Search Interviews:

Joe Gagliese is Co-founder and Co-CEO of Viral Nation, a global digital media innovation group powering the social ecosystem through integrated solutions that align strategy, talent, media, and technology. He is a renowned expert in influencer marketing and social technologies, with his insights cited in major publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, CNBC, Vox, Business Insider, Forbes, and Inc. Joe’s dedication to inspiring and mentoring emerging entrepreneurs has led him to teach marketing courses at academic institutions across North America.

Mat Micheli Mat Micheli is Co-founder and Co-CEO of Viral Nation, which works with tens of thousands of influencers across the social landscape and fuels growth for the world’s leading brands, including Anheuser-Busch, The Coca-Cola Company, Hasbro, Meta, Oculus, Tencent, and Uber. He oversees the company’s global operations, finance, and technology functions, establishing himself as an authority on athlete influencer marketing and social technologies with his work featured in Business Insider, Forbes, and Vox. Mat has participated in various events and conferences that support diverse entrepreneurial communities, including the Rotman Commerce Women in Business and Women’s Leadership Symposium.

Google Play
tune in
radio republic

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [03:09] Joe Gagliese and Mat Micheli talk about Viral Nation and its services
  • [06:07] How Viral Nation Talent Group helps influencers and creators in monetizing social media content
  • [14:14] Creating a tech-led talent company
  • [19:03] Viral Nation Talent Group’s success stories
  • [23:26] Mat and Joe explains discuss how Viral Nation is tech-led in talent management
  • [25:15] Why content creation is a big business
  • [27:19] How Viral Nation Marketing is helping brands transition from traditional media to social media marketing
  • [32:37] Dealing with the issue of other people duplicating a creator’s profile
  • [36:36] How does Viral Nation stay focused on its main vision?
  • [42:22] Joe and Mat explain how they maintain culture within the company

In this episode…

In today’s ever-evolving attention economy, traditional media marketing alone is no longer sufficient for brands to thrive — they must transition toward social media marketing. However, without the requisite expertise, effectively navigating the complexities of social media can be daunting. Influencers and creators struggle to monetize their content, making it difficult to sustain their creative pursuits. In this context, the question arises — where can one find solutions to maximize the creator-brand partnership?

Serial entrepreneurs Joe Gagliese and Mat Micheli maintain that we are currently in the “social-first era,” which presents many opportunities for creators and businesses. For influencers and creators, there is a constant need for authentic and engaging content. Accordingly, brands must evolve in turn and leverage these creators’ marketing strategies. However, creators often struggle to extract the maximum value of their talent, and brands are often unsure how to transform into social-first organizations. Joe and Mat share how they drive social media transformation and commerce by helping creators and business partners thrive.

In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz chats with Joe Gagliese and Mat Micheli, Co-founders and Co-CEOs of Viral Nation, to discuss how they are combining marketing, talent, and technology to help brands thrive in the attention economy. They talk about how Viral Nation helps influencers and creators monetizer social media content and helps brands transition from traditional media to social media marketing.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments:

  • “Influencers and creators are the next generation of media organizations.”
  • “There’s merit to the fact that people already like their stuff at scale and they’re their own promotional vehicles.”
  • “People can cultivate some pretty crazy shit if they don’t know the real shit that’s going on.”

Sponsor for this episode

At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution.

We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.

What do you need to start a podcast?

When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.

The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.

We make distribution easy.

We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.

Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more.

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.

Are you considering launching a podcast to acquire partnerships, clients, and referrals? Would you like to work with a podcast agency that wants you to win?

Contact us now at [email protected] or book a call at

Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…

Never Miss an Episode and get Free Updates

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:01

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz  0:22

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, founder of, where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. I have the co-founders of Viral Nation, Joe and Mat. And before I formally introduce you both, I always like to point out other episodes, people should check out of the podcast. It’s kind of a couple of two things, Joe and Mat, which is like this is part of the top agency series. So I’ve had some amazing agencies, but you kind of play in that world of top brands. So I’ve had some interesting brands like KETTLE Chips, the founder of RxBar, Quest Nutrition on and some of the cool agency ones. I had Jason Swenk on, he talked about how he built up his agency to over eight figures and sold it and then he’s been buying up agencies that’s been interesting. And then Todd Taskey actually, he will pair a private equity with agencies help sell mommy as a Second Bite Podcast, he’s found some of the agencies make more on the second bite than they do on the first when selling it. And we talked about valuation and business and everything. So those are good episodes to check out, out there. And this episode is brought to you by Rise25. And at Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships. How do we do that we actually help you run your podcast, we’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast, we do the accountability, the strategy in the full execution. Joe and Mat, we call ourselves the magic elves that work in the background and make it look easy for the host in the company so they could just create great content and run their business and create great relationships. So for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. I’ve found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should if you have questions go to to learn more, lots of free resources on the podcast about that as well. So I’m excited to introduce Joe Gagliese and Mat Micheli and are the co-founders and CO-CEOs of Viral Nation. They actually combine marketing, talent and technology to help great brands lead the charge in the attention economy. Okay. And Viral Nation works with tens of thousands of influencers across the social landscape. And they fuel growth for some of the world’s leading brands. Disney Amazon Prime, Coca-Cola, Hasbro Meta, Oculus, Logitech, Walmart, Uber, I can go on and on, guys. So check it out And thank you both for joining me.

