The Successful Encore Career

I speak with Dr. Carol Ventresca, ED at Employment For Seniors about just that. With its first episode published in January of 2017, The Successful Encore Career Podcast has been a shining example of what non-profits can produce and utilize in their content creation.

Recorded in Studio C at the 511 Studios in the Brewery District, downtown Columbus, OH.

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Brett Johnson:
Well, Carol, thanks for being a part of this podcast. I appreciate it. I've been wanting to do this with you for a long time, just syncing up schedule and me remembering to ask you to be a part of this.

Carol Ventresca:
Well, thank you for having me.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah. Let's talk about Employment for Seniors a little bit, get a little prop, I think, that sets the table on why I wanted you here for this podcast to talk about a nonprofit doing a podcast.

Carol Ventresca:
Okay. Employment for Seniors is a 47-year-old nonprofit in Central Ohio. We are serving mature job seekers who we consider to be 50 years of age and older in Franklin County and the surrounding counties, so it's a seven-county area. We provide services to those looking for employment, free of charge. We also provide some services to local employers, including job postings, free of charge. Then, we also have hiring events for employers, and there are slight charges for those. We've been doing this for 47 years. The uniqueness of Employment for Seniors is that anybody is eligible for our services as long as they're are at least 50.

Carol Ventresca:
We don't do income eligibility, we don't collect social security numbers, we just want to make sure that we can help people become the best possible candidate they can be through resources and guidance and direction on those job postings. For employers, we're trying to enhance their applicant pool so that they have a diverse pool that includes those who are older and they're not missing out on the incredible resources, skills, and talent that a mature job seeker is going to bring to them. Again, the only thing that a client needs to do to register with us is to call the office, which is 614-863-1219 to make an appointment, and we'll get you started.

Brett Johnson:
What's your background in history before coming to Employment for Seniors?

Carol Ventresca:
It's sort of an array of things, which are all peripherally employment related, but I'm not a licensed career counselor. I've been doing career counseling for over 30 years. I started out in the workforce with the State of Ohio with the Bureau of Employment Services. When I finished my PhD at Ohio State, I went back to Ohio State and did continuing education programs for older adult students for almost 20 years, and I was able to see the need of older adults needing to expand that lifelong learning, going back to school to make their job search and their career path better. That's sort of where I started focusing on those issues. I had also, as a grad student, been an academic advisor and a career advisor. I have been placing students on internships. I still help place students on internships 40 years later. Again, I'm not a licensed career counselor, but I've been doing career counseling for a long time, and I've been at Employment for Seniors for over 10 years now.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, that's right.

Carol Ventresca:
I know. It's amazing. Time flies when you're having fun, and we do have fun every day. That's the one thing about this job that I love. I'm learning something new, and I'm having fun every day.

Brett Johnson:
Well, there's a lot of seriousness to the job.

Carol Ventresca:
Oh, yeah.

Brett Johnson:
You hear the stories from the gamut.

Carol Ventresca:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
And you don't want to dread coming in.

Carol Ventresca:
Well, and I think too, the message that I would have, if anyone who's listening today is a job seeker is, it doesn't matter that the front page of the paper says the economy is great, there is still a lot of difficulty in getting a job in today's market, particularly, for those who haven't looked for a job for a long time. The application process is very different, and without some guidance, you're out there just pounding the pavement or pounding your fingers on a keyboard and getting nowhere fast, and that's very frustrating. National statistics are still showing that those who are even, actually, over 45 are having a harder time finding a job, and for those into their late 50s and 60s, it could take two years to find a job comparable to what they had before.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Well, full disclosure before we walk into the nuts and bolts of your podcast, the podcast, Employment for Seniors, The Successful Encore Career Podcast is that I was, personally, at the very beginning of that, helped bring the idea together. I co-host a lot of the podcasts released. I'm there being a part of it, let's put it that way.

Carol Ventresca:
You are the guilty party in this conversation, yes.

Brett Johnson:
There you go. I kind of want to lay that groundwork ahead of time, but my point in not necessarily promoting some podcasts that I am a part of is that I love the story behind what the podcast has done for the nonprofit. I think it's a good story that a lot of nonprofits, I hope, can take note, and learn from, that it's very possible to do. Beginning with that, so let's talk about the process that we began, discussing a podcast, how that began and we're, obviously, today. I think it's a good story, you can tell the story; how it began, actually.

Carol Ventresca:
Yes. For listeners, Brett walked into my office and said, "Oh, yeah, by the way, I've started a podcast for you, and I've called it The Successful Encore Career Podcast," and my question to him was, "What's a podcast?" He sort of caught me by surprise. I kept trying to push it off thinking, "Oh, God, not one more thing on my list of things to do," but it really revolved around, too, our move, our office had to move, and we were in a situation which was fine in terms of client services, but we couldn't expand. We would never have been able to pull off a podcast in that situation, so finding new space really gave it birth.

Brett Johnson:
Right. I think that the story behind that is kind of taking a look at where you are, the physical space. Is there space that can be utilized that's off the beaten path that has some quietness to it that can be, not necessarily 100 percent dedicated to creating … Whether it's a podcast, video cast, whatever it might be, but media content, let's put it that way. If you have that space that can be utilized on a consistent basis, why not? I know we toured three or four different office spaces, and you did more than I did, but I was involved with a few places to take a look at. When we found the location that we did and that we are right now, I saw the room that we were going to use for a conference room and training room as well, and it caught my eye going, "This could work."

Carol Ventresca:
Absolutely. Let me also preface to say we didn't move because we were looking for podcast space, we moved because we had to. Our building had been sold, and so we had to find new space. We had intended to find some conference room or meeting room space if it would work out. When we walked into our present location, which is the First Commonwealth Bank building in Whitehall, it was perfect. It was perfect size, perfect, exactly what we needed, and we really wanted to have a designated training area, meeting area, which we can convert into podcasting in, literally, five minutes, so.

Brett Johnson:
Then, discussion did take a while between, obviously, the pains and gains of moving, but also realizing that room could be used multipurpose, and we had the discussions of looking at that room as, "Okay, we can use it as a conference room, but we also can use it for this, we can use it for this. We can also offer it to the community as a room to do this as well too, as a partner, that if they need something "off campus" to have a meeting in this conference room, or if they want to create a video cast or a podcast, let's open it up to them and have discussions.

Carol Ventresca:
Right, and serve the local community, the Whitehall community, which is an incredible partner of ours, and their small businesses or large businesses. I think, too, that to think about podcasting as a training tool was something new. I mean, people use podcasts to get trained, but I don't know that organizations have thought of podcasting as a training tool. They're doing webinars, they're doing Skype, and all of those other kinds of things. But, when we talked about podcasting, we started out with this notion of telling stories about clients who have gone through Successful Encore Career changes, but why not, also, as that place that people could go to forever and get information on a particular job search topic?

Brett Johnson:
Right, and that dawned on me looking at just, literally, coming into the office one day and seeing these sheets of frequently asked questions, or these cool tip sheets that you give clients as they walk out. Well each one of those tips are a podcast because you dive in deep into what this means to network, what this means to even just put a photo on a LinkedIn page.

Carol Ventresca:
It really is a prime example of using the resources you have and just expanding them because those were, I mean, it's taken us years to put those tip sheets together. We have 20 of them or so, and they're critical information. We've always had those tip sheets available on the website, but it's a PDF. It's a flat file. Now we actually have voices connected to that information with further explanation.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, and easily for the counselors to mention, "Hey, we also have a podcast expanding on this. I only have 30 to 35 minutes with you today, until our follow up or whatever next steps you are going to take, but we have this library, a podcast you can … We talk to so-and-so expert about this, we talk to so-and-so expert about this, or we're bringing this one topic to life to listen to a little bit more than just a couple of sentences here.

Carol Ventresca:
I think, too, is it's another example that I can give to an employer who says older adults don't know anything about technology because guess what? We're using podcasting. We, as older adults, are creating a technology podcast, but also our clients, as older adults, are using them. We are not only utilizing the resources we have, one of the things that we do is to send out mass emails to clients, and we are including podcast highlights in those emails. When we're doing our hiring event, which I think we're going to talk a little bit more about later, we're doing podcasts with those employers, so it's a huge circle that we have created of enhancing the information that we give to our clients in a lot of different ways including using technology. Also, as an aside, when I gave testimony to our county commissioners earlier this year as opposed to inundating them with paper, I gave them a jump drive and said, "Yes, we know how to use technology and, by the way, here's my presentation and some of our podcasts on each of these jump drives for you," and so they got a chuckle out of it if nothing else.

Brett Johnson:
Well, that leads me to the next comment and question. Some factors that we discussed in measuring the success, the failure of what I term return on influence not just the ROI, Return on Investment. Yes, there is investment, of course, with this … A little bit of money, and we'll touch upon that as we move on to the podcast. I think that our influence, our success, has been huge in regards to creating this podcast, but number one, we get that look of like, "You have a podcast?"

Carol Ventresca:
Right. Oh, yes. The other nonprofits just stare and go, "What?"

Brett Johnson:
Well, and it ups your professional gain by having one because you do take the time to create one, and it represents the organization very well. We've covered, and continue to cover, the topics that are core to our mission, our vision, as well as helping our, you know, it moves our clients forward, we hope.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. Well, and it's interesting too. I was thinking about this topic about ROI. For us, it's almost not measurable because there's no cost to it. Other than the outlay of the original equipment, we are going into our third year, and so far it's been free, basically. Your time, my time, our guests time, but in that time, that sort of goodwill that we're building, it is strengthening our brand, and I think maybe that's one of the keys here is do what you know.

Carol Ventresca:
Maybe that's a lesson in creating a podcast is I didn't know the technology, but I knew the career part. You knew the technology and are learning the career part with me, but we are doing what we know, and so the ROI, I think, is huge but it's more … It's not numbers. There are numbers. We have sponsors, so there isn't dollars connected to it in terms of enhancing what we're doing, but it really is much more of the amount of goodwill that we're creating because we are allowing others to succeed with us and increase their brand. So, yes, we have a huge effort in creating and enhancing our own brand but, those what we bring with us, we're enhancing theirs too.

Brett Johnson:
Well, and it gives us the opportunity to talk to those that are experts in their field too. We have a whole series on LinkedIn and what to do with LinkedIn. Yes, other forms of content creation could have brought her to the table of maybe co-writing a blog, maybe doing a video series, maybe, but the comfort level that this podcast has created for us asking experts in their field to come in and talk about very specific pieces, rather than just hearing us talk about it, bringing someone in that knows about LinkedIn, knows about networking, has been fantastic. It's been enlightening in our world of contacts and HR have helped too to give our listener, our potential client or current client, a better view of what the reality is of looking for a job and how to approach it.

Carol Ventresca:
Right, and it's enhanced the agency by tapping our volunteers, who are incredible HR professionals to not just give information to clients, but to build their own resumé of skills, and it's also helped our board members with promoting their agencies and their industries. So, I guess, too, along with do what you know is to make it a win-win for everybody.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah. Let's talk a little bit about who we're targeting with the podcast. Initially, I know it was the target of our clients to help them and, you know, the name of it, The Successful Encore Career, was to bring a lot of, you know, try to bring in these folks that are over 50, maybe over 45 and have done the turn, have, whether it been let go, or they saw another career path and they've grabbed the horns and they did it. Because there are some nuances to that adult over 50 that are different than the 25-year-old doing the same thing, so we wanted to spotlight that, but it turned into more than that.

Carol Ventresca:
Oh, it has. To only do Encore Career changes, which are phenomenal, and I just mentioned, we wanted to do work stories. We wanted people to talk about their career stories, but to not do the other things would, I mean, we'd get tired of just doing career stories. We really have three themes, one of which is that notion of the career changer, how to successfully career change, but then we've done the second theme, which is how to be a great applicant, and that's where all of our tips are coming in. Talk about adding ROI, we supported Congressman Stiver's Veterans job fair last year and then created four or five podcasts off of that event and posted those through November, Veterans month.

Carol Ventresca:
It's all tips on how to really be a good job seeker. Folks have acted like job seeking is a very informal process, and it's not, so that's where we're at. We want you to be a good job seeker, and we're going to give you the formal tips on how to do it. What we didn't think was going to happen, and a real surprise is, all of this work we're doing with employers and, oh, my gosh, that has just bloomed and has been great fun and a wonderful benefit that we can give to employers who are coming to us with the jobs they have to fill.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, let's dig into that a little bit more. We're kind of, actually, doing it almost twofold in two different realms, and let's talk about the hiring events and how we're doing that.

Carol Ventresca:
It started where we were highlighting the employers who are coming to the career fair, and so we've already done two, and we're going to do our third career fair this year doing the live stream. Although you've gotten me into this mess, this is your payback is to sit for four hours and talk to people through the career fair, so it started there where we really started tapping into the employers and highlighting them. Then we created, because of our new space, we have the ability to have onsite hiring events at the E0mployment for Seniors office, and this came not just because we had the space but also because employers loved the career fair and they wanted us to do it more than once a year, which would be literally impossible.

Carol Ventresca:
It takes us six to nine months to pull that together, and there's no way we could pull two of them off. We also realized they needed an opportunity to do more hiring at more logical times of the year, not just once a year based on their hiring needs. Also, over and above everything, it is a service to employers. The hardest part of a job search is getting your foot in the door for an interview. How many times do clients fill out an online application, and they never hear from the employer?

