Content Planning Made Easy With Planable

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Marketing Podcast with Xenia Muntean

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Xenia Muntean. Xenia is the CEO and Co-Founder of Planable, a content review and marketing collaboration platform used by over 5,000 teams behind brands such as Hyundai, Christian Louboutin, Viber, and United Nations. Prior to launching Planable, at 20 y.o. she built a digital marketing agency and led social for clients such as Coca-Cola.

Xenia has been recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and she spoke on the Innovation Stage at Cannes Lions in 2018. Xenia graduated from Tim Draper’s startup academy in Silicon Valley and took Planable through the Techstars London accelerator in 2017. She has also published a book – The Manifesto on Content Marketing Teams and has launched her own podcast – People of Marketing.

Key Takeaway:

Social media is a marketing channel today that can’t be ignored. The CEO and Co-Founder of Planable, Xenia Muntean, was tired of spending her life in a spreadsheet creating content and juggling managing multiple social media accounts. Instead of continuing to spin her wheels in such a seemingly unproductive workflow, she decided to find and create her own solution to the problem. In this episode, I talk with Xenia about her journey in building Planable, the problems the platform has sought out to solve for so many people, and the many ways you can use Planable in your content planning to enhance your customer journey.

Questions I ask Xenia Muntean:

  • [1:49] What it was like going through the Techstars Accelerator program and how do you think it relates in terms of success for you?
  • [2:36] Why did you create Planable?
  • [4:53] What’s been the hardest thing for you to figure out or learn along your journey with creating Planable?
  • [6:31] What’s been the most rewarding part of growing your own growing Planable?
  • [7:23] What was the biggest thing you did to launch Planable, that led to a great deal of success?
  • [8:53] What was the launch with AppSumo like?
  • [10:55] What are some of the problems that Planable saw along the way?
  • [14:10] What role does AI play in content planning and in execution and even inside of the Planable tool?
  • [15:46] What are some of the ways that you’re seeing people use Planable for different stages of the customer journey?
  • [17:32] How are you seeing agencies and consultants using a tool like Planable?
  • [19:13] Where people can find out more about Planable, and is there an offer you have for Duct Tape Marketing Podcast listeners?

More About Xenia Muntean:

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the duct tape marketing podcast is brought to you by the MarTech podcast, hosted by Ben Shapiro and brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network with episodes you can listen to in under 30 minutes, the MarTech podcast shares stories from world class marketers who use technology to generate growth and achieve business and career success all on your lunch break. And if you dig around, you might just find a show by yours. Truly. Ben's a great host. Actually, I would tell you, check out a recent show on blending humans, AI, and automation. Download the MarTech podcast wherever you get your podcast.

John Jantsch (00:51): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today has Xenia Muntean. She is the CEO and co-founder of Planable, a content review and marketing collaboration platform used by over 5,000 teams behind brands like Hyundai Viper and the United nations prior to launching Planable. At 20 years old, she built a digital marketing agency and led social for clients such as Coca-Cola. She's also the author of the manifesto on content marketing teams and the host of the podcast, people of marketing. So Zenia welcome to the show.

Xenia Muntean (01:28): Thank you so much, John, for such a warm introduction.

John Jantsch (01:31): Awesome. So I, I, as part of your introduction, I didn't, didn't read this part, but, uh, I know that you, when you were starting Planable, you went through a, a Techstar program in London, I think in 2017. Yeah. I'm just curious, you know, a lot of people talk about, especially a lot of startups want to go through that program, go through that kind of program. And I'm just curious what it was like for you. And what do you think it meant in terms of success for you?

Xenia Muntean (01:55): Uh, I think it was a tremendous program for our company. It, it really helped us open a lot of doors. And I, I think I, I really see Techstars as kind of the foundation of our company or the way we kickstarted Planable, not just because of the money and the, the round that we, we raised with them. But it's also a lot about the, the networking, the connections we made there and just everything that we learned about startup life. It it's really where we built the product, where we learned how to grow it, where learned how to develop, create value for customers. And it's also a lot where it's where we got our first customers. Yeah, it's really, it really kick started our business.

