Catch Mark LaCour on the #PirateBroadcast
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Russ Johns 0:02
Welcome to the #piratebroadcast, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings where you can expand your connections, your community. #Kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let's get this party started.
This always makes my day a little brighter when I could start the #piratebroadcasts in interest. #Interestingpeople doing #interestingthings is only the tip of the iceberg. We have phenomenal guests and people in #thepiratecommunity. They're making connections, introductions, and having conversations, real conversations. Today, I wanted to bring you someone who's actually we have a lot in common because I was living in Houston for years. We just didn't cross paths and now we're crossing paths now and finding a lot, a lot of interesting conversations to take place in the future. Mark, how are you doing today?
Mark LaCour 1:03
I'm doing incredible Russ, how you doing? Thanks for inviting me on the show. This is a good way to start the day.
Russ Johns 1:07
Yeah, yeah. It's funny because Warren, a mutual friend of ours in someone that you're engaged with, I connected with him online. It's been a number of years now. We've just been going back and forth not really knowing what we're going to do. It's this relationship building exercise that I think you're so good at. Just the conversations that take places like no expectation except to understand what the person is looking for. How you can help them and put some things in play.
Then you and Warren we're working on some things together, and we had a phone conversation, and then it started into another thing. One thing led to another and then pretty soon we're creating some shenanigans with his podcast and you've got a podcast. Oh GTN network. That is huge. It's over a million downloads. loads and you got multiple broadcasters and podcasters and people in involved in this exercise tell people a little bit about the network and what you're doing and and how this came about.
Mark LaCour 2:13
Okay, I'll tell everybody keep this quiet. I'll tell you the secret tell you the truth. So about six years ago, my marketing guy came to me and said, Hey, we should start a podcast and I looked at him and said, that's a stupidest idea I've ever heard of. Go do something to make me some money. Russ, you ever have somebody just literally bug you until you say yes. You say yes, just so they'll go away leave you alone. bug me about this podcast forever. Finally I just said yes. So he'd go away. We start the first oil and gas podcast and three months into it Red Wing boots calls me and goes, Hey, we want to sponsor your podcast, and almost said why.
The old sales guy me kicked in and said let them talk and that was the beginning of what we sit on now. So we have 11 oil and gas podcasts as of today. Will Have around 20 by the end of this year, we just acquired a podcast. If you would have told me five years ago, that would be your binding podcasts audiences, I would told you, you're insane. All of our shows are sponsored by big companies. We're living the dream, even during this crazy COVID-19 lockdown world that we're in our business is doing really well. I feel a bit guilty, because so many of my peers are hurting right now. We just decided to write more charity checks this year, kind of help out kind of a different way.
Russ Johns 3:27
Well, it's funny because it's evolved over time. Also your audience is very specific audience. If you're not in the oil and gas industry people may not be aware of the value that you bring to the table and the industry as well. I think it's really fascinating, because this is really the value of the podcasting environment in the world. That's what the #Piratebroadcast it has a certain niche and a certain audience in a certain community.
Just like CNN the oil and gas industry is very well connected. I mean, they build on race relationships, a lot of people know the same people. It's a big small industry, as I call it, sitting in the telecommunications business when I was there, a lot of the same connections move around they know each other, they meet each other. If you can get your audience to have conversations with a podcast and attract that audience, then the sponsors are happy to get in front of that audience.
Mark LaCour 4:33
Yeah, you're absolutely right. The #interestingthing about oil and gas to your point, it is an enormous global industry, but it's very small. It's still a business of people doing business with people. What has happened is we have this new younger workforce has come in, right, my generation is one that's retired leaving, and this new younger workforce learns differently than my generation. Right. My generation I want to learn about through tubing services.
I Go to conference and spend my company's money and spend three days watching PowerPoint presentations, this workforce if they want to learn about through tubing services, they pull this out, right. It's data. This is where the podcast live. Our success is really based upon our ability to educate through storytelling, which is what we're doing right now, on your broadcast is we're educating through storytelling, there's a lot of power in that.
