Developing closeness and trust with podcasting.

This guest has more than 8 years of podcast production experience under her wings! Rachel Morrissey is here to share all her knowledge with our community. She used to describe podcasting as levels: those who have interesting questions, promote something, establish a brand, or do it for fun. She enjoys the most those podcasts that are very personal because she connects directly with them. Trust comes in two ways: with the audience and with your guest. Rachel is here to drop all the good stuff from the producer’s side of podcasting. Be sure to tune in with a notebook in hand!! *Scroll down for further information*

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Developing closeness and trust with podcasting.

About our Guest 

Rachel Morrissey

Rachel Morrissey is the creator and co-producer of The MoneyPot podcast at Money20/20.

She has eight years of experience, producing podcasts in the fields of tech and culture, and

where they intersect. Previous to being a podcast producer, she worked as a lobbyist in DC. She pivoted careers in 2011 and has been researching how technology has changed media, money, and real life. She has an MA in Media Studies from The New School in NYC and a BA in History from Utah State University

Smooth Podcast_Rachel Morrisey: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Smooth Podcast_Rachel Morrisey: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Smooth Podcast Intro:
All the technical busywork required to produce a podcast can be a struggle, establishing trust with clients and increasing sales for your company with your own podcast is something you can do well. We interview the top podcasters in the industry to provide hacks and insights to help you start and scale your podcast. Welcome to the Smooth Podcast!

Martín Acuña:
Hello, everyone, welcome back to another episode of Smooth Podcast! Today, I am in the company of Rachel Morrissey. She is the creator and co-producer of the Money Pot Podcast at Money20/20. She has eight years of experience producing podcasts in the fields of tech and culture and those points where they intersect. Previous to being a podcast producer, she worked as a lobbyist in Washington DC, and then she pivoted her career in 2011. Since then, she has been researching how technology has changed media, money, and real life. She has a master of arts and media studies from the New York School in New York City, where I am right now, because one of the best things of the pandemic, if there is something good about it, has been that it has taught us that we can work anywhere in the world. So right now I am in New York City and that is one of the advantages of podcasting, you can record anywhere in the world. And going back to Rachel, she has a B.A. in history from Utah State University. Rachel, thank you for being with us. Welcome to the show!

Rachel Morrissey:
Thank you. It’s nice to be here.

Martín Acuña:
The first question I have for you, Rachel, is why should someone and I want your perspective as a producer, why should someone start a podcast?

Rachel Morrissey:
Oh, well, there’s a couple of reasons. I mean, I mean, you and I both know there’s so many different kinds of podcasts, I used to describe it as levels, although that’s kind of snotty, but it’s kind of true that there are people who are doing stuff that’s really incredible, almost, I mean, it’s art. And then there are people who are are having conversations that are really important. And then there are people who are promoting things and trying to establish themselves as a brand. And then there are people who are doing it for fun. And I kind of love those people. I have a friend who is doing it for fun and he just started it and he and his friend basically sit around and yak it up on the microphones and then put it out. And it is a very relaxing half-hour of just smiling and having a nice time without any agenda whatsoever.

Martín Acuña:
Yeah.

Rachel Morrissey:
But I do think that there’s a lot of reasons either people want to do a podcast like they are audio artists and I would love to be one of those. And then I think there’s a thing, a question about why brands or why companies should have podcasts at this point as a part of audience engagement. And I think that the biggest reason is the idea of creating a relationship with your consumer or your audience. Podcasts are personal. You know, we are coming into someone’s head. They are creating a vision of what we look like. They’re imagining this. So everything that we say, we are engaging with them as a co-creator. And also they’re, a very, they’re very intimate, right? You can listen to podcasts as a group, but a lot of times you’re listening to it yourself and engaging with the ideas of that person, like almost like you would in a journal. So it’s a really good way for you to personalize your brand and really bring it home and have the audience understand you in a much more personal way. Then, even then, blog writing, I think because the voice has qualities that allow for you to understand people. There’s a lot of nuance in the voice and a lot of nuance in the way that people sound that changes the meaning of things. And if people can catch your sense of humor or your sincerity, then they’re much more likely to have an affinity for you. That’s harder to do in paper.

Martín Acuña:
Yes, absolutely. I agree with you. I think that one of the things I love about podcasting is how intimate and personal it may be in that conversation. And as a listener, you just get immersed in the host’s world and experience and head in some sort of way.

Rachel Morrissey:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, so interesting. I listen to a lot of different kinds of podcasts. And like I said, I, I have this friend who does it for fun and he’s just making jokes like he and his friend are just sitting there telling wild stories to each other about their misspent youth. And it is like sitting around the table with them at a dinner right where you just you got a glass of wine and you’re just relaxing and you’re just really enjoying the atmosphere. And that’s really personal. And then there’s, there’s other ones where you can really build on people’s imaginations to help them understand information in a much clearer way or bring them a perspective that they never imagined and it feels partially like their own experience.

Martín Acuña:
Mmhmm. Yes.

Rachel Morrissey:
Yeah.

