Women Of Influence

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

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

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

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

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Brett Johnson:
Well, Emily thanks for joining me on the podcast. I appreciate it.

Emily Bench:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Can’t beat that! Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
The after-five feel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emily Bench:
Absolutely-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Right.

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

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

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

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

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

Emily Bench:
Yeah, it is.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Which is kinda cool,

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

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

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

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

Emily Bench:
Sure. it is crazy.

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

Emily Bench:
Right..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emily Bench:
Yeah, and-

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

Emily Bench:
Yeah-

Brett Johnson:
Big time, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emily Bench:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emily Bench:
Yes.

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

Emily Bench:
They’re certainly-

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
News and Brews, right.

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

Brett Johnson:
It could work, too-

Emily Bench:
We’ll figure it out.

Brett Johnson:
Exactly, yeah-

Emily Bench:
I guess we’ll try it.

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

Emily Bench:
Yeah, definitely.

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

Emily Bench:
Oh, yeah. Don’t mind …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Nothing creepy about that. No.

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Well, congratulations on finding the niche.

Emily Bench:
Thank you.

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

Emily Bench:
Thanks.

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

Emily Bench:
Yeah, absolutely.

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

Emily Bench:
Absolutely.

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

Emily Bench:
Yeah, I agree. Thank you.

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

Emily Bench:
Yeah.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Cool.

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Minds On B2B

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

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

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

Minds on B2B was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text in 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Exactly. You got it.

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

Dan Harris:
How far do you wanna go back?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

Dan Harris:
Right, right.

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Funny.

Dan Harris:
Yeah.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Energy, if nothing else.

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

Brett Johnson:
That’s great.

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

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

Dan Harris:
They are, they are-.

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

Dan Harris:
Right.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
I enjoyed it-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

Dan Harris:
Exactly.

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

Dan Harris:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Exactly. Exactly, yep.

Brett Johnson:
Sounds good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
That’s great.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Right.

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

Brett Johnson:
Right.

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes, yes.

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

Dan Harris:
Right.

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

Dan Harris:
That’s bad. That’s bad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Right.

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

Dan Harris:
Reference material.

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

Dan Harris:
It totally is-.

Brett Johnson:
It really is.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Wow, that’s great.

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

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

Dan Harris:
Nice.

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

Dan Harris:
Super-fast.

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

Dan Harris:
That’s sweet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

Dan Harris:
It is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Sure.

Brett Johnson:
-with the business and the podcast.

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Perfect. Thanks!

Dan Harris:
Thank you so much.

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

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

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

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

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Press Play Podcasts and Chase Smith

If you’re like me, you’re always on the hunt for a new podcast to add to your rotation. The trouble is that sometimes wading through the options can become overwhelming.

Luckily, there is a way to make the search a little less stressful–podcast networks!

If you are a listener, then podcast networks make finding a new show easy by curating quality content and putting it all in one place for you to find.

If you are a content creator, then being part of a podcast network can help increase your revenue and broaden your listener base. And as the podcasting business continues to grow, more and more podcast networks are launching.

Podcasters now are encountering a similar dilemma that bloggers faced a decade ago: as your show gains respectability and audience, how do you decide when’s the right time to join a podcast network? And what are the questions you should be asking for any suitors that come your way?

Podcast networks are looking for podcasts that are up in the tens of thousands of downloads, multiple times over. This is common among the largest podcast networks. Many won’t consider accepting a show unless it has a minimum of 50,000 downloads per episode. Given that most advertisers are chasing scale and buy ads based on CPM, some networks feel it’s not worth their while to take on smaller shows.

My guest found this approach frustrating; there were many podcasts out there, including his, that had managed to achieve a high degree of quality without meeting the 50,000 download threshold. It seemed like there may be an opportunity for a network to target these mid-tier shows.

Chase Smith – coordinates a podcast network called Press Play Podcasts .

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

Press Play Podcasts and Chase Smith | Convert audio-to-text with Sonix

Brett Johnson:
Well, if you’re like me, you’re always on the hunt for a new podcast to add to your rotation. Trouble is that sometimes wading through the options can become quite overwhelming. Luckily, there is a way to make the search a little less stressful – podcast networks.

Brett Johnson:
Networks are helpful for both listeners, and content creators alike. If you’re a listener, the podcast networks make finding a new show easy by curating quality content, and putting it all in one place for you to find.

Brett Johnson:
Plus, on the other side, if you’re a content creator, then being a part of a podcast network can help increase your revenue, and broaden your listener base. As the podcasting business continues to grow, more, and more podcast networks are launching.

Brett Johnson:
Podcasters now are encountering a similar dilemma that bloggers faced about a decade ago. As your show gains respectability, and audience, how do you decide when is the right time to join a podcast network? What are the questions you should be asking for any suitor that comes your way, or if you’re approaching that network, what questions should you be asking, ask well?

Brett Johnson:
Podcast networks are looking for podcasts that are up in the tens of thousands of downloads, multiple times over. It’s a common thing among the largest podcast networks – many won’t consider accepting a show unless it has a minimum of 50,000 downloads per episode. Given that most advertisers are chasing scale, and buy ads based on CPM, some networks feel it’s not worth their while to take on smaller shows.

Brett Johnson:
Well, my guest for this episode found this approach frustrating. There are many podcasts out there, including his, that he managed to achieve a high degree of quality without meeting that “gold standard” of the 50,000-download threshold. It seemed like there may be an opportunity for a network to target these mid-tier shows.

