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Brett Johnson:
Well, before we get into the nuts and bolts of the podcast, as I do with all my guests, I wanna ask both of you nonprofits that you support. Either one of you jump in at any time.

Aaron Jannetti:
There’s two main ones that come to mind for us. One that’s actually in the CrossFit world, specifically, which is of the things that we do is an organization that’s actually called Barbells for Boobs. They essentially raise money to get just mammograms for ladies to be able to keep up on it, and get checked; especially the ones that either can’t afford it, or don’t have the insurance for it, or that. They’ve done amazing things with breast cancer. One of our very good friends, and actually lifts, right now, with Project Lift, Sherri [inaudible] was a survivor of breast cancer. They did a lot for her.

Aaron Jannetti:
I’m a chairman of the board for the Arnold Sports Festival for the CrossFit section, or the functional-fitness section. Last year, we had them out. They did a two-hour routine, did a couple of workouts, had a couple of survivors come out, and talk. We do a lot of fundraising for them. We help support Sherri in that. That’s one of them.

Aaron Jannetti:
Then, the other one that we do annually … it’s not-for-profit, but Nationwide Children’s. Every year, we do a really big toy drive for them around the holidays for Christmas time. We put up a tree in the front; all of our members come in, and bring in things like that. Then we drop them off before the holidays.

Aaron Jannetti:
Those are two of our constants. There’s been plenty we’ve supported over the years; everything from homeless, to dog shelters, to everything, but those are the two that we tend to support constantly.

Drew Dillon:
Yeah, those are our big constant ones. It’s really cool that you bring up the question, because it’s recently just been on my mind; been on my mind about … Actually, I think it was Tony Robbins finally smacked it into me, in just finishing one of his books recently.

Drew Dillon:
I thought it was interesting how he talked about giving, even when you didn’t feel like you had enough to give, and the point of helping you create the feeling of abundance. If you can give 10 percent, even now, with whatever you have … One, you’re gonna feel great about it, but, two, you’re gonna feel that there’s more out there. I really started to look … In addition to the ones that we’ve done over the years, because it always seems like ones pop up. Like, “Oh, here’s this one. You wanna … Yeah, okay, we’ll help.”

Drew Dillon:
One thing, growing up, that really affected me was Boy Scouts. Just recently, I’ve started giving to Boy Scouts of America, just looking … I went, and did a little bit of research, and seen what they were still up to … I just love- I love the beginning of the pledge. “On my honor, I swear I’ll do my best.” You know what I mean?

Drew Dillon:
Again, I think working with individuals in strength and fitness, one of the things, watching kids grow up, if they can just understand … The commitment to do your best, whatever that is, is a great foundation. I just look at growing up … I didn’t make Eagle Scout. I got out of Boy Scouts probably mid-teens right, but, even the time that I was in through, loved the experience I had.

Drew Dillon:
I think it’s still funny is when people go, “Well, what does it really give you?” Here’s one, right out of the gate, is watch someone try to move something, where they have to tie a knot. They have to secure something. They’re like, “It’s just like you can tie your shoes, right? What are you doing?” They’re like, “Well, I don’t I don’t know …” and you come over, and you tie a slipknot, or you tie just a different knot, and they’re, “How’d you know how to do that?” Boy Scouts.

Brett Johnson:
One good take away, that’s for sure, exactly, yeah. I got to thinking, before I hit the record button … I hadn’t put this in my notes, but if I don’t do this right now, I’m gonna catch a lot of hell, if I don’t say a big shout out to Dr. Rich Ulm-

Drew Dillon:
Oh, yeah.

Brett Johnson:
I know he’s gonna listen to this episode, once it’s published, and if I- when I see him next – there’s not even an if – when I see him next, the next time I have problems, he may not even see me, if I don’t- of we don’t say something to him. He is the one that connected us to talk about your podcast. I’ve been seeing him for years, through our kids, as well as my wife, and myself.

Brett Johnson:
Every time I go in, it’s about a podcast of some kind. We’re talking podcasting, or radio, that sorta thing. I appreciate him connecting us, and getting me to know you guys better, about your podcast, as well, too …

Brett Johnson:
Let’s do a little bit of background history between the two of you – where you started, and how you got here today, let’s put it that way, with your professional background, your history, and the two businesses that you own, and how you’re coming together.

Aaron Jannetti:
Yeah. We technically own two different businesses, and yet, in the same regard, we help each other with those businesses, and both of the businesses thrive off each other. We’re both located at one location, which is in Hilliard Ohio..

Aaron Jannetti:
I run Endeavor Defense and Fitness, along with two other business partners. Then, I’ll let Drew talk about Project Lift, a little more, later, but he runs Project Lift. We’re at the same facility. He’s got his own area; we have our own area, but the overlap is phenomenal there..

Aaron Jannetti:
I started … I was introduced to originally Krav Maga – which is a self-defense system – in really early 2008. For me, I was a landscape architecture student at Ohio State, and I found this system at a time where I was out of money. I was paying my way through college. I had to take a quarter off. I wasn’t in the best spot, let’s just put it that way, mentally, psychologically, emotionally, anything there.

Aaron Jannetti:
I found this place; it was a good release. I’d done a little bit of martial arts as a kid. Pretty much just never left, to the point where I helped them open up a second location later on that year. I actually left Ohio State, and started working there full time, and that’s pretty much been it from there.

Aaron Jannetti:
From that path, I was introduced to CrossFit, and then into more of the self-defense side of things, and then, eventually, weightlifting. I met Drew … The first time him and I met was actually at a [USAW] weightlifting certification. He was one of the lifters there that was helping out with the course. We talked, but not outside of, “I’m here to lift weights, and tell you when you suck,” and, “I’m here to try not to suck …” out of that relationship.

Aaron Jannetti:
Eventually, through weightlifting, we ended up back in the same spot. The club he was with started lifting at our facility. Then, when he had an opportunity to open up his own club, he was like, “Hey, would you guys mind if we stayed here?” I was like, “Yes …” During that whole entire time, him and I have just naturally – from a business standpoint, life standpoint – we tend to just gravitate towards each other, challenge each other.

Aaron Jannetti:
We’ve learned a lot from each other. I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now, with my business, if it wasn’t for him, and I would like to think we’ve supported his relatively well. That’s my background; that’s how we, at least, came together. I’ll let him talk about Project Lift, as he knows a lot more about that.

Drew Dillon:
Project Lift, like Aaron said, a separate entity. It’s funny to hear Aaron started back in Krav Maga, around 2008. Around 2008 is when I got into Olympic lifting – weightlifting with the snatch, clean, and jerk competitions around that nature.

Drew Dillon:
At the time, I had graduated from Ohio State, and was getting off the ground, figuring it out. There was a natural draw to weightlifting for me. I found it fun; I found it exciting; I started to have some success in it. It was a really nice … In a way, maybe I could think of it as an escape, at times, from trying to cut my teeth, out in the world of figuring out, “Oh, what do I wanna do?” Whereas, at least I have this something over here, having some success with it.

Drew Dillon:
Like Aaron said, we met each other in a certification, first, but I first remember going, “Oh, man …” Our relationship growing a bit more was … It’s funny that you’d brought up nonprofits … He was doing these once-a-month Friday cookout/workouts to raise money for a nonprofit of that month. It was whatever causes was going on. We were talking, and I’m a huge griller. I was one of the founding members of the Buckeye Barbecue Club at Ohio State, back in the day. Aaron’s not much of a cooker …

Aaron Jannetti:
I can make a mean rib eye [cross talk] that’s about the extent of it.

Drew Dillon:
We were talking about grilling, and he’s like, “Man, I always wish I had somebody help me out with this cookout for these events.” I was like, “Oh, man, I can cook.” I came in to help grill, and watch this event, experience this event. I was like, “Man, this is really cool.” I remember that being a moment, where I was like, “Yeah, this guy’s somebody I’d like to get to know more,” you know what I mean? Our relationship grew out of that. We just started to work more with each other, and it just continued to grow, and grow. Project Lift would definitely not be where it is today, without Aaron, and the support of Endeavor.

Brett Johnson:
Excellent. How did the conversation about a podcast begin? I love the set-up that you two are very complementary to each other, in regards to the businesses, as well as maybe even the outlook on life. You help support each other, and such. The podcast … Let’s talk about how that conversation started.

Aaron Jannetti:
I think it works really well, because not only are we complementary, but we also will absolutely just tear each other apart [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
That’s okay … Exactly.

Aaron Jannetti:
Was it two years ago [cross talk]

Drew Dillon:
We tried a little one. Yeah.

Aaron Jannetti:
We kinda tinkered around with it a while ago. Just through the concept of just content creation, in general … We’ve always done a lot of instructional videos, highlight videos, make sure there’s images … We were just talking about this before we actually started recording, but it’s the age of the internet. If you’re going to be successful with a business, you have to have a presence. You have to accept social media, whether you like it or not, and then, you have to play that. We were making videos … It was just another opportunity to get some content out.

Aaron Jannetti:
The first go round we did with it, to be completely honest, I ordered a small little two-track Behringer off of Amazon, and we had essentially three mics. We used a blue, just the basic blue USB mic. Then we had two headsets.

Aaron Jannetti:
The original premise of it was we were interviewing people that were very, very knowledgeable, and had a lot of wisdom in certain areas, based in central Ohio. That was the shtick was everybody goes off to California, Texas, and all these other places to find powerlifting instruction, or nutrition, stuff like that. It was an opportunity to highlight, like there’s a lot of this information locally. You don’t have to go out of it, and so, to highlight some of those opportunities …

Aaron Jannetti:
We interviewed Sherri, who we were talking about earlier, with Barbells for Boobs. We interviewed Sean Clifton. He’s a Purple Heart recipient. He was shot multiple times, during war, and his bounce back, and recovery into CrossFit. We interviewed a couple on nutrition. We had Joe Lasko, from Westside Barbell.

Aaron Jannetti:
It really was just … We had one or two questions set up for ’em, but it was more just a conversation: who are you? What’s your background? Then, we’d ask a couple questions around it. We tinkered around with that for maybe eight episodes, or something like that. It was very loose, and it was … That kinda died off, more or less because I’m a little bit ADD. I’m all over the place. I don’t know, it was probably September …?

Drew Dillon:
Something like that. I feel like, with the interviews, and even, I think, at times, we were so focused around stuff that related to the business, still, that … I don’t know. I don’t know whether it just got exhausting, or the interview part definitely made it more difficult [cross talk] right outta the gate.

Aaron Jannetti:
That kinda fell off. Again, we have multiple irons in multiple fires, at any point in time, so that fell by the wayside. Then, it was actually how this podcast came about is … It’s kinda twofold.

Aaron Jannetti:
Drew and I, we usually get together, I don’t know, once every four weeks, six weeks, where we would just get a cup of coffee, and just talk. What’s going on with Project Lift? What issues are you running into? He would … What’s going on with Endeavor? What do you got going on? Just talk about family, and everything that goes with that.

Aaron Jannetti:
One of our friends, his name’s Rob Pincus, reached out to me, because he was thinking about starting an internet- essentially a radio station, or network, and he wanted us to host a show. He was actually the one that replanted that seed.

Aaron Jannetti:
We sat down, and the first couple questions were, okay, we tried this once. Is this feasible? If we are going to do it, what kind of a time commitment do we actually have? Then, if we are going to do, what that looked like.

Aaron Jannetti:
It started just morphing into to, idea-wise, what it is now, which is just let’s just talk about all the stuff we normally talk about, which is how are we improving the business? How are we improving in life? What are the issues we’re running into? It can pertain to entrepreneurship. It can pertain to weightlifting. It can pertain to self-defense. It might just pertain to bourbon … Whatever gets there.

Aaron Jannetti:
That’s what jumped off, where we went with it. Eventually, the idea of the radio network died off, but, we were gung-ho, and we were pretty excited about it. I’m one of those dudes that when we’re … If you wanna do something, I just do it [cross talk]

Aaron Jannetti:
I went down to the local music shop, bought a couple of Shure microphones; ordered a better version of the Behringer that holds on more tracks, so we can bring on other people, if we wanted to. Then we just-.

Drew Dillon:

Aaron Jannetti:
Yeah. We just hashed out, and rolled.

Drew Dillon:
I think one thing, in reflection, between the podcast that we originally started with the interviews, and getting going … One, there wasn’t much of that commitment. We were definitely dabbling. With the dabbling, we also, with the interviews, I think, set up a situation that is a bit more challenging, if you’re just dabbling. There’s gotta be stronger commitment there, if you’re gonna be reaching out to people – more of a laid plan.

Drew Dillon:
One thing going into it, too, and I remember talking with Aaron, if we were just gonna talk about weightlifting, I don’t know how long I could go. I think I would get a bit bored.

Drew Dillon:
It’s funny, within the walls of Project Lift, although these athletes …. You typically find ones that are wanting to compete in the sport, that are in a sport, but wanna become better at their sport, utilizing the Olympic lifts to become more explosive, or they find the Olympic lifts intriguing, and just want to learn. They might stick their toe into a competition, and see what it’s like …

Drew Dillon:
For anyone who hasn’t done a snatch, or a clean and jerk, but has golfed, I think that’s a really good connection. Think of the complexities of a golf swing. That is the same complexities put into two different movements. You see athletes spend their whole career competing in this sport …

Drew Dillon:
One thing within those walls, the conversations often come down to just improving at life. What’s our foundation that’s allowing us to train – consistently, healthy … All of these life conversations that Aaron and I will sit down, and have coffee with, or multiple times, are sitting down with clients, and having conversations with, and then, even other key individuals in our businesses.

Drew Dillon:
I think that’s one thing that we’ve done pretty well is whether it’s a partner, or a coach on my side, or a partner, or a coach on his side, we both are watching. I think it’s really funny, when I catch one, and something comes up in a conversation, and I just throw a piece of advice at ’em, or challenge ’em on something. They’re like, “Oh, that’s kinda what Aaron said, but a different way to say it.” It’s like, “Yeah …”

Drew Dillon:
Then, also, texting each other, going, “Hey, man, what’s up with so-and-so? They okay?” Just giving support, and going, “Aww, man, I think they’re going through a hard time.” That’s the thing. I think a lot of people don’t give credit to the foundation to allow yourself to be consistent at whatever you want to do. That’s one thing that’s been really fun about this podcast to talk about.

Aaron Jannetti:
The commitment thing was real big, because we actually sat down, and said if we are going to do this, we have to have a time slot. There’s gotta be … It’s on the calendar; we don’t stir from it. That’s just the way it is. That actually spurred …

Aaron Jannetti:
You talk about putting the studio together, and have a designated space. We did that. We had an area upstairs that we had originally intended to be a child watch for people that were coming in to take classes, and wanted to drop their kids off. For staffing reasons, insurance, and everything else, it just fell through.

Aaron Jannetti:
Then, we had this open spot that we had dropped five grand into, to have the walls built out, and all that. It actually ended up being great, because, like I said, we do a lot of media content, anyway, so, we turned it into a studio/pretty much our media room. All of our cameras are up there. We have a green screen. We have a wall that’s all whiteboards. That allowed us to have that designated space, and people know, once I walk upstairs, and the door’s shut … For us, we do it on Sundays, which the gym’s closed anyway, but it works out really well.

Aaron Jannetti:
I think what’s interesting is Drew and I are both at a spot right now, in the business, where we’re both … Like he would say, we’re working on the business, instead of working in the business as much. Whereas, when I started, I love teaching. I tell people all the time, if it was up to me, I would just teach, but to make a business successful, you’ve gotta step back, and you have to see all the pieces. Plus, I have a phenomenal, phenomenal team of instructors. If I’m taking up, and hogging all the classes, I’m not allowing them the opportunity to grow..

Aaron Jannetti:
A lot of the conversations we have, I’ve realized my role, if I’m gonna make the business more successful, is to make sure that the staff is more successful. All the conversations we’re generally having are the same things that I dealt with, trying to figure out how to become a better instructor; how to become a better husband. Now, I have I have two children, so, how to become a better father; how to become a better business owner.

