Minds On B2B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Exactly. You got it.

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

Dan Harris:
How far do you wanna go back?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

Dan Harris:
Right, right.

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Funny.

Dan Harris:
Yeah.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Energy, if nothing else.

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

Brett Johnson:
That’s great.

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

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

Dan Harris:
They are, they are-.

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

Dan Harris:
Right.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
I enjoyed it-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

Dan Harris:
Exactly.

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

Dan Harris:
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Exactly. Exactly, yep.

Brett Johnson:
Sounds good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
That’s great.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Right.

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

Brett Johnson:
Right.

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes, yes.

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

Dan Harris:
Right.

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

Dan Harris:
That’s bad. That’s bad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Right.

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

Dan Harris:
Reference material.

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

Dan Harris:
It totally is-.

Brett Johnson:
It really is.

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Wow, that’s great.

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

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

Dan Harris:
Nice.

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

Dan Harris:
Super-fast.

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

Dan Harris:
That’s sweet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Yes.

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

Dan Harris:
It is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Harris:
Sure.

Brett Johnson:
-with the business and the podcast.

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

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

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

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

Brett Johnson:
Perfect. Thanks!

Dan Harris:
Thank you so much.

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

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

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

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

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Driving the CBus

In this episode, I interview Scott McComb, President and CEO of Heartland Bank – and host of the podcast Driving the CBus. Featuring insights from individual contributors from all corners, nooks and crannies of the Columbus, Ohio region, Scott has a goal to get to the why of our evolving and eclectic environment. We cover why he started the podcast, what he wants to accomplish, and what the future holds for the podcast.

Driving the CBus | Convert audio-to-text with Sonix

Brett Johnson:
So Scott, a non-profit you, or Heartland Bank likes to support. Tell me about it.

Scott McComb:
Yeah that's … How much time do we have? That is a extremely large question. Part of what community banking is all about is focusing on the community, and what is needed in the community. Because of that, we are sponsors, and supporters of well over 100 nonprofit organizations inside of Central Ohio, and on a national basis.

Scott McComb:
Some of the larger ones I think that we have supported is we are a big supporter of the USO of Central and Southern Ohio – "We're the Force behind the Force" – that are armed-forces men, and women in active duty service.

Scott McComb:
Our big mantra for the bank on an annual basis … We have a golf outing that supports children's charities. We firmly believe in the principle set by Colin Powell. The little red wagon concept that he had, about 15-20 years ago, where, if you can invest in a child's- early-childhood-development type causes, you can make a serious impact to their lives.

Scott McComb:
That brings us to all kinds of different charities that we've supported over the course of time, whether it's Junior Achievement, or whether it's the Lutheran Social Services, which is a very diverse group. Everything from Meals on Wheels, to childhood development, to reading, and workforce development, to … Victory Ministries is another one that we've supported. The Ohio Dyslexic Learning Center for children with dyslexia. That's hard to say, today, for whatever reason. There's just a whole host of ones that we've covered. Special Olympics … I couldn't list them all.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. That sounds good. I think there are certain categories of businesses that are obligated, almost. It's a good thing to do, and you know you need to do it. It's not one of those, "Hey, we've got to do this now" No, We've gotta do this." [cross talk].

Scott McComb:
Community banking is about taking capital inside the community. We take deposits, and investors that are willing to give us their capital, so we can provide them a return. Those are our shareholders. Then, we take depositors' money, loan it out locally to businesses, and it becomes this perpetual circle.

Scott McComb:
One of the things that is super-important is benevolence. Making sure that there's a food pantry, and that the food pantry has the resources it needs, in every community that we serve; things like that. It's just what community banking is all about.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Let's talk a little bit about your professional background, and history up to this point.

Scott McComb:
Sure. I have a very different background than most folks in my business. I'm an entrepreneur in the banking world. My father was a career banker; started off in a finance company, then got into community banking, here in town, with the Grove City Savings Bank in 1967.

Scott McComb:
That's when we moved to town, and I was one years old. I was born in Ironton, Ohio, and came up here … My whole family's from West Virginia. We are hillbillies, and the rest of the family's still living in the trailer behind the house in the holler. That's just the way it happens.