Russ Johns 5:22
There's absolutely a lot of power that and I just want to recognize the effort and the energy and the amazing success you've had. I applaud you for your effort and setting the example and setting the bar high for other networks that can go out there and other industries, and do this and you set the example. So hats off to you applause and a round of silent applause. If you're not connected to Mark, get connected to Mark, reach out
Mark LaCour 5:49
Reach out to me on LinkedIn, just don't tell me you're a financial adviser and you're good.
Russ Johns 5:53
Yeah, tell him Russ sentcha
Mark LaCour 5:55
Yeah tell them Russ send you. Yeah, Russ, if we can pull This off as Super niched as we are, I mean, literally, all of our shows are about the oil and gas industry. In this year, we're gonna have 20 separate shows, if I could pull this off in this industry, anybody can pull this off anywhere else. It's just a matter of doing the right things and learning from other people have done it that have went ahead of you.
Russ Johns 6:21
We had one of your events, actually, we had a recent global event that I helped out with, and it was amazing to me to see the diversity in the the efforts in the podcasts that were available, and also the it was in the same arena but there's a lot of diversity in the same place. It's amazing, and it was interesting to me to watch that unfold.
Mark LaCour 6:55
Our industry is truly global. The people that work for Chevron in Brazil are not Americans. They resilience and the people that work for Chevron in Norway or Norwegian. We'd love that we embrace that, right? different cultures, different ways of thinking, different processes. That's what makes this industry so successful is it's an engineering centric industry. Along with the engineering, there's some art, right? That art is different when it comes to different parts of the world, different cultures. It's a wonderful thing.
Russ Johns 7:20
It's amazing. It's amazing. I want to give a highlight and a shout out to some of the people here because Wendy, she says, Hey, this will be another push back my morning meeting. Ahoy, Ahoy, pirates from around the world. We got some LinkedIn users that for some reason, some LinkedIn users. I don't know if you know, Mark, if why that is that way. Good morning, Kathy. How are you today? Thank you for being here. Do you have any questions if anybody has any questions, Islam, wonderful day, and then Hello. I'm writing a book to prevent Brent's in new universe. I'm not sure what that's going to look like, but maybe we can talk about that.
Thomas, wish you all the best oziel you know Ozeal?
Mark LaCour 8:13
Russ Johns 8:14
Yeah. podcaster from from Houston there So, but I just want to, I just want to talk about the hate energies here in the room. I just want to talk about a little bit how you evolve because, you know, we all have a roadmap and we're all thinking, well, if I have this right microphone, if I have this, this, this, you know, the right software and all these things, but it's not really about that. It's about the podcasting and the content and the relationships you build. So take us back a few years, you know, when you're first starting out, and what kinds of things were you thinking about or mapping out in in your process that allowed you to grow like this mark.
Mark LaCour 8:57
Probably the biggest thing Rebecca to your point, I'm a gearhead to all your people out there that are waiting on the next mic or the next camera to start some stop and start using content. Now, I'm speaking on an $80 microphone right now Audio Technica mic, I don't need a 1500 dollar microphone, right? You don't need one either. Just start putting content out there. Honestly, it's gonna suck in the beginning, but you got to get through that you got to get better. Back to your question, Russ, it's one of the advantages I had is I came from an enterprise sales background, right? I'm selling to the biggest companies in the world, the Exxon's and the Chevron's, and Hallo birds of the world. That's a different world. It's about understanding the ability to read a p&l understanding the actual problem that you're solving, what is the what is the cause of that problem, that sort of stuff.
When we started the first podcast, and when redwing reached out to me, I realized, hey, there's potential here, really big potential. The first thing I did is start asking questions. Instead of me putting out content that I thought the audiences might want, I started asking people in my industry what kind of content would interest you. That was the beginning of the first podcast. The first podcast was a news podcast is now our number one podcast only guest this week, because neither political side, neither new side gets the story right about my industry, one side gets us and one side doesn't know what we're doing industry news for them. That was our first show. Really one of the other secrets is not really a secret. One of the other factors of our growth and our success is our audience.
