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.

Business Inspires Podcast

Stephanie Evans and Michelle Wilson are my guest on this episode. After Michelle left the her executive director position at the TriVillage Chamber Partnership and hosting duties of their podcast, Business Inspires, Stephanie has stepped in as the new executive director and host of the podcast. We talk about that transition, and what the effects will be.

Business Inspires (transcribed by Sonix)

Brett Johnson: Well, before we get into the heavy of the podcast, talking about Business Inspires’ podcast, I want to ask each of you, Michelle, and Stephanie, about nonprofits that you support, that you give time, talent, or treasure to. I’ll start with Michele.

Michelle Wilson: Sure. I think that the one nearest and dearest to my heart, right now, is the new Nationwide Children’s Hospital On Our Sleeves. It’s a mental health awareness program. I just think that it’s something that’s so important, and needed. The conversation, while it seems like it’s out there a lot, I think it’s really just beginning. I think it’s an amazing program, I definitely … I’m trying to become more involved with it. I’ve supported it financially, and I’m just figuring out ways that I can support it otherwise.

Brett Johnson: And Stephanie?

Stephanie Evans: I would say the one that I probably spend the most of my time with is Best Buddies, Best Buddies Ohio. It’s part of a national organization to assist folks with developmental disabilities, to engage them in one-on-one friendships, and then to help find them work in the workplace. My husband’s on the board there for Best Buddies Ohio, and I help out when I can. Really, my whole family’s involved, because there are high school, and college-age groups, as well, to help the students make lifelong friendships. It’s a really great organization. That’s where we spend our time.

Brett Johnson: Great, thanks. Let’s talk a little bit about each of your professional backgrounds, and, as the podcast develops, we’ll figure out, and the listener will figure out, “Oh, this is where the two come together, and why this is a podcast about the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership’s Business Inspires podcast. Let’s start with Michelle, because your history with the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership is longer. Let’s talk a little bit about your background, and how you became a part of the TVCP.

Michelle Wilson: I have always been in the nonprofit or not-for-profit world. I started out at Experience Columbus, when it was the Greater Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, way back when. Moved around a little bit from there in membership departments at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association. Always found that that was where I landed.

Michelle Wilson: Was able to land a amazing position with the Grandview Area Chamber, back in ’09, when they were looking for their first full-time director. I landed there; got that job. Grandview was where I grew up, and had my kids, so it was a nice fit. I knew the community; I knew a lot of people there.

Michelle Wilson: We were able to then grow and expand that into a merger between the Upper Arlington Chamber, and the Grandview, and Marble Cliff Chambers. We, in 2016, became the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership. That’s my background, and, of course, I have recently left that position after almost 10 years, and landed back at Experience Columbus, so a little bit of a full circle there.

Brett Johnson: Exactly. Stephanie?

Stephanie Evans: For me, I started at the National Kidney Foundation of Ohio in the communications department there, and then moved my way up, ultimately, to executive director position there, and was there for a while. Then left that position, really, to stay home to start a family. Then, in that time, two, what turned out to be three businesses of my own … So, a small-business owner-

Brett Johnson: One just wasn’t enough. I’ve gotta do three.

Stephanie Evans: They weren’t all simultaneous. They were kind of-

Michelle Wilson: Not one; not two, but three …

Stephanie Evans: A couple of ’em overlapped. Yeah, a couple of ’em overlapped. Anyway, so I spent that time having my own business, and raising my kids at home. Then, a couple of years ago, just had some changes take place in my personal life, and decided to let my photography business go. That’s what my more recent one was.

Stephanie Evans: Really, through a friend of mine, who happened to be related to Michelle, let me know that there was an opening there, and connected with Michelle. That’s how I landed at the Chamber. Came in as the membership manager, part-time, and have been there almost two years. It’ll be two years in March. Then, when Michelle made her next step, I switched seats, and I went from membership manager to executive director.

Brett Johnson: From the baby pool to the deep end.

Stephanie Evans: That’s right.

Michelle Wilson: Quite literally. Yeah.

Brett Johnson: I have you both on because … We were talking about this before recording. I’ve jumped on this theme, by accident, of the host transitions. The Business Inspires podcast is now going through a host transition. Michelle had hosted the podcast from its inception, up through her leaving recently, and Stephanie’s now taking the roam and doing the interviews, and setting up scheduling for guests, and such, for Business Inspires.

Brett Johnson: I wanted to bring both of you together to talk about that. I know Michelle’ll have a little bit more knowledge on the beginnings, as I will, too, but I think it’s worth the discussion, because this is a Chamber-focused podcast, Business Inspires. Why a podcast for Tri-Village Chamber Partnership, Michelle?

Michelle Wilson: For me, it was having discussions with you, and I hadn’t even really considered it, but when you approached me, it seemed like an edgy new different thing to do. I think that’s one of the things I like to pride myself, or the Chamber on. At the time, we were going through a merger. That was something that was pretty rare. We had taken a couple of leaps of faith along the way, with the Grandview Area Chamber, and done some really cool projects that others had not yet tried.

Michelle Wilson: I thought this was a really great new edgy way to perhaps reach a new demographic. Chambers, and membership organizations, in general, we’re going through a bit of an identity crisis, and I thought this might be a really cool way to reach the younger demographic that didn’t necessarily understand why they should be a member of a Chamber of Commerce.

Brett Johnson: I know when we first started, too, I was looking at it as a potential engagement tool. I know Chambers have a difficulty. Yeah, they have … The email database is great, but the open rate, no, and the feedback from members, and getting them involved, and such … I was envisioning the podcast, possibly, as an engagement tool, as well, too.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: If nothing else, reaching out to members, being part of the podcast, and getting ’em involved in a different way that they hadn’t even thought about, it’s like, “Oh, wow …” [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Right, and they didn’t understand it.

Brett Johnson: They didn’t-.

Michelle Wilson: Any more than I did.

Brett Johnson: Correct. Correct, yes. Trying to go in the back my mind, how the process began, I think we just had coffee to talk about this idea. Luckily, you were very welcoming to the idea, too, because I think I laid it out as you have a lot of content, great content. You refined it even more, talking about, “Okay, let’s talk to businesses about how they started, and how they’re growing.”

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: I kinda wanna go a little bit more on that, why that popped in your mind.

Michelle Wilson: I think we’re really lucky in the Tri-Village area that we just had this … We have a really great group of members. One of the things that we never really have to preach is to support one another, and make sure you’re using member businesses, and make sure you’re looking there first. People just naturally do it.

Michelle Wilson: You may use a vendor, here and there, that you’ve gotten great service from, but you don’t really know why they do what they do, or why they got started. I thought it would be a neat premise to figure out if this was something they really- was their lifelong aspiration, or if they just landed there. I think finding their personal connection to what they do was just a different way to approach it. There are lots of business podcasts out there, and I thought maybe putting a spin on it might be more engaging.

Brett Johnson: I think the guests have done a great job, as well, and they get it, when they’re on the podcast.

Michelle Wilson: Yes.

Brett Johnson: They bring it back into why the Chamber is so important to them.

Michelle Wilson: Right, sure.

Brett Johnson: Not a guest that we’ve talked to that we’ve had to tell them, “Hey, be sure to incorporate why the Chamber’s so important to you.”

Michelle Wilson: We’ve never asked that question.

Brett Johnson: Never have asked it. It’s come up organically in every interview. Stephanie, even the couple that we’ve done, have come up … With your transition, we’ve never told them to say anything about it.

Stephanie Evans: Right. It did just come up naturally.

Brett Johnson: It’s amazing. Again, you can have the leading questions, as we had one … Not leading questions, but to incorporate that maybe one member has done a lot to help with some events, and such. That’s gonna come up in conversation, obviously, too. I know we talked initially, too, Michelle, when I brought up the idea … I knew that I had to come up with a way that might be comfortable for you. I knew the question may come up about, “What kind of podcast? Are you talking about me just being the podcast?”

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: That’s why I introduced let’s do the interview. Makes it a whole lot easier. You still had the nervousness, in regards to, “I’m not an interviewer. I haven’t done “radio.” How do I do this?”

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: How did you prepare yourself to be, I think, a great interviewer?

Michelle Wilson: Oh, thank you.

Brett Johnson: I think you agree, now, too. I think you’ve done a great job with it. You actually started have a lot of fun after the first couple-

Michelle Wilson: I did, yeah, right.

Brett Johnson: You did. How did you jump into that, in regards to getting yourself prepared, and getting more comfortable to being an interviewer?

Michelle Wilson: Again, going back to just who we are as … Who our personality is at the Chamber is we’re very relationship-driven. While everybody says that, I believe it to be true. I believe that so much of the success of the Tri-Village Chamber has been because Stephanie and I have gotten to know people. We know them on a personal level, generally – not every single person – but I think that’s been a big part of the success.

Michelle Wilson: Preparing for the podcast was just figuring out how do I ask somewhat personal questions without getting too personal? Finding out what it is they wanted to be, when they were young, and having them take a step back, and look at why they are where they are. I did basically the same research, every single time.

Michelle Wilson: We did identify … At least initially, we identified members that perhaps I knew a little more on a personal level, so that I could … They were kinda my guinea pigs. I could ask them questions that- and I would be more comfortable asking them questions, because I kinda knew what their answers would be. Although, I think, each time, they surprised me, and that was also fun. It was always a discovery, no matter how much I thought I knew going into the interview. I think that led, each time, to a really great end product.

Brett Johnson: It did, I agree. I was thinking about the time process, when our first discussion, and when we kicked it off … I don’t remember actually how many weeks/months it took. I think it went fairly quickly, honestly.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: I think a lot of the time that it took, and this is part of the interview process, is booking people; getting those businesses in. At that time, we were very lucky to have a great relationship with a local radio station group to utilize their studios. I know the owner was extremely happy to have business owners coming in to the radio station, just to see the Hollywood of it, to be a part of this podcast, but also just a monthly process of seeing new businesses coming in, because of this podcast.

Brett Johnson: That was a nice relationship, at that point in time, to get things going, to legitimize the podcast, as well, working with the radio station group. The sound of the podcast versus just being in front of a computer laptop, and, “Okay, talk as close as you can to the screen …”

Michelle Wilson: Oh, it made a difference. It definitely … Absolutely, it made a difference being in a professional setting.

Brett Johnson: I think it made a little bit easier for you, too, I’m assuming, because you were at a radio station. This is what happens here.

Michelle Wilson: It did. Right.

Brett Johnson: Interviews, and content, that sorta thing, yeah.

Michelle Wilson: I was lucky enough to be a part of a couple of other podcasts, and they were fine. I would never say anything negative about them, other than the sound quality … The difference in sound quality, I felt really lucky that we had what we had with that radio station.

Brett Johnson: Yes, and I think the process of us moving as fast as we did – I’m gonna say probably a couple of months, quite frankly [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Oh, I think it was, yeah.

Brett Johnson: -it probably was. We didn’t really have a lot of people involved.

Michelle Wilson: Right. That’s true.

Brett Johnson: We went rogue for the most part [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: If you asked my past board members, they would say that ,”Michelle asks forgiveness, not permission,” and that’s just how it worked.

