Welcome to Between Two Mics! In this episode, we speak with the co-hosts of Counter Programming with Shira and Arielle…Shira Moskowitz and Arielle Nissenblatt. They recently wrapped their pandemic distraction-cast after 14 months and (almost) 100,000 downloads.

You may recognize Arielle’s name. That’s because in addition to being the co-host of CP, she’s our community manager! She recently tweeted out an epic thread explaining how she and Shira almost reached 100,000 podcast downloads despite not having a budget, having a niche topic, and not being part of a network.

In the thread, Arielle outlines how they did it. And in this episode, we break it all down.

Sneak peek of what we discuss:

  • Clear and concise messaging AKA over-communication
  • Strategic promo & social swaps
  • Pitching AND catching
  • Sporadic guesting
  • In-app placement

This episode is longer than usual but it’s worth it!

Episode Transcription

Helen O’Hara: [00:00:00] Hi, I’m film journalist Helen O’Hara. Before we get into this week’s episode of Between Two Mics. I want to tell you about another show that I think you’re going to love. And it’s recorded on Squeakiest. I’m the host of Women versus Hollywood, a new podcast about women in film, a story of sexism, struggle and success in the past, present and future. You can find it now on all good podcast providers by searching for women versus Hollywood. Now let’s get to this week’s episode of Between Two Mike’s.  [00:00:27][27.5]

Zach Moreno: [00:00:34] Welcome to Between Two Mics, the podcast that brings you remote recording resources from SquadCast Dot FM.[00:00:41][6.5]

Rock Felder: [00:00:42] I’m Rock Felder, co-founder and CFO of SquadCast [00:00:45][2.8]

Zach Moreno: [00:00:46] And I’m Zach Moreno, co-founder and CEO.  [00:00:48][2.3]

Rock Felder: [00:00:50] On Between Two Mics, we bring you interviews with podcasters, experts in the field of remote recording. We discuss current events in podcasting and so much more.  [00:00:59][8.5]

Zach Moreno: [00:00:59] Twice a month you’ll hear a Founders’ episode. That’s just the two of us chatting about all things remote recording updates to SquadCast, what we’re up to and what we’re listening to.  [00:01:10][11.0]

Rock Felder: [00:01:11] The other two weeks of the month, we’ll bring you interview episodes. Zach and I will sit down with experts in the podcast Space to discuss their companies, their podcasts, their thoughts on podcasting, creating content, and more.  [00:01:22][11.2]

Zach Moreno: [00:01:22] The most exciting part? We’re recording all of this on SquadCast, the best place to record remote audio and video interviews in studio quality.  [00:01:34][11.2]

Rock Felder: [00:01:34] So let’s get between two mics.  [00:01:37][2.8]

Rock Felder: [00:01:39] Hey, listeners. Welcome back to Between Two Mics, a few notes before we jump into today’s episode. First up, we released SquadCast V4.8 Update this past week and includes a bunch of awesome upgrades, including a Dropbox integration and improved green room experience and lots more. Check it out and let us know what you think. Next, we hope you take a moment and check out our squad story series while Zach is out on paternity leave, we’ve been playing around with some fun new episode formats. The past four episodes of our show feature interviews between me and some of the folks behind this broadcast curtain. You can meet Kim, our marketing manager, Jean, our senior software engineer, Big Vince, our CIO, and Anthony Pelot, one of the software engineers. It’s our behind the scenes look at the inner workings of SquadCast. We hope you check it out. And last today’s episode is super cool. We were inspired by a Twitter thread that our community manager, Arielle Nissenblatt, posted back in June. In it, she outlined how she and her co-host, Shira Moskowitz, reached a hundred thousand downloads for their podcast Counter Programming with Shira and Arielle. Their podcast is super niche. They didn’t spend any money on ads. They aren’t network backed, but they did it. In the thread, Arielle outlines how. And in our conversation, we break it all down. It’s a longer interview, but it’s definitely worth it. Lots of gems and knowledge in there. For example, do you know how to pitch your podcast to Apple’s new and noteworthy? We start off the interview getting to know Shira and Arielle. But you probably already know Arielle a little bit. And then we jump into the Twitter thread. Plus, even though Zach’s out on paternity leave right now, you’ll get to hear his voice because this was recorded beforehand. So let’s get into it. Enjoy! [00:03:28][109.1]

Arielle: [00:03:29] So, Zach, I just wanted to say before we start the interview that Shira and I live two miles from each other and I never once considered recording Counter Programming with her in person. It was always going to be on SquadCast. [00:03:41][11.9]

Shira: [00:03:43] Even for today or said, should we record together in person, Arielle? And then it’s just easier on the Squad.  [00:03:50][6.5]

Rock Felder: [00:03:50] It is.  [00:03:51][0.3]

Zach Moreno: [00:03:51] I never really thought about it like that. But Rock and I live very close to each other now as well. And yeah, we’re always on SquadCast. So I think we’ve tried to record in person a handful of times and it’s it’s always more complicated. So glad we could make that happen. But today we’re talking about your lessons learned from from an awesome podcast that you all started Counter Programming during, a pandemic pod, I think is what the with the youths are saying. Welcome, welcome to Between Two Mics, Arielle and Shira. [00:04:21][29.8]

Shira: [00:04:23] Thank you so much for having us.  [00:04:24][1.2]

Arielle: [00:04:24] Yes, it’s going to be a fun one. I love coming on Between Two Mics and so glad to bring my pod wife with me.  [00:04:29][5.1]

Shira: [00:04:31] Awwww.  [00:04:31][0.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:04:31] I’m not sure how that term would translate to Rock and me being co-hosts, but. [00:04:36][5.4]

Arielle: [00:04:36] but I think the term is pod bros. But it has a negative connotation.  [00:04:39][3.3]

Zach Moreno: [00:04:40] Pod bros. Yea, let’s not use that. But good to know. Good to know.  [00:04:41][0.7]

Rock Felder: [00:04:45] I’m your pod pal.  [00:04:46][0.9]

Zach Moreno: [00:04:48] There we go.  [00:04:48][0.2]

Shira: [00:04:48] That’s better alliterative purposes as well.  [00:04:51][2.4]

Zach Moreno: [00:04:51] So Counter Programming is a very unique show. And what, what was the story there? What was the background, where’d the idea come from for Counter Programming?  [00:05:01][9.7]

Shira: [00:05:02] So back in March of twenty twenty everyone was really stressed. Arielle was living in Los Angeles, I was living in New York City. So we’re both in epicenters of the covid-19 pandemic and we are really stressed. All the podcast we listening to you were just making us more anxious. We wanted to stay informed, but it was really overwhelming. And I got a call from my dear friend Aryal that said, I have this crazy idea. What if we start a podcast to provide Counter Programming to all of this grim news, but each time we’ll talk about a different counter topic, which meant that we would talk about countertops, step counters, people, counters. And my initial reaction was, Arielle, you are insane. And I’m in.  [00:05:53][50.1]

Arielle: [00:05:54] I had this idea while I was walking a dog. During the pandemic, I walked a lot of dogs using the Wag! app, shout out to the Wag! app. And I just thought, I don’t know about you guys, but I was very manic in the early days of the pandemic. I was like, what can I do to take advantage of this time? So I thought, let me have a podcast,.  [00:06:15][21.3]

Zach Moreno: [00:06:16] Same here.  [00:06:16][0.1]

Arielle: [00:06:16] Let me start a live trivia series. Let me. I started a newsletter briefly called The Community Curated Kitchen. Did you know this?  [00:06:22][6.6]

Zach Moreno: [00:06:23] No, Great name.  [00:06:23][0.1]

Shira: [00:06:24] I don’t think I knew that one. How do I not get included on that newsletter?  [00:06:28][3.8]

Arielle: [00:06:29] I’m sure you were, but it lasted three days, really. I really had a lot of ideas. And this is the one that stuff Counter Programming with Shira and Arielle.  [00:06:37][8.0]

