We Love Schools

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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.

Women Of Influence

With me in this episode is Emily Bench. She’s the host of the podcast Women Of Influence. She is also a reporter with Columbus Business First, a traditional media outlet focusing on local business news in Columbus, Ohio market.

This is an interesting story about a traditional media outlet giving her 100% support for this podcast.

Her idea of what her podcast is about, as well as the support Columbus Business First is giving her, is well worth the listen. Hope you enjoy it.

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

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Women of Influence 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:
Well, Emily thanks for joining me on the podcast. I appreciate it.

Emily Bench:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
As I start off with all my guests, I want to dig a little bit off topic, but get to know you better, as well – the nonprofits that you support; that you give your time, talent, treasure to. Who do you work with?

Emily Bench:
I do a lot of work with nonprofits. That’s something I’ve always been really passionate about since I was in college. The one that I’ve worked with throughout college and then a little bit afterwards, which I’m still involved with, is called Young Life. We do a lot of youth development and coaching with students in local high schools.

Emily Bench:
Particularly for me, it was with Columbus City Schools. Did work with Beechcroft High School and then did a little bit with Dominion Middle School, which is a Columbus City School middle school. That’s what I do outside of Business First. I also contribute some efforts to-

Brett Johnson:
Give us a little bit about your background and your history before you got into, let’s say, the day of the podcast, but what you’ve been doing with Business First, your education background, as well, too.

Emily Bench:
I studied journalism and media communications at Otterbein University. Go Cardinals. I am from Westerville, and my mom had a job there, so I got free tuition, which is amazing.

Brett Johnson:
Can’t beat that! Yeah.

Emily Bench:
I know, it’s … I tell people that, and they’re always like, “That’s freakin’ insane.” Very thankful for that. I’ve always loved writing and reading; they were always my favorite things, so I went into journalism because I- what could I get paid for to write and read all the time, and that was the thing that I could do.

Emily Bench:
I studied that, and I was really lucky to land an internship at The Columbus Dispatch, which is really hard to do. I was very, very thankful for that. That got my toes in the water a little bit more with the industry of journalism, and decided I wanted to keep going down that path.

Emily Bench:
Then graduated; was doing some freelance work for them at the same time that I was graduating; then started working at Business First. That was just … I don’t even quite remember how that happened. I think my editor knew someone that I knew, but I can’t quite remember.

Emily Bench:
They had an opening, and I just called one day. I called Business First, literally just the receptionist – the very anti-millennial answer, right? People probably thought I would be too scared, but I just called, and I was like, “Do you have a job? I need a job and want to stay in Columbus. I love Columbus.” Doug was like, “Yeah, I do.”

Emily Bench:
So, I was lucky, and I got a job with Business First. Been there about a year and a half. We are very small news team. We’re very scrappy. Most people don’t realize that we are rather small. There’s four reporters and three editors, so we all cover about four to five things.

Emily Bench:
I cover sports business, so that mostly meant Save The Crew over the past year; education, which mostly means Ohio State, unless something big happens at Capital or something; then, travel and tourism, arts, and nonprofit. Recently, I’ve started a- I want to say low key, but it’s not an official beat yet, but women in business beat, which leads me to the podcast.

Emily Bench:
So, with that, women in business is just something that I am very inspired and passionate about. I started work just wanting to get a job, like most of us do right out of college. I never really thought about my career or what I wanted out of it and what trajectory I wanted for myself – where I could see myself in 20-30 years.

Emily Bench:
Once I started talking to women who are my parents’ age or maybe a little older, who have been through that, I was just so inspired by them; especially since when they started working, it was such a different field than my experience coming in in 2019, or 2018 as a worker.

Emily Bench:
I just started talking to people in my own time and meeting with people for coffee, for cocktails. “Just tell me about …” and having Business First as that platform was amazing. I could reach out to a CEO, which not a lot of 22-year-olds can do and say, “Hey, can we meet?” And they would.

Emily Bench:
I just was learning more about them, and I just thought it was so fascinating. I also just became much more passionate about, yes, we have come so far, but there still is a lot of space we need to work on. I wanted to create a space where we could talk about those things with the people who have lived it.

Emily Bench:
Throughout that process of just meeting with people and talking to people, I just got really excited about it and thought if we want this representation in our paper, that’s a void that I want to fill; rather than just saying, “Hey, I’ve noticed that we don’t cover women in business as much as we cover men.” Just leaving it at that is a bummer. I was like, “Hey, I’ve noticed this, and I want to help with the issue.”.

Emily Bench:
My editors were amazing. I could not have been more supported. They said, “Absolutely. Go for it,” and very much just left it up to me, which, my newsroom is very much hands-off and not super-micromanage-y, which I really appreciate; I know that means that they respect my opinion and what I can think.

Emily Bench:
They just left it up to me to go from there, so that was overwhelming, but also exciting. I started with doing a little bit more of women in business web coverage for the paper. I would just start interviewing; going around town to events or talking with public officials about this recent policy change that they’ve made for women, or whatever.

Emily Bench:
Throughout that, met some awesome women, and just sent out a cold email to all of them, which I don’t know if I would recommend, because it was actually pretty overwhelming the amount of support I got back.

Brett Johnson:
Oh, good. Oh, wow, good.

Emily Bench:
Yeah, because I think … Well, one, having Business First tied to it, that’s great. Two, I think it really does fill a void that a lot of people at the local level don’t get. We can listen to “How I built this,” or all these other great podcasts about people in business, but, one, it’s not local, and two, there’s very few, “Let’s talk to women and how they did this and how they built their own career.” I don’t think I’ve had a person say they wouldn’t do it. It’s just been great the amount of support I’ve gotten. I sent out those emails, and the rest is history, I guess.

Brett Johnson:
Great, yeah. Well, I think everyone going into business has a struggle, but I think women have a unique struggle, just from the lack of financial stream coming into fund – going to the bank, going to wherever it might be to fund this idea. It’s statistically shown that it’s a problem still. I think those stories can be very heroic. If nothing else, supportive of, “I can do this. I can do this.”

Emily Bench:
Oh, my gosh, yeah. I have been so inspired by the women who come in; just the stories that they’ve told me; the things that they’ve gone through to get to this career that they love, but that was tough to build. Just me, starting out my career, it’s literally just networking for free … I mean, just learning so much from these amazing women. It’s been a blast.

Brett Johnson:
How long did it take for the pitch? You had the idea. You just threw it at Doug, I’m assuming, and he said, “Yeah, go for it”?

Emily Bench:
It was kind of an evolution. I was thinking about it, and I started covering it with a random cover story – I don’t even remember how long ago. Six-seven months ago, now, probably – about three women; the three leaders of Shadowbox, which is right down the street. They’re three women; it’s a COO, CEO, and chief marketing- CMO. They’re all women, and they run up this organization. I thought that that was just such a cool business model, so I interviewed them and did a big cover story on them.

Emily Bench:
Then, I think just because I’m young, and a woman, they just were like, “You’ll be interested,” which luckily, I really am. There would be some pitches we’d randomly get from companies. They’d throw them my way, and I gladly took them. Then I started thinking maybe there are some ways that I can proactively cover this and would go to some things.

Emily Bench:
It took a while for me to think I actually want to rein this as almost like a beat and make it my thing to cover. Once I did that, I’m serious, I sat … I have a weekly meeting with Doug, and my other boss, Mark, and Eleanor. I just was like, “Here’s an idea …” We’d been talking about podcasts for a while. We have a beer podcast, where we talk about beer and business.

Emily Bench:
Doug and Mark see the need for a podcast, and they think, like we’ve said before, that it is a great way to engage with our audience in a different way. Especially to people who might not be subscribers, it’s a way to get them in, like, “Look at this great content! Subscribe!” Because we want to get paid.

Emily Bench:
I kind of just said, “Hey, I know we’re talking about podcasts. I think from the stuff that I’ve been covering and the women who I have relationships with from just working out this paper, I think this would be a really good idea.” I really wanted it to be not a “Tell me about your company” podcast; it was “Tell me about your career. What has it been like, from the highs and lows, everything in between.”.

Emily Bench:
I wanted it to be a personal conversation. We sit at these big comfy chairs and just have coffee. It’s casual. They seem to really like that, because I think it also adds … We’re Business First. We’re very ‘business all the time,’ and I think it added a level of depth to our reporting.

Brett Johnson:
The after-five feel.

Emily Bench:
Yeah, right. Exactly. After that meeting, they were pretty much like, “Go for it.” I went and did some homework; talked with one of my colleagues, who- he picked up doing the technical side of podcasts a little bit more in recent months. We said, “What do we feel like this could be like? What’s our mission? Who do we want to talk to?”

Emily Bench:
Then I came back with more of a solid pitch, and then, it was go time. Currently, we’re working to get advertisement for the podcast, which is great for our paper. That’s really exciting, because I think that that’s something that they can sell and something that we can put our name on, so, it’s exciting.