Brett Johnson:
With me is Chase Smith. He coordinates, and owns a podcast network called Press Play Podcasts. Right now, it’s a network of five podcasts that’s available at pressplaypodcasts.com.

Brett Johnson:
I’m going to read a little bit from you the “About” page: “The Press Play Podcast Network exists to empower hosts and create high quality, professional sounding, engaging content for its listeners. At P3, [I love that!] we pride ourselves in helping bring your vision to reality by providing you with the proper tools and support to make your show a success. Whether you’re a podcast veteran or diving into the medium for the first time, we will walk alongside you and help you get your show on the air.”

Brett Johnson:
Chase, thanks for being a part of the podcast.

Chase Smith:
Brett, thanks for having me on, brother.

Brett Johnson:
Sure! Let’s talk about the beginning of this. How did P3 begin?

Chase Smith:
P3 began with my personal podcast, and the Cleveland Browns podcast that I host. I’ve been all-in on podcasts since 2006, starting from my love with the Cleveland Browns.

Chase Smith:
I was a freshman at Marshall University, in Huntington, West Virginia, and just was jonesing for Cleveland Browns content. What I was getting online just wasn’t good enough. I wanted to listen to fans talk about my favorite NFL team. I got on iTunes, and searched “Browns” and “podcasting.” I was, like, “What is this?”

Chase Smith:
I was all-in from the very beginning. Just listened to every – I forget the name of this Browns podcast, but it was fantastic. It actually wouldn’t be bad today. Gosh, I gotta figure that out. Since then, I started listening to some my favorite writers. They would have a podcast, and just fell in love with it from the very beginning.

Chase Smith:
A couple years ago, we lived in Chicago, and I took classes at Second City, which is a comedy theater at IO, which is another comedy theater.

Chase Smith:
I kind of used my experience working with audio for 10-plus years, speaking in front of people in the writing training that these other theaters offered, and started my own podcast with some of the people that I knew in my own personal network.

Chase Smith:
It was like, “Oh, I could interview this former SNL writer; I could interview the president of this college; I could interview …” I started pulling people that I would want to listen to, and just started talking to them about leadership, life, ministry, sports, whatever – whatever was going on their life. Really, really was received well.

Chase Smith:
August of ’17, I just continued with my podcast, and I wanted to do a Cleveland Browns season preview, partly because the Browns podcasts that were offered at the time weren’t whetting my appetite. The quality wasn’t great. The episodes were like an hour and 45 minutes long. It was just a lot of nothing for a lot of something.

Chase Smith:
I found one of my friends online who I hadn’t met – just online person that we communicate with, Jeremy Powell, @JeremyinAkron on Twitter. I said, “Hey, Jeremy, you want to come on my pod? We’ll do a Browns season preview?” He was like, “Yeah, we could do that!” He came on, and it just went like gangbusters. We communicated very, very well together. We had a really great repertoire, or rapport … Sorry, not repertoire, rapport … We’re like, “What if we was to do this every week?” Like, “Hey, all right, let’s do it!” All of a sudden, I’m [crosstalk]

Brett Johnson:
A lot of arm twisting going on there, yeah, right.

Chase Smith:
Right. Well, it went so well, and everyone loved it. I think sports is a really easy podcast to market because the demographic is so clear. You know who is a die-hard Browns fan, whether they label it on their profile, or they post stuff about it, or they like, or retweet, or comment on stuff. They’re very easy targeting/marketing there.

Chase Smith:
We started this Browns pod with this desire to … We wanted really high-quality content that’s not hours, and hours long. Now, all of a sudden, I had my hands in two podcasts, and I started dreaming. I’m a dreamer, Brett. I dream. I dream. I just think, “Man, I’m super-optimistic and I’m a dreamer.”.

Chase Smith:
I was like, “Hmm …” If I have two that I kind of understood how I was able to grow those networks, and grow those shows, and how I record, and how I edit, what would that look like if I had a couple more shows? Maybe if I opened it up to invite other people along in the process? All of a sudden, this idea of a network started to birth itself, and we launched in October of 2018 with five shows.

Chase Smith:
We have the “The Orange Is Oranger Browns Podcast” which is a podcast about the Cleveland Browns. We have “Cavs on the Break Podcast” with Sam Amico. He used to write for Fox Sports Ohio. He’s an author – he’s actually just finishing his book, I think, last week. We’re supposed to record this week, or next week, to talk about that. That’s about the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Chase Smith:
We have a Cleveland Indians podcast, “A Swing and a Tribe,” which is all about the Cleveland Indians. We have my personal podcast, “The Chase Smith Podcast.” We have a college football podcast called “The Tim and Shipe Show,” college football podcast.

Chase Smith:
Right now, our current shows do focus around sports, and a lot of Cleveland sports, but we just started … Honestly, Brett, it was a lot of what I love – what do I want to listen to? What interests me?

Brett Johnson:
Sure, sure.

Chase Smith:
It just kind of went from there.

Brett Johnson:
Right. That makes sense.

Chase Smith:
Official launch was October of ’18, and, yeah, it’s been a good, I guess, six months has it been [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
Now it has been. At this recording, we’re in April, so yeah, you’re right there, exactly. Strategy for growth – obviously, you’ve put some thought into sports. It’s good that we’ve got all the sports teams covered now in Cleveland … That’s good, because there’s a cross pollination there. Typically, a Cleveland fan is a Cleveland fan – typically – and I think that’s true of most cities, and such. What’s the strategy for growth of the network? What’s your vision a year from now, five years from now? What’s it gonna look like to you?