Rock Felder: [00:06:38] That’s awesome. I remember you doing the trivia stuff and I remember thinking like, wow, she’s really making the most of this pandemic, or at least trying because it was so quick, whereas I think a lot of other people started catching on and adapting in the summer. But like I feel like in May or April, you are already adapting and figuring out ways to to connect with people and spend your time. But yeah, I guess we started with the beginning of Counter Programming. But you all were friends before this, right? What’s what’s the origin story of you two?  [00:07:06][28.2]

Arielle: [00:07:06] Yeah. So my first job out of college in twenty fourteen. Right when I graduated I moved to Jackson, Mississippi to become an education fellow at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Mississippi. And I was there for a year. It’s a two year fellowship, so I was there for a year, Shira joined me a year later. And the premise of this job was we would be assigned to different synagogues throughout the south and we would go to those synagogues to help with, like teaching teaching the kids in Hebrew school. And if the synagogue didn’t have a rabbi, we would lead services on Friday night and we would have Shabbat dinner with with different congregants and things like that. And Shira was very used to that. And she is going to be like, of course, you’re bringing this up. Go ahead.  [00:07:53][46.5]

Shira: [00:07:53] No, I don’t want to steal your thunder, please.  [00:07:55][1.5]

Arielle: [00:08:00] This is definitely Shira’s thunder. But Shira has two parents who are rabbis.  [00:08:02][1.6]

Zach Moreno: [00:08:03] Oh, wow. Very cool.  [00:08:05][2.0]

Arielle: [00:08:05] Yeah.  [00:08:05][0.0]

Shira: [00:08:05] It’s Arielle’s favorite fun fact about me.  [00:08:08][3.0]

Arielle: [00:08:09] Maybe at all. Maybe it could be my favorite fun fact ever, but yeah. So Shira joined me a year later and so we only overlapped for a year but we were friends like very quickly.  [00:08:20][11.3]

Rock Felder: [00:08:21] And that’s awesome. You were able to make it work with the podcast that’s rooted in friendship. No better way to connect with a co-host, right?  [00:08:27][6.1]

Arielle: [00:08:27] Yeah. I think what was so great about it was that we early on collaborated at our job. It was a really collaborative job. We, it was this fellowship. So it wasn’t, you know, folks working on their own. It was let’s come together every Tuesday and have a brainstorming meeting. So we already knew what it was like to work together. So I think, Shira, you touched on this in our last episode, but we’re pretty good partners.  [00:08:49][21.7]

Arielle: [00:08:50] Yeah, I think we already had the professional stuff settled as well as the friendship stuff, so it was able to work. I think it’s hard when you have two friends coming together just to record a podcast for fun because there are some business elements that go into it. And the other thing I’ll kind of acknowledge about our time in Jackson is that it really taught us to make the best of a unique situation and to try to find fun in odd of places. If it’s a different city, it’s not like moving to New York City right out of college where there’s so much to do and the fun is there. You just have to attend it. We really had to create our own fun. And I think that also inspired Counter Programming in some way, and it definitely influenced it at the very least.  [00:09:39][48.7]

Arielle: [00:09:40] Definitely helped us when the pandemic came around, call upon the skills that we gained while we were in Jackson. So I think what’s interesting about Jackson is it’s a great city in and of itself, but because of the nature of the job, we were out almost every weekend. So when we came back, we didn’t we weren’t really building community within Jackson, but just kind of with each other, with with the other people who are at this job. So we did kind of have to make our own fun and we definitely carried that over to the rest of our lives to this day.  [00:10:08][28.1]

Zach Moreno: [00:10:08] And I think it’s it’s like both beautiful, both are beautiful examples of like how constraints can really bring out creative expression and like and I think that’s I think it speaks to to all the ideas that you had, Arielle, in the pandemic, like you get these new constraints apply to you and immediately start like. What can I do, what can I do in this new in this new kind of constrained environment is still to still find community, to still express yourself creatively? I think that’s really, really awesome. Like, I’m always thinking about like, what’s the difference between, like, art and creativity? And I think the best answer I’ve been able to find is the constraints and constraints. And then you’re starting to design all of a sudden.  [00:10:55][46.4]

Arielle: [00:10:56] That’s a nice way to look at it.  [00:10:57][1.2]

Shira: [00:10:58] Yeah, we definitely have to use some creativity, because when we started the podcast, we thought we would need like four or five counter topics and that, you know, the pandemic would wrap itself up really quickly. And that’s not what happened. So we needed 50 counter top instead of the five we initially planned.  [00:11:18][20.1]

Arielle: [00:11:19] Yeah, if you go back to our early episodes were like “this is the pandemic distraction cast, we’re going to cover a few topics. We’ll be done by June.”  [00:11:26][7.2]

Zach Moreno: [00:11:26] Well, we all thought the pandemic would be super quick, right? So here we are.  [00:11:31][4.4]

Shira: [00:11:32] We launch the beginning of April. So it was like this will be a nice little mini series. So one month stint.  [00:11:38][5.9]

Rock Felder: [00:11:39] That was the strategy. I was wondering if there was any plan or strategy since you both talked about not only being friends, but being able to work professionally and coming at this with not just like, oh, we’re just screwing around. Like it seemed more intentional than that, but I totally get you that. Didn’t expect it to to last so long. None of us did. But was there any other strategy or planning behind it or just let’s have fun, let’s see where this goes. Let’s distract ourselves? Like that was a success?  [00:12:03][24.5]

Shira: [00:12:05] There was definitely some strategy. So I think on the first part it was like, let’s distract ourselves. Let’s have a creative outlet. I had just started in January 2020, I had done my first stand up comedy performance and was starting to get into the swing of things. And then honestly, the week before New York City shut down, I had been performing at this like small comedy club, which is I’m shocked I didn’t have covid, but Arielle kind of called me and I was like, well, you just started this comedy thing. Why don’t you not lose that momentum? We’ll do a podcast. It’ll be funny. But outside of that, we Arielle being so involved in the podcast space, knew some tricks that we needed to do in order to just establish ourselves and not just make this like a joke that two friends were trying to do. So she knew to get us a logo, you had, Arielle, I feel like you had a lot of ideas on like, here’s how to do a good script. Like here’s our topic. Here’s how we’re going. The direction of, like, how will record and the length of it. But outside of that, those first few episodes, I think it was kind of limited in that sense.  [00:13:15][69.6]

Arielle: [00:13:16] Yeah, I think generally we knew that we wanted to cover anything with the word count or counter in the title. We thought, OK, it’d be nice to have some interviews here and there. And I enjoyed writing scripts from week to week because, yes, I had a job at the time. But I also and yes, I was walking dogs on the side and yes, I was leading trivia, but there was still that weird, scary, nagging feeling of like when is this pandemic going to end? At least I can connect with my friend and collaborate with my friend once a week.  [00:13:45][29.7]

Shira: [00:13:46] The only other, like, real strategic decision I think we made and this was also from your guidance, Arielle, was to create an Instagram account. That if we were going to do this, even if I I genuinely thought only our family members would listen and I wasn’t even sure if they would give it the time of day, but we should at least have have one outlet to promote it.  [00:14:08][22.3]

Arielle: [00:14:09] I thought of one more strategic decision we made pretty early on, which was we personally, Shira and Arielle, did not want to spend too much time on production. So we early on decided that we were going to call upon a friend of mine who had been working with since I managed a podcast studio in West L.A. at a coworking space. His name is Daniel Tureck. He’s amazing. We always shout him out.  [00:14:31][22.2]

Shira: [00:14:31] He is the most incredible person.  [00:14:33][1.7]

Arielle: [00:14:34] He’s not only is he extremely talented, he’s also the sweetest man. And I’m saying that speaking to two very sweet men right now. [00:14:42][8.0]

Rock Felder: [00:14:43] He must be a sweetheart then.  [00:14:44][0.8]

Arielle: [00:14:45] He’s a big sweetheart. He’s really, really nice. His name, his website, his robot slap dotcom, extremely talented. He’s actually working right now.  [00:14:52][7.5]

Zach Moreno: [00:14:53] Great name.  [00:14:54][0.2]

