects. And that’s the key. I also promise that every strategy we discuss and every tool we recommend will be shared completely transparently in each episode so that you can double down and roar into 2022.


Read this blog about “What is Content Based Networking?” from Sweet Fish Media


Content Based Networking: James Carbary’s Introduction


Okay. I am super excited for you to meet our expert guest for today’s episode. His name is James Carbary, and he founded Sweet Fish Media, based in Orlando. I asked James to join me on this episode because he is so innovative in his approach to content marketing, particularly content based networking, which is also the title of his book.


And here’s what I mean. When he and I prepared for today’s interview, I thought, “Hey, James, how about sharing 3 to 4 of the most significant golden nuggets from your book?” Again, content based networking. That’s his book. Then, tell us how to apply those and how best to position ourselves as thought leaders by following that process.


Then, I will discuss how the book contributed to your growth at Sweet Fish Media, particularly in the context of content based networking. Well, then, James said to me, or we could talk about how companies need to start hiring creators instead of more marketers. And then he said, You know, he let me know that he’s been super bullish on this idea. The creators with followers, or followings, excuse me, of about 50,000 or more can add massive value to companies in their marketing process, even if the creator needs to gain a depth of knowledge in that company’s industry.


Okay, now that sounds super intriguing. So when I got that text for him, I thought, Yeah, let’s talk about that. So, that’s what we will explore with James as our expert guide. Okay, So without further ado, my friend, welcome to the Sell With Authority podcast. James, Thank you so much for having me. Steve, this is going to be a super fun conversation.


We’ve been talking about this a lot as a team here at Sweet Fish Media and on LinkedIn. And so it will be enjoyable to flesh it out in this conversation. Indeed, it will be. If some of our audience might meet you for the first time, I say some because many will already know you. Take us briefly behind the curtain and give us more context about you and Sweet Fish.


And then we’ll dive into this excellent idea of yours. Yeah. So Sweet Fish’s birthday. We had our seven-year birthday a couple of days ago, so I started Sweet Fish in 2015 as a blog writing shop. Then, about a year later, I pivoted after realizing that there was a massive opportunity for B2B companies to capitalize on the medium of podcasting.


We pivoted from a blog writing shop to a podcast agency specifically for B2B brands. We work with many B2B software companies and their marketing departments. We’ve been building and growing our podcast agency for the last six years. As you mentioned in the book earlier, the core strategy behind the podcast we were producing was to reverse engineer relationships.


So knowing that a B2B company that served I.T. companies, for example, or the VP of I.T, if they started a show where they could feature the VP of I.T. as the guest on their show, they could performance-build a lot of relationships with guests that could ultimately buy from them and create great content in the process.  And so that was really the plan for the first five years or so of that pivot into being a podcast agency, and only recently, in the last year, we’ve really started to hone in and focus and say, okay, the relationships are happening, but we weren’t putting a lot of focus on the content being good, leveraging content based networking.


Register to our open-mic Q&A for more insights on content based networking


Content Based Networking: Some Background on Sweet Fish Media and Predictive ROI


And in the last year, we’ve really made this turn into saying, you know, we’re producing a lot of what we now call commodity content, like its content. It doesn’t really have a strong voice, it doesn’t have a strong point of view. It could be created by any of our competitors, and nobody would know the difference. It’s not purpose-driven, which is why we’re exploring avenues like content based networking to infuse more depth and uniqueness into our content strategy.


There’s no more significant or strong meaning behind the content that we’re creating. It’s personalityless, soulless. And I want to stop that. I want to stop creating commodity content. So we’ve started to focus much more on, you know, what story we’re trying to tell. Are there some interesting questions that we could ask or pose?


Not because we know the answers to them, but just because we’re intrigued by the journey of trying to figure out the answer. And can we bring an audience along to help figure out what these things are? And so as we’ve been on that journey in the last this last year and we’ve recently hired a chief content officer that I’m really excited about to help us operationalize this type of thinking for our customer shows as well, leveraging content based networking principles to enhance engagement and relevance.