Scott McComb:
We were lucky enough to make it out of there, through the power of 4-H. My father actually made it out of the mountains, because he got a scholarship to Marshall University to be the captain of the livestock judging team … He majored in biology. Very eclectic background, there.

Scott McComb:
My background: we moved to Grove City, Ohio, here, and my father ran the Grove City Savings Bank for a guy named Jack Havens, who is one of the founders of modern-day Columbus, really. Chairman of Bank One; Chairman of the Ohio State University. He worked for him, and George Gestos.

Scott McComb:
Anyway, long story short, I finished high school. I was in college. Went to Grove City High School. Went to Ohio State … I was either gonna go to Ohio State, or go in the Marine Corps, because I was kind of a troubled youth. I was never really in trouble, but I liked to have fun … I think we've all been there.

Scott McComb:
I went to Ohio State, and I majored in High Street, and High Street was-

Brett Johnson:
I've heard that twice now, on my podcast.

Scott McComb:
Yeah, High Street is a great place. You learn to budget. You learn to love. You learn to fight. All those great things, right? I majored in High Street. Never really even declared a major, until I went back the second time, frankly.

Scott McComb:
When my father got to a certain point, where his bank was sold – he was working for a larger bank – he started Heartland Bank, and he was going to start Heartland Bancorp from scratch, and buy another smaller bank, and change the name to Heartland. That's how Heartland started.

Scott McComb:
When he did that though, he realized … He had a big epiphany moment in his life, where he said, "You know, really, Scott, the only way to wealth, to true wealth, is to own a business, and to earn money through equity; earn capital through equity. You can't really save your way to wealth, and to financial independence. It's just extremely difficult to do that."

Scott McComb:
He encouraged me to start my own business, as well. I was, again, majoring in High Street, and he helped me … He helped me start a home and business monitored-security-system company. I started that when I was 20. I ran that for about 10 years. It was called PFM Alert Systems. That standed for Police, Fire, and Medical Alert Systems.

Scott McComb:
That sprouted a couple other things. I sprouted a janitorial business, because I didn't make any money in the security business, for the first four or five years. To pay the mortgage, I had to clean other offices, and it just so happened, he needed a janitor at the bank. My first job at Heartland Bank, I was the janitor.

Scott McComb:
I cleaned the office in the Grove City office. Then, we had a Wilson Road office; then we had a 161 Frantz Road-Dublin office. I cleaned that. I had three or four different cleaning jobs. Then I started contracting out for other cleaning jobs, and that became a whole business, where I had employees, and 1099 contractors, and that kind of stuff. Meanwhile, the security business continued to thrive, and do really well.

Scott McComb:
I took the proverbial quarter off of High Street, at Ohio State, because reality was hitting me in the head, and I was doing … I was starting to do well. I was starting to turn a profit, and do those things, so I dropped out of school, and I just ran my business.

Scott McComb:
Did really well for about 10 years in that business. I was offered a number to … Was approached to sell the business, and they said "Well, just write a number on a piece of paper", and I wrote a number on the piece paper. and they took it; and I thought, "Damn, I should have probably asked for more money!"

Brett Johnson:
One more zero! Why not one more zero? Yeah, right.

Scott McComb:
My gosh, what did I do? Anyway, I went to work …I sold the business; did really well. Paid off all my debt. Put away money for the kid's college education. Went on to work for corporate America, with a company called Vector Security. Vector's one of the top three, probably, alarm companies in the nation, and a very, very good company, but you can't own any of the company; no one can own any of the company.

Scott McComb:
It's actually a wholly owned subsidiary of the Philadelphia Contributionship, which is the very first insurance company that was started by Benjamin Franklin in 1752. Goes way, way, way, way, way, back, and no one owns any of it except for the Philadelphia Contributionship. They paid me very well, but it was very disenchanting, because I wasn't building equity again.

Scott McComb:
I was going to start something else. I gave them three months' notice, and said, "Guys, this has been great. You paid me really well; took care of me, but I really gotta build equity, here. I've learned the only way to true wealth is through owning a business, and creating equity through sweat equity, and creating values."