We're well over a million downloads, we'll be at 2 million downloads by the end of this year, we stay on track. We're in 182 different countries. Literally every day, I have people reach out to us and say, Hey, Mark, can you start a podcast on oil and gas pipelines or oil and gas finance or oil and gas artificial intelligence? track of the top 20? Because no, there's a demand there. Our see our recipe is pretty simple. When we have a sponsor approached us we find a match between that top 20 list because we know there's a domain They're so I totally support and love passion podcasts, right? If you could do that the business you need to fill a niche in the market. It's really easy to find that niche. If you just start asking people who are in that industry questions on what type of content would you like to see?
Russ Johns 11:17
No, it's really brilliant that you position it that way, because you're going deep into a subject really allows the audience to, to grasp the information, and also follow the thread in that industry. Like you're saying there's probably a lot more in the podcasting space that you could develop in terms of podcasts on different subjects within your industry. There would be an audience there'd be a niche audience for that for that subject. If that's the strategy you're going to continue to grow the podcast in your in your business. I would imagine you want to speak to that a little bit.
Mark LaCour 12:03
The other thing to remember about podcasts audiences is the power is not in the size. Right? The power is in the engagement. Russ, you have a YouTube channel, I have a YouTube channel. Let's say you had a million subscribers and let's say I had to, most people would say your YouTube channel is more valuable.
Russ Johns 12:19
Mark LaCour 12:20
What if my two subscribers are Kim Kardashian, Oprah Winfrey, and they're active. That's a different story. That's what podcasts audiences are our smallest audience, which is around health, safety and environment is our most engaged. I literally could get on the microphone and say, hey, go to this website. Give me your social security card number and your date of birth, your address and a lot of trust us so much, they would do it now. I would never betray that trust.
Russ Johns 12:42
Mark LaCour 12:42
But when I say hey, look at these gloves, these safety gloves, you want to try a pair they do. That's the power in the podcast is not the size of the audience. But the engagement. The more niched you're, the more that you're feeding information that is valuable to that niche. They're naturally more engaged to artists will be
Russ Johns 12:59
Yes. It's interesting, I just want to add a little caveat to that. It's the audience that is buying 1000 pairs of clothes now, not one pair. Not one, but not one pair is like, it's a number. The other thing that I think is fascinating about your model and and I wanted to have you kind of share a little bit is the visibility in the overall industry that these other podcasters bring to the table that also allows you information to come back to you, that allows you to have more accurate information in the industry. Because all of a sudden you have in different resources and different conversations in there. The other podcasters in the arena are having these conversations as well so that that information feeds into the global information that you can share with the niche audience. It just really compounds it And experience.
Mark LaCour 14:01
We were the original all guest podcast. Now globally, there's about 60 others, we don't see any of them as competition. We see them as family, I do everything I can to help them. To your point earlier, we did this live stream event which Russ needs to take a lot of credit. Because he was in the back making everything work. A minute and 37 seconds for a launch, we get a note saying we have too many people signed up, we have over 4000 people waiting.
My team went to work, Russ went to work, my team was telling people to drop off, drop off and we launch and if you watch it, you can't really tell the chaos that's going on behind the scenes. We invited all the other oil and gas podcasters from around the world to join us and once again to be able to share your audiences to be able to expose them to our sponsors, our sponsors now want to get it on their shows, well, that's gonna help the other podcasts. It's gonna help our sponsors. It's going to help us and so I see this as a family and we just connect through the power of podcasting.
