CMO Insights – Saul Leal, General Manager of FamilyShare Network

February 21, 2017

When you realize that Saul Leal, General Manager at FamilyShare Network, has developed a following of 120 million people, you might conclude that he would be a great source of advice on content strategy…and you would be right. Saul took time out recently to record an interview with Jeff Pedowitz. Jeff asked him if the skill sets of the content marketing team were changing and how he trained and prepared his 4000 contributors. The answer was very illuminating.

“Most of our employees are statistical oriented, more mathematical oriented, more numbers oriented. Most of our employees are not journalists…even though we create anywhere from 600 to 1200 media posts a day. None of our content creators are actually journalists even though articles are a big piece of our assets. The reason we set it up this way is because at this point in the maturity cycle it is all about understanding the audience. And the best way to understand the audience is through behavior, and through their natural behavior as they engage with the content, as they “like”, as they comment, as they share. And that behavior is what drives our content strategy. So as a content strategist you have to be more statistical, more mathematical, you are understanding that behavior through the numbers of the audience. That is a change from 10 years ago. The time response from social media is very quick. This is an important concept I want to share with you. What social media has brought to us at FamilyShare is that within 20 seconds, sometimes even less than that, I know if a piece of content works or doesn’t work. I know if a piece of content is going to become viral or not within a minute, and if it doesn’t go viral I know what content doesn’t work, and if it goes viral I know what pieces of content do work. Now I can create a whole table based on the behavioral feedback of the audience and that provides feedback and trains my contributors, and I can make a normal contributor become a super writer, a super author, that can create viral content constantly.”

Saul also talks about how FamilyShare Network became so successful by really understanding their audience and being willing to change their company’s processes, timetables and more to focus on the customer.

About Saul Leal

Saul currently manages the largest engagement brand in social media for families as a target demographic. With over 120 hundred million followers with an engagement rate of over 5 million per month. FamilyShare Network went from very simple on-demand content to over 4,000 content contributors. Under Saul’s leadership the network grew potential viewership from 0 to 25 million television viewers and 66 million mobile users throughout 18 countries and the Americas in just 3 years.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Good afternoon. And welcome to Revenue Marketing Television. The video channel dedicated to thought leadership from the world’s top marketing executives. I’m your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today’s guest Saul Leal, General Manager of FamilyShare Network. Saul currently manages the largest engagement brand and social media for families as a target demographic. With over 100 million followers and engagement rate of over 500 million per month, Saul is an international media executive with proven business development, operational management and leadership skills. He’s built and launched a multi-platform, multilanguage pay television channel, among other technologies and operational ventures. Under Saul’s leadership, the network grew potential viewership from zero to 25 million television viewers and 66 million mobile users throughout 18 countries in the Americas, representing the distribution market share of 18% in just three years. He has a proven track record in creating, developing and selling global initiatives. And most recently, FamilyShare was awarded the Oracle Marketing Award for Best Social Media Campaign. Welcome to the show, Saul.

Saul Leal:

Thank you. I really appreciate it. I’ve been looking forward to our conversation for a long time, so thank you. Thanks for the opportunity.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Oh, absolutely. My pleasure. So at first, maybe tell us a little bit about the family shadow network. What is its mission and its purpose?

Saul Leal:

No, that’s a, that’s great. The, the passion that we’re at the score is cohort of websites and we should, you should channels mostly to facial. We also have Peter’s accounts into your accounts. And what we do is we create content, you know, website VDL articles images, memes, and we promote all of that door to our pages. Now the beauty about the network is that we have focus on the family and family comes in and I’m going to share with, want about our research on that, but will you spareyour sweet homepages? Like I love my family. I love my wife. I love my children. I love my grandchildren. I love my cat love my God. I love the United States. I love the constitution. I love Mexico. I love Brazil and we have all that inseveral languages. We actually own Family.com in over 80 languages. Right now we only have activated Family.com in Spanish and Portuguese. Now in English, we use Familyshare.com that’s the name of our, of our network, Familyshare Network.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s fantastic. So now whether then some of the goals that you have, all this content, all of these different sites and social and what’s, what are you trying to do with all the different sites?

