Bullhorns & Bullseyes Podcast

Podcasting Production and Promotion

Guests Jeff Large
April 23 2024
Play Video about Bb Epis21 Large

Episode 21
Tom (especially) and Curtis are thrilled to welcome guest Jeff Large, CEO and founder of Come Alive Creative to the podcast to talk about….what else? — podcasting! They cover topics such as podcasting strategy, production considerations, and budgeting.

Jeff emphasizes the importance of defining goals and target audience when starting and building a podcast. Important: consider this an investment in your brand and determine early on whether this is a DIY passion project or an honest-to-goodness marketing endeavor.


  • Finding the right fit for podcasting services involves understanding the goals and aligning them with the capabilities and resources available.
  • Specializing in approach rather than industry can lead to better results, focusing on businesses that understand the importance of teaching, relational capacity, networking, and brand identity.
  • Promotion and marketing are crucial for podcast success, and it involves a combination of owned, paid, and earned strategies to reach the target audience.
  • Measuring success in podcasting goes beyond download numbers and focuses on factors like total listen-through, completion rates, and engagement with the audience.
  • Personal podcasting projects can provide a creative outlet and a break from business-focused content, while board games offer a fun and engaging activity for families.

Tom Nixon (00:03.491)
everyone with another episode of Bullhorns and Bulls Eyes and Curtis, I could not be happier.

Curtis Hays (00:09.318)
You’re happy today. You’re always happy though. You’re happier today than you normally are.

Tom Nixon (00:14.051)
I’m extra happy because we’re gonna be talking about my passion which is podcasting.

Curtis Hays (00:18.152)
Podcasting, let’s remind everybody, how many podcasts do you currently manage or run or a part of?

Tom Nixon (00:26.275)
If you wanna include all the ones that I’m just doing production on or consulting on probably about a dozen and I host or co -host four, five. Yes. Yeah.

Curtis Hays (00:31.72)
But it doesn’t.

Curtis Hays (00:37.16)
And you’re a writer and you have kids and are married. And I think you’re, you told me the other day, which I didn’t know you’re, uh, you have a play coming up. You have a part in a play that’s coming up.

Tom Nixon (00:50.807)
I am a community theater convert. So, I live in a household of thespians who just have a legit passion for this and they dragged me kicking and screaming about five years ago into a role that I had no interest in and by the time that play was over, I was hooked and I got the bug as they call it. I had a play hangover, went into a mild depression after it was over and so ever since I’ve been dabbling in that as well. So,

Not exactly what you would expect from an introvert podcast host theater. Yeah.

Curtis Hays (01:24.264)
But are you writing it, are you working on any books right now?

Tom Nixon (01:27.811)
I’m taking a break. Those books take a lot out of me because, you know, I have a full -time job. So, it was six years between my first two books. It’ll probably be at least another six years before my next.

Curtis Hays (01:37.128)
You are a man of the humanities. That’s what I would say.

Tom Nixon (01:40.547)
An English major. You try to find, scrape a career out of a useless degree and here we are.

Curtis Hays (01:45.352)
But it doesn’t humanities go beyond just English, right? Like the arts and history and all that. I like humanities. Yeah.

Tom Nixon (01:49.345)

Tom Nixon (01:54.359)
it does. I mean, as long as we’re, you know, putting me on the psychiatrist chair, my true passion is making music. I was trying to be a professional musician after college and that did or didn’t work out depending on your perspective. So, yeah, that is the humanities. I guess I’m a Renaissance man, Curtis. And you know I am because I pronounce it Renaissance and not Renaissance. Well, speaking of Renaissance men,

Curtis Hays (02:01.)
That’s true.

Curtis Hays (02:12.936)
Renaissance. Oh, yeah. Yep. Well, cool. Well, you’re going to have a.

Renaissance men. Well, you’re going to have a great conversation today with, with, uh, our guests. And, uh, so if you don’t mind without further ado, can I introduce our guests today? All right. So we’ve got, uh, Jeff Large Jeff, uh, as a CEO and founder of Come Alive Creative. And they have been producing and helping companies do podcasts since, uh, I believe 2012. So we’re what? Like 12 years. And I didn’t.

Tom Nixon (02:34.851)
Please do.

Curtis Hays (02:53.448)
I don’t even podcasts, I guess have been around that long. So Jeff’s been in since, you know, they’re very early days. And in 2019, I had the opportunity to speak at WordCamp Detroit to a bunch of WordPress developers. And I was talking on the topic of SEO and standing room only crowd, by the way.

And, uh, there was Jeff somewhere in the crowd after, after my half hour talk, uh, came over and invited me to be on his podcast. And, um, so we, we recorded a few weeks after that. I think Jeff, it’s still the most watched episode of all the podcasts. You are most listened to episodes of all the podcasts you’ve done. Is that right? Is that true?

jeff (03:45.135)
I don’t know. I stopped doing that show, like, I don’t even know now. Maybe 2020 or so. So it still exists. It’s still out there. Yeah. Maybe you might, you might be able to claim that title. I’m going to neither confirm nor deny.

Curtis Hays (03:52.808)
Yeah, it was 2019. I, I’m totally kidding though. It was, you know, maybe 12 people listened to it. I don’t know. Um, well, and you’ve got a cool story yourself, Jeff. I know the podcast we did, you want to learn a little bit more about me. So in this podcast, we’re going to learn a little bit more about you, but you’ve got a cool story that starts out. So you, and this is where I think you and Tom are really going to get along, but you were, uh, uh,

liberal English and liberal arts teacher in middle school. Is that right? Before you started getting into the podcast.

jeff (04:28.207)
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, do you want me to just start and stop there or sort of give the overview? What’s the best way to approach this?

Curtis Hays (04:37.192)
Tom, you’re the moderator.