Arielle: [00:14:54] Yeah. And we early on decided not only what were we going to utilize, Daniel, but we are also going to give him essentially like a host seat, like a silent host. We call them the silent hosts.  [00:15:02][8.2]

Shira: [00:15:02] We really gave him free rein at first. We were definitely using our scripts more than we were by the end of the second season. So obviously, it was like he was going to edit out the the moments where we needed to repeat a line or made a mistake or something that sounded moronic. But in general, we were like, go for it, add sound effects, do whatever you want. And he did things that just never would have occurred to me because I’m not a professional sound engineer and just sound designer, what he was able to do with it, like, I mean, according to my dad, he was the best. Daniel is the best part of our podcast.  [00:15:38][35.4]

Arielle: [00:15:40] Yea, we got we got a lot of backhanded comments from parents.  [00:15:43][3.2]

Rock Felder: [00:15:45] Right.  [00:15:45][0.0]

Arielle: [00:15:46] We were like, OK, at least our parents are going to listen. And yeah, they listened. But when they do, my mom will call me and be like, so I listen to Counter Programming. And I’m like, yeah, and she’ll go. And it was great. And I’ll be like, but and she’s like, no buts this week.  [00:16:00][14.2]

Rock Felder: [00:16:02] None this week. Stay tuned for mom’s buts next week.  [00:16:03][1.5]

Shira: [00:16:04] We honestly thought about doing an after show with our parents at one point because they just would give such funny feedback where my mom is actually the one who noticed that in an earlier episode, Arielle had said, I’m going to find a safe place to rollerblade so I don’t get hurt. And she had said that three weeks before the injury.  [00:16:27][22.9]

Rock Felder: [00:16:28] Oh, my.  [00:16:28][0.8]

Shira: [00:16:29] My mom called me and was like, you have to find this voice that I’m listening to the episode from a few weeks ago, like Arielle explicitly said this.  [00:16:38][8.8]

Rock Felder: [00:16:39] And for folks who don’t know what happened three weeks after that, Arielle? [00:16:42][2.7]

Arielle: [00:16:43] I went rollerblading. I was successful for five miles. But then on my way home, I fell, broke my elbow, had to get surgery, like, really just the worst.  [00:16:53][10.5]

Zach Moreno: [00:16:55] And how are you doing now with your elbow?  [00:16:56][1.6]

Arielle: [00:16:57] I’m OK. I just have this really sick scar and I’m fine with it.  [00:17:00][3.2]

Shira: [00:17:00] So going back through our silent hosts, I really that was one of my biggest learnings from doing a podcast for the first time. But also that I’ve taken with me into life is hire experts like there are people who are really good at things. And if you want something to sound professional and of course it depends what your goals are with creating your podcast, if your goal is to create that sounds really professional and that you don’t have to spend a ton of time editing, you want someone to to do the sound behind it and really create that. If your goal is just to spend some time talking, I guess you don’t have to do that. But I think hire experts. We like our logo designer, too. I think that was a game changer in having someone who knew what they were doing, make a logo that wasn’t just us playing around on Canva, although we love Canva. Shout out to them. [00:17:53][52.7]

Arielle: [00:17:54] Yeah, I think for me, working in the podcast, it was important that my product was going to walk the walk. I talk all the time about podcast advice, so I thought if I have a product here, it’s got to look good. And for Shira, who was just getting into comedy, it’s got to be good. You know, it’s got to be something that you can put up on your portfolio.  [00:18:10][17.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:18:11] Yeah, the only analogy I can think of from from my perspective is like Zach doesn’t just build websites. Right. Like you have to. You can’t just set this like industry knowledge aside, like you have to apply it. And and I think this is a great a great example of you doing that. Like all the lessons you’ve learned in the podcast community, like coming to life. Right. And over the course of this show, that’s kind of the journey we’ve been on over time. You know, there’s an evolution there, but you had a bunch of knowledge going into this show and like did the best practices like on on day one. And I’m curious as to what you learned through that journey, but we’ll get to that here in a little bit. But Counter Programming podcast has has since has since ended. Why did you both decide to to stop and shut the showdown?  [00:18:59][47.2]

Arielle: [00:18:59] It’s a great question and one that we debated. But yeah, I think we knew all along that it was not going to be a forever a forever cast. We knew we wanted it to.  [00:19:11][11.6]

Zach Moreno: [00:19:11] Just a distraction cast.  [00:19:12][0.2]

Arielle: [00:19:12] Yea, just a distraction cast, I guess. Yeah, just a distraction cast. And we kind of when the vaccines were picking up, we decided, OK, that seems like a good time for us to sunset this. But Shira, do you want to speak more on that?  [00:19:24][12.2]

Shira: [00:19:24] I think it just felt like the right time. And I’m a big believer in ending when you’re in a good place, not ending once it’s once it’s gone downhill. So we ended when we still had a lot of listeners. We had this community we had built. We are really proud of the product we had created. We had come up with fifty counter topics that I was comfortable standing behind. I’m not sure how many more we could have done with that confidence. [00:19:51][26.8]

Arielle: [00:19:53] I feel like we should give some examples probably of like when it started getting a little out of hand.  [00:19:57][4.6]

Shira: [00:19:58] I stand by all of our counter topics as previously stated.  [00:20:02][3.8]

Arielle: [00:20:02] OK, while I look on my podcast listening app of choice, which is Castbox and sometimes Goodpods for our episodes, for our counter topics.  [00:20:13][11.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:20:14] GoodPods is pretty cool. It’s been getting getting some more listens from me.  [00:20:17][3.0]

Arielle: [00:20:17] I also just want to say that early on I started working at SquadCast in August, August of twenty twenty. We started this podcast five months beforehand. The moment that we decided we were going to start the podcast. What did I say to Sheere? I said, how are we going to. Oh, we’re going to use… [00:20:33][15.1]

Shira: [00:20:33] SquadCast. Which that’s another great example of like, you know, I think I actually want to retract one of my previous statements when I said we weren’t strategic at the beginning, we were naturally very strategic. And I think that’s clear from our answers. Like Arielle knew what the best of recording software would be for creating a podcast, and Arielle knew to hire a logo designer and a sound designer. So I think there was a lot of strategy behind that and the products do matter. And so I think that’s a perfect example of like using experts, but also using the right materials. And you knew to tell me to buy the right mike and to wear wird headphones and little things that I wouldn’t have known. And I imagine people who don’t have your expertize would have they just wouldn’t have been aware of that or they would have had to read a lot of articles.  [00:21:24][50.5]

Arielle: [00:21:25] I also think I might have messaged Zach or Rock when I.  [00:21:29][4.1]

Zach Moreno: [00:21:31] I think so. I think I remember that.  [00:21:31][0.5]

Arielle: [00:21:32] Let me find it. Yes.  [00:21:33][0.8]

Shira: [00:21:33] That’s so funny.  [00:21:34][0.5]

Arielle: [00:21:34] Oh, this is so adorable. OK, please hold.  [00:21:37][2.5]

Shira: [00:21:37] It was meant to be.  [00:21:38][0.7]

Rock Felder: [00:21:39] Well, while you’re looking it up, Arielle, one of the things that you said Shira, that I think resonates well with me is like you were naturally strategic. Another thing that seemed natural, circling back to the decision to shut down, because I think that’s that’s tough to know when to stop, especially when you’re for lack of a better way of putting it on top. But to me, that express that shows a lot of wisdom and maturity, but it seems like it came natural to you all, like any other insight you can provide us on that on, because I think that’s a tough thing, especially for podcasters, like knowing when to stop, knowing when to experiment, like you’re not tied in or handcuffed to any of these things. And that’s one of the things that was really inspiring about the work that you all were doing was you were very just like free about it. And that’s what one of the reasons why I wanted to talk about it on today’s show.  [00:22:25][46.1]

