Athletic Mind Institute Podcast

In this episode, I talk with Dr. Todd Kays, host of Athletic Mind Institute Podcast, a podcast he produces for his sports and performance psychology practice, The Athletic Mind Institute.

Athletic Mind Institute (transcribed by Sonix)

Brett Johnson: Before we get into the business side of the podcast, I wanted to give you some time, and talk about a nonprofit that you support with your time, talent, or treasure. Let's talk a little bit about nonprofits.

Dr. Todd Kays: Well, because I'm a cancer survivor, I certainly support a lot of things related to cancer, all the way from riding in Pelatonia, to donating to various funds at, for example, the Ohio State University – their cancer research center – and all the wonderful things they there; as well as there's organizations here in town who help people who are coming from out of town to be treated for cancer, and sometimes, they have to stay here for a number of days. They don't have the money for gas, food, for a place to stay.

Dr. Todd Kays: Most of my nonprofit, I guess, dedication has been around the area of cancer, and primarily, the incentive was … I had the personal incentive of being a cancer survivor, so I want to certainly give back, and help people, certainly, in this situation.

Brett Johnson: That tends to be where the help goes. I think we have various nonprofits that we help with, depending. but a lot of it does hinge on health-related situations, whether it affected you directly, or a family member, or a close friend, and such, that it seems to be that's where it goes, which is great, because that has the emotional tie.

Dr. Todd Kays: Exactly.

Brett Johnson: You continue on, and you advocate, as well, as you're doing right now, so, yeah, great. Let's talk a little bit about your professional background, and history – how you started your business.

Dr. Todd Kays: I started my business … In sports psychology, it was very new, newer, when I was coming in out of graduate school. The first sports psychologist that we had, even with United States Olympics, was in 1988 Seoul, Korea.

Dr. Todd Kays: I was in graduate school, 1990, so there wasn't a whole lot being done at that time. I had found that, about two years before … When you do a doctorate, you have to do a year of internship. I found that Ohio State was doing something a little bit in the area of sports psychology, so I contacted them. Fortunately, they gave me … I earned the internship.

Dr. Todd Kays: During that time, I also helped to build a fellowship program, because there was no other fellowship programs in the country for postdoctoral people to get any training in sports psychology, so, we started there. At that point, there were really no jobs in the mid-'90s. You couldn't look up, and find a job for sports psychologist needed. They're still very limited, believe it or not, across the country, in, for example, large university settings.

Dr. Todd Kays: About 1998, it was time for me to … The person at Ohio State, obviously far, and few between jobs, he was going to stay there, so I had to say, "Well, there's no jobs out there," and I had to either do something else, or start my own practice. I started my own practice, and I guess this is 20 years now I've been in private practice.

Brett Johnson: Did you have a mentor moving into that arena, knowing it was just wide open?

Dr. Todd Kays: I did not, in fact. I read a lot. I talked to certain people, but a specific mentor, no, because there really wasn't many people doing this at that time that … On one hand, it was exciting, because you blaze your own trail. On the other side of things, I wish I could have learned from somebody; maybe made fewer mistakes that I made.

Dr. Todd Kays: I have more … I call them colleagues, but they're truly mentors, because we go back and forth, and we can share ideas, and talk about our businesses, talk about growing practices, all the way from a marketing perspective, to how are you working with a professional team, or how do you get into a certain college, to help them understand the importance and the need for these types of services?

Brett Johnson: Did you have an uphill struggle in explaining what this was all about-

Dr. Todd Kays: Still do-

Brett Johnson: -on what, and why it's important? You do? Wow.

Dr. Todd Kays: Still do. It's much better, and I think people are understanding it more, and more today. I will probably speak 30 to 40 times a year at different events, and one of my first question is: how many have been exposed, or worked with, or understand sports psychology? I would be lucky to still get 5 to 10 percent of them that would raise their hand.

Brett Johnson: To ask them, many will say, "Well, it's helping the mind with athletes." That's a very simplistic view, but what exactly do you do? Very few people, even today, have a difficult time understanding, until … Once I break it down for them, they're all in. They're like, "Shy didn't I do this 20 years ago? Why didn't I do this five years ago? Why didn't I get my son or daughter started in this, when they entered high school, or even middle school?"

Dr. Todd Kays: We're all about developing positive habits. Well, I'm helping develop positive mental habits, and there's a process to that, and there's a way to do that, that most people, when they read about sports psychology, it's very pie in the sky, and airy; it's like, "Well, yeah, that makes sense. I need to focus more.".

Dr. Todd Kays: To me, what's been exciting over particularly the past decade is for me to show the process for people to actually strengthen their ability to focus. When I make it real for them, when I demonstrate to them, when I have them do it, when they continue to do it, and they start getting results, then they're like, "Oh …" The light bulb goes off-.

Brett Johnson: The a-ha moment. I like how on your website, you've also … In your practice, you've expanded into even musicians.

Dr. Todd Kays: Oh, absolutely.

Brett Johnson: I love that aspect of it, going, "Well, sure …" It's a competition in a different form, or it's still a mental game.

Dr. Todd Kays: Absolutely. When I first started in the sports, I … My personality, I like variety, and that's a part of the reason I wanted to start my own business is because I wanted to do a number of different things. I wanted to write; I wanted to consult to various organizations; I wanted to do clinical counseling; I also wanted to do performance consulting.

Dr. Todd Kays: It was actually in the late '90s, when I started my practice, where I realized that everything we do in life is a performance. It really started rolling when I had … A fairly high executive at a large company here in town came to me, and said, "The performance that you're teaching my son in golf," he goes, "My staff need this," and he goes, "Does that make sense to you?" I said, "Perfectly."

Dr. Todd Kays: That kinda changed real early. I've been able to work with a broad scheme of people, which is … To me, part of my personality is I love the variety. The musicians came about is more so when we had the financial crisis in 2008; that they were gonna close the symphony.

Dr. Todd Kays: Most of these people, once you get a symphony job, you stay there, and most of these people had been there 15, 20, sometimes 30 years. They had not auditioned in that long. Now, all the sudden, they're out of a job, and they have to go, and they have to audition, which they haven't done for years.

Dr. Todd Kays: The anxiety, the worry, certainly the stress of losing a job, certainly the financial stress – "How am I gonna support my family?" – all of those sorts of things … I've got a flood of people from the Columbus Symphony saying, "I am so nervous. I've played the French horn; I've played the flute for 30 years, and I can barely play now, because I'm so nervous about the upcoming auditions." It was, and it still is – I still consult to a lot of musicians – it's a fascinating group to work with.

Brett Johnson: Wow, that's interesting that it turned into the loss of a job, and having to re-audition, rather than the performance skills, and just keeping up their level of play. It's just survival mode.

Dr. Todd Kays: Correct. Desperation sometimes leads us to do things.

Brett Johnson: So, why a podcast?

Dr. Todd Kays: Well, it certainly wasn't something I started out doing, and, in fact, I work with a lot of younger people, partly out of choice, because they keep my mind young; they keep me sharp. There's a number of different people I work with, who work with teams; let's say a golf professional, a golf fitness specialist, and then myself, and, for example, they'll be young.

Dr. Todd Kays: They're always … Instagram, Twitter … Everything is just constant 24/7 for them, and I kinda learned from that. I was like, "Well …" I thought it was really cool what they were doing, but I didn't know much about it, but I saw enough. I was smart enough to realize this is the future.

Dr. Todd Kays: I literally just thought, "Well, the young people, that's what they want to work with." The majority of people, at least from the athletic realm that I work with, are 30 and under, and as young as 10, 11, 12. They have their phones always with them. They are used to podcasts. They are used to social media. Part of the incentive was this is really a part of the business. This has to grow.

Dr. Todd Kays: The other part, for me, was they can actually have my advice, my guidance, my sometimes voice with them 24/7, and it's very helpful to them. It's, in some ways, more affordable. Where my heart was, was I can change more people's lives.

Brett Johnson: Who was all involved at the very beginning? Was it just yourself thinking about this, or did you bring some team members in, going, "Hey, I'm going to do this," and just lay it on the table, and get some input from people around you?

Dr. Todd Kays: No, it was just myself. I just started, and, at the beginning, I scripted things. I would listen to them, and, honestly, I have to say, I didn't listen to them that closely. I was like, "Aw, it's good enough. Let's just get it out," but I scripted things. Then, I learned, boy, this is taking me a long time. Script it, and go over it …

Dr. Todd Kays: Then, I was like, "That's not me." It didn't even sound like me. It sounded too forced, and I was trying to almost teach like I would in the beginning, when I first started teaching at the college level. I would have very prepared presentations.

Dr. Todd Kays: Then, I learned over time, what did the students really like? They loved how I was just interactive. I was with them; I was just talking with them; I was asking them questions. It was telling them stories; giving them images.

Dr. Todd Kays: That's when I just started saying, "Okay, I am just gonna start talking. I don't know what's gonna come out, I'm just gonna stay with this topic." Over the years, it's gotten better. I still am refining, because I'm really taking my podcast to a whole different level now.