Carol Ventresca:
They really just want to be able to tell their story to that employer, so by doing those on-site hiring events, the employer is there, ready to talk to them. It may only be a 10-minute interview, but it could be critical. We have one tomorrow, and we have 50 people registered, and they have gone, usually, from 10 to 30, so we're really interested to see how this is going to go. It could be a madhouse. We'll see. We hope we're ready. We preface these hiring events with a podcast from the employer, to my long-winded story.

Brett Johnson:
No, no. To go into why we are talking to these employers about their business is it's part of, again, the research tool that we continue to harp on our clients. Research the business that you want to go interview with, see if it's a match for you, see what they're all about, and we hope that these interviews with the businesses will give them a little insight about what the business is like. Then you have some common ground to talk … The culture is, what they, just dropping … I know that you do this, but hey, I heard the podcast, can you talk a little bit more about that?

Carol Ventresca:
Exactly. It's finding out what the culture is like, not just the names of the jobs. The title of the job isn't going to tell you anything, and even the position description may not tell you anything, but the opportunity to hear that employer's voice and to really get a gist of what are they expecting? What are their assumptions on a great candidate? You know, what kinds of skills are we looking for? Position descriptions can be very vague, or they can be very misleading, so the more you find out about that employer and their expectations, the better you're going to be prepared to do a good interview, and this is ROI for the employer. We're charging them a fee to have this event at our office, but we are giving them this benefit of, literally, worldwide information about their company.

Brett Johnson:
Right, and we push it through our social media streams, we also give them a shortcut Bitly link to the podcast itself, too, that actually goes to our podcast platform, so we're really not necessarily promoting come back to our website, but it's easy access. It really is always focused about the client. Yes, we like to have the traffic to the website, of course, but we also know that our traffic to our website's pretty darn good anyway. The podcast obviously lends toward it but, I think, if we continue that focus on making sure the client has easy access to this information, we will win, and we do win with this.

Carol Ventresca:
Well, and I like the first question that you ask them is why do you work for this company? I mean, if you can hear why a recruiter works for a company, you're really going to get an idea of what to expect when you walk in the door as a new employee.

Brett Johnson:
Right, yeah. I asked that of one employer, and I've told you this story before too, but I thought it was an interesting answer that this young lady liked working there because of casual Fridays, that they had just … In this very old, established business, okay? You would probably think it's kind of stodgy there, I guess, but that she thought it was the coolest thing that they implemented casual Fridays, or at least bring back the dress code. I thought that was an interesting answer because there could be someone in their 50s or 60s that all their life, suit and tie, suit and tie, and they are very uncomfortable with casual Fridays. They may not want to work there.

Carol Ventresca:
Right, or they may be excited because, "Oh, thank goodness. I don't have to wear a suit again."

Brett Johnson:
Maybe.

Carol Ventresca:
You know, at least for one day a week.

Brett Johnson:
One way or the other, but you know a little bit of information before going into that, that hopefully helps you make a decision as the process goes along.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. Again, if we focus on the podcast to be win-win for our clients, for the guest, for the agency overall, you're going to hit a good sweet spot. You're really going to have great information out there that's going to last awhile.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Let's go into talking about our recording schedule, our strategy, our process of even finding guests. We don't just throw this on the wall and see what sticks.

Carol Ventresca:
No.

Brett Johnson:
I would advise, again, this is a piece of the success of how this is going on. It's not all on my shoulders. It's not all on Carol's shoulders. Actually, we have two or three other people that do some input in regards to topics. We open it up to the volunteer counselors too. It's like, "Hey, any topics that you want covered that we're not covering, or you're hearing clients coming in and talking more about that we haven't, please tell us, and we'll cover that as well too." Let's talk a little bit about how we do it.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. Well, and I have to say that starting with our tip sheets was phenomenal because, again, we have 20 tip sheets, so resumé writing, interviewing skills, job fair strategies, that kind of thing, and we haven't even gone through all 20. We have a bank of ideas that are out there that we can use, but we have also kept a list. I keep a master list of who we have talked to, what the topic is, who's been included, when it's posted, and sort of what stream of thought it falls in. Since we created this, we have had a list of ideas.

Carol Ventresca:
For the most part, we have always had a content expert. We don't want it to be just us, but there are a few topics that I haven't found a content expert, so it's still on my list. I mentioned just a bit ago, I would love to find someone who can talk about the nuances of position descriptions. Job seekers always assume that an expert has written the position description. They had no clue that it was the secretary or receptionist who wrote the position description who has no idea what that job really does, so somebody to really get people thinking about how to read between the lines of a position description. I may be the only one who sees that issue, so it may end up being me as the content expert at some point in time. I don't know.

Brett Johnson:
From the eyes of Carol.

Carol Ventresca:
From the eyes of Carol, yes. An example is what does it mean to be an expert in Microsoft Office? Does that mean that you have to be an expert in Word, or you just literally need to know how to type, or do you have to know how to do pivot tables in Excel? I mean, that's one extreme to the other kind of thing, so those are the kinds of things. It's kind of twofold. Again, do what you know, but start sort of exploring and expanding. We have recently started a new series within our series called "What is it like to work in…?"

Carol Ventresca:
Our first one was just posted on logistics. It was phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal, and sort of a shout out to Jill. She did a great job. It was just posted. It's up there on our site, and it truly opened my eyes on what logistics was. It is not magic. Truly, it's not magic. It is something that people can work in. You don't have to be 20 and a Twitter expert to do logistics. Oh, in terms of scheduling, we sort of do it in batches. We come up with what are the next logical topics that we can go into. Maybe it has to do with the season or the time of the year or it's before expo or whatever and get those scheduled so that we're ahead. You don't ever want to be where, "Oh, my gosh. I have nothing to post, and it's going to be a month since I've posted kind of thing."

Brett Johnson:
Right, and couple that with experts that you know that you can interview, which is a great networking opportunity. That could be board members, it could be just professionals in the field, companies that you're working with already. All nonprofits work with businesses. I don't care what nonprofit you are, you are dealing with a business and, if for some reason they're tied in with you, there's an opportunity to talk to them about something, whether it's because why they're there with you as a nonprofit supporter or a piece of your mission or vision. We've done that too. We've taken a look at topics and say, "Yeah, we can talk about LinkedIn, but you know what? We have a person that can talk about that even better than we can because she deals with LinkedIn all the time," and this is a topic we really want to stress because we know our clients really aren't doing a lot with LinkedIn. I think we created a series of three about LinkedIn. We've created series on resumés and talking to different points of view on resumés.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. Well, and I think too, again, I really look at this as it's not just a podcast that's existing by itself. What are the other kinds of things we can do with it? For years, at our career expo … This is new. I just decided this today, so this is news for you … For years, at our career expo, we had a panel called "What do employers want?" It was a group of employers talking about what kinds of jobs they had open and what their expectations were on candidates and skills and all of that kind of thing.

Carol Ventresca:
We had a phenomenal podcast with five members of our board who are HR experts that talked about be the candidate an employer needs. Sort of being in the right place at the right time for the right job, and it was amazing, so we're going to change our career expo panel to be an extension of that, so we'll be able to, again, utilize the podcast, get people listening to it, come to that panel with questions. I think it'll be a great way to better serve the participants who come to our career fair.

Brett Johnson:
Anybody that's done any kind of research about doing a podcast, they've probably run across the, how do people find out about us doing the podcast? How do you promote it? That was a discussion we came with about this as well too, and I work with all my clients as well about this. We really didn't have a budget to really buy social media, to buy ads and such, which is a direction to go, of course. We took a look at okay, we have social media at our tips, we can utilize this. We really, probably, have been under utilizing social media because we didn't have much content to put on social media other than our events.

Brett Johnson:
The strategy behind social media is you just can't plop it up there and expect the world to go crazy because, "Oh, hey, I've been waiting for you guys to post something on LinkedIn forever. Thank goodness you did." The podcast really helped us consistently post information on social media, our discussions over which social media channel to work with. We knew there were, probably, three logical ones, and Facebook has been pretty good for us because it hits a couple of different audiences with events as well as anything important that's going on that has to do with our clients, but we knew we had to dive into LinkedIn a little bit more too. Let's talk a little bit about that, in your mind, too, why we chose those two to really go with.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. Well and, Facebook, because some of our events are more Facebook events like our 5k. I don't know that that's so appropriate for LinkedIn, but LinkedIn is huge for us, and we have a great following on LinkedIn, both my own page and the Employment for Seniors page. LinkedIn is the business social media. That's where people learn about jobs, so how could that not be our connector? So, we're really looking at how we look at LinkedIn and Facebook two ways, feeding into it, feeding out of it, so the podcasts are perfect.

Carol Ventresca:
If clients have questions, if they're asking us for things, kind of stirs the podcast pot, and can we somehow do it, satisfy their need there, or get that podcast information into the social media. Again, it is, it is enhancing our brand and letting people know that this information is there. The beauty, too, of social media and the podcast program is, yes, our target audience are mature job seekers, but everything we're putting on there is really good for any job seeker, and shout out to being on the Top 100 Employment Podcast programs for this year, so I guess we made that platform.

Brett Johnson:
Oh, sure, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, I think that's what has made the content so easy to do, really, is that we do keep in mind, yes, this is … We're going for an older adult with this, obviously, but really everything we're talking about is true to really almost every age.

Carol Ventresca:
It is, because job searching is … There are some definites you have to do in job searching.

Brett Johnson:
It's a job in itself, right.

Carol Ventresca:
Exactly, and it makes sense for all ages. It also makes sense for all geographic locations and, if we're talking about a resource in Central Ohio, we try to give other listeners an idea of where to go for that resource in their community because there is only one Employment for Seniors, but there are other programs that support older workers across the country, so we can provide them with that information. The other part of all of this too is, as I mentioned, we do mass emails to our clients. We have about 5,500 people on our email list who are regularly getting information from us, so we're using that as a vehicle to also enhance the knowledge of the podcast program as well as our other programs.

Brett Johnson:
We really weren't introducing any new social media to this, it just enhanced the content that we get put on social media, and I think that is probably the healthiest way without just over inundating you going, "Okay, I don't know about this I don't know this." Use what you're already using, and let the podcast give you more content.

Carol Ventresca:
Right, because for those listeners thinking about doing a podcast in your small nonprofit, you can't get any smaller than Employment for Seniors. We do not have a social media marketing expert on our staff. There are three of us, we work part time, we are serving anywhere from 500 to 1000 new clients a year, plus, as I mentioned, 5,500 on our current client list, and posting anywhere from 800 to 1000 jobs a year. We're already pretty busy over and above any marketing of any of our programs. In the hiring events I mentioned, we did 12 last year, we're gonna have at least 12 this year.

Carol Ventresca:
The career fair plus two other large fundraising programs or events that we have, there's not a lot of time to do social media out there, so this just was a blessing in disguise, and an answer to prayers of like how in the world, like, I don't have even five minutes to spend on LinkedIn and Facebook every day. In terms of other opportunities, we do use Twitter kind of, more as feeding information than actually reacting. In terms of the other social media platforms, we're not finding our clients there. We could do Instagram, we could do all those others, but I think we have had success in what we're using. When I see that we absolutely have to be on the others, then we'll go there.

Brett Johnson:
Right, exactly. We utilize the hosting platform Podbean, and I know that comes up a lot in regards to what platform, how do I, "Okay, I've created the audio, how do I get it into iTunes and Apple podcasts and Spotify," or wherever it might be. You threw this question back at me, it's like, "I don't know how to answer that question," so I can answer this question to why our nonprofit, why Podbean? There are a lot of options out there to consider that are fantastic hosting platforms, namely, I would suggest that if you're looking into this, use a hosting platform, don't do anything that's free because free doesn't last. You're going to lose control of that. Podbean worked for us because they do have a nonprofit level of per month pay. Ultimately, it really is going to, I think, Podbean right now is maybe at $9.00 a month or something as a nonprofit status. I think that fits within anybody's nonprofit budget of $9.00 a month.

Carol Ventresca:
As I said, get a sponsor. We have several sponsors of our podcast programs, and people are sort of in awe of it. We have also worked those podcast sponsorships in connection to other programs, and that has really enhanced all of our sponsorships.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, let's dig in a little bit more about it because I have a note that I wanted to expand on the sponsorship piece to that. I think the sponsorship of a podcast is doable, but I think it does have to be married to other things that a nonprofit does because the numbers are not going to be there, initially, and may never be there for your podcast to support just truly sponsoring the podcast. It's probably an ad on, a "package" that you do other events, but we're also going to include you as a sponsor of our podcast. I think that's the healthiest way of looking at it, just make it something big that they just can't turn down.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. For instance, I had one of our former sponsors and a former board member contact me and said, "Hey, by the way, I got a little bit of money to spend before the end of the year at the end of June. What do you need?" I'm like, "Cool. This is great," so we put together a multi-event sponsorship for her, which included in it, because of the nature of this organization, it focused on hiring, so we made a major sponsor of the career fair coming up, and part of that was them providing us with materials that we could give out at the Expo to the client, to the participants, and you're talking about five to six hundred people as well as publicity, but in turn then I said, "Why don't we make you the sponsor of the livestream podcast for that day," and as well as bring them also into the 5k, which they have sponsored in the past.

Carol Ventresca:
Having a multi-event sponsorship package for her took care of her need to spend this money before the end of the year, it certainly took care of my need in terms of helping us to enhance the programs that we have, it gets their name out to a lot of people, and it sort of, again, it was a nice little win-win, but bringing in a sponsor for the livestream podcast was new. We had never done … We'd done podcasting, in general, but now they're going to have a special sign there outside your little cubicle to do the podcast and saying so that entity will have a nice presence at the career fair.