Shira: [00:22:25] I think some of that and thinking that that’s a huge compliment. I think some of it was that we weren’t tied to anyone like we it wasn’t a podcast for an organization. It wasn’t a podcast we had created with the intention of making money off of. It was truly for us. So because it was so like in the podcast, creation was so innate, we were able to really listen and be in tune with ourselves about when it was time for it to end and also to because our friendship existed before the podcast and our working relationship existed before the podcast, it didn’t necessarily feel like it was the end of everything we had built. It felt like it was the end of this chapter and who knows what will be next for us. But our friendship will remain not to sound like nauseatingly cheesy, but our working relationship can also exist beyond this podcast.  [00:23:23][57.4]

Zach Moreno: [00:23:24] Yeah, and another thing that I love about this story is that just because it was a distraction cast doesn’t mean that’s like some sort of license to not care about what you’re producing. Right. And it can still be really well done and thought through and intentional in all of the the ways that, you know, how starting a show like this, I feel like a lot of podcasters are like, oh, you know, my friend and I are going to like, drink and talk about this topic. And because of that, we don’t really take it too seriously. And it’s like serious doesn’t necessarily correlate with like good and intentional. And like, if you’re going to put something out into the world for for other people to to be part of and listen to, like I’m a big fan of of the way you all approach this, like taking it to the level that you did, I think really speaks to that like over a hundred thousand downloads is is not anything to kind of turn your nose up to, right. Like, that’s pretty awesome accomplishment for what is like considered like a very I don’t even know if you’d call it a niche topic. Like what would you call the topic.  [00:24:26][62.0]

Shira: [00:24:26] Quirky? I will say. [00:24:29][2.4]

Rock Felder: [00:24:30] Quirky. I like quirky.  [00:24:30][0.1]

Zach Moreno: [00:24:31] Yea.  [00:24:31][0.0]

Shira: [00:24:32] I think intentional is also the right word here. Like this is not necessarily a serious topic. Some of our topics actually were more serious than we had initially intended, but we were very intentional about not just being two friends, drinking and recording a funny podcast because we like hearing ourselves talk. And so we think other people will like that, even though.  [00:24:55][23.8]

Arielle: [00:24:56] We do.  [00:24:56][0.1]

Shira: [00:25:01] That’s true.  [00:25:01][0.1]

Rock Felder: [00:25:01] Guilty!  [00:25:01][0.0]

Shira: [00:25:03] We did choose. We were like, OK, we’re going to be really intentional about picking a topic and sticking to that topic and talking about that topic each week.  [00:25:10][7.5]

Arielle: [00:25:10] Because that’s what we like to listen to.  [00:25:12][1.4]

Shira: [00:25:12] Yeah. And we were going to do research for it in preparation. And you can still be funny, but you have to be intentional in order to actually have it come off as funny in a podcast.  [00:25:22][10.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:25:23] I think of it kind of like like baseball, like it’s it’s kind of boring from my perspective to watch. Like, I know there’s people who disagree.  [00:25:29][5.8]

Shira: [00:25:29] So boring.  [00:25:29][0.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:25:30] But when you’re playing it, it does not feel like that, right, like the game does not feel like that when you’re watching it. It’s kind of like a picnic and there’s a bunch of stuff happening all around you. And it’s different to experience it firsthand and to, like, listen to it.[00:25:43][12.8]

Arielle: [00:25:44] Just to close the loop on some of the more strange counter topics that we came to. Did you know that the cocktail called the Negroni was named after account account Negroni, for example?  [00:25:54][10.5]

Zach Moreno: [00:25:56] Did not!  [00:25:56][0.1]

Rock Felder: [00:25:57] Can’t wait to share that at a cocktail party.  [00:25:58][1.1]

Shira: [00:25:59] I share it every time I go out for drinks. So I’m like, actually.  [00:26:03][4.2]

Arielle: [00:26:05] So there’s that. Then leading up to the election, the twenty twenty election, we had a whole two month segment on making sure your vote counts,.  [00:26:13][8.3]

Zach Moreno: [00:26:14] Naturally.  [00:26:14][0.0]

Arielle: [00:26:14] Counting down to the election.  [00:26:16][2.1]

Shira: [00:26:17] That was a stretch. Fine I don’t stand by all of them.[00:26:18][0.4]

Zach Moreno: [00:26:21] Just looking forward to it that much. Just like you got to get everything we can out of this topic.  [00:26:25][4.0]

Arielle: [00:26:26] We did what else we did. We watched the movie The Count of Monte Cristo. We could have gone on and on about movies with the word count or counter in the title songs with the word counter counter in the title. But we spared the counties. Oh, I’m sorry we didn’t share yet, but that’s what we called our listeners.  [00:26:42][16.4]

Shira: [00:26:44] That was another strategic thing you came up with that we needed a name for our listeners.  [00:26:48][4.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:26:48] You do.  [00:26:48][0.0]

Shira: [00:26:48] And it stuck.  [00:26:48][0.0]

Arielle: [00:26:51] What’s your name Between Two Mic hosts? What do you call your listeners?  [00:26:54][3.1]

Rock Felder: [00:26:54] Betweeners. No. [00:26:54][0.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:26:56] I don’t know. Let’s come up with one.  [00:26:58][1.9]

Shira: [00:26:59] Mikies. [00:26:59][0.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:27:01] I like Betweeners. [00:27:01][0.2]

Arielle: [00:27:02] Well, it’s b2m. Honestly, Tweeners is kinda cute.[00:27:03][0.5]

Rock Felder: [00:27:04] Beamers? No. [00:27:04][0.0]

Shira: [00:27:06] Tweeners it cute. I like Tweeners. [00:27:07][0.5]

Rock Felder: [00:27:09] Well, you tell us, listeners. What do you want to be called? Tweener. Betweener.  [00:27:10][1.5]

Arielle: [00:27:12] Yeah, let us know.  [00:27:13][0.8]

Zach Moreno: [00:27:13] We’ll send some swag to to whoever can come up with the best name.  [00:27:16][3.2]

Arielle: [00:27:17] We have really cute shirts for Between Two Mics, so.[00:27:19][2.0]

Shira: [00:27:20] I would like that.  [00:27:21][0.6]

Zach Moreno: [00:27:21] You got it. To continue. I need to order one so we’ll put in order for the both of us and yeah it’s it’s a trip seeing, to come back to the parents. It’s a trip seeing my parents wear a shirt with mine and Rock’s cartoon kind of faces on it. It’s fun.  [00:27:36][14.3]

Arielle: [00:27:36] Oh OK. I found the Twitter D.M. that I sent to SquadCas fm on April 8th. So seven days after we started our podcast, I said, Hey, hey, I’m using SquadCast for my new podcast I’m creating and hosting with a friend and we love it. Thank you for creating an amazing product. [00:27:52][16.1]

Rock Felder: [00:27:54] Aww, that made our day. [00:27:54][0.4]

Zach Moreno: [00:27:54] Made my day. Yeah, exactly. And glad we could help with that. And glad you all found ways to express yourself creatively. That’s what what I’m all about. Right. Like collaboration enhances creativity and I feel like so do constraints and the pandemic. You need distractions during something crazy like that.  [00:28:13][18.4]

Rock Felder: [00:28:14] Let’s take a short breather. We’ll be right back.  [00:28:16][2.3]

Arielle: [00:28:19] Hello, SquadCaster, Arielle your community manager here with a quick message. At the beginning of this episode, you heard a pre-roll ad from a SquadCast customer. They told you a bit about their podcast and then gave us a nice introduction into this week’s episode of Between Two Mics. If you record your podcast on SquadCast, you can submit one of these pre roll ads too. We want to show off your podcast. For details on submitting an ad for your show, head to Squadast FM Slash Share. That’s our new content submission page. In addition to voice clips, you can submit squad shots, feature videos and more. Again, head to SquadCast dot FM slash share. Super easy URL to remember. It’s SquadCast dot FM slash what? Share. SquadCast dot fm slash share to submit your voice clips so that we can feature you on this podcast. OK, let’s get back to the show.  [00:29:13][53.8]