So anyway, long story short, that’s a bit of the journey of Sweet Fish Media and where we started and where we are today. So awesome. And it’s a great context. And also I want to add this maybe a quick point and then we’ll dive into what you and I were going back and forth with as we’re preparing for today, because you, you, you just by nature are so collaborative.


And I think that’s really important because, like when you and I were both James and me, everyone just for additional context, both James and I, we have a mutual friend, groomer Drew McClellan, and we all three of us love baseball. And so this past July, we went out to the Oakland A’s and then the Cleveland Indians baseball game, which was awesome right on the surface, people might say, “Wait a minute, Predictive ROI, Sweet Fish Media.”


You both produce podcasts. You guys are competitors? Actually, no. We don’t look at each other that way. We bumped into some people that, you know, Built a Better Agency Summit in August. Are you guys competitors now? No. And that’s what I love about you, such a collaborative spirit. I think it is truly one of your gifts.


Read this blog about “What is Content Based Networking?” from Sweet Fish Media


Content Based Networking: Growth Vs Fixed Mindset


Thank you, man. I really like to think about it as a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset and like that abundance mentality that comes with it. Like, I mean, one, you’re serving a completely different audience. You’re serving agency owners and consultants, and we’re serving B2B SaaS companies with a content based networking approach. So, like, I see it as an excellent hour, but even if you were serving size companies, my mindset genuinely is there are so many SaaS companies that need to be doing this better than, like excellent, that there are other like-minded people that are trying to serve customers and you know, in a way that we’re trying to serve them because there’s not going to be enough.


There are not enough of us to go around, like there are too many companies. And I think a lot of people don’t have that mindset. They have very much, you know, it’s us against the world. And I’m like, man, it’s us with the world. Like, let’s let’s go. We’ll have a lot more fun doing this thing if we make a lot of friends in the process.


Amen to that. And in it, it’ll be almost as ludicrous as saying, Well, I have a web development shop, and so, therefore, I must be the only person in the country that does web development. Let’s just pray that doesn’t make any sense. And to pretend that you can’t learn from other people who are doing it and figure it out, I don’t know.


I just think there’s so much more to be had from collaboration than looking at competitors as the enemy. It’s like, man, let’s instead attack, attack the problem that we’re collectively trying to solve for and for us. That’s commodity content. And I know with your shop as well, like you’re trying to figure out how to create genuinely great content for your customers?


And so to me, we’ve got a common enemy, and that enemy is commodity content, and it’s going to take a lot of people trying to solve that problem because there are a lot of companies doing poorly. But 100%. And in you, you mentioned the key ingredients to go 180 degrees from the commodity content, right?


As you mentioned, the recipe is already. So we’ll share this, and then we’ll step into your idea here that we’re going back and forth with. And that is, you know, you mentioned point of view, purpose, story, and all of that. Those are some of the key tenants that Drew and I wrote about in the book Sell with Authority, and it’s like not creating stuff just to create stuff. 


You know that you should be creating things that are tied back to your point of view that get you out of the sea of sameness and, above all else, is helpful so that when your audience hears it, listens to it, reads it, you know, whatever watches that, whatever the content channel is that they feel like, okay, I’m better because I listened to this conversation with James and Stephen, and engaged in Content Based Networking.


I pulled a Golden Nugget out of that that I can take and apply. That was helpful. I had questions, and they answered them for me. Yep. In everybody, if you’re not doing that, you’re creating generic content and or commodity content using your words, and that’s not helpful. It’s not helpful. And I think it’s tough, though, man, because we’re so often we don’t we don’t pull ourselves out of our own seats to try to experience the world from the people that we’re trying to serve.


Because we’re so myopic and focused on ourselves, we don’t even realize that our quote-unquote point of view is the same thing that everybody else, every other vendor in our space, is saying. And so it’s really not differentiating us at all. We’re really not changing anyone’s thinking or giving someone a better way to process something because it’s actually what everybody else is saying as well.


Register to our open-mic Q&A for more insights on content based networking


Content Based Networking: How To Standout from Other Content Creators


Content based networking, I think you’ve got to be able to zoom out and have and have your finger on the pulse to some degree about what, like, what’s the market saying? What is that? What’s the advice? That is common because everybody’s trying to create content. Now, it’s not you before you could stand out just by being the one creating content.