Brett Johnson: I don’t know if that’s the proper way for any Chamber to think about doing something like this, but what is the harm, as long as you have the game plan, and this is the direction you’re going with it?

Michelle Wilson: Sure.

Brett Johnson: You focused a couple of the board members as guests, as well, so that made a big difference.

Michelle Wilson: I did. Right. Some of that was strategic, but they also are really good interviews … Perhaps it was for a double reason, but there was good content there.

Brett Johnson: Yeah. How has the podcast been able to showcase the Chamber’s expertise? How did you incorporate that, as well as with Stephanie coming in, as well, too, what the Chamber is? I know there’s, like you said, an atmosphere; a culture that the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership has, compared to any other chamber – good, bad, whatever. Every Chamber has its culture; its feel. How do you think you incorporated that, in regards to what you were doing with the podcast, as well as what Stephanie will be doing in the future, too?

Michelle Wilson: Steph, do you wanna take that? I can take that. I think I can take that. There’s a saying, and I probably said this on past podcasts, that you’ve seen one Chamber, you’ve seen one Chamber. We all operate very differently; every community is so different. Partnerships vary.

Michelle Wilson: The Grandview area, Upper Arlington area, and now, of course, Tri-Village, I think have been very lucky to have good relationships with their city governments, with their key players in the area. I think that really played beautifully into the podcast just being an extension of what it was we were already doing. That was finding new ways to engage our members; finding new ways to keep them interested, and on board.

Michelle Wilson: When we started receiving feedback, pretty quickly … It takes a while to build your listenership, of course, but when we started receiving feedback, pretty quickly, from members who were intrigued by the fact that we were doing a podcast, and they were learning about these small businesses on a different level, that was exciting.

Michelle Wilson: Again, I think, going back to some other chances we took as a Chamber: the Chamber Challenge, when we did a business makeover in three days; that was that was a huge undertaking, and a great success story. The podcast was just the next thing we were trying. I joked about asking forgiveness, not permission, but kinda true. We just said, “Sure, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s give it a shot.” We didn’t have a lot to lose. It’s turned out to be a really great benefit, I think, to our members. People are asking to be a part of it now. I think it was just natural, that it was something we did that was different, and edgy.

Brett Johnson: I think one great story that came out of … I think we maybe had three or four published at the time, but the first episode that we published, she got an inquiry about her business for new business-.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah, and got the business-.

Brett Johnson: And got the business. When you told me that, I’m going, “Wow, okay, this stuff kinda works, doesn’t it?”

Michelle Wilson: Yeah. We thought, “Gosh, if that happens every single time, we’ve got something …” which, of course, jokingly. We knew that wasn’t gonna happen every single time, but-

Brett Johnson: Sure … Being the first episode of the whole podcast-

Michelle Wilson: -but the very first episode did produce business, yeah.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, amazing. That was a difficult episode, because that was your first. That was her first, but it came out great-

Michelle Wilson: We were both so nervous-

Brett Johnson: -and she got to showcase exactly what she wanted to for her business, and it obviously worked.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah, she came off beautifully. She really did.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, she did. Have you seen adding the podcast content to the website improve the site’s search component?

Michelle Wilson: That’s a great question that I would have to … I don’t know that we have done a ton of analytics on it. It’s certainly something we can do. You’ve provided us with numbers that have increased over time. I’m certain that it probably has, I just wish I could give you exact numbers, but I can’t-.

Brett Johnson: No, and that’s fine, because I can answer a little bit to that, because I know the user agent piece to the back end that I do see. This is not atypical of a business-oriented podcast; it is a lot more desktop listenership than through phone. Therefore, they are listening via your website, or a link through the email.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah, sure.

Stephanie Evans: One of the things we did on the website, too, was we added a tab; specifically, it says Podcast, so you don’t have to look for the podcast in the other drop-down menus. It used to be part of the news, or something like that-

Michelle Wilson: It did, yes.

Stephanie Evans: We changed it to add it, so you see it right when you log onto the website.

Michelle Wilson: Right-

Brett Johnson: Which will make a difference over time, of course, too [cross talk].

Michelle Wilson: -much easier to find.

Brett Johnson: Right. I know a lot of businesses, they wanna add content to their website, but it’s like, “Okay, where do we put it without junking up the site?” Or maybe the original design of the site was not really set up to incorporate any video, any audio.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: It’s kinda difficult to measure, because it’s not in the right place. A tab, obviously, will help tremendously, and such, too. Another unexpected thing that happened, but we were focusing on this, we had a sponsorship for the podcast.

Michelle Wilson: We did.

Brett Johnson: We’d always talked about this, but we just … Had come up with a list of potential sponsors, but knowing that any sponsorship could limit who might even wanna be on the podcast, or it might sound as though, “Okay, they’re sponsoring, but what are you giving ’em?” You’re a Chamber sort of thing.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: I think our focus of who did sponsor the podcast made a lot of sense. I’ll let you talk a little bit about the story-.

Michelle Wilson: It did-

Brett Johnson: -because you carried the water on this one.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, well, I approached … Of course, the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership is made up of Grandview Heights, Marble Cliff, and Upper Arlington. We approached the three of them, and said, “These are the businesses that are representative of each of your areas, so, let’s get you on board.”.

Michelle Wilson: What I really love is that the smallest of those three municipalities stepped up. The Village of Marble Cliff got it really quickly. They went through a few readings, and they listened to some podcasts, and they stepped up with some dollars. One of the things we said was we’ll be sure to make sure that we are including businesses in the Village of Marble Cliff. There aren’t a ton. It’s a very small village. Not a huge ask on their part, but some great businesses there.

Michelle Wilson: The businesses that we already had focused on in Marble Cliff helped sell it. Then, we made a commitment to feature some more, and we did that, and we’re still doing that. I was really happy that they stepped up, not just from a dollar perspective, but because it was a great way for a small village to get some awesome exposure. Their logo went on there, and then they got to think of a fun slogan, and tagline. I think it helped them, and is helping them in a different way, as well.

Brett Johnson: It’s little bit of moral support, too.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: I felt really good after you … I know you called me. It wasn’t an email. “Hey, we got a sponsor!” and you said who it was. It was a struggle. It was … It will be, working with municipalities, and cities, of course. The process is a bit slower; a lot more people have to sign off on these ideas of money being spent. I totally understand that versus going to a business as a sponsorship.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: Hearing that feedback, and knowing that they’re going to do that meant monumental pushing a big rock-

Michelle Wilson: Right, right …

Brett Johnson: -knowing that it doesn’t matter what size of government there is, there had to be a lot of eyeballs seeing this, “Yeah we’re gonna do this; we’re gonna do this; we’re gonna do this,” because this money is being spent here, versus here. It was good feedback.

Stephanie Evans: One of the things that their Mayor, Kent, had said about it was that they view it as a professional education opportunity for the businesses in the Marble Cliff area, and felt that, by supporting the podcast, it was encouraging their businesses to listen in, because they can’t always make it to a luncheon, or a breakfast, or a coffee, or an event, where we might have a speaker, or some kind of educational program.

Stephanie Evans: It really is educational, when you listen to how someone got their business started, or how they made the next steps to grow, and that kinda stuff. They felt like it was a good option to treat it as professional education, in a way, to give to the business community, and support us, as well.

Brett Johnson: One of your last interviews was with Kent, and-

Michelle Wilson: It was.

Brett Johnson: -probably one of the better podcasts, in regards to understanding the Village of Marble Cliff.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: He’s such a great speaker [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: He is.

Brett Johnson: -understanding this very … What is it? Two square mile, if that? I forget how many square mile it is, but government is government, and it’s just a smaller version of it, but it’s the same mechanisms, the same “politics” going on, but just on a smaller scale; a microcosm, comparatively, but still important to those that are living in that little community.

Michelle Wilson: Right, and they’re very lucky they have somebody who’s forward-thinking, and is … Again, I think like the Chamber taking a chance on some doing something a little differently … We’re very lucky that he sits on the board, and has a great voice to lend, on behalf of the village.

Brett Johnson: We tried to come up with the most convenient publishing schedule, and we varied that. I know, initially, we went with … Because of scheduling issues, and problems, and fitting in your schedule, obviously, to sit down. and talk with folks, and give yourself some time for research, we are on a once-a-month publishing schedule. It worked really well, I think.

Brett Johnson: Then we started to crank it up to every three weeks, and I think we saw some momentum come from that, as well, too, that it started to take off a little bit more, as well. We could get more people in over a year’s time, as well, too. How did that change, in regards to how you set yourself up, and your scheduling, too, that one extra week, or one fewer week to prepare? Did that take some mental strain? How did that change your life?

Michelle Wilson: Not tremendously, because I think it was something that I so enjoyed. It was just one of my favorite parts; truly getting to take a deep dive into one business was so enjoyable for me. Doing the research … I had basically the same list of questions every single time. That would always be my fall backs. Then, depending on who we were talking to, and how well I knew them, or if there had been something in the news recently that I wanted to make sure I touched on, I customized that each time. It was more exciting, quite honestly, to increase it, and get to talk to more people, and beef that up a little bit.

Brett Johnson: I know Stephanie, you can answer this, as well, too, because of being on board as long as you were, installing the social media strategy, and the email strategy. Let’s talk a little bit about that, how that’s evolved, as well, too, from your standpoint, and moving forward. This podcast is included in every newsletter that goes out for the Chamber, which is a weekly … What other pieces are being implemented that are being done/were being don, as well as looking to the future?

Stephanie Evans: It goes into our weekly newsletter with a link, so it’s on our website. It always sits there, and the link sends you to the website. Then, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram … Trying to think of all the social media. Admittedly, we are in a transition there with the social media.

Stephanie Evans: We had contracted out some work; the person that was doing that work for us recently moved to Seattle. In theory, he could do it from there, but it’s more practical to have it here, closer to home. We’re in transition, getting our head around how to do that social media, and how best to approach that. The podcast link is included in all of that, and we’re trying to stay active on that, and keep up to date, and find a new rhythm with our social media.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, it’s kind of a double-whammy, with the transition of hosts, also losing the social media person, or [cross talk] choice to keep the social media in-house; let’s put it that way.

Stephanie Evans: Right. That’s the goal at this point is to keep it in-house, and just, I guess, have a more intimate knowledge of it. I don’t know if that’s really the right way to phrase that, but we could do things a little more quickly [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Well, it’s certainly more immediate.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, it’s more immediate-

Brett Johnson: That person’s desk is five feet away [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: Right, instead of sending a picture to somebody … It does make it more immediate. We just have to get up to speed with it.

Brett Johnson: Sure, sure. Well, and you can look at it as good timing, or bad timing. It’s probably very good timing, because you get to own it – the change of it – and evolve with it, as well. I know, with the transition, we’re looking at probably backing up publishing dates, back to a month, probably, just because, again, new role for you [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, just a little … This big microphone looking at.

Brett Johnson: -of looking at, “Okay, I still wanna continue …” Well, “I still wanna continue on with the podcast,” but how to incorporate it into my day, as the newly appointed executive director for the Chamber. It’s just a week, so not big, but I think that the implementation of a new person with social media, keeping it in-house, may be an easier transition, as well, too.