Rock Felder: [00:29:14] Yeah. So Arielle, there was an epic tweet tweet thread that you had on Twitter, obviously kind of recapping what you all learned from, from the podcast, and it’s fun of a project as it was. I think that tweet kind of summarized a lot of the the learnings that you did that all podcasters I think can benefit from. So why don’t you two walk us through that tweet and then we can expand upon what kind of findings or takeaways there are from it that podcasters can improve their show with.  [00:29:46][32.0]

Shira: [00:29:47] Do you want to start with reading the tweet? A little listicle? One by one. [00:29:50][3.1]

Arielle: [00:29:50] Yeah. Oh, dramatic reading.  [00:29:53][2.3]

Zach Moreno: [00:29:57] Oh, this’ll be good.  [00:29:57][0.3]

Shira: [00:29:57] We love a dramatic reading.  [00:29:57][0.0]

Arielle: [00:29:57] Yeah. Let me just set it up. So please, just for full context, the reason Zach and Rock wanted to have Shira and I on the show is because of the tweet. This tweet actually did really well, not just with likes and RTs.  [00:30:08][10.5]

Zach Moreno: [00:30:08] Heavy hitters in the podcast community, I think really, really resonated.  [00:30:11][3.6]

Arielle: [00:30:12] Yeah, yeah. People were really interested in talking to me and Shira about this tweet because I think, as you’ll hear, we were really transparent about how we did what we did. So I know that for listeners who are tuning into between two Mics right now, I’m really passionate about helping podcasters reach an audience that is meaningful to them and making an impact on that audience. So please, if any of this resonates with you or you have more questions after you hear this episode, please get in touch with me. I run the SquadCast account SquadCast FM on all socials. And Shira, why don’t you begin?  [00:30:48][35.8]

Shira: [00:30:49] I would love to thank you. Here are my five tips for. Oh, do you want me to start at the beginning or I was just going to start.  [00:30:55][6.1]

Arielle: [00:30:56] Yea, let’s start at the beginning.  [00:30:56][0.1]

Shira: [00:30:56] OK, now that Counter Programming without Shishimosk and Arielle, the pandemic distraction cast is over, I want to share with you how we almost reached the hundred thousand downloads, even though we are network back, didn’t spend money on ads, published seasonally, read on thread emoji thread emoji thread emoji.  [00:31:19][22.4]

Arielle: [00:31:21] That was perfect. So then I shared and just for the folks at home, we are currently sharing our screen on squad casts new v4 feature where we can share screen. So that’s very exciting. Here are my five tips for reaching almost one hundred thousand podcast downloads. Number one, you should be clear and concise in your messaging, a.k.a. Overcommunicate, and we’ll get into that in just a second. No. Two Strategic promo and social swaps for your podcast. Number three, pitching and catching. That’s a baseball emoji. Bringing it back. No, for sporadic guesting, for us. We did not have guests every episode. Number five in app placement. And that is one of my big things that I talk about all the time. So, Shira, let’s get into that. Zach and Rock, please feel free to jump in whenever or else we’ll just steamroll this thing.  [00:32:08][47.1]

Rock Felder: [00:32:09] I kind of like this.  [00:32:10][1.0]

Arielle: [00:32:13] OK, Zach, you read the next one.  [00:32:14][1.1]

Shira: [00:32:15] Are we going to. Oh, we’re reading the whole thread. I thought we would talk about the other thing.  [00:32:18][3.0]

Arielle: [00:32:18] We’ll talk about it. But, Zach, do you want to start us off?  [00:32:20][1.9]

Zach Moreno: [00:32:21] Yeah, no. One clear and concise messaging. OK, Overcommunication. Our logo is cute as fuck. Our description is clear. Our social media uses the same colors and typefaces and is attractive. If for some reason we couldn’t release an episode while in season we over communicated the why. A screenshot a picture of your artwork. Which do you want to do? You want to give a shout out to the artist. Is that somebody you know?  [00:32:50][29.6]

Arielle: [00:32:51] And Zach, isn’t it cute as fuck?  [00:32:52][1.8]

Zach Moreno: [00:32:53] Yes, it’s a it’s a great, great representation. They’re great colors. If I can put on my design hat for a second, I’m not sure what typeface this is off the top of my head, but the colors really work nicely. You have a a countertop also communicating on multiple levels, some some cool artwork for sure. And I think really it communicates visually the nature of your friendship together at the same time.  [00:33:20][26.5]

Arielle: [00:33:21] Yeah, we worked with his name is Caio Slikta, he’s based in Rio de Janeiro and his Instagram is at Caio Slikta, Shira, how’s that spelled?  [00:33:29][8.8]

Shira: [00:33:30] CAIO SLIKTA. [00:33:31][0.5]

Arielle: [00:33:36] Caio Slikta. So he’s great, signature big eyes for those folks who are not able to see what we are seeing right now.  [00:33:43][6.5]

Zach Moreno: [00:33:45] We’ll link to it in the show notes, of course, with this epic thread.  [00:33:47][1.7]

Arielle: [00:33:47] Yes, absolutely. Everything will be available afterwards. But let’s expound upon some of the things that Zach just read to us. So, yes, we thought it was really important for our messaging to be clear and concise. So if you go to any of our socials, it’s pretty clear right off the bat what this podcast is about, who is hosting it, what we’re going to be talking about on it and, everything else, you don’t really need to know because they’re going to tune in or you’re not going to tune in. We made sure on our Instagram channel, if you go to it Counter Programming pod, you’ll see that we are in our first season. We use the colors, blue and gold and all of our Instagram posts used the blue and the gold and anything else that was within that logo. And in our second season, we use purple and red and blue and those colors populate all of our grid posts. On Instagram, we made sure to say consistent, both on Instagram, on the grid and on our stories. And if we ever posted on Twitter, on our personal accounts, same thing so that the branding is concise and clear and you know what’s going on. Shira, what about overcommunication? If we were not able to make an episode?  [00:34:53][65.8]

Shira: [00:34:54] So it’s very important to us, especially when we took so we didn’t take any breaks for the first 30 weeks. I think it was we just kind of kept going. And there was one week where we couldn’t record. Arielle was driving cross-country and so we still created an episode. But it was like a five minute long episode where we each recorded a voice clip of where we were. We sent them to Daniel, who edited it together. And basically the episode was telling everyone what we were up to. Arielle counted some animals on there because we were very consistent with our theme, but that was really important to us, that people understood that they weren’t just skipping a week. And then when we did decide to initially we hadn’t really had seasons. We just it just continued counting on. And so when we did decide that what we were going to call season one retroactively was going to end, we were very clear about that. And we still kept communicating with people on our Instagram if something came up. And then leading up to season two, we are clear as well. And of course, when Arielle got hurt and we needed to skip a week, we shared the voice clip of Arielle saying that she was going to rollerblade without getting hurt and told everyone that we would not be recording.  [00:36:10][76.3]

Arielle: [00:36:11] Yeah, so I’m a big fan of Overcommunication pretty much in everything, even, you know, not not on Facebook, not being like, hello, my toenails fell off. I can’t come to work today. Not like that. But when it comes to the people that are expecting content of you, I think it’s important to let them know what’s going on. So Zach and Rock, in a recent episode featuring Agnes Kozera, the founder of Podcorn, in the first half of the episode, her mic was not plugged in. So we had kind of some static going. So we just made sure to say, hey, everybody, before we get started with today’s episode, just want to let you know that there’s some static in the episode. We were able to fix it for the second half. Thanks for sticking with us. Hope you enjoy the episode. And I think even if somebody doesn’t notice the static or doesn’t notice between the first half and the second half, you are establishing that you acknowledge that they might be experiencing something so that they are not thinking, am I crazy? And I think that helps.  [00:37:07][56.0]

Shira: [00:37:07] Yeah, we actually had to do that because we have a little bit of ESP, I would say. So we had planned out our season to lineup. We’re going to do Beyonce’s Countdown song as one of our episodes. We record the episode next weekend is the the next weekend is the Grammys. Beyonce sweeps in the Grammys. Every stat that we had shared about her was no longer true and we simply were not rerecording that episode. So we had a little intro at the beginning explaining to everyone that we were aware of pop culture and that we knew that everything we said was basically wrong, but that we had recorded it the week before.  [00:37:45][37.7]