Dr. Todd Kays: Now, I'm in the process of getting other people involved, where they're listening. They're giving me feedback. I'm trying to structure it. I'm trying to understand the time. What is the maximum, or minimum time that somebody will listen to a podcast, particularly my audience? I'm finding that they love two to three minutes. Then, I'm finding adults who are fine with 20 minutes, and they will sit down, and they really enjoy the intellectual part, and love learning. I'm learning about that as we speak.

Brett Johnson: From first thoughts to the first episode, how long of a process was that discussion in your mind to do the podcast?

Dr. Todd Kays: It wasn't long. I think I just saw young people doing it. It took me a long time to write. I enjoy writing, but it always took me a long time. The perfectionist in me would come out. I said, "I'm looking at all these young people, and I'm hearing other podcasts …" I'm just like, "Why not?" I literally just sat down on my computer, and just did it, and I sent it out to my email database. I was like, "Wow, people are actually listening to this," and it was easy, and it was fun.

Dr. Todd Kays: Then, I just keep learning, refining, changing. Obviously, my approach, my knowledge, my experience, my expertise is a lot different than it was 20 years ago, so I can add different takes on something that I might have taught very differently 10 years ago.

Brett Johnson: Right, yeah, the student experience that, maybe in the classroom, wasn't quite the same as in real life, but there were pieces that were similar, sure-

Dr. Todd Kays: Absolutely, absolutely.

Dr. Todd Kays: Were you thinking of return on investment, or a return on influence, when you first started? How were you going to measure that this was working for you? Because it does take a little time … As you said, at the very beginning, you were scripting; so obviously, a lot more time than you're doing now, but it does have that dedication of open-mic record – is it worth my time? Were you putting some factors in your mind on what you thought, about how long you were going to give this?

Dr. Todd Kays: I would like to say that I was an astute business person at the time, and had any thought of that, but I did not. I honestly did not-

Brett Johnson: There is no wrong answer to that. It doesn't matter … Some people say the exact same things, like, "No, I just knew it was the right thing to do.".

Dr. Todd Kays: That's what it was for me; I knew it was something I wanted to try. One of the things that I love about, and I truly try to capture every week, and I'm getting better, is the creativity part. Running a business has been a challenge – for any small business person – but when you're trying to do, and you're wearing multiple hats, it's hard to do what you're really, really good at, maybe passionate about, but at the same time, you have to run a business.

Dr. Todd Kays: The podcast, for me, began as more … It was tapping into my creativity. It was tapping into my heart, which I was like, "This is fun," and I looked forward to doing it, as opposed to sitting down, and writing something, and then analyzing it, and then researching it. I was like, "This is fun," and I'm getting good feedback from at least the student athletes, or the athletes at the time, who are giving me feedback. They were saying, "This is really good. I love this.".

Dr. Todd Kays: I knew I had something, but until, honestly, recently is the first time that I've even thought about, "Okay …" and that was on the advice of another business person, who said, "You've got some great content, and I know that you lead with your heart," he told me, "but I'm a business person," and he said, "just some advice …" He goes, "You can use some free things, but," he goes, "this is really good stuff, and I would encourage you to look at it as," as he said, "maybe a yearly membership, because you could touch people all over the world for a very small price, and you deserve to get paid for your years of experience, and what you're giving out." So, it wasn't my idea, and I'm still honestly getting used to the idea of running it like that, but I'm using him as a mentor to help me.

Brett Johnson: Right. I think a lot of podcasters look at it that way, as well, too, that you're giving it away for free. That was the total intent, initially. He's like, "Yes, I'm branding myself; I'm getting out this information, but is my information- is my content worth anything to anyone?" Then you start working at that price point, going, "Okay, what is this?" You can only play with it, and figure out where the ouch point is, and get a feel from the email database: Would you pay for this? Would you … How much would you …? The range, and such.

Brett Johnson: I think that's where business podcasting will probably have to go a little bit more, because then you have these different levels of listeners, of engagement, as well, still remaining free, because that's what podcasting ultimately is; but, I think we'll have an expectation that there'll be memberships-

Dr. Todd Kays: Correct.

Brett Johnson: -to have deeper content, access to you in a different way, as well, too, that you may be not in Dublin, Ohio, but Dublin, Ireland, and I can talk to Dr. Kays, because I'm part of [cross talk] membership, and such, too, sure.

Dr. Todd Kays: Absolutely, absolutely.

Brett Johnson: The podcast, itself, it's showcasing your sport and performance psychology expertise. How are you allowing it to do that? When you first scripted, you were writing these ideas down, but now, as that business owner said to you, you lead with your heart … When you open your mic, where's it coming from? How are you doing this? Is it topics in mind that you think, "Okay, I do wanna cover this, this, this, and this?" How is it coming to you?

Dr. Todd Kays: It really comes to me based on all of the work I'm doing. For example, if I'm working with … I have a number of professional athletes. They're very different, and have different challenges – to a college student athlete, to a high school student athlete, to a middle school student athlete, to the parents, to the coaches.

Dr. Todd Kays: It's, for example, a lot of times, what I'm hearing, seeing in my current practice at any given time. Recently, in the past two months, just right here in central Ohio, there were a number of student athlete suicides. Immediately, I thought this has gotta be addressed, so immediately, that day, because I had literally, that day, when the third one occurred, I had calls from three different colleges for me to come out, and speak.

Dr. Todd Kays: I said, "Okay, this is real life stuff. Winning a game, that's wonderful, but it's a game. This was real life stuff." I immediately started writing, and getting this out, saying we have to look at student athletes do have depression, do have anxiety, do have clinical issues, just like everybody else. We can't think that just because they're on TV, or they appear to be a 26-year-old, when they're really only 18 years old, and sometimes, they're only emotionally about 15, or 16. We can expect that. In that way, that's what … I led that.

Dr. Todd Kays: I consistently hear distraction. Why do we have a distraction? Well, partly it's because of young high school students constantly being on social media, and the distraction that creates. I said, "Okay, I've gotta develop not only podcasts, but I wanna develop …" in the process of developing a video course. "You wanna learn how to quiet your mind? These are the things you need to do." It's really just based on the trends that I'm seeing, and that I'm hearing from student athletes, athletes every single day. I kinda let that guide what I'm doing, and what I'm going to choose to discuss.

Brett Johnson: I know a lot of businesses want to add content to their website, but they're also pulling back. "Okay, we don't wanna slap everything up there," because it starts messing with the look of the website, and, "Where do we put it as a new tab?" this, that, and the other. Have you seen adding content to your website, the podcast content, increase some traffic to your website, as well?

Dr. Todd Kays: It is increasing some traffic, and, I think what I'm getting more of, besides the traffic, is that I will hear kids, and their parents, for example, of young athletes, I will hear them … They will literally come up to me and say, "Love the podcast. That was so spot on." Whereas, when I was writing newsletters, and papers, I wouldn't get that as much. I do think it's the day and age that … I'm not saying it's a good thing, but we're a very rushed society, and people want things quickly; they want things on the run.

Dr. Todd Kays: Now, my whole premise, when I've done these podcasts, is these aren't quick fixes. When I give, for example, mental training drills, a mental training drill, to a team of student athletes, it might be, "You're gonna listen to this three-minute podcast, but then you're gonna journal about it for seven minutes." I want them to, again, slow down, but, we're in a world; they have access to it …

Dr. Todd Kays: They have people recognizing my name; for example, I'll show up to speak somewhere, and a student athlete who I've never met before will say, "Hey, a friend of mine shared your podcast with me. They're really good." I'm like. "Cool. That's great." For me, that's awesome. If he's listening to something, that means, to me, he's opening his mind to developing positive mental habits well beyond sports.

Dr. Todd Kays: Because I realize that I'm not in this- never was in this business to make professional athletes. I was in this business to help people be successful in life. I realized that there's only a tiny percentage that will ever make a career in professional sports, but if I can help them develop these habits that are going to make their families successful; they're gonna be a successful mom, or a successful dad, someday, or a successful business owner, or agent, or teacher, or whatever, that's what this is really about.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, that's great. Let's get down into the nitty-gritty, in regards to your publishing schedule strategy. When you first started, were you thinking, "I'm gonna do this monthly, every other week, weekly, daily"? What did you initially start out as, and are you still continuing that? How has that evolved, in regards to your schedule strategy?

Dr. Todd Kays: It evolved, most the time, in the beginning, as something struck my heart, and I just did it. I sat down, and I did it. A lot of times, I didn't know what to do with it; it just sat there, because I didn't exactly know, because I'm not one to … I was worried- maybe not worried, but concerned about if I would bombard all of the people that were in my database, who have had relationships with me, or have signed up for newsletters, and things like that.

Dr. Todd Kays: I didn't wanna bombard 'em with 'em, and I really didn't know … Did they really want to listen to these? I was very slow at first. I kept a bank of them, and then would slowly put them out, maybe once a month, honestly; maybe twice a month. It was very haphazard. I would have to say, in the last couple of years of doing this, even though I have over probably 400 podcasts made, only a small few of them have been sent out.