Chase Smith:
Yeah. Oh, I would love to branch out of sports. I know, right now, a lot of focus is on sports, but, again, Brett. just trying to focus on things that I care about. I love movies, so I can see somewhere down the line having a podcast about movies, or some type of entertainment. I think culture is really important. I think it’d be cool to have a podcast about culture.

Chase Smith:
Actually, Brett, next week we’re launching our sixth podcast. It’s called “Up Next with Chad and Taylor.” This podcast covers all the original content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, Disney Plus, or Apple Plus, whatever … Whatever streaming content is available, and whatever original content they come out- not network, not cable, like original streaming content.

Chase Smith:
Chad, and Taylor are gonna break these shows down. They’re gonna help you decide what should be up next in your queue; how to explain these shows to your grandparents; what they liked; what they didn’t like – all these things. If you really, really love “Stranger Things,” or any new show … Like, “Aww, man, hey, like why is “Homecoming” getting a lot of … People are talking about “Homecoming,” What is that?” You can check it out with this podcast. I mean, “I’ve never heard of “The Marvelous Miss Maisel.” It won some Emmys. What’s going on?” Well, hey, we’ll talk about it on “Up Next,” which I think there’s a really huge market for there-

Brett Johnson:
Oh, yeah.

Chase Smith:
Once again, love just consuming media. I think it’d be cool to maybe dip our toes in politics. I don’t know … I think the growth is gonna be what I enjoy. What do I wanna listen to? What interests me? Then, people’ll come on board, and they’re able to communicate their idea.

Chase Smith:
That’s the thing, too, with our network, what we wanna do is make it easy for someone who has no idea about podcasts to start a podcast. If they are passionate enough about a topic that they reach out to us, then we wanna be able to come alongside them, and help them with their idea.

Chase Smith:
That’s kind of what I guess the next couple of years is gonna look like. You can’t predict the future, but I would love to see a podcast about movies, a podcast about culture. We’re gonna have a TV 30-minute podcast releasing next week, which is exciting.

Brett Johnson:
When you’re looking to expand the network with the different genres that you’re talking about, you’re talking about podcasts that may exist today, may not exist today, but they will in six months. It could be somebody you know, or it could be someone looking for a network, as well.

Brett Johnson:
Let’s say that you found that right one that you wanna bring on. What’s your conversation like to them? That they have a podcast that does exist … Then we’ll turn it into somebody that doesn’t have one yet, and talk to them. Let’s go first that have an established podcast. It could be five listeners. I don’t care what the number is, but they have one that fits, you like. It’s like, “I wanna bring you on.” What’s that conversation like with them?

Chase Smith:
It’s funny, Brett. They’re intrigued by the idea of being part of a network. A lot of people don’t understand what that is; don’t understand what being part of a network can offer. It’s kind of like dating. You’re just trying to feel the other person out, like, “Well, hey, Chase, tell me about what would happen if I join the network? What does that offer me? What’s in it for me, as a podcast, with my show that I’ve put a bunch of work, and time, and energy, and resources in, like mental capacity, too … What’s in it for me?”

Brett Johnson:
They want it to be a two-way street, and so do you, of course; that you get as much benefit from being in the network, as I get from you being part of the network, too.

Chase Smith:
I try to make expectations clear. I don’t want them to think that this is gonna be the magic elixir that makes their podcasts number one on the charts, or reach the Top 200, or whatever. I want to make sure the expectations on both of our ends are very clear.

Chase Smith:
I think, being a part of a network – and this is what I would tell them – gives them credibility in their field. I think part of podcasting is what can we do to separate our podcasts from other podcasts?

Chase Smith:
It’s kind of like a blog. Anyone can have a blog. Well, anyone, if they know how to use Google, can understand how to start a podcast. The game becomes what can we do to make your show stand out, and unique?

Chase Smith:
Whether it’s with the quality of the content, like how it sounds; whether you sound like you’re in a tin can, a garbage can, or in a studio? I think that matters. Having an awesome graphic; having a really intentional, and specific roll-in, or intro music that’s not 45 seconds long, and it’s not two seconds long. Finding that perfect medium.

Chase Smith:
Then, understanding that content does matter, and what you provide does matter. A network gives you credibility. It’s telling your listeners that there’s a group of people somewhere that deem this podcast awesome, and they want to be associated with it.

Chase Smith:
If there’s four podcasts about office printers [crosstalk], I’m just … Random … I would be more likely to see an office printer podcast part of a network. Like, “Okay, maybe the host has some credentials, or this has some weight to it,” more than just John Doe’s podcast, or whatever [cross talk] To be able to communicate that probably a little more clearly than what I just did here!

Brett Johnson:
No. It makes perfect sense that there are lots of podcasts about printers. We’ll go with the same example. The weight comes in that you decided they were good enough that you wanted them to be a part of P3, basically-

Chase Smith:
Yep. Giving the host a stamp of approval, like, “Oh, hey, you do have something to add to this field, and you’re a part of this network.” If that makes your podcast stand out, being able to use the reach of the current shows in the network, I think, is appealing to other hosts, and they wanna be a part of that.