Brett Johnson:
Does some of the content turn into content for the print version?

Emily Bench:
Yes. Actually a couple of times. Some of the women I’ve brought in … The first one I had was with Falon Donahue. She’s the CEO VentureOhio. She’s amazing. I had her turn into … We have a special section in our paper called Newsmakers, which is a profile on a businessperson. Again, it’s the story behind the businessperson …

Emily Bench:
One example was Shayla Favor, one of our new council members. She used to be in culinary school, and how that shaped her career. It’s always fun lighter things. Two of them, I had … two of them. I had Falon and Liz Brown, who’s also on council. They both … I went back; listened to the podcast; pulled some stuff from what they said, and made a whole web story out of it, so it was nice, but, yeah, I’ve done that a couple of times.

Brett Johnson:
That’s good. It’s always nice to use content you have already.

Emily Bench:
Absolutely-

Brett Johnson:
And kind of a … Not a throw-away story, at all. It is a good story, but it’s like, “Okay, I can use this multiple times, and …” [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
Especially when they’re so … They’re CEOs. They’re city councilmen. They’re very busy, so that helps a lot.

Brett Johnson:
You bet, yeah. You had talked about planning the podcast out. What was that process like of who you would be approaching? The C-Suite level, or … Talk about that process.

Emily Bench:
That’s still a work in progress. We’re still figuring it out. What we really wanted was women at the top of their game; we’re talking C-Suite level, executive-director level. Not that we don’t think that directors in other departments or areas aren’t awesome and bad-ass – I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that – but that they’re really cool, but we’re really looking for women who are in positions that you normally wouldn’t think they are, because they’re women.

Emily Bench:
Which, unfortunately, we’re talking publicly traded boards, publicly traded companies. A lot of times, we’re just not seeing leadership in those areas. I started in that area, and then, I also ventured out there and looked into politics. Talked with Liz Brown on council; talked to some people in the nonprofit space. Wanted to get a wide swath of people,0 because I think the wider we are in our coverage, the more people we can get interested and drawn in.

Emily Bench:
I have some startups, some people in VC, some … We have it all now. That’s who we thought … That’s who we want to talk to. We do get a lot of pitches from other people, and it’s always hard … That’s something that I’m just so thankful for that it’s been so well-received from the community; that people want to be on it and tell their story. That’s just been so fun.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. How’s the podcast allowing you to showcase your expertise, as well as showcasing what Business First does really well? Is that a piece of- in the back your mind going, “Okay, yes, I want to interview the best of the best, of course, but I also want this to push us forward, as well, too, as a platform …”?

Emily Bench:
That’s a great question. One, I’m a journalist, so asking questions is what I get paid to do. That’s definitely been really fun being able to do that background research and ask the hard questions, but also just give them an environment, at the same time, that’s a little more relaxed than a sit-down with my reporter notebook – “Tell me the answer to this question.”

Emily Bench:
I definitely think it’s been able to showcase my question-asking skills, for sure, and just my curiosity. I’ve always been an extremely curious person. I think that’s why journalism was very interesting to me, because I’m always asking questions.

Emily Bench:
I think that it also really showcases that, because a lot of times, we’ll be in conversations, and we’ll just totally derail which it’s really fun … They’ll just say something, and I’m like, “That’s amazing!” One woman I just recently talked to, her grandma used to own a jelly factory in the ’30s and was this awesome woman business owner, when no woman owned a business. Unfortunately, it was because of unfortunate events, but she still owned a business. We just talked about that for forever, because I was so interested in that.

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Emily Bench:
I think that, as far as I go, and then as far as Business First goes, we want to be- we call ourselves ‘the business authority of Columbus.’ I think, moving forward as a paper, we want to be the business authority for everyone, not just the same people that look the same, talk the same, or are from the same area. We want to have more diverse coverage, and I think we’ve been doing that in our web coverage, but also with this podcast. That’s just one small thing that I think our paper’s really caught a hold of and really wanted to tackle. So, yeah, I’m part of an awesome team that really feels that same way.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Was any return on influence talked about in regards to what – in a year’s time, in two years’ time – the podcast could be doing, should be doing for you, and for the paper, too?

Emily Bench:
I definitely think that … This was something that we’re still trying to figure out; unfortunately, if we run through all of the women C-Suite executives, we’re gonna get to the end at some point, because it’s not … It’s a great list, but it’s not a super-exhaustive list.

Emily Bench:
We want to make sure that we’re spreading that out, and we’re figuring out ways to venture into other spaces, whether that be professional athletes … Just trying to be more creative with who we’re bringing in, because eventually, we’re gonna get to the end of CEOs, and we want to be more than just that. We want to be able to speak into all different kinds of industries. I would hope, in a year or two from now, we’re talking to people in all different industries leading up different initiatives and different organizations. I think that that would be really the goal in a year, two years’ time.

Brett Johnson:
You’ve put the title of the podcast “Women of Influence,” so it’s pretty broad.

Emily Bench:
Yeah, it is.

Brett Johnson:
Depending on your target … Of course, it’s C-Suite right now, but there are many levels, and even the definition of women, and influence can really mean anything you want it to be, as it goes along.

Emily Bench:
Yeah, that’s a good point.

Brett Johnson:
Which is kinda cool,

Emily Bench:
I still am just so floored by how many women want to just talk about that, or they know another woman. I think that that’s been so interesting. Other women I’ve brought on the podcast give me a list of six other women to reach out to. It’s just that kind of a community, where they’re like, “Hey, this woman’s doing awesome things, and I want them to have a spotlight on themselves, as well.”

Brett Johnson:
I wonder, when you mentioned that, about that the list may come to an end … It may not, though, if you think about it, because you will get those referrals, because you’re doing such a good job with the interview. They were impressed. They were happy with the end result. They’re more than happy to give you three more [cross talk] you hope that two or three of those were never on your list, so you just added to it, or they have developed over the time that- all of a sudden, they’re at a level that you do want to interview them, if that’s what you want to do at the time, which is intriguing; which is great …

Emily Bench:
Right, yeah, and I have a list of … Yeah, I have a list of my idols, who I would love to talk to that I haven’t heard from yet, but fingers crossed.

Brett Johnson:
I think that that’s … What’s intriguing about podcasting right now is you do get those results; that feedback; that email back; that phone call back a little quicker than you do with a lot of even just an interview for a blog, or an article for a paper-

Emily Bench:
Sure. it is crazy.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, it’s … Especially when you’ve got quite a few under your belt. You’ve published. They listen to how you do it, and they listen to it going, “I could talk to her …”

Emily Bench:
Right..

Brett Johnson:
“Yeah, I like how she does this.” You’ve created a platform that’s probably very attractive to these women.

Emily Bench:
It has been so interesting. I found that, yeah, women … People really do want to talk to us at Business First. I think they see great value in that, but adding another level of a podcast to it … There’s been so much interest, which has been really fun.

Brett Johnson:
With an interview podcast, there’s a strategy. There’s good ways/bad ways of doing it. You’ve got to schedule them; you’ve got to figure out a time to get this all done, and fit your schedule; fit their schedules, as well, too. What’s been working so far for you, in terms of how did you think you were gonna do it, and how’s it evolved into how you’re doing it, or maybe it’s the same?

Emily Bench:
That has been a trial by fire. As we’re journalists, we’re just kind of all over the place. Some days, I will have days where I am so busy; I’m just swamped. Then other days, where it’s a slow news day, and we’re like, “What are we doing today?” We don’t know. It really depends on the day, and that’s what I always tell people.

Emily Bench:
As far as scheduling for my podcast goes, that has been definitely a learning experience. It’s just hard to schedule all these dates with these really important, busy women who- they have a certain time slot of like an hour that they can meet with me. I’m more than willing to do that, but I also have to make sure I’m looking through my reporting schedule, because that is my first priority and then figuring out where I can fit that in. It’s kind of been just like a puzzle, as far as scheduling goes.

Emily Bench:
I do no more than one a week, because otherwise, I would just be very overwhelmed, and our tech staff would be way overwhelmed with editing those, as well. I try doing one a week and spacing them out. We’ve taken a break for a couple weeks, because my colleague is overseas for a couple weeks, and then, in a couple weeks, I’ll be overseas, so we’re just …

Emily Bench:
We have a lot on back-file, so we can keep publishing them, which is great. I really recommend that. We filmed about six or seven, before we even published our first one, so while I’m gone, we can still publish a podcast that week, which is really nice.

Emily Bench:
As far as my research goes, before someone comes in, I have a template laid out of- I guess you could call them segments that I’d like to say. I’ll just do an- I have an intro for the podcast, obviously, which is pre-recorded; we say the same thing every time. Then I introduce my guest, and normally, I’ll just do research beforehand and do a little brief bio on them.