Brett Johnson:
That's where you can't discount anything you do in regards to … Recognize that it's worth something to somebody. You brought up, too, the email newsletter that you put out. You have the numbers that are very respectable that a sponsor with a podcast and doing this and doing all the little things that you put together, would love to be a part of that email newsletter that you're reaching X amount of people. The social media posts, all the different things you can put together, all that put together is strong, that you're becoming another little piece of marketing for them as a sponsor but ongoing with the podcast series, so be creative.

Carol Ventresca:
Right, and be timely. I mean, had we tried to pull this off when I started at Employment for Seniors in 2009 in the middle of the recession, it wouldn't have worked. Somebody listening to the podcast, yes, but employers seeing the value, no, because they weren't hiring, so it's just try to time and utilize what's working really well because in two years that may not be a possibility, but the value of the podcast is. Regardless of when we taped them, they are going to be good in this economy or in a bad economy.

Brett Johnson:
We got very creative in what we did with the equipment, finding monetary resources, let's put it that that way, to up our game. We knew we wanted this to sound good from the get-go, but we also tied it into a lot of different nuances with Employment for Seniors, that it was not just a podcast. We want to do a podcast, and it's like, great, but what is that and, really, what is your goal with this? I'll let Carol talk a little bit more about how we gain the good equipment that we did get, and I think that's made a huge difference in regards to what we're doing.

Carol Ventresca:
Not only in terms of those sound value but in terms of the look of it. I mean, when somebody comes and sees the equipment we have, they're like, "Oh, they really are serious about this." What the funding request also did for me was to force me to really think through that this is going to be a serious program. This isn't a one and done. This isn't "I can't afford to buy thousands of dollars of equipment and not really have a plan in place," and so it really did help us to create the strategy for the podcasting, overall. It kind of started as a joke. I went to one of the state agencies and said, "Hey, by the way, I need some money," and they go, "Oh, yeah, talk to so-and-so. They have more than we do," so I said, "Oh, I'll see her this afternoon," and sort of as a joke said, "Oh, yeah, by the way, they said you'd have money to give to me," and she just looked at me really seriously and she said, "You know, put a proposal together, and let's talk about this because it sounds kind of interesting."

Carol Ventresca:
Good timing, we weren't asking for the moon, and we did really pull together a quick and dirty, but a good format for the expectation, and because we were already getting funding from this agency, they knew us, they knew we were being successful, they saw how we were going to pull it together within our other programs and what the potential was, and so they were willing to take the chance on us. It really did focus on a training room for older adult, so it's the room, per se, that got the funding, and the room needed this level of equipment, so it included podcasting equipment.

Carol Ventresca:
We have the coolest smart board from England and got it on a sale, literally, and a new video camera, new laptop, and then our part of it, the matched funds, got in the direct internet line, got in carpeting, got in lighting, that kind of thing, so we pulled it all together, and we really do a lot of training in that room. We have been doing, very successfully, getting great groups of clients coming in for workshops where we're using the smart board and the laptop. We've expanded our follow-up appointments with clients to do resumé reviews and practice interviewing using the video camera, but then too, then we were able to get the podcast equipment as part of it.

Brett Johnson:
Right, and explaining that the podcast is part of training. Whether it's a one-on-one situation, which the podcast is not necessarily we're having everybody in the conference room and they're listening to a podcast, but the conference room is creating a podcast that can be a training tool, is a training tool, for any client that we tell, "Go listen this specific episode, go listen to this episode," or just, in general, I think, if nothing else, we've seen that the hiring events become actually a great tool for new listeners to come in to the stream. Because, yes, it's very specific to a very specific date and time in a hiring event, but then all of a sudden it's a great little advertising tool that the podcast does exist, so we're bringing in new listeners with a totally different feel to this podcast with one episode at a time.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. I guess, too, to kind of expand on who our target audiences were for the podcasting, part of our stream of the employers that we're talking to employers includes also some of our funding partners because we're talking about issues of aging and how employment fits into that. We've talked to the age-friendly Columbus folks, we've talked to Central Ohio area Agency on Aging, we've talked to Franklin County Office on Aging, the groups that are pivotal to providing us funding work. We're going to, actually, have the Columbus Foundation in this week. They are pivotal to giving us the resources we need to give the resources to our client, so that's part of the beauty of us making the decisions on our podcast is we can bring in who we'd like to talk to.

Brett Johnson:
Right, yeah. What do you think the biggest challenges have been with producing the podcast? As the Executive Director, as a, at that time, board member, telling you, "We have a podcast we're gonna do"?

Carol Ventresca:
I've been to a lot of training programs that says be careful what you ask for.

Brett Johnson:
Of course, I presented it with ideas and the concept behind it, and you said, "Yes, that makes total sense. Let's explore this more," and we had many, many conversations. Beyond the beginning stages of the challenges, ongoing challenges, what would you say have been to keep it going?

Carol Ventresca:
I think I mentioned a bit ago that at Employment for Seniors we have fun every day, but we learn something new every day. We're always telling our clients to learn something new and to let employers know that you're a great job candidate because you are willing to learn. Well, guess what? It was my turn to learn. What is a podcast? What was needed? I'd been doing all types of interviews as the Director of Employment for Seniors, but to actually be in charge now of content over and above just my yearly visiting. Our buddy, Mark New, said WMNI saying, "Oh, the job fair's coming," you know, let's talk about that. It was a learning experience for me, which I'm greatly appreciative of for Brett holding my hand through the process and, needless to say, you don't give a PhD a mic and an open time frame because we just keep talking.

Carol Ventresca:
The first challenge really was not just to be comfortable in front of a mic, but to keep the conversation rolling. We started from the very beginning to make sure we had topics, and that has continued to be a challenge, but a good challenge. I don't think we've ever gotten to the point of there's nothing else to say. We've never gotten to that point. We have gotten to the point of making sure that we are scheduling it well, that it makes sense, that it's not a hodgepodge, and that it's flowing, but you have to be able to stay fresh. You have to be able to stay on the mark of what's relevant. You have to stay factual. I always tell folks, "You know, we can fix, we can edit out any mistakes, but we have to make sure we have a content expert who knows what they're talking about. We can't just have somebody come up and spiel old stuff."

Carol Ventresca:
I use the word newsworthy, but you had a better term and that's evergreen, that the information we're putting out there is going to last, it's going to be useful this year, next year, and probably the year after that. Over and above everything else, I think too, that to expand it outside of ourselves that, yes, it has to focus on Employment for Seniors and our clients, but to expand outside of realizing that there are content experts at other agencies, at employers, at community organizations, at governmental offices, wherever, that there are people out there that we can use, and to keep it interesting but, also, to realize that job seekers have a lot of questions, and we're not always gonna have all the answers. We have to look for those answers.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Yeah. So, future plans. I know we've kicked around a couple of ideas, but I think it's always good to be thinking what's next?

Carol Ventresca:
Something new.

Brett Johnson:
Well, and kind of going back to the challenges, you can plan, and plan, and plan, but I also think have fun occasionally. We've thrown a couple of episodes together that I just suggested at the beginning of this year 2019 I said, "Let's do a top nine things you have to do."

Carol Ventresca:
Exactly. New job, new year a couple years ago, yeah.

Brett Johnson:
Those have been one of the most listened to episodes outside of the hiring events, and it really had nothing to do with any tip sheet, any fact, it just is that utilizing top nine, you know, there's key phrases but having some fun as well. It was a little bit of work to put together, but we had fun doing those, as we do with all episodes. I should say that. But we kind of went off a little bit, off center, and just say, "Okay, let's just do a top nine list."

Carol Ventresca:
Well there was an article in The Columbus Dispatch that you called and said, "Let's talk about this," and we did it with no research, really, it was just our own expertise.

Brett Johnson:
Other than just commenting about the reality of what that story was about.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. I think that this kind of parallels one of the things I talk to clients about when they're doing their job search. They have to look at what's posted, and apply for those jobs, but to also think of a second path of being creative and thinking about, "Well, here's where the jobs are posted, but who do I really want to work for and how do I get information and how do I network my way in and how do I find out what their future plans are?"

Carol Ventresca:
So, taking that notion and bringing it to the podcast is the same thing. We have to have a plan for the next few months, the next six months, the next year, of here are some potential topics, but to also think about be creative. One of the things we just started by just being creative, because we had people asking us questions, and we were trying to figure out how do we grab those questions and answer them? What is it like to work in? And, so, we're going to start this series off of conversations, so we've just posted the first one is on logistics. We're going to do one on, I'm calling it personal transportation.

Carol Ventresca:
I'm not really sure that's the correct term, but we're going to talk to people who are in different kinds of transportation areas and pull together a podcast on, you know, I've been a mailman all my life. I love to drive. It's okay. I don't mind it, so here's a place to go become a limo driver on your own schedule, on your own time, with somebody else's car, and have fun with people because they're going to a party kind of thing, so we're going to be putting some time and effort into that.

Carol Ventresca:
Again, I said there are some things, some topics, so we haven't found our content expert, so we'll continue to look for those. I want to think of other creative ways to utilize the podcast to better enhance our other programs, but also what resources we have in place to better emphasize the podcast. Again, we're starting to add it into our mass emails. Are there other kinds of things that we could do besides just posting it up there on Facebook, getting reactions from people or something, something along that line? I think there are lots of things that we can do. We're just going to be creative.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Some advice for a nonprofit that's kind of taking a look at this, kicking the tires going, "Okay, you guys got me convinced. I've listened the last half hour, 45 minutes," however long this podcast is gonna be and, "I'm in. I can do this," what would be some advice to get started and to keep going?

Carol Ventresca:
Well, as I mentioned, Employment for Seniors is a little group, but that doesn't mean that we don't have idea people, people with ideas. I can only pull out so many tricks up my sleeve, but we just ask people what they're looking at, what they need information on, what would be interesting to listen to? If they're willing to, also, help. I have a counselor who wants to do a podcast, but we haven't quite figured out what topic she wants to talk about, so you have to have ideas. You've got to have a plan and have ideas. You just cannot pull this out of thin air. It's not going to all, necessarily, flow together so we've been really, really lucky with that, but also have a marketing plan.

Carol Ventresca:
I think that we had a basic one, and we probably could have had more of a plan, but I'm not sure it would have made any difference at the end, but you do have to have a plan on how you're going to get the information out. It's no use putting all this time, cost, resources into it if nobody's listening, and make sure you really want to do it. This is not a one-and-done issue. You can't have a podcast program and only be up there for a couple of months, you have to be willing and really commit to doing it. If you're a nonprofit, get your board on board, get those folks ready, and realize that they can make it a win-win for themselves, not just that they are going to allow you to do it, but they're willing to jump in both feet.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, I think up to this point now, we have gotten almost every board member on a podcast in one form or another, and I wouldn't have thought that 18 months ago that we could, that, number one it was a goal. I don't think it ever was, but we started to look at the makeup of the board going, "We could tie," a couple of them we would have never thought to bring on, and all of a sudden they have a story to tell about their transition-

Carol Ventresca:
As career changers.

Brett Johnson:
And it's like all right, let's bring them on.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. We've had career changers from board members. We've had our content expert on the local economy. We have had HR experts talk about what makes a good candidate, so yeah, I think we've pretty much pulled everybody in.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, which is nice because they get to know what this is all about.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. Well, and it helps me as the Executive Director because then they can see what I'm putting my time into too.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Exactly, other than hearing me report about it and they get tired of that.

Carol Ventresca:
Yes, we do inundate them with numbers, that's for sure.

Brett Johnson:
So they know, exactly. Well thank you for making this happen. I know, like I said, I wanted to make sure that we got to record an episode to talk about how this started, why I think it's important for nonprofits to really consider doing a podcast and some nuances and how we did it. Their story is going to be totally different than ours on how they get started, but I think there's valid reason to really consider doing a podcast as a nonprofit because you'll be surprised who you can get on there, the dollars that can follow to help support it, as well as people inside the organization, whether it be a board member of volunteers or whatever that, probably, will raise their hand quickly to be a part of it if it's done properly, the focus is there, and you have a game plan.

Carol Ventresca:
Right. Absolutely, and I think, too, you've offered your assistance to groups, and I'm more than happy to talk to organizations about what we did and how we did it and why we did it and has it really been worth it? I do have to say it's not only completely worth it and worth the time, but it truly does give you a sense of awe and kind of a bit of zeal to really get excited about what you're doing and what you're providing and how you can get your message across and know that somebody out there is listening.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Exactly. Well, again, thank you. Appreciate it.

Carol Ventresca:
Thank you. It's wonderful. Now, do I get to put this on my website too?

Brett Johnson:
Sure, why not?

Carol Ventresca:
Absolutely.

Brett Johnson:
Share, share.

Carol Ventresca:
One more down. Thanks, Brett.

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Employment For Seniors has provided career assistance and resources to nearly 30,000 clients, free of charge, over the past 40 years. So why does a non-profit need a podcast? And how does a non-profit “afford” to create one with already limited staff, budget and time?

Re

Broadcasters Meet Podcasters?

Broadcasters Meet Podcasters? transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

Broadcasters Meet Podcasters? was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text in 2019.

Brett:
As you know, Marty, Broadcasters Meet Podcasters, a track this year at Podcast Movement '19.

Marty:
Yeah, hallelujah. Finally.

Brett:
Three years, hallelujah. No, but three years in a row, Jacobs Media has presented this track at Podcast Movement. Podcast Movement is coming up for 2019 in Orlando, middle of August. I think it's pretty much the start of hurricane season. Yay!