Chase Smith:
One thing I’ve seen, Brett, pretty early in these “date” questions is, “How do I earn a sponsorship?” or, “How do I start earning money from my podcast?”.

Chase Smith:
The fact that our network has acquired some sponsorships, and partnerships with other respectable businesses, that can be attractive to potential hosts, as well. Whether how we communicate to them what packages we offer, or what that looks like … We would provide those tools, and that kind of skeleton, and that kind of foot in the door with these businesses for a podcast to attract sponsorships.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Okay. Let’s go the other direction. A couple of people wanna put a podcast together; certain genre; makes a lot of sense; it sounds good to you. It’s like, “Yeah, I like that topic.” What’s that conversation like, then? It doesn’t exist yet.

Chase Smith:
Yeah, so, as the president, CEO, whatever you want to call it, of the network, [cross talk] I want to just acquire assets. I want the network to grow. My initial goal was to do one new show a month. Here at month six, we have developed two, fully, that when it came to signing a contract, and recording, they just kind of realized it wasn’t for them, which is totally fine.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, you bet. Better to realize then, than six months down the road.

Chase Smith:
Right. We were able to relaunch another one. We had to switch some hosts, and then, like I said, launching our “Up Next” podcast next week. I’m always open to talking, having conversations with hosts, just trying to, one, add to our portfolio, or assets, and also, branch out of sports, too.

Chase Smith:
I’m always willing to have a conversation, but someone who has never spoken in front of a microphone, or understand anything about the process, we would come alongside them, and, as long as their show is with us, walk hand-in-hand, and make sure that every question is answered; that in the mailbox, they receive whatever equipment they need, whatever microphone … We provide training on how to use the equipment.

Chase Smith:
Then, for someone who has never done this, we also provide graphics, and roll-in, and all of that stuff for them. We only want them to focus on content. We take care of all the back-end hosting, all the logistics. We take care of all of that.

Chase Smith:
You just focus on coming up with an outline, and kind of like a seven-episode idea of what you want this to look like. You focus on that. We will take care of all the other logistical, technical stuff of the podcast, and we’ll train you on how to do what you want to do. For someone who has, it’s a very different conversation for [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
That’s why I wanted to ask, because it is two different pieces. One that’s established has gone through that six-month, year, two-year growth of getting it down, put it that way. Those who are looking at it, going, “That sounds fun. I love this TV show, I wanna do this.” That’s great, but …

Chase Smith:
Right. Where I’ve found the most success in conversations is not so much, “Hey, bring your show on with us.” It’s more, “Hey, our network has this idea for a show. Can you come on board with us, and host it for us?” That’s where I’ve seen the most positive two-way conversation, where the most trust is built, and there’s this mutual excitement for the idea. That’s where this “Up Next,” all about these original shows, was able to get to the point where it is today, where they’re gonna be released with three episodes, and all this stuff. It’s gonna be good.

Brett Johnson:
We’ll get back to the interview right after this.

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Brett Johnson:
The question comes up: “What is my podcast worth?” To me, it’s a surprisingly hard question to find an answer to – establishing what the real-world value of a podcast is. Should be hugely important to all of us – you, me – as an industry, in developing our shows, pitching to networks, investors, and maybe, one day, exchanging one of our babies for that sweet nectar of big cash, so we can do this full-time-

Chase Smith:
Oh, yeah, all the big cash!

Brett Johnson:
Exactly! There’s been a lot of discussion in the media about this for years. There’s one piece called The Monocle Model. That is, if your readers, or your listeners are rich enough, it doesn’t matter how many you have, and the same applies to podcasts. I think that goes with both with blogs, and podcasts.

Brett Johnson:
If you can demonstrate the industrial lobbying power of your listenership, or that they fulfill certain demographic requirements for purchasers, you’ll be able to get in the driver’s seat. By and large, though, the equation is, sadly, that 100 listeners on Wall Street will be worth more than 1,000 rural households, usually.

Brett Johnson:
You can take a look at it, too, as: is 250,000 subscribers worth a million dollars, by default? There are newspapers that have a 250,000 weekly circulation that wouldn’t hesitate to put a million dollars on it. I’m increasingly obsessed with reminding people that the value of the intellectual property – just as you’re putting together – that the product we have in podcasting, it’s branding, your shows, your feed, your archive, it’s worth something.

Brett Johnson:
Looking at it, and talking about it that way, what’s been in the back of your mind, and maybe in the forefront, to the growth of sponsorships? You just mentioned you got a couple of new ones, which is great, congratulations [cross talk] because it’s hard work. It’s a lot of hard work, and it doesn’t stop when the sponsor signs the dotted line. That’s actually the beginning, because it’s a whole different relationship. What’s been your strategy for the growth in sponsorship so far?

Chase Smith:
Well, I think the question, “How much is a podcast worth?” really fascinating-

Brett Johnson:
It is, yeah.

Chase Smith:
-I think it’s worth a different amount to different people. Those 100 Wall Street listeners might not give a rip about a podcast about dish-washing soap [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
But if it’s about a yacht, or yachting, a hundred will pay for that podcast.

Chase Smith:
Yes, and a yacht …

Brett Johnson:
Right, exactly! Exactly.

