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.
Dr. Todd Kays on starting his practice:
Well, I started my business, sports psychology was very new. The first sports psychologist that we had, even with United States Olympics was in 1988, Seoul, Korea, and I was in graduate school 1990. And 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. And so I found that The Ohio State University was doing something a little bit in the area of sports psychology. So I contacted them. Fortunately, I earned the internship, and during that time, 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 it started there. And at that point, there were really no jobs in the mid ’90s. You couldn’t look up and find a job for “sports psychologists needed.” They’re still very limited, believe it or not, across the country, in, for example, large university settings. And so about 1998. The person at Ohio State was going to stay there. I had to either do something else or start my own practice. And so I started my own practice. And I guess this is 20 years now, I’ve been in private practice.
So why podcast?
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. And so 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. They’ll be young. They’re always Instagram, Twitter, everything is just constant, 24 seven for them. And I kind of learned from that. 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. The young people, that’s what they want to work with. And the majority of people, at least from the athletic realm that I work with, are 30 and under. 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 businesses has to grow. 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. And where my heart. I can change more people’s lives.
How did you get the podcast started?
So I literally just sat down on my computer and just did it. And I sent it out to my email database. And I was like, wow, people are actually listening to this. And it was easy, and it was fun. And then I just kind of keep learning, refining, changing. Obviously, my approach, my knowledge, my experience, my expertise is a lot different than it was 20 years ago. And so I can add different takes on something that I might have taught very differently 10 years ago.
Are you considering a paid membership in addition to the free podcast?
Honestly, until recently, is the first time that I have even thought about that. 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. Then he gave me some advice, and it was this. You can use some free things, this is really good stuff. And I would encourage you to kind of look at a yearly membership because you could touch people all over the world for a very small price. And you deserve to get paid for what your years of experience and what you’re giving out.
Have you seen any increase in web traffic by including your podcasts on the website?
It is increasing some traffic. And I think what I’m getting more of besides the traffic is that I will hear from kids and parents of young athletes. 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. We’re a very rushed society. And people want things quickly and want things on the run. Now, my whole premise, when I’ve done these podcasts is these aren’t quick fixes. It’s when I give, for example, mental training drills. A mental training drill to a team of student athletes might be, “You’re going to listen to this three minute podcast. But then you’re going to journal about it for seven minutes.” And so I want them to again, slow down. I’ll show up to speak somewhere. And a student athlete, who I’ve never met before, will say, “Hey, friend of mine, shared your podcast with me, they’re really good.” I’m like, cool, that’s great.
You mentioned an email strategy at the very beginning, that you incorporated at the very beginning to promote and get listeners to you podcast.
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.
What what are the future plans for the podcast, in addition to the membership thoughts?
I will continue to podcast simply because I really enjoy doing them. First and foremost. I would like to see them grow. First off, I want to see two things happen. One is I want to see my own abilities to do the podcast improve. So 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. And I have learned so much. Because they’ve been given 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. So that’s the first thing that I’m doing. The second thing is, 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. 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. But if it gets to a point where I choose to say, “Hey, this is something that could reach out worldwide.” And I start getting that sort of feedback. I really want to have the best product in the best visuals, the best sound, I want it to be very professionally done. And that the listener is going to know that this was not just recorded in his home office while he was sitting watching TV. This was truly done with a lot of forethought. And then they feel that a yearly membership is worth it. Because this is a high quality product. And I’ve always held high standards for myself.
What advice would you give to a business that is considering podcasting as a marketing tool?
Well, I would first say, make sure that you truly want to 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 now. 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. And then the second thing is, I would say just start doing it, practicing. But the thing I would do, that I didn’t do it first, give it to some people to have them listen to it first before you publish your first episodes. 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. And then it comes across as “Well, I’m not going to listen to that person again. Because that sounded like he was in an airport when he was doing his podcast. I don’t want to listen to that.” So but I would say that is really want to do it and feel passionate in your heart about your message. But then, like you were saying earlier, just jump in and try it and do it. And 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 allow them to do what they’re good at.
Dr. Kays is a leader in the field of Sport and Performance Psychology. The co-author of Sport Psychology for Dummies (2010), Dr. Kays’ training and guidance have helped thousands of athletes eliminate the most common mental errors and breakdowns in sport. For five years, he was the sport psychologist for the Columbus Crew, the major league soccer team in Columbus, Ohio and has worked with numerous soccer players and coaches throughout the country. Dr. Kays has consulted with athletes and coaches from all different levels of sport, including National Football League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, United States Tennis Association, Professional Golf Association, and Ladies Professional Golf Association. He consults with teams at The Ohio State University.
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 email@example.com to talk more about your new or established business podcast. www.circle270media.com