Marty:
It's beautiful that time of year.

Brett:
Oh, yeah. But it's a conference track that Podcast Movement has expanded on, and Jacobs has really, actually, done a pretty good job of bringing it along. I think, giving more focus for broadcasters to take a look at podcasting.

Marty:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't think there's been any organization as active as Jacobs when it talks about bringing podcasting into the fold of broadcast.

Brett:
I believe so. You're right. They've done a great job with it. They've done a great job with it. Yeah, I think they're looking at it holistically, that it's a good thing. Don't look at it as a distraction. You can make some money from it, and you can help your clients make some money from it.

Marty:
It's an additional product in your arsenal.

Brett:
Exactly. Exactly. And we are audio experts.

Marty:
Yeah.

Brett:
Or so proclaimed to be when we were in radio.

Marty:
Yeah. That was, like, just a little 25-year stint of my life though.

Brett:
Mine too, and now we're out.

Marty:
That's right.

Brett:
Now we're out, and we're talking about it outside, looking in. But I wanted to kind of go over what's going on with this Podcasters Meet Broadcasters. I should say, I'm gonna call it right, Broadcasters Meet Podcasters track.

Marty:
Sure.

Brett:
A lot of radio people there. Now, I'll give you a little background when I went to Podcast Movement '18 last year in Philly.

Marty:
Okay.

Brett:
I can tell you without a doubt, there are very few podcasters that went to the Broadcasters Meet Podcasters track.

Marty:
Yeah.

Brett:
Guarantee it. And I heard of that, and I saw that very few did. They didn't mingle outside either. Radio people kind of kept their cliques together. You saw them going in their hoards walking around.

Marty:
Yeah, yeah. You guys are recording from your house. We have these big-ass studios.

Brett:
Exactly.

Marty:
I'm not down with this.

Brett:
Hopefully, this year that will be different. I hope so because I think both can learn from each other. In a holistic way, both can learn from each other. Podcasters can learn from broadcasters and vice versa.

Marty:
I hope so. I hope so.

Brett:
Yeah. It would be nice.

Marty:
Because radio has forgotten so much of what it actually is that that's why so many broadcasters are taking the leap into podcasting.

Brett:
Right.

Marty:
Or so many guys are finding their way over to XM Sirius.

Brett:
It's the freedom. It's the, "Hey, I can do that now? I don't have to look at a clock anymore?" Sort of thing.

Marty:
Right. Or the consultant.

Brett:
That too. Right.

Marty:
Beat 'em out, yeah.

Brett:
So, looking at what's going on, just to kind of give us some highlights so we have a reference point, and listener, we'll get you to where we're gonna go with this, so you kind of know what's going on, but it kicks off on Wednesday. They have a keynote speaker-

Marty:
Are they the ones that really screwed the pooch to radio? Is that what happened?

Brett:
You know, I think I've heard that.

Marty:
Yeah.

Brett:
I think so. But, you know, that's another episode. We'll talk about that. A track called Radio Leaders on Their Podcasting Strategies. True Crime, Turning Local Events into Hit Podcasts. Nothing like hitting a category that's hit its peak already.

Marty:
Right.

Brett:
Yeah.

Marty:
Yes, [Serial]. I remember that from a few years ago.

Brett:
Yeah. Branded Podcast Revenue Opportunities for Radio. Please put a bookmark in that, folks, because we're gonna come back to that, all right? And have a little bit of fun with that one.

Marty:
Not that it's a bad thing.

Brett:
No, but we're gonna … That's the main reason that Marty and I are together today. Keynote NPR and Audible veteran, Eric Nuzum – The Tweet that Could Define Podcasting Future.

Marty:
Right.

Brett:
10:1,5 that day, What Public Radio Knows that You Don't. And I tell you, folks, they're probably not going to tell you during that session. Real Listener Feedback – Podcast Movement's First Live Focus Group, could be interesting. Raise Your Voice, Smart Speaker Strategy for Podcasts. That may be the best one of the whole track. And that's another episode that we'll have to venture into in regards to-

Marty:
I have to hear why that might be the best.

Brett:
…audio search.

Marty:
Okay. Yeah, yeah. Well, assuming Google get-

Brett:
Setting yourself up for audio search. Yeah.

Marty:
Yeah, yeah.

Brett:
Podcast Makeover: Professional Broadcasters Critique Up and Coming Podcasts. Don't even go to that one.

Marty:
No, that's so lame.

Brett:
Popular Music in Pocasts. Here it comes. Big, big news coming out during Podcast Movement about podcast music.

Marty:
Really?

Brett:
Yes.

Marty:
Talk to me about that.

Brett:
I don't know what it is yet, but it's coming out. They're making a big, big stink about this other podcast, I'm hearing, that know the inside scoop. You're gonna be able to get music in your podcast for some price. May be not bad pricing.

Marty:
Really?

Brett:
It's gonna happen. Yeah.

Marty:
That's fascinating.

Brett:
They've come up with a solution for it.

Marty:
Right. For those of you who don't know podcasting, it has been virtually taboo to put like a Bob Dylan song or a Beatles song or a Lady Gaga song, and not because of any opposition to the music, but because the licensing is so … It is so complex to figure out exactly what you would pay to put a song in a podcast, and there's just no way to do it, so this is really, really exciting stuff.

Brett:
Yeah.

Marty:
So, all those podcasts you hear them using like, you know, actual tunes off your radio and XM Sirius, they're doing it illegally right now. Every one of them. Every one of them.

Brett:
Right. What this will do is open up another genre of podcasts.

Marty:
That's right. Absolutely.

Brett:
It will open it up in regards to a lot of people that are wanting to do a music podcast. Whether it's maybe a podcast all about Rush, all about Depeche Mode, whatever, you're gonna be able to do that now. It's gonna cost you a little bit of money. Again, I don't know the details, but apparently this news is going to be very beneficial to podcasting and podcasters.

Marty:
Sure. I'm excited about that. I would go just for that for crying out loud.

Brett:
Later on during Podcast Movement, Speed mentoring, Talk Directly with Podcasting Leading Experts.

Marty:
No idea what that is.

Brett:
Apparently there would be some from radio, but okay, anyway. Now they've actually … I take that back. They do have some experts within the field, like Rob Greenlee.

Marty:
Sure.

Brett:
Dave Jackson.

Marty:
Eh.

Brett:
Seth Wrestler.

Marty:
Okay, Seth, I buy into.

Brett:
Ed Ryan, I-

Marty:
What qualifies as an expert? Is it just a guy that's done a podcast?

Brett:
I guess, or like an Ed Ryan who puts together a daily-

Marty:
Clickbait.

Brett:
-clickbait. Yeah. So, that's it right there. Let's kind of go back to that branded podcast idea.

Marty:
Yeah.

Brett:
Just recently. This is kind of inside baseball stuff. There was a webinar helping radio stations increase their podcast revenue called Branded Podcasts – How to Sell Branded Podcasts.

Marty:
Very catchy.

Brett:
And it was a good webinar. I'm not gonna say who put it together because it's really neither here nor there. It's just knowledge that it's out there to help radio stations with their clients to create podcasts. Now, both you and I know branded podcasts are a good idea.

Marty:
Absolutely. Fantastic idea.

Brett:
They are a good idea. After this conference you're going to be called upon as a business owner, "Hey, we're doing a branded podcast. This is our new initiative. We wanna talk to you about this. This is the coolest, newest thing, and here's what we're going to do." So, let's talk about what to be aware of.

Marty:
Yeah, sure.

Brett:
And also the pros and cons, what to be aware of. For me, the pros are, yeah, look at it. It's a radio station. They have studios, professional studios, because if you don't have it in your office or your business, it's an opportunity.

Marty:
Okay.

Brett:
Okay. What do you think pro?

Marty:
Well, pro, I think it is a way to extend your voice. I think podcasting is an evergreen medium that is a no waste medium because it goes out into the interwebs, and it stays there forever, so as long as you're putting your message out that represents your business, your business model, your plan, your ideals, do it.

Brett:
I think we have a lot of list of cons for this one, though, that's the problem.

Marty:
Sure.

Brett:
Again, both of us having the large amount of time in radio, we know exactly what drives radio and radio reps and radio station ownership and management.

Marty:
Right. And to be clear, Brett was in the sales and marketing side of radio. I did some sales and marketing, but I was primarily in programming.

Brett:
Right.

Marty:
So, that being said-

Brett:
That being said.

Marty:
-there are cons of using radio for all of that.

Brett:
Namely, just beware that they have incentives of their own to get you to do this. Okay. The concept is going to be they're gonna come in and talk to you about … They're gonna create this branded podcast potentially, maybe, it's going to be one of their on-air people that's gonna do a podcast about local breweries, okay? And you own a local brewery, you know? You make your own beer, and that sort of thing, a craft brewer, okay? So, they're gonna wanna talk to you. They're gonna wanna interview you along with five or six other craft brewers in your market. Each episode stands alone. It's gonna be a great series. It will be because that on-air person is into craft brewing.

Marty:
Right.

Brett:
They love it. They want to get into your business. They want to know "Why'd you do this?" And the different flavors, what's coming up and such like that. So, that series is gonna be out on their website, and it's gonna be promoted, listened to.

Marty:
It's gonna be easy to talk about for any of the personalities that they have recording breaks, you know, they're gonna be able to cross-mention it across all their, you know?

Brett:
To that end, say yes to that.

Marty:
Sure.

Brett:
It's a great PR piece. Take the audio. Use it for yourself. They're gonna talk to you about it. You're gonna have a blast.

Marty:
Yep.

Brett:
About two or three weeks later, you're gonna get a call from your sales rep saying, "Hey, did you have a fun time?"

Marty:
"Mm-hmm."

Brett:
"You want to create your own podcast?".

Marty:
"Ooh!"

Brett:
"We can do that. Let's do that."

Marty:
"Okay. What are we gonna talk about?"

Brett:
"Well, what do you wanna talk about?"

Marty:
"Oh, no. But I, you know, I do my craft brew, I do my brewery."

Brett:
"Right, right, right. But let's talk about your craft brewery. So, what do you wanna talk about?"

Marty:
"Uh, my beer."

Brett:
"Okay, so let's go in studio, and we'll talk about a beer week. How's that?"

Marty:
"Um, sounds a little thin."

Brett:
"Yeah, it does, doesn't it?"

Marty:
"Yeah."

Brett:
"But we're gonna charge you $3,000 a month to do that though because-"

Marty:
That's right, because you're gonna get an ad schedule with it.

Brett:
"-an ad schedule, our radio station's a bullhorn. I have qualitative here to show you that our listeners loved craft beer."

Marty:
"Ratings that show you have?"

Brett:
"No, no, no, not ratings qualitative because, you know, we don't subscribe. You know, I've got all qualitative to show you."

Marty:
"Okay."

Brett:
"And we're gonna put it on our website, but I can't show you the numbers on the website, the views on it, you know?"

Marty:
"Yeah, because that just doesn't work right now."

Brett:
"Yeah, and don't ask me how many people really go to our website or listen to audio on our website."

Marty:
Right. It kind of reminds me of one of those infomercials from the '70s where the Asian kids were, like, slamming their hands down on the thing.

Brett:
Exactly.

Marty:
That's how many there are.

Brett:
So, what we're saying is yes, the follow-up call from the sales rep could be good. If you're interested in doing a podcast, go ahead and do it, but be careful. Know why you're doing this podcast.

Marty:
Have strategy.

Brett:
Have a strategy of why you're doing it. What we're saying is the radio station probably won't bring a strategy to you.

Marty:
That's right.

Brett:
It's the they're going to take the emotional high that you're off of from doing that podcast and having all that love given to you by the on-air person and the sales staff and maybe a few listeners that came in and said, "Wow, we heard you on Joe show podcast."

Marty:
Think about this, man, isn't it natural that when somebody does something like that, they go, "Hey, guys, I'm going to be, and check this out." They're gonna tell all their closest friends and family. They're gonna tell all their best customers about it, so they make sure that they know that this podcast they're on, that's about me.

Brett:
Mm-hmm. Sure.

Marty:
It's about my expertise. You're gonna get instant gratification from the closest people around you. That's great. They're already fans of yours.

Brett:
Right.

Marty:
You don't need a radio station to talk to them. You don't need to pay a radio station $3,000 a month to talk to them because you can talk to them, and chances are they will pay you for your beer.

Brett:
Right. Probably so.

Marty:
Just saying. There's a chance.

Brett:
Right. So, us giving you this information is arming you to throw back some questions to them because, again, inherently, this whole idea is a good idea because the radio station does have opportunities to help you grow your business. If you strategically take a look at how you create your own podcast as a season, okay? Could be that they come back and say, "Hey, would you like to create your own series?" Could be six or seven episodes. Good. Look at it that way. Now, look at how you're gonna do those six or seven, okay? Is your craft brew location, okay? Are you a big soccer base?

Marty:
Right.

Brett:
Maybe you should be talking about soccer with it. You know your clientele.

Marty:
Right. What is the culture and lifestyle of the people that you see coming in your doors? Who is it that is buying? If you have distribution on a local, statewide, or regional basis, what are the demographics, psychographics of the people that are buying your particular product? What is it that is attractive to people about your product? And then, try to know as much about that person's lifestyle, and talk as much about that kind of thing within your podcast. Is it soccer? Is it dark beers, you know?

Brett:
Any sports. Right. It could be a food pairing with the beer.

Marty:
Sure. Absolutely.