Now, there’s a sea of companies creating content. You have to figure out how to differentiate. So, that’s why I’m excited to dive into what we’re going to be talking about today. Me too. Okay, so let’s actually take a term let’s set a foundation because in my interpretation, which is why I want to get yours, I think mine is wrong when I think of creating content, I think in use the term content creator, when you and I were going back and forth, I’m like, Isn’t that the same thing?


And I think that it’s not. You have a different definition that is more accurate than maybe my assumption. So if I ask you, James, as we get into this new topic and you’re a content creator, tell us about that person or function. Yeah. So when I think about creators, you’re totally right. Stephen, there’s no wrong way to define it.


There’s just a lot of definitions. But when I think about a creator, I’m thinking about someone who has built an engaged audience, a legitimately engaged audience, usually a sizable audience on at least one social platform, and that sometimes that’s, you know, they’re doing YouTube videos on knitting. Other times, they’re, you know, doing a show called Manufacturing Happy Hour, and they’ve got a lot of manufacturing executives there who are listening to their show.


But essentially, a creator is someone who has built a sizable, engaged audience on at least one social platform or platform. It could be email, it could be a podcast, could be YouTube, TikTok. And the reason that I’ve kind of had this epiphany that these creators, as I define them, can add so much value to companies is because we started this show earlier this year called or I guess now it’s last year called Young Married Christian, leveraging Content Based Networking principles.


The whole goal of the show is to raise awareness of the foster care crisis. There are way too many kids that need homes. And as a follower of Christ, I know that there’s, you know, 400,000 churches in America. There are 400,000 kids in the foster care system. If we can get one family in every church in America to step up and engage the foster care system, we can have families waiting on kids as opposed to kids waiting on families and having to sit in the offices of these social workers, hoping that a family will open up their home so that they can have a place


to stay because of the miserable situation that they’re coming out of. And so we started this media company, this brand, to try to raise awareness and to talk about topics that are really relevant for young married Christians, but then also talk about this problem of the foster care crisis and how people can get engaged. And so part of our strategy was to find Christian influencers that have followings of 50,000 or more, and we’re going to bring them down to Orlando.


Read this blog about “What is Content Based Networking?” from Sweet Fish Media


Content Based Networking: Understanding Customer Behavior Through Different Platforms


We’re going to do a podcast episode with them, chop it up into a bunch of micro content, you know, the game, obviously. And so, in doing so, the hope would be that these influencers would then share that content, and we would be able to do content based networking, more content collaborations with them, tap into their audience, and essentially grow the reach of the brand, the media, the property by having all of these different relationships with these Christian influencers.


What I found out is that these content creators, those that we are bringing in, are incredibly sharp. They’re really, really smart people. You cannot build an audience. I’m convinced you can’t build an audience of 50,000 plus without having two very critical things. And these two things are things I keep going back and forth to over and over and over again.


Okay. Once they have them, they understand the nuances of social platforms and how to play into those nuances to capitalize on the organic reach that they can get from these platforms. So when we have somebody who’s got 130,000 followers on Instagram and we have a conversation with them over dinner, you can tell that they understand the nuances and components of the different features inside of Instagram that are not being talked about in the land that I live in of B2B marketing, like B2B marketers are like what’s an Instagram?


Meanwhile, these guys have figured out the intricate nuances of how to play on that platform in such a way that the platform itself gives their channel way more exposure. The same thing holds true with YouTube, TikTok, and all of these platforms, there are just so many nuances, so they understand the nuances of the social platforms. But then secondly, and I think probably even more powerful, they understand human psychology in a way that I think most marketers want to understand but don’t actually because they’ve done it like they’ve had to figure out what it is about this YouTube video that I’m about to publish that’s going to hook somebody in the first 3 seconds if they’ve been practicing content based networking.


Thoughtful about the thumbnail, they’ve been thoughtful about the content all the way through the end because they know with YouTube, you’ve got like watch time is the thing and you’ve got to keep people engaged on that YouTube video. And so because they understand the platform nuances, they know it’s almost like a forcing function. They have to understand human psychology because they’ve got to be able to create content that keeps these people engaged so that their content will leverage that component of the platform.


