Adding Value to Your Community Through Podcasting with Morales Group's Seth Morales
Lindsay Tjepkema: Welcome to season six of the Casted podcast, where we are back with more of our very own users. Why? Because, well, by becoming a Casted customer, it's pretty clear just how committed you are, not only to podcasting as a key piece of the future of your marketing efforts, but really also to the much bigger picture of how all of your shows fit into a much broader integrated marketing strategy. Our customers are the most forward- thinking brands that are really harnessing the perspectives of experts with podcasts, and then they're not stopping there because they're ringing out those interviews to be amplified across other channels. They are practicing what we preach, and I want you to hear all about what they're doing, why they're doing it and how you can do it too? I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and co- founder of Casted, the first and the only amplified marketing platform for B2B marketers, and this is our podcast. If you've ever tried to sell a marketing initiative, say a podcast to your leadership, in particular to the CEO, you know that sometimes it can be quite a challenge. They don't always see, at least not immediately, the value in creative campaigns or brand building efforts. This is especially true when those marketing initiatives are something like a podcast that requires not only a budget, but also that CEO's personal most valuable asset, their time. Now sprinkle in the fact that if you want them to host their show, it's going to require them to step outside their comfort zone and get pretty vulnerable. It might feel like an impossible challenge to win them over, but luckily today's guest is that CEO. He's Seth Morales, CEO of Morales Group and host of the No Milk No Sugar Podcast. And here he is today, to share his perspective on why he's prioritizing the show for his business and how you can help your CEO see the value in podcasting too.
Seth Morales: My name is Seth Morales, and I am the CEO of Morales Group. We are a staffing and recruiting company, and we have a podcast powered by Casted, entitled No Milk No Sugar. It's all about business beneath the sweetener and the milk, and we get real about why we do what we do in business and trying to cut through some of the BS and get to the nitty- gritty of what it's really like running a business.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Truly. But I'm confused though, because my experience with running a business is that it's totally sweetened and easy all the time, right?
Seth Morales: Yeah. It's perfect.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's perfect. It's perfectly easy.
Seth Morales: crosstalk, like a latte at Starbucks. No, it's real and it's gritty and it's not easy and there's times where you can't sleep at night or you have a moment at the office and you're not too proud of, whether you blew up on somebody or you're shedding a tear. But those are I think the unique moments that help us learn the most, because I think, like today when you think about social media and just some of the platforms that are out there, you get this perception that life is great, and you've got all these accolades. And I'm sure with all the success that Casted had and some of the success that Morales Group has seen, it's not all that. It's inaudible a lot of pressure and, you guys have to grow and you have money backed and we've got shareholders too, and we've got debt, and the bank wants us to make a certain profitability and that's real. And so I wish more people would talk openly about that, it's not always easy, especially leaders. I think a lot of times leaders act like they have it figured out and those that are real, I think I gravitate most to.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's so true. Because of that, because you are a very busy CEO and leader of a large and fast moving company, let's talk about why this is a priority to you? Why doing a podcast, by making the time, because it's not easy. Podcasting, not unlike running a business, it's not easy. It's not fast, it's not quick, it does take some time. It takes an investment of your most valuable resource, which is that time. So tell me a little bit about how and why the show came together and why it's a priority for you? Why are you making time for it?
Seth Morales: Great question. We think the podcast and having a platform like that, there's great content that you can I think chop up and dissect and then distribute into other platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn to be relevant. That's one thing that from a marketing and brand awareness standpoint, we see a lot of value there. I also see just No Milk No Sugar, is all about interviewing other leaders about why it's hard to run a business? And there's a ton of learnings in that. So I was just talking to the CEO of a large health system. There's$ 3 billion annually, and they've got 20 hospitals and they just went through COVID. That's a sticky. What did that CEO learn, and what am I going to gather from that? So to me, there's a lot of wisdom taken out of it, and so it's kind of a selfish pursuit in that right, where you get to learn and share. And then I think, we like podcasts from our standpoint is were pretty good at building communities. And I think podcasting is a great way to build a tribe or community whether it's massive, like a Joe Rogan or you've got a small narrow niche group that really is fanatic about Morales Group and what I do. And so that's really important to us as well, and we think if you can curate or cultivate that community the right way and add some value, have some cool guests, be real. I think it's all about trying to provide value. And podcasts for me, I listen to them often when I'm running or I'm driving to and from at the car. There's entertainment but there's also, for me it's more learning, I'm a big learner so those would be, I think some things that stick out to me, Lindsey. But there's a lot of other different ways I think they add value but those are few that come to mind first.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Who is not following you on LinkedIn, they absolutely should be because you are very, very open. You're very vulnerable. You're very authentic. You share a lot about what you're going through as the leader of a company and tough conversations that you have. And how things are going with you and with the team and from your perspective. And so I think it does make a lot of sense at least to me, that you would do a show like this, but again, what do you... I love the perspective that you have about adding value? And I think that, that's quite often overlooked or like," Oh yeah, of course we want to add value. That's the thing we want to do." But as the CEO of a company, you also need to see value from something, right. So what would you say to people that are listening mostly marketers, marketing leaders that especially when they want to do something like a show, audio or video, and maybe they have the same mindset of you, of which is," We want to build relationships. We want to build a connection with our audience but my CEO wants to see something more tangible." Than," Hey, we want to add value." What advice or even just empathy, which you share with those who feel like they need to deliver something much more tangible than that?