Emily Bench:
Then, we go into business questions: How do you do what you do? What is it like for you? Very specific to their industry and their position. Then, we’ll talk about broader concepts like negotiating for yourself, or talking about salary; just things that are very important to women in the workplace, but they might not know who to talk to, and they can listen to our podcast and get advice from a CEO. I think that’s very useful. We wanted to give something to our listeners that’s very tangible, and useful, and practical.

Emily Bench:
After that, which is obviously the bulk of our podcast, I go into a rapid-fire section, where I just ask a couple fun questions, which I ask each guest that comes on, and they just give me the first thing that comes to their head. That one’s always really fun.

Brett Johnson:
Oh, I can imagine. Exactly, yeah.

Emily Bench:
The one that gets them every time is what is the biggest myth about being a female executive? They always get stumped, and they have to think about it for a while. I think I could count … There have been very few of my guests, who have immediately known what to say to that answer, but they always have amazing answers.

Emily Bench:
That’s how that goes. That’s fun, and we’re always trying to think of new ways to do things. We, as a team, are trying to think of ways to be more multimedia with it – getting photos, and doing teaser videos, and all sorts of different things with that.

Brett Johnson:
That leads me into the next question about social-media strategy. What has evolved in doing it? What was- at the very front, “We gotta do this; we gotta do that …” What other things are you doing, then? What platforms are you utilizing to promote podcasts?

Emily Bench:
As reporters, we all are expected to really promote our stories and engage with our audience really well, just because we know the results of that. Our plan is always … Dan, my colleague, is really great at making these little teaser videos, where he pulls out these awesome little one-liners that the women on my podcast say and loops them into one 30-minute teaser, and we’ll tweet that out the week before and be like, “Hey, listen to all this great advice. Tune in next week, and you’ll hear the whole podcast.” That’s been really fun.

Emily Bench:
Even that alone has just been so well-received – so many retweets, so many likes. Twitter is Business First’s, and this podcast’s main way of reaching people. We also, obviously, this being Business First, LinkedIn’s very important to us, and we have Instagram, too, but we do more Instagram for longer-form stories and whatnot.

Emily Bench:
I would say Twitter’s our most-utilized platform, for sure. We just make sure we do one the week before and then the week of. Also, throughout that, I’m doing web coverage on women, and business stuff, so that always links us back to the podcast, because I think people are starting to click- connecting the podcast with me and how that’s my thing within Business First, so that’s been really cool.

Brett Johnson:
Which is cool to have. That it is-

Emily Bench:
Yeah. Sometimes, I think about it, and it’s just I’m so young and inexperienced and the fact that Doug, and Mark, my bosses, just were so for me doing this. I’m just so appreciative, and it’s been really fun.

Brett Johnson:
Are you utilizing video then on LinkedIn platform, as well, for those snippets?

Emily Bench:
Yeah, we’ll do the teaser videos only, then-

Brett Johnson:
Okay, on there, too [cross talk]

Emily Bench:
Yeah, and-

Brett Johnson:
-I know LinkedIn’s wanting video.

Emily Bench:
Yeah-

Brett Johnson:
Big time, yeah.

Emily Bench:
-and the great thing about LinkedIn is we really try to get our interviewees to share it on their LinkedIn, because if you’re a CEO of- like Kristy Campbell was one of my podcast guests, and she’s the COO of Rev1. That’s big time, and she shared it on her LinkedIn, and then, all of a sudden, we were getting all of these shares … People loved it, because I think they see that … Columbus 2020 shared it … Those kind of things are just always great.

Brett Johnson:
Right. You’re on SoundCloud for the platform to publish. What was that choice process of going with SoundCloud versus, you know, there are lots of other options out there … What were you thinking with that decision?

Emily Bench:
SoundCloud is where Columbus Business First has always done their podcasts. They started one back a couple of years ago, and we’ve still done it intermittently, if we bring in the mayor, or Alex Fisher, or someone very important in the business community. We’ll do a quick interview with them, and we would post it on SoundCloud, and they would have a really good response..

Emily Bench:
About a year ago, I would say now, the men in my office started a beer podcast, just because Dan, my colleague, covers beer, and Mark, and Doug are huge craft beer drinkers. Again, this is them just being so awesome. They were like, “Emily, do you wanna be a part of this podcast, because we just don’t want to be a bunch of old men up here talking …” I mean, they wouldn’t say [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
You were brought in for the coolness factor, then-

Emily Bench:
Maybe [cross talk] yeah, the coolness factor, but I don’t drink craft beer, so it’s actually very fun. We all just-

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Emily Bench:
They’re all like, “Well, I taste hints of this, and that,” and I’m like, “Eh, I didn’t really like it.” I’ve promised that I’m gonna bring wine into one of these craft beer podcasts, but that’s kind of … SoundCloud was where we started, and then we just figured we have followers; we have a base on this platform, so that’s where we’re going to publish. We’re also on Apple, or anywhere else where you can listen to podcasts-

Brett Johnson:
Gotcha, sure. Okay, yeah. Recording space, literally, where are you recording? How are you doing this?

Emily Bench:
Again, we’re just- I’m just really lucky that we have an amazing built-in studio to our newsroom. Rick Titus, it’s technically his office, and he’s our jack of all trades. He’s amazing at everything. He does a lot of our design; a lot of our digital photography. It’s so great … That’s his office, and he gives that up for me every week to be able to do my podcast, and it is just so gracious of him.

Emily Bench:
We have a built-in sound-specific studio, and we have all the correct equipment. I have a great team who are professionals, and they know the exact equipment that we need, and how to use it, and what to do with it.

Emily Bench:
Luckily, that takes the pressure off of my shoulders a little bit that I don’t have to preplan how to set up all the equipment and figure out how to mic my guest up. I just bring them in, get them some coffee, and we sit down and start talking.

Emily Bench:
Rick, and Dan, who is my colleague who’s really taken the reins on podcasting stuff, they do all that hard stuff for me, which is … I can’t thank them enough for that, because that makes my job way easier.

Brett Johnson:
It’s hugely relieving. It is. You bet it is. Oh, yeah, yeah.

Emily Bench:
Yeah, oh, my gosh, it’s … It’s great, yeah … Sometimes, I’ll mess stuff up, and we’ll have to come back, and I’ll just rerecord it, but it’s always so easy. Dan always edits them, and they just- they sound amazing. I could not do it without them. I’m just the one talking.

Brett Johnson:
Well, and that’s usually the brick wall of a lot of people wanting to podcast, and going, “Okay, wait a minute. If I record this, and it’s not perfect, I need edit, and I have no clue how to edit.”

Emily Bench:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
That stops a lot of people, probably. You see that a lot posted up in Facebook groups and such, that just, it’s stopped them from doing it. It stopped them.

Emily Bench:
I would say if there’s someone who has those skills and you know is technically savvy in that way, or maybe doesn’t know how to do all that stuff, but is a quick learner and likes technology, work with them. It doesn’t have to be a one-person show. It definitely is not a one-person … It’s not The Emily Show at all. I get to interview the awesome people, but it’s definitely a team effort.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Beyond the scheduling problems that you were … I don’t really want to call them problems, but you have to match up people’s schedules, of course-

Emily Bench:
Sure, yeah, it’s difficult.

Brett Johnson:
What other challenges have been, along with producing this podcast, that you’ve recognized and overcome?

Emily Bench:
Well, definitely figuring out ways to diversify the content. We obviously are trying to get people in different fields, in different industries, and different positions into the studio to talk with me, but we also want to make sure we’re not asking them all the same questions. We have the last segment, where I do. It’s kind of the whole point, which makes it fun, is asking the same questions.

Emily Bench:
But, when I’m talking about their own career, I don’t want to ask the same three guests, “How do you negotiate for yourself?” It’s definitely important. I want to mix it up, and I’ll repeat questions, sometimes, but I really want to make sure that I’m, one, just tailoring to their specific industry and story, which takes a lot of research.

Emily Bench:
Just making sure that I’m not boring our readers, who, if they’re bingeing on a- listening to three episodes in a row … Which, I am a podcast binger. I love podcasts, which also really got me the idea of thinking about doing a podcast, because I love them, and I find them so interesting. They’re so easy to do while I’m cooking, or going to the gym, or whatever.

Emily Bench:
I want to make sure that if they listen to three in a row, they’re not like, “Okay, Emily’s just asking them the same questions every time.” That takes a lot of research. I’ve definitely learned along the way; there’s been … Like I said, I’m very lucky that it’s not live, because there’s been times I’ve asked questions and been like, “I shouldn’t have asked that.” I’m very lucky that I also have a great colleague who edits out my mistakes. Research, research, research, for sure.

Brett Johnson:
This is over the holiday parties … Here’s the best of the bloopers from Emily.

Emily Bench:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
Those are actually kind of fun to listen to, because you forget-

Emily Bench:
They’re certainly-

Brett Johnson:
-and it’s like, “Wow, did I really say that? Thank goodness he cut that out!”.