They’ll be able to get more reach. I just think those two skill sets—understanding human psychology, whether that’s knowing how to write a hook for a LinkedIn post or how to do a thumbnail for YouTube—are like knowing what’s actually going to resonate with the intended audience. On the other hand, you have to actually know what those things are.


I mean, until a year ago I didn’t know the first thing about YouTube thumbnails like and how critically important they were. And so those two things combined I think, are massive skill sets that companies should be looking to hire and to bring in-house or where to hire as a freelancer. If you’re not at a place where you can justify bringing on one of these creators for, you know, probably 75 to 100 grand a year to come in and run your content strategy, see what it looks like to work with them on a contract basis.


I found that a lot of these folks have built an incredible audience on the back of a particular passion, Steven. They’ve learned these platform nuances. They understand human psychology, but they haven’t quite cracked the code on monetizing, at least with creators who have the 50 to 150000 follower range that you and I have.


We have businesses where you and I don’t need 50,000 followers because we’ve figured out how to monetize them. And so, but I think going to people who have actually built audiences and saying, hey, we think we know how to monetize our products and services, you know, how to build an audience, let’s put these two skills together.


Register to our open-mic Q&A for more insights on content based networking


Content Based Networking: Building The Right Audience


Let’s build a massive audience with content based networking and then, on the back end, monetize that audience with the service that we have. And so I just think there’s enormous value in collaborating and partnering with creators, even if they don’t know your industry, because again, they know platform nuances, they understand human psychology. Regardless of what industry you’re in, they’re very sharp people. 


It’s not rocket science for them to understand the nuances of manufacturing or whatever industry you’re serving like this. They might partner with somebody on your team who’s a subject matter expert and understands all of the things about your industry. But that person who’s a subject matter expert can’t do what that creator does.


They don’t understand platform nuances or human psychology the way that those creators do. So, all that to say, I’m super bullish on this idea, and I think creators—I think we’re already seeing it happen like the creator economy is real. There’s a show on YouTube called Colin and Samir, the Colin and Samir Show, and they interview creators from all over the world.


They’re talking about the creator economy. And I’m watching this going. This hasn’t hit B2B land yet, but it absolutely needs to because we’ve beaten B2B land, and we know how to monetize. Well, we can sell a freaking software license for $700 a year and like, and it costs us nothing to deliver that basically, we know how to do that part.


What we don’t know how to do is build an audience. And I think there’s a slew of people on the Internet today. They’re easy to find because they’ve already built an audience that knows that we should be tapping their shoulder and saying, hey, like we’ve got dollars. Can we partner with you? Can we pay you to show us how to do this thing that you are clearly exceptionally gifted in? This is going to be such a great conversation.


And that was just the introduction to this idea. Okay. So we’re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we’re going to talk about putting those skills together and then bringing this together as far as, you know, the company is in monetization and all of that. We’d love to get some of your thoughts on that, especially regarding content based networking.


But first, let’s take a quick break, and then we’ll be right back. Okay, everybody, we’re back. And we’re going to continue going down this path of this significant momentum that James started off within the first half, where we’re talking about putting these skills together. So how do we do that? Like if we’re if ever somebody is listening to you right now, James, and thinking, yeah, I want to do that, like, where do they look?


Read this blog about “What is Content Based Networking?” from Sweet Fish Media


Content Based Networking: Owning Your Audience’s Attention


How much should they pay that person? How do they start building a strategy around that? Like they got the monetization piece like you were just talking about, but like this hidden kind of audience building skill and but they want to do what you just described. How do they start taking the steps down that path? Yeah. So there’s a guy named Rand Fishkin.


He started Maus several years ago, left Mazi, and now started another company called Spark Toro. So, I would start by signing up for Spark Toro. It’s really affordable and I would start putting in keywords related to your industry. So if you can find it, I don’t think it’s necessary that you have a creator that understands the nuances of your industry.