Seth Morales: I think that's an ongoing challenge that you always see, especially with leadership that doesn't get it. And they're always looking for a return on investment, an ROI. What's the tangible? Am I getting sales out of this, or am I pulling in more followers? And I would say the challenge back to somebody that if I'm a marketing executive and I'm wanting to promote a podcast, I would say," Hey, this is not a sprint. This is a marathon. And this is more about a long- term play where you got to put in work on the front end, plant your seeds." It's like when you get on LinkedIn and you start out, you build your profile, you start to build a community, you start engaging, you start dropping comments, you start trying to add value. Then over time that builds into an audience. And I remember seeing your profile and seeing how you've grown over the last year, just in itself. You've really built, I think, a pretty cool following. It's the same thing with the podcast, I think it's a longterm value add, you don't necessarily, I don't know if I can draw back to," Hey, I've got these four or five exact wins that came from podcasting, but I can tell you that one, it's adding value to the folks that I care about. And a lot of the folks that are in our community or in our sphere." But then the other thing would be, I think it also just, it's really important that you take the time to just dig in to figuring out where it's most relevant to the people that need maybe some of the content that you're sharing. So there's usually, if you do a podcast, I think there's a gap. For me, the gap is there's a ton of, I think CEOs that aren't as vulnerable or real as they should be, and I'm trying to vote and find CEOs that are willing to share more about that. And so I wish there were more leaders that were, you derailed a little bit and be like," Hey, the armor's off. This is how I roll. This is what I suck at, this is what we've struggled with." And I want to encourage more of that. That's where I feel like the value is, but I would love to see more and more leaders buy into that, find that niche where there's a gap, something's missing, or they could provide value to their audience and really try to build that out. That's what we try to do and that's important for us. But again, it's a long game and it's going to take some time, but I'm not looking for necessarily the ROI right off the bat. I'm looking to build a community and add value and in return, there's so much goodness that comes on the back end.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. I think there's a lot of people listening right now that are just like," He gets it. I want my leader to get it too." Because truly it is about adding value, delivering value first, knowing that when you do that, you build those relationships and that's when you get, that's how you build an audience, that's how you build a following. Yeah, and not expecting results right away.
Seth Morales: I was just going to say, what's crazy is there're so many CEOs and executives that just don't get it. They don't see that. They don't see the value in being relevant digitally, or being on a podcast. I think at times they snicker and they kind of," That's cute. I'm glad that you do that. That's great." But what I found is, so I'm in a group of Young President's Organization and there's, let's say a hundred presidents that run businesses in central Indiana. And I think there's an opportunity to be, if you're front and center on your digital footprint and you do some stuff from a podcasting standpoint. You're top of mind and you can create, I think content that they all would agree to, and I think it's sticky but a lot of them don't necessarily want to take the time to do that. And so I'm not poking this at the YPO group, but I do see a lot of CEOs that aren't as progressive and forward- thinking, I wish they'd be a little bit more because they would see the upside down the road. So it's just not there right now.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's true. And I think that most people, most leaders understand the value of building relationships right, network, we all, I mean, that's networking. And what is the most valuable outcome of networking? It's connections, it's relationships. And what happens with those relationships, it's exactly what you just said. It's the long game. It's I have a relationship with you, we continue to help each other. You have a need that I can help support you, and back and forth. I think where people like you are starting to see, not even starting to but do see the value in things like podcasting or video content is the ability to build those relationships that, air quotes, network, without being in the same room as someone. Without going to a breakfast meeting. It's the same kind of thing. It's another way to do that. It's another way to build relationships in podcasts in particular, because people are listening in to the conversation that we're having right now, and they're feeling more connected. And it's an opportunity to connect with more people and to make yourself more available to more people and vice versa. And when you see it that way, and when you see it as an opportunity to connect with more people authentically, in a way that's really meaningful, that's where the difference happens. Same thing if you go to a networking event, if you go to a breakfast meeting and you hope to sell something that day, you're missing the point. If you go in hoping to meet some great people that are going to expand your network and looking to provide help to other people, that's where the real magic happens, because then you build relationships and you build support systems. And so I think, and I hope that especially with the year that we all just lived a new understanding and appreciation for human to human, and brands that really embrace the humanity side of the business and seek to make those connections. I think and I hope that we'll see more people doing things like what you're doing.
