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Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing humanity in the workplace. I’m JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm, and also an author of “JoyPowered®” and “The JoyPowered® Family.” With me is my friend and co-host, Susan White, a national HR consultant.
The topic of our podcast today is podcasts.
How about that? A podcast about podcasts. Susan and I have really enjoyed working on the JoyPowered® podcast, but how might you consider creating utilizing or enhancing your own podcast for internal communications? I have to admit, I’d never even thought about it doing it that way. Susan, I thought we might start by telling our listeners how we got started back in December 2016. I have to admit, I had not even thought about podcasting back then. But for you, it had been a goal for a long time.
You know, it really had, JoDee. I can recall back when I was working full-time in a pretty large organization, I would have people just all day long call me and ask me for advice. And so I started to think, wouldn’t it be fun to do a radio show where people could call in and say, “Hey, the person in the cubicle next to me smells? What should I do, Susan?” and take some of those real life things and put it on the radio, because I thought it might help a lot of other people.
So we were at a strategic planning meeting for Purple Ink, and we talked about what are things we could do differently? How can… you know, help JoDee grow this business? And so I shared my dream of I’d love to do a radio show, JoDee, what do you think, and I think Emily, your producer was in the room, our marketing person, and I think it quickly turned into radio shows really are not that hot anymore. You really need to be doing podcasting. So that’s how I remember it.
Yeah, although, you know, I’m thinking someday we’re gonna have a XM Sirius channel called JoyPowered®! It could be all day long, calling in with HR questions.
I would love it.
Yes, I remember that day, as well, too, and thinking, sure, I’ll do it with you, but I wasn’t really… I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. And that very first time we met to record we had a blast and have been doing so ever since.
Thank you all for listening ever since.
That’s right. So I thought I’d bring in today a real expert podcaster, Jen Edds. Jen, if you would tell us how you got started in podcasting and a little bit about your business, The Brassy Broadcasting Company. You are, I understand, the Head Broad in Charge.
I am the self-proclaimed Head Broad in Charge at The Brassy Broadcasting Company, because that’s the fun that you can have when you start your own company.
I work with creative problem solving professionals and organizations to produce podcasts that are tailored to engage their communities, grow their influence, and also increase their bottom line. My introduction to podcasting came through some nuns in Ohio.
I love this story.
I have a friend, we have a mutual friend that wanted to give them custom theme music for their podcast. And he said, hey, Jen, can you do this? I said, absolutely. And then that theme music project worked out well, and that turned into the sister saying, hey, Jen, since you know how to do this audio stuff, could you edit our podcast, and I figured it would be in my eternal best interest to say yes. But even more importantly, at the time, they were willing to write me a check to do the work. I said yes, and that was kind of my gateway into podcasting, because working on their show, I fell in love with the platform of podcasting as a way to really engage community and start conversations.
Well, I think you’re a very smart lady never saying no to a nun. Jen, I’m really interested in companies that are interested in using podcasting. That was kind of a new concept for me. I’ve seen companies do webcasts, but never podcasts. Can you tell maybe some of the reasons why companies do it and any experiences you have there?
Sure. Podcasting is a great way to reach employees that aren’t necessarily in the office. Maybe they’re working remotely, maybe they do a lot of work out in the field, so they’re not going to be sitting behind their desk watching, you know, a webinar or something like that. And the beautiful thing about podcasts is that they are on demand, so they are accessible whenever it works out for that employee, so maybe on their commute to work, maybe while they’re at the gym on the treadmill. It makes it really easily accessible to get to your content. And by having it easily accessible, chances are better it’s actually going to be consumed.
Yeah. And that’s something, Susan, in our time in HR, we’ve been through the handwritten note from the receptionist, to the typed up memos, to the voicemails, to texting, to email… email’s in there first, then… and now we can share information with our employees via podcast. I love it.
It is terrific. Yeah. So are most company leaders comfortable with using this format, or how do you get them comfortable using podcasting?
Practice, just like anything else. I think it’s a lot… you know, just like you would practice for public presentations and speaking and things like that. There is an art to producing a podcast, as you all know. You have to get comfortable behind the microphone. There’s some microphone technique involved. There is, you know, coming to the podcast with an actual plan and intention, and making sure that you’re creating content that is going to serve your audience.
Yeah, I love it. Why might now be a good time to start a company podcast?
There are three factors that make now a great time to start a company podcast. Number one is there’s a really low barrier to entry, both financially and with the equipment required to record, edit, and distribute your podcast. I mean, if you’ve got a smartphone, you can basically make a podcast, right? I encourage my clients to up their game a little bit, but, you know, in a jam, on the go, you can actually record, edit, and upload your podcast for distribution from your smartphone. The other thing is something I mentioned earlier, that ability to get that content on demand and on the go. I mean, your employees can basically put you in their pockets and take you with them and get to… get to that podcast when they have time for it and when it works within their schedule. And then the third factor is what it’s always been. It’s our voices. Our voices are a powerful way to connect us, because there are nuances and tone that might get lost in text, but they are always very well received within voice.
