Jon Sasala, President of Morey Creative, shares his team’s first hand experience in developing branded podcasts. Jon discusses where and how podcasting fits into the larger marketing and sales processes, how it builds trust—and the surprising industry he likes to hire from.
Today we have Jon Sasala, president of Morey Creative. Jon shares his and his team's first-hand experience in developing business and branded podcasts. We talk about his approach to building and developing podcasts, where and how they fit into the agency's larger marketing strategy, the sales process, and much more. Jon also shares the industry in which his team likes to hire from, which may surprise you. You're listening to Agency Unfiltered.
KD: Well, Jon, thanks for joining us on Agency Unfiltered, at least in a remote capacity. But excited to have you on the show, my friend.
Yeah, thank you so much for having me. Kevin, as you know, I'm a huge fan of yours. We've done a few things in the past together. And I'm a huge fan of Agency Unfiltered. I love what you're doing with this, where you're bringing education to our ecosystem and helping agencies who are always trying to scale up and do better and get ahead. You're bringing war stories and lessons that have been learned and letting us all experience that together. So thank you so much for putting this together, and I'm honored to be on the show.
KD: Of course. At the end of the day, I mean, I think I have one of the easier jobs in the world. I just have to put a microphone in front of the people that have had to deal with all the trials and tribulations themselves. So I've just got to give them the platform. That's all it. But thanks for coming on. I know today, we're going to really dig into podcasting. So podcasting is a great resource and strategy for an agency or for a solutions partner, but also helping clients think about how they can leverage podcasting for themselves. So excited to get into that. But before we even touch on podcasting, I think there is a unique way in which Morey Creative Studios thinks about content development and how they build their content team. So maybe that's the best place to start, if you want to give us the lay of the land on how you think about content.
JS: Yeah, sure. So let's actually start back in 2001, when I first joined the Morey organization. When I came on, we were a media company. And we had a bunch of radio stations. And we had a concert hall. And we were doing a lot of great interesting stuff, hosting expos. And we decided to launch a newspaper in 2001 when I first joined on. And that became our passion project. It was the most rewarding thing that we were doing. And over about 15 years, we saw great success with that as an investigative journalism publication. But we saw the writing on the wall. We saw that newspapers were having trouble as a business model, and we had to make some hard decisions. And when we decided to pivot out of that role, we loved everybody that we worked with. We didn't want to lose people. We wanted to make sure that we could find something that we were just as passionate about. And having these great journalists on staff, content developers, who know how to write, who you know how to interview, know how to research, and having great designers that we're building-- print ads and websites for our expos and our concerts-- we had the skill set to really logically pivot into this inbound marketing agency space. And something interesting happened as we were growing. We were falling in love with HubSpot. Everything that we were learning was coming from HubSpot, signed on as a HubSpot partner agency. And when we were hiring, we were looking for people that had HubSpot experience or came with a marketing background, and learned pretty quickly, that taking journalists and teaching them the best tips and tricks in inbound marketing is something that's very easy. Teaching a marketer how to compose copy quickly, that's clean, that's well-researched, that's citing properly-- that's difficult. So something that we learned along the way, we pivoted back to hiring, as we grew, really exclusively people with journalism backgrounds. So one piece of advice that I want to leave anybody who's watching this episode is go and explore journalists, if you're growing your content development team. Because fortunately or unfortunately, newsrooms across the world are being cut in half, and there are a lot of journalists out there looking for work. So just something I want to leave people with.
KD: So treat your content team like a newsroom. What was the biggest tactic or the hardest tactic or the hardest strategy to teach one of those writers about marketing? Was there any aspect of training them as a strong inbound marketers that was worth calling out or that you found a little harder?
JS: It's hard to say that they failed to adopt anything specifically, but it was hard to say, don't focus. So in the beginning, when we thought we had to do all of these really strong SEO things and play nice with Google, we would say things like, make sure that you're linking to internal content, and make sure that you're using keywords in those hyperlinks, which might have been true at the time. But over time, we realized, listen, just let these people produce the best possible content. And that wins the day, every day.
KD: So you were trying to layer in some of the SEO, the on-page, some of the tips, tricks best practices there, be like, let's just get that out of their way and just produce the best content?