Arielle: [00:37:46] Yeah, and I think your listeners will appreciate that. Even if it sounds like to you you’re over communicating. So we found that to be super important.  [00:37:53][7.2]

Rock Felder: [00:37:54] Well, I think it demonstrates a lot of empathy. And we talk about this being a relationship. It’s it’s really fostering a relationship here. So I think that communication, that’s what you would do to your friends or family, like, hey, I’m not going to show up today that it’s a little thing that goes a long way. But it’s just not, I think, intuitive to everybody. Certainly wasn’t to me until you came onboard, Arielle and started giving us some of your feedback and input on how we can continue to enhance. And develop the relationships that we’ve made through this podcast, so it’s a huge thing and it’s not a lot of effort like all it did was you just saying, hey, I think we should do this. We recorded it. And I think it buys up a lot of goodwill just for that little little effort.  [00:38:33][39.3]

Arielle: [00:38:34] Totally. Let’s go to the next tweet. Rock, do you want to read this one?  [00:38:37][3.1]

Rock Felder: [00:38:37] Absolutely. So, number two, strategic promo and social swaps. We made a list of pods of similar demographics and pitched them all individually. We made a list of micro influencers, sometimes friends of friends, and pitch them, asking if they’d post a screenshot of the show. So really, just like doing a lot of this groundwork to create engagement is a summary of it. And actually, we’re we’re doing this with SquadCast, too very similar stuff. So, yeah. What else do you want to share about that? You two.  [00:39:08][30.8]

Arielle: [00:39:09] Yeah, that was Shira’s idea, so. Shira, do you want to take that one?  [00:39:11][2.1]

Shira: [00:39:11] Sure. Well I think the cross promo thing I learned from you and I now I’m realizing how many podcasts I’ve personally found in my own listening life through other podcasts, because if I’m enjoying a podcast and they tell me that this other podcast is going to be up my alley, if I like their podcast, I’m going to at least give it a listen. And that’s why I found some of my favorite podcasts and how I discovered new ones. So we definitely capitalized on that. And cross promoing doesn’t cost anything most of the time, and it allows you to interact with other really cool podcasters. And for me, as such a novice in the podcast space, it was really exciting to see how noncompetitive the podcast industry is. So many other. Yeah, so many other industries are. Well, like I’m doing this, I have to be the best at this. And the podcast space feels really like I want you to succeed and I also want to succeed. So this strategic partnership makes sense. But what I was calling our micro influencer campaign I had thought of in preparation for the first season, too, I was noticing all of these smaller influencers who I followed, not celebrities, but had pretty substantial followings that I had been following along on their content for some of them for years and used some of them. I paid for their services, I read their email, their weekly emails, and I was like, I wonder if they’d be willing to promote our podcasts and like, what can I do for them as well? So I it was a lot of organizations I had been really in touch with and so I could offer things to them. So a family friend of mine has a huge following on Instagram. And so I reached out to see if she would share this with her followers. And of course, it wouldn’t have made sense for her strategically to for us to share her account with our small, much smaller amount of Instagram followers. But I knew that she had just launched a company and that that account had way fewer followers because it was a brand new company. So I was like, well, run an ad for you for free if you’ll share our account with your seventy thousand or our podcast with your seventy thousand followers. And another thing that I did with organizations that I’m a member of, I just reached out to them and was like, do you want to do a member spotlit? Some of them don’t do member spotlights, but they still said yes. No one had ever asked them if they could be featured as a member. And so I reached out to my university alumni network. I went to University of Michigan. It has a huge alumni network.  [00:41:49][157.3]

Arielle: [00:41:51] Go Blue!  [00:41:51][0.0]

Shira: [00:41:51] Go Blue. Thank you, Arielle, I’ve trained you so well.. Huge alumni network. And they shared it in an email, like little things like that that I mean, I was shocked at how willing people were to share our story and be proud of someone in their network doing this. But I kind of wasn’t going to hurt us to ask. And some people did say no, but were they just didn’t respond and we survived.  [00:42:14][23.4]

Arielle: [00:42:16] Yeah, we we can get to some of the press that we got later. And honestly, it is still coming.  [00:42:20][4.1]

Rock Felder: [00:42:21] Hey, that’s awesome.  [00:42:23][1.1]

Arielle: [00:42:23] So let’s go to number three, pitching and catching. Shira, back to you.  [00:42:27][3.3]

Shira: [00:42:27] Pitching and catching. We created a statically pleasing pitch deck that included our download forecasts and audio clips. We were willing to receive pitches as well for guests, for social swaps and most importantly, for ideas for improvement.  [00:42:41][14.3]

Arielle: [00:42:42] So.  [00:42:42][0.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:42:42] Critical.  [00:42:42][0.0]

Arielle: [00:42:42] Pretty early on, I learned that pitch decks are huge and mostly that comes from my work at Castbox. So before I was SquadCast, I was at Castbox, which is a podcast listening app, and there’s a pretty robust in app promotion experience that people can apply for. And we were much more likely to accept people if they had information on how the show was likely to do on how they were going to promote cashbox. So we created something that essentially had all that information and more so. If we wanted to pitch ourselves to Apple, if we wanted to pitch ourselves to Spotify, to what else is there to Goodpods, to Castbox, to any of the 30, 50, however many there are podcast listening apps, how were we going to position ourselves? So we made this nice looking deck that we would send around every time we sent out a pitch. So, hey, would you consider including Counter Programming on this blog that you have coming up on pandemic podcasts? Here’s a deck to go along with it. And it was really helpful to have something to back ourselves up. So we had in that deck, we had audio clips, we had where we’d been featured before and other things like that.  [00:43:57][74.7]

Rock Felder: [00:43:58] Yeah, this is a key detail that a lot of folks like I don’t hear this talked about very commonly. But to me, it’s it reminds me of like putting together a business plan when we first started SquadCast, like even if that business plan didn’t see anybody else, like the exercise of us going through that I think was extremely beneficial. So in a similar regard, I think just doing some work to put together a pitch like it’s work that maybe you don’t have to do and but even if Apple doesn’t see it or they don’t love it or whatever, like that exercise of going through it is, I have to imagine that was extremely beneficial to help you with your focus and attention. And again, it just shows just the level of seriousness and strategy that you had, even though this is all for fun. At the same time, it’s it’s really impressive how you two been able to balance that. I got to say.  [00:44:49][51.5]

Shira: [00:44:50] Thank you. Yeah, I just remember one day I got a Google Slide deck, sent my email and Ariel said, this is something we have to do. This is a pitch deck. Here’s what here’s the slides I need you to fill out. And I was just like, yes, ma’am, this makes sense. And this should be the strategy.  [00:45:05][15.1]

Zach Moreno: [00:45:07] Initiative. That’s so awesome. And I also think, like being open to, you know, improvements and feedback is something that, you know, listening is kind of how we talk about it in our culture. It’s SquadCast is like really, really key. And that’s that’s a big element here. There’s two sides to this coin. So I’m curious, like, what did you get as far as pitches?  [00:45:27][20.5]

Shira: [00:45:28] So one of the most visible, I guess, pitches that we we caught was with the team at Food Day. Pod, or Every Day is a Food Day. So, they reached out to us and said, we love your podcast. We think we have a really similar vibe to you. Let’s hop on a call and see what we can do. And so what we ended up doing was a crossover episode. They had to come up with the amazing idea of doing an episode on county fairs, which blew our minds that we hadn’t thought of it yet. And so Arielle and I came up with some fun facts about county fairs. Obviously, Arielle threw in trivia, although our trivia is pretty state fair oriented. If you listen back to the episode. They talked about food that you eat at county fairs and they prepared some food. I held up a box of frozen corn dogs that I always have in my fridge, but it was a really cool way to cross, promote and we release the episodes in our in both feeds and got to do some Instagram promo as well. So that was a really exciting one that costs nothing other than what we normally pay to produce an episode and opened us up to a new audience and hopefully opened them up to our audience as well. Yeah, we were joking before about our parents feedback and some of it was just annoying. But there was also a lot we we learned from it as they were listening and we did it. We definitely evolved and grew both from feedback from people who are willing to share feedback with us and also from each other. We found it a little less natural than we wanted in that last episode. And we don’t want to be scripted. And I think we’re both fairly self-aware. And also I mean, I think one of the challenges of working with a friend is if you don’t have the kind of relationship where you can give each other honest feedback, it can be challenging. And yeah, we were pretty open to giving each other feedback and saying you have to redo that line. That was a stupid comment.  [00:47:35][126.5]

