Making Your Podcast Process a Success with David Poole
Making Your Podcast Process a Success with David Poole
Lindsay Tjepkema: Process. It's a word that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To some, the word might spark a negative reaction. I've heard things like," Process make things too rigid. I don't have enough room to be creative." But to other people, people like me, process, especially a really great process is an incredibly important and welcomed part of a strategy. Does that make me rigid or not creative? I mean, I guess you'd have to ask those who work with me, but I don't think so because without some kind of process things that are very creative and involve a lot of people like podcasting can become very overwhelming very fast. But what does a great process look like? And how can you create a process that works for you and not against you? I'm Lindsay, Tjepkema CEO and co founder of Casted, the first and only marketing platform built around branded podcasts. And this is our podcast. Today. I sat down with David Poole, Director of Marketing at Georgian Partners, and one of the hardworking marketers behind the scenes of the Georgian Impact Podcast. When talking with David about their podcast, one thing became very clear, very fast. They are very much like me when it comes to where they fall on the process discussion. With a six part podcasting process, David and his team have created an assembly line of sorts that works for them to ensure their podcast episodes are each well thought out, managed, activated and measured effectively. Dave gave us a deep dive into each step of that process, including how each episode comes together, tips for working with an agency and how transcriptions have become an important part of his process. This episode is a great testament to when done right, how a team can work together seamlessly to make an incredibly valuable and successful podcast happen. Let's dive in.
David Poole: Hello. My name is David Poole. I'm Director of Marketing at Georgian Partners and Producer of the Georgian Impact Podcast.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Awesome. Thanks so much for being here, David.
David Poole: Thank you so much for having me.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. So let's, as we do on this show and we're focusing on the unheard voices behind the podcast which is you, tell me how the show came together. How long ago was it and why did you decide to do a podcast?
David Poole: The show was actually going a little before I joined the company, but the rationale for starting the podcast was thinking about our audience which is CEOs of growth stage companies. We're aware of how little time they have in their day- to- day. And the podcast format just really struck us as one that was particularly suitable to the CEO lifestyle because you can download it, listen to it on the go, it's very, very possible as a format. And that was the rationale for getting started. So we took that and thought about. If we're going with this concept, how do we think of ourselves as podcasters? For the answer to that, we went back to our cultural values as a firm. At Georgian Partners, we're really driven by the concepts that certain technologies really changed the way that everybody does business. That's not just a question of adopting a specific technology, it's more to do with it will drive changes to your sales and marketing, to your customer experience, to your products, even to their financial metrics that you track. And so examples of that might be the move to Cloud or machine learning, which is playing at the moment. And so we, as investors that are focused on those types of transformative technologies, thought that the perfect subject matter for a podcast would be to focus on those technologies and to help our CEOs try to get their head around what it means to be ahead of the waves of technology that are still to come, but also the ones that are currently breaking and help them really get a picture of how to implement and how to make best use of those technologies.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So it sounds to me like you started, which I'm always an advocate of, which is who's it for and why are you doing it? So that's awesome that you started first and foremost with who it was that you were trying to attract as your audience and then what you could uniquely provide as value to those individuals.
David Poole: Coming out, we identified that they would likely want to hear from other CEOs who had been there and done that, subject matter experts who could really provide a deep dive on a certain aspect of a technology that may be impacting them, and then just other case studies on how to do it. And always within that, taking a longterm view about how this might be something that really they should try to get out of the day- to- day and focus on. It's not necessarily ever going to make it to the top of their priority list until maybe it's too late. So trying to provide that kind of beacon and foresight into these big issues that rarely impact everyone's day-to- day lives. Within that, we're always respectful of our guests' time and our listeners time. So we keep it as short as possible. We respect our listeners' intelligence so we try not to dumb it down and we take the position that our guests know more about this stuff than we do so we try to not overpower them. It's not our job to know the answer, it's their job. So we're allowed to prompt them on the answers and just let them be the focus of the show.
Lindsay Tjepkema: As a CEO of a startup, I really appreciate it and I think that you do a great job of providing that unique value of information that we're constantly looking for. We're just sponges as we grow. So I think that's fantastic. Okay. So that's about the show and how it came together and why it came together. I'm interested in knowing how it fits into your overall content and marketing strategy. Where does it fit in and how does it work with everything else you're doing?
David Poole: That's both an easy one and a tough one. We see our podcast as predominantly a top of funnel awareness type thing and we see ourselves as having a pipeline marketing approach to our content. Podcast sits at the top of the funnel is to drive awareness around those technology areas and to demonstrate that Georgian is not just an observer of these technology trends, but a participant in those trends ourselves. We like to think of ourselves as much as a technology company, as an investor. So we have a team of deep experts in these areas on staff who are able to go out and help our companies to adopt these trends with workshops, they conduct hackathons in the office. We produce software that our companies can adopt. So the idea of the podcast is to position Georgian as a technology company ourselves rather than an investor.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So we know why it all came together and what it looks like. Tell me how it works. So you are behind the scenes managing this whole thing. I know you stepped into it, you said it started right before you joined. What does your process look like? And also, I'm sure, I know for a fact, this is not the only thing you're doing there. So how does it fit into your life? How does it come together week after week and show after show?