Scott McComb:
I left there, and I was going to start something else. My father and I were on a golf trip in Orlando, Florida, and we're sitting at the bar having a Jack Daniels. That's what him and I like to drink, and what we drink together. I said to him, "Hey, is there anything I could do for you at the bank?" and he said, "Let's talk about that."

Scott McComb:
He laid out a whole plan of what I would do at the bank, and he agreed to give me a salary, which was 50 percent of what I was making at Vector Security, but I had no experience in the banking business. I said, "Okay, great. Let's do it."

Scott McComb:
I joined him at the bank as the Director of Internet Banking. We launched – very first thing that was in the technology world – driving, launching an internet bank, or the internet portion of the bank, in 1999, which was pretty revolutionary back in 1999.

Scott McComb:
I started there, and my entrepreneurial skills that I had learned in the previous decade really just kicked in, in the banking world. There's not a lot of entrepreneurs in the banking world. It was very easy to go in, and make common-sense decisions, work circles around folks … Entrepreneurs work 10-12 hours a day. That's what they do every day. Bankers not so much; bankers are usually [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
The banker hours come true.

Scott McComb:
-working the banker hours. Not so much anymore, but back in that time frame, that's the way it was. I joined the bank, and I never really gave up any responsibility. I learned the business. I was a teller for a while. I was the worst teller on the planet. I have dyslexia, so I transposed numbers, I can't read really fast, unless it's a financial statement, or something like that. If you threw a box, opened up a box of matches, and threw 'em out, I'd get within five of how many are on the table, just guessing. I have that going on, as well, which is confusing, and exciting at the same time.

Scott McComb:
I came through the bank, and I kept getting promoted, and taking on more responsibility. I'm a natural salesperson, and I love to build relationships, so, that worked out really well. I ended up becoming a loan officer, and getting a whole portfolio of customers that I brought into the bank.

Scott McComb:
Then, they made me the Chief Operating Officer of the bank, like seven years after I joined the bank. I thought to myself, "Wow, if I play my cards right, they might let me run this place." Because I knew my father was gonna retire … I'm coming up through the ranks, but I didn't have my degree. I'd promised my mom, before she died – I lost my mom very early – that I would finish my degree one day.

Scott McComb:
I put those two things together, and I decided this is the time to go do it. In 2007, I went back to school, and was running the bank as the bank's Chief Operating Officer; also, during the financial crisis, and then, I was going to school at night in Ohio State. I ended up graduating in 2009 [cross talk] Thank you. I'm very proud of that. It was a lot of work, a lot of dedication.

Scott McComb:
Then, I guess in between there, I went to the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. That was in the early 2000s, it was like 2000-2003. A lot of education there. That's really where they teach banking there. You don't learn it in college, you learn it when you get out in the field, and in multiple other schools, and in courses, and things in the banking world.

Scott McComb:
My philosophy is that I never stop learning. I'm like a sponge. I'm afraid that I'm going to fall behind by not constantly figuring out how I can make myself better, or how I can find the next thing for my team to execute.

Scott McComb:
That's my background. It's a lot different than what you'd hear from other folks. Whenever I tell other bankers that, they can't believe that … They just can't believe it. They're like, "Oh, my gosh, no wonder!" So much things make sense, after that point-

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Sure.

Brett Johnson:
-because we don't run our bank like a bank. We run it like a technology company; like another business. If we want to run in herds with the other banks, then that makes what we deliver a commodity. Most people think banking is a commodity. I've discharged my team with going after the three or four percent of the population that understands value, and if we get those folks in the door, then we've successfully doubled the size of the bank, and we're probably doing pretty well.

Brett Johnson:
Exactly. Let's go into why a podcast for the bank. What were you thinking about?

Scott McComb:
Well, again, podcasts are hot. People want to understand. They want snippets. They don't want an hour long, or they don't want two hours long; a dissertation on this, or that, or the other thing, but they're very interested.

Scott McComb:
The population now understands that knowledge is at their fingertips. Well, that didn't happen … That's only been there for about 11 years, 12 years … The advent of the iPhone, or the iPod. Besides that, you had the internet, and podcasting really wasn't that popular, because it wasn't convenient. You had to be sitting at your desk.

