027: Streamlining Your Podcast Production with Mac Prichard

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027: Streamlining Your Podcast Production with Mac Prichard

 
 
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Today I’m talking to Mac Prichard from the Find Your Dream Job Podcast. Mac’s podcast focuses on educating listeners about job hunting and career management so they can find creative and meaningful work in their lives.

[podcast_motor_player url=”https://episodes.seriouslysimplepodcasting.com/PodcastMotorShow/027_-Streamlining-Your-Podcast-Production-with-Mac-Prichard.mp3″ title=”027: Streamlining Your Podcast Production with Mac Prichard”]

He originally started his website as a local job board, and now serves a national audience with his weekly show and blog. Listen in as Mac discusses his podcasting processes and business advice that have made his podcast successful.

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The Find Your Dream Job Podcast and Mac’s List job services
  • Launching the podcast and understanding the needs of the listeners
  • Avoiding “pod-fade” and keeping a successful podcasting routine over the long-term
  • Outsourcing certain production processes to focus on content
  • Building relationships and tactics for recruiting guests

Resources:

Find Your Dream Job Podcast

Macslist.org/podcastmotor – Free chapter of Land Your Dream Job for PodcastMotor listeners

Craig: This week on the show we have Mac Prichard from the Find Your Dream Job Podcast. Mac, how you doing?

Mac: I’m doing great, Craig. How are you?

Craig: Doing great, doing great. Thank you so much for asking. I’m really glad we can have you on the show this week. We tried to have folks from what I call every walk of life in the podcasting world and really try to span across the iTunes categories themselves as well as the why people are podcasting. I think we’re touching some unexplored space here with our conversation this week. But for folks who aren’t familiar with you and your podcast, can you share a little bit about you, your brand, your podcast, and maybe why you’re podcasting a little bit?

Mac: Find Your Dream Job is a weekly show, Craig. We publish every Wednesday morning. The show runs about 30 to 35 minutes. We focus on the nuts and bolts of job hunting and career management. We teach people how to improve their job hunting skills and how to manage their careers better so that they can find rewarding, creative, and meaningful work. We’ve been doing it now for about 90 episodes and it is one service from our website called macslist.org which includes a job board and other content that can help people find work that makes a difference.

Craig: Your target audience with the podcast are new people into the workplace or folks wanting to reinvent themselves in a second career. Who are you shooting for as an ideal listener?

Mac: It’s two groups, Craig. At our website, we do annual surveys and we’ve done a fair amount of research about our readers. We’ve created consumer profiles. Our typical reader, and we’re finding our listeners as well, is a woman who’s well educated. About 90% of our website visitors have either Bachelor’s Degrees or higher. They live in urban areas, particularly in the Northwest where we’re based but our audience is a national one.

There are other millennials or boomers and the common challenge that both groups have, Craig, is that they have the first, second, or even third job has come to them very easily through connections that it made either in college or through internships or if they’re younger. They’re struggling with finding that third or fourth job and if they’re a boomer, it’s typically a woman who’s in her late 40s or early 50s who has taken time up to raise his family and she’s ready to get back to the workplace.

But both groups have never had formal training in how to look for work. They default to responding to posting centers job boards like mine. Here’s the challenge, most jobs are filled by word of mouth and the rest of them out there that is many as 80% of jobs are never posted publicly. If you don’t know how to tap into what’s called that hidden job market, you’re going to struggle. Sometimes lightning strikes and you do get interviews and positions through job boards. But as a job board operator, I can tell you that employers don’t rely on job boards alone to find great candidates.

Our podcast helps people learn how to navigate that hidden job market and how to get clear about their goals and find jobs that they want in a faster and easier way.

Craig: I can relate to the job market and market board fallacy a little bit. I remember in my previous life in the corporate world that it was almost the lore and definitely the exception when you knew someone who was hired through monster.com or one of those and many, many more, people were hired through word of mouth and some sort of referrals. I think it makes the job of the hiring person a little difficult because it’s tough to scale word of mouth, it’s tough to scale a referral. I think you’re spot on in providing the services to help people understand that, first of all and then how to navigate that scene a little bit as well.

Mac: Hiring managers do have systems that they use to find candidates through word of mouth and you can learn how those systems operate. But if all you’re doing is calling up job boards on your computer, you’re not going to get plugged into those systems. It’s a skill, you could learn it. When you master it, your next job is going to come sooner and faster.