JS: Yeah. Because when you would say to somebody, like, OK, well, you want this piece to rank for what? Well, why isn't that keyword or related keywords in the title or the URL or the meta description? And the fact is, Google is so incredible, that we're at a point now, that even if you fail to, with latent semantic indexing and Google understanding that it doesn't necessarily have to be in there, you can win, even if you're not following everything by the book.
KD: Sure. Yeah. Now, I hope you're OK with losing a piece of that journalism pie. Because now that folks have that as a recommendation, you're going have some competition for journalists looking for new roles.
JS: That is fine. I want other agencies to find the success that we've been able to find with this, and I want to help these people find jobs. So go get them, guys.
KD: Perfect. All right, let's pivot to podcasting. I think it's easy to say, I think we were joking earlier, right? Like, over coffee or over a beer, it's easy for a few folks to say, you know what? We're going to do a podcast. Now, how did Morey Creative Studios realize that it was truly time to start a podcast? How did you know that, hey, this idea has some legs, and we feel it's going to be validated?
JS: Yeah, so it was actually—playing on that journalism sensibility, it was having people on staff that loved the mission behind investigative journalism and giving a microphone to those who didn't have a voice. We actually started producing our first podcast when we stopped a print publication. And our team went and started producing a show that's still going today, called Newsbeat. You can find it at USnewsbeat.com. Newsbeat focuses on social justice and focuses on a lot of systemic racism issues. So we're actually finding an incredible amount of positive attention right now in the world of Black Lives Matter. And we've been producing that with no specific business model tied to it. It was a passion project. And the success that we saw there, we said, hey, let's start another show. Let's do something that's going to support the agency. And three years ago, we started producing a show called Inbound and Down, which is our agency life podcast. We just talk about things that we experience as an agency, the learning moments when we realize that maybe a Google algorithm uptake changes the way that we need to be thinking about our content and what we're producing. And in the beginning, it was a little like an echo chamber of us just talking to ourselves. It was myself coming from the design background and our senior inbound strategist at the time talking from the content development side. And it was great. It was great for us to learn and understand what each other's departments were going through. And it wasn't until we started having guests on that we really saw the quality of the content start to increase and the attention start to increase. We also started seeing some really significant business benefits that were like accidental byproducts.
KD: What were those?
JS: As we started getting more popularity, we started having more people reaching out to us, saying, hey, can you do this for us? And we were saying, absolutely. Because we saw the way that we were leveraging it. The byproducts were the trust-building process. When people have experienced our company and spent 45 minutes listening to us talk about something and demonstrating our authority in that space, they feel like they know you, and they start to trust you in a way that just delivering them an article that they find three months later, another article they find, it's a lot slower of a process. When they discover your podcast, it really does fast-track that trust-building.
KD: That's great. In the early days, what does the investment look like up front? Is it a heavy ask for equipment? Do you have to have dedicated resources or folks dedicated to building this up as a channel? So what does the investment look like in the early days?
JS: Yeah, it's a great question. We've learned a lot of hard lessons along the way. Just like the reason why our agency clients hire us, they could leverage HubSpot themselves. But they don't get the five years of experience building in HubSpot that we as agencies have. So in order to really not slowly learn on your own time, we've experienced some things that we can help people understand. You might have microphones. We had microphones initially, in the beginning, left over from our radio days, that were old and rickety.
KD: So you guys may have had a head start on some of this equipment coming from the news room, yeah.
JS: We had mixers laying around. We had some stuff that we could leverage. But we even learned quickly that the older technology still wasn't good enough. And it wasn't until we started having those guests on that had better microphones than we had-- and we sounded like the guests on our own show. So you'll learn quickly that the equipment is very important, if you do want to take this seriously, and if you do want to launch this, or help your clients launch this. Starting with incredible microphones is a great place. And there's a company called Rode that produces a pod mic. The price point is incredible. It's $100 for this microphone, and it is just a game changer. They have a few products that really do help get anybody up and started for pretty affordably. Another one that's important is a mixer. You need to make sure that you have multiple channels. So if I have two people in a room talking, it's not going into one channel. And if they're stepping on each other, or if somebody sneezes, having separate channels allows you to edit it and make sure that you don't have to redo things over and over and over.
KD: Yep. That's great. Do you have a dedicated space in the office? Obviously, now we're doing this from home. But back in the days when we were going into the office, did you have dedicated spaces or rooms, a conference room dedicated for recording?