Tom Nixon (04:38.787)
Well, yeah, I’ll tell you. So, I am a I told you I was an English major. So, at what I had no idea what I was going to do with that. I just looked at my report card my first year in college and I saw C plus B minus D A plus. I think I’ll go into this one. The A plus one and that was English. It’s so I thought, well, maybe at one point, I want to be a high school English teacher and I sometimes still think that.

but as Curtis chronicled, my dance card’s a little bit full at the moment. So did you know you always wanted to be a middle school English teacher or how did that happen?

jeff (05:09.647)
No, it happened because I had to go to college otherwise I was going to lose my parents insurance. That’s kind of what it came down to. But I did things unconventionally for a long time. I didn’t care. I figured out what I had to do to jump through the hoops. Academics fortunately came pretty easy for me. And was like for context, it was my senior year. I was like, I think I’ll try this year. And I pulled a four point. I was like, oh crap, I probably should have tried way sooner.

but did like the minimum in terms of what I needed to where the counselors would be like, oh, you should do X by Z and then actually look up state requirements of what I needed to do and then did what I wanted to do instead and all that kind of stuff. But it was a little bit post high school that I actually had the opportunity to, it kind of came down to I was looking at working in video and a bunch of things in that realm and there was a local news station that I got a job offer from.

and it was around that same time frame. I was either going to do that or school. And I kind of just came down to one, I did the insurance, I joke about it, but it was kind of part of the thing where I was about to lose it. And then two, I was like, I don’t really want to work nights and weekends for the next foreseeable future. And so I ended up starting school and just doing sort of basics at our local community college. And then it was a little bit further into that.

Kind of a story on that one too I won’t necessarily dive into, but just had a couple series of events that made it really clear I was supposed to work with kids and so started pursuing my actual degree, which the way that our college set it up as I went to Grand Valley State and it was a major in English language arts and then my minor emphasis was elementary ed, but basically it certified me for kindergarten through eighth grade. And then I ended up.

Having a couple just right out of school, like a pair of pro style positions where I was working with everybody at a charter school and then ended up landing the seventh grade position and did that for I think about five years. And then I taught technology for a couple of years to kindergarten through eighth grade. And then it was 2014 that I officially left and started come alive.

Tom Nixon (07:19.299)
How do you get from there to where you are here? What was that transition?

jeff (07:22.563)
similar to your Renaissance man conversation. The fast track. The fast track, looking back at it in hindsight, it’s kind of wild because the long and short, it’s so many, so many things played into it. And it’s hard for me to really pinpoint, but similar to you had a background as musician, started that in high school, got involved in like web development and things because we needed to promote our band and those.

Curtis Hays (07:26.376)
It’s a…

Tom Nixon (07:29.763)
He’s one of us. He’s one of us. He said Renaissance.

Curtis Hays (07:30.632)

jeff (07:52.047)
those types of deals. So I was learning kind of HTML and that kind of jazz that maybe early 2000s. That transformed kind of carried on. I was in hardcore bands for a while and then I got sick of yelling at bars and then switched over to singer songwriter for a while. Parallel to that I was teaching and then I think date ranges 2012 ish we started my wife and my cousin and I started a board game publishing company and the way that we decided we were going to reach out to other people and this is actually we didn’t.

to correct you a little bit, Curtis. We didn’t technically start working with other companies on full scale like we are now until a couple years later, but our first podcast ever was 2012. We used that as the main means of kind of marketing and learning and giving back to the community. Figured out that worked. Fast forward a little bit. Ended up selling that off to our cousin because my wife and I just didn’t want to do it anymore a few years later. Started and then I started Come Alive around 2014.

and started as web dev and digital marketing, but got sick of that pretty quick. It was like, there was reasons. I just got sick of doing websites and didn’t care for it and didn’t enjoy it a whole lot after we were doing it for a few years and pitched the idea of the podcast to a friend, to an acquaintance that we were kind of met. He originally said no. And then it was like six months later, he came back to me. He’s like, I can’t shake your idea. Let’s go for it. And then as soon as I…

got that green flag, I was like, let’s do it. Completely pivoted the company, off -boarded all of our web dev, and went all in on podcasting, and that’s kind of where I’ve sat since. I think that’s all the major touch points, but I mean, yeah, having a family and stuff at the same time, and a lot of other little things, but those are a lot of the big sort of stepping stones that kind of led up to being prepared to do something like this.

Tom Nixon (09:44.194)
Curtis, I wonder if when I came to you with the idea of a podcast, your default position was no. And then it eventually came around. Um, cause remember I planted the seed and you know, we’ve chronicled the story. You came to me asking for a case study on a client success story and there were so much there. I said, this is more than just a one pager. This is more than this. This is a story we should tell multi -chapter story. What were your, what was your thought process? Did you embrace podcasting right away or were you originally an ace layer?

Curtis Hays (10:12.52)
It didn’t take me six months, but I will say right off the bat, I, I was a little bit skeptical. You know, I thought could we do a video case study instead of a written case study, but Mario’s in Connecticut. Like how are, you know, how much is that going to cost me? And, uh, so yeah, I think the more I, I noodled on it and researched it. Like it’s actually fairly economical to put out this type of media.

Tom Nixon (10:15.587)

Curtis Hays (10:42.664)
You know, and we, right. To get started, right. So we, we sort of bootstrapped it with, was it zoom in the beginning and put a little cost into some, some editing of that. And then as we kind of got rolling and we invested in the branding and I mean, we’re lucky, we have good creative people, you know, around us that are supporting us. Um, and. You know, to get the creative done, we knew the right people to go to, to get some of the video editing done. And then.

Tom Nixon (10:43.299)
Yeah, totally start.

