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Interview: Tanner Swift With The Joe Budden Network

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

Tanner Swift is the social media manager and digital content strategist for The Joe Budden Podcast & The Joe Budden Network. Tanner’s experiences with the podcast include aiding in the outlines of the “Pull-Up” series Budden has which featured the likes of Russ and Megan Thee Stallion on the JoeBuddenTV YouTube account and creating fan engagement through a series of videos clips, polls, and other methods of community engagement.

Prior to the JBP, Tanner worked with the Cisco company in social media engagement and support along with covering athletics for Carson-Newman University. In 2019, Tanner received an MBA with a focus on Marketing as a Graduate Assistant in the Athletic Communications department at Carson-Newman University​ in the spring of 2019.

To interview Tanner on this platform is an honor because labels and crews can always utilize someone who is profound within marketing and very strategic with how to push one's content online. He has created some of the famous graphics featured on the JBP social media accounts and with his alma mater which you can see throughout reading the interview.

From when the "JBP Boyz" left the Spotify business

The graphic was used to celebrate when the Joe Budden Instagram page @joebuddenpod reached one hundred thousand followers.

Jay: Within your experiences prior to the JBP, what were some lessons you learned about how to observe and formulate strategies for companies to create and improve fan engagement?

Tanner: Listening to your customers and fans is one of the most important aspects when formulating strategies as a company. You can find out pretty quickly what does and doesn’t work, and you have to observe those comments and responses on nearly every social media platform to get a sense of what the most common talking points are. This is especially important in circumstances where people may be spending money to support you or any product/service you are providing.

I think some companies get caught up in sounding like robots on social media. You need to build a relationship with your fans and have some sort of personality or they can feel like their voice isn’t being heard and it is just a dull overall feeling on social platforms.

Content is everything. Learn what sticks, break down the numbers and statistics that come from your social media pages, and be ready to reshape how you do things if it comes to it. Some companies get so caught up in a social plan that they refuse or lack the ability to shift and tweak things over time. Social Media is evolving day by day. Make sure you’re prepared to deal with it.

Jay: Tell me more about what led you to obtain your MBA. What led you to pursue that field?

Tanner: It’s humorous to me when I speak about completing my MBA in Marketing because that was never the intention. In 2015, I completed my undergraduate degree in Sport Management from Western Carolina. I told myself I was never going back to school. I wanted to work right away and get all the experience I could and continue to put money away to build my future. Two years later, I found myself working as a Graduate Assistant in the Athletic Communications department at a Division II school in Tennessee (Carson-Newman). It wasn’t ideal to balance 60+ hours a week in the office with school on top of it. I knew this would be the case from the start, but I also knew that if I wanted to put myself in a better position down the road with any job opportunities, I wanted to make myself as flexible as possible.

I wanted to have that opportunity where my wide range of skillsets can be plugged in at nearly any position because you never know what a company’s needs may be, which can make you just as valuable to the next person. For example, I worked with Cisco for 13 months in a Social Media Engagement & Support role. I had zero experience in IT, but they liked my resume and what I brought to the table.

All in all, I was proud to say that I became the first person in my family to get a Master's Degree. I remember being told numerous times that if ever find a company or school that is dumb enough to pay for your degree, it is something to consider.

Jay: What was the best no that you have received in your profession and why?

Tanner: I got laid off from my job with Cisco due to budgets/COVID in October of 2020. Ever since then I have been applying for other work while still managing my role with The Joe Budden Podcast which I started in March of 2018. I have applied for so many jobs since then that I lost count. Every day just grinding away and it is exhausting, it is frustrating, it is draining. I used every single email that told me I “wasn’t qualified” for the job I applied for as a chip on my shoulder because in reality, the work those companies offered was right in my lane and I was irritated by the responses.

I knew eventually that someone would appreciate what I could bring to the table on day one and I knew that I would follow through when given that opportunity. All those “no’s” in the job search process have allowed me to grow in the space I am now, which in turn, has given me the opportunity to learn and take on new responsibilities. Sometimes the no’s are both aggravating and a blessing at the same time. It makes things easier once you understand that they can coexist.

Jay: In the world of music culture, what are some flaws you see social media pages do with their marketing?

Tanner: In some marketing aspects, you need to think from the fans' perspective on what type of content would be appealing to them. It goes hand in hand with my earlier comment about finding ways not to ignore your fan base and to be honest, a good number of these companies aren’t doing enough to promote their artists. That goes for all artists, not just your big names.

For example, how many times have you seen your favorite artist's project promoted or lack thereof? How many times did you have zero clue someone was releasing a project? How many times do you go to a streaming service and find it difficult to find those records? It’s flawed and can be a disservice to those artists who are already being taken advantage of economically by labels or whoever it may be.

I applied for a marketing role with Roc Nation a couple of months back and made it through to the next round twice. Each application had you answer some questions on how you would go about marketing a DJ Khaled album or how you would do a rollout in seven days, so it is an area they are wanting to pay attention to, I just think the execution could be better.