Saul Leal:

Oh, sorry. Actually with extolling, a very simple offer and demand of contents especially in United States that we did this research. We found that there’s a lot of demand for family content jet. The offer was not there. We were looking at over 47, 57% of Americans were very passionate of four family content, specifically practical solution for families. However, when you look on our content producers in where your stations and TV stations in, what are blogs and even websites, there was people were not willing. These content creators were not willing to write content for families, which is not the top of their mind are only four to 5% of the content producers were willing to wait continuous category. Yet, as I mentioned, 57% of the artists were willing to read and consume the set of content. So our basic hypothesis was can we create content in the family category and allocate these content and distribute this content through organic network behavior and see if they are, is really behave as they mentioned on the surveys, because sometimes as you know, people can say things in the solar, but there’ll be here, we’ll say something different.

So that was a basic hypothesis. That’s how will we come up? And it started creating based on these passion statements. We start creating these pages. Like I love my family a lot. My wife, I love my children and it was fairly easy for people to subscribe to those spaces on Facebook, for instance, or on Twitter. And, you know, people will look at the page, know, I love my family. They will say, Oh yeah, I love my family. They would like the page. They will subscribe to the page. Again, this was very useful all the time together or most of our subscriber base, but that’s really only 10, maybe 15% of this strategy, because at the end of the day, you have to maintain your audience and engage. So we started to create content and even categories where we need families and to learn, to understand and follow our audience. And as, as we did, so we create some algorithms to really create content that will engage the audience. So as we did this, we started seeing the growth of our, of our pages, not only on this social aspect, what also on our websites at a dramatical levels. So that, that sort of has been the, the, the, the journey for the, for the advantage of network. And now we’re, we’re looking to increase more languages to create more engagement, to go into other categories besides you know, narrative parents.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You’ve done this in a pretty short period of time. What kind of resources are you applying events? This

Saul Leal:

That’s a great question. So again, this of, of of of working third passion, it’s very important and very core to the family network. As I mentioned, the distribution model is space and passion. So people that to actually read the content, they will become advocates of that content and share that content. That’s really at the core of our distribution strategy is this passion of what families for Panama content. It is the same way in a content creation. So we have over 4,000 contributors and these contributors they’re passionate about creating content. So they create content for family share. And I have a team of editors that will take this content. We’ll prioritize it, we’ll edit it, we’ll take it to a level that they obviously consume, and then we’ll publish that content. So not only at the distribution we we have a core passion, but also the content creation. It is passion, what that drive or the content creation is any niggles that care about strengthen, strengthen families worldwide.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Did you use advocacy social networks itself, where are you finding all of these contributors?

Saul Leal:

So it’s, it’s sort of this network effect. So we basically go out and our social channels and ask, Hey, do you want to be part, be a contributor to create content that will get back on to help thousands of families worldwide? And we, that’s how we recruit. They’re just passionate people that that they feel some sort of a mission and we’ll give them a voice to contribute to this, to this initiative.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s, that’s amazing. I my, my head spinning and I’m like, Hey, how can I go out and get contributors to our blog and to our sites? So I’m probably going to go after our director of marketing right after this interview. So as the landscape keeps changing with digital and content, are you, and with your own team, are you saying the skill sets changing our marketers today, they need to know how to do different things. And if so, what are they and how are you training and then preparing them growing them?

Saul Leal:

That’s a great question. So they’re fluctuating. I don’t fully dare to say changing, but they’re definitely fluctuating meaning that they’re going to come back together. We’re focusing on certain skills right now, and I’m seeing second CEO’s that I I need for all needs in order to grow and saying, you know, simply having the industry. But I think there the skills there’s other skills at work come back. I think that, you know, the reality is that we’re in the digital world, in the social world. It’s still immature process. We’re maturing, we’re, we’re growing as we grow and mature. And let me, let me be more specific on this. So some of them will need to work like most of our employees actually more so mystical oriented, more mathematical oriented, more numbers oriented. And the reason actually, none of our surprisingly most of our employees are not journalists. 