JS: Yeah, great question—so that's another thing that we learned. Initially, we had a conference room. We had a room that we would have meetings in. And then when it was time to record a podcast, we would set up the equipment and record. And that was not a sound-controlled room. So the room that I'm in right now, it's not a sound-controlled room. And when the air conditioner kicks on, you're going to hear it. So making sure that you have a space that is built to be sound-controlled-- you don't hear traffic outside, you don't hear a door slamming in the background. When you're in a conference room, often there is a lot of background noise that you have to weed out. Where we are now, because we offer podcasting as a service, we actually have a sound-controlled studio that can service something like up to eight different people sitting in the room.
KD: That's great. So it sounds like a lot of the equipment and the resources, it's iterative over time as it gains more traction and as you try and build it, as more of a significant piece of your channel mix. Yeah, the investment happens over time. It sounds like, from the echo chamber days to the interviewer days to the podcast as a service days, the workflow itself has changed. But if you can boil it down the best as you can, what does the work stream look like for developing the strategy of a podcast? So whatever your cadence is, how do you decide topics? If you were going to bring in a guest, how and when and where and why does that guest get featured in? What does the distribution plan look like for new content, new episodes? I'd be curious just to get an idea of your work stream on all of that.
JS: Yeah, so it requires a lot of thinking and planning up front. You don't want to just dive in and hope that these things work themselves out, because you can waste a lot of time and a lot of resources. And you also don't want your podcast to visibly, audibly evolve so significantly from what you start out as. I was up at INBOUND in 2019. And Sam Balter put on a presentation about branded podcasts and starting a branded podcast for your business. And it was really well-received. When he started out, he said, who out there has a podcast? And not many people raised their hand. Who out there wants to start one? Everybody-- there were 200, 300 people in the room. Everybody raises their hand. And before he got started, I was sitting there having a conversation with somebody who said, you know, my boss wants to start a podcast. So I figured I would just get the equipment, dive in. And one of the pieces of advice that I gave her, one of the things that I said, was, well, don't just start. Don't start recording. Don't think you're going to have the infinite podcast that we're going to do every single week, week after week, and it's just going to turn into something glorious. Because when you don't actually map out, what do we want to talk about? Who are we going to have on? What is the show structure? Inevitably, you'll have five or six great episodes week after week, and then you realize that whoever is hosting that also has to sell for the organization. So maybe they take a week off. Maybe they take a couple of weeks off. And it just slows down, and you end up two years later, looking back, and being like, what happened with this project? It just fell short. So I recommended to her, and I recommend to people who want to get into this, start with a miniseries or a season plan, where you say, I'm going to map out 12 episodes. And in those 12 episodes, we're going to cover these topics. These are the people that I want to interview; making sure that you have it stringing together, and you can button it up when you publish episode number 12, and feel like it was a success. And maybe there's room for a season two or miniseries number two. But yeah, that's just my recommendation when you get started. As far as mapping out exactly who's going to be on as a guest or who's going to be hosting it, often it's like, you know, our CEO is the most charismatic person in the world, and he's so funny. It's going to obviously be him. That might not necessarily be the best move, because that CEO has a lot of work to do outside of just hosting a podcast. And even though they may be very intelligent on the topic, that doesn't necessarily mean that they can guide a conversation or listen to the person they're interviewing and make sure that it's stringing together in a logical way for the listener. Or they fall into just reading question after question, getting an answer, and it's just non sequiturs, where it doesn't feel cohesive. So sometimes it's you're better looking for somebody who has experience moderating a panel or conducting conversations in public, public speaking. Those are the types of people, the types of personalities, that do seem to do well with hosting a podcast.
KD: That's interesting. So it's not always the subject matter expert as much as, who do you feel comfortable and confident guiding and leading discussions? Yeah.
JS: Yeah, because why not have the CEO on as a guest to talk about one or two or three of those different topics, but let somebody else steer the ship.
KD: You mentioned the miniseries idea, and I love that, especially if you just are dipping your toe in the water and want to test this out and validate that you have the system, the infrastructure, and the bandwidth to make it happen long-term. What are your thoughts on episodic releases, versus Netflix-style season drops? Have you guys tried both of those? I don't know if you have a penchant or a preference one way or the other on how to release episodes.