Craig: Regarding the podcast specifically, how did the podcast start, I know you guys blog as well and do a lot of the content marketing that a lot of brands do, how did the podcast start and how has it taken shape over time? I know you’re coming up on 100 episodes here so you definitely have learned a thing or two along the way, I’m sure.

Mac: We have, it’s been an adventure when we’re drawing as a team. We launched the podcast in order to serve our audience. We know some people like to read blogs, others prefer books, some people like to go to events. People learn in different ways so we wanted to reach out and connect with the people who prefer to get their information by listening. What drives the show and all of our content is understanding the needs of the people we serve and giving them valuable content that they can use in this case, in the job search. We’ve had a great response since we launched the show about a year and a half ago.

Craig: What kind of content strategy do you take for your podcast to complement your blog? Is it a similar vein that you try to touch or you’re trying to touch on a little bit different angle of the job market for your audience?

Mac: Our website started seven years ago, Craig, as a job board based in Portland, Oregon where our offices are. Our blog originally, when we launched it five years ago, had a laser like focus on job hunting in Portland and the surrounding metro area. When we launched the podcast back in 2015 at the end of the year, we made a deliberate choice to serve a national audience. We’re very proud of the fact we’re in Portland but the format of the show, we share our resource every week, we answer listener question and we interview an expert and we look for national experts that can serve job seekers no matter where they might be, not just in Oregon or the Pacific Northwest. Our blog changed its focus too in the last two years as our national audience has grown.

Craig: All of the content is to serve the job board as your main business focus, is that right?

Mac: Yes, it helps us attract an audience of people who again are struggling with how to look for work. When we’re creating the content both for the show and for the blog and other channels, we’d listen to the people we serve. We do an annual survey and we ask open ended questions like what’s your biggest challenge. We have invested in focus groups over the years and we were meeting people at events, we do a number of them every year. In those one on one conversations, we get great insights too. What we try to understand is what people’s problems are and then provide content whether it’s on the podcast, the blog or elsewhere that helps them solve those problems.

Craig: It makes total sense. I’m shifting gears a little bit into the production and system side of things behind the scenes maybe a little bit. Like I said, I knew you guys are coming up on 100 episodes here that you’ll come to this summer. What have you learned about actually getting the podcast out the door every week in the last couple of years?

Mac: The first lesson that I think anyone who launched a show comes to understand the value of this is it really helps to set a launch day because once you do that and you have to start scheduling guests, it gets you off the dime and gets you into production. The big problem of course is pod fade, how do you keep going after 7, 10, 15 episodes. We found, as a team, there are four of us who work on the show inside the office, that having a regular set of interview days, Monday is when we interview our guest and not only scheduling those but documenting the business processes that we use both for the interviews and for the creation of the show and its promotion has made a huge difference in our ability to sustain a show over time.

We also get together as a team about once a month and we review those processes where they’re in a written document. They not only helps us be more efficient in producing the show, they help us identify things that candidly we’re not expert at, Craig, that we can outsource to others. There are thing like show notes and audio production and transcriptions where we turn to outside vendors for those services. That’s helped us focus on what we know best which is our content area and marketing and promotion.

Craig: That makes total sense. I think one of the things that folks get into a lot with this part of the process is letting go of some of the control. We at Podcast Motor have a lot of folks that come to us and say, “Hey, we’d love for you guys to do some of the editing for our show but what do you about the actual content, how do you decide what to cut and what to keep because I like to have my finger on everything that happens with my show.” How have you, as the one behind the brand of Mac’s List and your podcast, managed giving up control a little bit of some of that creative process and some of those decisions that have to be made with the podcast while still knowing that you have to outsource some of this to, like you said, people who are better at it then you are probably so you can grow your brand?

Mac: Backing up a little bit, one thing that helped us a lot as we were planning our launch was we built on a plan that laid out why we were doing the show, who are we going to serve, what made us unique. It wasn’t an encyclopedic document, it was just a few pages but getting clear about the answers to those questions I think helps a lot in the content creation.

We don’t script out every word but we have a structure for the show, a format, and we follow it. We do walk into the studio with notes about what we want to say and some questions in advance for our guest. We interview, again, a national expert.