Aaron Jannetti:
It’s allowing us an opportunity, where I’m going, “Well, instead of making you guys figure this out the way I figured it out, let’s have a couple of conversations.” That’s been really fun, because the way that we do it, to be completely honest, we just … 15 minutes before we go upstairs, it’s like, “What are we talking about today?” It just becomes a conversation, which is really nice, and allows us to go …

Aaron Jannetti:
I think the commitment of the time, and the space is what really brought it all together, but, really, just our background together, and the way that we can just have conversations, I think, is what really allowed us to bring it full swing. If it was if it was two people that didn’t know each other, and we were forcing the conversation, I think it’d be a lot harder.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, I see a lot of the shout-outs in Facebook groups, “I need a co-host to do this, that, or the other,” and it’s like, “No … That’s gonna be a failure.” [cross talk] about five episodes … Isn’t gonna work. Isn’t gonna work at all.

Brett Johnson:
Really, it’s probably very lucky that you had a failed initial attempt with podcasts, because I think a lot of podcasters go into this, like, “Interviews … Oh, interviews. That’s a perfect … There are tons of people I can talk to [cross talk]” and such, but it does become a hassle, because you’re also working with someone else’s schedule to interview them. Granted, yes, there are a lot of people … I think your idea for interview makes a lot of sense, and still could implement that in what you’re doing right now, but not as a total, I think, podcast-

Aaron Jannetti:
Right. That’s all we had. That was … That was the premise of the podcast [cross talk] but you live, and you learn.

Brett Johnson:
Right, exactly. You live and learn. It would work, but at the same time, it wasn’t enough energy for you to keep it going, as well, where now you’re seeing you can walk in 15 minutes before a podcast, and you crank out a half hour [cross talk]

Aaron Jannetti:
We started trying to keep it at 20 or 30, and lately, man, we’ve been going an hour, just because the conversation’s very natural.

Brett Johnson:
Why stop it? Exactly. If you feel that, and you’re getting the feedback from your listeners, you never stop. Do not hit stop … You can always edit later on, but don’t stop it. Exactly. As co-hosts, how do you handle duties, I guess you could say? What’s your part; what’s your part, in regards to putting the podcast together? Is it equal, or …? [cross talk]

Aaron Jannetti:
-you’re looking at me. Right now, for the most part, we’re doing a lot, but it’s … We’re still very minimal. We already have- Drew already has his outlets, and mailing lists, and content followers to Project Lift. We have the same through Endeavor, and what I do..

Aaron Jannetti:
Right now, designated time slots – we both are there; we both record; the equipment’s already up there. Then, really, I’ve already got the templates. Right now, we’re using just GarageBand. We keep it very simple. I’ve got the templates already put together, and it’s pretty much drop …

Aaron Jannetti:
Again, I think it just- the way that we are, and the way that we talk, and even the way we talk with our clients, and things like that, it’s just one take. We allow the screw-ups, and the blurbs that go in here, and let it be a more natural conversation, front to back. The entire editing process, once the soundcheck goes through, and it sounds good through the mics, is pretty much clip, clip, stick it [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
Makes it a whole lot of your session, doesn’t it? It really does … Just allow it to happen; maybe occasional flub here, or there. Everybody has a brain fart, occasionally. You’re just going to, but do you let it in or not? It’s one personality. It happens in real life. Okay, we’ll just let it happen.

Aaron Jannetti:
Yeah, and again, I think that comes … The demographic, and what you’re talking about is gonna matter, but the whole entire thing is about being able to make mistakes, getting better, and all that kinda stuff, so, I think it just fits.

Aaron Jannetti:
The editing process, if we’re being completely honest, for me, is five minutes. That’s me actually looking at it. Once I hit export to an MP3, it’s pretty simple there. I do the edit; I drop it onto the page; do the show notes, which I like listening back to ’em anyway, so, I do the show notes. Then, I’m doing Instagram stuff. We’re not doing a lot.

Aaron Jannetti:
When we start … I know we wanna start doing some mailing lists, and some other things that’ll grow off on it. That’s his territory. That’s where he … He’s better at the trickle campaigns, and understanding sales funnels, and leads, and things like that. I’m content-straightforward guy [cross talk] that goes-

Drew Dillon:
Great at content, though.

Aaron Jannetti:
I’m handling the Instagram, and Facebook stuff right now. He’s gonna start doing the more … You talk about how it’s gonna maybe benefit the business. That’s gonna be more … I’m creating the presence. He’s gonna take care of that.

Brett Johnson:
Let’s dive into that a little bit … You’re at the beginning stages of email, and newsletter, and Yelp marketing, and such. Talk about what’s in your head; what you’re thinking about doing to … As this is a piece of it.

Drew Dillon:
Right now, right outta the gate with Instagram, and the Facebook that Aaron’s been doing, and even with our mailing list around members … Thinking of that, not even in the whole big span of the community around us, or the world – the benefit to the business – I found extremely interesting how many conversations it’s brought up.

Drew Dillon:
Again, these conversations are typical conversations we’re having with athletes and coaches about getting better. Now, it’s this other outlet that’s on their time frame. I don’t have to sit down with them, at the desk, and schedule a meeting with them, or a call with them, and have this conversation. They can listen to it when they want and.

Drew Dillon:
Then, all the sudden, they’re coming in, and bringing it up. From a business standpoint of helping the business, with the members that we have currently, it’s continuing to help them solidify their foundation to be successful at training towards whatever their goal is. That’s been instrumental.

Aaron Jannetti:
That’s on both sides. That’s …

Brett Johnson:

Drew Dillon:
Yeah, that’s been … It’s interesting, because going into it, that wasn’t necessarily my thought. My thought was a new audience; finding new people, and that. Right outta the gate, in these first … What are we? 11-12 episode live?

Aaron Jannetti:
Yeah … Today we just released 11.

Drew Dillon:
That’s out there, just the feedback from the members, and the audience we already have … Yu can feel it strengthening it. It was like, okay, that … I didn’t expect that. That’s really neat.

Drew Dillon:
Looking forward, or continuing, We played with the idea of a book club. Looking at what we’re talking about, I’m an avid reader. Aaron’s an avid reader. The more we just continued digging into that, that was our first … “Hey, okay, well, let’s see if we can’t create a group – an audience – around ‘Hey, I’d like the habit of reading more,'” and giving them something that could cause- could put a little skin in the game on holding to that habit. We’ll curate the books; we’ll curate the conversation, and put something together. We’re still with that.

Drew Dillon:
Even looking at our list, outside of what we currently have, like members currently in our facilities … Starting to get them more opportunities; get that out there. What I’ve been playing with, at the very beginning, is I’ll write a bit; if you’re familiar with Seth Godin, and his short style … It’s almost like a thought.

Drew Dillon:
What I’ve been really playing with, recently, in the last few months, with the podcast, is one member asked me the other day, he goes, “When you write those little blurbs, who are you writing to?” The secret is I’m writing to myself … I’m not thinking of somebody else, actually; I’m typically thinking of me. When you have this problem, or when you have this challenge, or you’ve been struggling with this thought … I’m calling myself out.

Drew Dillon:
I think it’s really interesting how many people have related to the language towards myself, but it’s not towards anybody else. Continuing to do that around that the subject matter of the podcast, and then letting that be the tie in of, “You wanna take that deeper? Here’s something you can listen to.” That’s been the seeds I’ve been playing with right now, looking at how we’re gonna continue to trickle, and pull and maybe some other mediums, as well, that could work.

Brett Johnson:
Right. To me, it looks as though, and sounds as though the podcast, itself, is just an extension – as podcasts are – an extension of yourselves. You’re already doing this in your facilities. You’re talking to these folks; they’re giving you feedback. They’re willing to even download an episode, while they’re working out, possibly, to get pumped up. At least, they’re the weaknesses, that day, you helped fill a hole for them. It’s like, “Wow, he hit the spot that day. That’s what I needed.”

Aaron Jannetti:
We’ve had a lot of those conversations. The one that cracks me up all the time is we’ll have people that’ll come in, and they’ll be, “Yeah, I listen to your podcast. It’s actually good.” You look at ’em, and go, “Wow, thanks. I appreciate that your original thought was that this is gonna be terrible.”

Brett Johnson:
Right. Exactly.

Aaron Jannetti:
“I’m glad you took the leap …” I think one of the things that’s really important to us … Yes, we talk about this all the time, but, yes, we’re a business. We have to make money. That’s the way it is, but, we wanna do that through bringing you value. We want to [inaudible] actual trade off. I think one of the things that’s super-important for us to understand, and I’ve looked at this a lot more over the last maybe four or five years, is that long game.

Aaron Jannetti:
We talked about this on one of the most recent episodes, but the concept of a reputation. What’s the reputation of the business? You don’t build that reputation in one year, or two years, or, honestly, even three, like a true-true-true reputation. What we’ve started figuring out is the last two years that we’ve been open, especially at Endeavor, and I know it’s happening with Project Lift, because I even hear the conversations, but, we’re getting a lot of, “Hey, I’ve heard about you,” or, “Hey, I heard this about you,” or, “Hey, I’m not happy with what’s going on with the situation I have now, and for years, I’ve heard that this is the way you guys do things.”

Aaron Jannetti:
To me, with having the podcast out there, and having it related [inaudible] is now, when they’re listening to that, they’re going, “Oh, wow. These guys …” First off, I know exactly what I’m getting into. If I walk into this place, this is not just the technical aspects of it, and things like that, but I know the mentorship, the leadership, the community that’s coming out of this isn’t superficial, and I think that’s important, in and of itself.

Aaron Jannetti:
They can also look at it, and go, like, “Wow, I’m gonna go to this facility, and I’m not just getting physical fitness.” The reality of it is we’ve talked about this before, but, to be physically fit, you really just have to be consistent. Yes, there’s better and worse, but anybody can coach relatively well from a technical aspect.

Aaron Jannetti:
The difference is how are you building relationships with the athletes? How are you adjusting to not just their physical issues? We were talking about chiropractors, and tweaks … What’s your mood today? You should adjust your program, and the way you approach a class, and the way you approach recovery, and rest not just based off of the physical aspects, and the physiological, but the psychological. Where’s your emotional state?

Aaron Jannetti:
You might need two … CrossFit’s real big on times. You’re looking to hit faster lifts, and hit more weight, and do things faster. People get bogged down by that. It’s a really, really good way to motivate people, and to push people, but they forget that, realistically, sometimes, it doesn’t matter.

Aaron Jannetti:
Some people need psychological … You might be perfectly fine, physically, but you’re breaking down because of these things … You need to lay off for a week or two, and take half the weight off the bar, or do half the reps; just do it for fun. Remember, this is a fun-type thing. I think they start realizing that that’s the difference between …

Aaron Jannetti:
In our opinion, that’s a difference between a good gym, and a great gym, or a good community, and a great community is that it’s not … Anybody can show you how to do a clean and jerk relatively well. I say anybody with air quotes. The difference is what’s the longevity – physically, emotionally, psychologically? How do I feel about the tribe that I’m surrounded with?

Aaron Jannetti:
I think the podcast is allowing that more and more. People are stunned to realize it’s … This is a completely different experience that I’m about to walk into than what I perceived from watching 10 YouTube videos of people killing themselves, doing a snatch, or something along those lines.

Aaron Jannetti:
I’ve I found that interesting, over the last 11 weeks, where I’m getting conversations through my other templates; people that are coming in for outside seminars. I travel a lot, and I do security consultations, and community events around the concept of surviving an active-killer situation, which is … It’s a terrible, and depressing thing to have to run around, and talk about, but I’m getting contacts through that, that are going, “Oh, man, I caught two or three episodes of your podcast, and it’s amazing to hear you talk about these things, and the way you looked at it.” It just changes. It helps build, again, that that reputation.

Aaron Jannetti:
I think, because we don’t put a huge weight of planning, and a huge weight of following a certain structure, and we allow things to just go whatever’s said, I think it allows that to … People start realizing it is actually genuine; we’re not reading off of a list of stuff. These are just legitimate conversations.

Aaron Jannetti:
If you’re looking at Endeavor, or you’re looking at Project Lift – between all of the video content, we have the instructional material, we have the newsletters we put out, the articles that we write, and the podcast – you pretty much know exactly what you’re getting before you ever had to walk through the door, if you wanted to take the time to actually research it. That’s been a secondary benefit, which I think has been a really important one, because the conversations have been great inside the gym, but we’ve also- I’ve also gotten a lot of conversations from outside the gym.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, I can see where your podcast is that soft touch, and it allows them to be- you to be in their head, with their earbuds, at the time that they need your information, and such … I think a lot of businesses, and I’ve had consultations with businesses taking a look at what a podcast can, or can’t do. They’re looking at it as a quick fix, very quickly, and it’s not.

Aaron Jannetti:

Brett Johnson:
This is not a strong call-to-action type of medium, but over time, you’ll win your listener over, because they need to learn you, as you go along. With exactly the tactic you’re looking at … Let’s just go in, and brainstorm 15 minutes, before we come on, but we know where we’re going with it. Really, it just comes down to what’s the topic this time, and do what we do outside of these four walls, anyway, and just bring it into the mic, and have fun.

Brett Johnson:
I think both of you coming together, listening to the episodes I have of yours, you’re well-matched. You play off each other great. I think that’s key to it, as well, too. Having a co-host is great, because I’ve done solo. I’m not great at solo; I’d rather do co-host, but you’ve got to find the right person to sit with you to do that. Match up schedule, as well as you don’t want them to be necessarily a nodder, and say, “Yeah, I agree. I agree.” No, you gotta add a little bit – a different life perspective, and such, too. Exactly..

Brett Johnson:
I wanna go back to that- the book club idea, which I love. I love the idea, and I think it’s probably a little bit of why you went with Podbean, which is your platform you’re using to support the podcast, or to disseminate, and such. How did that come about, initially? Was that right outta the shoot, “We’re gonna do a book club. This makes sense. Let’s go with the platform,” or did it evolve into it?

Aaron Jannetti:
That was pretty much his idea.

Drew Dillon:

Brett Johnson:
I love it.

Drew Dillon:
I think it was at the beginning of … What’s something that relates that could add value, and let’s try an idea – is there interest out there? With that goal … I think it’s funny, too, at the time, a friend of ours, James Clear, had just released a book called Atomic Habits. I had just read that book; I know Aaron had just read that book, and just looking at-.

Aaron Jannetti:
Just to clarify, I listened-

Drew Dillon:
He listened to that [cross talk] That’s true. The thing that was really just on our minds in the moment was looking at who we’re helping. How can we provide some value around helping them start that habit? If you’d like to read more, if that’s a goal of yours, then become part of this, and we can take you down that. Then, it was just a test; let’s toss it out there, see if there’s interest, and continue morphing off that.

Brett Johnson:
I think you’re dealing with the same type of audience that, if you’re willing to invest 30, 40, 50, an hour of their time with you, they probably are willing to spend that time with a book, too.

Yeah, and the one thing is, books … I know for a fact that books have completely changed the way I’ve approached business, life, relationships, and everything. Again, not every book is great, but we’ve … Between the two of us, we have a stable of books that I know that I can always go back to. I want to read through them again, and again, and again.

Aaron Jannetti:
One of the ones that always pops up for me is just Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I usually listen to that at least once a year. It was such an impact on my life, and I know for a fact, it’s been …

Aaron Jannetti:
Books, and reading have been an impact on his life, so, I think it was a natural progression, anyway, because honestly, half of our episodes, we’re always going, “We picked this up from this area, and this is who we got this from, and this is the book that we read.”.