Dr. Todd Kays: Now, with the help of a business mentor, I'm kind of starting to understand, "Okay, this is how you should be doing this. This has to have more of a consistent structure to it." Whether, again, I make any money, I have no idea, but if it helps people … I do know that people may not purchase the podcast, but I do know that it touches people. I do get calls saying, "Hey, I heard your podcast. My son is really struggling; really wants to play at the college level; really gets anxious before competitions. Is this something you can help with?" Absolutely.

Brett Johnson: You mentioned an email strategy, at the very beginning, you incorporated – at least the very first ones in your email – as a delivery system. Still incorporating those in your emails, as well?

Dr. Todd Kays: Yes. The email system, for me, has been the best, honestly. When I look over the years, it's still better than Instagram, which I've been using for the past particularly year, year and a half, maybe two years. The email has always been the best, from my standpoint. All of these other forms of social media …

Dr. Todd Kays: Could be because I'm not using them correctly, or maximizing their benefit, but, it seems that people are in front of their emails, at least adults, who, in some ways, understand the importance … If we look at sports psychology, and athletics, they understand it more, because, simply, they're older. They have more wisdom.

Dr. Todd Kays: A 12-, 15-, 16-year-old? Not necessarily gonna understand it. They like the podcast, because it's cool. It's something they can listen to. They will listen to it in the locker room. Whereas, a parent will get the email, and they'll say, "Wow, this is valuable stuff," and then possibly give me a call, or try to get in touch with me about speaking to their team, or speaking to their club, or whatever the case may be.

Brett Johnson: Instagram, as well as podcasting, is fairly artwork heavy. What's your strategy? How do you create this artwork that you're using, especially for Instagram?

Dr. Todd Kays: I've recently found an app, and it's called Canva. It makes Instagram a little bit more easy. I was just doing it this morning, because I have a big mental training program coming up, and the young people around me say, "You gotta get this on Instagram," so I say okay. One of my friends – and he's in a completely different discipline – he exposed me to this.

Dr. Todd Kays: It took me probably, this morning, an hour. I sent it to him; I said, "What do you think?" He said, "Looks great. How long did it take you?" I said, "An hour." He said, "Why didn't you just tell me? I could have done it in five minutes." I said, "Okay, if you're serious, I'm going to do that.".

Dr. Todd Kays: At the same time, I am truly- the creative part of me, I'm truly enjoying listening, and learning about all these things that are on. It's fun, actually, for me to learn about different companies that do different things with podcasts; how Instagram works, and how they interact with all the others. I'm actually enjoying learning about it. I'm just a little slow-.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, and I'm in the same boat. It does tend to bring the creativity out of you , especially with as easy as those apps are anymore. Canva really does make it easy. There are probably five more out there that we don't even know about, or don't remember, at this point in time, but they do make it pretty easy to come up with some very eye-friendly graphics for podcasting; especially for Instagram, because that's very heavy visual arts, for Instagram, compared to a Facebook or a Twitter. You've gotta … It's still that thumb roll. You've gotta catch the eye of that user, and that artwork has to do it for you.

Dr. Todd Kays: Right. I have found, and that's where I will, again, extending outside of my comfort zone … I do think … I'm getting better at it, but I'm having a photographer … She comes out, and she just takes pictures, live pictures of me. It might be speaking; it might be interacting with a team; it might be working one on one. Because I do think those live pictures … I like them better, because they're truly me. They're truly what we're doing, and it's not just clip art, or stock images. I do think that draws more of a personal touch, too-

Brett Johnson: That is Instagram, right there. That is Instagram. Instagram loves that. I took this picture, and I'm posting it sort of feel to it, where I think the other platforms are tending to be stock photo. Nothing wrong with that, it just comes down to that's the flavor of Instagram. That's the way it is. Why did you choose SoundCloud as a platform to post your audio on?

Dr. Todd Kays: Well, this is to my lack of knowledge. I honestly … These files, all these 400 podcasts, I didn't know what to do with them, and they were big. I honestly didn't know how to share 'em, and get 'em back and forth. I was sending them through email to clients. I would say, "Here, I'm gonna … " I would find that, because I would have one in mind, or two in mind, after working with one of my athletes … I'd say, "I want you to listen to these couple of podcasts that I did; I think they hit on exactly what we were talking about today, and …" Just, again, it's another form of learning. Every time you listen to a podcast, it's mental training. You are training positive mental habits just by listening to it.

Dr. Todd Kays: I tried doing that, but it was so tedious, and it was taking me so long. I'm like, "There's got to be a better way," and literally, a young person said, "Well, what about SoundCloud?" I looked, and there's … From the medium I use to do my podcast, there's a direct link, lo and behold, to SoundCloud. I was like, "Wow, that was easy.".

Dr. Todd Kays: I think, right now, I have about … I decided at that time, I said, "Well …" I think I might have 100, 120 on SoundCloud now, and I just think, wow, it's easy. People are accessing them, and I get feedback from, "Hey, you have a new follower," or, "So-and-so liked this," I have no idea who they are. I'm still trying to understand that whole process, but I'm like, "This is kinda neat.".

Dr. Todd Kays: You can't, as I've learned from a business side, and that's what I'm grappling with, as a business owner, is that they cannot … On SoundCloud, you can't sell. That's what I'm trying to explore, these other means. If I, in fact, do go that route, I may just stay with … I just enjoy doing these. If it continues to get the word out, and people grow from it, and, certainly from a marketing standpoint, they get to know what we do at my practice, and we have growth that way, that's wonderful.

Dr. Todd Kays: At least in my mind, I don't look at podcasts, and maybe I could be completely wrong, as going to help me retire. I just look at it as all right, this is more of a easy marketing … At least that's the way I've looked at it. Now, I could be wrong, and I could learn from other people that this is a viable income stream.

Dr. Todd Kays: Whether I wanna make it that or not, that'll be my decision down the line. At least I'm exploring the options, because the one thing they do not teach you in psychology, or graduate school, is how to run a business, so I'm learning. I've had to rely on business owners to teach me, and learn from them, because I just … It's not something that comes natural to me.

Brett Johnson: I think podcasting … It's not in its infancy, but it is in its infancy, in the monetization piece to it. What's so fun about it is you can monetize this in any way you want, and at any time that you want. You're right on task that you walked into it with the right mindset. You're doing it for the love of it, for the end-user, and for your business, obviously, as well, too.

Brett Johnson: Are there opportunities down the road? Sure, when it's the right time; when you feel comfortable in doing what you wanna do with it. It sounds as though you've set that up quite well. Your equipment setup, how are you doing this in your office?

Dr. Todd Kays: I literally use my Apple Computer, and I do have a mic that … I don't just do it over the computer. I have learned that the sound quality is better, and I just simply do it that way. I do some editing, because I'm tinkering around with putting intro music, putting a specific closing. Those are in the beginning stages, and those, from my standpoint … I'm just learning those, and those are, for me, time-intensive. I could send them to somebody else, and it would take them 15 minutes, what would take me three hours.

Dr. Todd Kays: I'm tinkering around, but most of the time, I just put my microphone with … To incorporate sound the best. I'm sure it's not anything like professional equipment, but it's, at least, inexpensive right now. If it continues to grow, I certainly would not be opposed at all to doing it more on a professional level, with graphics and things of that nature, which is, I think, ultimately … It is ultimately what I wanna do, because I cannot be … I can be in front of one person, or one team at a time, so, my time is limited, and that's the greatest asset I have right now.

Dr. Todd Kays: In addition to hiring a couple other qualified people, it is a way to get in front of people. I want to give them the best, at least as best as I can. If somebody is paying for a service, or a product, I want it to be high quality. My assumption is I'm going to step that up into a more professional arena, such as this, such as somebody doing the graphics, and things like that. I can do what I'm really, really good at, and what I love. They can do what they're good.

Dr. Todd Kays: That's the whole basis of a team in sports is coaches, you coach your position; players, you play your position. Don't worry about the guy next to you; don't worry about the guy across from you. You have no control. You just do the best you can at your craft. That's all you need to do, and I need to take my own advice on that. I'm getting there.

Brett Johnson: I think you look at it in the best way, I know a lot of people, and you hear these stories of businesses, or individuals, whoever it might be, that look at the equipment options – let's put it that way – and it just freezes 'em up. "Where should I go? What should I buy?" The advice always given is just do it.

Brett Johnson: You can always buy the USB mic in two or three weeks, if you don't like the sound of just recording yourself on the Mac computer. You can always change the room you're in, if you don't like the room ambiance, but you have to start, first, otherwise you'll never know what's comfortable for you. I think you've taken that right approach, step, by step, by step. You jumped in; you did it for the right reason to get going.

Brett Johnson: You mentioned a little bit about future plans. Without laying out specifics, and giving away the farm, or anything like that, what are the future plans for the podcast? Where are you thinking about going with this? We mentioned a little bit about in regards to the membership level, but also, where are you going with the concept, itself, with the podcast?