Russ Johns 14:55
Yeah, it's amazing to watch too and the way that that was pulled off, and I have to give credit to you and your team for bringing that together. And having that idea. I think a lot of people, especially in today's environment, is if a lot of people work together, and thought about how can we solve this problem together? Work on the industry and it's work on the environment and how we're working together. I think a lot of people would succeed a little further then they had imagined, because high tide raises all boats, and we all see a difference when everybody's doing well if you're trying to kill a competition, who's gonna buy your product? I don't know. It's always been something that's amused me and well, and the oil and gas industry. I mean there's a lot of other things going on around the world right now. But the only gas industry has had some challenging times in the last year. We've seen the prices Drop and then coming back and what's the current status?
Mark LaCour 16:04
It's where the industry is in really bad shape. Two things have happened which has never happened in the history of our industry. We have the low crude price environment and that was basically a sales discussion or sales negotiation between Russia and OPEC, which we were a byproduct of that. Usually when that happens downstream, which is the part of the industry that turns oil and gas into products is on fire, right. Your shirt, your microphone cover your XLR cables all came from hydrocarbons, okay from oil and gas. When the price of all the gas is low, the people that make your XLR cables are killing it because their raw feedstock is cut by 60%. But they still charge you the same price for your XLR cables.
For the first time because the global pandemic, the demand for downstream products has been suppressed. People aren't buying Tupperware and lipstick and diesel and jet fuel. The industry is being squished from both sides and it's it's horrific Russ. People are losing their jobs, people losing their houses, companies that have been around for 100 years ago. going out of business. The only bright side is when we come out of this and we're in the process of coming out.
There's come out much leaner, much more efficient, and much more aware of our perception in public. A lot of the negativity that people think about my industry is caused by us, because for the last 50 years, when people say you're destroying the environment, we don't raise your hand ago, actually, no, we're helping the environment. Right. We're coming out of this better, but it's a war zone right now, Russ, it's not pretty.
Russ Johns 17:27
Yeah. Well, and I think it's a war zone in a number of industries. Unfortunately, with the pandemic and the protest right now, there's a lot of businesses that we were talking before the show that are suffering as a result of both sides of the equation, just causing some major havoc in multiple markets.
Mark LaCour 17:49
Yeah, and social unrest. I totally get right. As an American you totally have a right to stand up for your beliefs in a protest, especially to your your politicians, but it turns violent. We start burning police cars and destroying people's businesses. That's where it needs to stop. I'm firmly convinced you can see a shift in major businesses in the US because that's a risk they can't afford to take.
Places like San Francisco, New York, you're gonna see a lot of big business pull out of there, which is going to hurt the economy of those states and cities, which they're already not in a good place. So, as a country, we're going to come out of this different in a lot of ways, and I'm hoping we come out of it better, but it's just too early to tell yet.
Russ Johns 18:30
We're right in the middle of it. Somebody said the other day, it was almost as if this pandemic. I mean we're expecting it to kind of wrap up and get over. However, what happens if it goes on for a couple more years? What's that going to do? how are we going to manage and I think if the creativity and the innovation that we build in right now is not The time to take the foot off the gas, it's the time to innovate, it's the time to get creative.
I think what you're doing with podcasting, and everything that's going along with that education in bringing people together, I think those are all moves in the right direction. I have to believe that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not the train so that gives me hope, and gives me the opportunity to actually make connections like like we're doing here today. With your podcast is the same way. What do you see in the next year to 18 months in terms of podcasting and growth and strategy and things like that?
Mark LaCour 19:46
For us, so we're continuing to grow. Like I said, we'll be close to 20 or less podcasts by in this year. We had a live event component of our business for a couple years. It was very successful. That of course has been shut down. we're experimenting with live streaming. Our first one we pulled off, and I still can't believe he pulled it off once again, thanks to you been at the backend, making everything work. We're exploring that both as a way to augment the live the live events that we used to do. Also, is it standalone? Watch a lot of companies right now try to recreate live conferences online. I think it's the wrong way to do it. The experience is different, right?