John Jantsch (02:36): So, so a lot of founders have, um, a very similar story as far as why they created the, the product they created or where the idea came from. Yeah. And I'm guessing because you were running social for clients that had a lot to do with why you created, uh, Planable, but maybe you could share if, if that's, uh, true

Xenia Muntean (02:53): Mystery solved John , but yes, that's exactly where the idea for Planable. That's where I got the idea for Planable. I was running, uh, social, creating content calendars for a lot of my, a lot of my clients back in my agency days. And I was really frustrated with the workflow. I felt like working in spreadsheets and spending my entire day formatting decks and presentations and going back and forth on emails was just not productive and not a delightful way of working with clients. I didn't feel like it was delivering a very professional interface for clients. It wasn't a professional way of doing business with them. And I tried to find something that was really focused on collaboration, approvals planning, cuz there were, you know, a bunch of tools even back there. Uh, there were a bunch of tools that were helping you with publishing on social automating, you know, publishing on, on, on social media channels. But there wasn't anything specifically focused on planning and, and collaboration approvals. And that's kinda where the idea of Planable that's where Planable was born.

John Jantsch (04:01): Yeah, I think you're right. I mean, I think the first generation of tools, like this were really all just about automating posting and things and, and when you started getting teams working together yeah. And approvals that were needed across maybe departments, you know, maybe legal had to even look at, you know, things then all of a sudden it got a lot more complex, didn't it?

Xenia Muntean (04:20): Yes. That's, you've put it perfectly. It's really about the first problem in social media. There's this amazing channels, social media's this new thing. How do we automate it? How do we publish at scale? Okay. Problem solved. Now there's a lot of people working and creating all of this amazing content. How do we align them? How do we create efficiency? How do we save time on that? And that's where, you know, Planable comes in.

John Jantsch (04:47): So kind of again, talking about your journey with Planable, I always love to ask entrepreneurs as what's been the hardest thing for you to figure out or learn

Xenia Muntean (04:59): Hardest thing.

John Jantsch (05:01): That's, you know, what's so funny. Uh, that's also the hardest question that people have for

Xenia Muntean (05:06): True.

John Jantsch (05:06): That is cause every everyone pauses on that.

Xenia Muntean (05:08): Yeah. Hard houses on that. Yeah. Hardest thing. I think I, I was just having a conversation with my co-founder today on this topic. I think hardest thing is to learn, to let go, because in the beginning, as a, as an entrepreneur, you're very hands on, you do all of the things that's normal. You can't afford anyone else so you do little bit of everything. And then in time you need to hire the best people, people that are better than you are at that job and trust them to do that job and let them go, you know, Deconnect detach from the job that they, they, you hire them to do. And it, that's a really hard thing to do because it's your baby. You've created it. So it's so hard to detach and let go. But it's also hard to do that. Like the high level, the strategic thing it's so ambiguous. It, it takes time to develop whilst the tactical stuff, you know, the day to day it, you know, it's achievable. It gives you like a dopamine boost, you know, you've done something quick thing. It's a win. It's so easy to do. I mean, it's not easy, it's still hard work, but it's more graspable whilst. Yeah. The statistical stuff that you're supposed to be doing is very vague. So yeah, that's probably the hardest thing.

John Jantsch (06:22): Yeah. I've been doing this for 30 years and I can attest to the fact that , that that's still hard today of, you know, for me. And I think that's true of most founders. So let's flip that around. What's been the most rewarding, uh, part of growing your own, growing this particular,

Xenia Muntean (06:35): Seeing the team thrive and, and grow and like hiring people and seeing how they become better and better as professionals. Not necessarily. I mean, yes, of course at the job that they're doing at Planable, but also as professionals, just seeing them grow in their career and seeing them making, like connecting between each other and building friendships and just like this growing organism that has its own life. And you do not have it, you know, you don't have control over it, but it's beautiful at expanding and growing and it's aligned with what you were envisioning and it is just magical. Yeah. Yeah.

