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It Started with Content… How 3 Ebook Downloads Became 280m Podcast Downloads

It Started with Content… How 3 Ebook Downloads Became 280m Podcast Downloads

How can content repurposing help underperforming content reach its full potential?

You can’t predict what might happen when you first publish your content. It might not perform as well as you’d expected (it happens to the best of us), it could launch you to viral fame…or anything in between!

Sometimes, that first version of content you publish might not be its most successful iteration… but it might be the first step on an unexpected journey…

… which is exactly what happened with the award-winning, record-breaking, number one podcast phenomenon, My Dad Wrote A Porno.

Disclosure! I’m not about to talk about porn on my blog! It’s the name of an absolutely hilarious comedy podcast… Even if this doesn’t sound like your kind of thing, it has a really fascinating content origin story behind it!

This is the second post in my new content marketing case study series, It Started with Content. Each month, I’ll reveal how a business or brand utilized the power of content to achieve wonderful things. I’ll look at what really sets their content apart so you can learn from their experience.

Hit play to listen to the podcast episode.

Or watch the video episode below. 

Best practice content repurposing in action

If you’re a comedy fan or a podcast listener, there’s a strong chance you’ll have heard of the cult podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno.

It’s consistently topped podcast charts since it was first listed on Apple Podcasts because it’s simply hilarious! 

In each show, three friends talk about a really terribly written erotic novel… written by one of their fathers. 

That’s right, what inspired this incredibly successful podcast really was a “porno” (technically it was erotic literature). It had been downloaded just three times on Amazon when Jamie Morton decided the content was so bad, it was brilliant – but it was in the wrong format.

I truly believe this is what makes My Dad Wrote A Porno the perfect example of best practice repurposing. Jamie could see beyond the original intention and spotted an opportunity to make it far more successful.

I’ve actually spoken about it before on the podcast, back in episode 37, My Dad Wrote… Something That I Repurposed The Hell Out Of!. Do check that out if you want a high-level overview, or keep reading for the case study deep dive.

Seeing potential with content repurposing

How did this all come about? 

Jamie Morton had no idea that his dad had secretly been writing and self-publishing erotic ebooks from his garden shed. In fact, when Jamie’s dad asked him to read his book, Jamie expected some kind of spy novel.

Imagine his absolute shock and horror when he realized that his dad had written a piece of erotic literature!

Now, I would curl up and die with embarrassment if this was me…but Jamie had a very British reaction. He called his two friends, James Cooper and Alice Levine, met them in the pub, and read the book to them.

It was obvious that the book was never going to be a best-seller (it hardly made any sense!) but it was the funniest thing any of them had ever read… So, they decided to share it.

They wanted a quick and easy way to capture their commentary while reading the hilarious book one chapter at a time. A podcast made perfect sense. It was quick and easy to set up, and it didn’t need to be perfectly polished.

Not wanting to beat around the bush, and for comedy value, they gave the show it’s now iconic name My Dad Wrote a Porno.

My Dad Wrote... Something That I Repurposed The Hell Out Of!

Content repurposing power: from garden shed to global audience

With a name like that, it took a while for the podcast to get listed. It seemed like Apple Podcasts wasn’t very happy about the “porn” reference…but once it did, word spread like wildfire about this “dirty book club.” Then their podcast downloads grew and grew…

Now, Jamie, James and Alice are no strangers to the entertainment world. Jamie is a TV director, James is a producer and Alice is a Radio and TV presenter, but even they couldn’t have guessed how successful it would become.

Their audience not only grew in the UK, but it also caught the attention of a worldwide podcast listening audience. To date, the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast has…

  • Had more than 280 million podcast downloads
  • Reached number 1 in the overall UK podcast chart…
  • … number 2 in Australia…
  • … number 16 in the US…
  • … and peaked at more top 10 positions across Europe
  • Won a Webby award in 2019
  • Been nominated for multiple other awards 

Would the original piece of erotic literature have ever been so successful? I highly doubt it.

Multiplying their content repurposing opportunities

Fueled by the podcast’s die-hard fan base, the trio began repurposing the material even further…

They launched a merchandise range with t-shirts, mugs and greeting cards, emblazoned with iconic phrases from the book and podcast.

They published the My Dad Wrote a Porno book – a reprint of the original ebook but with Jamie, James and Alice’s commentary and packed with extra content. A perfect example of companion content.

They then took it to the stage.

Live podcasting is a great way to maximize your repurposing. For My Dad Wrote a Porno, this was both a logical next step and an incredible way to bring the wacky core content to life in a brand-new way.

Audiences filled stages to hear the “lost chapters” of the ebook series. Attendees are invited up on stage to act out scenes from the book, people dress up as characters from the book, and who only knows what else goes on at these events!

Since it started, the My Dad Wrote a Porno live stage show has:

  • Been on a worldwide tour (with more dates lined up for future events)
  • Had an HBO TV special
  • Hosted the world’s largest ever live podcast event at the Royal Albert Hall – that’s right, it’s a record-breaker too!

And to think, all this came from a terribly written ebook series – that Jamie’s dad is still writing (though now, it’s surely to fuel the podcast)! That’s one fantastic content repurposing process.

What My Dad Wrote a Porno teaches us about content repurposing

Nobody could have predicted that an erotic ebook written in a garden shed would be loved by millions worldwide – if it had stayed an ebook, it’s likely that nobody would ever have heard of it!

But thanks to Jamie Morton’s eye for repurposing, his dad’s virtually unknown book has been heard and enjoyed across the globe in podcast form.

That’s what I love so much about the My Dad Wrote a Porno content journey. It’s an example of what brilliant and amazing things can happen when you take a creative approach to your content repurposing – even if it’s not what you expected!

Jamie’s dad, who goes by the pen name Rocky Flintstone, wanted his book to be read but he never imagined it would get this kind of reception. Sometimes, you have to be openminded when it comes to your content. After all, success comes in many different forms.

 Put this content repurposing lesson into practice

If you’ve got a piece of content that’s not doing as well as you’d hoped, or if you think it’s got more potential in it, maybe it’s time to put a new spin on it! You never know what might happen…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this case study post. I’ll be posting more inspiring case study stories with the hashtag #ItStartedwithContent, so look out for them on my website, podcast, social media, and on my YouTube channel!

Are you ready to get started with content? We can help you launch a podcast or a video show, create content, and consistently work towards your content goals. Find out if our services are right for you


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