Curtis Hays (11:11.816)
You know, um, you know, cause you’ve got 12 other podcasts you’re producing or a part of, right? So you knew the whole backend piece of hosting and all of that. And then I’ve been taking care of the website stuff. So, uh, now eventually I can’t continue being the sort of backend producer. And you know, that’s only going to last for so long because I’ve got a business to run and those types of things, but it’s been fun as we’ve, we’ve. Started this journey and we’re bringing in, uh,

a great expert today and Jeff has more than 10 years experience in this space and this is what you do for a living to really, you know, kind of talk about what does it take to take like a neat idea or something you’re going to do as a hobby to, you know, something that’s actually producing income for yourself or a business.

Tom Nixon (11:59.235)
Yeah. Well, let’s start. We will. Obviously, we only have 30 minutes. So, we’re not gonna get into a ton of the the granular detail that I’m sure you do, Jeff but at a high level, let’s let’s cover all three areas. So, first, I’m sure you consult on the strategy piece, the production piece, and then, ultimately, the promotion piece and when I think of strategy, I think of someone like Curtis or your friend whose default position is something like, does the world really need another podcast? To which I often quip.

Does the world really need another website? You got one of those and you spent thousands of dollars on it. So how do you get somebody from, is that part of your process to get somebody at to convince people that there is a business purpose for this?

jeff (12:40.047)
Um, no. That’s a big, that’s a big reason why I don’t, I didn’t like the website stuff because to, I mean, you guys doing it, you understand what it takes and that it’s incredibly justifiable to do a tens of thousands of dollar website if you’re doing it right. And it’s intentional and all of the work that goes into it. But where we were at, at the time, it just wasn’t the case. Like people that interacted with us, it was like that.

Tom Nixon (12:42.563)
You lucky duck.

jeff (13:07.727)
persuasion or at the very least the educational piece of it all. And that was part of what burned me out. Where fortunately, when we started offering podcasts, it’s when it like, I mean, podcasting has been around since early 2000s, I think technically 2005, 2006. But it really is, you can see the incremental growth every single year. And then around the time when we got into it and we’re offering it rather to other people like that 2016 mark, upwards to even 2020, it was kind of a hot space or you could consider it.

more on people’s minds. And so it wasn’t too hard. Most of the time it was warm leads coming in. The thing that I find myself doing more though, is expanding the view. And so it’s not so much I need to convince you that it’s a good idea or that it could do something fruitful for your business as much as are you really doing the right thing with it? And so like a few of the questions immediately when they come in, if you were going to come talk to me, I’m going to want to know, what is your goal? Like what are you actually trying to accomplish?

What else have you done that’s worked or not worked? Why a podcast? Like I really actually want the other thing to happen. I want them to convince me that no, I’m, I have a sense of what’s going on and we should work together. That type of a deal opposed to me convincing them.

Tom Nixon (14:22.723)
Yeah. So, and then obviously, then you are working them through strategy once they get through those initial questions. You know, the thing I always like to ask in addition to all of this is who’s this for going back to the question? Does the world really need another podcast? Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t. My question is, does your world need another podcast? So, if you define your audience narrowly, and I recommend that, are there a ton of podcasts already in that space like for or?

jeff (14:29.421)
Mm -hmm.

jeff (14:33.679)
Mm -hmm.

Tom Nixon (14:50.051)
Like I have one client who does a very specific sort of law for very big insurance companies like Liberty. There’s maybe 20 companies in the entire world that would even consider hiring him. And at each company, there’s one or two people. So we’re talking about an audience of 20 to 40 people. And he’s killing it with his podcast. Why? There’s no one else doing it. Right. And he’s not doing it to be rich and famous or to be Joe Rogan. He’s doing it to serve a very unique audience. So is that part of what you’re doing on the front end consulting? What are some of the other issues that you’re trying to get people through?

jeff (15:18.255)
Yeah, 100%. That’s a big piece of it. Because to me, it always goes back to the goals. And there’s massive difference between I want to build awareness for the company versus I need to plug a hole in my sales line versus I want to connect or network with new people in the industry. There’s all sorts of really great valid reasons to do them. And I think podcasting as a medium,

We just have to continue to remember like any other form of marketing. It’s just like an avenue to get there. It’s a vehicle. It’s not the end all be all. It’s not the fact that podcasting is definitively the best thing. It’s not. It’s just one of many tools that you could potentially use to get you from A to B. And it depends on where you’re going. And so like you said, even follow up with other examples, we had one client, for example, former secretary of defense, raising awareness around nuclear issues and the threat of nuclear weapons.

needed broad appeal, was trying to reach a younger market and a whole bunch of other people while they’re at it. Go ahead, the style of show that we decided to produce, the quality and caliber of people that we’re introducing, how it’s formatted, the music that we use, all of it. It’s like full blown think 100 % NPR style narrative show, high production value, all that. And then we’re pulling in easy out of the gate, kind of several thousand, kind of tens of thousands type downloads. And then similar to yours and that, that

was considered successful in that client size. On the flip side, had another one where we were working in a very specialty area, similar to the front of yours or the client of yours. It was clinical documentation improvement. So basically they were using voice language and AI. You go into the doctor, talk about whatever’s going on. It’s recording you at the same time. It’s translating that over into like insurance speak. So you don’t have to do that paperwork after the fact. It’s…

putting it in your records automatically. It’s saving the doctors all this extra time. And we did this podcast that in my opinion was like terribly boring, but it did. And it got maybe like maybe we’re getting a hundred downloads an episode, but the client was like, this is perfect. We’re giving it to our team that we’re hiring and they get to listen firsthand to our clients of what’s going on. We’re helping it plug holes in our sales thing. So when we have pushback, we’re like, Oh, Hey, we actually have an episode that talks about your exact situation. Check this out. And so again,

jeff (17:37.135)
when I say the expanse, we so often default to downloads, to impressions, to kind of the visibility, to like you said, like, I want to be the biggest podcast. Well, do you need to be the biggest podcast or do you just need to be the right podcast? And so it’s figuring out how can you really maximize and leverage the medium opposed to just the medium itself or the medium in isolation.