Arielle: [00:47:38] Yeah. I mean, we after we recorded with Every Day is a food day, we noticed that they were very bullet point oriented on their script and that we were more fully written out and we decided to take that on. We and we found actually that we are a lot funnier if we only give ourselves some parameters rather than making the whole thing regimented. So after that, we really went to kind of more of an improv thing. And the episodes are better, honestly. Yeah, I listen to them. And also, what is it, your mom? I was willing to take feedback from your mom. Your mom, I think was listening to our Beyonce episode, and she was like, Arielle clearly doesn’t like Beyonce say that, Michael. Honestly, that’s true, like, she’s great, but I’m not in the beehive.  [00:48:21][42.5]

Shira: [00:48:23] I think our family’s got too comfortable. They started giving the child they’re not related to feedback.  [00:48:31][8.0]

Arielle: [00:48:32] But then it should be said that my dad thinks Shira is hilarious.  [00:48:36][3.8]

Shira: [00:48:37] And like my parents, my parents absolutely think Ariel’s funnier than I am. They were shocked when I was like, no, Arielle’s parents said that I’m funnier. And they’re like, what? How?  [00:48:47][9.3]

Zach Moreno: [00:48:48] Oh, it’s like a built in focus group that also cares for you.  [00:48:52][4.2]

Arielle: [00:48:52] That we did not ask for.  [00:48:53][0.5]

Shira: [00:48:55] But we should say they also give us really positive feedback. My brother is like he’s the sweetest. He’ll text me randomly and be like I finally caught up on this episode. I think it’s one of the best interviews you’ve both done. You were so well prepared and you found so much more natural now, like, it’s really amazing. So it’s we get we get both sides from them.  [00:49:17][21.6]

Arielle: [00:49:17] Yeah. So speaking of that, let’s get to our guesting. Let’s get to some of the guests that we had on the show. So we were pretty strategic. We wanted it to be a podcast that it was hosted by Shira and I. But every once in a while we wanted to spice it up with an interview. So early on we had Lisa Orkin come and play a coin. We did an episode on counterfeit coins and counter get it, and we had Lisa play the part of a coin who was from the eighteen hundreds. She did a whole improv thing. It was really fun. And that’s just an example of how how kind of funky and quirky you can get with this, where we did give real facts about counterfeiting coins and counterfeiting dollars and other things like that. But then we also kind of had fun with it and said, you know, just let her kind of go into what it would be like to be a counterfeit coin. And was she stuck in one room all of her life? And did she know she was counterfeit? And is it kind of taboo to be counterfeit and all that kind of stuff? It was just very ridiculous.  [00:50:18][60.8]

Shira: [00:50:19] I think that’s a perfect example, especially at the beginnging. Actually, we did this the whole time that we pushed ourselves creatively and came up with new ideas. And that was the first that was one of the first interviews that we had. And you were like, I think this could help. Let’s see how this goes with an interview. And it was definitely interviewing a super different than producing a podcast with just two people, as you guys obviously know. And it was our first interview was like pretty excruciating and like super awkward. And I think it came out OK when you listen to it. But like, it was so awkward.  [00:50:52][32.8]

Arielle: [00:50:53] Because of Daniel. Daniel helped. [00:50:53][0.3]

Shira: [00:50:56] Daniel fixed it. He removed our awkwardness. But we pushed ourselves with that. We switched the formatting of our script once we saw something that we thought might work better. Yeah, I think just being creative and trying new things, especially at the beginning, like you’re getting comfortable with the medium, but it’s also you don’t have to do one way. And I think it made it more interesting for our listeners. And for us. [00:51:20][24.5]

Arielle: [00:51:22] Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And a few other highlights. We had a countertenor on the show that if for those folks who don’t know, it’s an operatic singer who sings in a really high register countertenor register, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, who is now in Sydney, Australia, he was part of the San Francisco Philharmonic at a point. He’s like a big deal. And we had him on the show and he sang on the show. It was just we made sure that when we had guests, they were quality guests.  [00:51:51][28.9]

Shira: [00:51:52] So one of the people we interviewed was Jess Goodman, who is an indie young adult, best selling author. And I had grown up with her. She was like the cool senior when I was a freshman in high school. And now she’s this published author. And I’m like, how will she have time for this? Why would she want to do this? Like, I haven’t spoken to her in ten years. And I was like, you know what? Worst case scenario, she’ll say no or shall ignore the DM, but I’m going to reach out because I think it’d be so cool to talk about word count. I reach out to her and not only did she respond right away, but she was like, this is such perfect timing. I’m launching a newsletter next month called Word Count. So we had her on the show. It was really fun to connect with her.  [00:52:34][42.1]

Zach Moreno: [00:52:35] Forethought!  [00:52:35][0.0]

Shira: [00:52:35] The episode was super interesting as well and something a little different than some of the other topics we talk about. I mean, it’s fun for us to bring experts on because when we were talking about countertops and different types of stone, we did our research. But we are not experts. We are making a lot up.  [00:52:53][18.1]

Arielle: [00:52:54] Yeah. So let’s go to our next tweet. Four, continued. It says, to continue on the idea of sporadic guesting, we wanted to make sure that we focused on our relationship as cohosts. So, yes, it was important to answer your question. It was important for us to have guests every once in a while. But more importantly, we wanted to make sure that Shira and I were not just serving the listeners with banter between us, we wanted it to be useful banter know, we wanted it to be intentional, and I think having guests occasionally made it so that Shira and I didn’t take our relationship as co-host for granted. So let’s go to the last section of this epic tweet thread. Number five: in app placement. So this is something that I have been speaking on for a long time. Is that one of the most underutilized ways to promote a podcast is getting your podcast placed in apps. And sometimes there are free opportunities, sometimes there are paid opportunities. A lot of apps like Castbox, bullhorn, good pods, they have free in app promo opportunities. And a lot of the time, all of all of the time, what folks should do is go on to these different apps, search for their podcast, see what their podcast looks like in these apps and claim their podcast. A lot of the times that means creating a free account and claiming your podcast, meaning you can add your social handles, you can add your website, you can look at your downloads on that app and get other analytics from that app. And then sometimes you can even if you have if you meet the requirements on that app, you can apply to be featured. Castbox, for example, has a way for you to apply to be featured. So we as Counter Programming. I took advantage of the relationship that I had with Castbox and I pitched them. I said, hey, would you consider featuring Counter Programming with Shira and Arielle in your indie pics podcast list on Castbox? In exchange, we will tweet about our show using a Castbox link, for example. Yes, I had the advantage of having worked at Castbox, but I also worked to work at Castbox my whole life since I have graduated from college is how do I get into the podcast industry? So I worked hard for this. So I think it takes time if you want it to really be impactful for you and your show.  [00:55:15][141.3]

Shira: [00:55:15] We were also featured on their Find Calm list because we were providing calm in response to the pandemic. But I’m sure no one listening to this right now is saying, wow, these women are calm  [00:55:28][12.6]

Arielle: [00:55:31] Yea, not at all. We also got so lucky and were placed on Apple’s new and noteworthy because there, fun fact, is an Air table application where you can pitch your podcast. Yes, it is easier if you know somebody there. I did not know anybody there. I don’t know who behind the scenes signed off on putting Counter Programming on new and noteworthy.  [00:55:53][21.5]

Shira: [00:55:54] It was such a wild day. You texted me a screenshot of a text with someone. I don’t even think you had their number with a picture of us on new and noteworthy. You were like, we’re featured on Apple right now?  [00:56:06][11.9]