JS: Yeah, we have. In fact, for Inbound and Down, we're working on, I believe, season seven or season eight right now. But our last season was a miniseries where we only featured HubSpotters. We traveled up to Boston. We sat down with people. We did some remote interviews. But we did the entire season where it dropped all at once. And that was the first time that we did that. Because we've always been of the mindset of I've produced it, why am I going to sit on it? Let's look at it in the inbound content, in the blog post world. You might have a content plan where you say, I want to produce these 15 pieces to support this cluster. And I've written them all over a period of two weeks, but I'm going to publish them week after week after week. Well, why? Why are you going to wait for blog post number three, four, five, six to start getting indexed, to start having its opportunity to rank? Why not just publish it all at once? But with podcasting, there is a feeling of people want to look forward to the next episode. And I personally felt, when we dropped the entire season of the HubSpotter interviews, I feel like they individually didn't get the amount of attention and shares and love that they would have, had we said, no, no, this is Kevin's week. We need to promote Kevin's and not, hey, everyone, go check out all these episodes all at once.
KD: It sounds like episodic gives you guys more of a, well, like a long-term promotion or distribution opportunity, versus when they all drop at once, it's hard to give each episode its individual moment in the spotlight, so to speak.
JS: Yeah, because there's an element of promoting a podcast. Once it's recorded and published, that's not the end of the story. We're not done. There's a lot of back-linking that needs to be built. There's a lot of promotions and upcycling and taking content and repurposing it on social. And you want to make sure that every single episode gets its due, gets its time.
KD: What are the metrics or KPIs you look at? How can you officially mark a podcast officially as, this is a success for my business?
JS: Yeah, it's a great question, especially when you're talking to people, businesses, that say, hey, I want to invest in a podcast. What's going to be my ROI? And it's really hard to draw a direct correlation. But there are some undeniable things that are going to happen, when you do have a successful podcast that you produce. First of all, the internal morale just tends to go up. People start feeling really proud to be associated with a company that has great content that's being produced. And just in general-- I mentioned our first iteration of Inbound and Down, when we were talking to each other. For our other staffers to be listening in and hearing my co-host and I work through the details of what we go through, generally, everybody else is experiencing that and skilling up themselves. So that is tangible. What's tangible is the attention you get from the public. When a salesperson is like, Oh, I already know these things, because I listen to your show; or can I talk to the host; or for recruitment. I can't tell you how many times we've had people come in the door to interview who know everything about our company and feel like they already are aligned with our culture and who we want to be. So there are some tangible things that can't be drawn back necessarily to revenue. When you do want to look at the analytics and say, OK, well, how do we measure success, it's a very fuzzy area, first of all, because people listen to podcasts in different ways. You can download an episode, you can subscribe to an episode, or you can listen to it and do neither. And you have many, many ears, many, many people listening, but it doesn't necessarily get reflected in your subscriptions. Or maybe people are subscribing in a way that they're receiving it, but it's not being counted in whatever platform you're using for distribution. So it's really hard to accurately quantify the success. I will say you can't expect-- like, an expertise podcast, you can't expect wild fame and thousands and thousands of downloads. And even the volume of listens to justify someone paying for advertising on a CPM basis, paying for advertising on a show, when you're clocking in at 30 or 40 listens. But those 30 or 40 listens per episode might be somebody who's going to make a substantial investment or the new employee who's going to come on, join your team, and take you in a different direction.
KD: The weight of an individual listener is obviously heavier than just a simple page view or a blog read or something like that. The intent is much, much higher, potentially. Let's get into the podcasting as a service piece. This is interesting. I think it might be-- at least as far as I know-- unique to Morey. Do you guys call it PaaS, Podcasting as a Strategy, or Podcasting as a Service yet?
JS: We do now. I love that.
KD: I have one joke. And the thing is, I only have one joke. And so it's like Novocaine-- give it time, it always works. And I've always said that we should think of HubSpot Academy as Academy as a Service. But AaaS just doesn't have the right ring to it, so—talk to me about Podcasting as a Service. What does that look like for your clients? What aspects are outsourced? What elements of a podcast do you provide specifically as a service?