Scott McComb:
Well, now, if I'm running, I can listen to a podcast. I'm out doing sit-ups, or I'm out fishing; I'm out knitting, I'm doing whatever … I can educate myself. I think there's a whole class of people, a large portion of the population, that has that same desire that I have. That, "Hey, what am I missing? What else can I … How can I stimulate myself, besides sitting in front of the TV, and have somebody lie to me, or try to change my opinion on something, or whatever? How can I educate myself, and maybe understand culture better? Maybe reach a new level of enlightenment?"

Scott McComb:
I think that's what podcasts do to folks, so, I thought that it would be really cool to have a podcast, where we could pump the bank a little bit, but it's really not about the bank. People don't want to be sold anything, right? That's just not what people want to be sold. They want to confirm their decisions. They want to be enlightened.

Scott McComb:
Moreover, I wanted to let people know, because Columbus is now this hot … One of the hottest cities east of the Mississippi. I wanted everybody to understand why, and how it got that way. That was the whole part of Driving the CBus. Who is driving the CBus? Obviously, CBus is Columbus, but who is driving it, and how did we get here? It wasn't by accident that we got here.

Scott McComb:
I've been in this town all my life, and when I have people grow up, younger folks in their 30s, they don't know Jack Havens. They don't know what the Ohio Sports Commission does. They don't understand the place of Kip Morse, and the Better Business Bureau, and what they've done. They don't understand local radio, with Randy Malloy, and CD102.5, and what they've been fighting.

Scott McComb:
I just thought it was a really good topic to start off with. That was our first line of topics. Now, I think we're shifting to where we're going to talk about just business in general, and then some other things that are happening in central Ohio, and try to keep it going.

Brett Johnson:
You got a team around you thinking about this, brainstorming, or is it just you, solo, going, "Hey, we're gonna do this … We're gonna do this …"?

Scott McComb:
We have a little bit of a team. I was the impetus of the whole team. We have a really crack marketing team. My assistant, Tracy Bayles, is really a crack person, and helps out a lot with me brainstorming stuff.

Brett Johnson:
By the way, she's in the room, folks [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
Yes, she is here, and she just winked at me, so, it's cool. Then, my daughter Kailyn really helped us. She was the producer of Driving the CBus. She has really had an impetus there. We also have a group called Distribution Strategies, which is led by a young gal, named Ashley Trout. Ashley is one of the most creative people in our company. She is able to take all the wild ideas that I come up with, and boil them into value, and then execute … Her, and her group executes that value. She's helped me out quite a bit, as well.

Brett Johnson:
Well, good. From first thought of the podcast to open mic, and recording, how long did that take for you?

Scott McComb:
It took about two and a half months. We read some white papers on how to do podcasts; we listened to some podcasts. We had a little focus group – inside the bank – of people that listen to podcasts regularly, about what they like, and what they don't like.

Scott McComb:
We read one paper, I can remember it was the impetus, I forget the name of the author who it was, but basically said, "The most important thing is don't script it. It can be about anything. It has to be in a manageable amount of time, and the most expensive thing that you should really focus on is a really good microphone."

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Scott McComb:
Those are the things we took to heart, and I created the questions that I would ask. I created … Sent those out to our folks, and I created our first 10 or 12 guests. Kailyn produced them, and then off to the races we went.

Brett Johnson:
How hard was it to get those first guests, when you didn't have a podcast produced, and you're calling them, going, "I want you to be a guest"?

Scott McComb:
They were so excited. They were just excited to be part of it. The whole idea that I had was to obviously do things not only to tell the story, and all that, and you try to help the community, but you're obviously trying to help yourself, as well. If there's no reward, or some gratification, or some way that it helps, then what are you doing with your time? We live in that kind of society.

Scott McComb:
I actually hoped, and we actually were able to accomplish, where we could take our social media circles, and promote the podcast, and we were hoping to marry up with their social, the guests' social media circles, and maybe we'll meet somebody new. Maybe somebody will learn something different.