Joe Gagliese  2:56

Thank you for having us.

Jeremy Weisz  2:57

So I explain succinctly but go a little bit deeper. Talk about Viral Nation and what you do, because you actually have a few different solutions.

Joe Gagliese  3:09

Yeah, so Viral Nation is really unique in the sense that like our kind of inherent long-term vision required us to tackle kind of many objectives along the way. So, Viral Nation today has kind of three unique, excuse me, business lines, but those business lines over the last 12 months and into the next 18 are actually coming together in a much more succinct way than when we were building them. So yeah, you’re right. So we Viral Nation Talent Group, Viral Nation Talent Groups, the world’s largest talent agency for social media creators, we represent over 1000 creators exclusively over there. And that business is really meant to develop a place an organization, or a safe place for creators around the world to go to really exfoliate the opportunity that they find themselves in, which is, they’re creating content for large audiences, and they’re trying to figure out how to make it a career. Viral Nation Talent, unlike other talent agencies in the world, looked at it not from a talent agency lens, but looked at it from a business partner lens, which is something that has been a big reason for our success in that specific organization. And really, what we do is we kind of mapped out for the creator, what are those five, six, seven, eight different ways that creators can monetize what they’re doing. And then we’ve kind of worked our butts off to make sure that we’re world-class in each one of those areas in one place. For years, creators had this kind of fragmented organizational design around them, creators don’t have the most business acumen they didn’t come from this world. A lot of them get kind of slingshotted into it. And unfortunately, a lot of them end up with seven different organizations doing things and what we really wanted to do is create that business consultancy run by technology that allows them to just exfoliate whatever opportunity is there for them. So Viral Nation Talent Group has really come a long way and thrived over the years. And we can unpack it some more in terms of the technology and the different service lines. Viral Nation marketing group is our biggest organization in terms of people.

Jeremy Weisz  5:25

Really quickly on that. I do want to unpack a little bit there. We’ll go. But on talent group, I would love to hear well, I want to talk about the five to seven ways of monetization, but I always think of like Scooter Braun discovers Justin Bieber, right? I’m curious who you just I mean, now, probably, people are coming to you, because you’re more known. But early on early days, who were some of the notable people that you, or what were you looking for in discovering some of the talent that you can match with and help them monetize? Go ahead.

Mat Micheli  6:07

Yeah, I think that we were looking for more developmental talent when we first started where this was so new. Remember, Jeremy, this was nine years ago. And no one understood what the term influencer meant. So for instance, the first talent we ever signed was a parking lot attendant at a local hockey team. And the most he had ever made off his social was $50. So that just and he had about 250,000 followers at the time, really a parking lot attendant.

Joe Gagliese  6:41

Used to make these funny videos from inside the parking booth.

Mat Micheli  6:46

And he lived in an apartment with four other friends came from a working-class immigrant family. And it was that was a catalyst for us for, we changed his life and under a month, where he started making thousands. And his mother drove almost four and a half hours to come see us because she said to us that we changed him and his family’s life. And that was really what started it all, where he then recommended the entire community of Viners and YouTubers at the time. And then before you know, within six months, we represented over 50 because no one had brought big brands on social. And we knew that these influencers, that the only way they were going to start really monetizing is if big brands started coming on to social. So it happened really quickly. But it was because these people didn’t have, they weren’t making any money, they were working minimum wage jobs, in addition to being a content creator on the side. And then we showed them that they can turn a passion into a career that was literally on our deck and what we talked about with these influencers at the time turning a passion into a career.