But obviously if there are creators out there that do, that’s going to be better. So, I will start searching for terms related to your industry and Spark Toro. What Spark Toro is going to feed you is okay. So, going back to the manufacturing example, if you put in manufacturing, it’s going to give you the most popular podcast.


It’s going to point you to the people who are talking about manufacturing on Twitter and all of these social platforms. It’s going to show you the email newsletters that manufacturers are subscribed to and consuming, and so that’s kind of your first place to start, is figuring out who currently has the attention of my buyers through content based networking. And what most marketers do from that point is they go, how can I figure out how to sponsor this content?


And to me, it’s like, okay, that has its utility. But instead of being nice by saying that you’re being nice, instead of just trying to sponsor their content, why don’t you try to hire them so that you can produce the level of content that they clearly know how to produce, which has allowed them to build that audience?


I would much rather own my audience than just sponsor somebody else’s audience because the reality is their audience is coming to them for them. They’re tuning out the ads at the halfway mark, like you might. You may capture a fraction of their audience’s attention by sponsoring them, but you can literally have a transformational impact on their audiences’ lives by figuring out how they’ve done what they’ve done.


Either bring them in-house or hire them to consult your marketing and content teams on a regular basis and figure out how you can, as a company, produce the type of content that creates raving fans like what they’ve done. I think that’s the major mindset shift that companies have to start thinking about. Okay, so this sounds like a really excellent tool.


Register to our open-mic Q&A for more insights on content based networking


Content Based Networking: Learning How to Create Content for A Specific Audience


And I knew that Rand had gone off to a different project, but to a different company. But for whatever reason, Spark Toro, I didn’t know that that was what it was. But so, so somebody goes to develop or signs up for a membership and so forth. My guess is, and then so correct me if I’m wrong here, is that that’s probably a lot of sort of hand-to-hand combat, a lot of research, a lot of reaching out, a lot of having conversations has probably sparked probably not like an aggregator like communication platform is probably like a research tool.


Am I trying? Yeah, with you, it’s a research tool, Correct. Okay. So you can go in and there’s like, I’ve just pulled it up right now. Okay. You can go in, and you can say, my audience frequently talks about, and then whatever the dropdowns here say drones, but I’ll put in content marketing. Okay? Because our ideal buyers frequently talk about content marketing.


Okay, I just hit search. It’s now like pulling up all of this. All of this data says Spark. Spark Charles database has found 41,975 people who talk about content marketing. Wow. And then it says, here’s what this audience follows: visits and engages with social accounts they follow. Most 34% engage with HubSpot, 32% engage with Content Marketing Institute, 31% engage with Handley.


I had never heard of them, and so the tool is really good at digging up things that, you know, I think anybody in content marketing probably knows HubSpot content marketing firm handles. Those are kind of the common names, and the reality is you’re probably not going to get anybody. Maybe you could hire somebody from the HubSpot content team that is doing it, you know, running their TikTok channel.


Maybe they could take on some freelance work to help you figure out the TikTok channel and leverage content based networking. We just recently hired a woman for young Mary Christian. She’s built a following of moms. And because we’re trying to reach parents, she’s built a 200,000-person following on TikTok. We have been working with her for 2500 bucks a month, and she’s helping us create a TikTok video every single day.


She is into her audience right now, so there will be some cross-collaboration with her audience. But it’s our content. So she’s helping us create it for the young married Christian channel as opposed to us just sponsoring her content on her channel. We’re taking her insights and learning how she has built what she’s built so we can build it ourselves.


Read this blog about “What is Content Based Networking?” from Sweet Fish Media


Content Based Networking: Hiring Creators for The Right Platform


Wow, that’s the major shift, and these are at 2200 bucks a month. And that’s my side project. That’s not even Sweet Fish. That’s my little side thing. So imagine the level of investment that we’re making in hiring. We just hired a chief content officer. It’s one of the most significant investments we’ve ever made in the business.


But I’m convinced it’s going to be an exponential return, because when you hire creators, you then start to create the thinking in-house on your team that allows you to build an audience. And I don’t think there’s anything more leveraged that marketing teams can do in a 2022 environment than build their own audience. That is okay.