Scott McComb:
It's so inexpensive. It doesn't take a lot of time. There is a craft behind it, and frankly, it's becoming even more, and more eclectic over the course of time, with cameras, with all kinds of things, where people can look, and see … I actually drove to Cleveland to watch a podcast of things you should know, which is super-popular. There's millions of people that watch things, listen to things you should know. She wanted to go and see the podcast, so she drove up there with a friend to see the podcast that I thought, "Wow, you know the podcasts have arrived, when someone's gonna drive two and a half hours one way to check it out."

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, and I think we're dealing with a generation that's never experienced … You and I are at the cusp of it. We can listen to old radio programs. That's what they did. That was the entertainment form at the time, but, I think it's really cool that it's going back to that, that somebody will drive, or spend money to sit in an audience, and watch two people talking, or three people talking behind a table, and be entertained. Simple as that. It amazes me that it's come back to that again. I think it's great.

Scott McComb:
I think the death of cable is upon us. Really, it is. I think that the sitcom … I think the lackluster of Hollywood, all those things are … people have better things to do with their time. Now, we have books on tape. We have all kinds of things. I think the more nonfiction type entertainment models, and inputs are really coming on with this generation.

Scott McComb:
The millennial, everyone wants to throw the millennial generation under the bus, about, "Oh, they sit in the basement, and play video games, and they're living here til 35." That's not true. There's a very, very, very, small group of the millennial generation that are doing that.

Brett Johnson:
There's been a piece of every generation that did that.

Scott McComb:
That's right. Exactly.

Brett Johnson:
Every generation. Yeah.

Scott McComb:
Exactly. That's just wrong. Frankly, we hire a lot of millennials that are at our bank, and if we can get more, and more of them, that's what we want to do. The fact the matter is they are very focused. They do treasure their time, but because they can use technology … They grew up never having to change a channel, to get up to change a channel. They're not afraid of the technology, so they can run rings around us baby boomers, and X'ers. They're just three times more effective with what they can do with the tools. They don't need as much time to get the same stuff done. Let's face it.

Brett Johnson:
Right, and looking at it as tools, too. They have that recognition, where X'ers, and Boomers are going, "This is so fun, I'm getting sucked in …" It's like, "No, it's a tool. Stop!"

Scott McComb:
Well, that, and also women in the workforce. I'm a big proponent for single moms, and for just women, in general. They are able to handle so much more on a different level, emotionally. I don't know how to explain it, but they're just more effective. Now that we're having more, and more women in the workforce, I think we're finding that we have … If you take those tools, and you put them together, a more decisive, focused workforce with technology, no wonder we have all the productivity we have, and we're chasing inflation that we can't ever get.

Brett Johnson:
Right. Yeah. With your busy schedule, how did you figure out a publishing schedule? How many times per month? Every week? How did you figure that out? What did you want to do?

Scott McComb:
My schedule was very hectic, so, what we were able to do, though, is do it in spurts. I would set up three in a row, and do three in a row; produce them. Then we would wait to launch them. We did them in spurts, when my schedule would allow.

Scott McComb:
Summertime is a decent time to do those. The spring and the fall are usually very, very busy with travel for me, because I have some national positions. Then, the Winter, I like to spend some time in Florida, and get out of these Ohio winters. We were able to do them in spurts, and I think we had a total of maybe five recording sessions for 12 podcasts, and it worked out pretty well.

Brett Johnson:
I think a lot of podcasters do a batch recording. It's just easier; it fits the schedule. As long as it's not time-sensitive, it's okay. It works out just fine.

Scott McComb:
It's not time-sensitive, but, that's the thing … If your topic is about current events, though, then it's-

Brett Johnson:
Can't do it. Right.

Scott McComb:
You can't do it, and if you're gonna do something, have segments about current events, and things, then it wouldn't work out so well.

Brett Johnson:
Any references to it, of-

Scott McComb:
That's right.

Brett Johnson:
"This coming summer …" Oh, gotta edit that out.

Scott McComb:
That's right. Exactly.

Brett Johnson:
But it happens, yeah … You talked about social media, between yourself, as well as guests. What was the social media strategy, at least for your podcast? Which channels to use? Which social media has you've seen work real well, and maybe ones like, "Nah, kick that to the curb; it's just not working"?

