About Stephen Perlstein
Stephen Perlstein is the Senior Vice President of Studio71, a leading global media company for digital-first brands and creators. Studio71 is one of the largest video podcast publishers, with a total of over 100 creator-led shows releasing audio podcasts and corresponding videos on YouTube and other video platforms simultaneously. Some of Studio71’s largest video podcasts include Wild ‘Til 9 with LaurDIY and Jeremy Lewis and The Bald and The Beautiful with Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova.
Stephen shares, “What I do in my day-to-day is focus on bringing in new podcasts to our network, whether that’s brand new ideas for shows with creators and influencers of all kinds, helping them format and shape with my team of producers and editors, or bring in existing shows to kind of help figure out how to expand their businesses.”
Stephen and his team help creators and brands expand their businesses by providing them with additional opportunities, increased monetization, distribution plays, and production and marketing support.
At the beginning of his time with Studio71 four years ago, Stephen shares that Studio71 had about three active podcasts. Stephen was tasked with figuring out how to grow this aspect of the business. Today, they have around 140 active podcasts in their network with creators, influencers, and YouTubers of all niches and backgrounds.
“Every day, what I’m most excited about is helping creators get paid and grow their audience for their awesome creative work in a space that I think sometimes is imperfect at making sure people get paid.”
The Constantly Changing World of Content Marketing
Stephen shares that one of the biggest changes he’s seen in content marketing while at Studio71 is the acceptance of podcasts on YouTube.
“When I first started helping podcasts reach audiences on video, it was considered a little bit weird, like putting a podcast out on YouTube was [considered] not a podcast. That’s a YouTube video. You know, how does this work? How do you work with advertisers? How do audiences find it? [There was] a lot of skepticism around it.”
However, Studio71 continued to aggressively put more high-quality podcasts on YouTube and find solutions to these problems. Another issue that had to be addressed was how podcasts could be posted on YouTube and still be effective with SEO.
“I think one thing that’s changed was when we started, there was some skepticism from other networks, marketing people, podcasts, and advertising buyers, and now I think it’s a huge focus of, okay, this is a thing that works. This is a thing that’s valid.”
Stephen adds that Studio71 has about a three-year head start on others in the YouTube podcast arena, which they are working to keep going.
Posting Podcasts on Multiple Platforms
Stephen explains that generally speaking, it’s a good idea to post podcast content on several platforms as long as creators go about this with nuance.
“Each platform is pretty specific to itself.”
The primary objective is to figure out how to make the podcast content friendly for people already engaging on other platforms, like Instagram, and make it worthwhile for the creator trying to drive home a particular business objective.
“For them [creators], we are thinking about two key things: How do you post content on platforms that’ll help you earn more money? How do you treat those content [forms] on other platforms?”
For many creators with followings on social media, podcasts can be a lucrative way to make money, especially if the creator’s following is on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, which can be harder to monetize consistently.
Popular Podcast Topics & Trends
Some podcast topics, like true crime or comedy, will always be popular. Stephen shares that he doesn’t see any clear content or topic trends in podcasts right now. However, he advises creators to choose a topic they are truly passionate about for their podcast.
“What I really recommend when we’re talking about creators or thinking about creator businesses is what’s a thing that you’re extremely passionate about and that you can talk about for a long time. Those topics tend to translate really well into podcasts, and that can be things like true crime, that can be comedy, but we [also] have people that talk about fitness motivation.”
He adds that he would be initially skeptical of a creator choosing fitness motivation as their podcast topic. However, when someone is passionate about the topic and good about talking about it, the people who want to hear about it will inevitably come.
“The one thing I’ll add to it is there’s still a lot of underserved audiences and podcasting people who don’t get content tailored for them.”
For example, Studio71’s client success story, The Bald and The Beautiful, is a drag comedy podcast that targets an underserved audience. The show has been a huge hit and now has a passionate audience that continually rewards the creators.
Another podcast that Stephen is incredibly excited about is Violating Community Guidelines with Brittany Broski and Sarah Schauer. The podcast’s description shares that the podcast “follows two internet-hardened succubabes as they explore all corners of the wild and wacky web.”
Stephen adds, “They had a concept for the show. We helped develop it. We record it in our podcast studio in Burbank. Every month, we do the edit. We help them get some clips and stuff out of it for TikTok, and that is a hugely successful show. It reaches hundreds of thousands of people every week, which is great. I know we’ve built a pretty significant revenue stream for them of it.”
“We have a pretty straightforward goal, which is we want just to keep working with some of the top YouTubers and creators and influencers. We can build great podcasts with them and build great podcast businesses with them, and we’re going to continue to do it. I know we have some pretty exciting ones coming up that I can’t wait to talk about and share with everyone.”