Aaron Jannetti:
What essentially we ended up doing was if we’re going to one book a month, what do we think are the 12 most important books to get people along the way. Then, it’s that journey, and track. The beautiful part of it, is it’s really just turnkey for the listener, because it’s … They pay 30 bucks a month, we ship the book directly to their house, and then, they have access to the episode, where we essentially put out an exclusive episode that only they get access to. It just breaks down what we took away from the book; not saying it’s right, or wrong. It was just like what are the lessons that we picked up? How did it help us?

Aaron Jannetti:
It’s also like a, for lack of a better term, a guide to navigate in the book: what are the things you should be looking for, and paying attention to? The one thing we tell them is, “You listen to this podcast, read the book, and then come back, and be like, “What did we miss?” because there’s probably stuff that we missed; call us out on it.

Aaron Jannetti:
It allows not just the opportunity for them to get value, and not just an opportunity for them to learn, but we really want engagement. We don’t want to just get on there, and be talking out, and everybody’d be like, “Oh, yeah, you guys are doing a great job.” We want- what are your stories? You’ve challenged something we said. It’s the only way that any of us learn.

Aaron Jannetti:
It’s another opportunity for us to engage with them, as opposed to it just being a one-sided conversation, where they’re just a fly on the wall, listening to Drew and I talk about our issues. We’d rather them be like, “Hey, have you guys ever thought about this?” or, “Hey, this is my story that related to that.” Again, it just allows us a little more personal opportunity to do that.

Brett Johnson:
You have one of the more unusual names for podcasts. I do wanna … Obviously you can pick it up on the intro episode [cross talk] … We can go back to the intro episode, and you can understand exactly where he came from, but I wanna introduce that here, as well, too, in this podcast of talking about the title of your podcast. I’m not just gonna skirt by it. I think it’s important because … I didn’t bring it up initially, because I wanted the listener to hear where you’re going with this podcast, and now bring it back home, going, “This is why we named it this way.” Talk about that.

Aaron Jannetti:
I’ll let you start that one off.

Drew Dillon:
When we first thought of names, it was a conversation at Stauf’s. We were sitting there having a coffee. My goodness, I think I had just finished Seth Godin’s marketing seminar; fantastic marketing seminar. Looking at a name that is unique, that, one, doesn’t really have a bucket in the mind.

Brett Johnson:
It’s almost code.

Drew Dillon:
Yeah, it’s-.

Brett Johnson:
If you know it, you know us sorta thing, almost … Yeah.

Aaron Jannetti:
Pretty much.

Drew Dillon:
It’s something that we can relate to; something we can own. Then, looking at, okay, what’s this about? Our definition, our boiled-down, is “A little better each day.” When you look at Kamiwaza as a name, and you look at the Japanese translation of godlike technique … Okay, the godlike technique, to us, is improvements every day. It’s not perfection, but it’s the pursuit of getting better each day.

Aaron Jannetti:
Don’t get me wrong … Just like anybody else, we went through [cross talk]

Drew Dillon:
We had a few.

Aaron Jannetti:
-a stage of names.

Brett Johnson:
I bet. Sure.

Aaron Jannetti:
We were holding it, too, like he’s talking about, out of that marketing seminar with Seth Godin … The little pieces of it, like does it pique interest? Is it something that, when you Google it, where does it stand. Is it gonna get flooded with 50 other things that you’re gonna be battling against? Then, also, does it essentially, in the end of the world, embrace whatever it was?

Aaron Jannetti:
We came up with a couple that we were playing with, and just like everybody else … I’m pretty sure anytime, anybody names anything, they at least go back to Greek history, or Latin, in some form. We went through the Gordian Knot, and plays off of that, and some other things. It was interesting, because Seth Godin is a guy that that him and I both follow very well, and anybody smart that I follow, I have to admit, Drew has turned me onto them, in some form.

Aaron Jannetti:
He talks about Kamiwaza in several of his conversations, and videos, and several of his books. I remember that sticking out, and I think that we went down there, and then we did our history, or background check on it. It doesn’t pop up. There’s a video game from Sony from regular PlayStation, whatever. It wasn’t successful but … It fit.

Aaron Jannetti:
Then, the more, and more, and more you look at it, it really does … The way that we look at everything is this in-depth “I wanna learn more, I wanna learn more; I wanna get better, I wanna get better.” If I’m gonna do anything, I wanna be really good at it.

Brett Johnson:
Perfect. Well, again, that’s why I left it til last, because I think what you said before lines up. It’s like, “Oh, now I get it. Now I understand why it’s called that …”

Aaron Jannetti:
It’s also fun to have to say … The very first thing out of your mouth. I’m pretty sure I screwed it up on half the episodes.

Drew Dillon:
You actually self-corrected yourself in this last recording [cross talk] I think you said it right.

Aaron Jannetti:
-wait a minute. Is that right? Yeah, it’s Kamiwaza [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
Let’s talk about future plans for the podcast. As you mentioned, you’re a dozen or so in, but that shouldn’t stop you from thinking of what you’re gonna do with number 100, that sorta thing. What are you thinking about?

Aaron Jannetti:
We’re staying two ahead, at the moment. We released 11 this morning, but we recorded 13 last night. We’re two ahead, and I would love to … I think we can both agree, we’d love to stay at least two ahead, if not more. Him and I do travel sometimes, and we get out, so there’s one or two bumps in the road that are gonna come up, and we wanna make sure we stay ahead of that.

Aaron Jannetti:
I think the deeper we get into this … I think every time you get into a new project, you have to envision number 100, but the further, and further we get into it, I can see number 100 … We never run out of topics. Every week that we come in, and we say we want to talk about this one thing, but we have four others we wanted to talk to …

Aaron Jannetti:
I already have- I have a list of topics that I think is almost 23 long, and that’s just starting. Then, the more conversations we have with instructors, and everything like that, they’re asking questions. I’ll go, “Well, that’s an episode in itself.” We’ve, in the middle of episodes, been like, “We could go down this road, but that’s an episode in itself.” We’ve got … I don’t see the end of it coming any time soon.

Aaron Jannetti:
It plays off of what the podcast is, because it’s continually improving. Heck, number 100 could be a review of episode number one, where we’ve changed our mind on five of the things we’ve done, or we’ve done something differently …

Aaron Jannetti:
In the long run, I don’t think we’ve talked about completely long-term, like exactly what that looks like, but I would imagine it … Us just keep chipping away, and chiming, long as there aren’t … We stay ahead, and we’re both in the same location, it’s relatively easy there. Maybe there’s a five-week break here, and then a review of some other ones; maybe it changes down the road, and we’re doing reviews of books, and other things that go …

Aaron Jannetti:
As far as that goes, I see 100. I see 200. I love Andy [Frisella], but, if he can make it to whatever, like 210, I feel like we can. .

Drew Dillon:
I just see continuing to grow an audience. Where our first thought was a new audience, and how the first 12 has really helped galvanize the audience that we currently have … Continuing to just get better at finding the new audience; getting in front of the new audience.

Drew Dillon:
I mentioned my buddy, James Clear before. One thing that I keep in mind – I think it’ll help everybody listening – is James’ book, “Atomic Habits,” hit the New York bestsellers list. It’s his first book. You think like, “Man, all right. Knocked it out of the park on his first one,” [cross talk] Right?

Drew Dillon:
The thing is, he’s been writing to an audience since 2011, I believe; 2011/2012. Now, when he started, before that, he’s told me, “Oh, you know, I was actually writing a journal. I just got up the nerve to actually put it out there.” He’s writing, and he’s writing, and all he did was make a goal of consistency. He goes, “I’ll publish on Monday, and Thursday, every week, and I won’t miss.”

Drew Dillon:
He’s doing that, and he’s doing that, and he’s doing that, and nothing’s happening, nothing’s happening, nothing’s happening. It got to the point where he was kinda like, “Man, am I just wasting my time?” He said about eight months in, he goes boom … First one just went viral.

Drew Dillon:
At that point, and then on, I know he’s really built up a good network of internet entrepreneurs, so he gets to see some of the behind-the-scenes of how are people’s audiences growing, and whatnot. Within his networks. he realized he had one of the fastest-growing lists, in the sense of he grew to a quarter-million people following him within 14 months … Unheard of.

Drew Dillon:
In our discussion over coffee, as he’s telling me, he goes, “Within the first eight months of nothing happening, what it taught me was, one, I’m the worst … We’re the worst judges of our own work. What I thought was great biffed, and what I thought wasn’t very good, took off … The other thing, too, looking at the eight months of me just shipping, I got better. When I first started, I wasn’t that great of a writer. You might not … You’re not a horrible writer. I was decent, I guess, but eight months in, I was a lot better than day one.”

Drew Dillon:
His message, and we talk about consistency a lot, and looking at this podcast, is letting ourselves keep doing that. Holding on to the consistency, because by episode 50, episode 100, we’re gonna be a lot better than we were at episode one.

Aaron Jannetti:
We already are … Even just in the basics of it, like understanding how to adjust the freakin’ sound levels; what mics [cross talk] edited?

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Even having a conversation with yourselves, on mic, it totally changes it, once you have a mic in front of you, rather than a cup of coffee, because you you’re recording.

Aaron Jannetti:
Oh, yeah.

Brett Johnson:
Without stepping on each other, without allowing the other person to finish their thought, but still hold your thought in your head, it’s practice.

Aaron Jannetti:
Oh yeah [cross talk] You can tell that. I think we were two episodes in … I can’t remember; it was two or three that we had released, and I literally sent him a text; I was like, “Dude, I talked for 20 straight minutes, and you didn’t get a word in …” You build that awareness, and you understand that give and take. It’s just- it’s reps. It’s reps and practice on everything. 50 in, we’ll be that much better, and 100 in, we’ll be that much better.

Drew Dillon:
I’m extremely confident in the subject matter. It can help that foundation … I find it really fun, because a lot of our conversations, I walk away thinking of something that we were talking about in a different way.

Drew Dillon:
That’s, I think, the other interesting thing is we’re talking about helping people build their foundation. When you’re on a podcast, or when you’re writing, at what point does someone give you that expert status, where it’s like, “Oh, well, they’re the subject-matter expert, because they’re talking into a mic about it”?

Drew Dillon:
How often that stops us from getting in front of a mic, but then, also realizing that through this process, there’s been a-has, and growth between us, of just going, like, “That went a route that I don’t think I’d thought about before.” It’s growing ourselves, as well as hoping that the audience can take those lessons, and run with them, too, and just continuing to grow that community.

Aaron Jannetti:
Last night was a prime example of it. We went in … Last night’s topic for episode 13 was sum cost. In my mind, again, the 15 minutes before we went up there, I had a completely different idea of how this episode was gonna go. We went five different ways, and where I’m going, that’s not how I looked at sum cost. Holy crap, it’s a completely different view. It now allows me to open up a pathway to see other things in a different light. It literally just was us hashing things out. He sees it different, I see it different, and we’re able to actually talk back and forth about that.

Aaron Jannetti:
I know for a fact, I’ve learned over these 13 episodes, so it’s … Yeah.

Brett Johnson:
You’ve gotten very lucky that you had your listening audience, your clients now, initially, give you feedback immediately.

Aaron Jannetti:
Oh, yeah.

Brett Johnson:
You’re connecting with them. That’s huge. Everyone that podcasts wants that, “Is somebody listening to this?” You can look at the download numbers; you can see that, yeah, I do see people are “listening,” but the feedback is never usually there for a while. You got it pretty quickly, which is great.

Aaron Jannetti:
That’s the thing that I that I think is interesting, too, because we see them face to face. Most of these conversations are taken face to face … They’re not leaving a comment, or writing a message. It’s when we see you face to face, we’re gonna have this conversation. That makes me think, too, how many people have thought the same exact thoughts, but they just aren’t gonna take the time to write it down; but they’re not gonna see us face to face; they’re not gonna have that conversation. If we didn’t have that immediate feedback, face to face, I’m pretty sure half of the conversations we had, nobody would have ever written it on the board, would’ve never sent it through a message.

Aaron Jannetti:
That’s an interesting point that I hadn’t even really thought about, until you brought it up, where we are in that position, where people can go, “Hey, I listened to your podcast last night.” If they don’t say anything, I can call ’em out, and be like, “What’d you think?” [cross talk] look ’em in the eyes. “Really? Because you’ve been here for two years, and I know for a fact you needed that episode.”

Brett Johnson:
Without calling you out in the podcast …

Aaron Jannetti:
“I was literally thinking about you while talking about this …”

Brett Johnson:
If you play it backwards, we’ll say your name five times, right? Advice for a business owner walking into this idea of a podcast, especially in your industry. What’s some advice you would give them?

Aaron Jannetti:
First thing I would say is just do it.

Drew Dillon:

Aaron Jannetti:
Really, that’s the big thing. Again, to pull one from Seth Godin; in one of his books, he talks about set a deadline, and no matter what happens at the deadline, you send it; no matter how good it is, because we’re pretty much our own worst enemies. That’s a big one.

Aaron Jannetti:
Not to, again, just throw books out there, but, “The War of Art” is a fantastic book by Steven Pressfield. It’s that. If you’ve thought for two seconds that you might enjoy the platform, or the medium of going over the mic, then just do it.

Aaron Jannetti:
Don’t try to make it perfect. You don’t need to spend five grand to set up a studio. Just sit down, and start talking. Then, you’ll get good at that. You’ll start getting good at the talking part … You might. You might find out it’s not a good mix. You can always upgrade your mic. You can always upgrade your facility, and you can always get better at it. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Just do it, and see what happens.

Aaron Jannetti:
I think that’s a big lesson that … That applies to everything, but as far as talking to people directly about possibly doing podcasting, just do it. If it does awesome after six months, great. If you find yourself more tired by the idea, and you’re not fueled by it, then, hey, at least you gave it a shot, but you have to give it a shot, and get it out there before you can ever make that decision.

Drew Dillon:
Yeah, and I think a lot of times, even when you do start, and create, it’s six months down the line, if you’re like, “Okay, this isn’t the thing,” I think what you’ve created will still add value, if you keep it on the website … A new client come in, and you look, and go, “Oh, man, okay, over the course of six months, I did 30 episodes, and honestly, I feel these five really could be valuable for someone new,” when they sign up, send those five to ’em, like, “Hey, other members have found these valuable. You’re welcome to listen.” The only thing that could be happening there is you’re galvanizing that relationship of media that you’ve already created.

Brett Johnson:
All right. What’s the best place to find Kamiwaza?

Aaron Jannetti:
The web page, which is going to direct you pretty much directly to our Podbean site, but is Kamiwaza.co … KMI … KA … See, I’m screwing it up again. K-A-M-I-W-A-Z-A dot co. {kamiwaza.co). The podcast is on all your major outlets. It’s on Spotify; it’s on iTunes; it’s on Google; it’s on Podbean; it’s on Stitcher. You can find it all there.

Brett Johnson:
If they’re not going to either of your places, how can they reach you to give you a comment about, “Hey, this really touched me. Could you cover this?” What’s a good way of getting a hold of you?

Aaron Jannetti:
Yeah, for sure. On the Podbean site … I’m pretty sure it pushes off to everything else, but we do have all of our contact information. Stuff for Endeavor’s on there; stuff for Project Lift is on there. You can always find me at … Well, pretty much online, JannettiAaron, pretty much on everything – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. It’s the same exact ID there. Aaron@EndeavorDCF.com is the email, if they wanna reach out to us directly, or reach out to me directly. They can also get a hold of the podcast directly at Kamiwazapodcast@gmail. That’s a really easy way. Then Project Lift, as far as that goes?

Drew Dillon:
Yeah, we’ve got Project Lift. You can find … Unfortunately, on Instagram, and whatnot, it’s a weird spelling; I think we had to leave out [cross talk] something, we had to leave out a letter-

Aaron Jannetti:
It’s the E. It’s like, P-R-O-J-C-T, or something like that-

Drew Dillon:
It’s sad that I’m literally going, “I’m not sure which letter it is,” because when I write it down, I pull out my phone, and look. I’m like, “Okay which one is it?” [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
It’s like your phone number – why do you have your phone number in your phone? You don’t call yourself.