John Jantsch (07:16): So, so you've achieved, I mean, 5,000 teams, as we said in the intro, you've achieved a level of success with Planable or growth with Planable, but what was the biggest thing you did, uh, to launch that, that you think led to, you know, a great deal of success?

Xenia Muntean (07:30): Yeah, that's a, that's a great question. I think a lot of small things that we did in the beginning, I can't point to like one single thing that we did that skyrocketed us. That would be great. Like that would be great advice to give to someone the, the, the, this thing that you need to do and that's gonna like skyrocket your business and you're gonna do amazing. I wish there was such a thing, but I think it's just the result of a lot of tiny experiments, a lot of initiatives that you're trying trial and error, and finally find something that works for your market. Something that works for your business. We've tried, for example, we've tried paid ads for a really long time and different channels until we finally figured out one that was working for us. But in the beginning, what worked for us was doing a lot of things that don't actually scale talking to people, word of mouth, putting myself and my cofounders out there and like reaching out directly to people. That's kind of how we got the first clients really in the beginning, it wasn't anything that you'd think is scalable, like ads or SEO or content marketing, none of that stuff. Like first clients, purely manual work and reaching out to folks out there

John Jantsch (08:46): E everybody wants the one thing, right. That makes it happen. Although I do recall I've been an app Sumo subscriber for years, and I do recall you had a pretty successful launch on app Sumo, didn't you?

Xenia Muntean (08:56): Yes, that's correct. We did app Sumo in the beginning. Uh, it's a great thing to do when you're just launching out your product has maybe in beta, you need a lot of people to support you. And it's really hard to build word of mouth from zero. No one knows about you. And it's really hard to get the ball running. And abso is a great place to do that. Not just because of the cash injection that you get from the deals from the lifetime deals that people buy. But also you get really great feedback. Yeah. In bulk, like a lot of massive feedback from people which you, you really need in your early stages, then you also get word of mouth, right? Like if you've built a product that people love, even if it's like very raw cause app Sumo users are, they're used with like raw stuff. Yeah. Software that maybe breaks a little bit, you know? Yeah. Right, right, right. It's you know, normal. So besides the feedback, you also get a lot of word of mouth people writing about you on social media blogs. And that then becomes a recurring subscriptions.

John Jantsch (09:58): Yeah. Yeah. AB Sumo people buy everything, anything, you know, they don't, which as you said, it's a very discounted plan that you're giving, but you get so much in when you have nothing, you get so much in return for that. So it's great. Great avenue. Yeah.

John Jantsch (10:10): This episode of the duct tape marketing podcast is brought to you by Planable. It's a social media collaboration tool that helps marketers around the world plan, create review, approve, and schedule social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Google my business, TikTok and LinkedIn, if you wanna check it out, you can actually give it a try for free. Just go to Planable.io, sign up and start creating awesome content. There's no credit card required or time limit for the free plan. You have 50 posts included. And once you reach that number, you can use a coupon code, duct tape 50 and get 50% off the first two months for any plan that suits your needs. So go to Planable.io and grab your team and give it a spin. So let's talk a little bit about some of the problems that the Planable solves.

Xenia Muntean (10:59): Yeah,

John Jantsch (10:59): For sure. First one is, you know, if you asked any marketing teams, you know, I, I would say content planning, obviously production is hard too, but I think content planning is a thing that they struggle with the most. I mean, very few people get out ahead of it. So, you know, I guess why is content planning so hard and what did you, how are you addressing that for teams?