Emily Bench:
Yeah, or I’m just babbling, like I don’t even know what I’m saying, so-

Brett Johnson:
You just came out of the Brews podcast, and it’s like, “Yeah, that was not smart to do that first …” Yeah, but-

Emily Bench:
Someone suggested- someone suggested … Our beer podcast is called News and Brews-

Brett Johnson:
News and Brews, right.

Emily Bench:
-and my podcast is called Women of Influence. Someone tweeted at me the other day and said they wanted to do a Beer of Influence podcast. I guess that means bringing in a woman and having a beer instead of coffee? I don’t know, but-

Brett Johnson:
It could work, too-

Emily Bench:
We’ll figure it out.

Brett Johnson:
Exactly, yeah-

Emily Bench:
I guess we’ll try it.

Brett Johnson:
Well, that leads me to future plans for the podcast. I can tell you’re the creative person-.

Emily Bench:
Yeah, definitely.

Brett Johnson:
You’ve got to have a vision in your head about, okay, I want this to do this in 18 months, in 24 months, as well as, if you can spill the beans of who you’d really love to interview, as well.

Emily Bench:
Oh, yeah. Don’t mind …

Brett Johnson:
Talk about that. Where would you love this to be in a year’s time? That’s always evolving, of course, too, and, like I said, who would you love to talk to?

Emily Bench:
One, we would obviously love to increase the amount of people who subscribe and listen to the podcast, for sure; ultimately hoping that that ends in subscriptions to our paper. I think, right now, we have a very specific community of either my friends who are awesome, and love me, and want to listen to my podcast and people who already subscribe to our paper, but I think we want to really expand that beyond that group of people.

Emily Bench:
Maybe kids who are in their senior year of college and want advice on what career- whatever their career path they’re going into or who have been working for 15-20 years and just need to get out of a funk and be inspired. I want it to be something that really can reach all swaths of people, so I think, obviously, growth is one of those.

I would also love just to use it as a platform for … You hear a lot of times really successful podcasts have- they moderate discussion panels, and they talk with women at live events. Then, that turns into a podcast, and again, that diversifies what the reader … The readers … I mean, the newspapers, but what the listeners are hearing, and that makes them excited and intrigued.

Emily Bench:
I really want to make sure I’m diversifying the content and having it become a source for people, not just this great podcast that’s really cool, but it’s kind of just, here, I want it to be, “Oh, that podcast, I want to listen to that; I want to be a part of that community.”

Emily Bench:
It would be really cool for it to become one of our community spaces, where women can be able to talk with one another, get advice from each other, set up mentorship opportunities – hands-on mentorship opportunities – for women. I think that would be amazing.

Emily Bench:
Obviously, that’s very lofty. My boss is probably like, “What?!” I think that would just be a really great thing to go broader than just a podcast of how can we help each other tackle our careers, and what is it to be ambitious and have that not be a bad thing? That would be my goal there.

Emily Bench:
I would love … I know it’s lofty, but Abigail Wexner is like … I want to talk to her so bad. She’s so amazing; does so much work in our community. I feel like she would be a wonderful guest on the podcast, or just … You hear that name, and you know who she is, and that’s-

Brett Johnson:
It’s multiple episodes there, I do believe-

Emily Bench:
I know! Oh, I could do … It could go on forever. She’s definitely on there. I think the First Lady, Channing Gunther, would be another really great one. There’s a lot of great women leaders in our community.

Emily Bench:
Again, I really want- I want it to be an area where women can feel empowered and inspired to go into their job every single day and do good work, but also want more for themselves than just … What I feel like a lot of times women do is just talk themselves out of things. I want it to be a space where they can talk themselves into something.

Brett Johnson:
There you go. I like that. That’s good. I like that idea of talking themselves into it. That’s great. Let’s end with this: advice for anybody that’s considering doing a podcast, holistically …

Brett Johnson:
What’s some advice would you give them to get them going to make sure they don’t stop at certain points, which I’m sure you … You realized, going, “No, get over this,” that sort of thing, to get this done, whether it’s technology; whether it’s support that you have within the business, itself, or just internally – you just can’t seem to get the gusto going to hit Publish that first time … What’s some advice?

Emily Bench:
I think it’s extremely important to do your research, especially in our oversaturated podcast sphere, but also just media, in general. You have to have a mission, and you have to have a very clear hole that your podcast is trying to fill.

Emily Bench:
For me, that was local women in business . I didn’t feel like I was seeing that anywhere, and I felt like, hey, we could really do something here. Doing your research and seeing … If it’s something that other people have covered, too, that’s great, but figuring out the angle that makes yours different, and stick out I think’s extremely important, because …

Emily Bench:
If you just want to do it because you want to do it and have that creative space and creative freedom, that’s great, but if you’re doing it to actually reach a large amount of people, I would suggest you do research on how you want to speak to that dialogue and be different. That would definitely be my advice to start with.

Emily Bench:
Making sure you have a team of people, if you, yourself, don’t feel like you … You probably have a full-time job, or a family, and this would be a large side hustle; making sure that you have a team of people that would want to do it with you.

Emily Bench:
I hear so many great podcasts of friends who just go into it together. That back-and-forth dialogue is also just so fun to listen to, from a listening standpoint. Having a team and making sure you’re making those connections.

Emily Bench:
I was so lucky that I had the name Business First attached to my name, because it would be so hard for me to reach out to some women and say, “Hey, come over to my house and record a podcast with me.” They’d be like, “Who are you?”.

Brett Johnson:
Nothing creepy about that. No.

Emily Bench:
Right, exactly. Luckily, I had that name behind me, so I didn’t have to do as much of that at the beginning. I would recommend, if you don’t have that- or maybe you do have great business connections, and that’s awesome, and I would suggest you start with that, but if you don’t, go to networking events and start meeting people and give them your card.

Emily Bench:
Also just remembering, too, that it’s okay … It’s a learning process, like anything else. I’d never done a podcast before this, and I’m sure the first couple episodes that was obvious, but the longer I think you get into it, the more comfortable you are and the easier it starts to become.

Emily Bench:
Another thing I would suggest would be doing what we’ve done, which is getting a lot of podcasts on file, in case … If you want to be consistent and publish, whether that’s weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, whatever that may be – ours is bi-weekly – but making sure that you stay consistent with that, so your audience, who’s tracking with you, can expect things. I think that’s important. Making sure to have some on file, in case you’re sick, or you’re out of town, or something. Consistency is really important, too.

Brett Johnson:
Well, congratulations on finding the niche.

Emily Bench:
Thank you.

Brett Johnson:
I agree, I don’t know of one that is, so I think you’ve found it, which is great. Congratulations on the feedback that you’re getting and the emails back, and the phone calls back that they want to be a part of the podcast, which is great. That means you’re doing a good job. They are good episodes. I’ve enjoyed the three that I got to listen to-

Emily Bench:
Thanks.

Brett Johnson:
-probably because I did want to hear what you’re doing with it, and was just impressed that … Not that I didn’t think Business First would do something like this, but I’m glad that they are.

Emily Bench:
Yeah, absolutely.

Brett Johnson:
I’m very happy that there’s an outlet for this, because I think it’s well-needed. I work with a couple of female-focused podcasts, as well, in the business arena. I think the stories are amazing. The content is out there, and it needs to be published.

Emily Bench:
Absolutely.

Brett Johnson:
It needs to come out there, whether it’s on a regional scale, national scale, doesn’t matter. It’s a story that I think needs to be told. I think it’s great.

Emily Bench:
Yeah, I agree. Thank you.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, great. Thank you for being a guest, as well.

Emily Bench:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
I appreciate it. Congratulations all the way, and good luck getting to month 18 year five, episode 100 – all those benchmarks. Those are great.

Emily Bench:
Thank you. Yeah, I’m very excited to see that happen.

Brett Johnson:
Cool.

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Minds On B2B

Danny Harris, VP of Client Success at Minds On, a digital marketing agency, is also the host of the podcast Minds On B2B. Danny is a professional B2B marketer, with hundreds of clients, who he sees having the same challenges. So the podcast was born out of the need to share resources and tools to support and expand his network, while showcasing Minds On expertise and successes.

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

Minds on B2B transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

Minds on B2B 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:
Well, Dan, let’s talk about the nonprofits that you support or a nonprofit that you support [cross talk] give a little time to.

Dan Harris:
That’s excellent. First and foremost, I’m a huge supporter of St. Jude. I think they do tremendous work, and it’s been something I’ve been passionate about for a long time.

Dan Harris:
Locally here, I think the Mid-Ohio Foodbank is doing a terrific job reaching the communities, working with local partners, and just supporting those who are less fortunate; can’t afford the food that they need in the hard times that just happen with people. Then, I’m a huge fan of Pelotonia. Personally, I’m never gonna ride a bike, but I have friends who do, and I support them. Those are, I’d say, the top three.