That is so smart, super smart. Let’s hook that back into where our conversation started today when we were talking about using your words as commodity content. Yeah, my guess is that using your example of young married Christians and the influencer who is helping you do that, the content that she’s helping you create is not in the category of commodity content right now.


It’s not. And because she knows from her experience you don’t grow a 200,000-person following by creating commodity content, right? You build that kind of following by creating content that people resonate with deeply. And so the type of thinking that she has when she’s processing through content ideas how to produce it, like the things we’ve learned in the last month of working with her, it’s like she’s taking clips from our show, and she’s editing them in a way that we would have never known to edit them because she knows content based networking.


She knows that on TikTok, you have to keep people engaged, so it has to be hyper quick cuts. If there’s even a second between someone saying something, it’s going to lose people, and they’re going to scroll up. Well, we don’t know that because TikTok is not our jam, but it is her jam, and I want it to be our jam.


And so we’re doing the same thing. We’re trying to figure out Instagram in the same way. We’re like all like, I don’t think you can be a master of all of these social platforms, but you can master a lot more of them than you think. If you have this strategy of thinking, we need to hire these creators instead of just trying to sponsor their content.


Register to our open-mic Q&A for more insights on content based networking


Content Based Networking: Training Your Team Members


So then, okay, let’s take this back to Sweet Fish as it relates to content based networking and  SAS companies. Yep. And so would you employ this same strategy? Obviously, you are a completely different influencer, yet would you employ that same strategy if you wanted to get Sweet Fish in front of more SAS companies? Is that what you would be?


Would you be using this strategy to do that? Yep. That’s who we just hired. So we hired our chief content officer knowing that he knows how to speak to B2B marketing leaders. He’s built a personal brand himself in the last several years. He speaks on a lot of stages. He knows a lot of people. The podcast that he produced himself is a phenomenal, super top-shelf show that attracts the type of people that we want to attract by hiring him and bringing him onto our team.


He’s now going to be training our launch specialists, our podcast production managers, our producers, and our director of podcast production. He is going to be getting his thinking around premise development and an episode format. And how do you keep people engaged through an entire episode? His thinking now, because we’ve hired him, is going to be embedded across our entire team.


And so it’s like a rising boat. The rising tide lifts all ships’ kind of mentality. When you go and hire these people and bring them in, you make it a part of your company’s DNA. And so now it’s not it’s super leveraged because, yeah, this was a really this was a this was like when I told our CEO or our integrator that I wanted to hire this guy, he was like, I mean, to say his butthole puckered would probably be the understatement of the century.


But I’m convinced that by making this investment, it now makes our entire team better. And we’re going to be able to raise up talent now using the processes that this guy is going to create. It’s going to accelerate their career in a way that we couldn’t have done before. But when we bring on a producer, and they go through this guy’s training, and they start thinking about how development and show running the way this guy thinks about it, all of their shows that they’re producing for our customers are going to be substantially better, even though this guy’s never even going to touch them like he’s far enough removed from it. This kind of approach, rooted in content based networking, will significantly enhance our team’s capabilities and the quality of our customer-facing content.


In the same way, if you’re a company and you can find one or two influencers in your space, or maybe they’re just adjacent to your space, but they’ve built a sizable, engaged audience for themselves, go and see how you can potentially bring it for them. Maybe you can only bring them in for five hours a week to consult your team.


But by doing that, because of your own budget constraint, it might be because, hey, they’ve figured out how to monetize, and they don’t really need to do a lot of consulting like they’re doing. They’re in their lane doing their own thing, and they don’t need to work with you. But there’s just so many of them, Stephen, that, like, if one of them says no, there’s ten of them right behind them that are going to jump at the chance to work with you because so many of these creators have not cracked the code on monetizing, right? This highlights the importance of content based networking.


Because they don’t have a built out value ladder. And in that type or a suite, a service offering like you to get or candidly a team of 20 plus people like you do. I mean, they might be really, really excellent at, like you said, a particular channel in the nuance of that channel, the human psychology of that channel.