Joe Gagliese  8:01

What those influencers didn’t know, Jeremy was that me and Mat were staying up till all hours of the night emailing every brand new would take our email. And if you start to look forward, it really started to snowball and the space started to grow. We’d launched Viral Nation Marketing a year after we launched Viral Nation Talent. So it was interesting, we were able to lead the space on the brand side and the talent side at the same time. So we were truly early pioneers of what that space look like. And we were really busting our butts in the onset to really just put it on the map. And if you fast forward to today, the nuances of that have fluctuated so dramatically, right. I think originally creators were influencers and creators were seen as these kids doing silly, silly stuff in their basement. And folks didn’t really respect the craft. That changed a little bit for a while then it was a fad, potentially. So the creators have been through a lot of stuff over the last 10 years. But if you’ve, at some point, though, I think the general public and typical talent companies started visualizing them as these micro-celebrities and that’s where we veered the other way. We see creators as the next generation of media organizations, and we’re not in the business of trying to recreate a CAA or UTA or William Morris or one of these talent companies we want to create Accenture for talent, right. Viral Nation is the CEO of your media company, and we’re gonna work our hardest to make sure that you’re capitalizing on every opportunity. So we go back to those monetization, you have what everybody in the world does and does alone which is brand deals right and brand deals is how the space feeds itself. But there’s so much beyond that. So, we started really working on the first thing we does, we opened up what we call creator studios, so creator studios. So we have brand deals and sponsorships, then we went creator Studios, which was helping to monetize the channels themselves. So cutting deals with Facebook, and Snapchat and YouTube and folks to try to figure out how we can get really maximize the earning potential on the platform. And we run. I think, now Mat, keep me honest, that probably about three or 400 big creators through that specific channel, then we went to original productions. So creators are incredible at what they do. And you know, these new streaming companies are craving content. So we started offering the division that helps creators kind of go from social to creating long-form opportunities that can fall on the Netflix’s and the Hulu’s of the world and etc.

Jeremy Weisz  10:51

Totally. I mean, just on that point, Joe, like, I’ve been watching Dave, on if you’ve seen that show, Dave, I mean, he I don’t know where he started, but he did definitely have a viral video on YouTube. You know what I’m talking about? Yeah, and now I’m like, he’s got a Netflix show.

Joe Gagliese  11:08

Yeah, and call the streamer, stupid. But when you get a show coming from Viral Nation, it comes with 100 million eyeballs behind it, right? So, there’s merit to the fact that people already like their stuff at scale. And they’re their own promotional vehicle. There’s a lot of compelling aspects. I think we have about 47 shows under development.

Jeremy Weisz  11:28

Is there any out that we could plug to have people checkout.

Joe Gagliese  11:33

You know what, I don’t know Mat, is there  any out like, we just rolled out the program in January of this year. So a lot of that stuff, as you know, is takes long in production. So those ones are signed, and they’re all in different stages of production. Some are in pilot some are about to go live, but I don’t think any of hit the circuit yet. But I can circle back there might be a couple. Yeah.

Jeremy Weisz  11:56

But it’s crazy. Like the video. And then I’m watching David like Kareem Abdul Jabbar is in the video with him. It’s wild. Right? The journey for them must be wild. Yeah, it’s really something you know, the brand deals creator studios, original productions.

Joe Gagliese  12:13

Then we have a podcast division, which is, which is up your alley, but we brought over a guy who was running the second largest podcast syndicate in the world over and he began putting together the rails so on that.

Jeremy Weisz  12:29

By the way, we think we don’t compete with them, because we really specialize in b2b. So I tell people, if you have a camera…

Joe Gagliese  12:35

I just know…

Jeremy Weisz  12:36

I’m saying the True Crime Podcast. I’m like, we are not the company to help them with that. It’s a b2b podcast, you guys have like people with millions and millions of followers. It’s a totally different business model too.

Joe Gagliese  12:51

Yeah. Like each creator can fit into these different verticals uniquely, right. So someone who might not be as good on the original production side might be an incredible candidate for a podcast. So I think there’s about 60 of those, there’s about eight or nine of them live right now they’re doing really, really well. Then outside of podcasts, then you get into what we call OTT or over-the-top. And basically, we’ve developed relationships with all the top streamers in the world and the companies who distribute on their behalf and we actually shoot catalogs of past Creator content into these OTT networks to extend the life and value that contents a little bit further and add some other revenue potential. Then we have our ventures team so I’m really proud to say we have 100 talent ventures a bunch of them are live, everything from a salad bowl company to I know there’s a condom line that just went out, there’s a lot of really interesting ventures coming out of these guys are halal yogurt brand. So it’s really about…

[Continue to Page 2]