Episode 11

You should buy & monetize a media brand in your niche (here’s why) with Preston Holland

with Preston Holland

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In this episode Adam (@AdamVazquez) and Carlton (@CarltonRiffel) are joined by Maribel Lara (@prestonholland6) who is the VP of Product Development at Flying Magazine. Preston shares the process for acquiring a media company, how Flying is creating unique experiences through content & what it’s like building a media company.

Show notes:

* (8:04) Have you Heard?

* (10:45) How Flying Magazine has lasted since 1927

* (15:20) The theory and process of buying a media company

* (24:12) Packaging content in multiple mediums to offer maximum audience value

* (30:42) Practical ideas on how to monetize a niche audience and community

Links & Resources:

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Transcription

Transcription generated by Otter.ai

Adam Vazquez 0:06
Preston Allen is the VP of Product Development at flying a media company established in 1927. As the go to source for current and aspiring pilots, President is responsible for the build out and commercialization of new digital media products and he leads a team to develop attractive new offerings for flying customers. I think Preston is adept at understanding audience intent and designing media products and experiences to drive engagement simultaneously. The Flying team is doing some incredibly innovative work from creating new events for subscribers to building an entire resort that is dedicated to creating immersive experiences for private pilots. During the episode we discussed how the acquisition of flying came to be. Preston’s process for creating new concepts and how content drives and in real life engagement with flying customers. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and think you will too and the words of one of my son’s favorite Paw Patrol. Let’s take to the sky with Preston Holland.

Adam Vazquez 1:26
I welcome back into continents for closers, the show we talk to entrepreneurs, marketers and business founders about how they’re growing their business through content. We have a unique episode today. I’m excited to get in. But before we do, Carlton, thank you for joining the show. How’s it going today?

Carlton Riffel 1:40
It’s going good. We’re just still live in the fall life

Adam Vazquez 1:43
live in the fall. I’ve got a lot of good feedback last week, mainly from myself on on our pizza episode thought that went well enjoyed. enjoyed talking about that. Just

Carlton Riffel 1:52
decide no pizza night last night was great. We just had all of our best friends over and wonderful.

Adam Vazquez 1:59
Mr. Again, didn’t get any good. Any specific, like novelty toppings? Well, thank

Carlton Riffel 2:05
you. So Julia tried another recipe for dough. And it was pretty good. It was a little thicker. Yeah, so we’re starting some plans on a outdoor pizza oven. That’s going to be coming to the riffle homestead soon. So

Adam Vazquez 2:20
once we reach a certain certain threshold here, and I don’t know what it is, we’ll have to do a continent for closers, like live episode and we might need to do it in your on your profit.

Carlton Riffel 2:32
Just on the back porch,

Adam Vazquez 2:35
back porch, hot tub, a

Carlton Riffel 2:39
special segment and that would ever

Adam Vazquez 2:42
be I don’t think people would enjoy it. But yeah, anyway. Well, we’ve got a fun episode today. And before we get into the interview with Preston Holland, what’s our what’s our icebreaker this week Carlson?

Carlton Riffel 2:52
Yeah, so we’re gonna mix it up this week, we’re gonna not do a secondary segment after afterwards. So that way you guys can. If you if you get bored of the episode, you can just turn it off. Really? My question for you, Adam is have you been in any weird flying scenarios? We’re talking about flying today? So have you been in any odd stories involving airplanes or being on an airplane where things have happened?

Adam Vazquez 3:17
Yeah, so we should clarify. Most of what flying magazine is talking about and it’s actually awesome. If you haven’t heard of flying magazine, check it out. It’s really empowering. What I would call like your everyday pilot or your everyday plane owner, which sounds ridiculous, but if you if you see the magazine or read it. Yeah, exactly. You understand what I’m talking about? I don’t have any experiences as a private plane owner because I’m not one but I have flown a lot commercially obviously like, like, the poor masses for work and things like that. The the the most interesting, I guess, experience I’ve had was I flew ll two, Israel from JFK. And I mean, it’s a very long flight. And it’s a I think it’s I can’t remember 12 hours over there, I think or something like that. And the divide it’s the one time that I’ve seen like, overt divide based on race, essentially. And it’s like seconds just happening. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, so if you’re Jewish, if you’re ethnically Jewish, you’re served your food first. And it’s obviously kosher food and all this so the stewardesses make a pass through the entire cabin, serve the ethnically Jewish people and then come back and serve the Gentiles second, the Gentile language. I think that’s what we’re called. And then just randomly throughout the flight, Orthodox Jewish rabbis will be pacing the hall or the aisles, doing their prayers. So it’s very, I mean, the first time I saw it, I just was completely taken off guard. I’m sitting there reading or watching like the Bourne Supremacy or something. And and someone comes in, they’re doing their prayers and walking, walking through the aisle, so it was a Sunday due for unique experience,