Drew Dillon:
Me, personally, drewdillon, all one word, on all the major outlets. I’ve been able to grab … Dillon is spelt with only one “I.” D-I-L-L-O-N. A lot of people like to add an extra I, and then, like, “I can’t find. What’s wrong?” I’m like, “It’s one “I”.”

Aaron Jannetti:
They add letters to yours; they take letters off of mine. Yours, just to let you know-

Drew Dillon:
Thank you.

Aaron Jannetti:
-is missing the E, and has an underscore. It’s P-R-O-J-C-T underscore Lift. (Projct_Lift). You’re welcome.

Drew Dillon:
Thank you. That works.

Brett Johnson:
I’ll have all those connections in the podcast show notes, too. I always like to give a verbal shout out, for the sake of … So it gets in your head twice, when you look around. Good.

Brett Johnson:
I appreciate you guys coming in to talk about this podcast. I, again, thank Dr. Richard Ulm, at Columbus Chiropractic, for putting us together, too-

Aaron Jannetti:
We have all of his acronyms right after his name …

Drew Dillon:
Who? The Alphabet?

Brett Johnson:
The Alphabet … He’s Doctor Google [cross talk] No, I appreciate him connecting us, and I’ll tell him a big thank you, next time I see him, which I’m sure will be soon. I might get injured doing something stupid. Anyway, good luck with the podcast. I know we’ll connect up, again-

Aaron Jannetti:
Appreciate it. Thank you.

Brett Johnson:
-but, great interview, and I appreciate your insights on what you guys are doing with this … Actually a lot more in-depth than I was expecting. Again, you never know until you go through the interview. Like wow, yeah …

Brett Johnson:
Not that I don’t expect people to put thought into the podcast. It’s always interesting to see what thought was put into the podcast, because it’s sometimes not that evident, listening. You don’t know until you see a rhythm, until you see years [cross talk] what’s going on with it. It’s interesting that you have that deep of thought about this podcast, so early in, which I think will get you to episode 100, 150, 200 [cross talk]

Aaron Jannetti:
We’ll have to come back at episode 100.

Brett Johnson:
That’s gonna be on my calendar. I’m gonna keep a look at it [cross talk] That’s another conversation I’m getting there.

Aaron Jannetti:
Yeah, all truth.

Brett Johnson:
It is, honestly. really is. It really is. Well, again, thanks. I appreciate it.

Aaron Jannetti:
Thanks for having us [

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In this episode I interview Drew Dillon, co-owner Project Lift, and Aaron Jannetti, co-owner Endeavor Defense & Fitness about their joint effort Kamiwaza Podcast.

So how to do two people who own two different businesses come together and produce a podcast that benefits both businesses? Listen to find out!


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

Networking Rx

In this episode, I interview Frank Agin, Founder and President of AmSpirit Business Connections, and host of the podcast Networking Rx.  Frank is putting in an extraordinary amount of time networking with his podcast. And his podcast has the unique flavor that it is designed to help him expand his AmSpirit Business franchise base.  

Not only does he produce a podcast that provides insight on networking, but it builds his branding for AmSpirit. He’s just a few months in, but he already knows this podcast will do what he set out for it to do.

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

Networking Rx (transcribed by Sonix)

Brett Johnson: As I do with every episode with Note to Future Me, I love to ask what nonprofit you’re supporting, or give time, talent, and treasure to?

Frank Agin: I don’t necessarily have one in particular that I give time to. About four years ago, I sat down … You’ll learn, as we talk more, I’m into networking. There’s lots of small businesses that I help to connect one another. I knew of a series of smaller not-for-profits, and I said, “What if I brought them together? What if I brought them together, and allowed them to learn about each other?”

Frank Agin: I told everyone who’s ever been there, who comes, I said, “You know what? I know what everyone’s number-one issue is – it’s money. None of you are gonna give up your money for the next guy, but let’s talk about all the other issues that you have. Let’s just put money aside. Let’s talk about all the other issues.” There are a ton of issues that are out there.

Frank Agin: This is called the Charitable Roundtable. We meet once a month, the second Friday of every month. I invite in any small not-for-profit. I invite small business people who wanna come in, and just learn about what’s going on out there. Volunteer, or whatever they can do to try and help that small not-for-profit community.

Frank Agin: That’s kinda my give to the charitable world. It’s something that I continue to try, and invest time, and a little bit of money every month … Putting a website up, and putting Facebook ads out there, just to attract other people.

Brett Johnson: I’ll put up a link in the show notes about it [cross talk]

Frank Agin: Okay, great.

Brett Johnson: -listening have an interest in it, sure, get a hold of you.

Frank Agin: Yeah, thank you.

Brett Johnson: Sounds good. Let’s talk about your professional background, and history, before we get into your podcast.

Frank Agin: Professional background: I moved to Columbus in 1984 to go to law school. I had no idea where Ohio State was. I had to ask some questions. Anyhow, I came here to go to law school. I got a law degree, and I got an MBA from Ohio State. Finished up there in 1988.

Frank Agin: From there, I started in a really big firm. I was with a public accounting firm; I was a tax consultant. I tell people I hated every minute of it, except for the 26 days a year I got paid. It was a good place to work, but the type of work wasn’t really for me.

Frank Agin: After about six-and-a-half years, I decided to leave, and go into private practice. I tell people a funny thing happened to me, when I went into private practice, and the funny thing was that nothing happened. I started my career with a really large firm, and that really large firm just gives you work. When you’re in small business, you gotta go, and hunt it yourself, and I had no idea how to do that.

Frank Agin: Through a series of introductions, I was introduced to a concept … A concept of an organization was based out of Pittsburgh. They brought together entrepreneurs, sales reps, and professionals into a weekly meeting setting, where the people learned about each other, and they exchange referrals. Thought it was neat. Didn’t think twice about it. I joined. Did very well through it; got lots of referrals; could help lots of businesses. Make a long story short, at one point, I had an opportunity … I bought it. That was back- dating back to 2004.

Frank Agin: I don’t practice law anymore, and I’ve just pretty much … The name of the organization is AmSpirit Business Connections. ‘Am’ is short for American spirit. That’s what I do. I spend my days working with small businesses, certainly here in Columbus, but I have a series of franchisees growing throughout the country, as well.

Brett Johnson: Why a podcast?

Frank Agin: About a year ago, the notion was put on my radar. I’ve written a number of books. I think I’ve written 10 different books on professional networking. I do a lot of speaking – professional, and public speaking – on networking; written a lot of articles. Somebody said, “Hey, you oughta think about a podcast. This is another way to get content out there.” I, right away, dismissed it as , “Okay …” I don’t understand it. There’s so many moving parts to this. I’m so busy.

Frank Agin: Then, over the summer, I was working with a gentleman, and he was … As I try, and franchise this, he was trying to get me to do what they term a ‘sales funnel.’ “Hey, listen in, and if you … Next week, we’ll talk about this.” Just continually pulling people along, and teasing, and teasing, and teasing.

Frank Agin: We were taping that, and one of the episodes, or one of the segments didn’t tape well, and we needed to retape it. He wanted me to just do it on my computer, and send it to him. I thought about it overnight, and it just didn’t feel right. I called him the next day. I said. “You know what? I don’t wanna do this. It just doesn’t feel right. It feels like a cheap sales ploy,” is what it felt like.

Frank Agin: I said, “What I really would like to do is I have so many thoughts and ideas on professional networking; things that I could share to help people become more successful.” He says, “Well, what you’re talking about’s a podcast.” Well, I guess I am. I said, “Give me a month.” I was coming up on vacation, and it’s a busy time. “Give me a month, and I’ll put together an outline.”

Frank Agin: I did, and came back to him with it. I said this is what I sorta wanna do. He really didn’t offer a whole lot of help, with respect to the nuts and bolts. I was very fortunate, because this was happening over the summertime. My daughter, who’s a communication major at Denison University, was interning with me. I just asked her. I said, “Hey, Logan, could you get me a checklist of all the things we need to do to put a podcast together?” She did, and we just started picking through things one at a time, one at a time, one at a time.

Frank Agin: The hardest thing is just coming up with content; not the hardest thing … I got plenty of content, but it’s just deciding what order do I talk about it all-

Brett Johnson: The strategy [cross talk] the content.

Frank Agin: Yeah …

Brett Johnson: Exactly, and that’s a good problem to have, though.

Frank Agin: Oh, it is.

Brett Johnson: The reverse is horrible – not to have anything to talk about, but you need to have a podcast.

Frank Agin: Well, I’m sure there are lots of people out there, get started in podcasting, and get to episode nine, and they’re, “Well, I really have nothing else to say.”

Brett Johnson: Right.

Frank Agin: For me, it’s I want to limit myself to … I could do it every day, but that’s not the business. It’s just- it supports the business, so I kinda have to stop myself, week to week.

Brett Johnson: Right. What factors were discussed in measuring the success, or failure of the podcast, as you began?

Frank Agin: I decided, when I was gonna- when I started … I know some really connected people out there, and my initial thought was I’m going to go to them, and get them on my podcast, because then that’ll get me an audience right away. I thought about it. It’s like, you know what? I bet everybody does that. “Hey, I’m gonna have a podcast. I’m gonna get Person X on, and that’ll change my world.”

I said, “No, I’m not gonna do that.” I’m gonna come to them with 100 episodes under my belt, and I’m gonna come to them, and say, “You know what? I have a podcast. I’ve been doing a podcast. I’ve been doing 100 episodes, or 99; I want you to be number 100.” To me, that seemed to be more genuine.

Frank Agin: I do measure. I do look at the number of downloads, month to month, and see what’s being downloaded, and what’s working, and what’s not working, but I try not to put too much into that, because if you have a bad month – the downloads aren’t going up, or you’re not getting as much – I just …

Frank Agin: I think this is true of anything, in any business; you just need to be consistent. You need to be true to what you’re doing. That’s, for the most part, where success comes from, not just in podcasting, but really in business. You just have to get out there. You have to do things, and you have to stick with it. That’s my game plan is I’m just gonna keep providing great content, and just give it time.

Brett Johnson: From what I’m seeing, and feeling myself, that’s pretty much the best game plan is the long tail of it … Anything you do takes time, and you’re gonna get better at it, and you’re going to find what topics are best, over time; what resonates. Some are not gonna be home runs at all, of course, but the next one will be.

Frank Agin: Right.

Brett Johnson: Just like making calls for sales. That one didn’t say yes to it, but the next one will. It’s that positive attitude of you’re gonna get better; you’re gonna get better.

Frank Agin: Yeah, well, that’s exactly it. You get feedback from people, who say, “I really like that. I love the stories you tell.” Okay, I need to do more of that.

Brett Johnson: Right. There you go.

Frank Agin: I share with people that the first episode I did … Well, the first one was me just talking about myself, and what my plans were, but the first real episode I did, and these are 20-minute episodes, at best … That’s what I want my length to be, the total length. Took me eight hours to record. I wanted to cry. I really wanted to cry, because … If this is gonna be a weekly thing, I don’t have eight hours every week.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Frank Agin: Now I’ve gotten down to the point where a 20-minute episode, I can get done in easily 30 minutes.

Brett Johnson: There you go. Right.

Frank Agin: We get better at it, in time.

Brett Johnson: Exactly. The self-critique goes lower, and lower, and you just get better. The intros are better; the segues are better; you know what you’re doing … You critique less, I think, because … I always have that problem. Either stop doing it, or quit dwelling on it.

Frank Agin: Right. Exactly.

Brett Johnson: Find out how to get rid of the problem. You have a mix of solo, and interview format. Is that on purpose? By accident?

Frank Agin: To be honest, when I started, it was gonna be nothing but me sharing the content from my various books, and the stories, and experiences I had. As I indicated, I franchise, so I have groups of people in my organization all around the United States.

Frank Agin: I had somebody reach out to me, and say, “Have you thought about doing interviews?” My initial reaction was, “Aww, this is self-serving. This guy wants to be on …” Rolling my eyes. I shared these things with him. After the fact, I said I didn’t really think this was a good idea. He came back, and he said, “No, think about it.” So, I did, which is, I think, a … There’s a lesson in there, that people hit us with ideas. It may not be that idea, but there’s something there.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Frank Agin: He said, “You know, when you get people on, you’re gonna expand your audience.” Like, “Oh, geez, you’re right,” and that’s what I found. That’s how I stumbled into it, and it created a new issue of, okay, now, I gotta find guests.

Brett Johnson: Right … I think the adage is if you’re going solo, you’re branding yourself. If you’re interviewing, you’re networking. You don’t really have the opportunity to brand yourself in an interview. There are benefits to both. It just depends on what you wanted to accomplish. You’re right, watching out who’s approaching you, and why do they wanna be on your podcast, filtering that out, without …

Brett Johnson: Again, you can always hit delete, and it never gets aired in your stream, which is the benefit of podcasting, which is great, yeah … You are doing some interviews. How do you go about interviewing- I should say, putting the schedule together to interview? .

Frank Agin: I’m struggling with that right now. I wish I had a great answer for that. I had a flurry of people right out of the gate that wanted to be interviewed, and I’ve got more people lined up, but trying to mix it all in with the regular content … Generally, what I’ve done is Tuesdays, the regular content is coming out. Thursday, I will put an interview out.

Frank Agin: Am I doing interviews every week? Probably not, but, I have for the past six or seven weeks, and I’ll probably continue that for maybe another six or seven weeks. By the time that’s done, I might have another six or seven. I don’t know.

Frank Agin: To a degree, interviews are easier, because they’re not … You don’t have to put the planning in upfront; we just talk. To a degree, they’re a little more difficult, because you have to really put a little more time into editing, after the fact. When I’m doing an episode, where I’m providing value, if there’s something I’ve said that doesn’t come out well, I’ll stop, and rerecord it, so there’s less editing later. Okay, it’s done. I’m comfortable with it.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Frank Agin: There’s less planning on the front end, and I don’t have to worry about it.

Brett Johnson: Right. How is the podcast allowing you, and, of course, AmSpirit Business Connections to showcase your expertise? How did you plan for that to happen?

Frank Agin: Well, a number of ways. Like I said, I’ve written a number of books on professional networking. My take on professional networking is less about techniques, and skills – although that comes in a little bit. It’s really about habits, and attitudes, and how people need to be conducting themselves.

Frank Agin: For example, one of the recent podcasts I taped had to do with our relationships. I analogized it to dealing with Earthbound objects, meteors that are coming towards Earth. Sounds crazy, but there’s two rules … There’s two thoughts on that.

Frank Agin: One thought is that you just go up there … This is the Hollywood approach. You just go up there, and you blow it outta the sky. The problem with that is that you have all this fallout still coming towards Earth. Instead of one big rock, you’ve got 100 rocks coming at Earth. The NASA approach would be to go up to that object, and just gently nudge it; gently nudge it out of the path of Earth.

Frank Agin: I analogized that to our relationships. We all have relationships that are not perfect – even marital relationships aren’t perfect … I analogized it to those relationships that are really detrimental, and you have two approaches. You can have the Hollywood approach, and you can just blow it up, in which case, then you have all the fallout to deal with. Or, you can just kinda gently nudge it; gently nudge that person to be better behaved; gently nudge that person out of your life.

Frank Agin: That’s just kind of a way of … That’s a message that’s really geared towards anybody out there. That’s part of the podcast. The other part of the podcast; the other reason I did the podcast is there’s a lot of things that I do, with respect to training the members of my organization. Locally, I see a lot of these people, so I can actually talk to them.

Frank Agin: I’ve got a growing number of franchises out there, and I want to be able to get these messages out. In each chapter meeting of our organization, we have a segment that’s 20 minutes long for a member to give a presentation. In lieu of giving a presentation, I want to be able to provide them with content. “Here’s Frank talking about this particular concept: The ABCs of asking for referrals,” or whatever it might be. That was the other thought in mind. Again, it’s all about repurposing, recycling-

Brett Johnson: You’re doing that right now. Are you creating a content for …?