Stephanie Evans: I think we’re still very much in a transition phase. I just officially took this role as executive director in October, so I was still in my learning curve. Then, add to that the change in the social media contractor that we were using, and bringing someone in-house, and me changing roles altogether. There’s a lot to learn.

Michelle Wilson: You’re welcome [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: I didn’t know as much as I thought I knew. I sat next to Michelle in the office, and I [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: -osmosis works pretty well, too.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, and I knew a lot about the Chamber activities, but not so much the things that she did. Now, I have literally switched chairs. I took your chair.

Michelle Wilson: That’s a great, great chair.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, it’s a great chair. There’s a lot to learn, and it’s a busy day. I make my to-do list at the end of the day, for my next day, and inevitably, I get to work … Sometimes, I check my email before I get in, and my whole day changes.

Michelle Wilson: That’s right.

Brett Johnson: Welcome to life. Yeah, right, exactly.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, exactly. It’s never quite like I planned. Just kinda keeping up with things still has me in a transition.

Brett Johnson: That’s a great segue into talking about the transition of hosts. Obviously, you knew you were going to leave, and whether that was being discussed or not … One way or the other, in the mind, you knew, “Okay, I’m moving on, but there are things I have to take care of.”.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: What was the discussion like with Stephanie, when you said, “Hey, I’m outta here. Totally up to you if you wanna keep the podcast going, but let’s talk about the podcast …”? What was that conversation like?

Michelle Wilson: Well, I told Steph that it was one of my favorite parts of the job. It had grown into that, and that I would … I just told her the truth. I think that I was very nervous, and that if we kept it going, which I thought we should, that we approach it the same way. Don’t put a ton of pressure on yourself, because the conversation really does take over.

Michelle Wilson: We scheduled a couple of podcasts, my last two, and and did those in the office, in a more comfortable setting, and Stephanie sat in on those, and got to see that I wasn’t exaggerating. It really is very laid back, and conversational, and the flow should be fairly natural. You have these questions that you can fall back on, if conversation halts for some reason, but that never really happened, thankfully, but they were good conversation starters.

Michelle Wilson: The Chamber is very lucky that Stephanie knocked on our door a couple of years ago, and said, “Hey, I’m interested in coming here.” Her background, and personality just lent itself beautifully for the transition. I knew she’d be great, and, of course, she is.

Stephanie Evans: Thanks, Michelle.

Brett Johnson: She said that in the conversation. What did you hear? [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: -I’m like, “What? Who can I get to do that?”

Michelle Wilson: How do you portray deer in the headlights over a microphone?

Stephanie Evans: I think, from the start, I totally agreed that it needed to continue. I think it’s a really great thing for the Chamber, for our members, and for the folks who are listening. There was no doubt that we wanted to keep it going. The struggle for me is overcoming the anxiety of having this big microphone in front of me, and feeling like I don’t know how to do this.

Stephanie Evans: My first thoughts were, “Okay, well, we have to keep it going. We have to keep it going. Who can I ask to do it? Who can be the voice?” I went through all kinds of different ideas in my head, and I’m like, “Okay, the fact is it’s most natural, probably, for me to do it. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths, and just do it.” Your encouragement, Brett, and your encouragement, Michelle-

Brett Johnson: Thank you.

Stephanie Evans: I know-

Brett Johnson: Did you end up going back, and listening to some older episodes to really listen to ’em differently, and how it was done?

Stephanie Evans: That’s a good question. I guess I didn’t go back very far. I generally listen to them as they come, but I did go [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Right, right, right … But you can hear it with a different ear, when you have to host it.

Stephanie Evans: Yes, and I did. I did go back and listen to probably three or four … Not the entire podcasts, but parts of the three or four of ’em. You’re right. I didn’t even remember that I did that, but I did, right before we recorded my first one; to go back and just listen to the flow, and how the conversation went.

Stephanie Evans: That helped, and I had Michelle’s list of questions that I just had in front of me. I did use them probably more than Michelle does, or did at the time. It does help provide the backup, like when you are afraid of stalling out; you know you won’t, if you have that.

Stephanie Evans: The other thing that you had said, Brett, is that it doesn’t really matter how long it is, It can be 10 minutes; it can be half an hour. It’s just wherever the conversation just naturally stops. Relieving that pressure of having to fill 20 minutes was helpful, too. I think probably mostly it was in my head, because, you’re right, it’s pretty natural, but heart races, at first, and your mouth gets dry [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Even though you know it’s not live, you do have this big microphone in front of you, and there’s a sense of pressure, when that’s not something you do every day, but-

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, even today.

Michelle Wilson: Right, but it’s also a sense of relief, when … If you can get out of your head long enough to think, “Okay, we can fix this,” because it’s not live, and it can come off sounding pretty smooth, if we stumble a little bit along the way.

Stephanie Evans: I think that the biggest thing for me was just the commitment to knowing that it has to go forward; not going to stop doing this. I’ve gotta figure it out.

Brett Johnson: Mm hmm, yeah. I hadn’t thought about the transition you talked about, in regards to bringing it back in the office; getting away from the professional studio. That probably maybe helped you with the transition, as well, too. It’s in your office, now-

Stephanie Evans: Probably, yeah.

Brett Johnson: Bring a couple microphones in; it’s not the intimidation factor of a studio that you’re not comfortable in. You had never been in that studio that we were recording in, and we were taking the podcast on the road for a few episodes, as well, too, for convenience sake, as well … Moving what we thought was gonna be a different direction, but didn’t happen. It was an experiment; just didn’t happen. Back in your office makes a whole lot of sense, and it may be just as comfortable for your guests, as well, too, because [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, a lot of ’em had been there before, and they’re nervous, too, the people that we’ve interviewed. They were nervous, definitely, so having that comfort level of knowing where they’re going, knowing how to get there, and that kinda thing, I do think helps.

Michelle Wilson: For me, I had the benefit of recording promo spots for some of our past events at the studio, so I at least had a little bit of a level of familiarity with going into the studio, and talking into a microphone. That’s not the case for everybody, so I do think it’s a nice familiar setting to do it in the Chamber offices [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Moving forward, any new thoughts? Any new ideas that you wanna implement over the next few months? Have you put thought to that, or the different type of people we wanna talk to?

Stephanie Evans: With regard to the podcast?

Brett Johnson: Yeah.

Stephanie Evans: I think one of the things that we had tossed out … I really do love the up close, and personal, and finding out how a business came along. I am a small business owner, myself, still-

Brett Johnson: You’ve been there.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, I have. I’ve owned two businesses by myself, and then my husband, and I currently own a business together. I’m a small business owner, too, and so I do appreciate hearing other people’s stories. I think that I learned from it. I think our listeners can learn from it. Everybody’s tackled it a little differently.

Stephanie Evans: One of the things that I think has been great about the ones that we’ve had so far is the variety of businesses that we’ve invited in for it. I think, for the listeners, if you look at the list, it’s this huge variety. I think that shows the breadth of our membership. For folks who aren’t members, or just out there listening, they can see the kind of businesses that we have, and that it really covers a whole range of businesses.

Stephanie Evans: I think that the up close, and personal, “How did you get here?” way is great. We’ve also tossed around, do we start doing more like … I don’t know, a specific topic in business, and how do we address that, and kinda come at that from different angles. For right now, I feel like if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. If this is our niche, and this is what we’re known for, then that’s the track we should stay on. If we start to feel like we wanna mix it up a little bit, I do think that there are some other avenues we could venture down.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, we talked about other opportunities, as well, too, just expanding the role of the podcast. It gives you the opportunity as a new host to do that, as well as Michelle was always kicking around that idea. We were always kicking around those ideas, so it’s always on the table.

Michelle Wilson: Sure, yeah. I think it’s really key to mention, too, from the member perspective, besides learning about other members, is that it’s a great marketing tool for them. They walk away with this podcast. We walk away learning something; a little bit more about, perhaps, that member, or that industry, but the member walks away with a marketing piece that they can put on their website; that they can pull snippets of. You’re great about helping them with pulling out key pieces that would be great for marketing. There’s no charge to them for being a guest on our podcast. It’s really a benefit to everybody involved.

Brett Johnson: There’s not an episode that I didn’t learn something-

Michelle Wilson: Oh, my gosh, yes. Me, too.

Brett Johnson: -or heard something said, going, “That makes sense,” especially when you start to change what you’re doing in your world-

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: -and things hit you differently, when you start to think about things differently, whether it’s a new business venture, or you’re venturing with a new career, whatever; you just hear it differently. I think every episode, all the guests have done a fantastic job of bringing just little nuggets, yeah-

Michelle Wilson: A nugget, right. There have been times that I’ve walked away thinking, or not thinking, but just having learned something that I just didn’t expect. There was a couple of times when I was kind of gobsmacked, for lack of a better word.

Michelle Wilson: In one of those, a piece of advice came out of it. One of my favorite things was to ask, “What advice were you given, or what advice would you now give?” One of the podcasts, there was a piece of advice given to one of our interviewees that I loved, and I have now used in a practical way with my kids, and in my life. I definitely learned a life lesson out of doing an interview that … Gosh, that’s not what I expected to get out of it, but it was great.

Brett Johnson: All right. Advice to a business owner, or another Chamber outside of the Columbus area … They would like to start a podcast … Wouldn’t want any more competition here, but since the podcast is worldwide-

Michelle Wilson: We’ve got it covered.

Brett Johnson: We’ve got it covered, here, but I’ll ask both of you, what advice would you give a business owner, or another Chamber that may be considering podcasting as a marketing tool? What would you tell them to keep in mind?

Michelle Wilson: Steph, jump in anytime. I think I would tell them to try to come up with what’s unique about them, and capitalize on it, with their podcast, with whatever the theme is, or what it is that they want to accomplish. Find out what’s- identify what’s unique, and use it.

Michelle Wilson: Also, try to get the supporters on board first, and not necessarily ask permission, but now that there’s somebody that’s doing this, and it’s working, don’t recreate the wheel, and definitely get people on board first. Realize that there are resources out there to help you get started, and that it’s really a phenomenal tool to engage your members.

Stephanie Evans: They might be able to get sponsorship upfront [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Upfront, yes.

Stephanie Evans: -say, “Here’s what we wanna do,” and model it after this or that, and be able to get some sponsorship upfront. I would say definitely think about that. One of the things that I think our podcast does is, alongside of the information that’s shared from the interviewees, is it showcases the personality of the Chamber, just in the conversations that take place.

Stephanie Evans: I do think that the conversations … Michelle’s done a really great job of being very natural, and being able to bring out the personality, not only of the person being interviewed, but her personality shows, too. I think that that …

Stephanie Evans: I always tell people who are thinking about joining our Chamber that the personality of our Chamber, I really do feel like, represents the communities that we represent. It’s a really warm, sincere group of people who wanna see each other support- sorry, wanna support each other, and see each other be successful. I feel like that comes through in the interviews, just the personalities. I think that’s a real nice benefit for our members, and for the Chamber, as a whole.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, I would think, and I agree … I always think this medium is not a fake-it medium. It’s raw. It’s raw. The emotions are there. You just can’t fake it, versus writing a blog, or having a professional blogger write it for you that represents your company. This is it. I think the podcast brings that out of the Chamber, as well as the guests I’ve seen, overall.