Carlton Riffel 5:01
what have you experienced? For sure? That’s awesome. Yeah. So yeah, I guess there’s a couple angles I can take with this. But first of all, I just want to apologize to any specific pilot or airline related people that heard my comment the first time around. If you’ve been a longtime listener to the show for the last 10 episodes, you may have heard some disparaging remarks or so to

Adam Vazquez 5:26
or Yeah, it’s probably my favorite moment so far.

Carlton Riffel 5:30
And then Adam, of course, had to run with my two cents and and say that I was a pilot hater. So I’m not a hater. I actually, I’ve been a long time remote control flyer. So there we go, started off with a little airplane remote control airplane when I was like, in sixth grade, or seventh grade. So I was like the one Christmas present. I just wanted for a long time and finally got it. And then I had this little note on it. It’s like you cannot fly this in winds over, like 10 miles an hour. So like if it was remotely windy at all. And so like, I got it super pumped. And my brother sees that and they just like seize the day to make fun of me. And they’re like, you know, Carlton, we live in the Windy City, like Aha. And sure enough, like, I had a very, very rough time trying to find the thing I like took it out to our field one day, flew it, maybe 10 seconds after it got in the air, it was going great. It just hit a little gust of wind stalled out and maybe 100 feet flipped and just went straight down. man broke into a million pieces. So now I fly drones. I’m a avid drone flier so.

Adam Vazquez 6:38
So we are we are kind of compacting our segments here before the interview. And then we’ll get into it with Preston in a second. But normally at the end, we would do our Have you heard segment and give folks something that we’ve learned or heard in the past week? What What have you heard Carlton that you think would be relevant or helpful for the listener?

Carlton Riffel 6:56
Yeah, so something that is pretty exciting. This week, for me is a speech software that I used for about the last year, it’s called bubble.io. It’s a no code or low code. App Builder, really looked at as kind of the big player in the space as far as if you want to build a full featured app that has full featured authentication and can handle a large database bubble is kind of the go to no code builder for that. So they just came out with a brand new redeveloped totally from the ground up responsive engine and just make, make your products makes your make your websites, whatever you build on, they’re a lot more responsive. So that’s in beta still, but it was really cool to try that out over the weekend and kick the tires. So

Adam Vazquez 7:42
for those of you who are heard customers, that responsive engine will be driving part of our app that would be customer facing eventually is that right?

Carlton Riffel 7:52
Yeah, absolutely. So we were kind of waiting a little bit to that came out and then being able to push ahead with making everything mobile friendly. And you could before it was just really kind of clunky. And the way that you had to do it was just took a long time. So now kind of as you’re building it, you can have the same same workflow same page driving everything and

Adam Vazquez 8:13
very cool. We get into it a little bit today. But Preston talked about briefly, the fact that Craig fuller who’s the the owner of fly magazine acquired it, and then is using a lot of the the media components that we discuss on the episode to build it to build it up just like he did with freightwaves and Preston’s at the charge of that. But I’ve been really obsessed recently the way Craig acquired it was via something called an SBA loan. And if you’re not familiar with SBA loans, if you’re into business or into acquiring a business or looking like you thinking you might want to run a business at some point, they’re really really interesting they’re provided by the government they are require if you’re a new investor or a new entrepreneur, they require only 10% down versus the the value of the business and then you have 10 years to pay off the interest or the rest of that loan. And to me it’s just fascinating as a financial device because it really like it makes acquiring and then operating a business a real legitimate option for a lot of people and there’s yeah there’s so many businesses that are available you can go on micro acquire calm flippa.com Just biz Buy Sell calm, where whether it be digital or retail brick and mortar etc. Businesses there’s people always try and right now we’re in a flood of people exiting their businesses because they’re ready for retirement like that generation is moving on so anyway for anyone interested we touched on it very very briefly on the episode but I’ve been digging into that and studying it and and really enjoying that process. So check out SBA loans if you if you hadn’t heard of them before. Yeah, that’s awesome. Cool. Well, I think this is a great episode, everyone. I think you’ll really enjoy it. I enjoy talking to Preston and getting to pick his brain about growing a media company. So without rambling on any further, let’s get to the episode with Preston.