Dan Harris:
At Minds On, where I work, we always, each holiday season, adopt a family or find a way to help someone locally; do a clothing drive; do a book fair, and raise money to allow schools who are less fortunate to have various books and things that they need to be well-educated as they go through the process and learn how to read. Very involved in the charity side, but you won’t catch me in a Pelotonia suit, or riding on a bike anytime soon.

Brett Johnson:
Even though they look really good, I would not look good in one either.

Dan Harris:
Exactly. You got it.

Brett Johnson:
Let’s talk a little bit about your background, your history that’s brought you up to this point.

Dan Harris:
How far do you wanna go back?

Brett Johnson:
As far as you want to- I think as relevant as it can be toward the podcast. Let’s put it that way.

Dan Harris:
You bet. I’ve been a professional marketer now for more than 20 years. In those 20 years, things have changed. The internet has become available; media has become more accessible. In those 20 years, I’ve been focused primarily on technology, and manufacturing marketing. It’s B2B focused, and I fell in love with it.

Dan Harris:
When I was in school, I learned B2C – advertising, marketing, radio, and television, newspaper. That doesn’t resonate as well with the market today. They want all sorts of media not just that.

Dan Harris:
One of the reasons I started this podcast was because I work with hundreds of clients, and in those hundreds of clients, multiple people within those clients, and I hear the same challenges and struggles that they have around, “How do we do this? What can we do? How can we generate more leads? Build more brand awareness? Create demand?”

Dan Harris:
Over the years, I’ve pulled together tactics, resources, and tools that I can often recommend. One that I wasn’t comfortable with was podcasting. The clients had interest in it; I was very interested in learning something new. That’s how I got into this. It was just the market was encouraging it. I was a listener to multiple podcasts, and it influenced me, because I enjoy having conversations, asking questions, talking to people, and learning.

Brett Johnson:
Podcast definitely lends toward either B2C, or B2B. You’re hearing some really good success stories on both realms, because of just the interpersonal opportunities you have – the targetability-.

Dan Harris:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
-that the podcast has, as well. You pretty much know what that podcast is about, by the description, and whether you wanna subscribe or not.

Dan Harris:
Right, right.

Brett Johnson:
You can target it on the other end, as well, with the marketing that you do through social. I’m assuming there’s probably quite a bit of- a little bit of a LinkedIn involved on your end with that.

Dan Harris:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
Versus a Facebook; maybe some Twitter, that sort of thing. We’ll go into that in a little bit, but it does lend toward the better marketing pieces to it, too.

Dan Harris:
You bet, and I think the channel that you talked about, whatever channel it is, I will share and distribute to those channels where my contacts are. I have a lot … You talked about relationship – this whole interpersonal type of focus of this. I’m a relationship salesperson and marketer..

Dan Harris:
I have friends that are on Facebook that are also clients. It’s great, because you never know; they might be out there sharing a picture from vacation, and they see the next episode launch, and they listen to it while they’re on vacation. But LinkedIn is definitely … If I’m going after relationship-building with someone who doesn’t know me, it’s a great tool.

Brett Johnson:
Right. We were talking off mic a little bit about how the podcast began; working with your partners to get it rolling.

Dan Harris:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
Let’s talk about that. I think it’s an interesting story. From first discussion to that first episode being published, how long did that take? Who’s involved? How did you make it happen?

Dan Harris:
That’s a good question. Had my annual review, and in the annual review process, the two founders of Minds On, Randy James, and Tom Augustine, asked me, “Where do you want to take your career? What do you wanna do? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you wanna learn?

Dan Harris:
As they started asking me those questions, I thought, well, I’d love to do a show of some kind; a video show, podcast, something that I can continue to learn while, at the same time, potentially help others, and guide others, and teach others through the process..

Dan Harris:
They encouraged me to think about what I would wanna do, and so I did. I set out, and I started looking at podcasts. The two that I listened to most – what were they doing? How did they do it? Obviously, I got on YouTube. I searched for podcasting tips. I downloaded some books from a couple of people who do podcast work – a checklist.

Dan Harris:
Then I just started looking at what it takes; what’s needed; best formats; the right type of program; the kind of mixer that was needed; headsets; all those type of things. Just gathering data.

Dan Harris:
Then, I presented to them, “I wanna launch this podcast,” and their response was, “What’s it about?” I go, “Well, I’m working on that.” Obviously, because they’re looking to fund it and help me grow, they go, “Well, how will this podcast help our business and help our clients?” Again, took a pause, and I said, “Ah, I’m gonna think on that one.”

Dan Harris:
I went back, and I talked to a good friend of mine who had been doing video/audio-type efforts for his business. One of the first things he told me, he goes, “Dan, before you start to do anything, jot down your guiding principles for this show. Who you’re gonna speak to … What do you wanna share with them? What will they wanna share with you? How does it involve or improve that person, and you, in this process, to be successful in the outcome?”

Dan Harris:
I thought about that and started to think about all the people that I admire, look up to, and would want to be a part of this that potentially could be a mentor to me. Also, I’ve had vast experience where I could potentially be an idea source for them or create new opportunities, new ideas, based on the conversation.

Dan Harris:
I sat down; I created the guiding principles. I went back and answered the founders’ questions, and they just said, “Go for it.” Handed me the credit card, and said, “Go.” I went through and I provided a list of all the things that I wanted to purchase. Took it back to them and they said no.

Brett Johnson:
First, you lay the challenge – what do you want me to do with my career – and now you’re telling me you’re taking away my sandbox [cross talk]

Dan Harris:
-they said no for a reason. They said, “You’re not buying the right equipment … We want you to buy great equipment.” Tom got really excited. He goes, “Look, I found these Techniques headsets. This is what Lewis Howes uses … Hey, this is the mixer set.”.

Brett Johnson:
Funny.

Dan Harris:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
You caught them on fire, didn’t you?

Dan Harris:
Exactly. Focusrite, I think, is the one mixer that we’re using. I went out and said, “I read this and for $99, I can get this little Snowball mic, and have it attach right to my USB computer, and I can just run it,” and all that kind of stuff. So, it sounded good, but then they just went crazy. It’s like, “Hey, we need to build a studio! We need to light it the right way, so you can take photos …” I said, “Whoa, guys, guys, I’m just learning, so can we … Let’s start small. I appreciate the additional …”

Brett Johnson:
Energy, if nothing else.

Dan Harris:
Exactly. They loved the energy. They loved the idea-.

Brett Johnson:
That’s great.

Dan Harris:
It ended up being very well-funded good equipment for where we are right now. I told them, just say, “Let me take my time, because I wanna get really, really good at this, and it’s gonna take a while.”

Brett Johnson:
Oh, yeah. Exactly. It sounds as though they’re going to back that strategy and be patient, as well, too.

Dan Harris:
They are, they are-.

Brett Johnson:
Because that is the big thing is the factors of the return on influence, ROI … Then, that’s when you have to say that, with podcasting, it’s not on investment, it’s on influence.

Dan Harris:
Right.

Brett Johnson:
Leaning toward that, what is your topic strategy, maybe even your guest strategy for this, beyond …? Yes, you mentioned something about potential mentors or giving them ideas. How are you putting that to paper, though? How are you figuring out who they are?

Dan Harris:
One of the things that – I say – I’m fairly good at is networking. I’ve strategically gone out on LinkedIn over the last probably 15-16 years … Over the last 15 or 16 years, I’ve gone out on LinkedIn; I’ve connected with people who are innovators, leaders in the field, speakers, authors. I have this vast collection of people that I admire, pay attention to, listen to, and read, and follow.

Dan Harris:
My strategy initially was I wanna go out and learn more about a book that I read about. I’d introduce myself … The first person I reached out to was a gentleman named Dennis Brouwer. I said, “I’m going to do this podcast. I think your book (it’s called “Return on Leadership) is amazing. I wanna ask you a lot of questions about it, because the stories in the book are telling, but there’s probably a backstory.” He goes, “I would love to do that.” So, he was the first. He jumped on board, had a great conversation, and I walked away smarter than I did going in, and I made a new friend and a new mentor.

Dan Harris:
I reached out to a local author. Same process – I read the book; I dog-eared it; I highlighted it; pulled questions that I wanted to talk to her about; invited her to the show, and she came on. The conversation grew into collaboration, which grew into friendship, and now she’s gonna be on multiple episodes going forward. Her name’s Amy Franko, and the book’s “The Modern Seller.”

Brett Johnson:
It’s a great episode; just listened to a couple days ago.

Dan Harris:
I enjoyed it-

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, she’s good. She’s good.

Dan Harris:
Then, I think the key thing for me, going forward, is I mentioned working with hundreds of clients. Those clients are brilliant. When you get them in a room and start talking about strategy, their career path, how they got to where they were, where their successes lie, and who mentored them and involved them, it’s just like you and I talking. They just opened up. It was natural.