JS: Yeah. So the first thing that we'll do for people who come to us is try and make recommendations to help them do it themselves, rather than us using our internal resources. Of course, we want to be producing podcasts for clients for people who come, specifically our inbound retainer clients. We want to be producing shows for them, because we see the long-term benefit to the way that people are just digesting content right now. And we'll talk a little bit about that later. But if somebody comes to us and says, hey, we want to produce a show, we'll do exactly what you and I are doing right now, just say, these are the things to consider. This is what the equipment's going to cost. This is what you need to do as far as mapping it out. You need to make sure that you have a structure. Are there ads? Is it a branded podcast? Meaning is it lifestyle speaking to the type of people you want to be in front of? Or is it an expertise podcast, what we call an EAT podcast-- Expertise, Authority, and Trust, just like Google? If it's going to be an EAT podcast, that's where you're going to find the most success. And we try and set them up to do it for themselves. But when we get into to do it well, it's not just about the recorded product. There is also distribution. There is posting it to your site. There is show notes. There is coordinating the interviews. There's the artwork. There is, what is the distribution platform, and how are you upcycling that content? There's a lot of things that can go into it. So if you want to do it well, that's where hiring a company like Morey Creative Studios makes a lot of sense. Because there isn't that direct ROI, though, that's where it's a difficult-- like, OK, I need to invest how much with you? And I'm going to definitely see what in return? You know? So that's where people might often want to go and say, OK, we're going to try and do this on our own.
KD: You've mentioned that a few folks have begun to reach out, saying, hey, love what you're doing. We'd love to build a show ourselves. Do you find more traction with engagements that start or opened with podcasting? Or do you see more traction with existing clients, and you're just adding podcasting in as another lever for them to pull?
JS: Yeah, I would say, that because our website is already a lead generation engine on the content development side and the web management side, the majority of our leads are still in web development. There have been a few people that have come to us, though, because of finding Morey Creative Studios, saying, I'm looking for somebody to service this. There are a lot of companies out there that specialize just in helping companies produce podcasts. So it's not an organic success as far as Podcasting as a Service is right now. What it is, what the number one driver of people interested in producing a podcast is, are our podcasts-- people who listen to them, come across them on social, find them through search. That's when they say, well, who produced this? I want to do this. This is exactly what we need to produce. So I would say that, yeah, the people that do come to us specifically for podcasting, that's the means that they find us. Where we try to push podcasting for existing clients, we're going to dramatically discount how much it's going to cost to produce a show. Because we know that it's going to service the long-term goal of our success, our client's success. And that's what we're hired for. So if this is a tool in our toolbox, we want to make sure that we're using it for our existing clients before helping set up other people.
KD: How do you, or do you get involved with giving a stamp of approval on an idea? Have you ever had someone come in with this really amazing, in their eyes, a really amazing show idea, and you just don't feel that it's going to gain any traction? What role do you play in that regard?
JS: Yeah, so we're advisors here, right? And if they are steadfast on they want somebody from their marketing team to be the host, because he's a stand-up comedian-- he's very funny-- and we don't think that he's going to be able to carry it for long enough-- but at the end of the day, it's their decision. They can listen to us. They can take our advice and either go in a direction that we recommend or just follow through with that marketing person.
KD: I'm just going to put my recommendation out there and then take it as you wish.
JS: Yeah. And if you wouldn't mind, I'd actually like to talk about the different types of podcasts that people can produce. Because when they do come to us, and they have an idea-- they want it to be the marketing stand-up comedian, whatever that might be-- they aren't necessarily thinking about, what is the format of this show? And I had touched on this before, where there's a difference between a branded podcast, where you're really just trying to entertain people that have an indirect correlation, indirect connection with your business. One of the best examples of this is HubSpot's Weird Work, that was produced by and hosted by Sam Balter, that is a show about people who want to find their passion work-wise and maybe stop working for somebody else and go and pursue their dreams. And it was about really weird dreams that people were having. But it's a very interesting show that had mass appeal. You didn't necessarily need to know who HubSpot was to find it, to like it, for it to be shared. But then drawing that connection through ads back to the HubSpot Academy, saying, you want to start your own business? You've got to start somewhere. That's where the Academy comes in. And that now becomes a lead generator. But it's a two steps removed process. That's different than what I think is the most successful type of podcast that you can produce, and that's that E podcast, that expertise podcast. Because when you produce a podcast that demonstrates that you understand what you're doing in your business, that helps people just learn more about what you do, not only is it an enjoyable thing to produce, but it's something that serves the same role that inbound content serves. Blog posts that rank because you're talking about things like comparing our service to somebody else's, well, an article is going to rank really well for that. So will your podcast. And podcasts are now being served in search results. This is very important to know. And you can look back to the evolution that video had. Originally, when video started being served as a result, it wasn't served on the main SERP result. There was a tab that said Video, and you had to toggle over there if you specifically wanted video. And it took a little bit of time to see it actually showing up in those results. Well, we're seeing podcasts now showing up in results the same way the videos do. Currently, I believe you still need to put in Podcast for it to say, Oh, you must want a podcast. Here is a carousel.