Alright, we’ve got Preston Hollen, here on the show from flying magazine. Preston, thanks for joining the show with us.

Preston Holland 10:20
Hey, Adam, it’s good to see you. Thanks for having me. Of course. So

Adam Vazquez 10:23
you and I connected on Twitter realized very quickly, we’re we have probably too much in common. I feel like we’ve already had a couple of late night text conversations about launching products and things like that and immediately knew as we were talking that I needed to get you on and talk about your experience, kind of transitioning flying. And I’d love for you to explain what that what’s going on with that. And then and now trying to grow it as well. So tell us a little bit about like, what is fine magazine? How did you get there? What are you trying to do with it?

Preston Holland 10:53
Yeah, so flying magazine was started in 1927. And it was really centered around Amelia Earhart’s flight, right? That’s the kind of the launching point for flying magazine. And it’s had a couple of different names. Popular aviation is one of them. There’s an entire Wikipedia page, if you’re interested in kind of learning a bit about the brand, there is some documentation about that out there, kind of given a history. But essentially, it’s a it’s a blue chip brand in the aviation space. So this is a niche publication, specifically targeted at pilots and people who love aviation. So there’s a couple of different sectors of people that read it, right, you have professional pilots, that might be somebody who flies a business jet, that might be somebody who flies an airliner, it could be a variety of people, at the professional level, a lot of that crosses over into a general passion for aviation. So that would be known as general aviation, right? So that’s gonna be kind of what you think about with small planes, right? So you think Cessna 172, or you think about Piper aircraft, or kind of these smaller aircraft, those are passion for people, and a lot of those airline pilots will retire with a significant amount of expendable income, and then they’ll continue on as a hobby. And so they love aviation. They’re super passionate about it. So we have a really engaged audience. And I think that that’s really what attracted us when we were looking at kind of niche media acquisition targets.

Adam Vazquez 12:18
Very cool. So it’s a magazine media company talking to these enthusiasts. And is the core business currently around advertising. Is it a subscription based business? Maybe give us a little taste of that?

Preston Holland 12:31
Yeah. So it’s, it’s a legacy publisher, right? So as it came from 1927, right, there’s, there’s a wide history of business models, as you look at it. And as you look at the evolution of media businesses, as it currently sits, and that we’ve been transitioning from is, it’s primarily advertiser driven when it comes to you talk about cost versus where’s your return on the returns at the advertiser side, this subscription model pretty much only covers its own cost, maybe, maybe breaks, even maybe loses a few dollars, just kind of depends on on the subscriber, what the channel they came through. And so it is primarily advertiser driven. There’s a huge history with this brand, right? Aviation is a really small industry. And so you have executives that are making these decisions that grew up reading flying magazine, they love the brand, right. And so they have this huge love for the brand as a whole. So a lot of that loyalty, brand loyalty comes and is really ingrained in a lot of these decision makers from the advertiser side. And so really, what we’re wanting to do is we’re wanting to transition from an advertiser driven model to a subscription driven model, right? So when you when you look at from a monetization standpoint, the subscriber model is long term, Apple, Google, Facebook, everybody is kind of clamping down on privacy and your targeting and retargeting is becoming more and more difficult. So for us as a niche publication, we have the eyeballs of the readers. So the advertisers don’t necessarily have to wonder, is this actually my target market? Because the content that they’re reading? It is the target market, there is not a question you, Joe off of the street, or Sally off of the street is not going to just pick up a copy of flying magazine and find a lot of the content super intriguing. Right, right. You have to love it in order to read it. So niche publications have have had a wide evolution, right, I think in that you look at like the late 90s, early 2000s is kind of the digital revolution kind of came through legacy media publications didn’t make that switch to kind of the subscriber driven model, even though they had this highly engaged brand, and this highly engaged user readership. And then so that’s really what we saw the opportunity as and when we when we made the acquisition that was kind of one of our big goals is to take it from AD driven to subscriber driven. Okay,