Dan Harris:
I said, “You know what? We should do a podcast.” I had breakfast this morning with Jill Leffler. She’s a global marketing executive at Axway. We were having breakfast, and we were just talking about marketing/sales/lead-gen. She was talking specifically about her core role working with groups and teams to be able to drive success; there are power leaders, and then, there are servant leaders. I’m, “Oh, that’s a great topic.” I wrote it down. I said, “Okay, Jill, we’re gonna schedule, and we’re gonna do that one.” But she was hesitant. “I’m not sure. I’m not sure if I could do it. I’m a little nervous.” I’ve had a couple people do that, and in that process, I just, like you, ease them into it and say, “Hey, we’re gonna record this …”.

Brett Johnson:
If it comes out bad, we erase it.

Dan Harris:
Exactly, and we can redo it [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
-redo it one way or the other.

Dan Harris:
I think that’s something I’ve learned, too, is I thought everybody would wanna do this, but not everybody’s interested in speaking-.

Brett Johnson:
It’s a high percentage that do, compared to video.

Dan Harris:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
Video, that’ll shut down quick, because it just … Especially on the spot, but, yeah, I’ve noticed the aversion to video, too. It’s like this is kind of a gateway into at least the interview process of-

Dan Harris:
Exactly.

Brett Johnson:
-getting them quicker, for sure. Your strategy of the guests that you wanna talk to … The target listener for the podcast, then?

Dan Harris:
Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
Who do you want it to be, with that in mind?

Dan Harris:
The guiding principles I set up were the audience I wanna speak to are managers, directors, VPs, and senior leadership of technology and manufacturing companies and also focus on business-to-business, rather than business-to-consumer.

Dan Harris:
There are so many businesses that sell into those individuals and tools that are needed to be able to run an effective marketing team for any organization, and there’s a lot of confusion in the market about what’s the best marketing-automation tool to use, and AI – how’s it impacting how we do business and how we generate leads, and things like that. It’s that focus on taking a look at the mark-tech stack, the CRM stack, the technology foundation; talk to people about that and make it clearer for the audience that is gonna listen..

Dan Harris:
The second part of that is working with owners of the businesses that we do work for and their people and help them understand what’s needed to have a full integrated marketing strategy and campaign for their business. All these senior leaders in marketing have ideas, so, as I’m doing these episodes, I’m asking them to share one idea that someone could walk away with to improve their skill set, their discipline, or their technology to be successful.

Brett Johnson:
You’re allowing the podcast to showcase your expertise, spoonful by spoonful.

Dan Harris:
Exactly. Exactly, yep.

Brett Johnson:
Sounds good.

Dan Harris:
The other thing, too, is as I find people that are incredibly skilled at what they do, but they can’t fit it in 20 to 30 minutes, I just recommend, Why don’t we do a series? (Three-part series/four-part series/12-part series) And I can bring you on occasionally, and you can be a featured guest on the podcast.” I have a couple that wanna do that, and I think that’s a good way to get listeners familiar with some of the people that I’ve grown to know and learn from.

Brett Johnson:
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Brett Johnson:
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Brett Johnson:
Own your story. Engage and interact with your customers and clients. Grow your brand and business with your own podcast. For more information about Circle270Media Podcast Consultants and how we can help your business begin, or better implement your current podcast into your marketing strategy, contact me at: podcast@Circle270Media.com.

Brett Johnson:
Let’s discuss your recording schedule – your strategy, your process. How do you get this done?

Dan Harris:
Right. I work a lot. I’m in the office early and out late, and I’m at the mercy of, really, the audience . What I do is I put a Calendly out to them and let them pick in my open time. It fills in the calendar at that point.

Dan Harris:
The thing I learned from another person was guests have questions. If you invite them, they’ll say, “Well, what’s it about? What would we talk about? How does it work? What do you need?” I put together a guest-preparation page on our website, and it’s hidden – you can’t find it unless I send it to you. It outlines the expectations for the guest and then, the steps to take, and then the format of the show.

Dan Harris:
What I was doing initially was I was explaining it over, and over, and over again on the phone. This way, I can just say, “I’ll send it to you. If you have any questions, we can talk about it before the show.” It talks, really, about pre-prep and those type of things.

Brett Johnson:
I sent it off to a gentleman who works at a marketing-automation tool; it’s called ActiveDEMAND. He’s the CEO, and I wanted him to speak on demand-generation. His marketing person emailed me back and said, “I love that idea, because we do podcasts, as well. I’m gonna steal it!” I go, “That’s fine, that’s fine …” That’s another reason I’m doing this [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
-I put my logo on that? Darn … Yeah, did I put my logo on that-

Dan Harris:
I’ll license it. I’ll license it to you. That setup really helps the guests come on board, and then, like I mentioned, the pre-call is very helpful, because you get a feel for their personality, their style, what they’re comfortable with/not comfortable with and get a chance to understand them better which establishes a long-term relationship, long term.

Brett Johnson:
That’s one advantage I have with the focus I have with my podcast is I know that I’m talking to podcasters already. More than likely, they wanna talk. They know how to do it, or they’re at the beginning stages and just need another episode to practice a little bit, which is fine. I don’t care. Do it on my podcast, because we’re gonna talk about how you’re growing anyway.

Brett Johnson:
I think it’s respectful of your guests’ time, too, as well, so they know, “Okay, I’m only gonna be … ” I typically target 30 minutes. It’ll take an hour to get it done, though, by the time we warm up and talk a little bit. I think that the reception of that type of roadmap is always welcome, because they kinda know where they’re going with it.

Dan Harris:
Yeah, and I think you also … You have to be courteous of their time, as well, because they’re businesspeople, too. Like you said, I try to schedule an hour, hour and 15 minutes. In some cases, they’re so comfortable with it, we can knock out two episodes.

Brett Johnson:
That’s great.

Dan Harris:
I just tell them that up front. “Here’s two topics. Pick the one you wanna do first. We can do the other one later.” Once they’re done, it’s like, “I wanna do it again. That was so fun!” I think that’s key. Paying attention to when they’re available to schedule it and fit it into my schedule; and then, be courteous of their time, when you’re doing the actual recording.

Dan Harris:
I think the other thing that’s important, as you’re working with these individuals, is when you do the podcast, let them know that it will air at some time in the future, so they don’t think it’s gonna be live tomorrow.

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Dan Harris:
Because I think their expectation is, “Hey, you’re gonna do this, and I can listen to it tomorrow.”

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Dan Harris:
You and I know that’s not how this works [cross talk] Setting those expectations really makes for a stronger, better relationship and potentially an opportunity for them to come back in and be a guest.

Brett Johnson:
The feedback you’re getting back that it was fun, you’re hearing that comment. That’s meaning that you’re doing it right.

Dan Harris:
Yes, yes.

Brett Johnson:
They’re having a great time. That’s good. I don’t think a lot of interviewers can pull that off. They wanna do the interviewing, because they wanna network. That’s what an interview show is-

Dan Harris:
Right.

Brett Johnson:
-they’re networking. If it were branding, they would just do it on their own. Interviewing is hard.

Dan Harris:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
It’s really hard, because you do have to do some homework. You just can’t slap a bunch of questions down; it’s a templated questionnaire and you’ve never listened or read about the business. All of a sudden, you’re throwing out questions that make no sense at all. Or I’ve caught a couple of interviewers that – this has been mostly with radio; I haven’t caught any with podcasts, I think, just due to a scheduling, but – they’ll talk to an author, and you know they’ve never read the book.

Dan Harris:
That’s bad. That’s bad.

Brett Johnson:
You know they haven’t just by the little nuances they say around it. It’s just like, wow, take the time at least to read a couple of chapters, so you can at least reference a page number, and such, but somebody’s gotta … Or least hire somebody to read it for you, and give you a synopsis, I guess, if you’re that busy. I think that’s where podcasting come in, too. If we’re dealing with a weekly podcast, we’ve got enough time to read a book, read an article, read a few blogs, listen to their podcast, whatever it might be. So, yeah-

Dan Harris:
Right, right. It kind of goes back to that courtesy, right? If you’re gonna invite them on a show, know enough about them and their book, or them and their podcast, or them and their business, to have an intelligent conversation and dig deeper, because that only helps the listener; because you read it, you’re probably asking questions that they would ask when they read it, and it helps them gain a better understanding of the author and their topic.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Exactly. What kind of marketing are you doing around the podcast right now?

Dan Harris:
Well, like I said, I work all the time, and I do the podcast. What I’ve been doing is initially, prior to launch, I let people know I was going to launch, and what it was about, and what the guiding principles were. Then, I launched that expectations page, and I sent it out to key people. It didn’t go out broad; it was just to the people that I wanted to initially work with.

Dan Harris:
On a Saturday, I went into the office, and I did a Facebook Live, and said, “I’m working on the podcast today, and I’m doing a couple of different things. I’m painting the wall at the office, and I’m watching paint dry, and I’m having a conversation with you.” Really just had a general commentary around what I was trying to put into the market to see if people were interested.