Brett Johnson: Congratulations on your move, Michelle.

Michelle Wilson: Thank you very much.

Brett Johnson: That was a kick in the gut, when you told me you were leaving. a little bit-

Stephanie Evans: I second that-.

Brett Johnson: -because I knew I was going to miss working with you. I knew the podcast would live on, because it had legs, and I knew Stephanie was more than capable of getting this done, but working with you, I knew I was gonna miss [cross talk] because it was a lot of fun.

Brett Johnson: I am looking forward to what Stephanie is gonna do, as well, too, because the focus of this podcast, I think, is extremely important to me, as well as getting it done for the Chamber, as well, too. Congratulations on your move to Experience Columbus-

Michelle Wilson: Thank you.

Brett Johnson: -and congratulations on your new chair, and new role.

Stephanie Evans: Thanks, Brett … Literally a new chair.

Brett Johnson: Exactly.

Stephanie Evans: Literally a new chair. It moves.

Brett Johnson: I do look forward to working, as we continue on with Business Inspires.

Michelle Wilson: Thank you [cross talk].

Stephanie Evans: Thank you, Brett. I look forward to working with you, too.

Michelle Wilson: Thank you for all your support. This is because of you, and your great idea, and that our members are benefiting. Thank you for doing that.

Brett Johnson: Thank you. Thank you.

Sonix is the best online audio transcription software in 2019.

The above audio transcript of “Business Inspires” 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 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

Grow Like A Pro Podcast

In this episode, I talk with Jason Fleagle and Adam Bankhurst, co-hosts of Grow Like A Pro Podcast from Jenesis Marketing Group

One great takeaway you’ll get from the podcast is how the two share duties as co-hosts. Ideally, co-hosts should divide the work in half. And these two talk about how they do just that!

Grow Like A Pro (transcribed by Sonix)

Brett Johnson: Let’s start off and talk about … We’re gonna balance this podcast with business, and nonprofit. I am a true believer that businesses need to give back to the community. I wanna give you guys an opportunity to talk about nonprofits that you work with, whether it’s time, treasure, talent … Let’s talk about those. Which one do you work with, or maybe it’s a multitude of them?

Jason Fleagle: Adam, you wanna go first?

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, sure. I worked at The Basement Doctor for about eight years, and I was the IT manager. The Basement Doctor, and Ron Greenbaum, himself, is very into working with nonprofits, and charitable organizations. We’ve worked with the Ronald McDonald House, and we’ve worked with Autism Speaks, and we’ve worked with all these other groups that really do a lot of good in the community.

Adam Bankhurst: I started doing that. In addition, personally, I am big into gaming, and technology. There’s a charity called Extra Life that is basically like a gaming marathon. Instead of running for 24 hours, you’re gaming for 24 hours. I started a movement in Columbus back in 2011, and we’re raising money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. We work with Ohio State, and BuckeyeThon, their big dance marathon. We’ve raised over, I think, about $250,000 over the past maybe four or five years, just helping kids, and playing games is kinda what we say.

Adam Bankhurst: Recently, we’ve gotten involved in Pelatonia, the big bike ride. For the last two years, I’ve done a hundred miles. We’ve worked on the board with Kelly … Kelly, and Maria Durant. We are really, really passionate about doing that stuff, because it’s just so important, and there’s so many good causes. It’s nice to just get out there, and meet people, and see people doing amazing stuff in the community. It’s a big passion of mine, and of the company’s.

Brett Johnson: That’s awesome. Jason?

Jason Fleagle: For me, Brett, I’ve always been passionate about wanting to give back. I love to … Especially being in the world of business development, and coming alongside businesses, and business owners, and helping them solve their challenges, nonprofits, giving back to them has always been something I love to do.

Jason Fleagle: Right now, I’m actually working with two really cool nonprofits. The first one is Autism Power. Tony Iacampo is the founder of that organization. We’re actually working on getting that off the ground. It’s basically a balance between a nonprofit, and a social enterprise.

Jason Fleagle: There’s a lot of businesses, actually, in Columbus, up in the Delaware area, that are getting involved. They’re going to donate some space within the company to have children with autism come in, and actually work a real job. The whole idea is to equip individuals with autism to live a normal life, or as normal as they can.

Jason Fleagle: It’s really awesome. I’m so excited to be a part of it. We actually have Austin St. John, the original Red Power Ranger on the board. There’s a lot of attention coming towards the organization. I just feel honored to help be a part of that, and develop the organization with Tony.

Jason Fleagle: Then, I also give back to an organization called inTeam. JD Bergman was a wrestler at Ohio State; one of the best wrestlers in the world; incredible friend of mine, too … I’m on the advisory board with that organization. They have a for-profit arm, and a non-profit arm. It’s a faith-based organization that is all about sharing positive messaging to help people overcome the depression, the anxiety that they’re facing.

Jason Fleagle: The whole idea is we’re inundated with negative things in our world today, so, JD wanted to create a positive platform that lifts people up, rather than drags people down. Those are my two nonprofits that are taking some of my time. I’m obviously really passionate about them, too, so I love to help them out the best way possible.

Brett Johnson: Excellent. Well, thank you for sharing-

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, of course.

Brett Johnson: -because I think that it also gives spotlight to a lot of nonprofits we don’t even know exist.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, for sure.

Brett Johnson: They’re doing great work, great work. Let’s talk a little bit about your professional backgrounds to set the stage, and then we can get into Grow Like a Pro podcast. Jason, we’ll start with you, in regards to where you started, and how it brings you here today.

Jason Fleagle: Like most people, I have, really, pivot points in life. I actually graduated from college with a biology premed degree. I was accepted early to medical school at LECOM, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. At that time, in college, my junior-senior year, I got involved in doing political consulting work at different organizations.

Jason Fleagle: They wanted to know a little bit more information on social issues, so I did research with them – financial research – and put all of that data in a fun, interactive way to display at different events, and conferences, and that kind of thing. Then, it opened up more into doing … I would create pitch decks for them. I started to do some business development for these organizations, and political think tanks.

Jason Fleagle: I was like, “Wow, man, I don’t think that medical school might be a good fit for me,” because I loved what I was doing. I was like, “Wow, these people …” It’s kind of second nature to me. I can see issues that … I’m like, “If I were in you guys’ position, this is what I would be doing, or thinking about.”

Jason Fleagle: I respectfully declined my offer to medical school, and stepped out into the dark, I guess. I pursued that; ended up doing an online MBA program, part-time, through MVNU, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, here in the Columbus area. Halfway through the program, I was like … As an entrepreneur, as someone that’s in the trenches working with these organizations on a day-to-day basis, I just didn’t feel like I was getting the information from that program that I really wanted to know.

Jason Fleagle: I ended up dropping out, and teaching myself web development. I ended up getting a job ,after that, at a digital agency. Short stint there, then worked at Abercrombie & Fitch as one of their web developers. Then, after that, worked as the digital director with a company called StoryBuilders out of Atlanta, Georgia.

Jason Fleagle: That’s where I was exposed to working with some incredible people, and brands. Had the opportunity to work with the John Maxwell Company, the Ziglar Corporation, Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank, and so many other people that would be somewhat recognizable. That was awesome.

Jason Fleagle: Then I left that company in January of 2018, and then connected with the guys at The Basement Doctor. I actually applied for a web developer position with them. That’s when Mike Stiers, the President of Jenesis Marketing Group, was like, “Man, I need to have a conversation with this guy. Bring him in the office, and see what he’s all about. See if he’s making up his background.”

Jason Fleagle: Thankfully, Mike and I hit it off pretty quick. Jamie, the Web & Digital Manager, I hit it off with him really well. I’m the Business Growth Strategist, now, with that company, and then doing the Grow Like a Pro show with Adam. I just feel really blessed to be in a position to add value to other people who are trying to serve customer, or if it’s a nonprofit, serve the people that they’re trying to serve. I love that.

Brett Johnson: Great. Adam?

Adam Bankhurst: Hey, how’s it going? As I mentioned previously, I was the IT Manager of The Basement Doctor for about eight years, but, it’s interesting, because I graduated from Ohio State with a business degree in marketing. I had a big business background. My father, and other people in my family are huge in the business world, and I wanted to get into that world, but, like I said, I also love technology.

Adam Bankhurst: After college, I went down, and actually worked with my father a little bit, because he had a big real estate company. I just learned some of the business, and it was fun just to work with him for a little bit, and get my feet wet. Then, I found the opportunity at The Basement Doctor. Their IT Department was basically a storage closet at that time. They were using cassette tapes for backups, and certain things, and it wasn’t a huge importance.

Adam Bankhurst: I just saw a need; I saw something that could really help the company, so I just dove in, learned everything … Got me just running on the ground as soon as I could, and developed that company, over, like I said, eight years.

Adam Bankhurst: Brought all their servers up to the cloud. Got everyone new computers. Upgraded cell phones, and VOIP phone systems, and the internet, and all this stuff, and really made the base. Took The Basement Doctor to a different level, as far as technology has gone.

Adam Bankhurst: As I started growing, it’s getting to that point where I was kinda hitting a ceiling. There’s only so much more I could do, at this point, and I had a lot of ambitions, and goals, and dreams. I really have a huge creative side, because, as I mentioned, I did have a marketing degree. Alongside my gaming, and technology love, I also write for one of the biggest websites in the world, IGN.com. I’m an editor there- or a news writer there, and I’ve been working there. That’s something that has worked hand-in-hand with my charitable things, with Extra Life, and with Nationwide.

Adam Bankhurst: I wanted to transition into something where I was able to combine both of my loves. So that’s when Jenesis happened. Mike came and spoke to me, and was like, “Hey, we’re looking for somebody like a chief strategy officer; someone who’s able to have a vision of where we wanna go, what technology to use, what venues we need to go to, who’s up on some of the new trends, and stuff like that.”

Adam Bankhurst: It fell into place, and I knew that that was the best decision for me, because I was able to still use my love of technology, and be able to help people, solve problems, and be that go-to person, but also get more into the creative side, and hopefully merge, like I said, my two loves of technology, and gaming, and business, and marketing, and helping people.

Adam Bankhurst: As far as podcasting goes, we’ll get into this a little bit, but I’d been podcasting since about 2012-2013, and I started a gaming-technology podcast, and some other ones that I’ve done with some other people. It’s another thing that I love to do, and Jenesis afforded me the opportunity to make that into something that could really help people, help businesses, and help people trying to achieve their dreams, and goals. It’s been a little bit of everything to get me to this point.

Brett Johnson: That’s a good transition. How did the process begin about talking about this podcast for Jenesis?

Adam Bankhurst: It really just started because, once again, I did have background in podcasts. One of the podcasts I do, called The Gamer’s Advocate, we’ve been doing it, and since we do have a studio, and stuff, I was able to record there at certain times. It was something that we talked about.