Adam Vazquez 14:57
so let’s talk about that a little bit because obviously you You’re great. hasn’t owned it since 1920, or whatever. So it’s a it’s a newer acquisition. It’s something that you are coming into now. And I think so the whole point of our show is talking about how can you leverage content in order to start a business to to grow a business, but essentially to make money, right? Because that’s what that’s what people are trying to figure out. So when you all are coming to it, what is the theory behind buying a existing legacy brand? And obviously, it has an existing audience versus just starting one from scratch? And like, how did you all come up with? Or what are some of the Levers you’re thinking through as you’re going through that process?

Preston Holland 15:40
Yeah, so our founder and CEO of flying media group that is kind of the parent company that owns flying magazine now, is Craig Fuller, he has been a pilot, since he was in his late teens, grew up around aviation loves it, he actually owns two aircraft himself, you know, light sport aircraft. Yeah. So he owns an icon, a five. And then he just recently bought another light sport aircraft. So we we’ve been doing a building in public. So if you want to go check it out, flying mag comm it’s taking off in public is the name of the series. So he kind of talks about the development. And in one of the articles, he was talking about how the beauty of flying magazine is that there is so much trust there with the user readers that you’d have to build from scratch, if you were to, if you’re to build it from scratch, right? You have to build that trust in acquiring a brand. You’re acquiring that trust with the readership. And so therefore, as you take them on that journey, and then you you prove to them, Hey, we’re here to invest in you. Right. So we’re, I think, one of the questions that a lot of people ask me is, what’s your headcount, and to be completely honest, we are hiring journalists so fast that I can’t keep up with headcount right now. And that is a direct investment into the brand and into the community. Right. So this whole idea about community first and, and content for community and acquiring a media organization, you’re actually purchasing that brand loyalty, that brand trust, and able to leverage that and and then develop that not just in media properties, but then you’re able to monetize it in so many other ways, not just in advertiser driven revenue, right? You have affiliate linking, you have just talking about like traditional publisher, revenue streams, subscription models, and things like that. But then you can also even pivot that into real life examples. Because your audience is so engaged with you, and they trust you, and it’s your job not to mess that up and not to lose their trust and continue to invest into the community. And so that, I think, is that the main reason behind purchasing a brand, right is you’re buying that brand loyalty, and and also that subscriber base, so you’re not having to teach new people, Hey, this is what our product is. People already know in the community, right?

Adam Vazquez 17:56
Okay. But is that tricky at all? Like, in the sense of this, this brand has existed forever. It does have a very rabid, loyal fan base. And then I feel like it’s almost like when you have like your favorite restaurant or something like a taco shop that you just love, and then all sudden, it’s like under new management, you’re like, oh, no, I hope the tacos still, I hope they still have that GWAC because that was like my favorite thing I’ve ever had. How have you been able to bridge that gap and assure the incumbent audience that’s been with them forever? Hey, the Glocks still good, while offering these new products and bringing in new talent and all that?

Preston Holland 18:33
Yeah. So flying has been owned by a media conglomeration for the past 10 years. And before that is kind of traded media hands. And they were a carrier of the brand for a while, and they did a great job, right? They didn’t, they didn’t ostracize the community or kill the brand. But it wasn’t necessarily their sole focus, right. Flying was one of multiple titles that was underneath this big Umbrella Corporation. So one thing that we’re working through is communicating to the community. That look, this is what we’re doing. Flying magazine is it it is all about flying are we don’t have a writer that’s writing about other content. They’re only writing about aviation. We don’t have, we’re not going to have podcasts that are coming out in adjacent fields. We’re not going to have a yachting podcast, we’re not going to have a maybe another like a Porsche or something like that. Maybe I can write it’s it’s all about flying. So one way that we’re communicating that is that taking off in public, I mean, it’s actually performed really well for us. Craig will write an article about this is what he’s thinking about, or this is where the direction of flying is going. And the community is responding. I mean, reader numbers on those are in the week. They’re usually in the top two or three. And if it comes out once a week, it usually comes out on Mondays and so it’ll sit in the top slot for two or three days because the community wants to know What’s going to happen to this blue chip brand that I love so much. And so we’re trying to communicate to them like, Hey, we’re, we’re serious, we are making an investment here. This is a, a passion project for Craig, our founder. And for him, he’s not here trying to just suck all the life out of it and get any dollars that he can and then moving on, it’s he is a steward of the brand. That’s, you know, what we keep talking about is he gets to hold on to flying for right now, and get to grow it. So I think communicating to the community is very important of this is what my intentions are. And this is what we’re going to do and then prove it, right. And that’s what we’ve been doing by hiring more and more content writers and content creators, in order to double down kind of on that brand.