Tom Nixon (18:03.171)
Yep. Well said. Yep. Um and I would refer people to Seth Godin uh in terms of being the best in the world at something. It’s not the entire world. It’s your world, right? The pizza place on the corner doesn’t need to be the best pizza place in the world. It needs to be the best pizza place within a certain amount of you know, radius around uh its service area. So, Curtis, let’s move on to production um because you did some of this exploring yourself. You had questions for me when we first got started. Pretend we don’t have this podcast and we’re just now getting started.

jeff (18:12.335)
Mm -hmm.

Tom Nixon (18:32.675)
You have no idea what you’re doing, right? You don’t know where to host a podcast. You don’t know how to record. You don’t know how to edit. What would be some of the questions you would ask Jeff? Let’s say you’re in an hour long session and we won’t take this an hour long. What would be some of the first questions you would ask Jeff in terms of production?

Curtis Hays (18:49.448)
I’d say it’s kind of starts with the equipment or environment that I need. Like what do I even need to record? And you’re probably gonna ask me like, well, do you wanna do video or are we doing just audio? You know, can I do this just on my phone? Do we need a studio to do this? I’m sure a lot of these come from the strategy where you define in the strategy, you know what?

what you’re going to end up needing. But I know my concerns in the beginning as we got started were really centered around quality. And I know when we were doing Zoom, I wasn’t super thrilled about the quality of Zoom and then the difficulty in what we could do from a post -production perspective. And so then I…

I should have turned to you, Jeff, but I just, I went to Google and I was like, there’s gotta be some podcasting, like actual platforms out there that we can do this in instead of zoom. And we came across Riverside, which really just changed the world for us. I mean, the ease of use in both the production as well as the post edit is so much easier. Um, I would say, you know, my, my other questions, which I didn’t fully understand was like how you.

jeff (19:53.005)
Mm -hmm.

Curtis Hays (20:02.664)
you upload, like how you set up an account, you know, at Spotify and, or, or Apple, and do I got to manage all those separately and up, do all those uploads separately and you know what, it can be time consuming, I think potentially with every episode to do all the things that you need to do to get that episode out into the world. You probably are going to spend more time doing that than you are in the pre -planning and recording of a single episode.

jeff (20:16.975)
Mm -hmm.

Curtis Hays (20:31.688)
Everything that happens after an episode, there’s a lot of work there that I was not aware of at all.

jeff (20:37.721)
Mm -hmm. Yeah, so…

Tom Nixon (20:40.515)
Yeah. So, go ahead. Do you, and I read your blog post on this. So, by the way, if you ever, if you are interested in a detailed answer, go to Jefflarge .com and one of the feature blog posts walks you through this. But I know you ask people then, what is the budget? And do people say, I don’t know what the budget is. What should it be? How do you get them to focus in on the proper considerations when they’re just starting out, Jeff?

jeff (21:04.847)
Yeah, so let me answer it maybe a couple ways. The first thing is this isn’t a pitch, it’s just simply talking about how we do it. With the nature of who we work with regularly, none of those questions are things that our clientele or ideal client should even be thinking about or worrying about. And so we just do it. We have the equipment that’s already packaged up. I got a bunch of them here.

Um, is once they sign off on the contract, it’s like all just included. We’ll send it out to them. They have training that’s involved. We’ll jump on the call with them if they need to, like all of that stuff. Um, remove all in any heavy lifting, um, just because it’s like, you need to be focusing on whatever book we want to reference. Like you’re 1 % or you’re one thing or like all the different things. Like you focus on what you’re best at. We’ll focus on what we’re best at. And so that’s my default answer that I know I can at times be just dismissive, but if you’re.

Tom Nixon (21:51.201)

jeff (22:00.207)
of the mindset that you’re more of the DIY type, maybe you’re more of the solo type, like you need to bootstrap it yourself. Those are really the places to start of audio or video or both, like audio video or both. What is your budget? What does your space look like? And the cool thing is technology is just wild. It’s like, it’s, it’s hard to keep up with it at this point. And with a lot of the developments with AI,

And just even the stuff that they’re rolling out, like you mentioned, Riverside, we use Riverside for the majority of our clients as well. The stuff that they’re rolling out on a frequent basis. And then you kind of pair that up against other things. And so it’s like, we kind of have all the systems in place for it already, but in terms of the actual tech to get stuff done, you’re thinking about the first touch point, which is recording. Oh, one other factor I forgot to mention, I’m going to be out of order a little bit, but are you going to be in person or remote? Because that’s going to matter too, depending on what you got to do. But you have.

anything from like basically free to easily you can spend a couple thousand and be totally fine in terms of audio equipment. It goes a little higher than that if you want to get decent video equipment. Then kind of the next step is like, all right, how are you connecting with remote people? Are you going to use a platform like Riverside or Squadcast or Zoom or whatever it is, pros and cons to each one of those things. And then you kind of move into post production or this actual like production of it, the actual editing. That’s where most people’s minds go. So how are you editing?

If you’re not an editor and you don’t care about editing for the love outsource that to somebody else. It’s like probably the most difficult and biggest time sink. Like you won’t be good at it. There’s no reason for you to learn that skill. Like there’s just certain things like I resolved when I first started everything. I’m like, I will never design. I’m not even going to hardly know how to open Illustrator or anything. It’s just team, please do this for me. Cause I don’t have a clue. Um, so it’s same, same thing there.

