How I Started My Own Media Company | Lander College of Arts and Sciences
How did you decide to pursue a career in marketing? Has it evolved or was it something you always knew you wanted to get into?
Marketing is first and foremost a people business. It encompasses the different ways we communicate with each other and how we can bring value to them. I like people. I’ve always been a people person and really enjoy interacting with different types of people in all kinds of situations. This is exactly why I turned to social media when it first launched in the late 2000s. The world became so much smaller when I had the opportunity to tweet my sports heroes and form new relationships with media personalities.
When word got out that I had a sports blog and an active Twitter presence, companies started reaching out to me to help with their marketing needs. It was around this time that I entered the Touro campus to choose my chosen profession/career, and marketing came naturally to me. Although I majored in finance due to its potentially lucrative field, my exposure to the marketing field eventually led me away from finance and into the world of advertising.
Today I run Harvesting Media, a marketing company I co-founded in 2017 to help independent supermarkets reach more people in a digital world. From there, we moved on to helping food brands, restaurants, nonprofits, and medical businesses. We work on email campaigns, social media management with a focus on paid ads, online review management, SMS marketing and more, and I love it because it’s an interpersonal business. In this area, you can have a direct impact on an individual’s quality of life.
You started out managing social media for CNBC and then ran your own digital marketing business. How did you go from working for a big company to working for yourself?
In 2009, I met CNBC sportscaster Darren Rovell on Twitter, and he was impressed with my work ethic and ability to help him market himself and his brand on social media. this led to a full-time gig at the Cable News Channel. Although working in the CNBC newsroom for almost four years was an experience that many Orthodox Jews do not have, I left for several reasons – including the need to allow myself to be more creative in generating marketing campaigns for small businesses in the communities where I’ve lived, and to focus on my growing family.
Recently, you started the Kosher Money podcast. Why do you think podcasts are proliferating today? What does it take to succeed as a podcaster?
Smartphones are in the hands of virtually every adult around the world. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more people were looking for mediums to stay informed or distracted, and audio was a natural fit for that. People who take long commutes or work out at the gym want a certain level of stimulation, and podcasts fit the mold very well. A recent study by eMarketer found that the top ten podcast advertisers spent nearly $300 million combined on podcast ads in 2021, more than double the $145 million spent in 2020 – so that’s where go the marketing spend.
A lot of people have approached my brother and I about creating their own podcasts. Our advice to anyone interested in creating a podcast is: “Just start!” If you have an idea, grab a microphone or a mobile device to record and post an episode. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t get lost in pre-production. You’ll get to perfection, but it doesn’t have to be there on day one. At first it was difficult to attract sponsors to our fledgling podcast, but over time and after continuing to pump episode after episode after episode, we continued to increase the number each week, generating interest from sponsors. Success comes from the one above when you are persistent.
What is the premise of Kosher Money and who is the intended audience? Did you find that there is interest beyond the Jewish community? Why do you think that is?
While one of the reasons I left CNBC was for creative purposes, ultimately to pay the bills of a growing Jewish family in New York, I felt the need to come back to work to help small businesses in digital marketing. . The idea to create Kosher Money was specifically fueled by my brother, Yaakov, creator of the Living L’chaim network, which offers a host of shows to improve the lives of Orthodox Jews. Shows include Kosher Money, which focuses on managing personal finances; That’s An Issue, which deals with mental health in our communities; and The Spirit Of The Song, which gives listeners insight into the meaning of the most popular songs in Jewish music. Casher Money is now in Season 3, and the episodes have millions of streams on YouTube and major podcast networks, which is truly amazing to see.
We generated hundreds of thousands of views from non-Jews as well as from all over the world: South Africa, Chile, Trinidad. I think finance crosses all religions and cultures, and the words our guests share relate to everyone, which is quite phenomenal. We bring in financial experts and rabbis to talk about the challenges and opportunities facing communities, although in more recent episodes we make sure to use fewer Hebrew words in hopes that the material is understandable and relevant to everyone who listens.
What advice do you have for Touro undergraduates interested in a career in marketing?
When you start, don’t look for the salary, but for the opportunity. Interning with a company where you’re going to learn from the best of the best is far more lucrative in the long run than getting the highest possible compensation from day one. There will be plenty of time to earn the top prize, so use your early years to learn and mop up as much as you can on and off the job. YouTube is a great resource for learning pretty much anything you want, so take advantage of it. Also, don’t overlook the value of connections and relationships. The old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” rings true time and time again.
How has your Touro education helped propel your career?
Touro is an extremely welcoming school, from its faculty to its students – some of whom I follow to this day. I have found Touro’s English writing programs to be extremely helpful in boosting my career. I received compliments on my ability to write and deliver messages, which I attribute to my teachers at Touro, especially Professor Lydia Kraus. Writing is the main form of self-expression these days, and if you could do it well, it can sometimes mean the difference between closing a deal and going broke.