Frank Agin: Yes.

Brett Johnson: Okay. How are you delivering that to them?

Frank Agin: It’s just going up on the podcast.

Brett Johnson: Is it? Straight on the podcast. Okay.

Frank Agin: Yep, straight on the-

Brett Johnson: Not a private-channel thing [inaudible] a sign-in … Wow. Okay.

Frank Agin: A lot of it, I really geared towards anybody, but I’ll let the franchisees know, “Hey, this is an episode that you can deliver. It’s just like me talking; me doing the program.”

Brett Johnson: Interesting. Okay … I think a lot of businesses miss that aspect, that this is a communication opportunity to affiliates that may be across the country, or offices that are across the country; that whether it’s a public podcast, or a private-channel podcast, at least it’s a message that’s out there, disseminated, that your sales force can listen to it in the car, on their next stop to their next call.

Brett Johnson: I think they’re starting to learn this opportunity, but again, it’s one of those, “Oh, I didn’t know you could do that. I thought a podcast was just for the general public.” Not necessarily. It’s an opportunity to talk to who you want to talk to, on their terms, very easily.

Frank Agin: Yep.

Brett Johnson: Has this podcast, in the amount of time you’ve done it, lead to … Has it led to new business referrals, do you think, yet? Have you felt that feedback?

Frank Agin: I can’t say that it has. I can’t say that it has, and I’ve really only been doing it … Started September of 2018, and I think-

Brett Johnson: That’s a short term to figure that out, and to feel that love. Let’s put it that way [cross talk]

Frank Agin: -I’m selling a franchise that’s … It’s not cheap to buy a franchise.

Brett Johnson: Sure, sure.

Frank Agin: But it is really opening a lot of doors for me. For example, I have one coming out this week; I interviewed a guy in Finland. We had connected online, through LinkedIn, or something like that, and we were just talking. Here’s a vehicle where I can learn about him; he can share what he has. It provides content for me. He’s got 20,000 LinkedIn connections, and he’s gonna promote me. I don’t know where that goes.

Brett Johnson: Sure.

Frank Agin: I don’t know where that goes-.

Brett Johnson: But it’s an opportunity you can’t not take.

Frank Agin: Right-.

Brett Johnson: Technically, how did you do that? How did you do the interview?

Frank Agin: We did it via Zoom. I’ve been using Zoom. That’s something that, just in researching this whole thing … Some people say Skype, or Zoom. I just became very comfortable with Zoom, so that’s how we did it.

Brett Johnson: Good, okay. Marketing the podcast, your publishing schedule – every week.

Frank Agin: Yes.

Brett Johnson: Then, mixing in some interviews, as well, when available; so, a couple times a week. Social-media strategy – what are you doing to organically help awareness of the podcast?

Frank Agin: When episodes release, I will put a post up. Maybe I’m not terribly anal, as far as podcasters go, but I think, compared to the general public, it’s kind of anal … When I produce a podcast, I have an Excel spreadsheet. It’s like, “Okay, this is going in here. Here’s the title, and here’s the length, and here’s what … Am I using a short intro, or a long intro? What’s the outro?” One of the things I do put in most podcasts is I’ll put a little plug for our franchising opportunity. Well, which one am I using, so I can keep track of that. I’ll write up a description, at that point in time.

Frank Agin: From there, we populate a Google calendar, so, when the podcasts release, I’ve got all the information I need, and I can just go, and copy from that Google calendar, and then paste on LinkedIn, on my profile, and then various groups that I’m involved with. Same thing, with respect to Facebook. Then people will share that out, and that’s how it’s going.

Frank Agin: Depending upon who the person I’m interviewing, I might make a personal plea to a particular group. For example, if it’s somebody within AmSpirit Business Connections, I will … For example, the first person I interviewed was in Pittsburgh. I sent an email to all the members in Pittsburgh, saying, “Hey, I’ve interviewed Dr. Bulow. You might wanna listen to this podcast.”

Brett Johnson: You’re tracking, and you’re also putting some call to action, as well, in each episode. What is the call to action? Is it an email to you? A phone call to you? How are you putting that in?

Frank Agin: I do ask people for comments. Generally speaking, I don’t know that that’s the best strategy, because if you stop, and think about it, most people, when they’re listening to a podcast, they’re probably in a car, or they’re probably on a treadmill. That’s the feedback I’m getting. “Hey, I really love your podcast. I get up in the morning, and one day a week, I’m able to listen to it on the treadmill,” or a drive in the car.

Frank Agin: I do get emails from people with questions. “Hey, you talk about … You talked about this, but what does that mean?” Right away, I know I’ve assumed too much knowledge, and then I’ll get on a future podcast- I’ll insert something in, and refer back, and say, “In Episode 12, I talked about this. Let me elaborate a little bit.”.

Brett Johnson: That’s fantastic feedback. That’s golden.

Frank Agin: It is. Oh, it is.

Brett Johnson: It’s golden.

Frank Agin: We talk about running out of material. I don’t know that you ever run out of material. There’s always something there. There’s always something there …

Brett Johnson: Right. There’s always a question about what you’ve put in play already.

Frank Agin: Right, yeah.

Brett Johnson: It’s allowing that listener, the listener base, to have access to you. You know you’ll respond in an efficient way, as well as, “Here are the many ways you can reach me. Let’s do this.”

Frank Agin: Right.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, good. Sharing of episodes from the guests – have you got a game plan? What do you give them to help you promote? For example, the gentleman you spoke to in Finland, what are you giving him to help you?

Frank Agin: Yeah, that’s a good question. I have a, call it, a white paper. It’s two or three pages, just talking about, “Okay, here are the topics we’re gonna touch on. Here’s how it’s gonna go; you’re gonna have an opportunity to introduce yourself … The podcast is Networking Rx. It’s all about networking, so, I’m gonna address questions on networking. What’s your pet peeve? What are some challenges you face? What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?”

Frank Agin: Then, I have a list of 10 or 12 other questions that they will pick from ahead of time. We weave that in, in a very natural approach. They have that all ahead of time, which people appreciate. Some people never look at it, but that’s fine, too. At least it gives me a game plan, as to what I want to do, as opposed to just getting somebody on, and “Okay, let’s talk.”

Brett Johnson: Sure. After the episode is done, then do you offer any links, any audio links, that sorta thing, to help them promote it as well, that they were on the podcast?

Frank Agin: I do. We promote up to Libsyn, so we get a link from them that I will share with them, as we get closer. Some of them try to access it ahead of time, but Tuesday, 6:00 a.m., it releases; nothing’s there before then.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, exactly.

Frank Agin: Sometimes, they don’t listen to what I have to say. “Hey, it’s not there!” No, it’s not supposed to be there.

Brett Johnson: Right. Exactly.

Frank Agin: We’ll have them share that out.

Brett Johnson: You spoke of Libsyn. You did some homework, obviously; your daughter did.

Frank Agin: Yep.

Brett Johnson: Why did you both decide upon Libsyn as a platform?

Frank Agin: I don’t know. I really can’t remember the exact reasoning why. There were a couple out there; Libsyn was one of them. One of the things that she had me do … There was a webinar on podcasting every week that would have something: Here’s how you name your podcast; here’s this; here’s the equipment you should have. Every week, there was a little bit of something. Libsyn was on our list, and that was one of the two things that this particular person had mentioned, so, we’re like, “Okay, let’s just go with that.”

Brett Johnson: There is no wrong answer to that. Each platform has its specific nuances; some a bit better than others, but it all depends on where you’re coming from, and what you need that platform to do for you, and your website, and your business. They’re all equally pretty darned good.

Frank Agin: Yeah, yeah-

Brett Johnson: At least the major ones that have been in play for the past 8, to 10, to 12 years. They’re pretty solid. They’re being certified. You can guarantee that the numbers you’re seeing are true numbers.

Frank Agin: For us, it was relatively inexpensive. On a monthly basis, I think it’s $15. When you’re starting out podcasting, and it’s just- it’s not your business per se – it’s just something you’ve added on to your business – you don’t want to invest a ton up front. I figured, okay, 15 bucks … Three months from now, if this isn’t working out, I can bail on it, and I’m really not out a whole lot.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Frank Agin: You’re right. They give a ton of value for that, and it’s worked out.

Brett Johnson: Good. The equipment you’re using to record the podcast, let’s talk about that.

Frank Agin: I generally do it right on my computer. I have bought Blue Yetis; got a couple of Blue Yetis as microphones that I use. They’re not the best, but pretty good, from what I can tell. Again, there was some research done on the front end, listening this webinar, and kinda looking out there.

Frank Agin: Yeah, it’s generally done on my computer, using Audacity. If I’m using Zoom, then I’ll need to take that file, and I’ll need to convert it to an MP3, and then, import it into Audacity, and edit from there. That’s really pretty much it.

Brett Johnson: The learning curve to use Audacity – hard? Easy for you?

Frank Agin: Well, I cheated, because I had my daughter; she pretty much gave me a cheat sheet [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: You jumped into it, and did … Even with a cheat sheet, pretty easy?

Frank Agin: Oh, yeah. Very, very easy. There are times where I might need to text her, and say, “Hey, wait a minute, I’m stuck here. This happened. What do I do?” I think, to a degree, I’m impatient. I’m just so busy with so many other things in my life, in my business, that I didn’t really have time to climb the learning curve, so she really helped me up it. I’m sure there are lots of things, with respect to Audacity, or Zoom, or any of these things – Libsyn – that I’m not taking advantage of. I figure, in time, I will, but it was enough … I know enough that I can-.

Brett Johnson: Put out a good product.

Frank Agin: Right.

Brett Johnson: Yeah … I think that’s with everything that we buy. Buy a new car. There are a lot of things on your new car, you don’t use for a year.

Frank Agin: Right. If ever. It’s like a computer.

Brett Johnson: You just don’t. Exactly. Future plans for the podcast? Where are you going with this?

Frank Agin: Where it takes me, I guess. I just plan on continuing to put episodes out. As I indicated, I wanted to get to 100 episodes, and then really try, and explore some of these-.

Brett Johnson: Quite frankly, that’s a really good goal. I think that’s very smart. If nothing else, because then, you’ll have at least 50 weeks in; looking at twice a week, even more than that. I think a lot of people jump in it the wrong way, and you’re looking at it the right way. Get some in. Then, that way, when your guest looks at what you’re doing, “Oh, he’s 100 in. Yeah, he knows what he’s doing. He’s not trying to build off of my …”.

Frank Agin: Exactly.

Brett Johnson: “… my network to build him up. He’s actually adding some value to my world, as well.” That’s a good idea.

Frank Agin: Right. Early on, when I was researching all of this, I had a conversation with a gentleman, who was looking to put together a company producing podcasts. He didn’t have a podcast himself, but he knew one of the people that I was thinking of approaching. He said, “Yeah, I approached him. He told me no unless I had a million downloads.” I know the person well enough to know that that’s probably not what they were saying. They probably said that, but what they meant is, “I’m not gonna be your first episode. I’ll be somewhere down the line.”

Brett Johnson: Right.

Frank Agin: I think that’s fair. I think that’s-.

Brett Johnson: Oh, for sure, it is, exactly. I think it becomes you’re then working with a seasoned podcast. They’re gonna ask better questions. They’re not going to be listening to other podcasts, and go, “Oh, that’s a good question. I need to ask him that.” What they’re looking for is what makes you different, that you’re gonna ask a better question than anybody else has that adds value to me, adds value to you, holistically.

Brett Johnson: There are a lot of new podcasters that are looking at it that way, say, “I can nail a couple two or three great interviews, and I’ll be right there, up at the top.” That isn’t how it works. Maybe 5, 6, 10 years ago, maybe, because of the lack of number of podcasts, but now, that’s a very difficult road to drive.

Frank Agin: Right. I just tend to put – back to your question – I just tend to put blinders on. I’m gonna put out good material. There are people out there who … Not everybody is gonna listen to every episode, but every episode, somebody’s gonna listen to, and somebody’s gonna get something out of. From that standpoint, alone, it’s my duty to try and get the information out. There might be one podcast I put out that only one person listens to, and that changes their world. It’s a success, so I’m-

Brett Johnson: Sure, yeah. That’s probably the most realistic way of doing this is affecting one person at a time, because those one persons add up very quickly, over time, as networking does, too. Back to your core of what networking does.

Frank Agin: Right. Absolutely, yeah.

Brett Johnson: Advice for business owners considering podcasting as a marketing tool: what would be the first steps that you learned from, that you should have done, or that, “Hey, I’m glad I did this”?

Frank Agin: I think the first step that anybody needs to do is take a hard look at what kinda content do I have? Just hearing yourself talk is not a good reason to have a podcast. What kind of value can you add? I call it Trojan Horse marketing, where what a podcast allows you to do is just …

Frank Agin: I guess what a Trojan Horse is, essentially… Back in the day, the Greeks couldn’t break into the city of Troy, so they gave the city of Troy a wooden horse, and hidden inside the wooden horse were these elite warriors. In the middle of night, they got out, and took down the city, and opened the gate, and that’s how the Greeks got in.

Frank Agin: That’s how I look at podcasting. Podcasting is that way that you can get out there, and get through the gates of the people you’re trying to talk to. They know you’re out there; they know you’re real; they know you provide value. That’s gonna open doors for you. Whereas calling, literally, their gatekeeper, and saying, “Hey, I’d like to talk to the CEO, or I’d like to talk to this person,” that’s just not effective anymore.

Frank Agin: Thinking about what’s my game plan? … You have to have a purpose. It’s like anything. If you don’t have that purpose, you’re not gonna follow through with it. It’s not gonna change your world overnight. It likely won’t. I can’t say that for sure, but if you go in thinking, “If I put out 10 episodes, I’ll pick up a client,” you’re doing for the wrong reason.

Brett Johnson: Well, thanks for being a guest on Note to Future Me. I really appreciate it. This has been this insightful, on your take on why to do podcasting for a networking company, which is great; which is pretty much what podcasting can be.

Frank Agin: Absolutely.

Brett Johnson: You’re right in the zone for what a podcast can actually do for a business, and you’re in networking. It’s a perfect match.

Frank Agin: Well, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

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cbuzz edit for sonix.mp3 (transcribed by Sonix)

Brett Johnson: As I always do, starting off a Note to Future Me podcast, I ask my guest what nonprofit you support with your time, talent, or treasure. Courtney, tell me about your nonprofit. So

Courtney West: I have been lucky enough to become involved with United Way of Central Ohio, since I moved to Columbus. I've been in Columbus for about two-and-a-half years now. I've just really started to become familiar, especially working with the Chamber of Commerce, with a lot of the organizations around town. I became a LINC member, which was really exciting, through the United Way. They're just doing so much amazing work here in Columbus. That's kind of locally where I've been centering a lot of my time.

Courtney West: I actually just started going through the process of starting to work with the Columbus Humane Society. Huge dog lover; don't have one of my own, but when I lived in Indianapolis, I volunteered at the Indianapolis Humane Society. That was very difficult, because every day, there was a new dog that I thought for certain I needed to take home with me. I was in college at the time, so that really wasn't a possibility. I have a feeling the dorm, the RAs in the dorm, would not have taken too kindly to me starting my own little pet shop through there.

Brett Johnson: Probably not.

Courtney West: I'm looking forward to just continuing that involvement. Then, outside of the Columbus community, I'm involved in the Play for Jake Foundation, which works to raise awareness, and raise funds for undetected heart conditions in our youth. That's a cause that's near and dear to my heart, so, I spend a lot of my time donating some of my specialty in media – social media, website development, that kind of stuff – with that organization. I'm really starting to dive into the local philanthropy, which has been a lot of fun. If anybody has a suggestion on another way to get involved, always, always open, open ears.

Brett Johnson: There you go. Why a podcast for the Columbus Chamber? Big question. Let's go right into it.