Chase Smith:
I think one of the appeals of a podcast, Brett, is that you can find about anything. I don’t have to listen to a 60-minute radio show just for a three-minute segment on the Browns. I could listen to a 60-minute segment about the Browns, and a three-minute spot about this bottle of water – like an advertising spot-

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Chase Smith:
That is appealing. A Browns podcast is worth infinitely more to a Browns fan than an Arizona Cardinals fan. I think even that question is just really, really interesting. Because podcasts are so pointed, and so one-lane focused, I think it’s a blessing, and a curse. With it being so one-lane, you can really target potential sponsors, and really be able to market, and sell your podcast to people, whether …

Chase Smith:
For instance, a Browns podcast. All of our listeners come from Columbus, to Canton, to Cleveland [cross talk] all up, I think, 71 … All through 71, last season, we had a presenting sponsor called The Place. They sold hot tubs, spas, fireplaces, grills. They had this huge lot right on 71, and they were able to move products. It was great because they sell [inaudible] … It just made sense. They’re not a new sponsor, I was just using that as an example.

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Chase Smith:
The ones we just signed this … It’s been a great week. It’s been a great week! This week was Align Health Center. They work on rehabilitation sports, working with chiropractic of your spine, and body, and all these great things. They were all around … They have two branches in between Cleveland, and Canton. We also work with GV Art and Design. We just signed that today. It’s a T-shirt company.

Chase Smith:
We’re not signing sponsors that will have no success reaching Browns fans. We wouldn’t do that to them. We wouldn’t try to just take their money. We want to work with people who do have an appeal to Browns fans, whether it’s with Browns T-shirts, or Cleveland T-shirts … If most of our audience is 20- to 35-year-old men, or 30- to 50-year-old men who might want some testosterone injections, or to work on their back, because they pulled it mowing, or whatever, well, check out Aligned Health Center. I think you have to be really strategic in your conversations with sponsors, as well.

Brett Johnson:
I think you have to be cognizant of, and respectful of, as well, your listeners. Is there even a connection with this product, this service that is now coming on board?

Chase Smith:
Yep. One of the things we did that saw the most success is for our live show. Last year, we did a live draft show – we had the number-one pick. We went to a restaurant; they reserved it for us; we blew it out; it was great. We asked our sponsors to come, and have giveaways, and just be a part of that with us, and that was incredible. People loved it. It just was a great way to help the sponsor know, “Hey, we’re getting something out of this,” and the people feel like, “Oh, I’m getting something free.” It was just a win/win/win all around. The restaurant was packed all night; plus, the number-one pick, Baker … It was great. We had the number-four pick last year, as well.

Brett Johnson:
There’s nothing like a live show.

Chase Smith:
No, it [cross talk] it was a ton of fun. This year, we don’t have a draft pick in the first round, so we actually can’t … We wanna do it again. We canceled it, because we traded for OBJ, and that was insane.

Chase Smith:
Yeah, it’s been a great week. This is where I think radio is in trouble. Now, I don’t have a history in radio, other than listening to it growing up. I haven’t listened to it in- I’m not gonna tell you how long-

Brett Johnson:
Right, I know, I know. It’s a time factor that I’ve actually found what I like on my phone, versus in the car-

Chase Smith:
Oh, my gosh, a story …

Brett Johnson:
-yeah, there’s that radio in the car, you know?

Chase Smith:
-I know someone’s daughter, they were in the car, and they were listening to the radio, and the daughter said, “Oh, Daddy, hey, go back, and play that song again. What was that one? I liked that one.” He was like, “Hey, “I can’t do that. Sorry. This isn’t on my phone. This is the radio.” It’s like, “What’s that? The kids, they’re just like, “What is this concept of …? Why can’t I control this? What is that?”

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Chase Smith:
What was my story, other than … We got on how the demise of radio, and I got all confused.

Brett Johnson:
No, it’s okay … I think radio – I’ve got a previous episode talking with Steve Palmer, who is the host of “Lawyer Talk,” as well as Dino Tripodis, who is a former on-air personality, and has a podcast, “Whiskey Business,” talking about how radio is … Again, radio will survive. Our discussion was about have they missed the boat? Are they actually in the boat for podcasts? How are they looking at it, and such.

Brett Johnson:
I think some large conglomerates are probably aggressively doing it well, but their definition of a podcast may be a little bit different than what we are talking about. It’s more of a re-purposing Best Of, but they, and I’m talking specifically – iHeart – they do have some original content, and they’re putting original content … Whether they’re buying the original content, or starting to create their own, I think they’re getting it. It’s-

Chase Smith:
I remember my thought.

Brett Johnson:
-it depends on what they want to do with it, and if they can monetize it – that’s the big thing, for me, in my eyes.

Chase Smith:
A couple of things I want to touch on there, because I think it’s really interesting. A live ad-read in a podcast, once that’s embedded in an episode, that never goes away. If you buy a live ad-read on the radio, or purchase one, and no one listens in that time, you’re outta luck, because you can’t go back, and rewind the radio; where, a podcast, it’s embedded forever.

Chase Smith:
People go back, and listen to our previous episodes. Those sponsors who bought that episode, even though they’re not currently a sponsor, they’re still getting bang for their buck. They’re still getting a return on investment on the advertisement. In podcasts, ad-reads are evergreen. They are, and I think there’s an appeal there that isn’t with live radio.