So Jen, I’m really interested, if… as a business owner, how to get started in doing something like this. Does your business help the organization figure out what is the content I want to share and maybe how to craft those messages?
Yes, I…my mission is to take companies and podcasters from launch to legendary. So all of that, answering those questions, because many business owners, especially, they don’t do podcasts or don’t listen to a lot of podcasts. They don’t know what they don’t know. So I kind of help them figure that out and get clear on really defining what their goals are. Who is that ideal listener that they really want to serve, and then how can we craft that content so that everybody is getting their needs met through it, so that the audience is getting their needs met? If they’re seeking information, you know, if the company wants to make sure that they’re getting information out, are they doing it in a way that’s educational and you know, maybe somewhat entertaining, so people will actually tune in and listen?
Right, right. Are there any rules around podcasting, Jen? A, maybe… maybe Susan and I should know it if there are, but B, if companies are thinking about using this medium, are there any rules about how long they have to be, how many, how frequent they need to issue them? Is there any kind of preference or recommendation on those types of things?
I’ve been having a lot of conversation around these questions that you’re asking me lately, and it really… So, number one, there are no rules, which makes it really fun and a great place to really stretch your creativity. But as far as how long should the podcast be… How long can you entertain your audience? Again, don’t think, oh, I’ve got to get on here and talk for 60 minutes. I kind of look at podcasts almost like albums, since I have a music background. You know, Sgt. Pepper’s is about 40 minutes long.
Can you be… Can you be more entertaining than Sgt. Pepper’s for 40 minutes? The other question that I’m asked, in addition to how long, is how often should I podcast, and there are some people that try to produce every week or every other week. That can kind of be a grind and it may not fit into everyone’s schedule. So one of the things that I am encouraging podcasters to think about right now is maybe produce a series. We love Netflix, we love to binge on our Stranger Things and our favorite Netflix shows. So don’t hesitate, if it works within your schedule, to release a bunch of episodes at the same time. And again, they’re out there, then people can always go back and access them when it works within their schedule. And it makes it easier to kind of batch produce episodes, then, for your schedule as well.
Right. I like that. I know when I listen to podcasts, sometimes I’m turned off a little bit if I think they’re too long, and maybe I don’t have that much time to focus on listening to it, so I just don’t even start it.
Well, in the Indianapolis area, last I heard the average commute time was 25 minutes, so something to keep in mind.
Yeah. Well, mine is three.
She… she needs a soundbite!
You know, Jen, you said we could do podcasts with as simple technology as an iPhone, but what would you recommend for a business thinking I really want to use this as the medium to reach my employees? What type of hardware, software would you think is ideal?
I would start with getting a decent microphone. And by a decent microphone, I don’t mean go out and buy a $300 microphone, I mean get a $60 to $70 USB microphone. My favorite is the ATR2100 that you can get on Amazon. And the great thing about that is it’s a USB microphone, or if you need to record multiple guests and you need to actually input into a mixer or an audio interface, then you have the flexibility with also an XLR connection on that microphone, and they sound fantastic. They’re easy to throw in a bag if you want to podcast on the go. So that is my go-to recommendation for a microphone. But probably what’s even more important than the microphone is to really be cognizant of the space that you are recording in. So we have lots of soundproofing around us and and material that’s going to absorb sound. Avoid a lot of hard spaces or hard surfaces, so hardwood floors, a lot of metal, glass, because all that sound is going to bounce around. And you don’t want to sound like you’re recording your podcast in the Grand Canyon. Unless you’re in the Grand Canyon, and then it’s okay.
That would work. Yeah, that’s great.
So JoDee, we should share where we do our podcasting. I don’t know if we’ve ever shared the joy we have here at the Carmel Digital Library in Carmel, Indiana.
Right. So you might check out your local library. Here for us, they have a whisper room, which, as Jen mentioned, is very well padded and set up exactly for this purpose, for podcasting or audio recording. I know people come in here and record songs. The key to it, though, the main thing is that for us, it’s free. You have to be…
It’s at our price point.
Yeah! You have to have a library card. So check out your local library and see if they have anything available.
Is there any special software you use for editing?
I’m a Mac girl. So I typically use… I’ve used GarageBand or Logic Pro, which is kind of the more robust version of GarageBand. I also like Adobe Audition, that’s probably my favorite software for editing podcasts. There’s also a great free software called Audacity you can use for Mac or PC, which is a great place to get started if you need a budget friendly, free software.