Courtney West: Great question, and we get that question a lot. It's funny, the amount of Chamber of Commerces around the country … In fact, just last year, we had the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce reach out to us.

Brett Johnson: You had to go visit them, right?

Courtney West: Oh, I tried. They emailed, and they said, "We would love to just learn more about how you've started this up." I thought that's a great conversation; oddly enough, I feel like we need to do this face to face, and I'm more than willing to come visit.

Brett Johnson: We cannot Zoom this. There's no way. I don't wanna see the ocean behind you while we're talking.

Courtney West: Exactly. I need to be there … Toes in the sand. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but I haven't completely crossed it out. We'll see.

Brett Johnson: Right, right …

Courtney West: Back to that, all over the country, we've had Chamber of Commerces, and just various organizations, even businesses reach out, and say, "This is really interesting what you're doing, and not something we would have expected for a Chamber of Commerce. How did this happen?" It's a question that I answer quite frequently.

Courtney West: I'll give you a little bit of background on how I got started with the Chamber, because that'll provide some insight. I, back in 2016, moved to Columbus for an opportunity with the Chamber, in their marketing department. It was pretty unique, because they were having some … A jump in their previous director was leaving, and a new director was gonna be coming on a few months later. They needed somebody to run the department on their own, during that time. Luckily enough for me, I was a good fit for the job, they thought. I came on to the Chamber, and there was a lot that I was learning pretty quickly, and on my own.

Courtney West: One of those things was cbuzz. My predecessors in the marketing department Dilara Casey, and Liz Dickey, both still very active in the local community, they were the ones that really dreamt this idea of cbuzz, and got it off the ground at the Chamber, and really started around with it.

Courtney West: They were able to, for over a year … I think it was about a year and a half, almost two years, they were putting out episodes consistently, and working with various members of the business community. They were the ones … Credit goes there, to them coming up with the idea, and really taking it off the ground, and running with it.

Courtney West: When I came on to the Chamber, I was very interested in continuing the podcast, because I saw a lot of opportunity for it to be taken to the next level, and even the next-next level … I knew that it was a market that we could be in, in the Columbus community, and really thrive. I knew that a lot of other people, a lot of other Chambers weren't really involved in that space, so, it was an opportunity for us to set ourselves apart.

Courtney West: We started a process of doing some research. About three months after I joined the Chamber, we had a new director come and join, and we started a year-long process of really diving in to what that looked like for us, and if it made sense.

Courtney West: What we came down to was that we have so many amazing stories in this community, in Columbus, to tell, and to share. We are a booming Midwest metropolis that just … There's so much opportunity here, and it doesn't often get translated, let alone, within our community, our Greater Columbus community, but outside of Ohio … There are so many stories here that are worthy of people hearing, on the East Coast, on the West Coast, all over.

Courtney West: We just saw the opportunity, and knew that we could take the time, and if we did it right, and did it well, and did our research, that we could really make something that would be beneficial to the Columbus business community, and the greater … Just the economics of the business world. That's kind of what was our driving factor was that this could help set us apart, so that was our guiding force.

Brett Johnson: An interview format is where it's continuing on.

Courtney West: Yes.

Brett Johnson: Was there a focus on the interview aspect of it? "We're gonna interview members. We're gonna interview authorities in the field." What type of mixture are you looking at, from an interview format?

Courtney West: That's one of the biggest things that we changed, when we kind of went through the reboot process of cbuzz. In the past, we were featuring individuals, who weren't necessarily members of the Chamber. With the business model that we have at the Chamber, the people who want to be a part of what we're doing, we really wanna make sure that we're lifting them up, and highlighting their stories.

Courtney West: As of this month, we have almost 2,000 members, which is really exciting for us. That's a large chunk of our business community that we're able to work with, each and every day. Every single one of those members has such an interesting, unique, exciting, fresh story, but might not have a way to share that story.

Courtney West: That was one of the biggest things that changed for us was that, moving forward, once we rebooted the podcast, we wanted to feature only our members, because we were confident that that pool of our membership was so strong that we could call just about anyone, and there was gonna be somebody within their organization who had a story that we wanted to tell, and that they could have to benefit the listener. That was, I would say, our biggest change moving forward.

Courtney West: The interview format, it was previously done in an interview format, and we wanted to continue that. We really just like the feel of having a host that carries the conversation along, and somebody who's kinda consistent. We played around with the idea of inviting a new host, maybe every quarter, switching things up.

Courtney West: Our host, Mikaela Hunt, I mean, she's … Mikaela's amazing. It takes five minutes of listening to any given episode, since the reboot, and it's just- it's a piece of cake. She makes it easy, which is fantastic.

Courtney West: Once we started working with Mikaela, it was very evident that she was the perfect … Had the perfect tone. She's an entrepreneur, herself, and has experience in the journalism world. She really brings every aspect to the table that we were looking for.

Courtney West: It just made sense to continue that interview format, and then, to really just focus on our membership. Within breaking down who we feature, more often than not, it's usually a leader in the company, but we've had lawyers come on, who provide their expertise … It's not really geared towards just the president, or CEO, or a founding partner, or even like Chief Marketing Officer … Anybody that has a good story, and that is able to carry on a conversation pretty well, because we know that that … That sometimes is a struggle, too, is finding somebody who's willing to talk on the mic-

Brett Johnson: Oh, for sure.

Courtney West: Which is always an interesting hurdle to go through with some people. Yeah, so that's kind of how we came to the set-up that we have today.

Brett Johnson: Your reboot focus on the intended listener – who is that?

Courtney West: It's interesting, a lot of people would assume that it would just be anyone in the business community. While that is true, we really tried to approach our topics, and our guests – in the way that we're formatting our content – with the aspiring entrepreneur in mind.

Courtney West: Columbus is known for its entrepreneurial community. We have such a strong focus on that here, so I think that's really what sets apart our business community, as well. For the Chamber, we wanna see the business community thrive, and that means supporting aspiring businesses, and the businesses of tomorrow.

Courtney West: We wanted the topics that we're featuring to be able to have somebody that's maybe sitting at their job right now, or sitting in their college classroom, and they have an idea, or a dream, or something that they think would just thrive, and really take our community, and open market … Really take the community to the next level … We want them to be able to listen to these episodes, take something tangible away, and learn from somebody else, and apply the directly in their business model.

Courtney West: Maybe that means that they don't start their business for another five years down the road, but our hope is that, when they do establish that business, they will think of cbuzz, and, in return, the Columbus Chamber, and how we were maybe able to just pay a little bit of a piece in their journey to creating that business.

Courtney West: That's kind of our niche where we try to focus, but it's really fun. We have people of all different levels in their career that listen. My mom lives in Indiana, and she listens; it cracks me up. She's a teacher, and she's like, "Oh, I just- I learned so many new things on this month's episode …" It's a lot of fun. It's definitely applicable to everyone, but I'd say our niche would be those entrepreneurs.

Brett Johnson: Good, good. How many people do you have involved with this process? From what you said earlier, there were at least two. They brought you in for one-

Courtney West: Yes.

Brett Johnson: -but now, what does it look like?

Courtney West: On the Chamber side of things, there's … I'm kind of the main lead on the podcast, which is exciting for me because I love being a part of it. Our marketing department is two people strong at the Chamber. We're strong but mighty. On the Chamber side of things, we're the ones that kind of manage all of the planning, the interview-question writing, all of … All the fun stuff behind the scenes.

Courtney West: Then, we actually work in a partnership with Capital University, which is another really unique aspect that changed with the reboot. At any given time, that number fluctuates with how many people we're working with at Capital. We have, currently, a class of students who we work with, and a faculty advisor of some sort. He's their teacher in the course, but he's also my main contact. He is fantastic. Chad, shout out to you; you're awesome to work with.

Courtney West: Once you add in the number of students I work with at Capital, it's anywhere between 10 to 12. Then, you take Mikaela into account. It's under 15 people, but the majority of the people who are working on the podcast is those Capital students.

Brett Johnson: Gotcha. How did that collaboration start with Capital, working with students? This is very different-

Courtney West: Yes!

Brett Johnson: -of anyone that I have interviewed so far, and know that are putting podcasts together; that they're using university students to get it done.

Courtney West: Yeah … That's a great way to put it – they are getting it done. That is kind of a unique story. When we started going through the process of re-evaluating what we were doing, we were going through a lot of change at the Chamber, and really taking a look at what we were doing, who we were doing it for … We wanted to make sure that the podcast was … Hi, Mikaela!

Brett Johnson: Come on in!

Courtney West: Come on in.

Brett Johnson: I've got mic on. This is exactly what we were …

Mikaela Hunt: Perfect.

Brett Johnson: We said, "You know, Mikaela's gonna come in, in the middle the podcast. We're just gonna leave the mic on, so she can sit down, and begin the questions right then, and there."

Courtney West: Right, which is where you thrive, Mikaela. I feel like you can just jump in, and-.

Mikaela Hunt: Make it happen.

Courtney West: Yeah.

Mikaela Hunt: There you go. Let me take off my hat.

Courtney West: We were just talking, Mikaela, about … I was getting ready to tell the story about how Capital became involved. Welcome.

Mikaela Hunt: Great. Good to be here.

Brett Johnson: Let's go into that.

Courtney West: Yeah. Talking a little bit more about the partnership with Capital, when we started to go through the reboot process, we wanted to find a partnership that would be mutually beneficial with somebody, so that they were potentially going to be taking just as much away with it as we were.

Courtney West: Myself being a, at that time, recent graduate … I guess I'm still kind of a recent graduate of college, but, at that time, I was about six, seven, eight months out of college. I went to Butler University in Indianapolis. Go Dogs.

Courtney West: At that time, I had taken classes, just a year prior, that involved video editing, audio editing. I was on a sports TV show, on the back end of it, at my university, so I knew that universities were doing things, like making podcasts, and that they had studio space that was state-of-the-art.

Courtney West: I also knew that students are always eager to be able to get that real-world experience that they can add to their resumé, because a year before, I was that student that was looking for that experience to add to my resumé.

Courtney West: Luckily enough, living here in Columbus, we have so many amazing universities that are truly state-of-the-art, and the students are so advanced beyond their years, even when they're in school, that I saw an opportunity for us to take advantage of a partnership.

Courtney West: I started kind of doing some research on some of the courses that some of the local colleges were offering. When I started researching a little bit about Capital, and their audio facility, I noticed that they had a brand-new studio space that they had just opened up-

Brett Johnson: Wow, great timing, yeah.

Courtney West: -that year. Oh yeah, and it was almost as if the stars aligned. They had a brand-new studio space. I needed a studio to record in, and I knew that they had students who would probably be eager to be involved. That was a fun moment of realization.

Courtney West: Then came the part of trying to figure out if they would be interested in being a part of our rebooted podcast. I scheduled a meeting with Chad, who I shouted out earlier for all of his awesomeness. Had a meeting with Chad, just over coffee, and started to feel it out. I told him about our idea, what we wanted to do, and how we wanted to utilize our partnership with the university to maybe execute the podcast, itself.

Courtney West: He was so excited from the start, and he said, "You know, I think this is something that Capital is really gonna be interested in. Let me take this back to our Dean. We'll have a conversation, and I'll let you know." I thought, "Okay, now I just have to wait …" Go home, back to the office, and try not to think about it.

Courtney West: They ended up coming back, and saying, "We think this would be an excellent opportunity. We have a brand-new state-of-the-art studio space, and we would love to have the Chamber come in, and record their podcast. It's great experience for our students; it's great experience for us. It's great visibility for both organizations."

Courtney West: Like you said, the timing really couldn't have been better. We really lucked out there, so, we just decided to start that partnership. We've been working with those students now for over a year. I guess it's about a year and a half now. It's been a fantastic partnership, and was really just great timing, like I said, and us realizing an opportunity to take advantage of, where we could both kinda scratch each other's back a little bit, which, you know, it's always nice.

Mikaela Hunt: I think we're at a moment, too, where universities sometimes struggle with doing some of the latest, and greatest things, from a teaching perspective. I went to a fantastic journalism school, one of the best – University of Missouri – but, at the same time, we weren't prepared, I don't think, for where media was headed. Even though it was the best of the best, we weren't prepared. The fact that Capital has a program like this, and that we can bring real-world application to them, and they can help us? It's a win-win.

Courtney West: These students are having the opportunity to meet some really amazing, influential people in the Columbus business community. It's actually funny, tonight, I'm meeting with their class, their new class for the semester, just to introduce myself, and give a little bit of background about the podcast …

Courtney West: Whenever I do these meetings with the classes, I always stress to them, this really is … It's potentially a little bit of- not a job interview, but you're making … You have the opportunity to make a great impression on somebody, who knows just about anybody in this community. They do a fantastic job. They're always so professional, and they blow me away with how much they know, but, in that aspect, too, they're getting to meet some really great people.

Brett Johnson: Good. Mikaela, you jumped in the middle, which is great. That's why I left the mic open, so you could walk right in, but I do want to establish a little bit of your background, so our audience gets to hear who you are, where you've come from, and actually how you transitioned into being the host of cbuzz.

Mikaela Hunt: Yeah, it's great to be here with you guys, because I believe so strongly in this project, and what the Columbus Chamber of Commerce is doing with it. I spent about 17 years in TV news, starting at the University of Missouri in journalism school, working for a commercial affiliate, when I was probably about 19 years old; working a 12-hour shift as a reporter, anchoring some cut-ins, running camera as needed on my shoots, as well. We called that one-man-banding, back in the day.

Brett Johnson: I guess! Wow!

Mikaela Hunt: Now, they call it digital journalists, or DJs. You hear about that a lot more, even in places like Columbus. In those 17 years, just to kind of lay where we were, when I got out, and started working, my first real job in TV was as a producer in Market 82.

Mikaela Hunt: We didn't have … We were barely utilizing our websites. I think I created SiteWatch for my TV station. I was the 10 o'clock producer. "If you need to know information, go to WANDTV.com, click on SiteWatch, and that'll take you to their website." We didn't have that.

Mikaela Hunt: I came out of school at a time where a ton was changing. Facebook was like a little blip on the college radar, within two or three years after that. We truly did not know where media was going. We didn't know. We didn't have our arms around what was being created-

Brett Johnson: No one did, really, if you think about it. It's hard to teach, when you don't know the next yea … Wait a minute, where'd this Facebook thing come from, all of a sudden?

Mikaela Hunt: Right. When I was graduating college, to put you there, we didn't have cell phones. Some seniors did, my senior year, but it really was the year after, when I traveled as a fraternal consultant; took one year off to do that. I had a cell phone.

Mikaela Hunt: I worked for 17 years, everywhere from Market 130 to Market 32, here in Columbus, ending up anchoring a morning newscast for the last, I wanna say, six, or seven years that I was in TV. That was really interesting to see that, as people went to 4:30 a.m. programs. That was when that transition kind of was being made.

Mikaela Hunt: There were changes in TV, and there are still changes in TV. The level of experience sometimes that you get, even in a market like Columbus, isn't what it used to be. I'm not saying they don't value it. I'm just saying their business model has changed.

Mikaela Hunt: Got out in 2015, and knew I wanted to tell stories. I knew community was hugely important to me, still. How are you gonna do that? Well, there was this concept called brand journalism that I just embraced. Through video, and social media, started to do some work in that sphere.

Mikaela Hunt: Then had opportunity come along to produce a podcast, with Sunny 95, here in Columbus. For about a year, we did it, specifically for moms, and families. Then, around the time that was kind of sunsetting, Courtney came to me to say, "Hey, I know you don't know me, but I've kinda been following you, and I think you would be great to host this show, given your background of interviewing people, and really engaging in story."

Mikaela Hunt: That's been my belief about being a journalist all along. It's you are diving into an area of expertise, or thought that that person is there for you with. You are getting into their head; you're asking questions from that viewpoint, and that perspective.