Xenia Muntean (11:21): Yeah, so I was just looking this week at some stats and some reports in the industry. And I stumbled upon a very interesting fact that two thirds, only two thirds of small businesses actually use social media for marketing and to promote themselves. And I think that a lot of businesses don't use social media because they don't know if their, you know, of course they don't know if their audience is out there. Yeah. They don't understand the long term benefits. And most of the times, because they're small businesses and have limited resources, they want to see immediate results. Of course. Yeah. Yeah. And then also, because there's limited resources, it's really hard for them to maintain consistency. Right. So a lot of businesses struggle with posting on social media at least, you know, once a day or at least a couple of times a week. So, but growing, you know, social media requires consistency requires setting some expectations in terms of quantity of content, but also quality of content on social media.

Xenia Muntean (12:27): Yeah. And that's kinda where I'm, you know, that's where planning content yes. Uh, comes in handy because it makes you, it makes it easier for you to, to focus. It allows you to plan this entire batch of content and bulk, and it saves you time if you do it on a ad hoc basis where you post today and maybe post tomorrow, and then you do it day by day, you're never probably gonna achieve consistency and you're never gonna get to that rhythm of posting. And that's why like finding a way to put some, you know, a couple of hours aside where you get to plan for a month or two months in advance, depending on your business. And, and if you can, you know, afford to do, uh, that much content in advance, putting it on autopilot and, you know, saving time with that is, is extremely important in my opinion.

John Jantsch (13:21): Well, and I think what it does, at least it does for us, is it me, it kind of ensures that we're gonna be posting content that is actually going to be around our business goals for the quarter. Yeah. And not just, well, we need to post something, you know,

Xenia Muntean (13:34): scramble around

John Jantsch (13:35): To. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And, and so we're saying, oh, we're launching this product or this course, or whatever in this timeframe. So let's produce content running up to it, you know, that's going to support it. And I think that, I mean, it's, we all know that. I mean, right. That's not like some genius thing, but I think that it, it really takes the tools to end the end, the discipline, I guess, to, to do it. Doesn't it

Xenia Muntean (13:56): Discipline? Yes. I love that. Yes, for sure.

John Jantsch (14:00): So AI artificial intelligence is, is being built into everything today, or at least is being talked about as being built to everything today, particularly social media content. How, how does in your mind, you know, what's the role of AI and content planning and, and execution, and even inside of, uh, the Planable tool.

Xenia Muntean (14:19): I think we have a long way to go until we can use AI for content creation. I feel like that part like creative content creation is something that is not gonna be touched by AI in a meaningful way for a really long time in advance, in order to create meaningful content for your business. You need to understand the market, your business goals, your audience, you need to understand your tone of voice your brand. So there's a lot of moving pieces to that. Mm-hmm mm-hmm . And I really doubt that any AI with the current technology can do it better than a human I can. So I don't see it planning a role just yet as it is with a technology right now, I've seen a couple of tools popping up then and there, but I think nothing can beat like human creativity and someone that knows the business inside out, or the entrepreneur themselves that have built the business and know the brand and resonate with it.

John Jantsch (15:23): One of the things that, that I do think effective content marketers are doing are, is really viewing all the stages in the customer journey and, and producing content specific to those stages. Obviously, when somebody is just out there trying to find something, you know, find a solution, they, they have different questions and objectives than when somebody's thinking about buying or even after they've become a customer. What are some of the ways that you're, uh, seeing people use Planable for those different stages of the customer journey?

Xenia Muntean (15:53): I think what Planable helps the most is making the lives of marketers or businesses that, you know, promote their products and services, making their lives easier by, by streamlining, like the entire logistics, you know, the tedious, boring stuff that no one wants to do, right. Mm-hmm is, is publishing of course, but also the entire coordination that happens, right? The logistics of content creation of the logistics of, I have a freelancer that I need to work with. They're creating content for me, but I need to, you know, check if that content is really, you know, what needs, what my business needs to put out there. How do I look at that content? Are they gonna send me a spreadsheet? Do I need to click on a lot of links? Well, how is this actually gonna look like on social media? So we're automating all of that part and we're making it super easy for whoever works on content for whatever team, even if it's a team of, you know, two , we really help them coordinate the entire logistics of what is my social media presence going to look like, and how can we together as a team, even a tiny one can improve.