Brett:
Anything that's happening. What you're not going to get is what we just talked about this last two minutes, you're not gonna get that from sales rep.

Marty:
Yeah. You're gonna have to go in there with that yourself.

Brett:
Yes. It's not gonna happen. It's not going to happen.

Marty:
Absolutely. If you do not go in there with it yourself. In fact, here's what they'll do, "Well, you know, what I was really thinking was just, like, we just come in here and we talk. We just talk."

Brett:
Because that's what the on-air personality wants to do.

Marty:
Well, but the thing of it is the on-air personality wants to do that because the on-air personality has about 15 other things that they have to do back at the station because radio has bled itself dry of having enough people and workforce in place to be able to do anything effective. Which is why we don't have anything called local radio, by and large, anymore. Even stations that are "dominating local radio" aren't local radio anymore.

Brett:
So, you are going to have to come in with your own concept.

Marty:
Yes.

Brett:
You are going to have to stress that you're going to do this. They are not the professionals in this field.

Marty:
Not a bit.

Brett:
Not in the least. They're professionals at selling you airtime to support it.

Marty:
Yes.

Brett:
And that's where they're getting their commission is selling you the additional airtime that you're going to buy to promote your podcast.

Marty:
Yep. Now, here's what I always find interesting, okay? Because you can find out how popular, what kind of authority the radio station has online. You can find that out. Look at community events that are real popular, and just do a search for that community event. If a radio station's website pops up to the top on that one, that's not really their authority. That's that event's authority. Look to see, though, why people go to that station. Why are people going to that station? Now, what we do know about radio is that radio still has listeners. It still has listeners.

Brett:
You bet. You bet.

Marty:
But where they disconnect with this is that they do not have any idea of how to put a strategy together to make a podcast successful for a business. They might have podcasts of their own where their radio hosts do podcasts that are basically just riffs off their show like after hours, but they don't have any track record, none whatsoever, of building shows that are solely based on the universe of this business. When you go online, you're stepping outside of the universe of that radio station, and you're stepping into the internet. So, Mr. Business Owner, what's your universe? That's where that radio station has to go and, if they don't take you there, they have no strategy to take you outside of their universe and then place you solidly within where your wheelhouse is, move on dot org.

Brett:
What they're going to suggest is, that because it's such a match of your category business to their listeners, that, yes, that podcast should live on their website without telling you that, number one, most people don't listen to website, they listen to podcasts on websites.

Marty:
That's right.

Brett:
It's on your smartphone.

Marty:
That's right.

Brett:
Okay? Most radio station smart apps are not designed to play audio as a podcast.

Marty:
That's right. Because they want to push their live stream. They want to push their live signal.

Brett:
Right. Exactly. Exactly. Thirdly, if you do want to do this, get away from the website. Yes, great, that your audio, your podcast, your series can live on their website, but if they don't suggest that you have this podcast live on its own, that it can be found in Apple podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn, all the other platforms that are the norm for podcast listeners outside of the radio station, they're doing you a disservice, and they are not going to suggest this.

Marty:
That's right.

Brett:
They're not going to do it.

Marty:
That is correct.

Brett:
That may be the biggest red flag. If you do not hear them advise you to do that or to help you do that, runaway.

Marty:
Right. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Runaway.

Brett:
Because that message that you've crafted and you spent a lot of time putting together that series of seven, you get excited about, and it just lives on their website, and it goes nowhere else, you've wasted your time.

Marty:
Right.

Brett:
You really have in the long run.

Marty:
It's kind of interesting because I left radio in 2002. I snuck back in when we had an emergency down in Nashville, and I got back involved in radio there for a couple of years, but I left radio in 2002. Then, from 2005 on, or 2005 to about 2008, I did a podcast called Nothing Flashy. It was just me talking into a microphone about current events and daily things. I got so many bookings off of that back then, and now the industry, it is an industry now, is just swelling like crazy.

Marty:
So, when you talk about things that matter to your core customer in a way that bridges that gap from where they're at to your business, that's when your business becomes infinitely more important to them, and they are infinitely more likely to do business with you. Radio stations don't get that yet because they're not even doing that with their own podcasts, outside of NPR. NPR is willing to walk away from the signal. NPR is willing to walk away from the signal, which is why they're being successful with their podcasts.

Brett:
They get the emotional tie that a podcast can have with your audience that you're building this image of your business. Again, we go back to the craft brewing that every category is competitive. Craft brewing is very competitive. You can buy craft brew pretty much anywhere you want, so what makes that one logo different than the other? There's a story behind why your craft brew is better than the other in your mind, and it's valid. You've got to tell people.

Marty:
Yeah,

Brett:
And this is a great platform to do so, and that lends toward any business category.

Marty:
That's right. That's exactly right.

Brett:
Any business category. What we're trying to lay out here, and we're being very negative about radio and by design because we do know the ins and outs. We both have been in it, in and out, for 25 years. I left it close to two years ago. We do know their drive, and it's not necessarily to your benefit, okay? I think they're trying, but there are some pieces missing to this that you've got to be aware that you're gonna spend, I guess I look at it as spend a lot of time for nothing, and you're gonna get turned off by doing a podcast because it didn't do what you wanted it to do.

Marty:
Right, and you're gonna say, "Well, if a radio station can't make it go, well, then gosh, dot, dot, dot …"

Brett:
Right.

Marty:
Well, here's the deal. People have "purchased ads" from radio stations for years that didn't work. The reason they didn't work is because the "marketing consultant", did not care enough to tell the person, "Okay, in order to reach your audience effectively to generate revenues for you, you're going to have to do this many commercials in a week," because they were afraid you were not going to write the check, so, what they did is they backed down from it, from what would be really effective to only speak to your pain and tolerance. What is the tolerance level you have for curing the pain that you have right now by not having customers?

Marty:
Okay, so if it would be, for instance, in Columbus, Ohio, you know, a budget of $3,000 to $5,000 a month would not be really anything big. That would be a very common ad budget. Same in Nashville, but that would be just your average schedule. A strong schedule, if your business brand needed it to convey that message, could be as much as $10,000 or $12,000 a month, and people are like, "Oh, my goodness, that is a lot of money." It's a lot of money if you're not seeing any money coming back in …

Brett:
Right. If it doesn't work, I've got a toilet you can flush it in.

Marty:
Right on.

Brett:
Everybody does.

Marty:
The thing of it is, though, you have to make sure you're paired with the right people to get your voice heard.

Brett:
That is exactly the message we are putting together here for you for this podcast is that if you have an interest in doing a podcast, great. You got excited to be on that on-air host's podcast. Great, you know, talking about craft brewery. Fantastic. You got a nice little PR case out of it. People talked about it. They're excited about it. They come back. You do want to do a series. Okay. Here are some steps that you do to take to protect yourself, to protect your time, to make sure that it does work.

Marty:
You know, here's the other thing, too, and this is just kind of where it's at. You really need to, you know, you're the owner of the business, and your marketing, your advertising is really created in order for you to go ahead and go about your business. We already know that the radio station is going to send somebody over to you that's going to have this strategy to go ahead and exploit all the facets of your business. I cannot help but think that even by calling Brett or myself or another, you know, I can't speak for other podcast production companies. I don't know anybody. I've known Brett for maybe 25 years now.

Brett:
Mm-hmm.

Marty:
Yeah, when we worked for the same company. But I know that we would both be willing to just, "Look. We don't have to produce it. Go ahead and produce it with a radio station, but let's talk through a strategy. Let's map out a strategy for you," I think, would you be happy to do that?

Brett:
Sure. You bet. Because I do believe that this strategy that the radio stations putting together for you does make sense. There are just parts that are missing that won't make it happen right.

Marty:
Right.

Brett:
Because they don't have, we're just going to call it just reality, podcast consultant, on their staff to know how to use podcasting to its most effective being.

Marty:
Sure.

Brett:
I don't care if it's one episode or six or three years in, there's a strategy to this as with any marketing tool, and that's what podcasting is – a marketing tool. It's not just a fun and games. You can have fun doing it, of course. I encourage you. Don't do it unless you have some fun, but there is some strategy to it because this can become something very, very versatile, important, long tail, that can be talked about for a very long time.

Marty:
Sure. And it can be repromoted over and over and over again.

Brett:
If done right.

Marty:
That's right.

Brett:
If done right.

Marty:
But you have to do it correctly. So, you know, if you have questions about those types of things, you can reach out to me, and I'll go ahead and put out my email address info@podovox.com. Info at P-O-D-O-V-O-X dot com. And, Brett, you can reach him at Circle 270 Media, what's your email?

Brett:
Podcasts@circle270media.com. But I think the main thing is really go to our websites, honestly, when it comes down to it.

Marty:
Sure.

Brett:
Websites, let's talk about your website.

Marty:
Sure. P-O-D-O-V-O-X Podovox.com.

Brett:
And you can go to Circle270Media.com as well. If you're in Marty's area, or it's a little bit more convenient to talk to him face to face or whatever, we'll flip back and forth. It's not a problem, so.

Marty:
Sure. Yeah.

Brett:
But, you know, we're pretty much worldwide when it comes down to it.

Marty:
That's the truth.

Brett:
We're here to help, and honestly, we both have gotten into and are doing podcast consulting because we love the medium.

Marty:
Sure. I was talking to somebody about coming up here and doing this with you because we're recording this out of really nice studios here in Columbus, Ohio where Brett works in conjunction with them. It's Studio-

Brett:
511 Media.

Marty:
511 Media. I'm so sorry.

Brett:
No.

Marty:
Beautiful studios. Better than many, many radio stations I've worked at. Actually, it reminds me of the CD101 studios when they first launched down on South High Street.

Brett:
That would be the best analogy.

Marty:
Yeah.

Brett:
Best example.

Marty:
It really does.

Brett:
We were talking about that before we started recording, radio stations that would have something like this, and you're right because of what they do with some live bands and interview situations. Yep. You're right [cross talk]

Marty:
You know, the thing of it is is that you can come in here into this studio and sit down and record … The sound's pretty good, I think, right? What you're listening to right now? Other than it being my voice, because there's no sweeter sound to anybody than their own voice and their own name, right?

Brett:
Their own voice, right, right.

Marty:
If you're in the Columbus area, for sure, you want to be working with Studio 511. If you are down in Lexington, Kentucky, or if you are in Nashville, Tennessee, or if you are in Louisville, Kentucky, that's really where I am working. I live in eastern Kentucky now, rural eastern Kentucky, because I'm around family. The cool thing is, is that I have the ability to be in Nashville and Lexington and Louisville and even Huntington, West Virginia, very quickly and very easily, and I don't actually have to be there with you to make this happen, what?

Brett:
Right. I know. It's magic. Yes, it's magic. No, that's the way the world is right now too. But, yeah, please give us a call, email, contact, if you are looking at expanding any ideas at a radio station has brought to you. Again, we're not all negative about radio, but I think there's some opportunities that if done wisely, we'll work to your benefit.

Marty:
Absolutely. Absolutely. So, yeah, give us a call.

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Joining me is Marty Daniels, owner of Podovox Professional Podcast Services.

Podcast Movement 2019, or PM19, includes a conference track entitled Broadcasters Meet Podcasters. One session in this track is called Branded Podcasts: Revenue Opportunities for Radio.

We have the inside information about this session, and offer our insights to radio advertisers who are going to be presented this marketing idea.

The good and the bad.

For the third consecutive year, Jacobs Media is partnering with the organizers of Podcast Movement conference. This track is designed to help the radio and podcast industries to discuss how the two sectors can work together. In what’s been dubbed a conference-within-a-conference, the three days of sessions in Orlando in August 2019 focuses not only on successful podcasting strategies but also where podcasting is heading.

Recorded in Studio C at the 511 Studios in the Brewery District, downtown Columbus, OH.

We Love Schools

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We Love Schools was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text in 2019.

Brett Johnson:
From Studio C at the 511 Studios in the Brewery District in downtown Columbus, this is Note to Future Me. Hi, I'm Brett Johnson, host of the podcast, as well as owner of Circle 270 Media Podcast Consultants. In this episode, we're going to hear from Carole Dorn-Bell. She is a partner at Allerton Hill Consulting and the host of the podcast We Love Schools. Now, full disclosure, Allerton Hill and the podcast We Love Schools is a client of Circle 270 Media Podcast Consultants, but I did want this story to be heard about a consulting firm doing a podcast. This consulting firm, Allerton Hill Consulting, does no advertising for themselves. So, why a podcast when a podcast in itself could be a branding tool, can be considered advertising?

Brett Johnson:
I think Carole does a great job of explaining why they thought of using a podcast, why they are using the podcast, and how they're using the podcast, not necessarily to support Allerton Hill Consulting, but to do a whole lot more. It's a great story, and I think it could be a great example for any businesses who are looking at podcasting but are afraid that it could come off, as she calls it, too schmaltzy, too much of an advertisement for their business. It doesn't have to be, and I think We Love Schools is a really good example of that and, hopefully, you get a lot of good information from this interview. I want to thank Carole for being a part of the podcast, and hope you enjoy this episode, and thanks for taking notes with me.

Brett Johnson:
Well, Carole, thanks for being a guest on my podcast. I appreciate it.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Thank you. I'm glad to be here. I don't think I've ever been a guest on a podcast all this time.

Brett Johnson:
Haven't you so far?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
No.

Brett Johnson:
I was going to ask you about that in email if this was a new experience or if I should be welcoming you a different way because, you know, "Five time guest," you know, that sort of thing.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
It's new, and it's weird for me to be on this end.