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Chase Smith:
I think that could spell trouble just for some of these radio sponsors. Now, they’re never gonna go away, like you said, but I think that there is an appeal, that “Oh, man, this is gonna be embedded in the episode,” and as the podcast grows, it’s just only gonna get more ears [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
I think podcasters are really grasping the idea of how to do … It’s still a product endorsement, but they’re talking to their listeners better than radio personalities do. Number one, because they can do it …

Brett Johnson:
Even though your sponsors bought 60-second commercials, or whatever you sold them, 90 seconds – it’s a commercial. Radio is still limited by it’s a 60-second commercial, and whether it’s a live-read or not, it’s 60 seconds.

Brett Johnson:
Where, a podcaster, they wanna talk about that sponsor, and it makes sense for the listener to follow that story line about the product. They’ll follow along, because they’re either using the product in their own life, or they know somebody that is, and they can tell a story around it. The quicker a podcaster can jump on that storytelling piece about their sponsor-

Chase Smith:
-it’s huge.

Brett Johnson:
-that contract will be renewed year, after year, after year.

Chase Smith:
Yep! Now I want to flip this around a little bit, Brett, because the normal podcast isn’t the 50,000-download threshold-

Brett Johnson:
It’s not.

Chase Smith:
That is-

Brett Johnson:
The top two to three percent of all podcasts are even that kind of number.

Chase Smith:
Right. Most of them, I think, what is the average, 50 or, it’s …?

Brett Johnson:
Yeah. The average … Last numbers I’d heard, about 1,000-1,500. It depends if it’s the median, or the average. That number varies, as well, but if you’re in the hundreds, you’re in the ballpark of everybody else.

Chase Smith:
Right, yeah. The other side of this, though, Brett, is if your podcast is 100 subscribers, or listens, and a radio station’s like, “Hey, can we use your podcast?” I think most podcast hosts are gonna jump on that and say, “Heck yeah, use my stuff!” Then the host gets to say, “Well, hey, my podcast is on the radio.”.

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Chase Smith:
Again, anything you can do to set your podcast apart from someone else who’s not on the radio gives you a leg up-

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Even if you’re a go-to commentary person [cross talk] once a week, the WTAM sports host gives you a call, and you’re cross-promoting your podcast, once a week, just talking about Browns [crosstalk] for five minutes … Exactly.

Chase Smith:
You better believe it. If some college station in Akron is like, “Hey, we have a 2:00 a.m. slot.” Sure! I don’t care!

Brett Johnson:
Exactly, exactly.

Chase Smith:
I think there’s also this appeal that even though radio seems to be- their back’s up against the wall a little bit, I still think they have some pretty big guns that they’re gonna be able to say, “Well, hey, hold on a second. We’re The Radio.”

Brett Johnson:
Right. “We still have millions of listeners in every market, that, potentially, if I can get you 5,000 of those to subscribe to your podcast, we both win,” right? It’s like, “Of course, we do.” [cross talk] there’s still a win/win there, yeah.

Chase Smith:
I think there is this ask that they can say, “Well, hey, how about you give us some stuff?” I think most podcasts are gonna be ecstatic that they got that [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
Oh, for sure. Yeah, for sure, cuz most- I think most podcasters are kinda radio wannabe people – kinda. You know, it’s the mic thing; it’s that tech thing. They’ve always wanted to talk about their favorite stuff, and they realize they can’t buy airtime to do this.

Brett Johnson:
That’s a lot of conversion that I have had, with me walking out of radio, that I’ve had clients, and people that I know; they wanna talk about a certain subject, and topic, about their business, or whatever it might be, but they can’t afford the time.

Brett Johnson:
They also realize that “one and done.” You buy that 8:00 in the morning on Sundays … Well, if that listener’s not listening at 8:00 on Sunday morning, where else are they gonna get it, other than record it, and put it in a podcast. As we talked about previously, the radio thing does come into play, of course. I think there’s a piece to it, just strategic, that sorta thing.

Brett Johnson:
How, now six podcasts coming on, how are you supporting each other as a network? I know that varies with all different networks out there, in regards to … There’s the cross-promote plugs within the show, where even if it’s social … What’s your strategy been so far? Where are you looking to take that, in regards to helping each other lift the boat?

Chase Smith:
Yeah. Having hosts on different shows. My Browns co-host, Jeremy, JeremyinAkron, he loves the Indians, and the Cavs, so having him on those shows helps direct traffic; kind of cross-promote there.

Chase Smith:
I already told our host with the “Up Next” podcast, “Hey, I wanna be on when you do this show, and this show, and this show.” I think just support each other that way. Obviously, sharing, and retweeting; commenting on our podcasts. Then using our own airtime, and buying our own airtime, and doing a live ad-read for that show.

Chase Smith:
Not only does that give our audience … Like, “Oh, they have this podcast coming up,” but it gives my hosts practice in reading live on-air ad-reads, so, whenever they do have a sponsor, then they’re not reading an ad for the first time. Then they’ve done that already with our shows; it gives them practice for that. That’s what we’re doing now …

Brett Johnson:
Makes sense. No, it makes sense, yeah. I know every network puts a different strategy together to support each other. I think the larger ones have a bit more difficulty in doing it, but I think what they then start to do is slice the pie, going, “Okay, these five can cross-promote each other, because it’s the same genre,” or, like you said, cross-promote, because they’re actually hosting two, or three different podcasts, so they … “If you like me here, you’re gonna like me on the other one, too,” sorta thing, which is great. It goes right in line with what podcasting is all about, too.

Brett Johnson:
Biggest challenges … What are your challenges with this?