Dr. Todd Kays: I will continue to do podcasts, simply because I really enjoy doing them, first and foremost. I would like to see them grow, and I want to see my own … First off, I wanna see two things happen. One is I want to see my own abilities to do podcasts improve. The podcasts that I'm doing now, I'm sending them out to a number of trusted people, and I say, "Give me every piece of feedback that you can give me."

Dr. Todd Kays: I have learned so much in just the past 30 days, because they've been giving me honest feedback about what's really good, and how I can sharpen my own skills to, for example, get to the point, or "You're talking about too many points in this five minutes. You need to just choose one of these points." That's the first thing that I'm doing.

Dr. Todd Kays: The second thing is to get, and learn with other professionals who are good at this, and this is what they do, to help me along this process, because I do want to, if I'm going to put a product out … Particularly, I haven't probably worried about it as much, because it was just something fun, and I thought it was helping people, and I really didn't think much beyond it.

Dr. Todd Kays: If it gets to a point where I choose to say this is something that could reach out worldwide, and I start getting that sort of feedback, I really want to have the best product, the best visuals, the best sound. I want it to be very professionally done, and that a person is going to know that this was not just done in his home office, while he was sitting watching TV. This was truly done with a lot of forethought. Then they feel that this – if it is a yearly membership – this was worth it, because this is a high-quality product.

Dr. Todd Kays: I've always held high standards for myself, and I think I'm at that place where I was rushing … I honestly say I was rushing ahead with these podcasts, and it was my wife who said, "Slow down. You're throwing a lot of things out there. The reason that you're a little stressed is because that's not you. You're more methodical; you're high quality. Slow things down, and start doing things the way you know this should be done." It was kind of odd that you had called me to do this, because I'm just in that process of thinking about all these things right now.

Brett Johnson: Interesting. Yeah, that's good. What advice would you give to any business that comes to you … "Love your podcast; love what you're doing. Heard your interview on Note to Future Me …" What advice would you give to a business that is considering this as a marketing tool – a podcast?

Dr. Todd Kays: I would first say make sure that you truly wanna do it. Make sure that this is something that you're speaking from your heart, and you're not doing it to simply make money, and jump on this trend, or … I shouldn't say it's a trend. This new medium we're using to get information out. I would say that it has to be certainly something you truly believe in, and you have a desire to truly get your message across – whatever that message might be – if it's financial, if it's psychological, if it's legal, whatever the case might be. I would say that would be my first thing.

Dr. Todd Kays: Then, the second thing is I would say just start doing it; practicing. The thing I would do that I didn't do it first: give it to some people; just have 'em listen to it first, before you just send out, because you may not know what you just did, if you don't listen to it, and you may have some background noise that you didn't even realize. Then it comes across as, "Well, I'm not gonna listen to that person again, because that sounded like he was in an airport while he was doing his podcast. I don't wanna listen to that."

Dr. Todd Kays: I would say that is … Really want to do it, and feel passion in your heart about your message. Then, like you were saying earlier, just jump in, and try it, and do it. Then, just keep refining the skills around it, and use a support team. As I'm learning, a lot sooner than I have, is to rely on video experts, rely on audio experts, rely on social media experts. Let them help you along the way, because it will be a much better product, and ultimately, you'll get to do what you're good at, and you'll allow them to do what they're good at.

Brett Johnson: [coughing] Edit point. Okay, hold that back so [inaudible] Just on the end of a cold. Okay, good. Thank you for being a guest on my podcast. I appreciate it. The insight you've given is dead on, and I think we read a lot about this in Facebook posts, and groups for podcasters, and such, but I think it comes off more genuine, when you hear somebody talk about it, and through their experiences.

Brett Johnson: That is exactly what the focus of this podcast is. I love that you're at the grassroots piece of this podcast, and what you're doing with it, and learning over, now, over 400 episodes; maybe only half published, but, at the same time, you've got them in a bank, and you're ready to do … You're looking to the future, as well, with what you're doing with this. I think it's exciting, as well, that it continues to evolve with what you wanna do with it. Again, thank you for being a guest. I appreciate it.

Dr. Todd Kays: Thank you for having me. Just by being here, and you forcing me to answer … Not forcing me to answer these questions, but putting these questions in front of me, really forced me to, again, really think about what my next steps are, and really solidify them in my own mind. I appreciate that.

Dr. Todd Kays: I definitely will be listening to your podcast, because these are the exact things I need to learn, and I look forward to hearing other people's perspectives, and learning from them what they're doing, so maybe I can prevent my own mistakes, or just find a way to do things more efficiently, or find people who can help me do things more efficiently.

Brett Johnson: Great. Thank you. Cool. Good deal. All right. Thanks. Yeah, I will-

Sonix is the best online audio transcription software in 2019.

The above audio transcript of “Athletic Mind Institute” was transcribed by the best audio transcription service called Sonix. If you have to convert audio to text in 2019, then you should try Sonix. Transcribing audio files is painful. Sonix makes it fast, easy, and affordable. I love using Sonix to transcribe my audio files.

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

Brett Johnson is the owner and lead consultant at Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. The podcast consultants at Circle270Media have over 35+ years of experience in Marketing, Content Creation, Audio Production/Recording, and Broadcasting. We strategically bring these worlds together with Podcasting.

You can email Brett at podcasts@circle270media.com to talk more about your new or established business podcast. www.circle270media.com

BBB SparkCast

BBB Sparkcast (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the “BBB Sparkcast” audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by Sonix.ai below:

Brett Johnson: Before we get into the business piece of this podcast, I think it’s nice to counter it with nonprofit. Tell me about your favorite nonprofit that you give talent/time/treasure to.

Jessica Kapcar: My favorite, I would have to say, and I think it’s probably a big one for a lot of people, but I have a very soft place in my heart for Children’s Hospital. I actually, in a previous lifetime, worked for Children’s Hospital doing fundraising, so I have a lot of experience kind of just knowing, on the back end, what it takes to give the care to the children that they need. Went through a personal situation, where my child was being treated there-

Brett Johnson: Whose children have not been through there, though?

Jessica Kapcar: Right? I mean-

Brett Johnson: I don’t know of anybody.

Jessica Kapcar: I can remember my parents were like, “Oh, we’re taking a trip to Children’s; we’re running down to Children’s.” It’s just so … I’m so thankful that we have it, and it’s so close to … It’s right in our backyard, and it’s just a great resource. I think they do a lot of really wonderful things there. They’re starting all sorts of new initiatives. That is the one that really sticks out for me, in terms of my personal …

Brett Johnson: What are the volunteer opportunities there that you take advantage, or you know of people that do?

Jessica Kapcar: Sure, yeah. I think there’s a variety of opportunities to volunteer. It just kind of depends on what level. I think one of the things that my sister, and my parents, and my whole family has said … They’re like, “Oh, we just love to go down, and rock the babies, or help with that.” There are opportunities to do that, but there are also opportunities right in your neighborhood to take advantage of supporting the hospital.

Jessica Kapcar: We have had experience – and I say we, when I was working there – of just kids saying, “Hey, instead of bringing me a gift for my birthday, I want you to buy a gift for a kid at the hospital,” or, “I want to take up a collection at school, and donate the money to the hospital.” Things like that, anything that’s really grassroots … Lemonade stands. You’d be surprised how far that goes.

Jessica Kapcar: One of the things that I think is a really great resource for the hospital, as well, is the Ronald McDonald House. It’s right across the street. It’s one of the largest in the country.

Brett Johnson: That’s what I thought.

Jessica Kapcar: At one point, it was the largest, but then, I think I just heard that somebody built another one that’s a little bit bigger. Corporations, companies, individuals – you can volunteer there. I know that some companies have taken the time to help clean the Ronald McDonald House; supplied supplies for the Ronald McDonald House, food, anything like that.

Jessica Kapcar: I would just say that reaching out … The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation is a great resource for figuring out where they kind of need time, talents, or treasures. That’s the fundraising arm of the hospital, so they’re a great resource to say, “Hey, I’m looking to help. Where can I put my time to use?”

Brett Johnson: Exactly, yeah. Good, well, I’ll put some links in the podcast show notes. Let’s talk about your professional background, where you were before the BBB, and what you’re doing now with the BBB, as well.

Jessica Kapcar: Sure, yeah, absolutely. As I mentioned, my first, as I call it, big-girl job out of college, I worked for Children’s Hospital in Columbus, and I worked for the Foundation, which is the fundraising arm of the hospital. I was kind of a go-between with the volunteers, and the community, and the hospital, so, I was able to just get out, and meet all sorts of fabulous people.

Jessica Kapcar: Part of what I did was I worked on our team that was involved with the Children’s Miracle Network charities, and the companies across the state who were raising money. I got to go out to the Speedway locations, and say, “Thank you so much for collecting money, and selling the little balloons, and putting them on the windows,” that sort of thing.