Brett Johnson:
Well, that's cool. Good, good. Well, as I start with my podcasts, I usually ask my guests nonprofits that they support with their time, talent, treasure, whatever it might be, just to give a little plug to nonprofits at the beginning, since we're going to be so business oriented toward the end.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
This one's easy for me. I started, and I fully support the Olentangy Dyslexia Network. My two children are dyslexic, and we, years ago, quickly found that we had trouble with getting them properly identified, which is in accordance with the law that you have to identify, find and identify these kids and getting them the services. We work, of course, within our school system, which is Olentangy. They've done a great job over these last number of years, and they've really become a leader now, but we've just found as we've gotten out, that dyslexic services are really far behind for kids. But at any rate, we've done-

Brett Johnson:
Really? You hear so much about it, you would think that it's on task.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
You would, and they need a very specific type of tutoring. Their brains just work differently, and especially my older one is very dyslexic. Of course, all dyslexics are very dyslexic, you know, I should qualify that. I mean, you have it, you have it, but it was just a heartbreaking experience, but very formative, I think, for all of us within the family. I'm not dyslexic. I don't know anything about it, but once we learned that our oldest child was, we were all in in terms of supporting her, and we were willing to change the world for her, and so that is very close to my heart. It is a cause I will never let go of in my lifetime.

Brett Johnson:
Well, that lends toward the area you are in, public schools, schools, supporting public schools, basically, in essence, of talking about that. Let's talk a little bit about that, your background and history and also the company you're a part of.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah, sure. I'm with Allerton Hill Consulting. We're a full-service consulting firm. We work exclusively with schools. As I tell superintendents, my job is to make sure your goals are accomplished, your 30,000-foot goals. We're not a replacement for a communications person, a day-to-day person. So, if you want to talk about lice or the lunch menu, that's not us.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, right, right.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
If you need to start having the conversation with your community about facilities and the need for new facilities and why you're looking into that in a very informational way, of course, or it could be something like redistricting. We don't do the redistricting work, but it's weaving the conversation with the community as to the need and why you're looking at these things. It's more the 30,000-foot view.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Okay. How did the process begin to talk about a podcasting? You're very insulated in regards to your business, you know, who your business is, who you're targeting and such. Why a podcast for Allerton, and what were those first discussions like to go, "Okay, hey, this podcast thing, we should look at it," how did that begin for you?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We do have a very specific niche and, Joel Gonyea, my business partner within the firm, came to me and said, "I think this is a great idea." He's a big podcast listener. By the way, he's dyslexic too. I feel like I'm surrounded by them, like, you know, like my life. I mean, things really come to you for a reason. Your life just all makes sense, I think, the older you get, so I'm to that point. At any rate, he came to me, and he takes in content very differently than I do. We're a good yin and yang in a whole lot of ways, but he came to me … and I'm also a big podcast listener in general. I have my definite favorites out there. He said, "Let's do this." You know, we're talking to, in working with our clients out there, we're encountering all these really cool things that they're doing, and let's give it a larger platform, and yeah, it could be good for business.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Honestly, to our core, all of us within the firm, we're deeply, deeply committed to public schools and into that work and, therefore, to the work that our clients are doing, so it's not a business, per se, to us. We never view it like that. It's just a calling, and so the podcast is really our venue for providing this platform. Public schools take so many hits all the time out there, as we all know, and largely they're unwarranted. They're doing a lot of really cool things out there with, sometimes, very few resources and, especially, when I'm out there talking with, you know, I can talk to a super affluent school district that has more resources … None of them really have a whole lot of resources, honestly, you know, when you really look at their budgets, but that's a whole different story.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Some of the super affluent school districts, it's easy for people to say, "Oh, that's where the talent is, and that's where they're doing the really innovative things." Well, that's not true. If you go out to some of these districts in Appalachia, and I've interviewed them, they're doing some really cool things. I did a podcast recently about a summer lunch program where they're taking this blue bus all around, and it was a really cool podcast, and I felt like it was such a creative, innovative way to identify a need and fill that need to meet that need. That was just in, you know, any school district, Ohio kind of thing, but they're doing something really cool out there, and that's worth people knowing about.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Well, and it's funny you make the comment that you've had a conversation with Joel that the podcast doesn't necessarily have to bring in business for you, but it's the stories. It's the who is the intended audience, and let's get that information out there. In your mind, do you think that lessens the pressure of what that podcast has to do for you and who you talk to?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah, I think it does a lot. It just fits with our mission. When you're in, I think, in the right line of work for the right reasons, you accept that a lot of what you do may not be directly toward the ROI of things. You're planting seeds, and maybe they'll bloom in the future, but it's goodwill, and it puts our name out there and it puts their name out there and I want to show them in a good light. But, yeah, I think actually it does take a lot of the pressure off. Because when I sit down, then, to interview somebody … it's so interesting you ask this question, it's really got me thinking. When I sit down to interview somebody, I approach it more from the standpoint that I'm sitting down and just having this conversation with somebody, so there is no pressure. I really, genuinely, want to know what you're doing, and I want to give it that platform, so I think it does.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah. Well, and then it's coming through to me … full disclosure, you're one of my clients. We've been working together now for, I don't know, a few months. I don't know.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I feel like it's been way longer than that.

Brett Johnson:
I know. I think at the beginning of the year, I think. I don't know. I never really look at the clock and go, "Okay. Hey, it's now a six-month anniversary," kind of thing. Unless it's a year, then I kind of like to make note of that. But, at the same time, noting the content that you've been sending me to edit and then, you know, we help promote and such like that, it's the episodes and the content that you are, especially, in the last couple about the food, okay, the-

Carole Dorn-Bell:
The Blue Bus.

Brett Johnson:
The Blue Bus, as well as the innovative ways of creating this local food, ingesting, bringing locally produced food into a school cafeteria, to me, looks as though those pieces of content are not going to help your business.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
No.

Brett Johnson:
Putting that out. It actually, I thought, this is a general public type of podcast that they should be listening to this and knowing what schools are actually doing that's so innovative to help their students do the best that they can by feeding them during the summer with the bus, as well as just a normal school time, to make the best of a situation and get the best out of their students. I thought they were great examples of … Yeah, your target might be superintendents. Okay, great overall, but those two episodes did much more than that.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
They do. Do you know what else? We have so evolved with the podcast too, but do you know what else it does is, I didn't have a relationship with that superintendent prior to that. I didn't know that person. Someone tipped me off, tipped me off? Clued me into that, that sounds like news stuff, right, like, "Hot tip, they're doing this. Go investigate." Someone clued me in, "They're doing this. I think it would make a cool podcast," and so I reach out, and what I find is when I reach out just with an email, you know, "So-and-so said you're doing this cool thing, and I'd like to interview you. The format is friendly, and bah, bah, bah" I have only had one person over the many years we've been doing this say, "You know, I think just not right now," kind of thing. It wasn't even "I'm not comfortable with the platform," it was just kind of not right now.

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
But, you see, I guess it's the planting of the seeds. Then I interviewed that person, they're satisfied with it, someday down the road, you know, these superintendents, they move up or maybe they just move out and retire, as everybody does toward the end of their career because they're usually toward the tail end of their career. But it's the planting of seeds that I feel like, you know, someday will bloom, but there's no pressure. We don't advertise as a firm. We do no advertisements whatsoever. We don't offer our services or anything. This is, I would say, the closest we come to it, and we really don't push our firm within it.

Brett Johnson:
No, I'd have to say you don't.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We probably should.

Brett Johnson:
I think at the beginning of the podcast, you established who you are. I think that's legitimate, otherwise a listener will kind of go, "Okay, why are they doing this? Who is this business?" Okay, but there's never really a call to action, a hard call to action.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
No, we just don't do that.

Brett Johnson:
It just is.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Either people believe in what we do, or they don't. We're all word of mouth.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Which, in essence, it's just a branding podcast for you.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Right.

Brett Johnson:
Ultimately, you know, as a tool.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I guess it is.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, and a networking opportunity too.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
That you get to talk to people that you never would before.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
It is. You know, I had somebody on recently, and he was such a good interviewee, and I said to him afterwards, "We gotta do this again. Like come up with a topic because you were really fun and really good in this medium." You know far more about this than I do, truly. You've been, and this is like a very shameless plug on my end, but you've been nothing but great for us to work with.

Brett Johnson:
Well, thank you.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
And so professional. We really appreciate it.

Brett Johnson:
Well, thank you.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I mean that, that's genuine. You don't often have a chance to tell people that.

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I won't get any more sappy. I'm done.

Brett Johnson:
No, I can handle it. Sappy is good for every once in a while. You know, there's some days you kinda go, "I'm faking it today, aren't I?"

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We all are.

Brett Johnson:
Exactly, you know, and then you hear a couple of pieces and you're like "Okay, maybe I'm doing okay." Everybody needs that occasionally too, so yeah.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
Well you talked about you and Joel having this conversation about the podcast. I know there had to be more people involved because you have more people supporting each time we publish, in regards to putting it on the web and social and such. Let's talk a little bit about that. So, once you and Joel had the conversation, "Yeah, let's do it," what was the next step? What did you do? Who was brought in, and how did you get it accomplished?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We started out with … See, I call what you do "podcast guru", that's your official title in my brain, so we've started out with a podcast guru of sorts who could go through, tell us what equipment to buy, which was so easy. I set it up in my office, and Joel and I started taping. It really is an evolution. We started out taping together, smashing in the whole interview, so the intro and outro that kind of bookend the podcast, we were kind of all doing it at once, and we just learned things as we went along that, well, let me back up.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
You know, right now ours is face-to-face, and we don't tape ours like that, so I don't have this beautiful studio that you have. It's in my office, and so I tape over actually Skype. I call that person at that set hour, I ask them in advance, you know, "Make sure that you have a headset if you can," doesn't always. I've had people try and do it on speaker phone, which is terrible. It was terrible anyway, it doesn't matter what, it's terrible. We've learned because you can't see somebody, if you're doing it that way, we learned it's very difficult to have more than two people, the interviewer and the interviewee on, because they're kind of like planes colliding in the sky, people talking over each other, the awkwardness.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
It's like, "Oh, this is so difficult," so I usually, for mine, only want one person. We started out interviewing. We said early on, "Let's interview, let's right away run through our clients. Let's talk with them. Whatever they want to talk about. You know, let's arrive at the topic," and things like that. That's a no-brainer. We interviewed some people within our firm. They were very supportive, and they have been. They haven't been interested in being the interviewer, because we did open that up to everybody who wants to do this.

Brett Johnson:
Oh, okay. Great.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah, we did. Right away I said, "You know, I'd like to do this. I mean, I definitely … This is something that interests me," so really Joel and I do it because it is what interested us, but everybody else is like, "Yeah, you got that. You guys go do your thing, and we'll send clients to you."

Brett Johnson:
Well it's always great to have another point of view, another angle of a different interviewer, you bet.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah, and I feel like our firm is very democratic or whatever, but we all bring just these different talents and skills, and we're always very sensitive of what do you want to do, and where do you want to be, and this thing that we have, do you want to be a part of it or not? Is that where your skills are and where your love is?

Brett Johnson:
Well, and each one of your members of the team is very visual on the website.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Is it, good?

Brett Johnson:
I think it's neat to put a voice to a person.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
Because it doesn't always come through, though you have the video portion of the website to find, you kind of want to hear how that person sounds.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah, yeah. I think so too.

Brett Johnson:
You do, and I think that's neat to go. "Oh, that's Carole, that's Joel, okay."

Carole Dorn-Bell:
That's true because, of course, I've looked up Terry Gross, you know, people like that from my favorite … or the guy from This American Life, Ezra? No, Ira Glass. Of course, I've looked him up. What's he sound like? He doesn't look like that!

Brett Johnson:
It's funny you bring up Terry Gross because she was the keynote speaker at last year's Podcast Movement, just happened a year ago, it was in Philly. She comes out and she's this very short, petite lady, but she's in total leather, coolin' it up, you know? She just had this, for as small a person as she is, she had the stage presence and she owned it.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Did she?

Brett Johnson:
She owned it, but didn't do a whole lot of movement stuff, but people were just glued because she is what she is. She brought these examples of what she did, her mistakes and bad interviews and things that went really bad, and just over a lifetime, just giving good examples of, okay, you're going to be an interviewer with your podcast, this stuff's going to happen and you live through it. It's funny you bring her up because it was just so funny. Everybody was just enamored by her, but she's just this very petite, leather, you know, cool-looking 60-year-old.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I wish I had that kind of cool.

Brett Johnson:
I know.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I just, I do. I do. I envy that.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah. You're thinking, "Okay, now she's back on her way to WHYY, you know, after the gig, so yeah.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
If I came out like that, my friends would be like, "You need to go back in and change. You can't pull this off."