Adam Vazquez 20:46
Very cool. I will link that in the show notes below down in links and resources. If you wanna check it out the building, is it building? Offline? Is that you said? It’s

Preston Holland 20:54
taking off in public? Sorry, that’s me. He’s building my files. Flying is making clouds ever it’s

Adam Vazquez 21:02
taking off of all Yeah. Okay. So yeah, well, we’ll link that below. So kind of you you sort of brought up Craig is doing that one concept of showing, hey, this is where we’re headed. This is how we’re doing it. And I think that’s a great idea. Very transparent. What process do you use internally, and this is more, I think, interesting for people who are either trying to whether they bought it or not just trying to build up a media platform, and establishing new concepts, new shows, that’s something that we get asked a lot actually is like, I have this idea, how can I vet it? Or what is the process I need to take in order to validate that it’s that it’s a good idea? And I’m sure you all have that conversation regularly? So maybe take us behind the curtain a little bit on that?

Preston Holland 21:46
Yeah, absolutely. So we have a really sharp editorial team. So guy by the name Mark spore is running our digital editorial team. And then our managing editor for the print side of the house and kind of our content expert. Her name is Julie Boatman. She has been in the industry for forever. She’s an iconic name very technical, very, very smart, very kind. I really like Julie, really have enjoyed getting to get into work with her. But But Mark is kind of helping to package up new content ideas in in, I guess vertical stacks, right? So you have if you think about digital media, right, you’ve got a couple of different properties. You have newsletters, you have podcasts, you have video series, you have Enterprise pieces, you have columns, you have your website. So you have a lot of options when it comes to how you’re going to package that content. So what we’ll do is, if somebody will have an idea, a lot of times that idea originates in Slack, and it usually ends up starting about nine o’clock at night and doesn’t finish until like 1130. And you wake up the next morning to 30 slacks. Oh, yeah, that’s a great idea. It’s a great idea. Yeah, so that’ll kind of be you know, the brainstorming process. And you talk about asynchronous work. That’s a huge topic right now with COVID. About people working not at exactly the same time but able to collaborate. And there’s a lot of tools coming out for that. We just use Slack. I mean, just let’s have a brain dump. Yeah. So Mark will take that concept, right. And then he will package it in a way that makes sense for engagement for readership. How can we package it? What type of technical resources do we have, in order to package up that content? And then from there, you can take it and you can turn it into multiple media properties. So you think about the idea of a column, right? That is the traditional, you think about a newspaper column, you think about a magazine column, right? We have one called I left, I learned about flying from that. It’s a column that’s been written in the, in the magazine for years and years and years. I wrote down run number column number 800, I think for Isla, and that’s actually been turned into a podcast, right? So it’s the same concept in an audio format, right? So you’re not having to recreate any sort of content. You’re just packaging it in a way that is consumable by multiple people, right? So I’m a podcast listener, I don’t really read, like, I read morning brew every morning, but I don’t read like a column column. Yeah, I don’t go to a destination, I don’t have a Wall Street Journal subscription. It really frustrates me to get in front of their paywall, because I’m like, I’m not gonna pay because I’m not coming back here. I just want to read this one article. So usually, I’ll just fork out $3, whatever, they’re gonna charge me to read that one article. But for a podcast, I’ll pop it on while I’m driving down the road, if it’s something that interests me, if it’s something I’m passionate about, the the idea of packaging content and multiple mediums in order to deliver it in different ways, is something that we’re really thinking about. And that’s something that flying has started to do, but they weren’t necessarily they didn’t necessarily have the resources in order to double down on that idea. And so that’s one of our big goals right now is to double down on that content distribution. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be brand new content. You can even pull historical content that you’ve written before, that’s not time stamped. And you can put it into a different medium. We’ve got a new column starting soon, it’s going to be finance Fridays, right? So finance Fridays is going to be all about how to own an aircraft in an efficient, economical manner. Right? So owning an aircraft is very expensive. Your fuel cost, you have insurance costs, you have financing costs to purchase the actual aircraft itself, you’re looking at anywhere from $150,000 to $5 million to $15 million you want to buy up in the Gulfstream you can you can get really, really expensive with private jets. Sure. But a lot of times people don’t understand how to make that make financial sense for their business, right. For instance, you’d be surprised how, what the tipping point is, from a commercial aviator perspective, like going going commercial, aviation versus private, the tipping point is not where necessarily everybody thinks it’s somewhere in like the seven to 10 people range if you’re trying to move them to where all of a sudden it becomes. This might make sense, right? Now there’s a CPA firm here in Chattanooga, that that flies private for that reason, right? You also have depreciation expenses that you can run off against, there’s a lot of financial tools that you can use in order to make aircraft ownership more approachable. But there’s not a ton of great resources out there. There are some there’s associations that put out some resources and things like that. But we’re wanting to be this central, that column is going to be kind of the central point. Well, what can you do with a column, you can turn a column into a newsletter? Easily? I mean, it’s pretty much copy and paste. Yeah, you can you can turn that into a podcast, you can have somebody from a representative from an insurance company on to say, hey, how do we do this? How do we technically do this, there’s a ton of different content options there. And you’re not having to create, you’re not having to recreate the wheel for a podcast, for a newsletter for a column for a video series that lives evergreen on your on your website, or on YouTube or something like that for discoverability. So really figuring out a way, that’s one example. And we’re we’re talking about building out multiple media properties in that same idea, and distributed across mediums.