Mikaela Hunt: Courtney came along, and I said, "Yeah, I think it's great." I'd been involved with the startup community some, here in town, at this time, as well, and I find those stories fascinating. I said, "Yeah, if this is an opportunity to tell stories about what's going on in different industries, let's do it.".

Mikaela Hunt: Then, in that time, this radio show … I also do a radio show for WTVN, right now, every Sunday. That's been great, too. It has nothing to do with business. Total opposite end of the spectrum, more about families. It helps me stay in media, and podcasting, now, is a more traditional media. It's becoming more, and more.

Courtney West: Yeah. We just were talking about that earlier.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, it is. Exactly. It's changed very quickly, too, considering how old podcasting is; now, in the last, maybe, five-six years, it's becoming mainstream. I don't think there's a marker in time, necessarily, but it is. You now hear people say, "I need to do this. How do I do it?"

Mikaela Hunt: Because people wanna consume niche content.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Mikaela Hunt: That is what podcasting allows. A good friend of mine here in town produces a podcast about minimalism, and moms. It's very specific, but there is an audience out there looking to absorb that information.

Courtney West: Well, and the way our society operates, we're always kind of looking to be doing something, or accomplishing something, whether that's necessarily always a good thing, or a bad thing. When you're driving in your car, you can listen to a podcast, and learn something completely new, and have a good time while you're doing it. I think it's really changing the way we utilize our time, as well.

Mikaela Hunt: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: Correct. I initially contacted Mikaela at about this, to interview cbuzz. She said, "Oh, I'm just the host. You gotta get a hold of Courtney."

Mikaela Hunt: She's the brains behind the project.

Brett Johnson: This next question, looking at the interview scheduling, and the strategy, and the process … Typically, those that host their own podcast do the scheduling, bringing … If they're doing an interview process. How did you two work together, in regards to scheduling who's going to be there to have Mikaela interview, and make it all work with the school, as well?

Courtney West: Of course. Internally, at the Chamber, we always have a running list of potential candidates, whether it's people that we know are doing really exciting things, or have a great story, or people who reach out to us, and say, "Hey, I have this great story, and I think I would be really interesting to listen to on cbuzz."

Mikaela Hunt: People reach out to me, too, and then, I have to forward them to Courtney.

Courtney West: Yes, I think more people reach out to Mikaela, because Mikaela knows everyone, which is super-helpful-

Brett Johnson: That would be a piece of it, right there, right.

Courtney West: Yeah. I feel so bad, sometimes, because they'll just reach out to her, and [cross talk].

Mikaela Hunt: I'll say, "No, Courtney's taking care of it …"

Courtney West: Exactly.

Mikaela Hunt: "She's the scheduler; she's the one who's talking content.".

Courtney West: Yep. We have a long-running list at any given time. A lot of it is what's relevant at that current time. Then, too, like I was saying earlier, there are some people who have really great stories, but they have no interest in being featured on a podcast. They don't really like to talk, or feel comfortable talking in a microphone, which makes sense.

Courtney West: Then, sometimes, the process is a little bit more of, "Okay, well, who in your organization also can share that same story? Who maybe is comfortable on the microphone?" There's some research, some background that goes into it, in making sure that it's a good fit for both of us, on both ends. We want them to be comfortable.

Courtney West: From there, we kind of go through our booking process. We have to make sure studio space is open at Capital. We try, whenever we record, to knock out anywhere between two to four podcasts in one evening. We're changing that a little bit. We're doing two this coming semester …

Courtney West: Mikaela has to be on for about four hours straight. She is one person who I can say I have seen be able to hold a conversation for four hours straight, and not skip a beat. That just plays into how well of a fit it is for Mikaela, and with our organization; she's a natural on the mic, so it works out very well.

Courtney West: Back into that scheduling process, once we have our people finalized, our date finalized, I'll brainstorm some questions here and there, and then, Mikaela, with her journalism background, if I even provide a few bullet points, she can take it and run with it … I think we work really well together, in that sense of just kind of collaborating on the background questions, or what things we might wanna touch on.

Mikaela Hunt: I'm kinda like the closer-

Brett Johnson: Yeah, there you go.

Mikaela Hunt: They do this [cross talk] this prep, and they prioritize what's needed from that timely, and relevant place. Courtney provide some questions, some bullet points, and then, I get to dig into the meat of it. Depending on how I'm feeling … Obviously, everybody kind of gives off a vibe, when they're going through an interview. I play upon that. Some people are more comfortable, to your point, than others. I feel like it is my job to make them as comfortable as they possibly can be.

Mikaela Hunt: I've always been that way about the work that I do in journalism. I want people to feel able to tell their story, and not to be overwhelmed by the fact that there's a mic, or a light in their face. That's what I do. That's how I close it.

Courtney West: I think, too, Mikaela, I don't know if this is something you consciously do … I'm sure it is, but I've noticed that we'll have somebody come in, and Mikaela will just jump-start a conversation with them, ask, "Hey, what's going on? How's life been? How's business?"

Courtney West: Just because I draft questions, and I think those things are the most interesting, there's so many things that we don't find out about these people until they're sitting in the studio. It's always a fun process to have somebody come in, and Mikaela will engage them in conversation, before we even start recording; we'll just be setting up the mics.

Courtney West: Then sometimes, the interview kind of takes a completely different angle, just based on the information that they provide. Like John Rush; he had just come from a meeting with-.

Mikaela Hunt: He'd been with a parole officer-

Courtney West: Parole officer, right?

Mikaela Hunt: Yeah.

That had completely changed the way we approached the interview-

Mikaela Hunt: And his day … I mean his attitude … It was a tough conversation that he had just had with his parole officer. John's a pretty upbeat guy, given what he does, and how he helps people; but we did … that did change a bit of that interview.

Courtney West: … That's another big part of it is just we are professional, but we also allow some flexibility to let Mikaela run with it.

Mikaela Hunt: To that point, I will say it's not overly scripted. I think when you have something like this … This is a part of what the Chamber has, in terms of offerings, but at the same time, you have to make it be authentic. You can't just go down a list of questions. If you really want an organic conversation, you need to be free to have the conversation.

Brett Johnson: Right. You did have a transition of hosts, as we referenced just a little bit ago, and there was a bit of a downtime that you weren't publishing.

Courtney West: Yes.

Brett Johnson: What was the strategy of bringing it back, and going, "Okay, we're back"?

Courtney West: Yes-

Brett Johnson: Of course, unveiling Mikaela Hunt as the host is a huge, "We're back!"

Courtney West: Yes.

Brett Johnson: What were the discussions like in regards to, "Okay, we've taken …" I guess it was maybe nine months, a year off, something like that?

Courtney West: Yeah. It was about eight or nine months that we had taken off, and we weren't even recording. I think the last episode … When I came on to the Chamber, there was a few of the previous- the cbuzz that was previously being published in the bucket, so to speak.

Brett Johnson: Sure.

Courtney West: We were putting those out through December of 2016. Then, January of 2017 is when we really dug in to re-looking at everything, or just taking a second glance at what we were doing, like I've talked about a little bit, today.

Courtney West: I think we recorded our first ever of the new rebooted cbuzz, our first episodes, in October, or November of 2017, so there was about maybe 9-10 months where we weren't recording. We weren't doing anything, but doing some scheduling, and just taking a look at things. We debuted the new rebooted cbuzz in January of 2018, so there was a full year where people weren't having any new content.

Courtney West: Now, the interesting thing, and I think something that gave us a glimmer of hope that we were making the right decision to continue this podcast, was that we still were watching the numbers go up. People were still tuning in, after we hadn't put out new content for about five or six months.

Courtney West: They were still downloading old episodes, and still finding the podcast. That just told us there is a niche here; there is opportunity here; it's a space we do need to be in. People want to hear from these business, and community members. This makes sense. That was reassuring, as we were going through that planning process.

Courtney West: When it came time to finally put out that first episode, there was a lot of uncertainty in regards to will people understand that this is kind of something new; that we're building off of something old? Like I mentioned, there was a great foundation for us to work off of, thanks to our predecessors in the department.

Courtney West: For us, it was a lot of focusing on marketing it as something new. "Tune into the reboot of the Columbus Chamber's business-focused podcast, in partnership with Capital University," because that … The Capital aspect has a really unique play, and a really unique opportunity to market, and advertise what we're doing. It automatically makes people a little bit more interested, sometimes, when they hear that we're working with students to produce the podcast.

Courtney West: For us, it was a lot of just organic … Also, word of mouth. Mikaela has a huge following, so we got lucky there that she was willing to also promote the podcast on her social media sites, and through people she was meeting with.

Courtney West: We saw people dive right back in, and we kind of knew right away that we had gone in the right direction, and had not struck gold, but we had essentially hit a niche that we were meant to be in. It's a little bit about what it looked like, just kind of going back in. We've just built it from there, over the past year.

Brett Johnson: This is a guess, but if you hadn't found a Mikaela to reboot, do you think cbuzz would be publishing?

Courtney West: That's a great question. I think it would be publishing. I'm not sure if it would be nearly as successful, just because Mikaela's voice … I talked a little bit earlier about there's just the tone that she brings to the podcast. It's very conversational, as Mikaela mentioned, so it makes people feel like they're really getting to know these people.

Courtney West: We had Dr. Frederic Bertley on the podcast. He was our second episode in the reboot. He's president and CEO of COSI. Fascinating man, so, so fascinating. One of the most intelligent people I've ever met. That's not somebody that you normally probably get to sit down and talk to. It's fascinating what he's accomplished. and I won't give too much away, because everyone should go listen to that episode.

Brett Johnson: There you go. A little teaser, exactly.

Courtney West: Yeah, there we go, but Mikaela … The way that Mikaela was able to talk to Dr. Bertley, and some of the stuff that he was talking about is so niche, and she was able to make it applicable to everyone-

Mikaela Hunt: While still having fun.

Courtney West: Yeah!

Mikaela Hunt: Because he's a blast.

Courtney West: Yes.

Mikaela Hunt: He truly is. Here's all of this intelligence, right? And then, he's just a good time-

Courtney West: Oh, yeah.

Mikaela Hunt: -and has a good backstory.

Courtney West: Oh, yeah, and-

Brett Johnson: Interesting.

Courtney West: He has doctorates in immunology, or something like … He's just- he's so smart, and so-.

Mikaela Hunt: But he also wears these orange Converse all around, like the orange Chucks that have become a thing.

Courtney West: So cool. Just the coolest guy. I don't think we would have been able to find another host that could so easily translate the personality of the guests that we were having, and have that come across the mic so well, because that's hard to do. It's hard to have somebody on the mic, and if you don't have somebody that can naturally lead the conversation, sometimes it comes off a little bit awkward.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Mikaela Hunt: Well, I so appreciate you saying that, obviously, Courtney. That means a lot to me. I think something also that was important for me, in this role, that maybe your traditional media person – and I was that traditional media person for a long time – wouldn't bring is that I'd been a small-business owner for two years.

Mikaela Hunt: Working in that space of kind of a newer concept, in terms of brand journalism, and creation for companies – from that content creation, from that perspective, and from the subcontracting end of things … I am a solopreneur, micropreneur, but, to have myself in that head space really helps me out, when I'm interviewing business owners. You get that.

Brett Johnson: Makes sense. The host being an entity that's outside of the business is intriguing, because I think a lot of businesses who want to get into podcasting may not have the personnel inside to really be the host. I think this offers an opportunity to really think outside of the box, going, "Okay, you don't have to have somebody from inside your organization, or your business to host the podcast," but you do need to find the right person outside to take care of that for you.

Brett Johnson: I really think it's a really good example of don't let that become a hurdle, and you've accomplished that, in spades.

Courtney West: Well, thank you.

Brett Johnson: It's finding the right person … I think you've given a really good example of how to do it, whether it is going to a traditional media person, or somebody that may be in the community that has some social media collateral that would do it.

Brett Johnson: There are a lot of other pieces to that, though, too, that they do have to be a good interviewer, because most interview podcasts are for networking purposes by the business owner, or the business, itself. They want to network; they want to bring in potential clients, or their clients that they're already working with, like you're doing, and offering them branding opportunities, and collateral. They can take that podcast, and put it on their website, and such.

Brett Johnson: You're an outsider.

Mikaela Hunt: I am, yeah-.

Brett Johnson: Totally outsider. You have no skin in the game, other than you believe in the Chamber, of course; otherwise, you wouldn't be doing this-

Mikaela Hunt: Correct.

Brett Johnson: -but you're having a great time, too. I guess I'm leading to a question of how do you find a person like that? I mean, you got lucky.

Courtney West: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: You really did. You asked, and she was available, and that's why I wanted to go back to would it have happened without her?

Courtney West: I'd like to think it's because maybe I'm a little bit of a good salesperson, Mikaela … I sold you [cross talk]

Mikaela Hunt: You are. You sold me pretty well.

Brett Johnson: Sure. Sure. Well, and I think that adds to … By going into the next area I wanna talk about is the marketing that you do behind it, and there's a strategy behind it. What social media do you use? How do you go about promoting future episodes, as well as past episodes, and continue that into the … Every episode you produce is evergreen. It has long tail, until that person may be gone from that organization … How do you approach that?

Courtney West: I'll be frank. We haven't fully capitalized on the marketing capabilities with the podcasts at the Chamber. We've had a year at the Chamber that's been full of a lot of growth, which comes- a lot of work. At the Chamber, like I said, we're a two-person team. There was a little bit of this year, where I was a one-person team, so there was a lot of different areas that needed attention.

Courtney West: … We have a new director, at the Chamber, of marketing, who really believes in the podcast, and he really believes in the work that we're doing, which is fantastic. I think that we're finally going to see 2019, where we capitalize on some new opportunities with marketing, because, in the past, it's mainly been all organic.

Courtney West: Funnily enough, we do not have a budget for cbuzz, as it stands. We're looking to change that this year, and trying to monetize it enough to where we can put some money on the back end, in regards to paid social; reaching new audiences that we, through our own channels, ourselves, we might not have the ability to reach.

Courtney West: I think there's gonna be a lot of growth for us in that area this year. There's always, when it comes to podcasting, opportunities to take it to the next level, and I think that's our biggest marker, because we have a great host; we're bringing on really exciting guests; we have an audience. How can we continue to grow that audience?

Courtney West: The past year has been a lot of organic social media, working with the guests that we're featuring to bring them on board, working with Capital to have them also push the podcast, themselves, within the department, outside of the department, to prospective students. There's a lot of opportunities for cross promotion with both the guests, and the partners who we work with.

Courtney West: We're lucky, in that sense. That is another perk to having somebody, or working with people on the podcast, who are outside of your internal organization, because you just have that many more people on your team, and that many more networks to dig into. That's been our main focus is really trying to utilize that.

Courtney West: We have done some interesting- a few interesting things with marketing this past year. One good example is we had our Retail Summit this past August, and we had a really exciting panel that we were featuring. It was the Women in Retail panel. We had Cindy Monroe of Thirty-One Gifts, Denise Doczy-DeLong, from Singleton Construction, and Lauren Culley, from Fox in the Snow – three major, very diverse, powerhouse retail speakers.

Courtney West: We decided this is gonna be such an interesting conversation; we know it's gonna be full of just some really gems of little tidbits, so we decided that we were gonna make that panel a live podcast recording. We were lucky enough, to where we'd actually brought Mikaela in as our emcee for that entire event, so, we already had our emcee there. Mikaela moderated that live podcast that we did. That was a whole other opportunity to, kinda within that room, and within the event, market it as, "Ooh, yeah, our cbuzz podcast …"

Courtney West: We've been trying to get a little bit creative with – even internally, within our different events that we're doing in our different programs that we're offering, or members that we're meeting with – we're trying to really let people know that this is a resource that we have, and it's free. That's another thing that's great about podcasts, and what they look like. It's free information.

Courtney West: That's kind of what the past year in marketing for us has looked like. The coming year for us, I think we'll see a lot more going behind paid advertising for social; maybe some ads that we're doing in various local newspapers, magazines; maybe some on-air stuff. More to come on that.