KD: But we're on the right track here, right? Yeah, there's incremental steps being made.
JS: And you could see that maybe, if I'm on a mobile device, compared to a desktop, maybe they'll be more likely to serve me a podcast. Because isn't that a great experience to watch a video or listen to our podcast on a phone, as opposed to reading an article? So you can see the opportunity that's being presented there in the SERPs. And that's where producing that expertise show, where you're building a content plan. You're building episodes, topics, just like you would build a content plan, where I want to answer the questions that people have. And I'm even going to go as far to say, in the future, I think that podcasts that cut out the theme music, and I'm the host, and get rid of all of that, and just get to the answer, if you have an audio piece of content, that is going to be the thing that's engaged with most in search results-- so just an eye on the future and what I think could be coming down the line soon.
KD: So it's the audio version of a Google snippet, right? It's an audio just-- it's going to cut right to the answer of a particular question.
JS: Exactly. And right now, voice-enabled devices are serving that snippet, that featured snippet, the position zero result. And it's Alexa, or it's Siri, or whoever, reading that 36-word description. Wouldn't it be a better result if, when you ask Alexa a question, she says, I found a podcast that covers it, and you listen to somebody speak on it? Isn't that a better experience? And that's coming down the line. So I think the companies that are thinking this way and producing content that way, they're going to be ahead of the game whenever it does start becoming such a ubiquitous way of digesting content.
KD: Jon, as more and more people think about building out podcasts, creating podcasts, and specifically, these EAT-style podcasts, to borrow your acronym, how much do you need to be thinking about how to cut through the noise? You know what I mean? How do you think about being not another marketing podcast? Or what do you have to put in place to make sure you're not being another marketing podcast? How niche do you need to go? How do you cut through the noise, if that makes sense?
JS: Yeah, I think a lot of people look at the competitive landscape of podcasting, specifically, in our space, having a podcast-- this is a podcast in addition to the video format. Having this where it is agency talk, there are a lot of shows that do-- we love, at Inbound and Down, to have other agencies on to talk about their experiences. So you start to see many of those. But let's compare how many podcasts there are out there that are focusing on whatever the niche might be. We did a webinar about podcasting for business. At the time, it was something like 700,000 podcasts. And I think now it's 900,000 podcasts, which seems like a lot. But if you compare that to 2.5 billion websites, does that mean, you know, ah, too late to the game. I don't need a website. There are 2 million blog posts published every single day. We're still going to continue to produce blog posts. When you look now at that 900,000 number, it actually doesn't seem all that intimidating. It's like, I'm a little bit early to the game. And I do think that, just like with content or domains that have a longer legacy, there's a benefit of being in the game early, and getting started early, and being one of the options that are being served.
KD: That's great. And then maybe one or two questions left for you here-- when I think about, and we've talked about it a little bit. But distribution, we've talked about, I think, Spotify or Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts. I've seen Stitcher. How do you determine where and how you get your podcasts out there?
JS: Yeah. Great question, because if you were going about this in a way that you're saying, I'm just producing those audio snippets that I only care if they're served in search results.
KD: Right. Are they just embedded on your website, in that regard?
JS: So that's not going to be found if-- we actually experienced this firsthand a couple of years ago. We had an idea years ago about, when we're producing really incredible long-form content, why not increase the time on page by having a video on there and by having an audio version-- so just an audio-read version of this? And it did increase the ranking signal time on page, so that did benefit us. But there was no real discoverability for the audio the way that there was for the video. Because the video was hosted in YouTube, and we were finding traffic coming from YouTube. But when you embed a piece of audio directly on your website, it's not anywhere else. And it's not going to be found and served. So if you are going to pursue that-- I want to just produce a little audio snippets that answer a question as quickly as possible-- you could just go the route of I'm only going to publish to Google Podcasts. But really, if you have a piece of content, don't you want to put it in as many places as possible?