Scott McComb:
We're very active on social media, primarily for the bank, on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook; not so much on Instagram, and not so much on Pinterest. We've really used those three things along with our website. We have a lot of customers, because they're doing internet banking, and paying bills, and checking their balance. Very active website.

Scott McComb:
We were able to push those things out on those mediums. Never really did a press release, per se, we just wanted to put it out there, and let people start to see, and see what kinda reaction we got. Obviously, we wanna maintain our reputation risk as a financial institution.

Scott McComb:
It was very important that Scott didn't get out there, and say something that would offend people that are depositors, or whatever. We wanted to be very sensitive to that. At the same time, I think my customers, they bank with us because they know who we are, and we're very transparent; we're just going to say what we feel, and we believe everyone else should be able to say what they feel – no big deal.

Scott McComb:
Those are the mediums that we really chose, so, we drove those … A very regimented preemptive announcement for each launch. One that's gonna launch on Saturday, we would hit the media, hit all those mediums, and say, "Okay, this is coming on Saturday", and then maybe one or two more posts about that coming up, and then it's live. Then we're back into square one, again, waiting for the next episode to be launched.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah. You're using YouTube as, basically, the platform. I wanna know, why did you choose YouTube?

Scott McComb:
Well, it's just where we had videos already. We have various interviews from me, and other mediums. What we would hope is that because everything was already there, that they would see this, and then maybe go to see some other things that had to do with the bank, and get to know us, and what a community player, and a community supporter we are.

Brett Johnson:
Gotcha. Your current setup for "studio," what's it like? Describe it.

Scott McComb:
It is basically the Amerine Conference Room at Heartland Bancorp. It's just a basic conference room; not a big one. We don't do anything special. My daughter Kailyn plugs in microphones into her laptop; we have two microphones there that are $150 a piece. That's our total cost, and a little piece of software, and that's it.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, good. She does the editing, as well, then, too [cross talk]

Scott McComb:
She does the editing. We try not to do a ton of editing, because we really want it to be real, and conversational. I think podcast listeners understand that … They don't want it to be too scripted. They want people to speak off the cuff, and talk about things that come to their mind, and be very genuine in their delivery of the material.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. What are your biggest challenges in creating the podcast?

Scott McComb:
Biggest challenge is my schedule, and lining up with Kailyn's schedule, because that's not what she does full time. This is an add-on to her thing. We really don't have somebody that we've hired to specifically do this, that does that for a living, and such, and so forth. That was a big challenge, getting it going.

Scott McComb:
Another challenge of getting going was getting buy-in, internally. I do a lot of things where I don't have a lot of buy-in, because I think that I'm going to create the buy-in. I lose as many times as I win, but I'm not afraid to lose, on the aspect that you have to take risks in order to win.

Scott McComb:
I think everybody knows that at the bank, that I'm willing to jump out, and do something new, to see what happens, and try it, and see how effective it might be. That was a little bit of a thing. People were like, "I don't know what that's gonna be about …" What kind of reputation risk do we take? "What's he gonna say?" Nobody ever knows what I'm gonna say, and I kinda like it that way. Those are a few things.

Scott McComb:
Besides that, we really didn't have any challenges. It was very smooth, and once we did the first couple episodes, people were like, "Hey, when's the next one? What's the next one gonna be about?" or, "Hey, here's a suggested guest you could have …" "I really like this." We got a lot of feedback, a lot of likes; social media really took to it. I think we really accomplished what we set out to do.

Brett Johnson:
I think that leads into the next question about advice for businesses, not necessarily in the banking industry, but any business interested in podcasting – from your experience, what you've had to do internally. Not, again, businesses that are like yours, but they're going to run into those walls of internal, "Uh, do I really wanna do that?" What advice would you give?

Scott McComb:
Well, a lot of folks'll say, "Well, geez, you only had 35 people listen to that. That's not very much". Well, have you ever done direct mail? You're gonna send out 5,000 things, and you might get 10 phone calls. That's better than direct. mail, and it's cheaper. Before you shut the door on it, and you decide never to do it, why not try it?