Dan Harris:
That was live, and I got all kinds of people joining, saying, “Hey, Dan, that’s great. Thank you.” I was thumbs-upping, and, “Hey, great to see you listening in today.” That was really powerful, and I’m gonna plan on doing more of those. I wanna, for each episode I launch … I don’t have to do that immediately. I can launch it, and say, “Hey, I launched this on April 15th, and I think you’re really gonna enjoy this conversation. Check out the podcast here, and there’s more to come.” I wanna do that Facebook Live component.

Dan Harris:
On the LinkedIn side, I almost did the same thing. I changed the title on my LinkedIn so it said, “Dan Harris – author, podcaster, digital marketer.” I put a job underneath of that as … Within Minds On, one of my jobs is podcast host. Then I wrote up a bunch of things. I have like 6,000 connections on LinkedIn. I got just tons and tons of, “Great job,” “Fantastic,” “Can’t wait to hear it,” those type of things..

Dan Harris:
When I did that, I also strategically wrote up a little message that said, “This is what it’s about. This is who I’m looking for, If you’d be interested in being a host, basically email me, and say ‘interested in being a podcast host or guest.'” Every time, they’d say, “Thumbs,” like it. I’d say … Click, copy, paste, send it right back to them individually. I put their name in it, personalized it … Out of that, I ended up getting three guests that wanna be on the show..

Dan Harris:
That’s the initial things. Most recently, I took and wrote a LinkedIn post, and I … Because I pre-recorded six episodes before we launched, because a lot of people … This is just a tip for everybody out there – if you launch with one, people are hungry for more. Try to get a backlog of those recorded, and launch with your initial podcast, and have others for them to listen to. We’re in the era of bingeing [cross talk]

Dan Harris:
I’ve had I’ve had people just say thank you for having additional episodes, as a part of this effort, and I’m on a weekly, which is important, because of the time consumption. In that LinkedIn post, I said, “Featuring the following guest speakers,” and I put an “@” sign by their name, typed it in, and it made it embedded in this post. I had the first six people that were notified that it went live, and then, they shared it with their networks, and they shared it with their network. It’s driving a lot of traffic. I continue to do some of those things, but I wanna do more as I learn share best practices.

Brett Johnson:
Exactly. Yeah, LinkedIn’s still a fertile ground to do things with it; even a playground, because there are best practices, of course. I think Facebook now has what you have to do to get noticed, but there’s so many there. I think LinkedIn is even encouraging the live video; not necessarily live video, but video.

Dan Harris:
Right.

Brett Johnson:
The thumb stops when there’s video there, so it’s a good encouragement. It’s like get over the camera shyness. Do something. I’m in that boat. I’m with the generation- I’m not a selfie type of … Or doing the self-promote video thing, but it’s one of those, okay, it’s uncomfortable now, but it won’t be later on, and it’s really not. Just do it. Post it. You’re probably used thumb roll anyway, for the most part, until somebody who knows you gives you a thumbs up. “Hey, how you doing?” “Looking good,” you know, that kinda stuff. It’s really not as hard as you think it is. You just have to do it right.

Dan Harris:
Right. I think the live component is authentic because it’s you. It’s like us here; it’s just us. I’m not putting on any airs of any kind. I’m just having a conversation. I think if you’re doing it on LinkedIn, it’s more business-focused.

Dan Harris:
One of the things with that is I actually did just write bullet points down, so I didn’t miss anything, because I’m representing our brand, as a part of this podcast; it’s not necessarily me. I have to be conscious of that, too. The founders, one of them said, “You are representing our brand.” That’s why they wanted me to get better equipment, right? They wanted it to sound good. Anyone that’s thinking about doing this, those are things to consider.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Exactly. You did some, I’m assuming, some homework on a hosting platform-

Dan Harris:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
-which I encourage anyone to do. Don’t do it without looking at a hosting platform. You’re with Anchor. Why Anchor and not anyone else?

Dan Harris:
Anchor.fm. I looked at quite a few, and what I was looking for is something that was easy to use; that had the ability to do some social. You can do transcripts with it. I was also looking for something that I could queue, so I could record, save it, and have it scheduled, which was important, so I could get ahead of those type of things.

Dan Harris:
Then, just the ease of use. The interface is so simple. Anybody can use it, even to the point where … I do all of mine using mics, and things like that, and I record, and I upload it, but they even have the capability where you can do the podcast in the moment, while you’re in the interface, which was kind of interesting. I haven’t done it yet, because I like what I’m doing right now. It’s been very easy to do the work, and have it post quickly.

Dan Harris:
The other thing I like about it is that within I guess was three weeks after launching the first episode, I was on nine different platforms. That was the thing I was … How do I get on Apple? How do I get on Google? How do I get on Spotify? Within three weeks … I followed all the things that they talked about, best practices, and hashtagging, and how to title your things. They have a great resource center there, as well. I was just surprised, in three weeks, I was on nine platforms, and it continues to grow, which is pretty powerful.

Brett Johnson:
Good, yeah. Are you able to peel back and get some analytics in regards to listenership, and such? Are you happy with that right now [cross talk].

Dan Harris:
It’s kind of high-level. I don’t need to go deep, but it does … It shows episode length of time, subscribers, listeners, those type of thing, where they’re coming from, and those type of things. For me, where I’m at right now, it’s a great platform. It was easy to spin up. The coolest thing that happened, which I could have never planned for, was Spotify bought Anchor, so now I’m actually on Spotify, even though it’s an Anchor product-.

Brett Johnson:
Right, exactly. It’s an automatic kind of thing, yeah, exactly. You mentioned transcripts.

Dan Harris:
Yes..

Brett Johnson:
What are you doing with transcripts, then?

Dan Harris:
I use a tool … After I pull it down, the recording, I take the recordings, and package it up, and I send it over … The company’s called Scribie. They charge you-you can do a manual, or a computer-based transcript. I use I use the manual. It’s like 80 cents or something that per page. I put them in bulk, and then I get them all back. I can tell you, the quality is superb. I love the platform.

Dan Harris:
Again, I have to be fast, efficient, and this makes it so easy, because I can load six episodes up. Pay the 40-50 bucks, and boom. I come in three days later, and I have all the transcripts. Those transcripts, in our page, on the website at Minds On, I can load the full transcript.

Dan Harris:
In that transcript, obviously, there are keywords. From our site perspective, we’re trying to build brand awareness, and be searched, and found in those type of things, so the transcripts really help. We load them in there, and they’re full transcripts.

Dan Harris:
On Anchor, in the background, you can only put in so many words, so I’ll take the transcripts and put a section of it in there, and then, the full transcripts are on our site, which is better, because I want the full transcripts to drive connections to people through the keywords.

Dan Harris:
It’s one of those things that, as I’ve found in best practices, when you do the transcript, they time it. A lot of times, listeners, they wanna get to the point, so they’ll look at the transcript, and they can read it really quickly, and then, click forward to where they wanna hear the tips, or techniques, or those type of things. It’s got a lot of different benefits to it. I’d encourage anyone who’s doing it to invest in the transcript portion.

Brett Johnson:
You’re one of the first to talk about transcripts. I encourage all my clients to do that, whether they’re using it or not, because, in the long run, if you don’t do it at the beginning, you’re gonna wish you had.

Dan Harris:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
Then, you’re 50-60 episodes in, going, “Oh, you mean I could’ve maybe used some of those transcripts for an e-book?” It’s like, “Yeah …” That’s why I said that a while back, and it’s not even an option now for my clients; it’s part of the deal. You’re going to, because I don’t want this to happen in six months, a year, and you wish you had started doing it. Whether it’s SEO stuff, or however, you wanna use it-.

Dan Harris:
Reference material.

Brett Johnson:
Reference material, quotes – it’s there for you, ready to go, and it’s fairly inexpensive. Yes, there is an expense to it. Yes, but in the long run, it’s worth it.

Dan Harris:
It totally is-.

Brett Johnson:
It really is.

Dan Harris:
I can tell you that the first … Like I said, Dennis Brouwer was the first one who did this, and we talked about “Return on Leadership.” In “Return on Leadership,” he talks about the 11 essentials of leadership. We started talking about the first one, the second one, the third one …

Dan Harris:
I did all four of them. I packaged it up, sent it over. He goes, “Wow, this is fantastic! I didn’t think I was gonna actually get this material.” I said, “No, it’s yours to look at. It’s yours to have. It will be on the website, as well.” He goes, “Well, cool, because my next book is called “11 Essentials of Leadership.” Now, he has the podcast notes where he talked for 30-40 minutes-

Brett Johnson:
Wow, that’s great.

Dan Harris:
Again, if you’re thinking about it, think about your guest – courteous, respectful, and deliver value back. It’ll come back in spades.

Brett Johnson:
There are a lot of good transcription services out there. I personally use Sonix, which has its own embed player that’s SEO-friendly, as well, too.