Chase Smith:
Biggest challenge for me is finding time to work on this. I have a full-time job, and then, another part-time job at a college in Circleville. All the time I’ve devoted to the network is either over my “lunch breaks,” in air quotes – you can’t see over podcasts, or late at night, when my wife is working on counseling stuff, and my daughter’s asleep.

Chase Smith:
There are some days, Brett, when I just want to work on this all the time. It’s really a challenge to stay disciplined. and to … “Oh, hey, I gotta get this done,” or, “Oh, hey, I gotta work on my lecture for …” That’s been the biggest challenge for me is just carving that time out. Actually, I’m waiting to hear back from Podcast Movement. Is that the big Orlando …?

Brett Johnson:
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Chase Smith:
I submitted a breakout speaking request about how to do this.

Brett Johnson:
Cool.

Chase Smith:
The initial cutoff was, “We’ll let all the speakers know by April 1st,” and they emailed back, “Oh, we’ll let everyone know [crosstalk]

Brett Johnson:
They did that last year, too, because they have so many. It just took … I’d rather them do that, rather than just say, “Well, you know, we didn’t get to the last 500.” No, no, no, no, no … The next 500 could be- you got a gem in there, so that’s a good sign.

Chase Smith:
I don’t want to use it as an excuse, because I can’t stand the “I’m just too busy” excuse. At the end of the day, Brett, you make time for what’s important. You make time for your family; you make time for your faith; you make time to watch March Madness.

Chase Smith:
You make time for things that you wanna do, and that includes video games; that includes eating. You make time for what you wanna do. For me to say I don’t make time for this … I’m not gonna say “I’m too busy,” because you make time for what’s important. I just wish I had more time for this in a day-

Brett Johnson:
Right. Understandable.

Chase Smith:
Sometimes, less time when other things …

Brett Johnson:
Sure; oh, yeah.

Chase Smith:
It’s just a matter of carving that time out, and keeping a healthy balance of family, and faith, and just yourself … It’s important for you to do things that give you life, and to rest, and [crosstalk]

Brett Johnson:
If you’re down, you can’t support the other podcasters in the network.

Chase Smith:
Yes. Right now, working on the network stuff, it does bring me energy, and life, and it is a weird way to rest, and relax, and have fun. Sometimes, I just love lounging on the couch, and eating a bowl of Captain Crunch with Crunchberries, and [crosstalk] just watching SNL, or whatever. I need that. too.

Brett Johnson:
Your brain needs it, though, too, because all of a sudden, inspiration will come at moments you didn’t realize – walking the dog, or watching SNL, and you see something, or hear something, going, “That’s it!” Your brain works that way. You gotta give it that time.

Chase Smith:
Yeah. That’s a big challenge, as well. Also, I don’t know if we … We talked; we had a great conversation before we recorded. I don’t know if this was … I think it was in the recording. I said I’m a dreamer, and I’m optimistic.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, yeah, we have, sure.

Chase Smith:
I have all of these goals, all these dreams. Another challenge is just understanding it’s a marathon, and just to be patient, and just to look at the bigger perspective. If I were to zoom out now, and say, “Man, in six months, we’ve been able to do this, and in a year from the conception of this idea, this is how far we’ve come, and this is what we’ve been able to do.”.

Chase Smith:
You can get encouraged that way, but if you just get stuck in the minutiae of every day, like “Oh, man, I’m gonna get this done; I’m gonna get this done. I’m gonna get this, this …” then you can get pretty discouraged.

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Chase Smith:
It’s a challenge to keep a proper perspective, too, sometimes.

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Chase Smith:
Just because I can be pretty impatient. I see the steps that need to be taken. I just want them to be done now, but that’s fun about it, too.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah. I like that you’re not- you have not mentioned one thing about competing against other networks, or concerned about other networks that are being developed, and such. I think it’s healthy, because that’s probably where this whole space is gonna go to, anyway, is a lot of networks are gonna be created on their own, organically, like you’re doing.

Brett Johnson:
Independents are gonna come on board to help lift the boat of this small network. It’s maybe, again, a Cleveland-based network that have a bunch of Cleveland- whether they’re there, or not, but it’s focused around Cleveland, and Columbus, or Cincinnati, or Ohio, or Midwest.

Brett Johnson:
That’s where it’s going to come into play, because, again, the cross-promote, as well as helping independent podcasters get more exposure a little easier than on their own shoulders. I think that’s where it’s gonna start to develop, and I think not looking in the rear-view mirror, not looking on the sides. Just do your thing, and not worry about everybody else. A marathon. You will be okay.

Chase Smith:
Yep, and part of that – I don’t wanna waste the time I do have comparing myself to other networks, or other shows. That’s not healthy. I’m really competitive in nature, so then I would just get like, “Well, why did they get so many downloads? They sound like…” I would just get really nasty, really quick.

Chase Smith:
Funny, ironically enough, our Browns podcast started off of just this disgruntled, unhappy feeling of, “Man, the Browns podcasts we have here are junk.” It was kind of birthed from that. I do think I have a responsibility to have my finger on the pulse of the Browns podcasts, other Cavs podcasts.

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Chase Smith:
I think I need to understand what they’re doing, what they sound like, what that looks like, but I don’t get lost. I don’t devote all my time to that. I have my ear to the ground. I kinda know what’s going on-.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. As long as you’re different, and you’re offering something different to the listeners, you’re never going to lose them to the other podcast. They’re doing the same thing.