Scott McComb:
I think the big thing is that they have to have a commitment to it, to keep it going over time. Even if you did one or two a year, or three a year, and you're talking about your business, and what you did, and everything else, there's nothing bad, I think, that can come from that, unless you get too political, or if you- with your business … Maybe your business is only gonna cater to people on the left, or whatever. That's fine if that's an angle that you're gonna go for, but you do take some risk in that regard.

Scott McComb:
Besides that, I really don't see any downside to people telling their story. Because, especially, in Columbus, for instance … In Columbus, people support local ventures, and they wanna know your story. Part of what we even tell our Heartland Bank associates is, "Go out, and tell your Heartland story. This isn't a mechanical thing. You're helping make this story over the course of time. Go tell your story, and people will become believers."

Scott McComb:
I truly feel that any business can do that, as well, if they are ethical, if their associates are taken care of properly, and they have a positive attitude, and they have the utmost in integrity. I really think you could take this medium. and make it work for you.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, because you can't fake what you just did. You can't. It's from the heart. Yes, there are actors that can put on the voices, and such, but we're not actors. We've not been trained to do so. I think the inhibitions come down, and you just want to talk, and talk about yourself, and talk about the story, and talk about helping people, for the most part.

Scott McComb:
Right. They definitely don't have short, fat, bald, actors. That's for sure. I would not be an actor.

Brett Johnson:
Without giving away too many secrets, possibly, maybe a vagueness … Some future plans for the podcast? Where do you want to go with it [cross talk]

Scott McComb:
I'd be more than happy to tell we're going. We're an open book. Where I want to go is I want to find someone to help us to be more professional in putting it on. I'd like to true it up a little bit more, with taking on a challenge of going to some of the other things, like, if we had a video thing of it, a video portion of the podcast. Not every one, maybe, but certain ones.

Scott McComb:
I would love to talk about different strands of conversation. Not just about Driving the CBus, but taking Driving the CBus as an impetus to have some conversations that have different threads, whether that's an industry thread, whether that's a local thread, maybe that's a national thread, maybe it's a nonprofit thread, who knows? Just some of the things that I'm involved with to be able to help the people that we associate with continue to grow their communities, and get the word out, and talk about their challenges, and their victories. That's our next step.

Scott McComb:
We're trying to … I think we figured out that we're going to take it not only to a business segment, where we're going to talk to our customers about their business; not about how they bank, but about their business, and challenges they have with their business, and successes, and what works, and what doesn't, that kind of thing …

Scott McComb:
As well as a more industry-focused piece that would be a different angle. That'd be maybe even a separate podcast, where we talk to industry experts, and service providers, and that kind of thing, just about what's happening in the business, and appeal to the banking community as a whole, on a national level.

Brett Johnson:
I think any way you can peel away some mysteries of what banks can do, whether it's the B2C, or the B2B, it's good. Again, this will time this podcast, but just with the school-admissions scandal. That stuff happens because there are so many layers of mystery.

Scott McComb:
That's right. That's right. Well, yeah, I don't know if we wanna get started on that. It was just nice to see the IRS, the FBI, and the Justice Department actually take some people down that are breaking the law. Not only breaking the law, but they're just dishonest. These are people that don't have to do it.

Brett Johnson:
That's what's the head-scratcher about it is-

Scott McComb:
It just is amazing-

Brett Johnson:
-that's exactly right.

Scott McComb:
I'm gonna ruin my life, and my kids' life, and everything else, just because I wanted them to have this status. They can buy status, right? They have [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
Yes, they can. For the amount of money that was being thrown around, they could have donated to get their kid in … Ultimately. Really.

Scott McComb:
Yeah, it's crazy.

Brett Johnson:
I think this forum helps bring back those layers that, then, you can understand the banking business.

Scott McComb:
That's right.

Brett Johnson:
There are a lot of misconceptions about it, and I think podcast is a really good way-

Scott McComb:
Oh yeah.

Brett Johnson:
-to bring back saying, "You know what? I remember Scott talking about that on his podcast."