Right, right. We use GarageBand, which comes on every Mac, and we also use Adobe Audition as well. So. Yeah, so so many things you can do on such a very low budget to make this work, right?
Doesn’t have to be complicated. What about… Jen, you mentioned about the sound quality and about having guests. What if your guests cannot be physically live in the space with you like you are here with us today? Is it okay to use a cell phone? Do you use a Zoom meeting app, or what’s the best way to have a guest?
I have a lot of clients that like to use the Zoom meeting, just because, especially in the business world, a lot of people are already familiar with it. And you can set it up so that it will record you on one track and your guests on the other track, which makes it a lot easier in post production to do the mixing and the editing and, you know, cutting out any distracting sounds. The audio quality is not pristine, but again, it’s one of those free ones for a lot of people, depending on the plan that you’re on, and it’s easily accessible. People are already familiar with it, so it’s not like they have to download another piece of software.
Right. Right. Very good. And how… I don’t know if you work on this side of the fence, Jen, but how can you… or we help… help get employees excited or even interested in listening to an internal podcast? I mean, I still talk to people who don’t really know or understand what a podcast is, or even where to find podcasts.
There is still a lot of education around podcasting, especially depending on your employees, the age range. Younger employees are probably going to be more familiar with podcasts. I still have a lot of friends… I don’t even know if my mom knows how to listen to my podcast.
I’ve found recently, actually, that some people who just go to our website and listen to the webcast and never actually go to the podcast app. I… I have to admit, I didn’t even know you could do it that way.
That’s the beauty of it. There are so many platforms that you can share on. So you can put your podcast on YouTube, because that’s something… people know how to go to YouTube and find information.
The Amazon Alexas… I host with a company called Libsyn, and they are actually developing a an Alexa skill. So pretty soon, you’ll be able to say, hey, Alexa, play episode seven of the Brassy Broadcast, and then tell it to fast forward and rewind and skip and do all of those things hands free.
Very cool. Very cool. That’s what I’ll say tonight. Alexa, please play episode four of JoyPowered®.
Yeah. So, Jen, can you describe the services that you provide clients? What do you actually do for them?
A little bit of everything. Some hand holding, some cheerleading, some… some strategic and tactical things. I love helping podcasters get started, you know, answering those questions about what equipment do I need, like, what actually works within their budget, within their skill set, and their level of tech savviness. That’s going to keep them coming back and excited, because I’d never want the technical piece to be what keeps somebody from starting a podcast and sharing their message. And then I also help with the production and post production and uploading and distribution, because most business owners don’t want to be podcasters. They want to… they want podcasting to be a piece of how they’re getting that message out. But when I work with clients, you know, I want them to focus on what they’re really good at and what they’re passionate about, and then I can do all of the post production, all the things that they don’t really want to think about. They show up and talk and then I can take care of the rest for them.
Right. That sounds great. So… and how can our listeners get in touch with you if they’re interested in putting together a podcast or making their current podcast even better?
They can always go to brassybroad.com. And if they’re interested in just kind of kicking the tires and getting some information, I actually have a free podcasting course through Teachable, and the link to that is on my website.
And I’m also hanging out on Instagram @BrassyBroadJen, and I have a YouTube channel, Jen Edds Brassy, where I also share a lot of podcasting tutorial videos.
You have all kinds of resources available.
Yeah. Jen, do you have any advice for us?
Oh my gosh. You guys are rocking it.
I mean, you’ve got the space. You’ve got the microphones. You’ve got the lingo. You’ve got a really fun, exciting podcast. I don’t know what more you… I don’t know what more you could possibly need.
Hey, it works for me.
I think we’re really good at guest selection is what I think we’re good at.
I think so, too. And Jen, I’m gonna put you on the spot a little bit here, but I know you have another skill that you mentioned earlier. Tell us… tell our listeners a little bit more about your background pre… well, pre and post podcasting business.
I’m also a musician. And that has really influenced the perspective which… kind of that lens of how I approach podcasting. Because as a musician, growing up playing in garage bands with limited budgets and limited resources, you definitely learn to make the best use of what’s available to you. And one of the other things that I’ve really loved as a musician is collaboration, and I see so much opportunity for that within podcasting. So whether it’s having, you know, guests on, guest experts, or if it’s creating a podcast series, and, you know, kind of really getting some of those guest experts in, but really taking a deep dive, or just creating a a podcast with your coworkers and getting people involved and excited about what’s going on in the company. It allows them a way… another way to contribute.
Right. I love it. Which would be a great idea, obviously, for an internal podcast, of having different people in the company, right, just…
…telling their story, talking about their role, talking about their background, talking about some of their career goals. I mean, you could just go on and on with that.
I like the idea, even in recruiting, you know, we often used to try to give realistic job previews. Maybe do a podcast where you have all the tellers in the organization talk about their job, or, you know, or… and then you can send it out to candidates.