Adam Bankhurst: Podcasting is a huge form of entertainment, and media. There’s so many different shows from murder serials, or different business things, or comedy stuff, or politics, and everything. It’s such a great way to get information out there. It’s such a great way to learn stories, to hear people’s successes, and failures, and learn something truly valuable.

Adam Bankhurst: At Jenesis, we really do try to position ourselves as authentic, and transparent, and we really do wanna grow alongside a business. As you know, you’re familiar with, there’s a million marketing agencies; there’s a million advertising agencies. We really are trying to say, “How can we separate ourselves?” Obviously, by being good people, and by really showing that we care, and not just having some cookie-cutter template, and kicking people out the door.

Adam Bankhurst: We thought of this idea of Grow Like a Pro, because it’s such a great way … When we’re helping people, we wanna get their message out. We’re a marketing agency. What better way than to have a business owner, or entrepreneur come, and tell their story, tell their successes, tell their failures, learn about them, learn what they like to do, what their hobbies are, outside of work?

Adam Bankhurst: It endears you to that person. It makes you have that other thing, instead of just seeing some website, and seeing some company. You’re seeing people. You’re seeing faces. We think that that’s hugely important, because people’s stories deserve to be told. There’s some incredible knowledge, and things that you can learn from people that you would maybe have never run into in your normal everyday life.

Brett Johnson: How did you two connect to do this, as co-hosts for the podcast?

Jason Fleagle: I think it was, I don’t know, a natural progression?

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, it was, because-

Jason Fleagle: -Adam balances me out, and I think I kinda balance Adam [cross talk] because Adam’s more, I don’t know … You’re always more energetic than me.

Adam Bankhurst: I’m like a five-year-old, basically, is how I like to say it [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: -when I listen to some of our audio playback, I’m like, “Man, Adam is so much more exciting than I am …” or at least … I don’t think anyone really likes the sound of their own voice, but I think Adam has a good balance to my voice, and vice versa.

Jason Fleagle: I was talking with Mike, one day, and I was just like, “We need to think about ways to differentiate ourselves, and focus on different niches that really bring people into the door.” Exactly like Adam said, it is, not in a negative way, but disarm people from, “Hey, we just wanted to take your money.” That’s not what we’re about.

Jason Fleagle: We’re really focused on building relationships with people. Then, through those relationships we can kinda figure out, “Oh, you’re facing this issue?” Everyone’s facing issues on a daily basis, so why not be, as a community, offering our different services back and forth with each other, because together, it’s synergy. It’s about by working together, we can have a stronger output, than if we all tried to go, and do our own thing.

Jason Fleagle: Talking with Mike, he was like, “Well …” We had kicked around the idea of this Grow Like a Pro a little while back, and I’m like, “Aw, man, I’m a huge fan of podcasts.” I had heard that Adam was doing The Gamer’s Advocate. I’m like, “Yeah, let’s do a podcast.” I think Adam and I talked first, and were like, “Okay …”

Adam Bankhurst: We went out to lunch, actually [cross talk] which I don’t know if you’re familiar with, in Reynoldsburg. Great Chinese restaurant, I must say.

Jason Fleagle: We shoulda recorded that conversation [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: -we just had that conversation like we were doing a podcast. That was always our goal. We wanted to be conversational. We wanted to be with friends, talking. We wanted to do that. The first step is make sure we’re compatible, and friends.

Adam Bankhurst: Jason’s background. He’s very out there; he’s very outgoing. He talks to people; he’s talked to a bunch of business owners, and worked closely with some very successful people. As great as our team was … We have so many different people, from so many different avenues, that bring so much value to our team, but, when looking at the potential people for a co-host, Jason’s skills aligned with what we were looking for, and what we were trying to accomplish with Grow Like a Pro.

Brett Johnson: From the first discussion, the lunch, to first episode published, how long of a process was that? How many months, weeks?

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, it was a few months..

Jason Fleagle: Well, actually, we did Ron’s episode right away, Adam [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: -our latest episode, which is Ron Greenbaum … We had a conversation with him, and it was actually before we upgraded some of our equipment, and stuff. It was actually back in May. We started this conversation back in … It was funny, because I was editing the show, and publishing, and I looked, and I’m like, “That was May? Oh my God …” It didn’t feel that long ago, but, like you said, time flies with these kinda things.

Jason Fleagle: We did the episode with Ron, and, like Adam said, our equipment was not where it needed to be, but I think Ron was coming into town-

Brett Johnson: Knowing his schedule, you gotta catch him [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: -when you can get it.

Brett Johnson: You bet.

Jason Fleagle: -we threw the studio together, and then used that as our kickoff time. We were like, “Let’s use this as our momentum to get going.” We used that time to start to get more equipment, and start to reach out to potential guests. After Ron’s episode, it was probably a few months where we scheduled our first guest to come in, and then record from there, and then it’s been really consistent so far.

Brett Johnson: So, two hosts … How do you handle duties? What do you handle? What do you handle, without stepping on each other’s toes, and know what each is supposed to do for each episode?

Adam Bankhurst: Obviously, we’re co-hosts, and we do things, but I would say that I sometimes take … One of my goals is I do the editing, and the publishing, and making that and Jason does more- some of the back-end stuff; gets it ready to post to the website, and do things.

Adam Bankhurst: Then, depending on who the guest is, we’ll do a questionnaire that we’ll send to each other, like a Google doc, and depending on who brought in the guest, they’ll put together something, and then we’ll share it out with them, and with us. Then, while we’re recording, we’ll be live in that Google doc, adjusting, and changing questions, and saying “Hey, you do this one,” or, “We’re gonna switch to this topic,” or, “We’re gonna go …” depending on the conversation, because we believe …

Adam Bankhurst: You could send us a great road map for this podcast, too, but I think it’s super-super-important to have an outline, and a road map of where you’re going, but not to be so beholden to it, because we like it to be fluid, and be able to go down a side street, or take a different tangent. That’s how we started doing that is we got a group of questions together, and we’ve evolved it as we go, but we jump on the fly, but just have a general idea of where we’re going.

Jason Fleagle: I’m sure you know, Brett, every guest is different [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: -which does make it fun. Honestly, yeah, because you know where it’s gonna go.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, exactly. Adam and I, we … Well, Adam’s such a … He’s a much better speaker, I think, on the spot than I am. Just with my personality, I like to have more of a framework, or a template that I’m working from. For me, it’s nice to have that in place, if we’re working with a guest who’s more similar to me, where they might need to write more things out, or they might need to see the questions, that kind of thing, in front of them. Then, other guests, they might not even need to see any of the somewhat prepared questions at all.

Adam Bankhurst: Like Ron, we could’ve talked for probably four or five hours with no prompts. He could just go forever, but [cross talk] some people need a little more order, which, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Brett Johnson: Exactly. Do you have any other people at Jenesis helping you with the podcast, or input listening each episode, giving you critique a little bit, or with the process itself [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, it’s a huge team effort. We have our developers, our designers that created the logo, and create things, and all that stuff. We have our developers, along with Jason, who help get it ready to push on the website, and to do all that stuff. Mike, and other people help getting it out there, with SEO, and helping with all these things.

Adam Bankhurst: Another idea that we’re working on, too, with our show is to do a little mini-podcast with each of the employees, to give them … When you go to an About Us page, you can learn about the people that are actually working on your projects, and stuff. Once again, that’s what’s so awesome about Jenesis is everyone works together for that same goal, and is very excited about everything. Some people are a little more shy than others, and are a little hesitant to being on the show, but besides that, everyone kinda does their part.

Adam Bankhurst: The main help, I think, is getting the message out there, posting on necessary social networks, helping with the development, and any type of logos, or assets, and artwork we need. Listening, too, and giving us feedback of what they liked, what they didn’t; maybe what else we should look for; what other types of questions we could ask, and stuff.

Brett Johnson: For sure. With any project up from a business, putting something out there, no matter what it is … What factors were discussed in measuring any ROI that’s needed for this podcast to continue on with the project? Because it does take time from your schedule to do what you need to do a Jenesis. Again, this is counted as your work, but, at the same time, there may be other things you can allocate your time to doing. Was there any discussion of ROI, and, if so, what does that look like, and how is it ever-changing?

Jason Fleagle: I can answer first, Adam. One of the things that at least Mike and I have talked about is the ROI for us is probably gonna be a little bit further down the road, just because, again, we’re thinking of different ways that people can see our authenticity, and see how we’re different, and building a relationship with us is so important.

Jason Fleagle: In terms of the amount of listeners, the audience growth is one big indicator data point that we’re looking at. We’re starting to do paid advertising, right now, in terms of directing traffic to listen to the podcast, so looking at those numbers, as well. Again, the biggest thing now, since we’re still relatively new, is just to continue to get more guests on the platform, and then equip the guests with what they need to share it with their own network, once their episode goes live.

Jason Fleagle: We don’t have any very strict plan, I guess, in terms of looking at our ROI. I’m sure, once we start … We’re actually growing pretty well, right now, organically, and then, also, with the paid advertising. It’s just gonna be looking at that as we go along. I wouldn’t say it’s something we’re constantly thinking about, right now, since we’re still relatively new.

Adam Bankhurst: It’s a marathon, not a sprint, as I like to say, because we have big visions, like I said. Right now, we set up our studio for audio, but we’ve started messing around with video. We’re ordering some new tables, and some new equipment to be able to upload our videos, and have some Facebook Live streaming.

Adam Bankhurst: We really wanna do some community events, live podcasting; go on the road. We have a few trips planned to the West Coast, and certain things, to get other people around the country involved in all this stuff. There’s a lot of things that I think will help build, and just make it a stronger product, but yeah, it’s a … Once again, we just released our sixth episode, right?

Jason Fleagle: Yeah-

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, still relatively new with things. You understand how these things go, but it’s definitely something we’re constantly looking at, and making sure that it is bringing back the business, and value that we put into it.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, and I would say, to further go on to Adam’s point, is we’re, at least for me, I’m looking at some of the purchases that we do as an investment, not just for the Grow Like a Pro platform, which I see as standalone to Jenesis, but offering that to other people who come into …

Jason Fleagle: Other business owners who come into the office are like, “Wow, you guys have a studio? Would you be interested in renting that, to do some of our work, too?” That’s another avenue that we’re thinking about, too, is looking at it from an investment, in a number of the different internal companies that we have, as well. To answer your question, it’s a little bit hard to measure the ROI, just specifically for Grow Like a Pro, because it’s kinda being used in a number of different ways.

Brett Johnson: Sure. Typically, with an interview format, it’s more of a networking opportunity. How is your interview format allowing you to showcase Jenesis Marketing expertise? How are you getting that accomplished?

Adam Bankhurst: There’s kind of a twofold way that we look at that. We bring in that conversation. We don’t wanna be that selly/pitchy podcast, because that turns people off [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: You’re not doing that, for sure. I think there’s an art form to this-

Adam Bankhurst: I agree-

Brett Johnson: -and that’s why I wanted to dig in [cross talk].

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, I appreciate that.

Brett Johnson: -how you’re approaching … Doing that.