Jessica Kapcar: I was also able to experience a fundraising effort through Ohio State. They do a dance marathon called BuckeyeThon. I was the point person for the hospital to say to these students who were amazing, “Here are some patient families that would be willing to come to the event.” That just really was a great way to tie our mission in with what they were trying to do.

Jessica Kapcar: I worked there for about three years, and almost nine years ago, started with the BBB of Central Ohio. My role, when I first started, is vastly different than what it is now, but really not so different at all [cross talk] I was originally brought in to fill a role that they hadn’t really solidified yet. They knew that they wanted someone to come on … At that time, our Vice President of Marketing and PR was doing everything by herself, so they knew that she needed a lot of help. I kind of came in to help fill that role with her.

Jessica Kapcar: Then, they also wanted someone who could be a touchpoint for our accredited businesses; someone who they could call, and say, “I don’t know where my logo is. I’m looking for this. I want to put this on my website. Tell me about the benefits that go along with my accreditation.” I also filled that role.

Jessica Kapcar: It’s morphed, and changed, and our team has grown a lot over the past almost nine years. Now, I’m kind of in a similar role, but my title is technically Communications Manager. We cover a little bit of everything for our BBB. We do all of our social media. We do all of our website maintenance. We put out all the content for BBB, in our 21-county service area in central Ohio. We do our blog; we do our podcast. We do all of the video creation that the BBB does. It’s a little bit of everything, but it’s all good stuff, and it’s just grown, and changed [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: I was just gonna say, the last nine years have been a huge evolution for the BBB-

Jessica Kapcar: Huge evolution.

Brett Johnson: -and that leads into the podcast of why you’re even doing that. Exactly.

Jessica Kapcar: Yes, yeah. I think, when I started, I don’t even … There may have been one podcast that I knew about, and it was something that was so far out of the realm of relating to what we were doing. Now, it’s almost a no-brainer. It seems natural for us to have a podcast, and to have gone down that avenue. If you’d asked us, two or three years ago, if that was gonna be the case, we would have laughed, and said no way.

Brett Johnson: Right, yeah.

Jessica Kapcar: It seemed so far out of reach.

Brett Johnson: How did that process begin? That first discussion of, “Okay, there’s podcasts. We should … Why should we think about that?”

Jessica Kapcar: Right, absolutely. Part of what I think is interesting for the BBB is taking our message, and our mission, and translating that across the board for businesses, and consumers. We really kind of are trying to figure out is it a space that we can occupy, and do it well, and be successful in giving the information that we feel is beneficial to the audience that we’re looking for?

Jessica Kapcar: One of the things that really kind of helped solidify the fact that we thought we had a message, and a niche to get in, was the creation of our Spark Awards, which was really targeting our entrepreneurial businesses. Businesses that were kind of in the space of maybe they were on the newer end of the spectrum, hadn’t been in business for very long, but, just had a solid foundation, and were committed to those tenets of character, culture, and community. Those are the three criteria that we look at.

Jessica Kapcar: We thought, “What a great resource for us to provide,” giving those entrepreneurs some of that … “Okay, well, here’s a company who’s been doing it for 15 years. Here’s how they did it when they started off. Here are some of the resources that they utilized. Here’s a nonprofit that doesn’t have a huge budget to work with, but, here’s what they’re doing, and you can actually make it a very successful thing.”.

Jessica Kapcar: Whatever that topic, or subject might be, we just really thought that we could help connect businesses who have been doing it for a long time, and doing it well, to somebody who wants to do something, or wants to do it well, but doesn’t quite have the road map to get there yet.

Brett Johnson: Who was all involved in that initial discussion?

Jessica Kapcar: Like I said, when I first started it was just myself, and one other person, our VP of Marketing and PR. Over the course of the past four-ish years, we have added to our team. We added two people – our content communications coordinator, who really is kind of the role that was instrumental in helping push our podcast forward.

Jessica Kapcar: Then, we also added our director of visual communications. She was the person who was able to say, “Okay, here’s the technology that we need … I have the ability to edit the audio, because I knew where I wanted it to go. I knew that we wanted it to happen, and be successful, but it’s all about pulling together the people, or the resources to actually be able to do it.

Jessica Kapcar: I knew I did not have the talent to edit audio, so once she came on board, and then, like I said, the person who is in the role of our content coordinator, Jordan, she really kind of just took it to the next level. She was able to say, “Here’s a resource for where we can house it; here’s a resource …” You are a great resource to us.

Brett Johnson: Thank you.

Jessica Kapcar: Just kind of answering any … I feel like, at first, we were like, “Okay, podcast. Where do we start?”

Brett Johnson: Right.

Jessica Kapcar: You were just such a great resource to say, “Here are the four or five things to look at, to decide on what you wanna do with them; how you wanna house it. Here are some resources to do that.” Yeah, it really kind of … I would say, in the last two years, we were able to take off with it, because we did say, “Okay, now we’ve got the team in place; we’ve got the resources in place; let’s get going with it.”

Brett Johnson: Were you discussing any success factors at the very beginning about measurement, marks, and time?

Jessica Kapcar: Yes. I don’t know that we really kind of had a good handle on what measurements we wanted to talk about. I think we knew that we needed to have a solid base of content, and if that was there, that I feel like we … Again, we kind of had a road map that was a little less defined than some.

Brett Johnson: But you had a road map.

Jessica Kapcar: We did. We had a road map.

Brett Johnson: That’s huge to have-

Jessica Kapcar: We did have a plan, and it changed; it morphed, which I think has to happen with any plan for any project, or new endeavor. We kind of just said, “Let’s give it a six-month goal, and a year goal, and see … Let’s make it very realistic for ourselves, and see how we do.”.

Jessica Kapcar: I think that because we were able to utilize some of the resources, and talents on our team, and we were able to do a little bit more of it internally, we didn’t have … We didn’t feel the pressure to set some of the loftier goals, maybe, for the ROI, right out of the gate. Maybe we had a little bit of an advantage to say, “Well, let’s … We can take our time; see how it goes; work through some of it.”.

Jessica Kapcar: Like I said, we also knew that we had some great talent, and content that we were gonna be able to utilize. Our podcast is made up of external participants. We utilize our accredited businesses; we utilize our partners; we utilize our nonprofits. We know that they have the expertise, the knowledge, the content that is gonna be such a great resource for the people who are listening to it, that we weren’t at all concerned about that aspect of it, as well.

Brett Johnson: That content piece, the interview style, is really what drew you into it, because of the opportunity to talk to so many businesses.

Jessica Kapcar: Yeah, and we knew we wanted to make it very casual, conversational … We wanted to make sure that we made it friendly, and approachable. We knew that having somebody come in, and being able to have a conversation with them, utilizing their expertise, was gonna be just a great way to kind of get things started, and it’s worked well for us.

Brett Johnson: Good.

Jessica Kapcar: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: How long do you think it took, from the very first discussion, whether it was around the water cooler, to the first publishing date?

Jessica Kapcar: I’d say every bit of two years.

Brett Johnson: Two years.

Jessica Kapcar: Yeah. Once we figured out here’s where the responsibility of the podcast is gonna lie; here’s how … Got all of the logistics set up, and then we did … Again, because we could take our time with it, we did populate a little bit more of the content. We knew we could utilize our Spark Award companies. We knew we could utilize our Torch Award companies.

Jessica Kapcar: We built out, I’d say, probably a solid six months of content, prior to that first podcast interview. Actually, the first one, technically, was with Kip Morse, who’s our president and CEO. That was just a way for us to kick it off, and have him introduce it. I’d say it was probably every bit of two years before we really were recording the podcast, itself.

Brett Johnson: With an interview style, that has its ups and downs, especially the scheduling piece of it. Talk about your interviewing, scheduling, your strategy, and the process of how you go about doing that.

Jessica Kapcar: Like I said, we had that content generally built out for the first six months, and what we did was we really just knew that we were gonna pick the Spark Award companies. There were three recipient companies that we had that we wanted to utilize right away. When they found out they were the Spark Award recipient, we said, “Oh, by the way, we’re gonna be contacting you for the podcast, so be ready. We need to get you in the door.” We kind of gave them a heads up, so that was a little bit easier to draw them back in on.

Jessica Kapcar: Our Torch Awards have been going on for … We just had our 24th Torch Award event. We had a pretty big pool of companies to choose from for that, but what we did was we utilized the three recipient companies that we had honored the year prior. Again, gave them a heads up, like, “Hey, we’re probably gonna be tapping you for interviews, so stay tuned.”

Jessica Kapcar: We found that … The way we did it, in terms of the interview conversation, we picked a very specific topic, and one we felt that the company could speak very comfortably to. We scripted out some questions ahead of time, just to give them a road map of, “Hey, here’s where we’re thinking we wanna go. Here’s the topic that we think we wanna talk about. You’re the expert. You fill in the blank. If you think there’s another direction we should take, or more we should add in, please give us your feedback.”.

Brett Johnson: How’s that been received, doing it …?

Jessica Kapcar: You know what? We’ve had some really … Everybody has given us feedback that it was a very easy way to do it. Now, we, by no means, felt like we needed to stick with it, but we try to keep ours to about a 15-minute conversation time. It helped, in terms of making sure that we kept things narrowed down a little bit.