Curtis Hays (23:36.776)

Tom Nixon (23:38.979)

Tom Nixon (23:53.603)
another thing we have in common, Jeff. Another thing we have in common.

jeff (23:55.407)
Yeah, you just pick you just pick and choose because you can’t do it all. And then from Yeah, and then the last point like you’re saying of like, how are you going to get distributed everywhere? And then there’s there’s kind of steps through that. And again, I hate to be like the it depends guy or there’s no silver bullets, but really, there’s not like I have my own preferences and they work. I have peers of mine running other agencies that have their own preferences, they work, it’s sort of just

Tom Nixon (23:59.139)
Design is not my bag, baby.

jeff (24:22.703)
To me, the bigger or biggest thing is if you are serious about this, you probably want help, especially if you have some sort of C level role in a company or you’re running a company, you don’t want to do this on your own. Find somebody that you actually get along with and that your values align because this will hopefully be a long play, like a long fruitful play for you. There’s plenty of ways to do this dirt cheap.

Tom Nixon (24:44.003)

jeff (24:47.727)
There’s plenty of ways to not, and you got to figure out what makes the most sense for you, your situation and those types of things. But I care a lot more about the quality of the people that I’m working with, the quality of the end product, whether it’s intentional or not, those things. To me, all of this technical stuff really should just take care of itself, especially being in the other person’s shoes, being in the C level person’s shoes.

Tom Nixon (25:11.715)
Yeah. And having you talk through that, I think the first consideration that maybe somebody should go through is, are you a DIYer? Are you a DFMer? Is it, you’re going to do it yourself or have somebody do it for me? If you are a brand of any significant heft, I would submit that this is a brand asset that you’re putting out into the world and then it should reflect who the brand is. And that’s when you go to someone like Jeff, right? And you have him consult with you, do it for you.

jeff (25:19.469)
Mm -hmm.

Tom Nixon (25:37.571)
and use the packet solution that already exists and it’s tried and true and there’s I’m sure you don’t do that for free, right? There’s a cost to it, but that’s an investment you’re making in the brand. Yeah. On the other end of the spectrum is Google is your friend, right? And so you could probably hack through it if you have no money, then literally do it yourself.

jeff (25:44.077)
Yeah, not yet.

Tom Nixon (25:57.955)
we land somewhere in between because we have some partners that can do some design for us, some editing for us. I have an audio background. So we’re somewhere in between. Not everyone’s in between. You mentioned a plug. I will just mention a quick plug. If you’re on that ladder spectrum and you’re like, I kind of want to do this on my own, but I don’t feel like Googling at all. I do have a course on our website for 249 bucks. It walks you all through it. It’s an audio course.

that might be worth your time as well. So I will put that in the show notes if you’re interested in it. But what Jeff is doing, this is like expert level. When you’re talking about former secretary of defense, I mean, you’re working with what size company do you think is a good fit for you? Or tell us like kind of what your ideal profile. Maybe it’s not a company, but maybe it’s a podcast vision. How do you know if you’re in alignment?

jeff (26:39.759)
Mm -hmm.

jeff (26:44.495)
Yeah, that’s a fascinating one. And I’m going to have to be transparent. We’ve been doing some decent internal work and even growing pains. This is more of a business owner conversation than it is a podcast conversation right now. But there is, so say for example, I was able to attend a business conference. I was able to go to Cabo Press associated with Chris Lemma.

He’s in the WordPress space or he’s recently got out of the WordPress space. He’s doing something different now, but he is this really great Conference I would highly recommend that’s kind of invite only and some other stuff that he’s been doing but being there put me in contact with the Owners of forget the funnel and that got me thinking just about like talking to clients under really understanding them and so we did kind of quarter four of last year a lot of pretty in -depth interview work and

that was really intentional about learning about our best clients. And then another acquaintance and friend of mine, his name is Corey Quinn. He’s going to be coming out with a book called Anyone Not Everyone. When is this going live?


Curtis Hays (27:52.104)
Yeah, middle of April. It’ll be April.

Tom Nixon (27:53.121)
Sometime in April.

jeff (27:54.767)
Okay, yeah, his book may I don’t recall I think his book will be available by that point and we did the the audiobook for it. Kind of it’s not even really like our first line of what we do, but it just sort of worked out when him and I were talking. And so I listened to the whole thing, just even by default. And that’s got me thinking a lot too that I’m going to be doing some work next quarter kind of all of this to say we’re sort of dialing it in because we’ve specialized in our service for a long time, but I’ve been incredibly reluctant to specialize in.

the business or industry. Because I’m personally, it’s really just a personal decision as owner that I think if I’m being realistic, probably hurting the business, but I’m worried I’m going to get bored. And so by default, we’ve worked in commercial real estate, cybersecurity, kind of national defense, public relations style stuff, insurance, like a whole bunch of different crazy things like big business frameworks.

kind of think like EOS or scaling up like all these types of companies and the thing that I’m starting to realize is I’m learning about this space because it’s just not my background I don’t come from a big corporate background I kind of middle class working my way up more mindset and so learning a lot in that regard and then the second thing is what we’re starting to dial in and what I’ll end up doing and kind of refining sometime next quarter is

I’ve learned it’s not necessarily the industry, like a specific industry, as much as it is sort of the approach of the business. And the businesses that we do the best with are the ones that understand they have something to teach. The relational capacity is a massive factor in what they do. The networking piece and they care about like that long -term, like they get brand, like they understand that this isn’t just like a logo and some colors. Like this is.

the feelings and the identity and the mood and what’s associated and how people view us, like view the people that are associated with us, view the brand and the company itself. The companies that get that and want to really own it and direct it and influence in that way. So I don’t know what the heck to call it yet. Like you guys kind of caught me at a time that I don’t have that category. I wish I did. Like I wish I could say the word and then the people would be like, oh, that’s me, but I don’t know what the heck it is yet. So hopefully.