Seth Morales: Yeah, they will. I think I see the trend, it's coming. There's just some folks that are laggards and you want to nudge them a little bit. The other thing that I would add to that is, you've built these relationships and you get people to maybe buy into what you're doing, and then eventually they become a customer, or they want to use your recruiting or staffing service, or they want to use your podcast platform. What's also really interesting is just the talent attraction that you can create with building a community or a tribe, whether it's socially on LinkedIn or Instagram or Tech Talk or on a podcast. It's really cool to see how many people have reached out to me to say," Hey, I heard you on the IBJ podcast. I love what you're doing with your culture and your mission. That really resonates with what and who I am, I'd love to come work for you." That's like to me, there's a lot of stickiness with talent attraction, and a lot of people don't realize that today users and newer talent are on these platforms and they're searching around and the more accessible and the more authentic and real you can be where you're not behind this iron curtain and you're open and they're going to seek those leaders out. And I think it's a great way for leaders and other organizations to position themselves, to differentiate and be an employer of choice and you get to understand the vibe or the mindset behind how they roll. So that would be another benefit I'd sat that's common or already has come forth.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely, absolutely. Because it does shine a light on who you are as company. I mean, it's an extension of the brand and the culture and really who you are and what you stand for. I want to get into what you have learned so far as a host, what's that been like? What's come naturally? What are you learning? What would you share with those who might be in the same shoes?
Seth Morales: Really good questions. I sucked in my first few episodes, I mentioned that earlier, I just did not have the natural conversational ability. And I've realized that you have to prep a little bit on maybe some of the questions, for me that's what I need to do. I have to do a little bit more research, so I understand context about who the person is. But also I've thought about one thing that has been a learning for me is having and rolling in with a little bit of a theme. So when we met with the CEO from the hospital system and going through COVID, the theme was pressure is a privilege. And we talked a lot about pressure and being in a role that is privileged, being a part of a large health system and having 14, 000 employees report to you. That is a privileged position but there's also a lot of pressure there. So it's been cool to think about and brainstorm how to best use the podcast and make sure that it's efficient. And look, we've had 50 episodes with our past group and then we're only a few in to this new one, so it's a learning experience. I think what's really cool, the best part of, that is fun. I was in the school drop off line today, I was dropping off my four year old at a pre- K, and I turned on our podcast. It launched today. We had that new episode with Jonathan Nalli, from St Vincent's. And we did the intro and then we played it for a couple of minutes for my son, and he was like, it was just really cool to see him kind of," That's you." And connecting the dots. That's a selfish thing that I took on but a lot of learnings. I think I mentioned this earlier, just being natural in conversation. The intros and the outros, doing more of just a natural vibe, add it up with Tori, our producer. That's the best part about it, it's just us talking and it's not even trying to be so buttoned up and formal. I think too many times you get a little of that rigidy and it really doesn't feel authentic, just trying to find my authentic vibe via podcast, powered by Casted. And it's going to take some time but I'm getting there.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. I'm very confident that you'll get there. Authenticity is very natural for you. So I'm curious to how the show came together. Through the lens of, again, marketing leaders and marketers who are listening, thoughts that they might have for how to work with their CEO or someone in their C- suite, on a podcast, because that can be quite a leap. Let's say it's quite often the way a podcast comes together, it's either sold up the chain. It's like," Hey, CEO, it's time that we do a podcast." And sometimes there's pushback or vice versa. It's like," I'm the CEO. I'm going to my marketing team being like, it's time to do a podcast." And there's a whole lot of expectation setting around how much time it's going to take? How to be authentic, how to do these interviews? How to get to a grove that really feels like us, that is adding value? How much additional work there is around producing the show and promoting the show and how else you're going to use the content? So tell me how that came together for you all, and how it's working now, through that lens of lessons learned?