Xenia Muntean (17:04): This can make it better, right? And just streamlining this entire process up to publishing and publishing, including obviously automating, scheduling and forgetting about it. That's kinda how I see Planable helping our customers.

John Jantsch (17:20): So, so with teams, even small teams, there's a little bit of complexity and approval process, but I, I, you take it to the agency level and, you know, that's, I might be managing 10 clients who have 10 teams internally. So how are you seeing agencies and, and consultants using a tool like Planable?

Xenia Muntean (17:37): Half of our customers are agencies and, and consultants. It's kinda a no brainer yeah. For them, because if it's just me and my business and I'm posting, yes, I do need a content calendar in a place to approve, to plan content, and then to schedule it and publish and Planable does that. But if I'm a, an agency I need, not only that, not only planning and publishing, I need to show my clients the work that I'm producing, help them see that work. Not only show them, but give them some kind of a preview of how everything's gonna look like, and I need to do that, not just with one, but I need to do that with like a whole portfolio of clients. Exactly. How do I centralize their feedback? How do I manage approvals? How do I make it easy for them to understand the work that I'm I'm I'm producing and how do I do that at scale? And also optimize my time and my efficiency, because I'm an agency and my margins, you know, I need to take care of my margins. So it's really in that case, Planable is kind of their operating. It becomes their operating system.

John Jantsch (18:45): Yeah. So, and you're absolutely right. I mean, because not only is it 10 different clients with 10 different markets, 10 different approval processes, 10 different teams. I mean, it really is a lot of moving parts. So, uh, I know as you said, most agencies are looking to streamline everything because that's, you know, that's, that is where they make their profit is quite frankly, is through efficiencies. So tell, tell us more about to where you, where people can find out more about Planable. And I think you actually, we actually have a special offer two month, 50% off, I think, two months. Yeah. For plan or for duct tape listeners. So tell us where people can find out more about that.

Xenia Muntean (19:25): Yeah, for sure. So it's, if, if you wanna find out more about Planable, you can just go to Planable, do IO, and you're gonna learn a lot about the, the product. And then if you wanna take it for spin, see how the product works, you can sign up for our free trial for our free plan. You're gonna get the full experience of the product, really see if it's a good fit for yourself. And then if you wanna move forward with, with Planable, with one of our paid plans, you can definitely use the duct tape discount, just write duct tape in one of our, in, in the coupon field. And you're gonna

John Jantsch (20:01): Get this. Actually I think the coupon we set up is duct tape, 50

Xenia Muntean (20:04): Duct tape 50. Thank you, John. for

John Jantsch (20:07): Correct. 50% off for the first two months, uh, by using that means duct tape, all one word 50, and that'll be in the show notes as well. So that's, there you

Xenia Muntean (20:15): Go. And if you wanna,

John Jantsch (20:17): I owe,

Xenia Muntean (20:18): Sorry. Yeah. And if you wanna connect with me and learn more about like the entrepreneurial journey, just hit me up on LinkedIn and more than happy to talk to you about like building businesses or growing your agency or optimizing, uh, for efficiency.

John Jantsch (20:32): Awesome. Well, I appreciate stopping by duct tape marketing podcast. Congratulations on, uh, the success of Planable and, uh, hopefully, uh, we'll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Xenia Muntean (20:44): Yes. Thank you. Thank you, John.

John Jantsch (20:46): Hey, and one final thing before you go, you know how I talk about marketing strategy strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the marketing strategy assessment. You can find [email protected] not.com.co check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That's just marketing assessment.co I'd love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the Planable and HubSpot Podcast Network.

Planable is a social media collaboration tool that helps marketers around the world plan, create, review, approve, and schedule social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Google my Business, TikTok and LinkedIn. If you wanna check it out, you can actually give it a try for free. Just go to planable.io, sign up, and start creating awesome content.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 


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