Dan Harris:
Nice.

Brett Johnson:
I end up sending this episode to- Sonix gets it transcribed; then I use another person who’s actually based up in West Central Ohio. She does it by hand, cleans it up. She’s a third party with Sonix. They’ve got quite a few of them in the back end. Again, I’m in the same way. I used to clean up transcriptions. I don’t have the time to do it. This lady is just going like gangbusters-

Dan Harris:
Super-fast.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, super-fast. Then, I like the embed-player opportunity, too, that all I have to do is slap up the Sonix player – has a transcript; you can read it, and it’s SEO-friendly, too.

Dan Harris:
That’s sweet.

Brett Johnson:
There are a lot of great opportunities with different transcription services. They’re really upping their game in regards to helping out.

Dan Harris:
All right. I am gonna try that one next.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, it’s good. Editing and mixing – how are you doing that? You talked about you got the mix board, the Focusrite, and such. What’s your process? How do you get that accomplished?

Dan Harris:
It’s actually pretty simple. I can take my Focusrite anywhere I go. I have a bag, headphones. everything. I can go to someone’s site, or I can do it in our studio at the office.

Dan Harris:
I’ll set it up. I’ll use GarageBand on the back end. I’ve recorded intros, outros, music tracks, those type of things, and I’ve created a template, I guess I would call it, with enough time frame in, because the episodes I’ve selected to run are 20 to 30 minutes long.

Dan Harris:
I’ll do that, and I’ll record in between the tracks, and then, I’ll edit and put in my components as I talk with them, because I wanna feature their business, talk to them a little bit about it. Then, I’ll pull it all together, and I’ll listen through that process.

Dan Harris:
It has great tools. Master Volume, I’m familiar with it. I’ve used it for a long time for other things, so it was just a simple choice for me. I had it on my laptop. It does everything I need it to do, and now I have this system of templatized intros, outros, and introductions, adds, that type of thing, and I just record in that.

Dan Harris:
One thing I would say is when you do this, setting up with a person and testing before- getting audio tests and those type of things are always important, because when you’re moving, connecting, disconnecting, saving as, and those type of things, you can lose some triggers that are necessary in order to make this thing work right the first time.

Dan Harris:
I did make a mistake with Amy Franko. We got in the room; we were so excited, and I didn’t do the test. I had my laptop over here, and I was looking at it, and I go, “Okay, test one-two, test one-two …” Amy, “Test one-two, test one-two …” Looked at it. I go, “Okay, we’re good to go.”.

Dan Harris:
Instead of hitting the play button, I hit to stop button. I go click, click, and I go, “Okay, here we are! Dan Harris Minds on B2B, blah, blah, blah …” 35 minutes into it, I go, “All right, that’s great, Amy! Thank you so much. It’s been great.” Put everything away. Get to the next day, where I’m actually doing the production work, and I go, “Okay, play …” Play … “What happened?”

Dan Harris:
She was super-gracious. I said, “Hey, you were my fourth person to do this with. I made a mistake ….” Like I said, be courteous with their time, but also apologetic when something doesn’t work. Since then, we’ve done two episodes, and she’s very gracious and very thankful. Yeah, so that can happen. Just be ready.

Brett Johnson:
You were talking about your recording space; you’re doing the painting [cross talk] Talk about the recording space that you use.

Dan Harris:
We have a small conference room, and it’s four walls, seats about 10. In that conference room, I cleaned it up, painted it. I actually bought a vinyl thing that can peel on and peel off the wall that says- it’s our logo – Minds On B2B.

Dan Harris:
Down the road, what I wanna be able to do- I’m not doing it yet, but I wanna start taking photos that I can use to promote and show people in the studio and things like that. But, to be honest with you, majority of the interviews so far have been remote at someone’s office, because I’m paying attention to their timing, and then virtual. They’re calling in over the phone, and I’m recording it, and then actually editing after the fact.

Brett Johnson:
Biggest challenges with producing the podcast so far? I know you’re a few episodes in.

Dan Harris:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
What have been the challenges that you’re encountering?

Dan Harris:
Right now, I have eight episodes. I launched one today, and I have 24 backlogged that we’re working on. The biggest challenge for me has really been the production side of it.

Dan Harris:
As you can tell, I could talk all day, and I enjoy that part of it, but it’s taking the time to be able to break away and spend time with it and really do a nice job editing, because it’s a person’s reputation, voice, message, and brand that you’re putting in the market.

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Dan Harris:
I think it’s one of the biggest challenges is not everybody is a great speaker. I’ve talked to a few people who “Aw,” and “um,” and pause longer than they should, and say the wrong words, and profanity, and those type of things. The editing process of that production has been probably the biggest challenge.

Dan Harris:
I, going into it, thought getting guests was gonna be the biggest challenge. It’s not; it’s not a challenge at all. As long as you have the foundation built of why you’re doing it, why them …

Dan Harris:
I’d say the other biggest challenge – it’s not the biggest, but – it’s this idea of promoting. Once it’s done, how do you get it into market the right way? With limited time, I can only do what I can do ,and I wanna do more, but I have to have more time. If you can figure that out, I think we could solve the world’s problems.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, pretty much. You’re outlining basically a couple of major problems most podcasters have. That’s just part of it. Even if you were vlogging or blogging, those are the same issues. There is a time sensitivity and a time suck for all of these marketing tools. You just have to carve it out and figure out … Do it the best- the big thing is just do it.

Dan Harris:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
Just get it done and do it to the best that you can and know that what you putting out there is quality. I think we have a forgiving listening audience, if something slips through, or it’s not … They won’t know. They won’t know if you kept an extra couple “ums” in there that you would rather have them out. It’s okay. It’s livable.

Dan Harris:
It is.

Brett Johnson:
We’ll end with some advice for a business owner considering podcasting as a marketing tool. What advice would you give them?

Dan Harris:
I would say find someone that does it and does it well, so you don’t have to recreate, or reinvent. What you’re doing is a great service. You have the equipment, the tools to be able to do it …

Dan Harris:
Or find somebody like me in your business who wants to learn and equip them like our founders did. it. There’s probably somebody in your office who would spend the extra time and do the extra work just for that experience. That would be a recommendation.

Dan Harris:
The other thing is ease into it. You don’t have to sign up for weekly podcasts. Think about your business and your core services or your core products and pull together six episodes and feature that on the website.

Dan Harris:
It’s a small step in the direction of building out media that people consume, and also help, from the transcript side, with SEO. It also will equip your sales team to be able to send a link to listen.

Dan Harris:
Those are the top things I’m thinking about as I work with my clients – how can I get them into this realm and do it in a way that’s less disruptive to them, but also enjoyable? That’s what I’ve found as I’ve talked to people – when they’re involved in this, they really do enjoy it. Once they get into it, I think they’re going to love it.

Dan Harris:
Like you, and like me, I think we all jump into this and learn as much as we can. The best way to learn is to talk to people who do it and find out the best way to do it and do it efficiently, effective. Obviously, there’s a cost to having someone else help you do it, but it’s well worth the time.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Exactly. Let’s go over some places where our listeners can find you-

Dan Harris:
Sure.

Brett Johnson:
-with the business and the podcast.

Dan Harris:
Sure. I launched Minds On B2B. You can find it on the MindsOn.com website. There’s a Podcast button at the top, so click there. You can also find it on iTunes, Spotify, Anchor, and any number of other platforms right now.

Dan Harris:
If anyone wants to talk to me, find me, listen, have a conversation, set up a meeting – go to LinkedIn. I’m there. I’m there every day, probably 10 hours a day. You can find me at Danny D. Harris (@dannydharris). On LinkedIn, it’s dannydharris.

Brett Johnson:
Excellent. Thank you for being a guest. I appreciate it. Great insight and great conversation about your podcast.

Dan Harris:
Well, I appreciate you having me and really enjoyed it. Now I know what it’s like to be a guest on a podcast, and I love it! Thank you!

Brett Johnson:
Perfect. Thanks!

Dan Harris:
Thank you so much.

Brett Johnson:
Podcasting allows you to tell a story – your story. Your business’s story is what separates you from your competition. It shapes your past, present, and future. Adding podcasting to your marketing mix allows you to tell your story with more power than in text alone.

Brett Johnson:
Your company can also use podcasts to grow your network. Many podcast shows and episodes revolve around having guests in an interview or a conversation. This format allows your company to develop influential relationships with thought leaders in the industry and keeps the podcast interesting.

Brett Johnson:
The best part – podcasts fit perfectly into our tight attention economy. We live in an age of information overload, where attention has become the most valuable business currency. Podcasting allows people to multitask as they consume the content, making podcasting easy to incorporate into their daily habits.

Brett Johnson:
For more information about Circle270Media Podcast Consultants and how we can help your business begin or better implement your current podcast into your marketing strategy, contact me at: Podcasts@Circle270Media.com.

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