Russ Johns 20:24
Mark LaCour 20:24
I still think you can do the same thing and have vendors and presentations and everything. It has to be done differently. We're experimented with that, literally right now. That's become another part of our business. The other thing is, we've had a lot of inquiries coming in from really large companies that normally you wouldn't associate with oil and gas, right, or tech companies and everything because they see the potential here. That's an interesting dilemma to be in where you have very large tech companies wanting to sponsor shows to get in front of our different audiences, and can we capitalize that In a way that benefits them as well their marketing teams are used to doing marketing the way they've always done it. Can we make them Zig left when normally they would go right and benefit them. We experimented a lot of stuff right now, but we're continuing to grow unless something like I don't know what else could happen this year, Russ, but unless something unexpected happens this year, we're in a good place.
Russ Johns 21:22
No more surprises, please. Well that was the whole idea that I had the #piratebroadcast is actually the foundation and the test grounds or #thepiratesyndicate. I believe that there's a lot of companies right now that have an opportunity to actually do like you're saying. Develop their stories, educate their audiences change and evolve into a different different world and I truly believe that live video and podcasting, and the communications and storytelling all plays a part in that. My goal is to Make sure that I assist companies in the oil and gas industry and other industries and just make sure that they have a way to convert their story into a message that audiences can reach and connect with.
Mark LaCour 22:15
I want to talk about that real quick. One of the things that we've discovered accidentally during this global lockdown that we're still in, people still need to buy stuff, right. IIf you're a company, the way that you used to market to them does not work doing print or trade shows or paid Facebook ads, it doesn't work. Everybody's locked down on their board. One of the things that we've seen is when everybody's locked on board, they're consuming more content like this, the live streaming our podcasts
We're reaching those people, you're reaching those people that are home that are still buyers, they're still decision makers, right? But you're doing it in a different medium. If you're a big company, why would you wait three years to try to develop this type of talent and skill in house, we can go outside and just have it right now and beat your competitors too. This, it's been very lucrative for us. I challenge people that work for big companies to think outside the box, you can still market right now you can still sell right now, it just the way that the tools that you use are different. be okay with that experiment a little bit.
Russ Johns 23:14
I know you're an advocate for relationship building and a lot of my businesses directly based on the relationships I have, I don't have a huge marketing advertising budget that I spend thousands of dollars every month on or like these large businesses millions of dollars a month, okay. It's like, and I think that there's a value and advantage that you can have by taking that storytelling and that podcast and inserting that into your community and allowing people that are interested in receiving that information in a different way. It's unique and it's like a lot of companies haven't adopted it yet. A lot of early adopters like yourself, have taken in fact, you got into it kicking and screaming. It's like, it's like no. All of a sudden is definitely been beneficial for you.
Mark LaCour 24:14
To your point about relationships. I used to say that you couldn't build relationships online. I was completely wrong about that. You can still build friendships and intimacy online. Not to the same degree as you can in person, but pretty darn close. You look at our sponsors. We have some pretty decent sized sponsors. We have Amazon we have a lot of technique FMC Baker Hughes, Hewlett Packard, right
Russ Johns 24:39
Mark LaCour 24:40
Sponsoring us for the results that we we drive for them and but we drive those results in a very transparent non salesy non marketing way. We basically educate our audiences on what IBM is doing or what Amazon is doing right? Tthen the audiences want to learn more, they trust us. Then they reach out to these companies. It's a different paradigm but it works and it works well for everybody. We don't just benefit from it our sponsors do and the people that have a problem solve because they learned that IBM can help them with that problem. They benefit as well.
Russ Johns 25:09
I want to pop in here. Kathy was saying great info going live through video podcast seems to be the way to build relationships with one's audience and create one's tribe. I couldn't agree with you more Diana dancing Diana and LinkedIn Howdy, she's from Australia back on the other side of the world. We got lots of cool style wall.
Mark LaCour 25:35
Thank you. I get that a lot By the way
Russ Johns 25:39
That's fantastic. Just listening and learning great info. Love the vibe. Mark what kind of #nuggetsofknowledge in general in this time? I know that you've been going through a lot of changes in Houston and in Texas in general. I'm here in Arizona, we just had a spike in the Coronavirus people proven positive. Overall, what would you like to leave with #thePiratecommunity today that words of encouragement, knowledge some wisdom that you can leave with people today that give us some hope.