Seth Morales: Yeah, really another really good question, I can see coming from ground up to the C- suite and then being pitched, there's challenges there, especially if the C- suite doesn't get it. Fortunately, the C- suite gets it at Morales group. And I think a lot of that resonated from the last few years of being very active on LinkedIn. Our team saw my brand persona and saw an opportunity in the greater Indianapolis area," Hey, CEO, recruiting and talent, a thought leader in that space, deals with a lot of diverse workforces. How can we package that together and put it into a podcast?" And then we started to talk about my strengths and weaknesses and I think, you mentioned it earlier, just being vulnerable and being authentic is just how I like to roll. And so we said," Hey, why don't we brainstorm an idea of what we could do around that with just how I post on LinkedIn." And so Tori's phenomenal, she words smith that No Milk No Sugar, is all about, business beneath the sweetener and all the black grittiness of straight up coffee. So, I thought that was great the way we all... But I think we pulled it together from top and bottom, we met in the middle. I've seen a few of my other peers in YPO, like Tiffany Sauder or Tim Leman from Gibson, they've done a really good job of figuring out how to leverage their leader's persona. Tim and Tiffany are both very dynamic and engaging and great at speaking, so sometimes you might not have a CEO, or an executive that would want to do that. Then maybe you find CMO that has a great personality, like a Kyle Lacy, who could jump at it and do that. Or a young Lindsey when you were at, was it Emeritus or?
Lindsay Tjepkema: Emeritus, yeah.
Seth Morales: Emeritus. So, you did that podcast for them, you launched that for them. So it's like trying to find that thought leader that wants to pioneer it and from that. I think it can come from different levels and in different ways, but you got to find somebody, I call them swgi, somebody who gets it. Hopefully you have a swgi that can get it at the executive level and then you'd get buy- in, and it's easier. Because my dad definitely doesn't get it, it's all good. He does his thing. He's in his late sixties, but he leverages my strengths and allows me to do my thing and he serves as our chairman and so, but you play your strengths.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's true. So I mean, what I'm hearing from sitting in the role, in that marketer's role for many years is look for something that's already happening, perhaps. Look at, I mean, for you that was, you are very engaged with LinkedIn. You're already doing that. You already are expressing your personal brand and your brand as a leader there. So it's basically tapping into that and saying," What if we use it here and what if we tested it here?" Or looking at someone who's a subject matter expert. Looking at something that's already happening and saying," How can we nurture that into conversations and capture that in a new way?" So I like that. It also may be an easier way to sell it too and be like," Hey, you're already doing this. Well, let's just do it this way."
Seth Morales: Yes. That's-
Lindsay Tjepkema: crosstalk behind it.
Seth Morales: Yeah, that's more of assessment. I think yeah, just trying to identify what that looks like with somebody who's already doing it. And somebody that might have a natural skillset, whether it's the way they craft their posts or the way they're on video. Everyone's different but yeah, identifying that and then putting it into a little bit more of a overdrive.
Lindsay Tjepkema: We've talked a lot about vulnerability and authenticity, two things that are very important to both of us.
Seth Morales: Yes.
Lindsay Tjepkema: But it can be, especially if you are a leader in the company and let's say someone on your marketing team comes to you and says," Hey, I want you to sit behind a microphone and do something you've never done before. First of all, you're very busy, and second of all, I'm going to have you step outside of your comfort zone and start doing podcast interviews." What advice, what things have you learned even as someone who is already very publicly authentic and genuine and very open as a leader, what have you learned that some of our listeners could take and transfer to their person who is either already hosting a show or that they want to host a show and say," Hey, I can make this easier for you. Here's some tips. Here's some things that you can do." Things that will make it more comfortable for someone to take on this position. Because it is, it's very exposed, especially at first until you really get rolling with it.
