The Fighter and The Kid: Podcasting and The Future of Social Media Marketing

jamie_hilts    November 15, 2016

In 2013, comedian Bryan Callen, asked UFC heavyweight fighter Brendan Schaub to do a podcast with him in his garage. The two were good friends, and Bryan noticed that Brendan had a natural comedic instinct, that could crack up a whole room. While both were moderately successful in their profession, nothing could prepare them for the heights their new show would soon reach. In three short years, the podcast has grown into one of the top 10 sports podcasts on Itunes. Podcasting has allowed the pair to have a stable income, while they pursue other interests. Acting and fighting are no longer their main source of income, and they can rely on income generated from their podcast. The podcast generates revenue from ad reads on the show, with many companies relying on podcasts to generate new customers. Bryan Callen had this to say about the future of social media.

What’s really cool about the whole business of internet is it makes it easier and easier to have your own autonomy.

The show has produced over 200 episodes, and spun off into various other side projects. Other businesses can look at The Fighter and The Kid, as inspiration to step into the future of social media.

When Bryan and Brendan started their podcast, they didn’t expect it to turn into a multifaceted social media business like it is today. The company has multiple employees and has expanded from a podcast to include a clothing line, a live comedy show, and television program. All of these side businesses would not be possible without the success of the podcast. The podcast even allowed Brendan to step away from his fighting career which he spoke about when asked.

It’d be tough for me to say, ‘You know what? Let me go fight some monster who’s been training full time, and not telling (expletive) jokes and selling (expletive) Big Brown shirts full time. I won’t do the game a disservice. I won’t do that. Unless I can focus on it full time, there’s just no way. And signing this Reebok deal? It’s not gonna happen, man.

By using their social media reach they cultivated, they were able to expand into products that their fans would enjoy. Fans of the show wanted a shirt to wear, and the podcast responded by taking popular bits from the show and turning them into designs. One running joke on the podcast is that Bryan was a taekwondo champion in his youth. The show took this concept and made merchandise that fans would enjoy. Following along the path of pleasing listeners, the podcast decided to develop a live comedy show. They would travel around the planet, doing comedy routines, and meeting their listeners. The idea was a roaring success and allowed Brendan to gain enough experience to start a solo act. Businesses should note that while both of these two had a following, they were not at the top fighting or comedy respectively. The podcast is what allowed them to grow their personal brands. While not all businesses can hope to generate the kind of traffic a comedian and fighter can, there is another way that they can get their business involved with podcasting.

Podcasting represents the future of radio, and also social media. People are not tuning in to radio stations very often, because with the click of a button they can find a subject they enjoy on their phones. This has shifted advertising revenue from radio to podcasting. Many businesses have turned to podcasts to advertise their products. Companies like ONNIT owe much of their success to the customers they attract through bits on podcasts like the Fighter and the Kid. Brendan and Bryan turn ads into funny comedy bits, which encourage listeners not to skip through them. In traditional TV and radio, the tendency is to skip the ads or change the channel. This strategy of entertaining ads that podcasters are utilizing give much more value to the companies that advertise with them. Entertaining ads help much more than informative ones, as companies like Old Spice, and the Fighter and The Kid have proven.

Lessons for Others

A podcast is best produced to serve a niche, and if an organization can produce quality content in that niche, the listeners will find it. Once an audience is built, a business can utilize their platform to push anything they want. It is often best to stick with products or services that the organization believes in, or it may paint a negative light on the business. Organizations can also negotiate deals with other companies, to sponsor their show. This allows for co-promotion, while also gives the organization a fresh revenue stream.

If a business decides a podcast would not be the best way to use their time, they can opt to promote themselves on an already established podcast. Most podcasts make their money by ads read out during the show. By advertising in this manner, a business is likely to generate word of mouth advertising, as podcast listeners are invested in the personalities they listen to, and trust their opinions.

Organization: The Fighter and The Kid
Industry: Podcast
Name of Organization Contact: Brendan Schaub

Authored by: Jamie Hilts

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


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