I think organizing and doing that preparation in advance makes us better on the air. It also helps us avoid having to do a lot of micro editing, we may stop and start the show as we record it a few times but we’re clear about what changes we want to make. If we do, there’s not a lot of editing because as we, not only been clear about what we want to say and got a good preparation, the show has a flow, I think that makes it easy to edit.

Craig: Yeah, I can relate. I think that the podcast gets easier over time, for my own personal podcast we’re coming up on episode 90, similar to where you guys are at. It’s definitely gotten a lot easier especially in the last year or so. We don’t need a ton of content editing anymore, we do a lot of work on the sound of the podcast but we don’t cut a lot of content out anymore. It’s not an interview show, it’s a co-host type show.

I think an important thing for folks to remember is, the first few episodes that you do are the hardest in a lot of ways and certainly in the editing side of things. I think relating to pod fade, the first episodes you do will definitely be the most difficult not only in editing but in recording and producing and publishing and marketing your podcast. What’s an important thing for people to remember over time is that it will only get easier I think, if you can get past the first 20 episodes probably, then life definitely gets easier from what I’ve seen and with our customers.

We have customers who, if they don’t get to 10 episodes, we pretty much know they’re going to throw in the towel. If they get the 20 or 25 episodes, they show gets attraction and they start seeing results with their brand and they see that it gets both easier and more rewarding for their business or their personal brand or whatever reason they’re podcasting. That’s an interesting thing to keep in mind.

With respect to the processes and outsourcing, what kind of pieces did you guys first look to send out of the house? What was the first thing that you looked to outsource with your podcast production?

Mac: Our first probably 20 episodes, Craig, we hired a local contractor who came in and recorded the shows for us. We worked with two different people, one was a public radio reporter. The other was a social media expert who would have expertise in audio. After about 20 episodes, they taught us how to do that ourselves. We stopped outsourcing that but they had been helping us with the editing.

We went through a process after we learned how to do the recording ourselves to identify vendors who could help us with the editing. There are different firms out there, sounds like yours is one and I encourage people to shop around because when I talked to other podcasters who are doing editing themselves, it’s a big time commitment. I think that is probably the first thing you want to look at outsourcing.

I don’t think we ever would’ve done the transcript in house. We outsourced that from the start. The reason we have the transcripts made is it helps a little bit with our Search Engine Optimization. We have a number of people who like to read these things but in the long run, what we’re doing is capturing the content so we can repurpose it and use it in other ways, perhaps these blog posts or turn it into ebooks or other kind of information that could be valuable.

We do outsource the show notes now, we were doing them internally. We found somebody who can help us with that and that has freed us up to do the things that I think we need to concentrate on which is the content creation. We still do the scheduling, we keep that in house and we do that in part because we want to build relationships with our guests that it’s not just about having people come on the show. We want to connect with experts in our world and see how we can continue to work with them after they come on the podcast.

Craig: It totally makes sense. I think the things you mentioned, the audio editing, the transcripts and the show notes would be things that other people certainly can do and a lot of times probably do better or quicker, easier than you would or people on your team. But having control over the editorial calendar and schedule and the guest relations is probably not something I would give up anytime soon.

On that vein though, now that you have all this free time since other folks are helping more with your show, what have you found to be some of the things, your time goes somewhere else, it’s not like you have free time but you spend time doing something else with the podcast, what have you spent more time doing now that you aren’t so busy with the nuts and bolts of the podcast?

Mac: I think in the beginning we struggled to identify and recruit guests. We have more time now to build that list of guest ideas and begin to build relationships with them before we send them an invite so that the first time they hear from us is not an invitation to come on the show.

If you’re reaching for national experts as we do, their time is limited. Being able to connect with them on Twitter or perhaps comment on their blogs or review their shows before you reach out to them to have them on the show can help you get a guest to say yes or might otherwise say no if they’re just not familiar with you or your program. That’s one area that we’ve invested more time in.

We touched on this, Craig, but just looking for ways to stay connected with our guest and build those relationships, that takes time but we have more time to do that now because we’re not involved in these other more mechanical tasks.

Craig: Anything specifically that you can share with the listeners to help them connect or stay connected with their guest either prospective or a past guest a little better? I agree it’s a huge thing that probably we all could do better with.

Mac: Couple of things. One of the best ways to get the attention of somebody who is hosting a podcast, that you might want to come on your show, is simply take the time to listen to say three episodes and leave a review. Not only leave it but send them a note with a screenshot of the review saying, “Had the chance to catch your show, really enjoyed it.” My experience has been, people, they love to see their show reviewed and they’ll remember you.