Brett Johnson:
That's too funny. Oh, my gosh, yeah. Well, good. That's interesting that no one's picked up the baton to want to help, but it's good that you gave that opportunity to them. That's great.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Absolutely.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, exactly. You said you were targeting superintendents with the podcast, but I think, as you said, it's evolved. Let's take a look at when you first began. Of course, you said you were talking to clients already, and you did talk about just a little bit ago in regards to how it's evolved and changed, and the topics are really ever changing and such. At the beginning, what were you thinking about in regards to the content? What did you want to get out there? And, then, how and why did it change over time?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
You know, I worked so hard at the content, at kind of the flow and the questions and kind of the back end of it, and then, because I think a function of two things. It was so labor intensive, and I was so busy with the part of the work that pays the bills on a day-to-day basis, that something had to give. I didn't feel like it always made for … I was putting a lot of work into the back end of weaving the content when I always wasn't … It was difficult for me because I wasn't the expert. I'm going to go back to the Blue Bus. It would be hard for me to fully understand the flow of the questions that need to occur because I only have a cursory level of what that project is about, and so I was making it far harder is what I learned.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Because of those two different issues that I had converging on me, I started with a few of the coming interviews after that to say, "Can you get me about five to six good questions? Good questions so I get the flow, I get what you do, so that we make sure we also cover what you want to cover." I want to accomplish their goals. I don't want to waste their time, and I want them to feel like they got something out of it, too, that people need to know. That's been really effective, and I've stayed with that format, and I feel like it's made for a better interview. Now I don't always stick with the questions that they give me, but it's just this kicking off point, this jumping off point, and it's just made everything so much better. Does that help?

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, I think that's a perfect way of going about it because sometimes there isn't enough information to know about what you want to talk about. Like you said, you were tipped off about this thing happening. I know the bus had TV coverage, so you could probably watch the two-minute piece on the TV. Not a whole lot of information, but the latest episode that you have up talking about the change at this cafeteria in, I forget what school system it was.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Oh, yes. I don't remember, yeah.

Brett Johnson:
I'll look it up. I'll put it in the podcast show notes. But there's probably no information about that, other than going on the website. Their Facebook page was where most of it was, so you could get a little bit of it, but how much time this woman has put into changing everything about the food.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
She was so thoughtful, and I was impressed by how deep her knowledge was. She was really an expert, she really was.

Brett Johnson:
In just, what, two years out of, well, just a handful years at school, right? If I understood that correctly?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes, she really was. You're talking about somebody from my generation who, their idea of somebody who runs the food service program is like Adam Sandler's Lunch Lady Land song, which I mean, is just a really, you know, crass kind of thing, but it's a whole different vision. I mean, she's amazing. I should say, too, and this hits, again, to the evolution of how we've changed over time is, yes, the content but, also, we started out, and I haven't looked at the metrics on the back end as of late, but we started out realizing that our target for this podcast are superintendents, which we do have a lot of loyal superintendent listeners, they tell me. I've actually been recognized out there.

Brett Johnson:
Isn't that cool?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
It is so weird. It is so weird. I don't even know what to do with it.

Brett Johnson:
You need the leather stuff.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I need the Terry Gross.

Brett Johnson:
(inaudible) the Terry Gross today, right, there you go.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
But also women. Women are big podcast listeners, which I didn't realize until I started getting into this. I don't know if that's still the case, so we've realized those, and those are two very different audiences at times. Not that there's not a lot, well, there's not a lot of female superintendents, but you get what I'm saying. We're talking about kind of, they're just very different. But I've had superintendents refer people to our podcast as PD, a form of PD, listen, and here's-

Brett Johnson:
Oh, really?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes, I have. We were even in a book by an educator, that an educator wrote. He presents all over the world, and he recommended our podcast as one of the very few that he recommended to listen to.

Brett Johnson:
That's fantastic.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I felt like, "Wow, this is just really something cool."

Brett Johnson:
Isn't that fun? That you put something together, you don't really go out to do that, it's just to get information out, and things happen around it that organically happen to support it because you're doing the right thing.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Because we're doing the right thing for the right reasons, and we're staying true to that. I think that makes a big difference.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, and I dwell on this piece of it because I think a lot of businesses who don't advertise themselves, just like you talked about, look at this, but they, number one, see it as an advertisement, but it doesn't have to be. And, number two, can be an avenue to brand themselves softly.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
That's why, again, dwelling on this past 15, 20 minutes in regards to the content piece, you're doing it properly.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
And you're having fun doing it.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We're having fun. I mean, and if it weren't fun, I wouldn't want to do it. Our work is fun. We love our work, but nobody wants to sit through a sales pitch or feel like.

Brett Johnson:
And they won't in a podcast.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
And you know what? I don't want to give one. I don't know, I feel skeezy. It's just me. It's not me.

Brett Johnson:
And, then, saying that as well too. All the sudden, you're giving an example of what working with Allerton is like.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
That's exactly. That's what this whole thing can do is give an example of those guys sound like they know what they're doing, number one. And number two, she sounds like she'd be fun to work with. She gets it.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
And Joel does, too, in the episodes that he records and has done. Let's call them, let's have an interview with them, you know, and see if we can work with them sort of thing.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah. I mean, it's so easy to reach out to somebody. I mean, it's kind of like blind-date-ish, right? But it's so easy to reach out to somebody and they accept, and then you've got this interview and this really cool podcast that you're putting out to people with great information. It's just a great thing.

Brett Johnson:
There's a lot of discussion about, okay, we're going to create a podcast. We've got to publish, what should our schedule be? Every two weeks, every week, every day, blah, blah, blah? You are against the norm, for sure, in regards to when it happens.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
The frequency?

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, the frequency.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Is that a good thing?

Brett Johnson:
Good or bad doesn't matter, does it? Because you're getting noted in books. You are now in the level of professional development, so what? The contents good. I do want to make a point in regards to, really, you don't have a schedule. I'm sure in your mind you do. It's like "Okay, I want to get a couple of them done a month," but a lot of it hinges on if the person's available to talk to, of course. I think, overall, we've been, maybe, doing one to two a month for sure, depends on availability. Probably during the school season, it might be a little bit easier. Let's talk about were you thinking of a frequency schedule, or just like, you know, when this happens, we get it done, but let's make sure we kind of focus on getting something out once a month, a couple of times a month?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes. We, of course, have a schedule in mind, but we're also forgiving of ourselves because this is something we do for fun, right? I'm going to back up a little bit. After we started our podcast and had it going for a while, we contracted with somebody that could kind of audit our podcast and give us some tips and tricks and things like that. All I did was provide a couple different samples, and … But, anyway, he kicked back some really good input for how to improve our podcast, and they were simple fixes that I could do, that I feel like greatly improved them, and Joel had the same feedback, but his was tailored to him, of course. That was really helpful for us. Wait, I forgot your original question even. What was your original question? I was going somewhere. I really, I was going somewhere.

Brett Johnson:
Your plan for frequency.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Oh, plan for frequency.

Brett Johnson:
Right, or the lack of, either way.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Or the lack of. One of the things that he recommended to us was to tape more frequently, tape more frequently, but also divide some of these up. We might be interviewing somebody, and it might be a longer podcast, but create some natural breaks in there where we can separate it out over like, let's say five days. Now we don't do that. It's probably still a good idea. I think our podcasts, they're pretty short. It's not This American Life long, like an hour, which is one of my favorites, but I would say we wind up 10, 20 minutes somewhere in that range, depending on how it goes. I don't know, he seemed to think shorter was better, but I'm not sure how I feel about that, honestly. But otherwise, it's a matter of how busy are we? When can we get people scheduled? But things happen. My electricity went out about an hour before I was supposed to podcast recently. I had to reschedule somebody on out.

Brett Johnson:
Oh, now. Wow, okay, yeah.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah, so, you know, there are just some things that happen. People are really good about not canceling or, you know, that kind of thing, they really are. It is somewhat rare, but it just depends on how quickly we can get people scheduled in. I need time in the office. I will tell you, I cannot tape back to back to back to back podcasts. I'm gassed.

Brett Johnson:
It fries you.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
It does.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, because you want to be respectful of your guest, and really be on it, but your mind can wander, and you're not as fresh as the first one compared to the fourth one.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
That's right.

Brett Johnson:
And, especially, even if it is 20 minutes. And you know what? A 20-minute interview is not a 20-minute interview.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
No, it's not.

Brett Johnson:
You're on the phone with them 5 to 10 minutes prior, just loosening them "in the green room".

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
And then getting into, and then years always post, you're probably going to talk a little bit afterwards, too.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Then, afterwards, I need to tape my intro and outro, so I need time to kind of reflect, brings together, you know, that kind of thing.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, I think the infrequency is fine. I think the content holds its own. I think you walked into it, right? You and Joel walked into it, right, in regards to investing in yourself. And this isn't a shameless plug to work with a consultant or anybody.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Sure.

Brett Johnson:
But if you're putting money into this, you will get it accomplished. You know there's going to be a bill coming from your hosting platform, the person editing, whoever is involved, even your web designer. You know you're paying people to do certain things for you, it's like, "Oh, why are we paying this, and we're not doing it?"

Carole Dorn-Bell:
That's right.

Brett Johnson:
That's probably in the back of your mind. That works for me. If I'm paying for something, it's like, you know what, "I've got to do this. I'm going to do this," because I enjoy doing it anyway, just get it on the schedule.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
When we pay for things, we value them more.

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I mean, it just is.

Brett Johnson:
I think that in itself is a lesson. If you're going to do it and you do everything, but say, "Hey, we'll do it, but we'll do it for free," you're not going to get it done. You really aren't.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Every once in a while, we have the conversation, should we continue with this? And I'm always yes. I like it. I feel like it's off of my regular kind of work that I do, so it diverges from that a little bit, and it's fun and it's interesting, but we always come back to yes with it.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I mean, yeah, it's a little bit of time, but it's worth it.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Well, especially, for the quick feedback you're getting on everything. You're enjoying it, and you're getting these stories that are just (inaudible) like that's cool, and no one else is showcasing it. Nobody else is talking about it. It's giving them exposure outside of their small community. That could be a prime example for any community around the country of these things going on. It's great, yeah. Social media strategy. At the beginning, what were you thinking about doing? And social media, I'm talking about platforms, whether it be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Has that evolved? What was targeted? What do you do with supporting, you know, getting the word out?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
With the We Love Schools Podcast specifically?

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, and is it tied in with the business in some fashion, or is it even separate? What were the discussions with that?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We did have some discussion about that, and it is linked off of our Allerton Hill webpage, but it's not very prominent. Within our podcast, we push the We Love Schools website. We don't push our Allerton Hill, and so people go directly there. Twitter, all the social media, it's We Love Schools oriented. It's not toward our firm either. And again, maybe we're making a mistake there, but I don't think so. It feels right for us.

Brett Johnson:
Then it's right.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Right? A lot of it is feel, like if it feels kind of icky, you know, but we have somebody that does run that for us. Now I will, on my work Twitter, I try and post pictures of work, right, so I'll post a picture, usually, and tag different people that I'm interviewing, and tag of course @schoolspodcast, and they will retweet, you know, so like, "Interviewing so-and-so today about blah, blah, blah. Stay tuned," kind of thing, so at least I'm keeping it out there in a different way. And, of course, I find that they retweet it, so it's the planting of the seeds again. It just brings a lot of goodwill.

Brett Johnson:
Especially when you're finding a topic that they're very proud of that they want to talk about. Obviously, that's why they want to be on the podcast is to toot their own horn, perfectly legit, it's fine, because they're looking for avenues to talk about stuff that they're doing. It's great. It's like, "Oh, hey, she's going to interview us. This is a self-plug that doesn't sound like we're talking about ourselves. Someone else is interviewing us about this."

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes, I think that's part of the power for them. I mean usually I find that, maybe, they've been able to talk about something at a school board meeting which, if you've ever been to a school board meeting, not many people go, so it's a little bit like if a tree falls in a forest, did it really happen? There's just not the audience, and it's not the best venue, frankly, for something like that to really get it out. Or they might put something in their newsletter, or put something out internally, and I think there's that, yes, absolutely do that, for one, for any that are considering that, but it has a different level of validation when you're on, when you've been asked, you know, maybe by a school's podcast or podcast to be interviewed, that, wow, this is maybe something pretty special, and I think they see that.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Getting into the, kind of the nuts and bolts, I guess. I gave you these questions ahead of time. You're probably going, "Why does he want to know about that? Do I remember how that happened?" I only bring it up because there are so many options of a hosting platform where you can go to host, whether it's Blubrry, Spreaker, whatever the case might be. You chose Libsyn early on. Do you remember or recall why Libsyn? I only bring it up because there are some really great options out there, or there's some pieces to Libsyn that you thought were attractive compared to others?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
No.

Brett Johnson:
Okay.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I have no idea.

Brett Johnson:
Okay, that's fine. It could have been the choice of your editor, and (inaudible) at that.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah. I think it was the magic that occurred, but I mean, that is definitely.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
If you say switch, we will switch. We trust you unequivocally.

Brett Johnson:
Until Libsyn says and does things wrong, I say keep going with it because it's not necessarily a hassle to switch to another podcast platform. If you don't have to, why? You know, until you realize that their numbers really aren't true or their support's really bad and something happened. Just like anything else in life, if you're just dissatisfied with, it really comes down to support. It really does. If something happens, and the support's not there, then you start thinking about it.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah, we've never had an issue at all. But yeah, I wasn't part those … it's part of the magic that occurred outside of anything.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah. I've got a few go-tos. I've used four or five different ones. (inaudible) I'm interested just to see if the platforms are like. So, for me, this was my first foray into Libsyn, to know what that platform's like. Again, everybody's the same ultimately. It's just the user experience.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I'm a tinkerer like that too. I like to see like, "Oh, what's that like? What's that do?"

Brett Johnson:
What's that look like? What's that do? What doesn't that do you? I think there are some platforms that do better than others specific to what you need. For example, Spreaker, you can go live and live stream on Spreaker. They're the only platform that you can do that, so it's kind of a live radio online, when it comes down to it. If that's not your gig, and you're not interested in doing it, you're not really paying for that option, but okay, that's not really a platform I have to go to if that's never really in the game plan.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
I've used that platform quite a bit for live stream for different events and a nonprofit that I work with as well too. Works perfectly. It's just dog and pony show stuff, honestly, you know, but it's different access and those we interviewed thought it was kinda cool.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Oh, I bet. It's intimidating going live.