David Poole: The process has improved and evolved over time and it continues. It continues to evolve. And I will give several shoutouts to several pieces of software that we use to drive that process because they are all best in class and they deserve the recognition. We use a software called Clicker to drive the process and it's a project management software, but it has a Kanban view into the podcast. We have everything laid out in a Kanban, so we can see the different episodes flowing through six different stages. And everybody who is involved in running the podcast, across the organization and outside as well, can see exactly where we are and we can manage a pipeline so that we don't get distracted and we keep that regular publication cadence. So I can go through each of the six steps because there's probably little tips and tricks that I could share into them. But yeah, I wanted to just give that high level overview first.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. So from there, what happens? That's managing from a high level. How does that, because quite often with podcasts, it lobs back and forth between people. Like one person schedules the guests and then another person does the interviews and another person does the production. How does that ball that is the podcast volley back and forth around your team, or how many hands does it change?
David Poole: It changes hands at every stage. The first stage that we have is called inaudible and headset. And the idea of this stage is really to select a time for the podcast and to send a noise canceling headset to our guests.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's really smart. Yeah, I think anybody else who's doing a podcast, that's a really good idea because not only is that a nice gift, but it makes sure that your sound quality is a little bit better, right?
David Poole: 100%. And that's exactly the reason we did it. We played around with so many different ways of improving the sound quality. And this was the only thing that we found to consistently raise the bar. And as you say, it's such a nice gift for any of the guests who come on and guarantees quality threshold. Then once that is done, it gets shifted into the brainstorm section of the process. And every time we shift a podcast across through a new phase, it kicks off a series of tasks that are associated with the stage. So it brings myself and John Pyle, who's our host, a session where we each do our own individual research. And again, we found that this is the best way to do it over time, but this is where we've landed. We do our individual research because it stops us from biasing each other's opinion onto what we think the flow of the podcast should be, what we think we should focus on, what the most interesting tidbits and stories are. Even if we both do it independently, we come up with two different sets of ideas and then we can brainstorm together more effectively. So we have that brainstorming session booked. Then we go through doing that and we open up a Google doc, we pour all of our ideas in, and during that hour, we tend to just come up with a very high level of, say, four or five points flow that we think looks good for this particular guest. And then John will go away himself and add in his flavor and his coloring, because he has a very particular way of talking and he's nailed that on his own over time.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So then what happens?
David Poole: Then we move into the recording, which is the session. Honestly, I have absolutely no part in other than I will mention that we use Zoom for all of our recordings. And if you don't know about the dual track option in Zoom, I highly recommend that you turn it on because it means you get to download separate tracks afterwards and you can clean up any coughs and sneezes that happen, the other person.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And just real quick, because I'm doing that right now is, you're in Zoom for those views and for your podcasts, you just go up to Zoom and then preferences, and under recording, you can just set it up. You have to record to your computer as opposed to recording in the Cloud. So fun tip if you're not doing it yet, it's time to start because it is such a game- changer.
David Poole: It is. The only other thing I would add about the recording session is, we don't share too much ahead of time. Two reasons, one being respectful of the guests' time, we just try to keep the interviews on the subject matter that they should already be very comfortable and familiar talking about without any preparation ahead of time. And the second is, we try to create this atmosphere of intimacy and we found by sharing a whole list of questions ahead of time, it didn't feel as off- the- cuff and there wasn't as much of a rapport as there would have been otherwise.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's a really good point is that if you're interviewing someone based on something that they truly are a subject matter in that space, which you would hope they are if they're coming onto your show to talk about it, they should be able to just talk off the cuff about things that you are asking about. I mean, it is good to give them something directional to say we're going to talk about this, not so much this, but more like, this is the topic we're focusing in on. But it is much more authentic if they can just be pointed in the right direction and have great conversations about it.
David Poole: Then the only thing that we do is prep people ahead of time. Exactly like you did, Lindsay, where at the beginning of the recording, we say," We'll do post production, we'll cut out anything you don't like. Feel comfortable, [ inaudible ] as you can." Just put people at ease that it doesn't have to be a one and done. They can go back, they can stumble, they can mess things up and that tends to get better results than having too much of a script.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. So you have your show, it's been recorded. And then what happens from there?
David Poole: We move into Descript which is our tool of choice for the production process. And so for getting to that, we call it, the rough cut, it takes about half the time I find than working with an audio editor. I don't know, maybe other producers listening are more familiar with using those types of programs, but I personally am much more familiar with word processing as a tool set, Descript just feels way more what I'm used to.
Lindsay Tjepkema: All right. So then you have your show, kind of rough cut. Where does it go from there to get finally packaged up and made into an episode?