And there are services, like we love Libsyn. Libsyn, you can publish to. And there is where you're going to put your show name, the description, the show art. And from there, you can dispense it to everywhere else that you want to. It's going to be in Spotify if that's where someone wants to listen to the podcast. It's going to be in whatever app you're listening to-- Stitcher, the Apple podcasts app.
KD: At the end of the day, you're taking the distribution out of your hands and just letting the tool do the work. That's great.
JS: Yeah. Yeah. But that's another one of those steps that's important to not overlook, to make sure that when you're going about this for yourself, making sure that you have the right people on staff who are assigned to do these things. It's not just whoever the host is or the talent is who's going to be doing this whole thing. There are other people that you need to consider hiring or assigning, whenever you want to get started doing this.
KD: What would those roles look like?
JS: So there's actually three main roles. One of them, the most important role-- it's actually not the most important to the process. But the first one you're going consider is, who's going to host this? Who's going to drive the conversation? Is it an interview-style format? Who can do that really well? So that's the host, and it's pretty clear what their responsibilities are. But the second role that you want to consider is the engineer. And again, this doesn't have to be an engineer that you hire outside of your organization. It could be somebody internally that is comfortable with the software. But the engineer is the person who has a good idea of engineering sound and setting you up in a way that you can capture audio in the best possible way as far as adding music and theme music and coordinating all that stuff, editing it together, so leveraging the software. We use Audition. I believe Audacity is a platform that you can use for editing. I think it might even be free. But they need to understand, what is the software that I can take and cut this up? Because inevitably, you're going to have sneezing, or you're going to have people accidentally cursing. You want to be able to chop that up and maybe cut, shorten it. Maybe you finish recording, and this thing that was 45 minutes, there's only 10 minutes of good stuff. You need someone that can actually tighten it up. So that's your engineer. And then, in my opinion, one of the most important people is the producer. That's the person who is thinking about this constantly and saying, who are the guests I want to have? I'm going to coordinate them. This way, the person who's hosting it doesn't have to worry about getting them set up on-- if it's a remote interview, we use a tool called Squadcast. Squadcast lets people come in, and we can record their audio. And there are many different options you can use. This is another one of those hard lessons that we've learned along the way. We've used five or six different platforms. And there are issues with a lot of them. But Squadcast, I will say, has resolved a lot of those issues. So that's a recommendation on that side. But that's the producer. The producer's worried about getting them set up, doing the show prep. What is the title of the person? What do we want to talk about? What are the questions that we should be asking? Once a show is then live, once a show has been recorded and ready to be published, this is also the person who's coordinating show art, the person who is publishing it to Libsyn, the person who is upcycling it to social media or doing all of the other stuff that should happen. So it's really, in my opinion, really important to make sure that you have a producer that understands what you're trying to achieve.
KD: And they're ready to wear all of those hats. Because it sounds like they have to be a multifaceted marketer. Jon, final question for you-- we end every episode with this. Now, it's usually, what's the weirdest part of agency life? But maybe just the way in which we had to record today's episode, what's the weirdest part of remote agency life for you at this point?
JS: The weirdest part of remote agency life-- yeah, that's a great question. We were partially remote, partially distributed workforce, before this all happened. So we really migrated to this well. We took to it well. But for the people that have been used to coming into an office and having the culture of high fives and hugs and lunch together, we're losing that. So the weirdest part has been trying to replace that, trying to make sure that the way that we respect each other and engage with each other and continue to develop our friendships and our relationships, that it's still there. And I've got to say, that I'm overwhelmed with love and joy for the team that we have and the way that they've taken to this situation. We have incredible leaders within our organization that are making sure that everybody is being tended to. And there are days that I wake up-- we all go through these ebbs and flows of feeling like, I'm going to conquer the world right now, or, I couldn't be more depressed right now, and this is really challenging. But when I know that I have the people on our team that are looking out for each other and asking personally, is your home life OK? And it doesn't have to be me, as the president of the organization, checking in on with everybody every single day. I know that the leaders at our organization are doing that and caring for each other and bringing to light whenever somebody is having a hard time. So I'd say that the weirdest thing is maintaining that culture and love and support for each other.
KD: It sounds like thus far, you guys are doing a great job at keeping it alive, which is great. Well, Jon, thanks for coming on. I appreciate you joining us for an episode. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge and expertise as it relates to podcasting. But that's it, man. That's all we got. This has been another episode of Agency Unfiltered.