Tom Nixon (30:10.467)

Tom Nixon (30:18.819)

jeff (30:18.863)
Like by before the year is out, I will know, but that’s kind of where I am right now and kind of who, who our ideal is.

Tom Nixon (30:23.075)
Okay. Well, we’ll have you back on. Yeah, we’ll have you back on. You can reveal what that ended up being. Curtis.

jeff (30:27.599)
Yeah, and then but to be honest, too, we’re playing a little bit. We’re playing up and downstream because we have completely under the radar like in the you mentioned your course, I’ve launched courses twice now, like full kind of cohort style things, and sold them and made some profit. And then we’re like, yeah, this is a huge distraction and then completely shut them down.

Just because it was like, the best thing we do as our services, this is pulling me away too much. I can’t manage it all. Like refund everybody and kind of carry on. And then the thing that we are playing with right now though, is a DIY solution. That’s been, I got a challenge from a friend of mine where he was like, basically here’s your price point and this is what I want. And by default, I’m like, I don’t think that’s possible, but let me see if I can. And so we’re in the process of figuring out what do we need to do?

What are the most important things to leverage? Like what is important for somebody of this mindset? Because it is not the same thing as like a corporation that’s doing a podcast and can we make it work financially for us and for them? And so we’re currently playing. I have no thing to offer at this point, but I can tell you behind the scenes we’re testing it to see if it could be viable. I’d probably honestly started as a separate company just because it’s not the same as what we’re doing now, but.

We’re playing around. We’re playing around in the space.

Tom Nixon (31:48.227)
Okay. Well, let’s move on last but not least to what happens after you produce it and you publish it and that’s promotion and Curtis, we found out which we something we already do because it’s true of anything that you put on out into the world. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. So, we had to turn our eyes to promotion. Do you remember any of the initial things that we went through and what we’re doing now? What would you have asked Jeff or what do you wanna ask him now?

Curtis Hays (32:15.336)
Yeah, um…

Well, I was encouraged, I think initially on some of the things that we saw on social media, which maybe don’t necessarily have to do with podcasts in general, but the social media companies, Google on the search engine side, they’re always changing their algorithms. And I think I really saw an opportunity for us to get the word out and to share our content on various social media platforms. And I think shortly after we started that,

There was some algorithm changes. It didn’t just that affected everybody as far as organic content goes. And yeah, LinkedIn specifically. And, you know, uh, at least from my side, like I used to see 2000, 3000 impressions on a single post that now I’m seeing like 300, right? So it’s a 10th of what it used to be. So that’s, that’s been frustrating. Um, I know the, there are people who are seeing the content and.

Tom Nixon (32:53.955)
LinkedIn specifically.

jeff (33:11.405)
Mm -hmm.

Curtis Hays (33:18.824)
are listening and appreciating. I like what you said earlier about like the culture piece. We have team members in the model that we work in that are all over the place. We don’t see each other all the time and they don’t all interface with our customers or our partners who we’re working with. And so when we have these conversations, it gives them an opportunity to connect, hear those stories, understand their businesses a bit more, understand what it is that we’re doing.

jeff (33:44.783)

Curtis Hays (33:49.128)
a bit more so they can provide better services. So that’s been a really cool thing. That’s in a small team. I’m noticing, you know, new ideas come to the table because they’re like, Hey, Curtis, what you guys said on that podcast. Like I have an idea of how we can improve that. It’s like we otherwise wouldn’t have probably had that conversation. Um, so, uh, but going back to, you know, publishing side and promotion, um,

YouTube has been an interesting algorithm to try to crack shorts, get a lot of views. The long form content does not, you know, there’s somebody expecting somebody to listen to 30 minutes, I think is a, is a reach. They may be listened for three or four minutes. There’s probably skipping around on YouTube. Right. Yeah. I think we’re getting full, full listens on the audio channels, uh, Apple, Spotify.

Tom Nixon (34:24.867)

Tom Nixon (34:38.115)
On YouTube, right? Yeah.

Curtis Hays (34:49.)
Amazon. But YouTube, I think we have to change up our tactics there. Shorts do really well for organic views. I think we want to trim now some of our contents. There’s more post -production I think that we need to do to take a 30 -minute segment and turn that into three or four, six to 10 -minute pieces that are digestible for somebody that doesn’t have a full 30 minutes, but there’s a specific.

Tom Nixon (35:14.147)
Mm -hmm.

Curtis Hays (35:17.992)
question or topic that they want to fully understand that they could, you know, listen to that. And I’m hoping that those shorter engagements will improve our channel engagement, which will just improve the overall channel in general. So yeah, there’s a lot going on, I think in the post production side that I already come from a marketing background to kind of know all of these platforms, but somebody who doesn’t, who’s a CEO or a COO or somebody who wants to get into this.

podcasting space who doesn’t understand the marketing, like to expect, you know, you’re even going to get in front of your audience, even if your audience is a hundred or less, like there’s some strategy that needs to go into that piece. So.

Tom Nixon (36:01.251)
I mean, I’m sure. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I mean, my sense of things is podcasting is a dual -edged sword in the sense that if you get somebody to listen, so I’m talking about the audio version, right? Where else and how else would you have 30 minutes of somebody’s undivided attention in this world today? It just doesn’t exist. The other edge to that sword is though is now you’re how do you get somebody?

to stop what they’re doing in a busy world and get them to listen to a podcast. It’s scrolling through LinkedIn. Likely somebody’s not gonna take that. They might get a sense for it and so we that’s why we’re serving up digestible content and small little clips and people do lots of those. Um but so Jeff, what is your perspective on promotion because if you could get somebody like I said to listen to 30 minutes and hear you preach and share your expertise like that is gold.

jeff (36:55.789)
Mm -hmm.