Jay: On your website, you have a Redbull Wingfinder assessment. It is a personality assessment that focuses on your strengths, the things that you’re naturally inclined to be good at, and gives you the tools and coaching to be even better developed by the team of Redbull and several psychology professors. Who would you recommend this assessment for and what have you learned from that assessment about yourself? How does that assessment carry over to your profession?

Tanner: A different number of companies will sometimes ask you to provide a personality assessment or request that you do so, solely for the purpose of finding out whether you may be a good fit for the position and what kind of person you are before they proceed to the next steps. I’d like to have a conversation with someone prior to those requests just so they can get a gauge of who I am in an interaction instead of just reading a few pages of information. I’ve recommended the 16 personalities website in the past as well. Whether it is that, Wingfinder, or another site, I would definitely recommend sitting down and taking one because at the very least you get to learn something about yourself such as your weaknesses, some of which I never would have never thought of until I read it. On the other hand, these assessments can be eerily accurate based on how you process information or how well you work with others. If you haven’t taken one in a few years, do it again. Maybe see how things may or may not have changed over time.

Jay: You have transitioned from covering sports to covering hip-hop figures covering hip hop and other media happenings. Was there a difficulty in transitioning from one form of media type to another or was it all smooth sailing? If there were any challenges, what were they, and did you have to adjust how you carry out your work in any way to improve the way you traverse the Internet for the podcast page?

Tanner: For the most part it was a pretty easy transition because I’ve had such a passion for music and the entertainment business for a long time. I was able to work with the JBP while still being involved in the sports arena because I enjoyed it so much and it provided me with other possibilities that could come into play down the road. I also spent some time working in the marketing realm with my cousin who is a music artist, so I’ve stayed in tune with both media spaces for a number of years from a business standpoint. There definitely was a challenge that I would highlight and that was to make sure I invested the time and was dedicated to my work despite being spread thin with school or other side hustles.

I don’t think I truly decided what area I would like to be working in until being close to or after receiving my MBA. That’s mostly because I wanted to provide myself with options and learn more about areas that maybe I hadn’t tackled yet. I did sports commentary for a while. I enjoyed it but wasn’t something I wanted to continue to pursue.

The same goes with work in the I.T. world. I don’t look at either of those experiences as a waste, I just learned that it wasn’t something for me and used what I gained to build off that. I can’t go without being thankful to those who are in my corner and are in place around me to help me succeed on a daily basis, so it's a must that I shout out Savon, Shivina, Ian, Keeb, and the whole Joe Budden Network crew.

Hip-hop, sports, and the entertainment world are forever evolving when your work is in the media space. Immediate changes can be made at any moment and you have to be able to adapt on the fly. I was and I am willing to take on that challenge every day.

Make Yourself Indispensable.

Jay: We know that Joe Budden has a strong fan base. They followed him from his DJ Clue days to his Def Jam run to the creation of JoeBuddenTV in the late 2000s and followed him all the way to his current days as a podcasting mogul. Not only he has a strong fan base, Rory, Mal, Parks, and affiliates of the podcast like Ice and Ish, Savon, and Alex aka Screenman, started to grow their fan base with their excellent The Need To Know Podcast. There are hives such as Sicko Hive, Parks Hive, the Icicles (referencing the fanbase Ice has), and more that have formed as fan groups for everyone of the Joe Budden Podcast team or just fans of the podcast in general.

These Hives are truly RIDE OR DIE for the podcast and who they are fans of. With being the individual to manage the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for the brand, how is it interacting with the multitude of fan bases that the Podcast has influenced? Are the experiences different on Patreon and the “Discord Streets”? The Patreon and Discord pages can be accessed if someone subscribes to the Patreon page that the JBP has for exclusive content that does not make it onto the podcast recordings and YouTube visuals.

Tanner: I definitely come from being a fan of Joe’s rap career so I’ve been able to see all those different types of groups and hives come together and form over the years. Up to this very day, it’s still evolving and growing. The power of social media is one of a kind. I have been able to create connections on the work side of things which is always a plus, but truly the biggest thing that has come away from this whole journey has been the friends I have made along the way who will last a lifetime. Similarly in another area, I have friends who I met playing video games years and years ago who will always be a part of my life. That type of thing is hard to explain to people sometimes but those who truly know its impact are able to understand it without any questions.

Interacting with the different fan bases can be a whirlwind because certain groups enjoy things that others don’t even though it all goes hand in hand. However, it’s fun to see the jokes and create those relationships with everyone because you learn a lot from these people in terms of their daily lives and their passions. We are able to relate with each other on different levels that others may not be able to and it provides that mental escape when you find people with common interests.

The addition of Discord has provided such a huge impact on the community because people have truly met great friends in just a few months since we launched it, and I can say for myself that there are people who I speak with daily because of it. If you haven’t subscribed to Patreon and end up doing so, give Discord a shot. There are plenty of topics that the JBN community connects on from sports, games, music, podcast discussions, bingeables, and more. We are still continuing to grow and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.

Follow The Joe Budden Podcast pages on Instagram and Twitter. You can follow Tanner on Instagram and Twitter and check out his professional website covering all of his experiences with media and marketing.

Written by: Jay Guevara @justinhisprime on all social media.

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