Adam Vazquez 27:12
I love that because so many legacy companies or even not media companies, just just older businesses get stuck on the idea of and there could be even new media like, well, we have hundreds of blog posts. And so like we don’t want to, we don’t have to start something new, it’s like, you don’t have to start something new in the sense that you have to come up with a whole new concept, especially if you have hundreds or 1000s of posts, obviously, that’s working for you. It’s just finding new distribution channels in order to re leverage and get more new life out of that. So I love that you all are kind of breathing new life into evergreen content that way, we talked earlier. And I know you all have a moniker internally, but maybe transition us out of content for a second, because most of what we talked about is content related. But the fact is, ultimately, this is a business show, and we’re trying to do is help people figure out how to drive revenue through some content related thing. And you all have done this, I think particularly well and have plans to do it even even more in the future by using content as a jumping off point for other products and experiences. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Preston Holland 28:20
Yeah, so there’s this idea about content to commerce, right? So you think about content is the authority and the your brand creates authority through that content? Right? So as you’re putting out, let’s say you’re a small business, and let’s say that you’re putting out content, not necessarily about how do I build a small business? That’s a different market, right? You’re putting, let’s say, you’re putting out content, seven ways to effectively wash your dog outside, right? That the reason that comes to mind is I got stung by a Hornet was cleaning my dog outside the other day. So let’s say you’re a dog groomer. And you’re you’re giving out this free content, right? Seven Ways to wash your dog outside. That’s a terrible example. Because I don’t think there’s seven ways it’s a hose. It’s, it’s a bucket, whatever. But the idea stands true, right? Your audience now sees you as the authority on dog washing, they also see the pain points that they’re having in washing their dog. What’s the solution? You are the solution? Right? You’re moving them from idea of content, right? I’m going to put out this, I’m going to create myself as the authority figure in whatever it is that I’m talking about. That can be about aviation, that can be about freight. Right? Craig’s other business freightwaves. You’re creating this idea of brand authority, and then you identify a pain point, and then you offer a solution and immediate solution that has low friction, low barrier to entry. Easy, and you can do that as many times as you want. Right? I think that as you think about content, content is great. And you hear all the time you need to be blogging, you need to be having a newsletter, why do you have a newsletter? Right? Why does a restaurant have a newsletter, that newsletter is not going to make money on its own, you’re probably not going to have somebody sponsor your newsletter if you’re a restaurant, but your newsletter creates using authority and then you’re serving up a solution, book reservation now, one click reservation, whatever platform you want to use. So that’s, that’s kind of the idea that we’re taking with flying right is, it’s a blue chip brand, right? We have a dedicated loyal following, we’re going to continue to invest in that content they expect that the community expects, right, but then when you talk to that community as an authority, you have the opportunity to give them something that they want. And you can provide, right, so you can monetize that in a way that others might not be able to write. So you’re able to make. And the other beautiful thing about having a community that consumes your content is you can ask them what they want. You can say, you can come up with creative ways to say, what do you want? Let’s go back to the taco example that you had mentioned earlier, about under new management, what we’re doing, instead of saying, hey, the clock isn’t changing, and we’re adding tacos, we’re asking, What do you love about the gwoc? And what do you not like about the gwoc, we’ll get rid of that part. We’re going to double down on the gwoc side. And then we’re also going to offer you tacos, a lounge experience, we’re gonna open a bar, we’re going to create an environment that you want to hang out in, right? Because you are a community that loves Mexican food, right? That’s the idea of a community. So all of a sudden, you’re now at taco stand that didn’t make $3 Charge your customer $3 for gwoc. You might make $1 Maybe make $1 Depends on labor costs are insane. Our pricing, yeah, avocado prices supply chain. It’s all messed up. But you might make $1 Okay, you made $1 off of a $3 GWAC. But how about instead, you ask, What do you like about the gwoc? Hey, my community knows that I care my my community knows, or I know about my community, that they also want tacos and queso. And they also want a great bar with live music. Okay, cool. All of a sudden, you’ve now sold them a couple of drinks, high margins on drinks, right? Because that’s what they wanted. You knew that as a high margin opportunity. So you serve it to him. Tacos might be a high margin item for you. And the community may ask for something that you may not be able to make money on. But you give it to them to build trust with that curiosity? And the experience. Yeah, exactly. So that’s kind of how we’re thinking about it on the flying side is that there are opportunities that we have that people are asking for. And there are things that the community wants, and we’re going to be able to provide that for them through whether it’s, there’s a lot of things that our community that we we’ve already heard that they’re expecting and that they want, that nobody’s providing. So we’re able to listen to that, and then provide that at a margin. That makes sense.