Tom Nixon (36:56.259)
But then how do you get them to do it? It’s not, you know, the momentum is tough. It’s like a flywheel. It’s tough to get going. Once you get going, you’re off and running. So what are your thoughts?

jeff (37:04.239)
Yeah, it’s such a massive topic. We could easily do a master’s course over the weekend just about promotion. And so for me to just rattle off a few things in five minutes is sort of totally, there is none. Okay, on a serious note, I’m just going to rapid fire a whole bunch of stuff that comes to mind for me that we often think about. I go back to the beginning, your goals, do they align? Because if you are doing something that doesn’t align with your goals, it won’t matter. It doesn’t matter how much marketing you throw at it. It’s not going to do what you want it to do.

Curtis Hays (37:09.16)

Ha ha ha.

Tom Nixon (37:14.851)
Tell us the secret.

jeff (37:33.999)
Another thing from the beginning that you have to consider that I didn’t address, but it seems like it’s becoming more and more important the more people that we’re working with is I look at it like a guitar pedal and there’s different dials on a guitar pedal for you to kind of really tweak in the sound. How much of this podcast is for you personally? How much of this podcast is for your business? How much of this podcast is for your audience? And depending on the adjustment of those dials that can be completely different, you’re going to build something differently.

So so much of this starts at the building phase and I can’t underestimate that enough. Now, when we fast forward though and look at the promotion side, there’s so much, there’s so much. The high level thing that I go back to and I actually pull it up so I wouldn’t forget it, but it really becomes a marketing conversation. Like you mentioned, Curtis, it’s much more of a marketing conversation than it is a podcast conversation.

But the thing to understand is that audio is unique. It’s not the same as the rest of the mediums. It plays differently. And so I’m thinking of owned, paid, earned of all those types of things. And again, just as like a quick primer for anybody that might not fully understand what I’m saying. Owned is all the stuff that you normally think about. Blog posts, the show notes that go along with it, social media, landing pages, if you have it in your newsletter, all the stuff that’s yours. Paid is going to be some of that other stuff we’re talking about where there’s designated

paid. There’s really unique and pretty interesting ways that you can get in front of other audiences, whether it’s ad reads or just like stuff that gets tacked on or paid for suggested episodes or those types of things that you can mess around with on top of all of the traditional social Google, LinkedIn, if it’s appropriate, it’s not always appropriate. And so it’s again, you kind of got to pick and choose what makes the most sense. And then earned is going to be the other one that people are more familiar with where

You’re trying to get your get like you think that if you have a high profile guest, all of sudden you’re going to get all this traffic. That’s probably not the case. Um, but still getting genuine engagement, people talking about it, not necessarily ratings, but more like actual shares. And some of it might be completely untrackable where it’s literally just friends going, Hey, what, what are you listening to? Oh, did you hear this latest episode of XYZ and check it out? It’s great. So there’s those types of things on a high level, but I’ll also say,

jeff (39:50.127)
There’s a lot of other things to me that comes to mind where like say TAM, for example, we’re a total addressable market. So how many listeners do you potentially actually have? It’s not the entire world. It’s, it’s a certain segment. And so you got to think of it not necessarily as I only have a thousand listeners, but maybe you have a thousand of 2000 listeners. That could be pretty dang good. And so there’s those types of things. There’s what you mentioned of what would you do if you actually had a hun, even if you had a hundred.

100 people’s undivided attention once a week once every two weeks in a room You just get to talk to them one -to -one. That’s what’s happening and to think of that in scale just Doesn’t happen as much but when you put that in perspective you might get frustrated like oh my numbers aren’t growing but at the same time All right, but you look at who you’re talking to and the type of relationship you have I’m gonna look at things total listen through like not just I have X many downloads but

of those people, how many are listening to the whole way through? How many people are coming back every week? One of the clients that still blows my mind just to give another little example is we’ve been working, he’s our longest time one. We’ve been working with him, I think over five years. His show breaks all of the norms. It’s on commercial real estate and leadership there. So the topic itself feels a little boring. He’s phenomenal and incredibly passionate, incredibly intentional of who he’s talking to.

All of his episodes go over an hour. He’s probably about an hour, 15 hour, 30. Right now of that, he’s getting his total downloads right now is something like we’re pushing 2 million. And of all of his current listeners, we got about a 91 % completion rate. It’s freaking nuts. Like I just look at the numbers. I’m like, this doesn’t make any sense, but this is awesome. And it’s like super exciting. And so there’s so many little factors to be paying attention to that. It’s not just scale or.

growth or these things, it’s what is actually moving the levers for you as a person and for you as a business and success can look really different depending on what you’re trying to do. So, I mean, there’s, there’s a ton, it’s such a massive topic. It’s sort of ridiculous for me to try to answer.

Tom Nixon (41:59.779)

I know. I know. I apologize. Um yeah, I would just add to that. Uh yeah, my recommendation would be don’t measure in the moment either if um your first episode looks paltry. Um that’s not the metric. It’s gonna be. Yeah.

jeff (42:05.849)
I’m blaming you, Tom.

jeff (42:14.093)
Oh yeah, because it’s kind of the likelihood of your first episode being good. Like do it for maybe like 20 episodes. Like I don’t start running actual analytics until at least a quarter later. Like that’s the soonest that I’ll even start taking. Like we’ll, our clients want to see the numbers and so they have real time access to downloads, but I’m very like stressed. Like don’t worry about it. We’ll run you a proper report about a quarter from now and then we can actually start talking about what.

Tom Nixon (42:25.763)
Yeah, same.

jeff (42:39.823)
what looks helpful, what we’re worried about, what are we wondering about and kind of go from there.

Tom Nixon (42:45.635)
Exactly. Well, this is my great Jeff. Um I’m gonna see what if our worlds overlap in one final way. Um this will be bizarre if it does. You mentioned Secretary of Defense earlier. Do you know the name Skunk Baxter?

jeff (42:59.023)
I don’t. I think I’m going to fail you on this one.