Mikaela Hunt: Ultimately, when it comes down to it, if you really think about cbuzz, you're getting the opportunity to talk with these playmakers here in Columbus that you … You hear them speak, I should say, and hear a conversation with them that you're not getting anywhere else.

Mikaela Hunt: No one else is having the president of OSU; no one else is having Dr. Drake on for a 45-minute, to hour-long conversation. A TV station's not gonna do that. A radio program is not gonna do that, here in central Ohio. Same with Dr. Bertley; same with all of these other big names in Columbus. The place you're going to get it, because they have the ability to bring them in, is honestly the Chamber.

Brett Johnson: Right, and your recording without looking at a clock.

Mikaela Hunt: Yes.

Brett Johnson: Hit record. Yes, you're kind of cognizant of we don't want this to really be two hours long, but you're still not watching a clock. Let it go-

Mikaela Hunt: -Courtney will tell you, though, for some reason, I am like on it, when it comes to timing for these things.

Courtney West: It's almost a little weird. Sometimes, it's creepy-.

Mikaela Hunt: How much editing do you do?

Courtney West: I was talking about this, when I first got here, today. I was joking, sometimes, I almost wanna tell you, Mikaela, please mess up just once, so the students have something to take out, because it's funny, because I do … I will listen to the audio, and-

Mikaela Hunt: We hit 30 or 40 minutes, and I'll be wrapping up, and I don't … I kind of know it, but, at the same time, I don't, and it's kind of-

Brett Johnson: I think when you're dealing with somebody that interviews all the time, you have an internal clock.

Courtney West: Yes.

Mikaela Hunt: I probably do-.

Brett Johnson: You know where it is, and you … It also speaks to where you go in your mind, I'm sure. "We're done. We've covered what we need to do. We're good.".

Mikaela Hunt: True. "We're good. We don't have anything else we really need to talk about."

Brett Johnson: I'm going to make it too long for the listener. That's not fair to their time. They've given us 30 to 40 minutes. I got everything covered. That's another sign that you're right where you need to be.

Courtney West: Luckily enough, another thing that really pays to having a host that has background in interviewing, and even in journalism, is that there're some people who will answer questions a lot quicker than others, so, sometimes that throws you off a little bit. You get through your content a little bit quicker. Luckily enough, Mikaela knows how to ask a follow-up question.

Courtney West: There's been times we've had a guest that will kind of run through the list that we provide, and I'm sitting in studio following along, thinking, "Oh, no, we're about to hit 15 minutes for this one." Then Mikaela jumps in, and she's able to build off of what they've already answered.

Courtney West: That's another thing. If you're looking to start a podcast, really, being able to invest in a host is key, because it's just gonna make it so much easier in the long run. It saves so much time for us.

Mikaela Hunt: If you can't get a traditional media person, what you must have in a host is someone who is naturally curious.

Brett Johnson: Bingo. I was just gonna say, as a great interview question, going, "Okay, so, if a host … If who you're interviewing answers the questions very quickly, what do you do next?" That's the interview question, and if they can't answer that, go to the next candidate.

Courtney West: Exactly.

Brett Johnson: I think a key to that is, and you've learned this, too, is you just have to listen, because, all the sudden, there are a little rabbit holes. "Whoa, that's good! Let's go down there. That's great!" That adds to the content, as well as that makes a great interview, because it's something unique that no one's ever asked me that before.

Courtney West: Right.

Mikaela Hunt: Then they get really excited to talk about it [cross talk] You've got 10 more minutes of content.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, it's a lot of fun. What do the students at Capital do for you specifically?

Courtney West: When we will come in for a recording session, they already have the studio set up for us, which is fantastic. Then, as we're going through to record, they'll be checking audio levels, making sure that the mics sound clear, and crisp.

Courtney West: It's a great opportunity to get hands-on experience with that, because we are able … We're not a live podcast, so, if something goes wrong, we're able to stop, and go back. I will say that, in the past year, over a year, that we've had the recordings at Capital, we've … I don't think we've ever had a time, where we've had audio problems, or difficulties there.

Courtney West: For the students, a lot of it is the technical side of things. It's making sure the mics, the levels are correct, people sound okay; making sure that the room is set up so that the sound isn't … I'm sure there's a term for this, Mikaela, but the sound isn't bouncing off the walls.

Mikaela Hunt: Hollow.

Courtney West: Yes. I'm learning a lot, but I still have a little bit of the ways to go. Then, they're also keeping track, too, of any parts where we know for sure we might need to go, and edit out. If somebody has a coughing attack, which [cross talk]

Mikaela Hunt: -yeah, we've had that.

Brett Johnson: Sure. Sure.

Courtney West: We'll just go ahead, and they'll mark that for us ahead of time. Then, they're able to … After we get done recording, they will send me the raw audio files, and then I will sit down, and listen through the conversation.

Courtney West: More often than not, the editing that we're doing is very minimal. It might just be cutting out some coughing, or some 'ums,' or maybe somebody wanted to rephrase a question, something of that nature. Occasionally, we'll wanna cut down a question or two, just to keep it more concise.

Courtney West: I will provide edits back to the students. Timestamps is what we call them, and the students will go ahead, and make those edits, and send me back the final version. They'll edit in an intro, an outro. We're starting to explore a little bit with sponsorships this year, so they'll be editing those in, as well. For them, it's a lot of the technical side of things, if that makes sense – behind the glass, so to speak.

Brett Johnson: Right. Then, you are using Blubrry as a hosting platform. Do they go ahead, and upload to Blubrry, or you take care of that?

Courtney West: I go ahead, and take care of that now, at this time. We just switched to kind of being a classroom model. It was previously students who were in the Audio Engineering Club at Capital. They were dedicating their time to come in, and gain experience. We've just started exploring with the model of having this be an actual class for the Capital students.

Courtney West: I think that as time progresses, and as we figure out what the curriculum for that course looks like, it might be an opportunity for them to be involved in the publishing side of things; but as it stands now, once I get that finished file, I'll go through the process of publishing it to Blubrry, and then posting it on our website. We have a cbuzz page, where we also have the podcast available for consumption.

Brett Johnson: Do you know what the decision process was of picking Blubrry?

Courtney West: That's a great question. I do not.

Brett Johnson: I'm not advocating one platform; rather, I think there are a lot of good ones out there. It's interesting to note how people choose what they do, because each one has its own nuance.

Courtney West: Well, and we're starting … Now that we're gonna have some money behind the podcast, we're starting to explore maybe some other platforms that might be able to give us a little bit more insight into just the metrics of the podcast.

Brett Johnson: Right, yeah. Keep asking them, though, because, number one, they're local. It's RawVoice-

Courtney West: Oh, are they really?

Brett Johnson: Yes, they are-

Courtney West: That's amazing.

Brett Johnson: -local. As a Chamber, probably need to … But they're so approachable. They really are, so-

Courtney West: Oh, great.

Brett Johnson: Really, as a platform, they may be the best to get you that information.

Courtney West: Really? That's awesome.

Brett Johnson: Honestly. Yes.

Courtney West: Good to know.

Brett Johnson: Make some phone calls [cross talk]

Mikaela Hunt: -to translate the metrics-.

Brett Johnson: Yes.

Mikaela Hunt: Because I think, a lotta times, it's about [cross talk] what does this …? What does a download mean versus [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Right. Yeah, because they have- they have people here locally that actually you can meet. Okay, so, yeah …

Courtney West: That's huge, because that's part of it, too, is I didn't have any experience in podcasting, necessarily, other than being an avid listener before I came into to creating cbuzz. For me, it's still an ongoing learning process about what is the best way to host the podcast? What do these metrics mean? Is there better ways we can be looking at this? That's awesome.

Brett Johnson: Right. Yeah, it's an education, and understanding what a download is; what does it actually represent? I think Blubrry, as well, they're the first platform to be certified through IAB. Basically, their numbers are true, when it comes down to it. It's based on things that IAB has said, "You must do this for it to be …" [cross talk]

Mikaela Hunt: Transparency.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, transparency, basically, because a lot of platforms will say, "Okay, every five minutes, we're gonna grab," and your numbers are inflated. Blubrry's gone through a huge process of getting this done, and now, other platforms are being IAB-certified [cross talk].

Courtney West: That's amazing, so it sounds like I don't need to do my research, then-.

Brett Johnson: -they went through pains. They went through the pains, but no, you don't have to. Call them; talk to them. They will walk you through-.

Courtney West: Perfect.

Brett Johnson: -to understand what it means, not necessarily to get better, but they have some … They've been in it a long, long, long, long, long time-.

Courtney West: Amazing.

Brett Johnson: -and they work with large networks of-

Courtney West: I love that they're local-

Brett Johnson: -networks … Yeah, they are. Let's talk about future plans for the podcast. You mentioned a little bit earlier looking to [inaudible] some money to help promote; maybe some sponsorships. What other ideas are coming up for you?

Courtney West: That's a great question, because we're kind of just starting to dive into the next stage of cbuzz. What does it look like? I think, for us, now that we've had a year of some really reputable guests, it's easier for us to start to maybe book some people who are in high demand, so to speak.

Courtney West: There's definitely a dream guest list that we would love to be able to dive in to, but I wanted to be smart, when we were first asking guests; very cognizant that there's gonna be people who maybe don't wanna be involved right away, because they don't know exactly what that's gonna look like.

Courtney West: I think now that we have a year under our belts, and it's proved to be pretty successful, in a sense, that people are maybe now more comfortable to become involved. We're very fortunate for the people, who, in the beginning, we said, "Okay, we don't have anything to really show you yet. You're gonna be one of our first guests, but we'd love to have you." They were willing to take that gamble, and come on to speak with us …

Courtney West: I think this year, we're gonna see a lot of growth in the guests that we have online. I think, eventually, as we nail down … Just continue to focus on this partnership with Capital, it'd be great to produce the episodes a little bit more frequently. Just because I know-

Brett Johnson: Mikaela's giving them no work.

Courtney West: Exactly. I know. If she made it a little bit more difficult, then-

Brett Johnson: Maybe the frequency can go … Sure, if it's a one-and-done with her, we're good.

Courtney West: Exactly. As a podcast consumer myself, I know how difficult it is when you have a podcast that only goes out once a month. For the other part of the month, sometimes, it seems snobby at top of your mind, because it's not at the top of your podcast list, with the way a lot of the aggregators work.

Courtney West: I think for us, growth might be related to in terms of how many podcasts, how many episodes we're putting out, growing the sponsorship side of things. Being able to put some money behind the marketing of it, I think, is really gonna be huge, and just really focusing on … This has been so successful, so far, and because we're a small team at the Chamber, this could be a full-time job, I would argue, with just booking guests, and if we were to do it more frequently, there's somebody that could just focus on cbuzz, or at least part-time.

Courtney West: I think once we're able to continue to just be more comfortable in the process of it all, that it'll become a little bit more smooth. I think there's a lot of opportunities for us this year. I'm excited to see where it goes … The past year flew by, it felt like, the first year.

Mikaela Hunt: It does not feel like it's been that long, no. I think, too, Courtney, and I, we see each other every couple months, and correspond over email, but there's so many interesting things in tech that are changing that are helping podcasts.

Mikaela Hunt: There things like Headliner.app, which is real popular right now. That could be an opportunity for us to tease out a show. We haven't talked about that yet, but only because, literally, we're producing content ahead of time with these big names, but then, see each other only every couple months.

Mikaela Hunt: I think the sky is the limit to what the Chamber wants to do with it, and what's possible. It's just a matter, for you guys, I would think, what makes the most sense, in terms of timing, and what you can devote to it.

Brett Johnson: This is probably the same answer to both of these aspects of when you get a Chamber call, and say, "How do you do this?" as well as a business asking, "Okay, you're doing a podcast. How are you doing it?" What advice would you give to both, that they're looking at this as a marketing tool? Their first stages – what do you tell them?

Courtney West: I tell them they really need to sit down, and, one, do their research, and also start to plan out the content that you're gonna be putting out on that podcast, at least six months to a year in advance. Especially when I talk to businesses, in particular – make sure that you have enough things that you can talk about, or guests that you can bring on, where it makes sense for you, and your business model, because there's nothing worse than going through all of the work to build a podcast, put it together, and, after three months, you kind of realize that maybe you don't have enough ideas, or people, or content to really make it strong, if that makes sense.

Courtney West: Research is always the number-one thing I say. Don't just reach out to the Columbus Chamber, reach out to other podcasters who might not be directly involved in the business community, but they're gonna be able to provide a better background on the technical side of things.

Courtney West: … When we get the calls from the Chambers themselves, that's a little bit more unique, because they have the same model we do, so it's a little bit easier to explain to them what that process looks like. They kind of have an infinite amount of guests, just like we do, which is a nice perk there to starting a podcast.

Courtney West: Then, I just tell them, too, make sure you have somebody on staff that is passionate about doing this, because it is time, and it is effort, and you do have to be willing to learn about the podcasting world – what people wanna hear, how they want to hear it, how often. Having somebody that's passionate, and is going to own it, I think, is important. That's not to say that a team can't own it, but just there needs to be a group of people, or one person within that organization that is dedicated to making this thing work.

Courtney West: If there's one thing I've learned about podcasting, it's that you can't go halfway. You have to go all the way, and you have to be dedicated to providing quality content. We talked a little bit about this today, when I first came to the studio, but podcasting has changed so much … The audio; just how nice, and crisp everything tends to be nowadays, compared to when podcasting first started. and it was somebody in a basement, recording a podcast.

Courtney West: There's a high level of expectation from podcast consumers, and if you aren't able to deliver on that end of the spectrum, it's almost kind of difficult to justify the rest of the work you're putting into it. That's kind of always my lead off to people. Mikaela, you probably field some questions, too, about people who are interested in starting a podcast, based on your involvement with cbuzz. I don't know if you have people that reach out to you, that you would echo the same sentiments?

Mikaela Hunt: The thing that you said that really resonated with me, based on people who say, "Oh, I wanna start my own podcast …" is the content piece. You cannot decide the week before you're recording, who you're gonna have on, and what you're gonna talk to them about. That's not a way to operate.

Mikaela Hunt: Sadly, and I will say this about traditional media, too, sadly, too many times, we are not good enough about strategizing in this area. You've gotta have some strategy behind what you're doing. You can't just show up, and see what sticks, right?

Brett Johnson: Right.

Mikaela Hunt: You really do need to be thinking … That's the thing about the Chamber – they're really detailed about that; where I've seen a lot of people be not so detailed, and then, they don't find success, because there's all these little nuances to what it can be, and how you can market it, and how you can do this, that, or the other. If you're not organized, it's not gonna be successful.

Brett Johnson: Right. I agree. I think a lot of it is, too, when you reach out to somebody, "Can you be a part of my podcast?" You have to give them the reason why. It's not just, "Well, I think you're fascinating. I wanna hear your stories." There are some other pieces to this that … "I would love to deep-dive into this, and this, and this, as well, and maybe give you an opportunity to talk to you about that, as well.".

Courtney West: Exactly. No, that's a good point.

Brett Johnson: Well, thank you both for being a part of Note to Future Me. I appreciate it. Your situation is unique, for sure, as an interview podcast of having an outside person doing the interviews for the organization. I think there's a lot to learn here, and opportunity for anyone that's looking to podcast, that's looking at that hurdle of who will be the voice, the face, of the podcast. I greatly appreciate your insights.

Mikaela Hunt: Former journalists. I honestly believe, if you can find former journalists in a community that can help you out, as a side project, it's a great opportunity.

Brett Johnson: They're more than eager to do it, and, if they're like you, they wanna tell stories. They want stories brought out, as well, to join in the story-.

Mikaela Hunt: Correct.

Courtney West: It's natural. Yeah.

Brett Johnson: Well, thanks again. I appreciate it.

Courtney West: Thank you. We appreciate you having us on today.

Mikaela Hunt: Thank you.

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