We Love Schools

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Haven't you so far?

Carole Dorn-Bell:
No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, right, right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
The Blue Bus.

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
No.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We probably should.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
It just is.

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Right.

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I guess it is.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, and a networking opportunity too.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Well, thank you.

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

Brett Johnson:
Well, thank you.

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

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We all are.

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Oh, okay. Great.

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

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Is it, good?

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Did she?

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

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

Brett Johnson:
I know.

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

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Isn't that cool?

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

Brett Johnson:
You need the leather stuff.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I need the Terry Gross.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Oh, really?

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

Brett Johnson:
That's fantastic.

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

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah.

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah.

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
The frequency?

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, the frequency.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Is that a good thing?

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Your plan for frequency.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Oh, plan for frequency.

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
It fries you.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
It does.

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
That's right.

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Sure.

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
That's right.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Right.

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Then it's right.

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

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
No.

Brett Johnson:
Okay.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
I have no idea.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
You wouldn't get it.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Just forget it.

Brett Johnson:
Just forget it, exactly.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
We're moving on.

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Huge, yeah.

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

Brett Johnson:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Carole Dorn-Bell:
It's true.

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Do you know why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Yes, exactly.

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

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
That's right.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
I'm glad you had fun.

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

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

Carole Dorn-Bell:
Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

We Love Schools Podcast – Fresh Foods That Students Actually Eat

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

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

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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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