Tom Nixon (43:01.219)
Alright, well, Skunk Baxter was an original member of Steely Dan. He was the guitar player in the Doobie Brothers for quite a while. Um we had him on one of my podcasts. That was a podcast all about Yacht Rock. And turns out he is now a consultant to the Department of Defense and is the man behind inventing the technology for low altitude radar that we use now. Yeah. So, he came up with that

jeff (43:26.159)
Oh, exciting. Okay. All right here. Let me, let me counter, let me counter because this is a degrees of separation. I’ll give you a few. When I was teaching still, we did a talent show that I ran every single year for the kids because I had all the equipment being a musician and we covered the Doobie Brothers one of the years with the, uh, the thing you’re talking about with the low radar stuff. I actually have a separate client who works in their kind of national defense.

Tom Nixon (43:30.947)

jeff (43:52.815)
fundraising company, I forget what their actual title is, but they look at a lot of like consumer tech and applying it to government level stuff because government just doesn’t move very fast. And so they’re trying to bridge that gap. And this I had one other one, but it’s eluding me. So there is, there is not exactly, but I can, I’m tracking, I’m tracking what you’re laying down.

Tom Nixon (44:08.545)

Tom Nixon (44:12.419)
Alright, cool. Yeah, awesome. Fascinating guest. You should have your uh defense client have him on. He’s

jeff (44:17.263)
Oh, that was the last one. Do you know the name Howard Benson?

Tom Nixon (44:22.595)
This sounds familiar. How would I know Howard Benson?

jeff (44:24.513)
He’s a multi, I forget what he is, multi -platinum rock album producer. Like he did like, uh, he’s done everything from, what was the one of the big ones? It’s one of the emo bands. I would not, my chemical romance. So he did like the big breakout, my chemical romance album all the way to like the veggie tales soundtrack and stuff. And he’s friends with a client of ours and I’ve had him on my show a couple of times, my old show. Um, he’s a phenomenal one too, a really, really solid guy. So that would be one of my music industry.

Tom Nixon (44:39.265)
Weezer? Uh.

Tom Nixon (44:53.955)
nice. Cool. Well, Curtis, this has finally become a podcast I would listen to. So, thank you for introducing us to Jeff. Any final thoughts, my friend?

jeff (44:54.223)

jeff (44:59.087)

Curtis Hays (45:03.848)
Uh, a lot, but we’re running out of time. I would, I would close by, uh, really asking Jeff. So yeah, I mean, where you just mentioned your personal podcast, where can people find your, your podcast?

jeff (45:16.463)
Yeah, so actually the only one that I’m personally producing right now is called Outdoor Sounds and it’s a field recording podcast. And it was a direct pushback from all of the typical business advice of working on your business and not in your business. And then I did that straight for like nine months or something, like about two years ago, completely burned out. And I’m like, forget this.

and then started the, I didn’t, I’ve worked in audio for a super long time, but never field recording. And so we’re like, all right, everybody, we’re going to produce this thing. And so I just go around Michigan and other places. We’ve been abroad a little bit now and record nature sounds. And so that’s the only personal show I have at the moment, but we do have an internal show cooking that will be live. Hopefully maybe, maybe the summer, I think summer of 2024. So that, that should be, you can just come alive, creative .com.

Curtis Hays (45:35.944)

Curtis Hays (45:50.6)
That’s cool.

Curtis Hays (46:04.584)
Well, all right, and we’ll put your LinkedIn on the show notes as well. Final question, what board game are you and your family playing right now?

jeff (46:04.687)
It’ll be available there.

jeff (46:15.663)
Oh, um…

Curtis Hays (46:17.832)
Or what’s your favorite?

jeff (46:19.887)
This is not possible. I play probably the most I play Star Realms and it’s a card game. My son and I are the biggest culprits right now. I played that a lot with him and then he has the other one that we have up right now is Everdell where that’s a super fun family -esque type game if your kids are a little older.

Tom Nixon (46:23.457)

Curtis Hays (46:24.808)

Curtis Hays (46:38.216)
Tom, do you do your family play board games?

Tom Nixon (46:39.299)
Yep. It currently we’re into these mystery like murder mystery board games. The last one we played was I don’t know. It’s well the last one was called death at the dive bar. I don’t know if that’s this. It is a series of them and they’re super fascinating and fun. You play them as a group. Really fun. All right. Oh, nice. Nice.

jeff (46:46.575)
The unlock series or something different?

Curtis Hays (46:57.384)
Yeah. We’ve been playing awkward guests.

jeff (46:58.479)
Yeah, those are fun too. If I’m thinking. Oh, nice.

Tom Nixon (47:04.963)
Alright. Well, thanks Jeff again for coming on Curtis. Thanks for inviting Jeff on and remember everyone Bullhorns and Bullseyes come for the content marketing thought leadership. Stay for the Yacht Rock talk until next time. We’ll see you.

Listen anywhere:

We’d love to hear from you! podcasts@collideascope.co

Additional episodes:

Alan Borman Episode 14

Episode 14: Video Marketing - Value vs. Volume

Tom & Curtis are joined by Alan Borman, a video producer & content marketer, to discuss the importance of video in the modern marketing landscape.

Episode 13

Episode 13: A Podcast About Podcasting

Tom & Curtis "go meta" one more time, as they’ve devoted a whole podcast to talk about the art, science & business case for podcasting.

Tom Nixon Curtis Hays Jpg.webp

Episode 4: Going Meta on Bullhorns and Bullseyes

In a very "meta" episode, Curtis and Tom discuss the meaning behind "Bullhorns and Bullseyes." What are some examples of "bullhorn" tactics, and what are some examples of "bullseye" methodologies?

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