Other ways to do it are basic but practical, they take some time. Follow someone on Twitter, retweet or comment on their tweets. Most guests that you probably have on your show have a blog or some kind or perhaps they’ve written a book. Leaving a comment or two on a blog with your name or leaving a review on Amazon, again, with the real name and emailing the author saying how much you enjoyed the book, these are great ways to get people’s attention but they also demonstrate that you invest time in understanding what it is they want to say and what they’re an expert in.

When it comes time as well for you to sit down and write an invitation, it’s not going to be a cookie cutter pitch letter, it’s going to be something that reflects the fact that you actually are familiar with their work. That’s going to make you stand out particularly if it’s somebody who may have their pick of invitations.

Craig: Just share a little bit of my experience with what you’re talking about, specifically is when we were working time for you to come on the show, you went and listened to our podcast episodes, left a review and sent me some information about yourself and your brand and what you guys are up to. It was the first time someone has done that, honestly, and it was great, it was really nice and very kind for you to do that but sending some information proactively was a great way for me to prepare for the interview and get to know you and what you guys are up to. It really went a long way towards making that connection that you’re talking about. I think that’s a really actionable tangible thing that a lot of people can do. I know once you have that system in place that probably didn’t take a ton of time.

Mac: It takes a little bit of time but once you commit to it, you can just make it a part of what you do. I remember hearing someone doing a podcasting workshop and I’m sure you heard this as well, Craig, that there are three reasons to podcast. One is it’s a hobby, it allows you to produce content or do a show about something you’re passionate about.

A second reason is to network, to make connections with people who you want to build relationships with and who are candidly more likely to take your call or to respond to your email if you’re offering them a platform, an interview. The third is monetization. We haven’t talked about that but I think there certainly are ways you can monetize your show. It’s challenging.

I think for many of us, it’s about either passion or about building relationships in our world. Obviously, your show has to be valuable for the audience that you’re serving and the people you bring on have to provide great content or great information. I’m always thinking about our audience and their needs and their problems and how we can help solve them.

Craig: I think in terms of monetizing your show directly with the advertisements, it’s tough just because of the sheer volume that you have to have and tens of thousands of downloads per episode. But when you are doing a show like you are and we are with the PodcastMotor Show, to do it, to support your underlying brand, lets you be really listener focused and know that you only want to serve your listeners in the absolute best way possible because doing that successfully will benefit the brand that lives behind your podcast. For you it’s Mac’s list, for us it’s PodcastMotor.

We know that drawing more people into our podcasting, giving them what they’re looking for and it sounds like you’re doing the same thing, will really increase your brand recognition and people come to your site and purchasing your product or services or whatever. I love that indirect monetization of a podcast. I think folks that sell advertisements have a tough road ahead of them although it’s getting easier, I think, but I think that using a podcast as a form of content marketing is very savvy.

Mac: That’s certainly what drives our show. We didn’t talk about the Mac’s List story but it’s candidly a mid six figure business and at the heart of it, Craig, is a job board. We sell about 400 job listings a month to employers in the Pacific Northwest.

The job board began as a very simple list with just a few dozen names and I would just share postings that cross my desk. I did that for more than a decade as a way of connecting with others and being of service to the community and people in the world I work in. My career has been in communications and public relations and government and politics.

I bring that up because I was giving away content for free without any expectation to be getting anything in return. Now that list that was just a few dozen names has 25,000 subscribers. It has attracted the national audience and 85% of our downloads are outside of Oregon. What has driven the website, the job board and our podcast has been the idea that if you give valuable information away for free, you’ll be of service to others and you’ll have the opportunity to build a business that can continue to be valuable to others too.

Craig: That’s awesome. Mac, I think that’s a great place to wrap it up. Can you share with folks where they can find out more about you and your show and Mac’s list?

Mac: They could go to macslist.org/podcastmotor. We’ve set up a landing page for your listeners. There are links to our website as well as our new book Land Your Dream Job where they can download a free chapter of the book if they’d like to learn more about it.

Craig: Awesome. Mac Prichard, thank you so much for your time and sharing so much about your podcast. I really appreciate it. I think everyone will really enjoy this one.

Mac: Thank you. It’s been an honor to be on the show, Craig.

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