Rock Felder: [00:56:08] You made it. Big placement.  [00:56:08][0.1]

Arielle: [00:56:08] It was a fun day.  [00:56:08][0.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:56:08] Not easy. Not easy. [00:56:08][0.0]

Arielle: [00:56:12] It was big. We got a lot of hate.  [00:56:15][3.3]

Rock Felder: [00:56:15] Hate?  [00:56:15][0.0]

Shira: [00:56:16] Yeah.  [00:56:16][0.0]

Rock Felder: [00:56:17] Well, hate is required when you’re doing something amazing. Yeah, that’s unfortunate, but.  [00:56:20][3.0]

Arielle: [00:56:21] But we got a lot of hate. We got a lot of love. We got a lot of people reaching out to me that I hadn’t talked to since middle school being like, why are you on Apple? And I was like, this is who I am now.  [00:56:29][8.4]

Zach Moreno: [00:56:31] Because I’m a G.  [00:56:32][0.7]

Rock Felder: [00:56:32] Crazy.  [00:56:32][0.0]

Zach Moreno: [00:56:32] Yeah.  [00:56:32][0.0]

Arielle: [00:56:33] Yeah. So that was really great. So we are running out of time. This is a long interview, but if you want to know more about pitching yourself to podcast apps, please get in touch with me. Let’s go to the continued piece. Here we go. We also made sure that we were featured on a lot of blogs. So kind of going off of the idea of reaching out to friends of friends or friends that had big followings. We also reach out to blogs that we are personally in touch with or blogs that we are that have some sort of crossover with.  [00:57:03][29.9]

Shira: [00:57:03] And for some of them, we just sent them a fully written blog and said, Would you like to publish this?  [00:57:09][5.6]

Arielle: [00:57:10] Yep. That’s a good way to go about it. They don’t have to do anything except for post it.  [00:57:14][3.5]

Zach Moreno: [00:57:14] If I can ask when this is all kind of said and done, like what was your overall experience? And and Shira, this being your first time as a as a podcast co-host, do you feel like how long did it take you to feel comfortable in that kind of new identity? And and how do you feel like it’s impacted the rest of your life? And do you think you’ll consider doing podcasts again in the future?  [00:57:35][21.4]

Shira: [00:57:36] Great question. So I think I felt comfortable pretty quickly recording and creating our podcast together. Like that part was really easy for me to learn. It came pretty naturally. The hurdle I really had to overcome was that like shameless self promotion, that if you want people to listen to your podcast, you have to promote it. You have to reach out to people, you have to ask for favors and also build relationships, provide favors in return. I think that was the part that I was a little more self conscious about and that took more time to get comfortable with. And then I kind of came to the realization of, yeah, this may have started as a silly idea, but I’m really proud of what we’re doing and I’m creating this for other people to listen to, so I am going to share it and, you know, it’s it’s crazy that it’s more strangers listening than people I actually know. But that’s a really special community that we’ve been able to build, I think. I don’t know what’s next for Arielle and I, but it could be very fun to collaborate on something again in the future.  [00:58:43][66.3]

Zach Moreno: [00:58:43] Do you think you’ll do another podcast of this kind again? What do you feel like we’ll live on in your podcasting career?  [00:58:50][6.7]

Arielle: [00:58:51] I hope we don’t have another pandemic in years in order to make it necessary to have a pandemic distraction cast. But if for some reason a pandemic does come upon us, we will be ready and we will bring you content  [00:59:05][14.1]

Shira: [00:59:06] Back in the same feed.  [00:59:06][0.5]

Arielle: [00:59:07] We’re ready for that. I think, Shira, this feed should exist forever more as a pandemic distraction. One hundred years from now, somebody should take over and have it be a pandemic distraction cast.  [00:59:18][11.0]

Shira: [00:59:18] We’ll give our grandchildren the access to our Buzzsprout account. [00:59:21][2.8]

Rock Felder: [00:59:23] And your grandchildren will be critiquing each other and it’ll just keep passing along.  [00:59:27][3.2]

Arielle: [00:59:27] That’s right. We definitely I think Shira and I have more content in us and I think we really enjoy the experience of creating. We really enjoyed working with podcorn, with SquadCast, with buzz Sprout, with Daniel, with Caio, with all of the people that we were in touch with for this production, especially with our guests, especially with our listeners. It was overall a great experience, great exposure. And also, like you said, Zach, just so great to put theory into practice. And I, I do look forward to doing that again. I always have ideas for podcasts, so I’m just waiting for the next piece of inspiration to strike. And I’ll call Shira and she’ll call me a nut and it’ll start all over again.  [01:00:09][41.8]

Rock Felder: [01:00:10] I love it. But that’s what’s so inspirational about it to me is like I’m a big believer and there’s no substitute for doing the work. And that’s what this story shows to me, is you all did the work like a lot of hustlin for lack of a better way of putting it up. Just put yourselves out there reaching out to people. You know, people will say beg, borrow and steal. Now, does it sound like you stole or borrowed? But you certainly were asking for folks and that’s there’s no shame in that. And look what it did. So, you know, just being resourceful, resilient, creative, like that’s all it takes and consistent. And you all did that.  [01:00:41][31.5]

Zach Moreno: [01:00:42] I think there’s so many lessons to learn here and really, really appreciate you both walking us through the Counter Programming podcast as a great example for for us as podcasters. But but also, you know, listeners, there’s a lot to take away from in then these conversations today,  [01:00:59][17.4]

Rock Felder: [01:01:00] You know, Zach, I think today we were the ones that were in between two mics.  [01:01:02][2.6]

Zach Moreno: [01:01:04] Absolutely. Yeah. Flip it.  [01:01:05][1.6]

Arielle: [01:01:06] Thank you for recognizing that it was an endeavor, this whole Counter Progamming experience. I think it’s a really nice kind of bow to tie that we use SquadCast and that we were able to bring it back full circle to potentially help SquadCasters to improve their podcasts. And I’m just really grateful that I work at a company that lifts up the indie podcast here and for Shira also for jumping into this weird podcasting journey with me. We always say we’re at the at the beginning of the podcast industry and it is fun to experiment with all of it and see where it can take us.  [01:01:45][39.1]

Shira: [01:01:45] Thanks for pushing me into this space area so we could we could be here today. This is really fun to talk about and to process what we created and how.  [01:01:56][10.4]

Rock Felder: [01:01:57] It sounds like there’s more to come. So this is not a this is not a farewell that by any means. [01:02:01][4.1]

Zach Moreno: [01:02:01] Thank you both so much for walking us through this journey today and sharing. It’s definitely been inspirational for me and a lot to walk away with. So thank you.  [01:02:11][9.4]

Rock Felder: [01:02:17] Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode of Between Two Mics.  [01:02:20][2.7]

Zach Moreno: [01:02:21] We hope you enjoyed our conversation. If you learn something or we intrigued you a bit, let us know on social media,  [01:02:26][5.8]

Rock Felder: [01:02:27] you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn by searching for squad cast fm.  [01:02:33][5.7]

Zach Moreno: [01:02:34] And if you want to show the podcast some love, you can leave us a rating or review wherever it is you’re listening right now.  [01:02:39][5.6]

Rock Felder: [01:02:40] This show is put together by us, Zach and Rock. It’s mixed and produced by Vince Moreno with help from Arielle Nissenblatt. Our logo is designed by Alex Whedbee.  [01:02:50][9.3]

Zach Moreno: [01:02:50] Since we’re a podcast about podcasts, we want to shout out the brands and products that we trust. We’re recording using SquadCast dot FM and here’s our current stack. For recording, we’re using ATR2100 Mics, Apple AirPods Max headphones and focus right Scarlett 2i2 audio interfaces.  [01:03:10][19.6]

Rock Felder: [01:03:11] We edit the show on Adobe Audition and our hosting site is Simple Cast.  [01:03:15][3.4]

Rock Felder: [01:03:16] That’s it for us this week. We’re back next week with more from between these mics.  [01:03:16][0.0]