Adam Vazquez 33:08
Yeah, this is really important that web Smith calls this concept linear linear commerce, where you, you can start with a content platform, or you have an existing media business in your case. And then you use that to suss out that the customer needs as you’re saying, as well as use it for product development. And I think a lot of people get caught in the reverse whether you actually have the media platform or not. The idea behind it is using this this arm that you have this media arm in order to connect engage, listen more effectively to then inform your part of me like you said when it comes to do you want this type of taco or whatever and that can be done whether you have a media existing media company like flying or not, you could have 100 Twitter followers and do the exact same thing if you’re leveraging your content correctly. So suit love that idea. Love the idea of content to commerce, I think I think as we go forward that’s going to end up being kind of the status quo you keep seeing these companies who either buy or create media arms in order to do audience development and over time really just like by market share, and I think that’s going to continue to be the norm so you guys are definitely ahead of the game there.

Preston Holland 34:22
So I think when you when you look at a macro trend when it comes to media companies right you see HubSpot purchasing the the hustle and trends with the my first million guys, and now they’re able to they’re creating a HubSpot Podcast Network where they’re creating content Yeah, great idea. Morning brew selling in a piece of their Business to Business Insider, right business insiders purchasing an audience that they can’t reach, right it’s the maze it’s the US it’s the people that are reading a different brand of content right and hey,

Adam Vazquez 34:53
walls by the way,

Preston Holland 34:55
oh yeah,

Adam Vazquez 34:55
because insiders always hit you with that paywall but yes, yeah, completely.

Preston Holland 34:59
Yeah. actly. So I think that as you look at like a macro trend, I think that that we are right at the beginning of that where there are these these content creators, right. And these huge companies want to buy them once they hit a certain scale, right? But you can you can really even walk this back in all segments of the market, right? We might we’re taking a bit of a reverse approach to that. So we’re buying the media company, and then I don’t know what our products going to be, but but we will have a product that is outside of the media arm.

Adam Vazquez 35:30
Yeah. And that’s, that’s the best way to do it. Because now you you have the belief you have the customer, to your point about businesses that are you have the millennials opening the emails, and you can kind of let them help you decide what those products end up being. Right.