Mark LaCour 26:24
A couple things. Regardless of what your philosophical or religious background is, I really firmly believe that the reason we're on this planet is that our relationships with other people. So nurture those relationships help people, right? See what you can do to make their life a little bit better. So you can help them solve problems. It's 10 or 15 minutes, right, once a day. It makes everybody it's better for everybody. It makes this world a better place. The other thing is, don't be afraid to get outside your comfort zone. And I know people say that all the time.
I literally mean, pick up your cell phone, shoot a video posted online. I don't mean think about it. Just do it. We're all human, we all make mistakes. if you want to get into this world, this new world, and what we're doing right now, I think is gonna be important part of the world moving forward, you have to take that step, you have to take that leap of faith, I had to do it. I have 10 podcast hosts that work for me, they all had to do it. All of them heard me tell them in the beginning that you're just suck in the beginning, you get better. They all did it. They're all doing really well. People just just put something out there be your authentic self, and I promise you will make this world a better place.
Russ Johns 27:28
Well, I really appreciate the fact that you you took the time today to come on board and become a pirate, you are now officially a pirate. Thank you. I know that our paths will cross and it's amazing that we hadn't met when I was in Houston the first time because I did a lot of networking and everything else in the industry that's like, just happened to be parallel streets on a different block. I'm glad that we're connected and thank you so much for you're sharing this information with us in bringing a little different color to the to the#piratebroadcast.
Mark LaCour 28:06
Russ Johns 28:08
Yeah. Yeah, it's fun, and it goes really well. It goes quickly. Sometimes we can get on these roles and a subject and everything else and time just flies, and podcasting. How do people get ahold of you? It's the same way in just how do people, what's the best way for people to get ahold of you LinkedIn?
Mark LaCour 28:32
LinkedIn, the best way to get a hold of me, if you want, check out the podcast, just go to ogg.com it's all against global network Comm. Oh, Gigi, and that website will have links to all of our podcasts and also our videos.
Russ Johns 28:46
That's awesome. That's awesome. The next show is coming up. How often do you broadcast
Mark LaCour 28:51
the podcast or the live stream?
Russ Johns 28:53
Yeah, the the podcast.
Mark LaCour 28:54
We got to live in podcasts we put out each put out one a week. I can't even keep track of them anymore.
Russ Johns 29:00
What about your podcast?
Mark LaCour 29:03
I'm on the podcast I personally have an interest in. I have an only gas technology podcast because I'm secretly a geek. Right? We put an episode out every week. All our podcasts are the weekly episodes around 3035 minutes. Yeah, go check it out. Even if you're not in the oil and gas industry, reach out to me on LinkedIn. I'm all about meeting fun and exciting people. If I can help you reach out once again, just if not, if your financial analysts please just know more financial analysts reaching out to me, right, but I'm sorry, not financial analysts, financial advisors. I don't know what it's not this global pandemic, but the financial advisors of the world have multiplied and they're all on LinkedIn.
Russ Johns 29:38
Yeah, yeah. I add that in SEO people,
Mark LaCour 29:42
SEO people. Yep.
Russ Johns 29:46
I can help you with your branding. It's like I didn't know that I wanted help.
Mark LaCour 29:49
So my favorite one is had somebody reach out to me said you might be somebody wants to start a podcast and all started replying to you No, no, I'm not not doing this.
Russ Johns 30:01
No. Well, Mark, it's a pleasure always to contact and have a conversation with you. Thank you so much for being here and the #piratebroadcasts and as everybody knows it's like, the way that it goes today is #kindnessiscool. #smilesarefree. And you #enjoytheday. Thanks, Mark.
Mark LaCour 30:23
Yep. Cheers, everybody.
Russ Johns 30:24
Take care. Bye.
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