Brett Johnson: Do you think that the podcast, itself, is helping you showcase the BBB’s expertise?

Jessica Kapcar: I do. I really feel that it’s been a great resource for us. Our mission is to educate businesses, and consumers about how to either be a better business, or how to find a business who is gonna be a trustworthy business, or nonprofit. I shouldn’t just say business. The nonprofit side of that is a really big aspect, as well, because we do have accredited charities, especially local ones. It’s been a really great resource for them to say, “Here’s what we do; here is our mission in the community. Here’s how we can help, or how you can maybe start a nonprofit of your own.”

Jessica Kapcar: I think that it’s been a great way for us to just further our mission by utilizing the experts in whatever topic we’re trying to get out there. Because we do have an entrepreneurial focus, I think that’s been a really great way for … Columbus is growing so much. We’ve got Startup Week; we’ve got all of these great young businesses that are coming in, and they’re thirsty for information, and they’re looking for resources to do things the right way. I think that’s been a really great addition to the BBB mission. We can say, “Here’s how to do it, and here’s how to do it right.”

Brett Johnson: That’s not the first thing you’d really think about it from a BBB is to showcase something like that, which is great-

Jessica Kapcar: Right.

Brett Johnson: You’re breaking new ground [cross talk] like that.

Jessica Kapcar: Yeah, and traditionally, it’s always kind of been, “Oh, the BBB. You guys handle complaints, right?”

Brett Johnson: Take complaints, right. Scams, and such, yeah, right.

Jessica Kapcar: Absolutely. We do still do all of that, but we do a lot more, as well. That’s one of the things that my team has kind of been really focused on, especially in the past, I’d say, five or six years, just getting that message out that we’re not just a place to go for complaints. We’re a resource to utilize on the front end of things, for businesses, consumers, nonprofits..

Jessica Kapcar: As a consumer, we always say, “Check with us first, before you commit to doing business with any company, because you may find that there’s information that you didn’t have prior to looking at our website.” For businesses, we say, “We’re a resource for you to start with that foundation of trust. That really is what will translate to a consumer that you’re looking for, or a donor that you’re looking to solicit.”.

Jessica Kapcar: We just actually found out that we are a number four, behind Facebook, Google, and Yelp, in terms of review sites. We do customer reviews, as well. It’s just kind of one of those things where we’re trying to get that message out there, and I think this has been a huge resource to do that. The podcast has been instrumental in that.

Brett Johnson: How is the podcast and your blogs coexisting?

Jessica Kapcar: What we found is we actually have some really great crossover in terms of content that we could utilize for our blog, because, again, the blog was one of those things that we were like, “We really wanna do it. We just need to have someone who has the expertise, and time to get it done.”

Brett Johnson: Somebody to feed the machine.

Jessica Kapcar: Yeah. It just so happened that that same person was who was doing the podcast, so it was kind of this perfect marriage. What our model is, is we have our own BBB content, but we open it up to guest blogs, as well. We reach out to our accredited businesses, our nonprofits, our partners, and say, “Give us your expertise. We’ll get that message out to our audience.”

Jessica Kapcar: There’s been some great tie-in with the podcast, and blog. There’s been some crossover. We’ve been able to take content that we originally thought might be a podcast, and get a blog post from it. The flip has also been the case, as well. It’s just been kind of been … I think that anytime you can utilize content across all of your channels, it’s a great way to do that.

Brett Johnson: It’s a time-saver, as well, too.

Jessica Kapcar: It’s a time-saver, yeah, for sure [cross talk] especially when you have a smaller team that’s doing it all.

Brett Johnson: Adding content to your website, have you seen any uptick in the site’s performance, in regards to search?

Jessica Kapcar: We just actually went through a whole website redesign. Because we are one of about 110-ish BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, it’s been an overhaul of combining our website, but also building out our local content a little bit more. We really have seen some great results by embedding our podcasts into our website; pushing people straight there from our social media channels, from our blog. We added a little footer at the bottom of our blog posts about the podcast, and vice versa on the podcast.

Jessica Kapcar: I don’t know that I have the numbers, necessarily, to back that up, but it climbs every month, and we see more, and more listeners. We’ve kind of compared to podcasts similar to ours. There aren’t a lot of BBBs who have podcasts. I think I know of one other BBB, a local BBB, that has one, and then, our Council of Better Business Bureaus has one for businesses, and consumers. It’s a little bit difficult to compare in our industry, but I-

Brett Johnson: You become the standard, then.

Jessica Kapcar: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: There you go.

Jessica Kapcar: We’re kinda like, “Well …”

Brett Johnson: Everybody compares to you.

Jessica Kapcar: “… maybe it’s better to not have to compare ourselves to anybody else, just yet …”.

Brett Johnson: I think that makes sense.

Jessica Kapcar: “… they can compare to us.”

Brett Johnson: Sure, sure. Exactly. It’s the logical way to look at it, I think.

Jessica Kapcar: I can honestly say that there’s never been … We’ve never said, “Well, maybe it’s not worth doing this, because the time given isn’t being …” We feel like it’s being rewarded, for sure.

Brett Johnson: Right, right. Staying on that same topic of marketing, what was your publishing schedule strategy, and what is it right now? How do you begin those talks in regards to, “Well, how many do we put out per month, per week? Every day? Every hour?” I can be extremely stupid.

Jessica Kapcar: No-

Brett Johnson: What was that discussion like, and how did you firm up what you wanted to do?

Jessica Kapcar: Originally, we took a look at the time that our team had to dedicate to it. We wanted to be very realistic, and say … We didn’t wanna say we’re gonna do one every other week, because then, we were like, “If we don’t do one every other week, are we gonna be disappointed in ourselves?” Our goal was to do at least one a month to start. We found that we could do one about every three weeks, which is what our standard has really been. We’ve been able to maintain that. We’ve been able to get the scheduling where it has worked.

Jessica Kapcar: The benefit for ours is that we can back-schedule a lot of content, and we did that. We knew that summertime is gonna be hard for people to maneuver their schedules, with vacations, so we stockpiled a little bit in the spring, and had some content.

Jessica Kapcar: The other thing that we really looked at was, because we’re utilizing some of our nonprofits, is the time of year. We wanted to be mindful of, in the holiday season, a lot of people are more interested in looking for local charities, and nonprofits that they can support. We wanted to be able to showcase, and highlight some of those in the time of year that was maybe a little bit more beneficial to them. We just hit a year for our podcast in August. This time last year, around Christmas time last year, we really tried to utilize some of our nonprofit, and charity content.

Jessica Kapcar: The other part of it is really just who we can get in the door, when. We don’t want anything to get stale. We did utilize some of our Spark Award content right around when we were gonna be doing the Spark Awards, last year. It really just depends on the topic, and what’s relevant to your audience. For our audience, it’s pretty open, wo we have a little bit more flexibility in terms of that. Did that answer …?

Brett Johnson: Oh, yeah. For sure, yeah. Tied into that, what is the social media strategy on when you publish, and what do you do to support that?

Jessica Kapcar: Our social media strategy, we didn’t really … At first, we were like, “Oh, we’ll just blitz it out everywhere,” and then we pulled back a little bit, and we’re like, “Let’s just do …” We’ve taken more of a staggered approach. A lot of times, what we’ll do is we will … What we do first is when the podcast episode is ready, we send it to the person that we recorded with. We just say, “Hey, thank you so much. Here’s the podcast episode. It’s gonna be live this date. We’re gonna send it out through social media on this date. Please feel free to share it on your channels,” which we’ve always gotten good support from anybody who’s recorded a podcast.

Jessica Kapcar: Some of it is we’ll push it through our channels, and then, some of it is we are a little bit more reactionary, and we’ll share it, share the post that the company, or organization has done, because we really wanna promote them, as well. It’s a partnership at that point in time. We wanna make sure that we’re saying, “Here’s some great information, but, oh, also, here’s the actual … Here’s how you can connect with this business, or organization.”.

Jessica Kapcar: What we typically do is, I think, the first post will be on Facebook. Then, maybe three days later, we’ll shoot something out through LinkedIn. We share it on Twitter, and we share it on … We usually try to do something a little bit on our Instagram. For Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, every so often, we’ll put some money behind it, and boost the post, or promote it. Minimal; maybe $10. Nothing over the top, because, again, nonprofits, and resources, and-

Brett Johnson: Well, and the conversion rate is questionable. Let’s put it that way, unless you have a very good tracking system.

Jessica Kapcar: Yes, and an algorithm changes every day, so who knows. That has seemed to work really well for us, the staggered approach; not pushing it out all at once, because people go to different channels, and sites with different frequency. That’s been a really effective way for us to get that out there.

Brett Johnson: You have some great artwork – thumbnail artwork, everything-.

Jessica Kapcar: Thank you.