Even though that we create over 400 pieces of content a month, we create over 600 posts in social media a day, anywhere from 600 to 1200 a day. And none of, none of our content creators are actually journalists, even though [inaudible] assets. And w the reason we had it set up this way is because at this point, as we’re seeing the maturity cycle, we’re seeing that it’s all about understanding the audience and the best way to understand the sweet teenager and into their natural behavior, as they engage with the content they like as they comment as they share, and that behavior actions while drive our content strategy. So as a, as underserved is, you have to be, you know, more statistical mathematical way that you understanding that behavior to the numbers of the armies, and that is achieved from 10 years ago. The reality is that usually to these what social media has brought in, in any ways, is there timeless to get feedback has been reduced at social small, tiny, and you can pick it up fairly quick.

Let me expand a little bit of this. I think it was only unimportant council that we really worked on it. I have a lot to share with, you know, 15, 20, 30, 40 years ago, as you look at content creation. And in many ways today, it is basically a monologue. If you create an article for a newspaper or radio piece content, television content piece, it’s all a monologue. And you stack that they’re counting greater was really reaching the audience. And it will actually create a piece of content that will resonate with the audience. Even today, we see sometimes that it’s cheaper to kill a TV series at the needle. A lot of it then actually we create an people and we create a new one from the one before, because it’s actually cheaper to eliminate it and pivot because the cost continuation is so high.

Now, the unity with source, what social media has brought to us at timeshare is that we link 20 seconds. Actually, sometimes even less than that, I know Jeff, it goes piece of content actually works over. It doesn’t work. I know if a piece of content is to have become viral or not within the within minutes. So if it doesn’t, if it doesn’t go viral, I that then that the country doesn’t work and you can go, I know what pieces of content, what’s the navigate grade a whole table. I mean, we’d all those spreadsheets and in your database, that’d be great an algorithm to understand the different behaviors based on the feedback or the behavioral feedback with the audience. So that actually retreats and provides feedback to my team, my, my contributors. And now I can make a normal contributor, a normal Joe in the street become a super writer, a super author that can create viral content constantly. And that is at the core of what we have done here, the commission work.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So you said that you know, what, how do you know what tools are you using to know whether or not something is going to go viral?

Saul Leal:

So again, it’s, it’s not it’s not a pixel or a magic secret that we have, it comes back to the behavior of the audience. So for instance, something that we’ll look at, we’ll look at the velocity of the content please mean sheriffs. We look at the amount of page views divided about sheriffs per minutes. So we, that the city is hitting certain velocity through experience. We have no gate. These usually has a potential to go viral because of the velocity that we’re seeing, people sharing that piece of content, you know, page views, divided by shares within it. So, so it’s certain equations or certain Bibles are able to, to help us to forecast they’ve earlier of content. If that, if that makes sense.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah, no, that’s really fascinating. So, in closing, if you were going to give advice to an executive who wants to start doing what they’re doing, where would they start?

Saul Leal:

You know understanding, really looking at your brand or audience something that we do, a family share, just a world with rants throughout the worlds. And we help, you know, if, if, if you have a family, if you want to market to a family, whether that is or a family relationship, whether there’s a mom, a dad and uncle son, if you want to market to those individuals and that relationship we, our family share can, can help you do that. And we have done it, but understanding your brand, the audience, and including company, the ally to both of those. So the main thing will be watching your audience not coming in corners, because there’s, you cannot cut corners to excellence. And, and that excellence comes about really understanding and having the accountant very close to you and understanding that the audience really cares about that piece of content.

If you put the we always talk about putting the consumer in the center of the business, and that’s really hard, the question is, are you willing to con to make changes to change your processes, to change your accounting goals, your financial goals, to change your timetables in order to Southside that customer that’s where it comes down, is are you willing to make, to cheaters in your behavior as a company to focus on that customer? And that’s what we have tried to do an independent share is, is really cater to that consumer that we are under-serving and as sweet do that, then we, they will come back with loyalty, immediately verticals. And we have seen that with 120 million followers on social media.

Jeff Pedowitz:

I know, I think your views are refreshing. I love your approach, and I know the audience is going to enjoy it, so thank you so much for joining us this afternoon.

Saul Leal:

Thanks to you. I really appreciate it.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Thank you.

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