Martín Acuña:
So as a producer, what is the number one way you think a podcast can help someone as a brand or as someone’s business?

Rachel Morrissey:
Ok, well, there’s two things. I think, first of all, building a relationship with your customers, I think customer loyalty is going to be a big part of everything. You want those customers coming back to you, you don’t want them just exiting, right? So if your audience feels like they know you and trust you, it’s a big deal. There’s brands like Apple that are highly trusted and that Apple users go back to Apple again and again and again and again. And it’s not because they’re cheap or they’re a great deal or something like that. It’s because they absolutely trust the Apple brand to be reliable and to bring them what they want and to be beautiful and to have thought through things so that their experience on it is really wonderful. And I think a podcast is an extension of that. It’s an extension of letting people understand your perspective and building that trust and building that loyalty. I think that’s the best reason for a company to do it. The other thing is, is if you have an area of expertise, if you are a company that is espousing that, they are experts in something, giving away the farm is actually a really good way to get customers to believe you.

Martín Acuña:
Yeah, yeah!

Rachel Morrissey:
And podcasting is a great way to do that. It’s a great way to say, let me walk you through this piece and they’ll be like, oh, that’s brilliant. I want to talk and work with those guys. So I think it both builds customer base and really deepens customer trust.

Martín Acuña:
Yes, absolutely. I agree absolutely with you. It’s a great tool to start creating trust between the brand and the customer.

Rachel Morrissey:
Yeah.

Martín Acuña:
So in your experience as a producer, what has been the biggest mistake you’ve made and the biggest lesson learned in this wonderful world of podcasting?

Rachel Morrissey:
Oh, my goodness.

Martín Acuña:
I know it’s a tough question!

Rachel Morrissey:
In eight years I have so many mistakes that I have to think through. I think the biggest mistake I’ve ever made was, so one of the podcasts that I did kind of relied on a kind of a star presence. And at the beginning of that, I really underestimated the amount of research that was necessary, to prep them, and to prep for everything because they didn’t like it. And they, they didn’t, they, if they assumed that their name and their reputation would be enough, that everybody was just going to listen to them. But you really have to do your homework.

Martín Acuña:
Yeah, absolutely.

Rachel Morrissey:
Really, you have to do your homework. And so we underestimated that horribly for the first few months. And then I pulled it together and looks like this is not working. You’re not getting any traction. And we started pulling together, and we found that it wasn’t so much about the guest. You can help a guest be interesting, even if they’re a little bit dry.

Martín Acuña:
Yeah.

Rachel Morrissey:
It was about your research was about your work. You do the work on your side and you can ask a question that will get them to say something that’s fairly insightful because everybody has a story. And the other thing that I would always say is a lot of times I had to work around like a somebody who sort of wanted to get into the numbers right away. And I was like, OK, let’s start with the story. First, you have to build the trust with the person, the guest, right? You have to build your audience’s trust with the guests, and then you can get into what that guest really has to say. So I had to, I mean, I had to really push and say, now we need to start with the story of what motivates this guest to do what they do so that they can, the audience can really understand them and trust them and understand why you trust them. And then you can get into the meat of their research or their opinions or, and why they’re, they’re so important.

Martín Acuña:
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I love it. So besides doing your homework, not only as a producer or as a host, what has been another big lesson you’ve learned in this 8 years of working as a podcast producer?

Rachel Morrissey:
Well, there’s basics like always have batteries with you.

Martín Acuña:
I know, right? I love that!

Rachel Morrissey:
Never leave home without your backup microphone, you know, to, be prepared for things to go terribly wrong. I know that the Internet is going to get messed up that day, just understand that so that you’re relaxed when it happens.

Martín Acuña:
Yeah, absolutely.

Rachel Morrissey:
Because something, something will happen. Like just something. It doesn’t even matter what, I mean, it’s going to be something different every time so that you’re not quite, you know, quite feel prepared. Also, even though you are. Also, I think the other biggest lesson I’ve learned is you can’t rush certain things. You really have to get yourself just pace yourself building numbers. And as you build audience, understand the audiences they build and then they plateau and then they build and then they plateau. And it is a constant like stream upward. Maybe your super incredible Tim Ferriss and have a huge book following and, and have a built-in audience. But I will bet dollars to Doughnuts that even on his podcast, the first one had a build and then there was a little bit of a plateau and then there was another building, a plateau. And don’t panic during the plateaus and think what you’re doing isn’t working. Just understand that if you’re not seriously sinking, you’re OK.

Martín Acuña:
Yeah, I love that. I love that. You mentioned a couple of minutes ago that you had a client that wanted to go straight into the numbers, right?

Rachel Morrissey:
Yeah.

Martín Acuña:
Tell us a little bit about your experience with monetization on a podcast.