Well, it’s also another great way to let people kind of get to know a little bit better, maybe, those people that they don’t see walking around in the hallways or in the office all the time.
You know, maybe some of those C-suite folks that, you know, maybe they feel a little distant from, but through a podcast, it’s really a great opportunity to get to know the people that are making those decisions.
Right. Right. That brings me back to another point you made about putting it on YouTube. Although our podcasts have always been done just audio only, you can have them in a video format as well.
Absolutely. Yeah. Just use a still image and upload the audio file to YouTube.
Yeah, yeah. I like it. Before you leave, can you just remind our listeners one more time how they can reach you so we end with your contact information?
Yes, they can go to brassybroad.com and all of the things are there.
Yeah, very well. Excellent.
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So I said end… we still have a couple segments here. Let’s go to our listener question. So, Susan, we had a question from Steven in Kansas City, who contacted us and wanted to know how he should handle people in the workplace who consistently use foul language. Steven mentioned that this is coming from upper management, his peers, and his direct reports. It’s all over the place. What should he do about it?
Steven, I feel your pain. I’ve been there. I get it. My opinion is, it’s very difficult in an organization, if the senior leadership team feels that using, you know, vulgar language or foul language is permissible, and it’s part of the culture, I think it’s really tough for you to be able to enforce anything with your direct reports. I do think that if it crosses the line in that it’s used in a way to bully people, if it’s used in a way that calls people out because of some uniqueness about them, if it’s… if it’s, you know, what I’m going to just say, random, normal cursing. In those cases, I think it’s worth your talking to your boss about your discomfort, and then making the decision. Is this an environment I want to work in if they’re not going to make any change? JoDee, I would love your perspective on that as well.
Yeah, well, I totally agree with you. I… I think, too, that, you know, when it borders or gets into harassment and making people feel uncomfortable in the workplace, you got to be really careful with that, because people could be filing claims or even, you know, creating a negative atmosphere of the company outside of the company, you know, in talking to friends and neighbors about the type of place you’re working in that some might not be comfortable in. So it might just not be the right place. I hate… I hate to go there, because I’m not a fan of it. Maybe to some extent, Steven, I don’t know if you feel like you have any influence over your own department, although, as you mentioned, it’s hard to say that when the senior leadership… But I think sometimes it only… we just… it eggs on, right? As one person does it, then other people sort of open up, and then it just keeps spreading, it just keeps getting worse. So maybe even having that conversation with your own department that it’s not something you’re comfortable with could be a start for that.
It… depending on the size of the company, if there’s an HR person that you feel comfortable going in, sitting down, and talking about your concerns. It may be that it’s just not on the radar and people aren’t realizing the damage that is causing. So. It may… I would definitely want to have some conversations before I decided it wasn’t a workplace for me.
In our in the news segment, it’s that time of year where many employers are hiring summer interns. Do you need to pay them or not is a kind of an ongoing question that people continue to ask. Well, the Department of Labor has relaxed its intern compensation standards, but there are still lots of questions for employers to answer before taking that unpaid route. Of course, it’s always okay to pay your intern. That’s not a problem. And I would suggest that probably 90% of the time, if not higher, they need to be hourly. They need to be paid hourly and not on a salary.
And pay them minimum wage, too.
Right. Right. Yes. But the question, of course, is do we have to pay them? Well, on January 5 of this year, the Department of Labor threw out a very rigid six part test that had to be met before the interns could go unpaid. It’s very complicated factors, so I’m not even…I’m bringing it up, but I’m not even going to go into the whole thing. But in its place, they have now softened those… those rules a bit, where they call it the primary beneficiary test. And the new test includes seven factors, so here I told you it got easier, but now we have seven factors instead of six. Our government at its finest, right? But each factor does not have to be met and no single factor is determined. The… the ultimate is that they’re trying to examine the economic reality of the relationship to determine which party is the primary beneficiary. So, for example, if the intern is there to shadow, to learn, to observe in a learning capacity, that could be the intern is the primary beneficiary. But if the intern is in there doing hard manual labor, right, the employer is the beneficiary of the relationship, and they should therefore be paid. So while it might be easier to comply with, it can be harder to interpret, and then, of course, you’ve got state rules on top of that, but in the end, again, it’s always safe to pay them as employees, and we encourage you to do so.
Please tune in next time. Thank you for listening today. If you’ve missed any of our podcasts, you can catch all episodes for free at iTunes, Google Play, Podbean, or wherever you listen to podcasts by searching on the word “JoyPowered.” If you have any questions on any HR topic, you can call us at 317-688-1613 or give feedback on our podcast via the JoyPowered® Facebook account or on Twitter @JoyPowered. We welcome listener questions and comments.
Thanks, and make it a great day.