Read this blog about “What is Content Based Networking?” from Sweet Fish Media


Content Based Networking: The Right Partner Will Drive Your Success


In content based networking, the person you’re bringing in, would he consider this: Okay, I’ve built this really cool audience. James would like to be able to access my talent for building that audience, in effect, by working alongside James. I’m monetizing what I just did. Yes, that counts as monetization for him or her. You and I would define that maybe a little bit differently.


Yeah, but to him, that’s monetizing through content based networking, and then you’re bringing in that talent, right? Yep. You’re exactly right. Like he’s monetizing his skillset. I can’t share his name just yet because we’re not publicly announcing it, but he has tried his hand at building his own company and just didn’t enjoy it


It wasn’t his bag. He’s absolutely smart enough to do it, but he just realized self-awareness, like, Hey, this is his thing. And that’s what I found with a lot of these creators. There’s another guy that we’ve hired to do a narrative show for young, Married Christian. So, it’s a completely different show. The reason I hired this guy was because he just recently produced one of the most popular Christian podcasts of probably the last ten years called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.


This guy produced the show. It’s getting about 160,000 downloads an episode. It was an absolute smash hit. So I reached out to him, and I was like, Hey, I want to hire you so I can figure out what you’re doing. I want to be able to produce those kinds of shows for our network of podcasts that you’ve made Christian.


So we’ve hired him. He’s built out the premise of our narrative show. And now he’s starting to connect with me because he’s the hottest name in Christian podcasting right now. He can get his foot in the door and into potential partners, like big brands in the Christian space, that could potentially fund this series that we’re trying to do.


And so he’s opening up relationally, the worst that we would have never been open to opening up because he just produced one of the hottest podcasts of this decade. And so there are so many benefits to partnering with, trying to partner with, these content creators. What you learn from them is going to be huge.


The relational doors that content based networking can open for you are going to be huge. You can stop creating commodity content because their voice and thinking are now going to influence how you think about content as well. And I can guarantee you that the way they think about content is a lot more effective than the way you think about content because they’ve built an audience, and you haven’t.


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Content Based Networking: Connecting With James


So I could go on and on, Stephen, about all of the upsides and benefits of finding people that you can hire to take your content game to a whole new level. This is so amazing, and I am so, so glad that you and I were going back and forth on this particular topic because it’s been super, super awesome.


Before we go, before we close out, I’m going to ask you one final question here just to wrap up and see if we missed anything. I just want to reemphasize everybody who is listening to this right now. And that is, again, I mentioned the word collaboration. It is one of your gifts, my friend. This entire conversation can be wrapped up in one word: collaboration. It’s a super, super smart approach to it.


Really, really brilliant. So before we go, before we close out, any final advice, anything you think we might have missed? And then please tell everyone how to reach out and connect with you. Yeah, there’s so many other things that we could do that we could run down on this. I would say that if this is interesting to anybody listening, you know, my email is [email protected] and SweetFishMedia.coom obviously our website.


You can go to, and I’ve got all the different products you’ll see young married Christians on there, as well as a bunch of the other projects that I am working on. I started doing a daily email. It’s like an internal email to our team. I just call it the three things email.


So, I share one thing I’m working on, one thing I’m learning, and one thing I’m grateful for. It’s a pretty quick read. If you’re interested in this kind of thinking, you can check out James Carbary’s website, where I also discuss content based networking. You’ll find the link for the newsletter there as well. This is the kind of stuff I’m sharing with my team on a day-to-day basis, just trying to think innovatively and think outside the box to try to get better results.


Super smart. Okay, everyone, no matter how many notes you took—and I took a bunch—no matter how often you go back and re-listen to James’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope that you do. The key is that you have to take the tools, the process, and all of this guidance that he gave you, and apply it.


In the process, you’ll accelerate your results, grow your business, and further plant your flag of authority through content based networking, which is obviously one of the focuses of our show. So, James, we all have the same 86400 seconds in a day, my friend, and I’m grateful you said yes to coming onto the show, to be our mentor and guide, and to help us move our businesses forward.


Thank you so much, my friend. Thank you, Steve. And this has been awesome. Thanks a lot.


Read this blog about “What is Content Based Networking?” from Sweet Fish Media

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