Rachel Morrissey:
Ok, so one of the big things that we did was when we were looking at different methods of monetization. There’s the advertising model, there’s sponsorship models. There’s all these different kinds of ways to think about monetization. The first route we took was the advertising model but we found out quite quickly that just because of our audience, who they were, it was financial technology audience. They’re quite affluent. They just didn’t have a lot of patience for that. So unless you can be really creative with that, they love a good creative pitch, but they don’t they didn’t like just plain reads. And so eventually I scrapped the reads and we went back to home base and then we just went for a sponsorship model. We started really thinking about our audience. We dug into our social media and who they were interested in and who would want to be affiliated with us based on our audience. Who wants a good name based on our audience. I had the funniest thing happen as I was looking at all of the Twitter data that we had, I found out that our followers followed technology and organic foods and finance, right, which makes sense for fintech, finance and tech made total sense, but organic foods was a little bit off. So I was like, well, that’s interesting. So I started pitching around to different people interested in finance and technology audiences. But I also pitched it to an organic foods brand that was online only and said, hey, our audience is really interested in organic foods. We’re not about that at all. But you might want to sponsor us because your name will get out there amongst all of these people and they are interested in that. And it actually, that worked. They they did sponsor us for a bit, so it was kind of fun. So dig in and maybe don’t be afraid to ask. That was my basic thing. So with that podcast, we actually ended up making quite a bit of money. We monetized it in the second year for a good sum of money and we stayed profitable for the next four years. So.

Martín Acuña:
That’s great.

Rachel Morrissey:
Yeah, I mean, we’re just, you know, I mean, it paid me and it paid him and it paid the bills and then and then had some extra for four years. That’s a pretty good, that’s a pretty good run and a pretty healthy monetization. But yeah, it was tough first year that way. I would say look at what you do, who your audience really is. And I often recommend the sponsorship model because the ad read model can be very up and down, that’s all.

Martín Acuña:
Absolutely. Yes. And that order of ideas, I mean, you just said a lot of things, a lot, a lot.

Rachel Morrissey:
I’m sorry!

Martín Acuña:
No! I love it. I love it. I know our listeners will cherish a lot of this conversation because our previous episodes have been with hosts. So you have another type of insight. You have another type of mindset towards podcasting. So, in that order of ideas, what would be your number one podcast hack or something you think people really need to know about starting and growing a podcast, something maybe you would, you wished you had known when you started in podcasting?

Rachel Morrissey:
Well, other than it’s way more work than you think it’s going to be.

Martín Acuña:
Probably. Yes.

Rachel Morrissey:
Way more work! So one of the things I think is really interesting is a lot of people think of a podcast as only what we are doing right here, two people having a conversation about something. And every podcast is that and there are some really good podcasts that are like that. But what I, I think is really important is that they take a look at their strengths and then they look at the different kinds of formats and see what really matches the strengths of their brand or the strengths of what they are trying to build, because I’m not sure that this format is good for everything.

Martín Acuña:
Yes!

Rachel Morrissey:
I think that I mean, like I said, I have friends who do one that’s a completely different format, just conversation. I have friends who do a round table format. I have friends who do, they just talk into the mike and tell it like it is kind of format. I have friends who do reported interviews which are a little more newsy-oriented, and they are they build a certain kind of credibility depending on who you are. And I have friends who do ones that are complete narrative, right? They tell stories and they’ll sometimes use interviews to pull it in or they’ll use other elements, but they build soundscapes and they go the whole nine yards.

Martín Acuña:
Yeah.

Rachel Morrissey:
All of them can be good and all of them can be bad. Like there is no, there is no. But the trick is, is I think really think about what your strengths are, dou have the interviewer? Do you really know how to build trust with an audience that way? Or are your strengths in other places? And can you use those strengths in a better way by really looking at those formats and matching it to what you, what your brand or what you are about?

Martín Acuña:
I love it. Rachel, this has been an amazing conversation. Thank you so much for your advice.

Rachel Morrissey:
Aw, you’re kind! Thank you!

Martín Acuña:
The great tips. I will link on the description, your social media channels, your podcast, because.

Rachel Morrissey:
Please do, that’d be great!

Martín Acuña:
I know that your experience I mean, we could be here talking for hours!

Rachel Morrissey:
We could talk for a while!

Martín Acuña:
Yeah. Thank you so much for being here. Listeners this has been another episode of the Smooth Podcast. Be sure to subscribe, rate us, leave us a review, and go check out Rachel Morrissey’s work because it is amazing. Thank you for tuning in!

Smooth Podcast Outro:
Thanks for tuning in to the Smooth Podcast. Be sure to visit us at SmoothPodcasting.com and follow us on social media for resources, show notes, and all you want to know about podcasting.

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  • Key Take-Aways 

    • Podcasts are very personal for the listener. You are engaging directly with their thoughts. 
    • Brands should personalize their podcasts to increase engagement with their audience. 
    • Listening to the nuances of someone’s voice is a powerful tool to tell stories. 
    • Podcasting helps build a relationship with customers. 
    • Research is necessary for each episode. 
    • Always be prepared for the worst! Having a backup will always save your life. 
    • Audience growth is not linear, it’s more like a staircase. 
    • Check your podcast format once in a while, you probably may change it and it will work

    Resources