Adam Bankhurst: Right. I think it’s very important to make sure that it stands alone from Jenesis, but not by itself, or stands aside from it, but not alone. You know what I’m trying to say with that is that we don’t want it to say “Hey, this is Jenesis, Hey, this is Jenesis …” The way we do it is, once again, having that authenticity; getting people to like us, because podcasting, in my …

Adam Bankhurst: I’ve been doing this for a while, and what I’ve really learned, too, is that the content in the podcast is important. It’s very important that you’re knowledgeable, you’re factual; you say everything right, but, what people come back for a lot are the people, are the actual individuals. They wanna be a part of a community. They wanna be a part of a family.

Adam Bankhurst: When people are in your network, and when they join you, and they say, “You know what? I like this guy. He’s very relatable; I trust him; He kind of aligns with my core values, and stuff,” that may force you, or not force you, but maybe incline you to look up what does this guy do? What’s more of what he is involved in, and how can we see more of Adam, or see more of Jason? How can we get more involved in this?

Adam Bankhurst: As you said, with the networking, and stuff, we have these guests on, but also, what Jason and I do, we do our standalone podcasts, or we do some other fun podcasts, where we’ll take a concept … We did a Toys”R”Us episode a few weeks ago, because they’ve had the issue where they went bankrupt, and they were going away, but now they might be coming back. Jason and I had the idea, let’s talk about Toys”R”Us; let’s talk about the history; then, let’s convert that, or take that conversation, and take it to a more marketing, and branding, and rebranding yourself.

Adam Bankhurst: We’re giving our tips, and ideas of marketing, and helping your business grow. Then, at the end, and the beginning, we say, “We’re sponsored by Jenesis; this is what we do,” and throwing that in there, but it’s organically giving people knowledge, and information. and not really trying to preach to them, but just say “Hey, we live in this industry, and we know these people, and we know these ideas. These are the ways that I think can really help you grow, and there’s ways to get in touch with us, and lead that into something more, potentially.”

Jason Fleagle: Was it Steve Martin who said, “Be so good that they can’t ignore you”? [cross talk] I think that’s like … Adam can do his skill sets, or things that I don’t have, and vice versa. Everyone on the team offers something really, I guess, particular to what they’re focused on, and passionate about. That’s why I love it.

Jason Fleagle: As people get to know us, they’re like, “Wow, I really … How can I work with you?” It ends up almost being like we’re never asking them. In some cases, it’s just a natural progression that happens, that they’re like, “Wow, you’re not just this normal salesy kinda person that I’m so used to seeing, or I get that contact form on my website all the time: ‘Hey, we can help you improve your SEO,’ and all this kinda junk.'” I’m like, “That’s not where we’re coming from.”

Jason Fleagle: By people connecting with us, and building a relationship with us, they’re like, “Wow, okay, these guys are really different. They’re actually … They’re thinking of us as …” We wanna advocate for them. We actually will treat your business like our own. We’re not just here to take money. We’re here to actually help you grow; achieve success that you wanna achieve.

Brett Johnson: Has the podcast been important in the blogging that you’re doing, and vice versa?

Adam Bankhurst: I would say having Jason … Jason does a lot of the content creation, and blogging, so I’d be curious to see what you feel about that.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, it’s gonna be … Not to give too much away, Brett, because that’s a really good question, but I actually-

Brett Johnson: No one listens to this podcast [cross talk] you’re good; you’re good.

Jason Fleagle: -Adam’s writing for IGN. I’m a contributor for some of the largest publications on Medium.com. I was just accepted into Hacker Noon, which is the fourth largest publication on Medium, and I think it’s in at least a couple thousand placement, in terms of the Alexa rank. It’s not quite IGN, Adam, but [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: That’s something that we’re very much starting to focus on. I’m actually working on a blog post right now that’s gonna be in a publication on My Favorite Podcasts of 2018. I’m gonna put our podcast in there as something that it’s a personal project that we’re working on, so excited about it. It’s an idea that I’m putting value out there, again, at the end of the day.

Jason Fleagle: Adam’s the same way. Every article that we wanna put out, it’s a focus on … It’s delivering some kind of value, or entertainment factor to the end reader, but then, there is a call to action for people who wanna know more … If you follow our website, subscribe to the podcast, even follow Adam or me, personally, on some of the work that we’re doing, you’re probably gonna see a lot more of the blogging aspect of what we’re doing with Grow Like a Pro. It’s probably gonna be a important factor for some of the guests, as well, just to share some of their platforms that they’re doing, as well.

Brett Johnson: You’re early stages of the podcast, obviously, but are you seeing some growth for search for the websites, time spent on the website? Are you seeing some analytic love from the podcast, at this point time?

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, actually Mike and I just talked about it yesterday. It’s a little bit difficult to track, because he just started doing some of the paid advertising to get traffic to the site, but yeah, looking at our … Adam chose SoundCloud for where we host to the audio episodes to go out. We’ve been seeing a … I don’t know, how many listeners, in terms of growth, would you say? We’re up to at least 10 every 24 hours. 10 new listeners every 24 hours …

Jason Fleagle: Again, it depends on … Because we haven’t done too much paid … We just started the paid advertising, so it’s gonna take a little bit of time to see that return. Most of it, all the data now that we’re looking at has been like guests in their network, like social media, they’re sharing it out. Some of the next upcoming episodes, actually, we’re expecting to be pretty big, because it’s gonna go out to a large network [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: That’s another brilliant thing about the Grow Like a Pro show/broadcast is that it’s got that … Having these guests on, it’s marketing itself. You’re having that whole extra arm of people, where you don’t have to do anything. Something Ron always used to say is, “Have people carry your water. Have people help carry the load,” and stuff [inaudible] people wanna share their story, and share that, so that’s just another venue that helps get more eyes, or, in this case, ears on it.

Jason Fleagle: One thing that Adam always says, too, is that rising tides raise all ships.

Adam Bankhurst: Exactly.

Jason Fleagle: That’s like where we’re coming from, too. “Sure, we’ll help you promote your platform, and I would hope that you would do the same with us, too.” Helps everybody.

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, exactly. The synergistic partnerships.

Jason Fleagle: Win-win.

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, Win-win-win, in some cases.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, right.

Brett Johnson: That’s a good transition into marketing. How did you decide on your publishing schedule? You could do weekly; you could do biweekly; you could do monthly. How did you come to this decision?

Adam Bankhurst: I listen to a lot of podcasts, and we’ve talked about this, and we were saying, “Will we have enough content? Will we be able to have enough guests?” We came to the idea, where, you know what? We should do a weekly show. We should do it that even if we can’t get guests for a while, we have enough … There’s enough topics in the world to talk about, and make a show about it [cross talk] speak for 45 minutes to an hour. It’s not like we’re gonna be hurting for content.

Adam Bankhurst: Another thing that I learned, and that I really truly believe, and appreciate, as far as podcasting goes, and even in business, and life, in general, is consistency. We’ve decided on the schedule of doing Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m.; every Thursday, 6:00 a.m.. No matter what happens, we’re always gonna have a show going live, because once again, when people start listening to your show, and listening to your podcast, there’s an expectation … I listen to some shows, especially some in the gaming universe, where, if a show’s an hour too late, you’ll have people saying, “Where’s the show? What’s going on? I don’t know what to do with my life!”.

Brett Johnson: Isn’t that amazing?

Adam Bankhurst: It is.

Brett Johnson: It really is-

Adam Bankhurst: -because … It’s true; it’s like part of your routine.

Jason Fleagle: That’s right.

Adam Bankhurst: I like the 6:00 a.m., because it’s something where you can wake up, and a lot of people listen to podcasting in the car. On their way to work, every Thursday, they’ll know, “I have a new episode to listen to.” They have that because it’s not a, “When is this going live? Oh, there’s another episode? I forgot.” It becomes part of a routine that, “Every week, Grow Like a Pro, 6:00 a.m., on Thursday, when I’m driving to work, I know I’ll have a new … I’ll be able to hang out with Adam and Jason for an hour, and do that stuff.”.

Adam Bankhurst: That’s something that I really … We went back and forth with how we wanted to do it, but something that I really preached was consistency, never missing an episode, and making sure it goes live at the same time. Just doing that all the time, and making it like a comfort, like people know it’s gonna be there for them.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, for sure.

Brett Johnson: You had a little bit of that training, though, writing blogs, correct?

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, of course, definitely.

Brett Johnson: When you’re writing for one of the largest in the universe, they expect content from you at X amount of time [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah. You need to get content going, or what’s the point? When things are missing, then views drop, subscribers drop, things drop, and it’s [cross talk] You gotta keep it going. You’ve gotta keep that train rolling, as they say.

Brett Johnson: What are you offering your guests to help them share your podcast in the episodes?

Adam Bankhurst: $500 [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: You’re the folks doing that … Yeah, okay.

Adam Bankhurst: Obviously, we share the links. We always love to take a picture at the end, and we are gonna put it on our wall, like part of our studio; we’re gonna have a wall of guests, and things. We had this idea of doing things. Having just a shared … Letting people know that “Hey, we’re gonna be posting it at this time; we’re gonna start posting it … It’d be nice to share.” Tagging each other back and forth, giving people the knowledge of the right social networks to share, the right things to make sure people aren’t …

Adam Bankhurst: We actually had an issue with the company, last week, a different company, where they were tagging the wrong company in all their social posts. Communication, I think, is one of the biggest gifts you can give somebody, in my opinion, because if you’re not sharing the right message, or you’re screaming it at a wall over there, when people are looking at that wall, it doesn’t do anybody any good.

Brett Johnson: That’s right.

Adam Bankhurst: Just making sure we give people the tools. We know when it’s going live; we know when they can share it; what they can talk about. We like to ask the guests, too, “What do you want us to highlight? Is there anything that you want us to really – in our posts, and even in our conversations – that you really are passionate about, and really like to do?” It’s kind of a group effort, making sure that we’re hitting all the targets from both parties.

Jason Fleagle: Before every recording, we love to just sit there, and talk with the guest. I think Adam’s the same way, too; I don’t wanna speak for you, Adam, but I’m a huge experiential person, so creating an experience for someone is very important. The first moment that they walk up to the door is like that has to begin with a good experience. Giving them a good tour of the building, and the grounds, and then the studio; making sure they get water, coffee, anything that they need to make them feel more comfortable, because the last thing we want is the guests to feel a little anxiety, or nervousness. Everyone has that, to a certain extent, but try to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

Jason Fleagle: Again, like you said, Brett, we wanna have a conversation style, and that’s what … It’s a conversation with friends, and that’s the best, because that’s so authentic. People can tell when you’re not … When you’re faking [cross talk] so having that experience is so important.

Jason Fleagle: After that, we usually talk for a good amount of time, too, because I don’t know about you, Brett, or … I know Adam gets the same way, at least for the shows that we’ve done. You get so pumped up.

Adam Bankhurst: I do. It’s like an ice-breaker. it really is [cross talk].

Brett Johnson: -you can’t just shut the recorder off, and then say, “See you later.” It doesn’t happen, no. You spend another half hour just defragging after that, and you kinda go, “Why aren’t we recording this, too?” [cross talk] It always happens.