Preston Holland 35:46
Right. Exactly. And all in all, in the meantime, your if you’re agnostic, like morning brew is you can drive revenue via sponsorships, and it all pays for itself, right? So you’re not actually you’re not actually laying out money in order to create that content. The Hustle is taking a bit of a different approach. They eliminated all outside advertising and all it is internal HubSpot advertising. I think that that’s it’s just a different approach. I don’t think one’s better or worse. I think that HubSpot has a much bigger vision, and they’ve been in the content game for a long time. So an acquisition like the hustle makes a lot of sense. They’ve been doing training and media creation for a long time. But I think I think on the macro level, I think that we’re going to continue to see that I think Salesforce purchasing slack is a lot different than HubSpot purchasing the hustle, it’s just it’s a it’s a much different acquisition. And I think that the numbers, I don’t know if it’s a direct correlation, but if you look at if you look at trends, if you look at stock price, there, it’s at much different outcome.

Adam Vazquez 36:47
Yeah, yeah, I heard the Microsoft guys if they talked about the stock price ramifications of after after buying the hustle, and I think they were like, like stupid significant in terms of in terms of stock growth. So precedent, really appreciate you coming on here and kind of explaining why a company should consider buying a media brand, really, and then how to grow one. The last question we ask every guest is if you had $150,000 to spend on on growth, let’s just call it. And I know, it’s not like crazy amount of money. But I think it’s it’s a practical amount for a lot of our listeners, how would you do that? And you can either do it for flying or not. But how would you spend that money specifically?

Preston Holland 37:27
Yeah, so I think I think with a budget like that, I think specifically with flying, I would stand up some sort of a scrappy podcast, podcasting continues to have the bar lowered. As far as how hard it is to get into podcasting. David Sachs just released a new product called calling this week. Yeah, it lowers the bar even lower to create like a live calling type show. That’s hence the name. Very clever. But what I do is I’d stand up a podcast, right? You can you can have them produced and edited and made very professionally for not a lot of money. And then I’d use the remaining budget to promote that on other podcasts. Right. So you want to you want to have your promotion in front of eyeballs of similar users that are not currently listeners, right. So I think I would do a study of any aviation podcast, and I would look at allocating budget to them to try and drive some some listener growth. And if you look at return on investment, I think that that could have hockey stick implement implications, as you as you look at listener growth and what you can charge advertisers for those years.

Adam Vazquez 38:32
Yeah, not enough people are doing this, our very first episode of the show was with the head of growth for a company called Rutter stack, as name’s Eric Dodds, and he talked about spending paid dollars to evergreen content. And that could be some that they, they created themselves. But he also talked about either licensing or whatever you want to call it, other people’s content. I think that’s a really interesting idea, because you are essentially buying audience share online and driving it back to your owned media asset. And some of that won’t stick. Of course, some of that’s going to turn but by and large, if they’re interested in whatever it is that you’re promoting, they’re probably going to end up opting into your audience overall, it’s kind like you said earlier, if you pick up fine magazine, and you read it, like you have to be the target customer, there’s no other reason to engage. Right? So that’s it’s a similar, it’s a little different. But it’s a similar strategy in what you’re describing of standing up a show, standing up a concept and then using that paid media to go to people who are like minded and saying, Hey, you like this show? Come listen to ours. It’s super similar. So yeah, like great idea. Great answer. Thank you so much for sharing all this. I think this has been really helpful for the audience. Before we go, how can people keep up with what you’re doing at flying or just connect with you?

Preston Holland 39:47
Yeah, so the easiest way to connect with me is on Twitter. I’m on there, a fair amount hash or my hashtag. My username is at Preston, my first name Holland. And the number six. I have message Preston Khalid on Twitter a couple of times to ask how much it would cost to get my name. I own Preston Holland calm but use it does Preston Holland he hasn’t used it in like two years and so it’s frustrating that I’m like I it’s just sitting there so presser let it go. Yeah me at Preston Holland if you’re listening a lot of money.

Adam Vazquez 40:21
Cool and flying magazine is flying dot flying mag.com Buying mag.com. So we’ll link all of that in the show notes below. But again, thanks for joining us and we’ll talk to you soon. Yeah, thanks for having me,