Scott McComb:
That's right. Well, you know what it's about? We find our customers, all the time, just don't understand the why. They need to understand the why. When we go to talk to folks about banking, and such, and so forth, we're not in … We're just not going to come back with a yes or no. I never want to come back with just … I fight that every day, as the bank gets bigger. Our culture is the most important thing to us, and to our board of directors. As soon as that changes, we're going to have issues. I'm not going to let that change.

Scott McComb:
We want to go, and tell customers how it can be a yes; not a no, but how it can be a yes, because they have to get that from someplace. They're not getting it from their accountants; they're not getting it from their suppliers, and everything else. They have to have somebody telling them, "Look, this is what has to happen for you to get to the next level."

Scott McComb:
Me giving them more money could be the nail in the coffin. That's really … I could kill somebody with a loan, just a company, with a loan, just as soon as we can help somebody with a loan. That's really what we want to try to provide folks. I think that the why behind banking is … It would be very, very revealing.

Scott McComb:
Right now, the history books are being written wrong about the financial disaster, for instance – how it occurred, what happened, the big bad [TARP]. That was just such a bad thing. All those are … That's all fiction. I lived it. I was going to Ohio State, after majoring in High Street. Remember, we talked about that earlier … All through that section, that would be a whole 'nother … We could do something on the financial disaster, with people that lived it, and say, "This is how the Big Short occurred," and it would be fascinating [cross talk] and it's not what you see on TV-

Brett Johnson:
You'll have a following for it; people love that stuff that was not covered properly. They love it.

Scott McComb:
That's right.

Brett Johnson:
They love it. We're in a generation that that instant information is there, that you can google it up, and find what you hope is the truth, or at least differing views. Then, it's up to you to come up with the right stuff in your mind, whatever you wanna believe, yeah-

Scott McComb:
That's right. Getting it from the people who lived it, I think, is about the most real way you can get that information.

Brett Johnson:
Exactly. Exactly.

Brett Johnson:
In today's world, it seems like … In one of my podcasts, I was interviewing someone from the media. They'll remain nameless. Somebody does their homework, they can find out who it is. The fact of the matter is that person said to me … I said, "What do you think about what's going on in the media these days? What's happening to journalism?" He says, "What do you mean?" I said, "Well, I mean it seems to me like everybody … Everybody that has an interview has a preconceived notion, and they're asking questions to validify their preconceived notion." He said, "Oh, that's the way they teach … That's why they've teached journalism for the last 20 years."

Scott McComb:
What happened to reporting the facts? He says, "Well, that's not what it's about. Journalism is about developing an axiom, or a thought, or a theorem, and then proving the theorem through your questioning." I said, "That's not journalism. What happened to …?

Brett Johnson:
That's muckraking, ultimately, yeah, I guess-

Scott McComb:
Anyway, that's what he said, and I didn't want to queer the podcast, so I'm like, "Okay, we're not going to do that." We changed the topic, and went on to something else.

Brett Johnson:
That's interesting. Again, I think that's unique [inaudible] as a podcaster. You can go down a rabbit hole, which we're doing right now, which I have no problem with at all, because it validifies what this whole thing's all about.

Scott McComb:
That's right.

Brett Johnson:
It's just interesting conversation. Find out more about you; find out more about … I want to listen this podcast, now. Scott sounds like a pretty good host. They must be pretty good. You've referenced a couple … That's the thing. That's what it's all about, as well as being a proponent, with my radio background, as well, too, it's just a really easy-access forum to talk to your future, or current customers, too.

Scott McComb:
That's right [cross talk] It's all about relationships. The world's about relationships. People want to do business with folks that they know, like, and have respect for, and can [cross talk] have trust. That's what it's all about.

Brett Johnson:
Well, thanks for being a part of the podcast. I really appreciate it. It's good to know you better, about where the podcast has been, and going. Our listeners at least can have an opportunity to know what to expect in the future, too, which is fun.

Scott McComb:
That's great. It's been a pleasure being here. I love your studio, everything that you've got here is great. Promoting, the whole basis of this podcast, was very interesting to me, because it really hit me as being, yeah, I would love to talk about that. I did it. It was easy. It was … It can open up doors for you. I appreciate being able to tell my story. Thanks very much.

Brett Johnson:
You bet. Thank you.

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