Brett Johnson:
It is, a little bit, but we always say, "Hey, it's being recorded at the same time. We'll edit for those that, the bigger audience that probably will be listening afterwards, so with the live, don't worry about it. Don't worry about it too much," so it gets out of their minds, so that's fine. Now, you mentioned early, your recording space is your home, home office and such. Let's talk about the equipment that you literally have there at the house.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
So it's a beautiful microphone. It even is pretty to look at. I mean that. I'm rather attached to the whole setup. It's on this easel kind of thing or this arm that I just swing over, and I have my laptop set up and, you know, I'm a planner, so I don't like to leave anything to the last minute. So, before I interview, I get on, I don't know, about 10 minutes ahead of time just to make sure everything's plugged in properly because sometimes your brain shorts out and, with anybody. And wait, where does this plug in and how? I want to make sure that … every once in a while that happens, but I want to make sure that everything is set up correctly.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I've got the right call-in number that I have for somebody, and that I'm good to go, but it's so incredibly simple. It runs off of you know, I call through Skype. It's all through my computer, taped through, I think it's Call Recorder. After I'm done, I upload to you. Now I once made the mistake of, I knew somebody that I was interviewing. We were just having a catch-up session about how the kids and things like that, so I turned the Call Recorder off, forgot, and started interviewing. Now, I just leave it on because I just don't want to leave anything to chance, and I felt like such a bozo.

Brett Johnson:
It won't be the first or last time to do it. As you've noticed me, I'm eyeballing the recording. Every once in a while, I'm making sure it's still red, it's still going on because every system has ghosts in the machine, and whether even you did hit record and it stops like, oh, computer glitch. Great. Okay, and you got to start over wherever you started.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
It happens to everybody. Or run out of space on the computer, that it doesn't record anymore. Yeah, it's happened with a couple of podcasters I work with. They went through a great recording session. In fact, it was specific to Lawyer Talk here that I work with, and halfway in, Steve goes to the computer and looks at it goes, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no," and about halfway through, it stopped.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
And you cannot recreate that magic.

Brett Johnson:
You can't. That was the problem. You can't recreate it. They did to a certain point, but they were all going, "No! Did that piece? Oh, no, no," because it was such a great conversation. I happened to be out in the reception area listening in, and it was a good session. They were having a blast, so you just … you can't, you, and then you got to try to, "Okay, where did it stop? Did we talk about that already?" So it's really hard to recreate, other than just from the very beginning, and it loses its luster when you have to do that. It's kind of tough. It's doable, but it's tough.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
It does. It's like having somebody come in mid conversation and say, "What were you guys talking about?" You know, it was so involved, just forget it, like, you know?

Brett Johnson:
You wouldn't get it.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Just forget it.

Brett Johnson:
Just forget it, exactly.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We're moving on.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, right, right. Some realities to a podcast recording, especially, over the long haul. I mean, there are bumps in the road. Obviously, our relationship started with a bump in the road.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Not on your part or not on our part.

Brett Johnson:
Because of something happened that we got together and started working together.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
Let's talk about some of those bumps in the road. You've had now, how many years recording? There are things that are going to happen. Change of people. We won't ever go there again with that type of conversation. Think of some things because I think it's a good example of it's not all smooth sailing, but you overcome it and keep moving on.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
You know, I think bumps in the road? Every once in a while, I have somebody that I interview that's been passed on to me as somebody that really would have a lot to say or a great topic and, honestly, it's a flat interview, and I feel it. I can feel it, like, either I … One of the things I care about as somebody who's doing the interviewing is, I want to establish that rapport early on with that person. Like I said, I often don't know these people that I'm interviewing, but sometimes the interview's just really flat. Or we might start out in the green room, as you noted so appropriately, having this great conversation, and then we get to the recording of it and they're flat, and it's "What happened?"

Carole Dorn-Bell:
That's rare, but it's deflating. It's just the deflating feeling because, as a host, I'm trying to poke and things like this, and to get this going again, get the mojo going, so I think that's one. I care about having, you know, we talked about the frequency, I do want a regular kind of drumbeat of podcasts being released out there and sometimes that's hard. It's really hard around the holidays with people's schedules, and so we find we have to work far in advance come the holidays. We're not always very good about that, but I think for me, the biggest thing … I feel like with the evolution that we've had, we've worked through the bumps in the road through that to make for a better podcast by taping the intro and outro separately outside of the podcast, the main podcast taping.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We've worked through different things like that or improved kind of the way we're taping the podcast with our delivery. You know, one of the recommendations that I thought was really astute was that our podcast, whoever did our audit, I can't remember who, but he mentioned refer to listeners, listeners. You know, for our listeners, you know, say that kind of thing, tell them about "bah, bah, bah", and so I started doing that. I'm not always very good about doing that, and you don't want to overdo it, but it's those kinds of things that have been very helpful. I think the hardest for me is when that rapport falls flat, and sometimes it does, or I'm going to be just dead honest here, sometimes the topic is really boring to me.

Brett Johnson:
Well it can't always be home runs, that's true.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
It can't always be, but it's interesting to somebody else, so I try and keep it, but sometimes I'm like, "Whoa, golly."

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, because I'll even go through an episode, not yours, but a podcast episode that I typically will listen to on an ongoing basis, but sometimes I know they're going to have good stuff, and it's like, "You know what? Let's power through it because I know that even though the topic may not be good, they always give me something." You've gone to workshops and conferences and such and you kind of sit through something, and there's no way that you can't get something out of it. If you have to be here anyway, yes, somebody is going to get something out of it, or maybe it'll turn all of the sudden in the middle of it and it's like "Oh, wow! This did happen. Okay, good." You never know.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes, it's persevering. But yeah, somebody does get something out of it, and I try to. But I think those are very rare. It's very rare, but I'm very cognizant as the host of I want to put on something that's interesting, and I want interesting topics for people. I want people to listen.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Exactly, yeah. So future plans for the podcast. In your mind, maybe, you haven't told Joel yet, and this is a great forum to tell Joel, "You know, I want to do this." Just drop the bomb right now.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah, here it is. Sorry, Joel.

Brett Johnson:
This is where we're going in 2020 with it.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
That's right. I am so intrigued by the idea of using it as PD.

Brett Johnson:
That's caught my interest now, too. That you've got that feedback that what could that do? What that could be?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes, so these superintendents recommended us as a form of PD, and especially in districts where they can't get to Columbus or to Cincinnati for PD, where they're further out. But I'm intrigued by it, and so right now I am so honored that they think of our podcast in that way. I feel this like shame, I'm not giving it more intentionality with the PD aspect, and so I guess I'd like to give it more focus from a PD aspect of it somehow. I'm not quite sure how to go about that yet because I haven't gotten my mind around that, but there's great potential there.

Brett Johnson:
Huge, yeah.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
People are busy. It's really hard to get people out for anything right now. I see it within our home school districts to get people to turn out for a meeting, and I'm living it. I think you have kids around my age.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I'm sorry, around my kids age. That came out wrong. So, where, yeah, you want me to come out for a meeting about, you know, I don't know, why we need a levy. Okay. Well, I have five things this night where I'm running. I just work for my kids at night. I mean, that's my, that's you know, I have a day job and a night job and (inaudible) where do you want to fit that in? People are just busy.

Brett Johnson:
Or the agenda doesn't fit anything, where the focus is around the school my kid's going to. It's all the elementary schools and he is now and she's at a school, you know, all these scenarios that, how do you get to them?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes, and so I think people are just busy, but they have time in the car. They have time when they're running or whatever to listen to some of their favorites, and so hopefully, that's where we fit in. Hopefully we're one of their favorites.

Brett Johnson:
Right, right. Exactly. Yeah. Let's end with some advice for a consulting firm. Let's really keep it in that realm because that's what you're doing. As we talked about earlier, you don't advertise, you really don't promote who you are, you've built the business on the legs that you do what you say you're going to do, and referrals and such. But there's a consulting firm that's interested in using this as a marketing tool, a soft sell, as it were, or just to have great conversations with the clients, you know, to build that relationship up and use it that way. All these different pieces to why do a podcast? What are some advice and maybe some key people that need to be involved in the ground level to make it solid from the get-go?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Well key people to involved from the get-go. Straight off, they're going to need somebody like you because I didn't know what equipment to buy. I didn't know how to go about this, what was involved, and how time-intensive or anything. I just had this instinct, and I was just a podcast listener, consumer myself. I think, right out of the gate, that's kind of the starting block. I think, honestly, I'm going to kind of toot our own horn.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I'm really proud of how we've gone about this and how we go about our business because we really, we prize and value relationships above all else, and so we stay true to that. I believe in everything that we do, and if you do good, people will notice, and they'll want to follow you. That's what I would say has worked for us and that would work for others is stay true to the relationships of things and good will follow. I guess it really is who we are as a firm. We care about those things. It is what we value, and it's just never led us astray. We've stayed true to that core, and it's so deep.

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
It's true.

Brett Johnson:
Well, no, but I think it's true because I've heard other examples, too, that they wanted to create a podcast to supplement a newsletter. Okay. It didn't work because it was just a task. They heard back from their association members that, "Hey, could you do a podcast instead of the newsletter because I listen to podcasts. I'm not reading your newsletter." Well, then it became a task that they did a podcast in addition to the newsletter. Didn't work.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Do you know why?

Brett Johnson:
It should have, but they looked at it the wrong way.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
They looked at it the wrong way. I'm going to kind of sidebar a little bit. So, within communications work, there is something, it's … I don't know if the term is still relevant within, you know, how to form a website. When you look at a website, a lot of times people develop their website and they look at how do I think for my organization this should work? Well, it's geared internally toward the organization how they think the organization should work, but there's something called use cases where what are the different uses people might have for your (inaudible)? And I think that's how a lot of things … it might work for you, the organization, to promote your newsletter on there, but does that help … is that really the angle people really care about it?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I think it's getting the angle they care about, you know, school districts are always looking, and I think that's why our topics work, is that it's from superintendents to other superintendents and other school leaders out there, and so they are seeing these cool things. Well, maybe I can do that lunch program, that really cool lunch program and replicate it. And fine, go be the hero. The great thing about education is that they have no compunction about calling each other for a great idea and saying, "Okay, what were your pitfalls? How do I make this work?" So I feel like our podcast is a conduit to making other good happen for them.

Brett Johnson:
Those that I have done so far and listen to older ones as well, too, it comes off that way, that they're not really showboating like, "Look what we're doing here. This is great stuff," it's just, "Yeah, we're doing it the best that we can. And, luckily, we got great people around us that with this project is 'I got to give kudos to her.'" I mean, over time and time again, you hear the "Kudos to her. Kudos to him." The superintendent or the main person you're really talking to is just throwing everything off of themselves. It's amazing.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah, I think there's a humility to it that, I think, makes it more receptive to people too. It creates a genuineness, a realness to it.

Brett Johnson:
I think that and, again, choosing the right topics, the right people, makes that podcast work for you. You're bringing all these great ideas together. The more and more we talk about it, I'm not surprised that somebody made that comment to you that, you know, this is really good stuff, that it's PD level type of content because it has nothing to do with Allerton, nothing.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
No, it doesn't.

Brett Johnson:
Ultimately, it does, yes, it's brought to you by.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes, exactly.

Brett Johnson:
You know, we're helping, we're "bringing these people to the table", but beyond that, let's have the conversation, let's get you connected.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I think we've done a good job of staying true to our firm and the genuineness that we, I think, as individuals within the firm and as a team and how we work with our clients and the people we work with, so I'm proud of it, but can we do better? Oh, yeah. We can do a lot better.

Brett Johnson:
But that's good because that means you want to continue on. You have plans in your mind about how we can make this better because this is doing what we want it to do. That's good. When the time comes that you've exhausted, you'll know it.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
That's right.

Brett Johnson:
You'll know when it's done. Well thank you for being a guest. I really appreciate it. I think this is good insight. I have not had an opportunity to talk to, you know, basically, a consulting firm, those that have business that's not advertising itself and how they went about using, and are using, this type of medium to do what they want to do but give themselves a little bit of a lift as well too, but it's not all about them. I think this has been a good showcase on how to get that accomplished.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Well thank you. I appreciate being on this side. This is good PD for me, personally, to be on this side.

Brett Johnson:
I'm glad you had fun.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah, thank you for bringing to your beautiful space here.

Brett Johnson:
Sure, no problem. Thank you, again. I appreciate it.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Thank you.

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Carole Dorn-Bell is my guest on this episode. She is a partner at Allerton Hill Consulting and a host of the podcast We Love Schools, along with consultancy partner Joel Gagne.

Allerton Hill Consulting does no advertising. So why a podcast? Especially when a podcast itself could be considered advertising?

Carole does a great job explaining why they thought of using a podcast. She also goes in depth on how they are implementing the podcast into their networking and support strategy. All the while not specifically supporting Allerton Hill Consulting.

This podcast is a great example for any business owner who is looking at podcasting but is afraid that it could come off, as she calls it, “too schmaltzy,” too much of an advertisement.

It doesn’t have to be. The We Love Schools podcast is really good example of that.

We Love Schools Podcast – Fresh Foods That Students Actually Eat

We Love Schools Podcast – The Big Blue Bus Of Washington Court House

Recorded in Studio C at the 511 Studios in the Brewery District, downtown Columbus, OH.