Chase Smith:
Yeah. As you were mentioning about the Columbus … I think there’s a market for a Blue Jackets podcast, a Clippers podcast. Two of my best friends, they love soccer, and I wanna do a podcast called “Corner Kick.”

Chase Smith:
I think that’s just … I see it. I would love to get in on that, cuz I think soccer fans are very passionate, like crazy-passionate, and I think it’s only gonna grow, especially if the Clippers are back- the Crew [cross talk] I’m sorry, did I say “Clippers” both times?

Brett Johnson:
I’m not sure. I was thinking of my next … Where I’m gonna go with sports in my mind, too. I think our listener knows exactly what you’re talking about, though, yeah.

Chase Smith:
A Crew, soccer … Again, that’s kinda still in the sports realm, but I would-

Brett Johnson:
You’ve got a lane of sports. You kinda know where you need to go with that, and that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing, because I think the topic of – whether it’s a TV show, movie show, or, like you said, “Up next,” – is somewhat already self-designed, because you’re gonna be talking about that show.

Chase Smith:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
Of course, then it opens up the gateway: okay, how do we talk about it? But it is about the show. Sports has its own rhythm; what you need to talk about [cross talk] TV shows, and movies have the same type of rhythm. This is how you need to do this. Not formula, but don’t go there with it; go here with it, because that’s the … Most listeners are really tuning in for this type of thing, when they’re trying to find this type of podcast.

Chase Smith:
Yep.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, exactly.

Chase Smith:
It really gives the host an opportunity to kind of stay in their lane, and, again, just make these shows super-honed-in, and focused on. “Well, hey, the Oscars are coming up; we’re gonna have an Oscar preview show,” or, “Hey, instant reactions about who won, or who got left out of the Oscars; who was snubbed,” or “Hey, let’s talk about the Crew. They just missed the playoffs.” I don’t know. I don’t know anything about soccer [cross talk] when does the season start? I don’t even know. I know they saved the team.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, exactly.

Chase Smith:
Sports, especially, really lends itself to these weekly shows, or seasonal podcasts. Answers some of those questions for the host, right? “Well, hey, who’s my audience?” Well, fans of your team. “How often do I record?” Well, probably after every game. “Is there an off season?” Well, yeah … You know what I mean? Some of these-

Brett Johnson:
You can address every episode differently. Right.

Chase Smith:
-very, very simple. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brett Johnson:
Exactly. Okay, contacting you – what’s the best way, if they have a podcast already, or if they have an idea, now listening to this podcast, going “I gotta get a hold of him. I have this great idea. I know he’s gonna love it!” What’s the best way to contact you?

Chase Smith:
PressPlayPodcasts.com. Another way to set your podcast apart, I know we’re kind of jumping around here … Being part of a network, and having a website, having your picture up there, a little bio. Again, just makes you feel good, and sets you apart.

Brett Johnson:
It’s going to sell you, as well as it being approached. It’s like, “Okay, what have you got already?”

Chase Smith:
Yeah. PressPlayPodcasts.com. You can check out our existing shows, and you can reach out to us there. You can find me on Twitter, @TheChaseSmith. You can follow the network on Twitter, @PressPlayPods, and that’s probably the best way. I love Twitter. I’m on Twitter all the time, so Twitter might be the easiest direct way to my phone, right now.

Brett Johnson:
Cool. Good, good. Well, again, if you’ve got one, or you’re thinking about a podcast, get a hold of Chase. Throw him the idea, at least, and see where it might land, but, I think, again, if you’re a podcaster, and not part of a network, it’s probably something that needs to be on your radar.

Brett Johnson:
Well, thanks for being a guest on “Note to Future Me,” I really appreciate it. This has been really insightful. I’ve not delved into networks and talked about that, so this has been a really fresh topic.

Brett Johnson:
Again, I think, as I mentioned earlier, it’s something independent podcasters need to be really taking a look at. Be prepared. It’s probably a really good road to look at. Choose wisely, but do some investigation into it. Who’s developing up, and entrance strategy, exit strategy, and can it help you get to where you want to be as a podcaster maybe a little bit quicker?

Chase Smith:
Sure. Let me just say one more thing. All of the hosts on our network, they have other full-time jobs, and families. I know that this is a hobby; that maybe you’re looking to be a little more than a hobby, but I never want to put on our hosts this expectation of, “You have to record, or you’re gonna let me down, or let whatever down.”

Chase Smith:
I understand priorities, and I want you to have a healthy balance, too. Part of my job is, yes, to help you take your idea, or to help you help our idea get somewhere. I also want to make sure that you have proper boundaries, and you don’t get burned out in the first month, because you’re all excited, and that your family doesn’t hate you, or hate me because you’re doing this.

Chase Smith:
That’s been a lot of fun on my end, just to kind of help our hosts hear my heart, and that, “Hey, I love what you’re doing. I love this, but here …” I just told [Brent], and Mike, “Find a week the next couple weeks to take off,” because part of our launch strategy, we have all these things to do, and they’ve been at it pretty hard. Helping them understand that I get the grind. I get the challenge of balancing family, and your full-time job, and then this podcast thing that no one in your family understands, and you have to like, “No, it’s a real thing, I promise, I promise.” That’s been a lot of fun, too. Yeah, I’d love to hear from you if you’re interested. Check us out!

Brett Johnson:
Good. Thank you, appreciate it.

Chase Smith:
Brett, thank you so much, man.

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