Brett Johnson: Who’s doing that for you? How did you start that whole process? Because I know, again, that’s another piece to this, going, “Yeah, okay, we have somebody that can record it. We know what we’re gonna do. Oh, we have to have artwork. We have to create this new … Or whether to incorporate our logo into it, or create something new …” Talk about that process, how you … It looks really good.

Jessica Kapcar: Well, thank you. I cannot take any credit for that. That is all Courtney, who is our digital communications manager. She does all of the design work for us. Part of what we have to work through, as well, is that BBB, as a brand, has a national brand that we have to maintain, but we wanna make sure that we’re creating something new, and fresh, and clean, and fun to engage people. She has just done a great job taking our brand guidelines, and morphing those into something that is brand new, really.

Brett Johnson: It’s a natural extension. It looks perfect [cross talk]

Jessica Kapcar: Thank you. Yeah, and she works really closely … She tries to tie it into the topic of the podcast, as well. She is the person who’s sitting there listening, and we always take some video clips, as well. She’s got a good idea of what the content is, so she does a really great job of translating that into the artwork for the specific episodes. She created the logo for us. She’s a great resource, and I don’t know that we’d be able to do it without her [cross talk] I do know that we probably wouldn’t be able to do it without her.

Brett Johnson: It’s important, because the visual piece of it is pretty vital. When you want to direct listeners back to your dot.com, or your dot.org, it has to look nice.

Jessica Kapcar: Absolutely, yeah, and it has to be … Especially for us, because BBB is such a brand with longevity, we wanted to make sure that it looked unique, but not so unique that people didn’t realize, “Oh, this is BBB.” It’s that fine line. It’s really helped in our marketing of it, I think, too, just having that clean, fresh look.

Brett Johnson: Let’s get into some technical weed stuff. It’s important, but, at the same time, it can be overwhelming. Deer in headlight, kind of, “Wow, what do I do here?” When we talked, now, a couple years ago, I mentioned lots of different hosting platform options, but also dug a little bit deeper in regards to, “Okay, here’s the pros and cons for them all.”

Brett Johnson: Really, they all are kinda the same, it just comes down to what you choose to do. There are some nuances to some that are better than others. For example, one company may have a better embed player look than others, and that could be something vital for the website. You decided to go with Blubrry. What were some decision processes that you went with Blubrry?

Jessica Kapcar: We went with Blubrry. They are actually a local company, and they’re an accredited business. Those were two of the really great touchpoints for us. Beyond that, we knew that the capabilities that they had for us … Again, because we were so new at it, we were, again, as you mentioned, deer in the headlights. We were like, “We don’t know what we’re doing. We don’t know what we need to do.”.

Jessica Kapcar: They actually came in; they talked us through it; they explained the platform to us. I felt like they were also a great resource just in terms of like, “Okay, here are the four things that you need to have to get it up, and running,” just to get the lights turned on, and everything ready to go.

Jessica Kapcar: From there, because it is an easy platform … Well, for me, at least, because I don’t do all of the technical aspects of it. We enjoyed it. We were able to create the way … Make it look the way we wanted to; create what we wanted to. We were able to embed it into our website. It was just a great choice for us. Anytime that we are looking for a partner, or a company to do business with, we hope that they’re an accredited business.

Brett Johnson: That was one reason I did suggest them. I think, again, this is not a Blubrry commercial, but, at the same time, every company has its pros and cons.

Jessica Kapcar: Absolutely.

Brett Johnson: You have to make your own choice. For you, that made sense.

Jessica Kapcar: It absolutely did, yeah.

Brett Johnson: Obviously, it’s worked out very well.

Jessica Kapcar: It has. I’m sure that there are great resources out there, at any capacity. We knew what our capacity was, and this was a great fit for us. It’s worked well.

Brett Johnson: The equipment you’re using … What is your setup? I know that was kind of a building process, as well, too-

Jessica Kapcar: It was a building process-.

Brett Johnson: -because one thing couldn’t happen, till another thing happened, till another thing happened. How do you do your recordings?

Jessica Kapcar: It was a building process, for sure. We finally now have what we call our media room. We redesigned our office two years ago, almost three; two and a half. With the redesign, we were able to have a space completely dedicated to the video and content creation. It used to be that we’d have to go into the conference room, move tables, turn off music, move lights. It was a process. Now we have everything set up in there. We have two just Lavalier mics that attach to our point-and-shoot camera. It’s a little bit more than point-and-shoot, I guess, but …

Jessica Kapcar: We have someone on staff who just is able to capture all the audio. She edits it in-house. I think she uses Final Cut. It’s very straightforward. You don’t really need a lot of equipment, which is the great, I think, and easy part of the podcast. Like I said, we have to Lavalier mics. They plug into the camera. We do take video, just, again, for posterity’s sake, but you don’t have to.

Jessica Kapcar: It’s a really straightforward process for us, and we’ve never had … Well, shouldn’t say never. One of the biggest issues that we’ve run into is if the memory card fills up, and that does happen. It’s got one of those things where we just take a pause, and refill, and go from there.

Brett Johnson: I know; I’ve been a guest on an episode-

Jessica Kapcar: Yes you have.

Brett Johnson: It’s really a comfortable setting, honestly-

Jessica Kapcar: Thank you.

Brett Johnson: -because it’s a much different feel. I was impressed, because I’ve always been: table, microphone, and something physically in front of you.

Jessica Kapcar: Yes.

Brett Johnson: Where, in your situation, you’re sitting on a couple of chairs; Lavalier on; nothing in front of you.

Jessica Kapcar: No.

Brett Johnson: It’s almost you’re at a restaurant feel to it, almost, or going to a coffee shop, that it’s … Really, you’re open.

Jessica Kapcar: Yeah, we’ve got a little bistro table in there. Again, we wanted to make it very comfortable, casual, conversational. We’ve actually had one person walk out of the- almost walk out with the mic on. You kinda forget that it’s there. We’re like, “Oh, wait! Hold on! Hot mic. Don’t leave!” That was one of the goals that we had.

Jessica Kapcar: It might not be the most elaborate setup, but it works for us, and we hope that it’s a comfortable situation for people to come into. I think sometimes it can be … Because we reach out to people, and say, “Hey, we want your talent; please come in,” there are some times that people are like, “Oh, no, I’m not good at that.” We’re like, “You’ll be fine. We’ll coach you through it. It’s gonna be Okay.” I think maybe, hopefully, that’s contributed to putting some people at ease that may not have been otherwise.

Brett Johnson: With businesses deciding to go with podcasts … I think this can be true of any social media planning, blogging, whatever it is, there’s potentially of the transition. That one person leaving that was key to doing it.

Jessica Kapcar: Yes.

Brett Johnson: Now, you’re walking into that situation that-.

Jessica Kapcar: We are.

Brett Johnson: That Jordan has been hosting the podcast, now, from the get-go; transitioning to you, which actually is an easy transition, because you’ve been a piece of the party all the time.

Jessica Kapcar: Sure, yeah.

What were those discussions like, to where to go with this, now that she said, “I’ve gotta go”?

Jessica Kapcar: Right. Yeah, so, we’re in it. We are just on the tip of the iceberg in that. There’s always a little bit of transition in our team, especially when she’s got a new adventure going on. I just came back in after maternity leave. It’s kinda that, “Okay, let’s catch up with each other; where are we? What do I do?” That’s always a process.

Jessica Kapcar: The really great thing about our team, and the thing that we knew going in was we’re going to have changes come about. That’s why we kind of laid out that plan ahead of time. We really made sure that we had a plan in place, in terms of what did we want the podcast to be? What do we want it to be about? What do we want the topic to be? We honed in on that, and then we built out that content part of it, as well. Here are the 10 people that we think might be potentials for interviews for this year. Here are the topics that may work for them. Here’s maybe some of the conversation starters that we have.

Jessica Kapcar: We did that, because we knew, if, for some reason, someone left, or somebody was outta the office, or somebody had to pick up where somebody else left off, at least we have a little bit of a plan in place, and it documented-.

Brett Johnson: Right, breathing room, as well, too.

Jessica Kapcar: Right. Jordan did a great job with just taking things, and running with it. I have stepped into a very comfortable position, in terms of what it could have been like.

Brett Johnson: Right. Sure.

Jessica Kapcar: I feel very confident that we’ll be okay, and because our team was so collaborative at the beginning, and we were all there to talk through those things, and instrumental in making the decisions about what platform are we gonna use, what’s our look gonna be like, the rest of the team is still kind of in the know. I just have to get my interview skills brushed up, and hopefully, we’ll be able to soldier on.

Brett Johnson: Let’s talk about that. With a transition, it can actually be an opening for maybe tweaking some plans.

Jessica Kapcar: Yes.

Brett Johnson: Nothing negative about a previous host, it just comes down to a little fresh start. Maybe we can go in this direction; just tweaking. Let’s go into future plans for the podcast. What’s to be expected?