David Poole: Typically, we will have a couple of questions that we need to rerecord just to better fit what the output is. So John will go back and rerecord. That's usually when he records his intro as well. We've played around with so many different ways of doing the intro, but we've found that it works probably better if it's done afterwards. And then we send to a production company called Pop up Podcasting, they're based in Ottawa, and they make everything sound even better. They take the flow that we've inaudible in Descript and they deal with all the cuts and the edits. They add the intro music, the outre music. They just really smooth all the inaudible out and everything to make it a smooth audio experience.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Very cool. So I guess, pausing there, what is your advice or learnings or thoughts on working with an agency? How has that been for you?
David Poole: The guys at Pop Up, JP and Lisa, are excellent at the two different ways that we've tried. We've tried sending down to the second edit descriptions and that works when this kind of... I'll say that we have two types of podcasts when they come into the production stage. One is according to plan and the other is, it did not go according to plan. When it does not go according to plan, we found that it's easier just to send those like," Cut him, move here. Cut him, move here," second by second. And then when it does go according to plan, we typically just send across pretty much the raw file and they are... over time, they've learned more and more what looks like a good Georgian podcast and what should be removed. So I would say the advice would be build up slowly and build a relationship of trust with an agency, allow them to get a feel for what you would cut and what you wouldn't. Don't jump in straight away and expect them to be able to get to a perfect version. But over time, you can just let more and more of the process go to the agency once you know that there's that trust. Because that just allows you to scale even further in terms of the number of episodes you can produce and reducing the amount of hours that internally that get spent on the podcast.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So then they give you a beautiful, lovely show back, all tied up with a bow. Where do you go from there?
David Poole: Then we go to Libsyn, which is where we publish and distribute our podcasts. But we also have one more round of reviews backing the script. So we actually re upload our final versions of the script. And that's when I'll share it with PT, who's our communications manager who will go in and highlight and pull all of the shareable sections. And in the past, what we would do, is pull those down and create audiograms. Now, what we do is go into Casted and take the Casted transcript, find the social media snippets and create the key takeaways.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Awesome. So that's your beginning to end. And I think a lot of people that are listening that are doing podcasts can totally relate to the multiple steps and multiple different people that are involved just with managing the show.( music) As far as what you've learned in that whole process, you said it's gotten better over time. Is there any advice you would share?
David Poole: Yeah. What I would say is communicate with the guests throughout the process because they're your strongest ally when it comes to promoting the show and it shouldn't necessarily be a host to guest relationship only. I think the more that you can offer to be of service to your guests and to build a relationship and to explain what it is that you're hoping to achieve and how you can help them achieve their objectives as well, the better the engagement that you'll get coming out of the show. And that that always, always has the most clear effects on how successful the show is.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love it. That's really good advice. It can't be a one and done, it is a relationship. If you're not on an authentic conversation, you've got to build a relationship. Okay. So you mentioned impact, which I'm curious to dig into. How are you measuring the impact of the show on the brand and on the organization?
David Poole: This is the hardest part. This is the hardest part. I probably shouldn't say this, but in some respects, we hope that it's impacting the brand. We hope that it's reaching the right people because the metrics for a podcast traditionally are just not granular enough to let us know for certain whether we are going in the right direction. So we have a couple of sets of metrics that we track. One is just number of downloads and how quickly after a show is published, those downloads come. And then the other is around what I was just talking about in terms of what re- use we can get out of the podcast, whether we can get additional content out of it, whether we can get new ideas out of it and whether we are stretching our own brand through association with people who are at the forefront of these emerging technologies, people who are solving the problems of quantum computing and robotics and IoT and Edge computing, all of these amazing new technologies. We consider that a success when it comes to measuring the impact of the show on our brand. Obviously, we get anecdotal feedback about people enjoying the show and people are listening and finding it useful. And we try and keep ourselves honest by, at each show, making sure that we're trying to be actionable no matter how far in advance the technology is coming. We're trying to think," Okay, if I was a CEO, what would I need to know today to help me inform how I think about this subject matter?" It might not be that I'm going to go tomorrow to my CTO and say, we need to investigate quantum computing, but it might be that I am able to say when somebody asks me about quantum computing, I think that it will have a big impact in these three areas and be able to confidently discuss that. That would be considered an actionable insight for us.
Lindsay Tjepkema: All this to say, what are some of the biggest takeaways that you would share with our listeners who either already have a podcast or are considering one? What are your biggest learnings and greatest advice that you would pass along?
David Poole: I would say, start with a very, very clear understanding of why you're doing a podcast and who the audience is. Nail down a process that works because it is a team sport and you'll have to get many, many people involved and select as good partners, both in terms of agency production and technology partners, like I've said, who can just help you bring it to life and help you get more out of the investment that you're making in each show.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Great advice. Well, thank you so much for being on our show and for actually stepping out from being the unheard voice behind yours, to being the heard voice on ours. This has been really great. Thanks for shedding some light on your process. It's very helpful.
David Poole: Absolutely. Thanks so much for both inviting me and for shining a light on the producers of podcasts. I think it's a really cool idea.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's it for today's show. Thank you so much to today's guests and to learn more about them and see Casted in action with clips of today's show and related content, visit casted. us. Thanks so much for listening.