Seth Morales: Yeah. I would agree. I do think it can be uncomfortable, but I think you need to divide and conquer that's first thing. So if you have resources or teams of people that can help build upon the podcasts. We have I think an internal marketing team of eight full- time staff, and then we've got Tori who's dedicated to running and operating the podcast. And we have Leah who's our graphic designer, and Andy is good on chopping up the audio at times and Tori's getting better. So you have a team and then you have some content editors or marketing officers that overview and made sure that we're running the right way. That was all really important for me because I don't necessarily have 20 hours a week to dedicate to it. But at the same time, I think getting in the studio, we do have a small studio that we've built out, And I'm having fun. Just doing a couple episodes, you start to realize," All right, I'm probably going to dedicate a couple hours a week to this. It's not ungodly amount of dedication. It's great having a team. That's really helpful." It's been really hard to, for me personally, I've been doing a lot of the reach- outs to get the guests because we're talking CEO to CEO. Having somebody on your team focused on that, who could do that to get somebody over the goal line? I don't know if you do that or if you have somebody else on your team, but that's the hardest thing for me right now. I don't have enough people booked out in advance. And I know there's people that do that for you, so I got to figure that part out.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. So good tips for how to make it easier for who it is that you're going to ask to come in as the host. So do some outreach and I have a nice bench of people who could come on as guests, make it fun, divide and conquer. Show the plan and say," This is what we're going to do and therefore, this is what I need you to do." And just making it very clear to your host what the ask is? Setting expectations up front for what you're asking them to do.
Seth Morales: Yeah. You do a good job of synthesizing there, because just like, my two minute rant into the right amount of inaudible-
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's just listening and learning from you, Seth. Just listening and learning. So well great. Well, okay, what else if anything, what would you share as a takeaway to anyone who's listening, who either already has a show or is thinking about starting one. You're pretty new into what I think is a really, really cool show that I'm really glad you're doing. What would you share with others?
Seth Morales: Well, I think one bit of advice is that, I've mentioned it earlier, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. It's going to take sometime, and especially if you've never done a podcast before, you're going to be uncomfortable for probably the first five to 10 episodes. I've started to feel myself get a little bit more relaxed, but I still am awkward. I still hate listening to myself a little bit with some of the ums that I got to work on some of those technical things, but it does just, it takes some time. And I think if you really want to build something worthwhile, you got to put your head down for at least in my opinion, six, 12, 18 months, and then come up for air and look at how you've done. And it's not necessarily about how many followers or listeners or subscribers that you have, it's more about the impact and the value that you're trying to make. And so you could have a super nichey tribe of 30 people that always tune in every week and they can be some of the best influencers to who and what you're trying to accomplish. It doesn't necessarily have to be this wide net that's wide and narrow, and you've got thousands of listeners, but it just depends. It just depends on what you're trying to go for. So, sprint versus marathon for one, and then number two, just be ready to be uncomfortable because it's the new space, and a lot of people don't necessarily know or feel comfortable talking about it at times. And there's probably going to be leaders in your organization or outside your organization that may snicker say," Is that really a good use of time?" And for me it's," Wow, this person really doesn't get it." And it really allows me or encourages me to double down on it because it's like, you know when people are hating that's when you know you're onto something good, and then-
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's like Jay Baer, says he has a book called, Hug Your Haters, hug them, embrace it. Because for every hater, every somebody who's watching and waiting for you to fail, there's 10 more that are cheering you on, truly. I think at this medium absolutely that's true. Well, that's awesome. So I really appreciate you taking the time to do this, you're doing your own show. You're running a business, no big. And just, I really appreciate you taking the time to share here what the experience has been like. It's No Milk No Sugar, and it's a great show and everybody should listen and follow along with you on LinkedIn because you're sharing really genuine, valuable, inspiring, relatable content there, and also on your show. So thanks for being here too, Seth. I appreciate you.
Seth Morales: Yeah. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's our show. Thanks so much for listening and for more from today's guest and some pretty amazing content that they've inspired visit Casted. US and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, to get the latest on all things, amplified marketing, B2B podcasting and a lot more.
This week, Seth Morales of Morales Group, Inc, joins us to discuss how his podcast, No Milk No Sugar, benefits his business. Seth will give us insight into the CEO perspective that can help you strategize your marketing initiative. He shares the different ways to utilize your podcast such as building community, and using your podcast content on multiple platforms. Listen now and you can hear Seth's tips and tricks to building a podcast that helps drive value.