Jessica Kapcar: Yeah, absolutely. Going forward, obviously, we still know that we wanna utilize the resources that our businesses, nonprofits, charities have. I think what we might try to take a look at is do we need to focus in a little bit more? Do we need to be more laser-focused? Do we need to open it up a little bit more? Do we need to take a look at the process that we’re using, in terms of here’s the content that we wanna talk about; let’s find someone to fill it in, or do we wanna say, “Here’s the person that we wanna have; let’s let them say, ‘This is what I need to be talking about with you guys right now'”?

Jessica Kapcar: We’re pretty flexible, in terms of that. We’ve never really tried to pigeonhole ourselves, necessarily, but I do think there is something to be said for having a plan, and sticking with it. The plan is changing, so that’s gotta change-.

Brett Johnson: Especially if it’s not broke.

Jessica Kapcar: Exactly, right.

Brett Johnson: It’s not broke, so …

Jessica Kapcar: It’s working. I think that Jordan did an amazing job.

Brett Johnson: Oh, yeah.

Jessica Kapcar: However, now that I’m the one that’s gonna have to be doing the interviews, maybe there’s gonna be some benefit to bringing someone else in, and saying … For example, Kip. “You know this person, why don’t you … Here’s kind of what we’re thinking. Why don’t you do the interview with them? I think it would be just a great …” Because I think there’s something to having a person sit down with another person that they have a relationship with, and having that conversation. Things come out of that, that maybe wouldn’t have come out of that, if the person was just the interviewer.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Jessica Kapcar: I don’t ever wanna limit ourselves to saying I’m the host of the podcast. Believe me, I am more than happy to share that. Just kinda taking a look at that, and saying, “Who on our staff, or on our team, may be a great resource to tap into, or who is a partner, or in our community, would be a great resource to maybe have a guest host for …?” Maybe you? You never know.

Brett Johnson: Sure. You never know. Exactly, yes. Always up for conversation. You know I’ll always help in any way that I can, of course.

Jessica Kapcar: Absolutely.

Brett Johnson: Let’s end on this: advice for business owners who are considering podcasting as a marketing tool. What would you advise?

Jessica Kapcar: I think the biggest thing that … I was having this conversation with Jordan, actually, before she left, because I was picking her brain about everything, but especially this. I said, “What do you think that you would tell people, in terms of starting a podcast?” She was like, “I don’t think I would just do it, to do it. I think I would decide what you wanna say, and stick with the message.”.

Jessica Kapcar: Having a plan … Again, doesn’t mean you’re gonna follow it to the tee. It doesn’t mean it’s not gonna change every month that you do it, but having something planned – whether that’s your message, whether that’s your audience, whether it’s the people that you wanna have on it – and just sticking with that.

Jessica Kapcar: That was one of the things that we both decided … That probably is why our podcast didn’t feel like a burden, and, I think, maybe has worked the way it has, because we said, “Okay, here’s what we know we wanna do. Here’s who we know we wanna reach. Here’s who we know we can utilize as experts.” Ours is a little bit different, because we’re not the people who are saying, “Here’s what you …” We’re not imparting, necessarily, our wisdom. We know what we know; we know what we’re good at, and we know what we don’t. We’re gonna pull in the people who do know what they’re good at. Our model’s a little bit different than maybe some people’s model might be.

Jessica Kapcar: The other thing that I would say is don’t let not knowing how to do something, or maybe not having a very specific road map hold you back from getting your content out there, because you never know. You could do one podcast, and then a light bulb will go off, and a whole door will open up, and there you have it. If you have the drive, and you have the time, and you have outstanding resources in the community, like you, go for it.

Jessica Kapcar: It took us two years to get it up and running, probably because we were a little gun shy, but now we know that we probably could have done it maybe a little sooner. Not to shy away from it just because it seems like it might be daunting, or you might not have exactly what- exactly the plan in place that you wanna have in place. You can always mold it.

Brett Johnson: Oh, yeah, exactly. It’s the BBB Sparkcast. Let’s talk about everywhere they can find it.

Jessica Kapcar: You can go to our website, BBB.org, and then you just have to look for the Central Ohio website. There’s a little hamburger menu up at the top. You can click right on it. You could also go to BBBSparkcast.com. It’s on all of our social media channels – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram. We have a presence on all of those. If you happen to follow our BBB blog, you can also find it there.

Jessica Kapcar: You can always reach out to us, if you have a question about it, or wanna subscribe to it. It’s on all of the podcasting channels. You can get it through iTunes, Android … Anywhere you listen to a podcast, you can find it; just search for BBB Sparkcast. You can always reach out to us locally, at our office. We’re right here in central Ohio. We cover the 21 counties in central Ohio. That’s how you can find.

Brett Johnson: That’s good. We’ll be looking forward to hearing what you’re going to do with the podcast moving forward. Again, Jordan has done a fantastic job in the previous episodes.

Jessica Kapcar: She has.

Brett Johnson: I would encourage bingeing-

Jessica Kapcar: Absolutely.

Brett Johnson: -listening to them; listening to each, depending on your interest, the business is there, but you’ve covered a wide variety of businesses. It’s a really good way of getting a feel for the interview style, especially if you’re instead being interviewed by BBB Sparkcast.

Jessica Kapcar: Absolutely.

Brett Johnson: Take a listen. This is the style it’s going to be, and give some extra listens to you guys, as well, too-

Jessica Kapcar: Thank you.

Brett Johnson: We encourage that. Exactly, exactly.

Jessica Kapcar: Absolutely. They’re quick, about 15 minutes, so it doesn’t take a lot of time.

Brett Johnson: Right. That’s good. Well, thanks for being a guest. I appreciate it, Jessica.

Jessica Kapcar: Thank you so much.

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The above audio transcript of “BBB Sparkcast” was transcribed by the best audio transcription service called Sonix. If you have to convert audio to text in 2019, then you should try Sonix. Transcribing audio files is painful. Sonix makes it fast, easy, and affordable. I love using Sonix to transcribe my audio files.

Thanks to Jessica Kapcar, BBB of Central Ohio Communications Director, and host of the BBB SparkCast, for being my guest on this episode of Note To Future Me.

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

Brett Johnson is the owner and lead consultant at Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. The podcast consultants at Circle270Media have over 30+ years of experience in Marketing, Content Creation, Audio Production/Recording, and Broadcasting. We strategically bring these worlds together with Podcasting.

You can email Brett at podcasts@circle270media.com to talk more about your new or established business podcast. www.circle270media.com

Podcasting With Purpose, For You and Your Business

Why are you creating a podcast for your business?

 

Whatever your reason(s) are, you should be constantly aware of what those reasons are, because they are keys to not only personal satisfaction but your business success.

One important way to measure how your podcast is stacking up is measuring it against its mission statement. In other words, is your podcast doing what you want it to do for your business?

You have a mission statement for your business. If you don’t have a mission statement for your podcast, let’s fix that.

Create A Podcast Mission Statement,  For You and Your Business

The whole process could take you anywhere from 15 minutes to two weeks. There is no perfect amount of time for the process, as long as you go through the process.

Grab a notebook, journal, pen and paper, laptop, whatever you use to help you think and process information. This will work better for you to find a place that you won’t be disturbed or distracted.

Think about where you are now with your podcast (Today) and where you want to be (Tomorrow). While Today is right now, Tomorrow is your vision. What action(s) do you need to take, or what do you need to change to get you from Today to Tomorrow? How can you make this vision for your podcast a reality?

Do some brainstorming on this for up to 20 minutes.

Now, take about another 20 minutes to make a list of the qualities you value, the things that mean the most to you personally. Start with 10 or so values. These could include things like family, wealth, kindness, loyalty, integrity, fun, hard work, etc. They don’t have to anything with the podcast. The time you put into this exploration of your values will serve as the guiding principles to help you accomplish your mission.

Narrow down that list of values to three. Use the process of elimination to cross out “secondary values” until you have three core values remaining.

Write about how those three core values will help you live out or reach your vision. It might help if you define what each of these values means to you.

Make it actionable. Craft a statement. “I am” or “I will.” This will express your core values through your podcast to accomplish your vision. Take your time, and go through several drafts. When you’re done, you’ll have a mission statement for your podcast.

 

Purposefully Podcasting, For You and Your Business

Now that you went through all of that work, post your mission statement somewhere you can easily reference it.

You can then use your mission statement to:

  • Remind you of your show’s purpose when hit the wall
  • Understand your own business story
  • Make the hard decisions when you have to, like turning down a interview guest, or being a guest on someone else’s podcast that doesn’t match your mission and business direction
  • Guide you toward your podcasting goals
  • Remind you that you what you are producing is good for you and your business

Set an appointment with yourself every six months to review your mission statement. It’s healthy and good practice to review. If no changes are made, or you tweak it here and there, the better your next six months will be. You and your business change over time as well. Your podcast needs to be right there with the changes.

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

Brett Johnson is the owner and lead consultant at Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. The podcast consultants at Circle270Media have over 30+ years of experience in Marketing, Content Creation, Audio Production/Recording, and Broadcasting. We strategically bring these worlds together with Podcasting.

You can email Brett at podcasts@circle270media.com to talk more about your new or established business podcast. www.circle270media.com