Adam Bankhurst: -we had a conversation, I think, a few weeks ago, where it’s like you gotta just … I started learning this, too, is when you end the show, don’t actually hit end; keep it going, or before you record. Just record the testing of the levels, because-

Brett Johnson: Preamble stuff.

Adam Bankhurst: Preamble, because sometimes, the best things come from those moments, when you’re not actually recording, and you’re like, “Man, I wish I had that …”

Brett Johnson: I know.

Adam Bankhurst: We actually started … We’ll release this probably maybe for our year anniversary, or something, but we started compiling a blooper reel of [cross talk] They’re the best. I have this whole folder of all of Jason and I’s things, where [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: It’s great. I don’t wanna give too much away, but Adam recorded me doing something really stupid, like what, last week?

Adam Bankhurst: Yep, like the Batman theme song [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: Oh, yeah, yeah. He was playing it on looping, and I’m like, “Aww, this is so embarrassing.”

Brett Johnson: It’s amazing, microphones are like lubricants.

Adam Bankhurst: Oh, my God, for sure.

Brett Johnson: Just see how much you can get away with, and just having fun, which is good though, because it can be intoxicating, as well-

Adam Bankhurst: It is, it is.

Brett Johnson: -but you want to be a part of it.

Adam Bankhurst: Exactly [cross talk] that’s the whole thing. You wanna be a part of the party; you wanna be a part of the … You wanna be our friends, which that’s what we like to say. We wanna be your friends; we wanna be part of your everyday, and your network, and things.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, for sure.

Brett Johnson: Social media strategy. What did you decide upon for the podcast, to get the word out?

Adam Bankhurst: I know, Jason, and he can go into this little more, we talked about we started doing some paid advertising, and we started doing things … One of the biggest issues that we had was coming up with a name, because we wanted all the same name for all of our networks. We went back and forth with certain things. We came up with … Grow Like a Pro Show is one thing that we really like to do, but, on Twitter, the W doesn’t fit, or, the O, the last O doesn’t fit. We’re one character short from Grow Like a Pro, so that kinda screws everything else. That’s one of the most challenging things, especially with trying to get those handles, because it’s easier to find.

Adam Bankhurst: Just trying to make sure you have a consistent message across all platforms. You’re not leaving one platform behind, because there may be some people that really focus on those platforms. You wanna make sure all the cross-posting, and cross-promotion is in place. Once again, getting that post live, right as the episode goes, so people know it’s ready to go.

Adam Bankhurst: If there’s an issue, communicating issues, because when you set an expectation, and you don’t hit it, that’s when huge problems happen. If you say “Hey, we’re having some technical issues, or something happened; we’re not gonna be able to release our episode til noon on Thursday, or maybe we can’t do it til Friday,” or something, it’s a lot better than someone opening up their phone, and have this whole idea of, “Oh, man, I got my long commute. At least we have Grow Like a Pro, and this podcast. Where is it? What’s going on?” I think communication … Once again, transparency, authenticity is hugely important.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, for sure. In terms of when it goes live, like when an episode goes live, I usually share a little bit of information; tag Adam in it, from my personal platforms, and then I will … It’s usually one of our social media team members that handle scheduling a post from the Jenesis social media accounts. Then they’ll tag us in that, as well. We try to hit it at a number of different angles, and usually from that, by that point, the guest is tagged. They’re usually sharing it with their own network. Again, it depends on the guest, because every guest is going to be different, in terms of their network.

Jason Fleagle: We’re getting to the point where we’re going to be asking them “Hey, what’s the best strategy, or way that you will want to be tagged, or to share this out with your own network, as well?” We’re talking about equipping people possibly with sending it to their email lists, because that’s very important. Having an email list, today, is huge, in terms of building an audience, a tribe, so, talking about that.

Jason Fleagle: Again, we want it to be authentic to that guest. We don’t wanna have that cookie-cutter approach. Adam has been really good at balancing me out in that way, and that’s another really good benefit for having two co-hosts, two hosts, is that Adam is a good lens, like if I’m thinking of an idea, I’ll talk with him, and he’s like, “Nah, well, maybe we should do this,” and vice versa; we have that rapport back and forth [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: -soundboard; just going back and forth [cross talk] an idea, see what sticks. It’s nice to have someone else hear your idea, and perfect it, or do those kinda things. It’s always helpful.

Brett Johnson: You mentioned earlier, your artwork is done by somebody in-house.

Adam Bankhurst: Correct.

Brett Johnson: How did that come about? Did the person volunteer? Did you say, “Hey, we gotta have somebody do artwork. Can you do this, please, for us?” I’m looking at this as don’t allow the artwork to be a stumbling block. It’s important, but, at the same time, there’s got to be somebody on staff at a business that would be willing to put the artwork together [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: For sure.

Brett Johnson: How was that process? Was it point a finger, “Would you do this for us?” [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: We have, and we have people on our team that have incredible eyes for design, and for artwork, and have all that stuff. It’s kind of a no-brainer. When we started this, that was part of the conversation was, “Are you guys okay with designing up some logos, and ideas, and artwork, and things? It was a pretty easy conversation.

Adam Bankhurst: That’s the benefit of working at a company like Jenesis is we got … You have those people that, if someone is starting a podcast on their own, needs to maybe outsource, or look for other things, but it’s nice to be able to have a lot of these things in our office.

Adam Bankhurst: Another thing that we really tried to stress is we wanted to have a logo, or a type of thing where people could identify with; fits well on a mug, or on a T-shirt, or on a hat, because when people are out in the community, and they see that logo, it should be a feeling. That’s what we talked about with, once again, with our Toys“R”Us ad, and even with Ron Greenbaum, with The Basement Doctor. When you see Ron’s face, or when you see Toys“R”Us … When you see these things, you have an intrinsic feeling; you have a actual reaction to what you’re seeing. There’s memories that come up, or your history with the brand, or good, or bad feelings [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Sure, it can go either way.

Adam Bankhurst: -that’s what we tried to really do. We wanna obviously say that we’re a podcast, and we’re a radio thing, but also have a cool logo that’s catchy, and does stuff like that and also make it so we don’t sound like a landscaping company, with Grow Like a Pro [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: In terms of getting the design of the current logo, I know … I think you and I, Adam, were just sketching out the different ideas [cross talk] and we gave it to the designer. Then, she worked up a number of different concepts. Then, I think, from there, Adam gave a few other, I guess, points to revise it, and then, we’ve settled on the final logo. It wasn’t too long ago [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: -another thing I do like … My stylistic choice is very minimalist. I like having that nothing too complicated, or flashy, or things; just something that gets the message across. We kinda had the idea of, yeah, with the microphone, and the growing- the symbol, too. It makes sense. It’s something that … It’s not too in your face; it’s not too crazy, but you get it, when you look at it-

Brett Johnson: Well, and you’re dealing with a thumbnail artwork, so you can’t put a ton of stuff in there-

Adam Bankhurst: Right. Exactly. You can’t have all this [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: -it has to look pretty clean in all the different podcast players; namely, iTunes, and Apple Podcasts.

Adam Bankhurst: Of course.

Brett Johnson: You don’t wanna stick too much into that, knowing it’s gotta be applicable, where most people are gonna see this, as well.

Adam Bankhurst: That’s right. Definitely, definitely.

Brett Johnson: A lot of different hosting platforms available … I’m sure you did the research. Why did you choose SoundCloud to go with?

Adam Bankhurst: We went back and forth. It was actually interesting, when I started doing podcasting in, man, 2012, I think it was, I used this platform called BlogTalkRadio. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it?

Brett Johnson: Sure. Oh, yeah, still exists.

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, it does-

Brett Johnson: Under a bigger umbrella company [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: It’s a really interesting company, because they really try to position themselves as having those live radio stations, where you can have people call in, and do stuff. When I started doing that, it was nice to be able to do this, but it seemed like there were a few limitations, and things that didn’t really give us quite what we wanted.

Adam Bankhurst: One of my friends who actually designed some of my theme songs for other podcasts, he’s used SoundCloud a lot. It’s a very popular name, and it’s an easy way that integrates well with all the other platforms, and things, and doesn’t really give me too much pushback, and things. It was just an easy way to host, and get things rolling, and get things …

Adam Bankhurst: It wasn’t too crazy of a conversation; just something that I’ve been using for a while, and has been just a point of comfort, because, like I said, I’d been working on it, since we switched from BlogTalk in maybe 2013, or something. When we started Grow Like a Pro, it was just an easy switch.

Jason Fleagle: One of the ones I was used to working with was Libsyn [cross talk] That was one that we went back and forth, but I relied on Adam’s experience, just because I was like “Hey, I’ve never done this myself.” I’ve worked with putting the content out there from a Libsyn account, but … That’s why having the team … again, kind of have a really good flow to get the content out there was really important. SoundCloud has been awesome, so far.

Brett Johnson: I think a lot of podcasters use that as a stumbling block. “Which one should I go with? Which one should I go with?” First of all, you can switch at any time [cross talk] It’s easy to transport … Most of them make it easy to go from … For example, you start on Podbean, and you don’t like Podbean; you’d rather good with Spreaker, or go to Blubrry. They work with you, as long as you’re doing a bigger brand name of a hosting platform. Just do a little research.

Brett Johnson: It really comes down to the nuts and bolts for the team members. What do you like? Do you like the look of the embed player, if nothing else [cross talk] a lot of variables there. They’re all about the same price point, quite frankly.

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, that’s true.

Brett Johnson: Answering all those questions ahead of time of how many times are you gonna publish per month? How big are the files, and such? They’ll help you. Make a phone call, or the help bubble comes up. Ask the questions-

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, what do you need?

Brett Johnson: Most of them play well together, and, again, the price points are about the same, when it comes down to it, if you are paying for hosting platform.

Adam Bankhurst: Especially, what’s nice with SoundCloud, it’s a huge company, very reputable, so you know they’re not … Their servers aren’t gonna go down; you’re not gonna have any issues with that. Also, when it comes down to it, as long as it’s getting it on iTunes and Google Play, that’s a huge thing, too. That’s where most people are listening to it anyway. Like I said, some of these other hosting services, people do go there, so I’m not discounting that, or anything, but the majority of listeners obviously come from people using iPhone, or their Google phones.

Jason Fleagle: Brett, you brought up a really important point that some people can use that as a stumbling block. No matter what it is, whether you’re talking about marketing, or even science, or … I was talking with a business owner today about a new project that they’re thinking about doing. They’re like, “Wow, these data analytics are just awesome from this tool.” I’m like, “But will that help your customer?” You’ve always gotta focus on the end-user, the people you’re trying to serve at the end of the day, because you’ve gotta have that as your priority. You can’t get caught up in “Hey, does this tool … Is this tool cooler? Does it have more gadgets?” [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Watch out for the rabbit hole.

Jason Fleagle: -yeah, but what is the best thing that’s gonna be the best fit for the team, and then deliver value to the user?

Brett Johnson: We kinda talked a little bit about that, too, with the analytics for the podcast, itself. You can rattle off a few numbers, and such, that SoundCloud tells you what’s going on, or any platform, but there is a rabbit hole there that you gotta watch not going down. Let your podcast develop over time. Worry about the content more than about the numbers; the numbers will take care of themselves, and-

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, you get too caught up in that, it’s dangerous.

Brett Johnson: It is. That’s exactly the way to put it – it’s dangerous, because it’s a total distraction.

Adam Bankhurst: You focus on the wrong things, your content will suffer; it’ll get in your head. You just gotta keep going, and just believe in yourself, and know that what you’re doing matters, and you’re taking the right steps. It’s very important.

Brett Johnson: Your recording space – what’s it look like? What are you doing? I know you talked about changing it up, and making it even better, in your eyes, whatever that is. There is no definition to that other than what you want it to be. What space are you using, and what’s incorporated in it? What are you doing with it?

Adam Bankhurst: Right now, we took over a room that used to be our photo-editing room, where people … We had some set-ups, where they would take product shots for The Basement Doctor, and things like that. Then, we converted it to the studio. We repainted the walls. We fixed some of the outlets, and all this stuff. We added internet, and then we put up some sound-proofing equipment.

Adam Bankhurst: We’re not quite there yet, because we have a big conference-room table that’s a little too unwieldy that we have to keep sideways, so it’s not great for video. We’re in the process, like I said, of ordering new tables. We already bought some GoPros, and some other equipment, and video equipment to start filming, and getting things up there, and kinda do that.

Adam Bankhurst: We got the basic stuff. We got a huge deal from B&H, and we got a whole bunch of nice mics, and soundboards, and all this stuff. We have a lot of the really high-end equipment, and stuff. We’re just trying to perfect, and get our studio to the next level, like I said. I think the next step is video, because we’re getting audio at a pretty good place, but a lot of money, and value can be had with a video.

Brett Johnson: It’s another touch point.

Adam Bankhurst: Exactly, yeah.

Brett Johnson: Why not take advantage of it, when you have a studio that you do wanna put on video?

Adam Bankhurst: Exactly.

Brett Johnson: It’s comfortable, and everybody looks good. It works for the viewer, the end-user. Why not do it?

Adam Bankhurst: Why not. Exactly, that’s the thing – why not?

Brett Johnson: The editing, and mixing of the audio … Again, I keep mentioning stumbling blocks, but it’s all these little pieces that have to come together. How do you get that done? Once you record, it’s done … What’s the process of editing, mixing it, and getting it uploaded, in publishing?

Adam Bankhurst: I handle a lot of the editing, and mixing, and I do it through GarageBand … It’s a nice, easy, simple way to have nice control over it, and things. I’ve started messing around with Premiere Pro, and some other things, once we get a video rolling, for certain editing, and stuff like that. GarageBand has been pretty much my bread and butter of … It’s just very easy to clip things out, trim things; can have multiple tracks; put in the audio; put in the video, certain transitions, and stuff.

Adam Bankhurst: As Jason mentioned earlier, when we started that whole process from May, til … Our first episode was released in what? September, maybe, or something?

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, I think-

Adam Bankhurst: I think September … We had a backlog of about eight shows, or something. Obviously, when we went them live, some of these people were talking about timely things. Even Ron, in his episode, was like, “I’m doing all this stuff in June,” and we released it last week. What Jason and I do is, the week of whatever show we’re doing, we’ll come in, and we’ll just have a little banter back and forth, for an intro, and an outro, just saying “Hey, this episode was recorded before … What else is going on? How you doing?” Certain things; just like a little two-, or three-minute thing to say “Hey, this is what’s happening.”

Adam Bankhurst: Part of that goes into the editing, too, just making sure people understand, when they’re listening, and they hear someone talking about, “Oh, next week is Thanksgiving,” and they’re like, “What? No it’s not. What’s he talking about?” Once again, it’s something that we really value, and try to just make sure people understand what’s going on.

Jason Fleagle: It’s usually Adam making fun of me [cross talk] .

Brett Johnson: Future plans for the podcast? Any changes, tweaks you’re thinking about [cross talk] where to co-host.

Adam Bankhurst: -looking for a new co-host.

Brett Johnson: Well, okay. We just laid it out there in the world. That’s news to me, wow. Send resumes to Hello, at …

Jason Fleagle: That’s fantastic.

Brett Johnson: Do you also see this podcast as a template for other marketing groups?

Adam Bankhurst: I would say yes. I think it’s-

Brett Johnson: Without stealing your ideas, of course-

Adam Bankhurst: No, not at all.

Brett Johnson: -but, at the same time [cross talk] accomplish what you wanna get accomplished.

Adam Bankhurst: Here’s what I think is so valuable for other marketing firms, and other businesses that … Take this process that Jason and I have started doing, and are trying to perfect, and things … When you’re trying to meet people, and you’re trying to network people, and you try to bring people into your office, it’s different when I’m walking in, and going into a conference room, and starting to talk business.

Adam Bankhurst: The way we do it is you come in, and you hang out, and you have a conversation with friends, and you do this, so then, when you have the meeting, you already know each other. You already have background; you have some history. I think it’s a very valuable tool to really help people get into your business, and get into your network, and let them know who you are, before they decide if they wanna actually do business with you.

Jason Fleagle: One of the biggest things, too, for me, that I pick up on, when we’re interviewing a guest, is I identify their pain points, in hearing their story with their platform; whatever it is that they’re talking about. Then, in a follow-up meeting afterwards, I can usually speak from those pain points. “Hey, you mentioned this, Is there any ways that we could come alongside you, and help you solve that issue in the best way possible?” It’s very important conversation pieces, I think, through the interview.

Adam Bankhurst: Then, as far as future plans, I know we’ve talked about this a lot, but once again, having it a little like your set-up; getting more video, getting more things like that, and getting … I think that’s really the next big step. As I mentioned previously, we wanna do community events. We wanna do live shows at places. We wanna travel, and do on-the-road casts, and do more of vlogging, and things to just make it more of a … We’re a whole network of us doing all kinds of fun stuff.

Brett Johnson: What advice would you give a business owner who’s looking to get into podcasting? Obviously, you’re eating your own dog food, here. You would advocate, “Yeah, podcast is good for your business. We do it. See how easy it is to do,” and such. There are a lot of moving parts to this, you know, and now that we’ve all been a part of it, you kinda go, “Yeah, it’s all done,” but somebody looking this … We’ve talked about a lot of different things here. Key people that should be involved, and again, advice to a business that would be looking at this … What would you say to them?

Adam Bankhurst: I would say if you have that idea, I think it’s important to take a look at your team, to take a look at who you have there, who would be a good co-host. Do you have the tools necessary to be able to edit, to be able to do this? If you don’t, who can you get? What partners do you work with that you think can fill that slack, and make this happen?

Adam Bankhurst: One of the biggest things that … It’s the biggest advice that my dad always used to say to me all the time, and it’s a famous tagline of a company, but, “Just do it.” You learn while you do it. The biggest problem … This is something that I actually learned being an IT manager for eight years. The biggest roadblock for people is the unknown, is the idea that, “I don’t know this. I can’t do it. This is too complicated.”

Adam Bankhurst: Just Google it. I’ve learned so much of my skills from just googling how to do this. They’ve made so many tools, especially nowadays. It was a lot harder, maybe 10 years ago, or something, but so many people are doing podcasts, and so many people have ideas. There’s a lot of easy ways to start. You can go on B&H, right now, and buy a podcasting starter kit for a few hundred bucks, maybe less, depending on how sales, and deals are going. You just have to get in, and just start talking. You can even start doing it on your iPhone. Just see how it goes. If anybody’s listening to this, just take one of your friends at your office, sit in an office, sit in the conference room, and talk about something for an hour, and see how easy it is. You’re just hanging out.

Brett Johnson: Give it a trial, and hit delete when you’re done, if you don’t ever want to keep it, but I would suggest never delete it, because you never know when you might want to pull back on, “This was our beginning 10 years ago …” [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: That’s a great thing to do is do that. Like I said, that unknown, I think, is the biggest roadblock of people. You just can’t be afraid. All these people, these entrepreneurs, especially that we interview, and these people, they found this level of success, because they just did it. They weren’t afraid. If you fail, you fail, and you move on, but, if you fail to podcast, what’s gonna happen? Nothing. There’s not a lotta risk in it, but there’s a lot of reward, and a lot of fun to be had.

Adam Bankhurst: If you are overwhelmed, you should not be afraid to reach out to you, or to us, or to friends, or people in your network. Like I said, if people are doing this right, they wanna help you. They wanna help because, in helping you, it’s helping them. It’s helping everybody grow. It’s a very valuable thing that is really not too crazy, if you have certain things, and certain ideas, but it’s … I think the biggest roadblock is just that idea of, “I don’t know. I’ve never done it before.” You know what? People say that a lot before they do something, and then Mozart happens.

Brett Johnson: Yeah. That’s true.

Jason Fleagle: To go on Adam’s points, too, I think one of the biggest things that you can see from both of us is that we’re very humble, and we’re very open in wanting to learn from other people. I know Adam loves to learn new things; I love to learn new things. I think one of the biggest pieces of advice I would give is find a podcast that you really like, and study what they’re doing.

Adam Bankhurst: Definitely.

Brett Johnson: Kinda model that after your own platform. Figure out what’s working; what’s not working. Adam doesn’t have a degree in gaming. He doesn’t have a degree in writing, not that I’m aware of [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: -but put enough hours in, you’re a professional, right?

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, exactly. That’s what it is.

Jason Fleagle: -like Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank, and some of the … I’ve worked at a few billionaires, and then I’ve worked with people that are solopreneurs, and one of the most common things I’ve noticed is if they don’t know how to do something, they find a mentor that is in a position that they wanna be in, and they learn, and follow along on that path. That’s one of the biggest pieces of advice, I would say, is do that.

Brett Johnson: Where can they find your podcast?

Adam Bankhurst: They can find it on iTunes. They can find it on Google Play Store; on Stitcher; on all these things. Those are the main play … Obviously, SoundCloud, because that’s where it’s being hosted. Those are the main ones, but we try to get it to as many people as you want, as well as the JenesisMarketingGroup.com web page. We have a whole section built out for podcasting, where you can learn more about the guests. You can see pictures. You can see show notes. You can see other things about if you wanna get … If you loved the guests, and you want to get involved with them; you think they may be a good fit for you, or you wanna learn from them, we have a lot of information there, as well.

Brett Johnson: I would suggest go to the dot.com, first.

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: That’s the best way to learn more about what you guys, beyond listening this full episode, but, at the same time, you get to see faces to names, and also previous guests. Little easier to navigate [cross talk] big screen to see what’s going on. Thank you for being a guest on this podcast.

Adam Bankhurst: Thank you.

Brett Johnson: I appreciate it [cross talk] the focus is to really demystify a lot of what a business can do with podcasting. Your perspective, and your analysis, everything’s been … It’s been insightful, and worth a million bucks, and hopefully we can help everybody grow like a pro.

Adam Bankhurst: Definitely [cross talk] That’s right.

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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