Jaclyn Schiff has been pushing the limits of podcasting by starting Podreacher. A service that specializes in repurposing podcasts into complementing articles, blogs, and content in order to improve discoverability. Jaclyn and her team will help you leverage your content to reach even more of your target audience.

Show Notes

Episode Transcriptions

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JACLYN SCHIFF: It’s not necessarily about how big your audience is. It’s about who ends up seeing, and that’s why I think that target audience and speaking to the people that you’re trying to reach is so important. And the point is, is the more you’re creating, the more touch points there are for people to see you, discover you. And who knows what comes from that? 

[music]

ROCKWELL FELDER: Welcome to Between Two Mics

ZACHARIAH MORENO: I’m Zach.

ROCK: And I’m Rock.

ZACH: We’re the co-founders of Squadcast.fm. 

ROCK: The best way to record remote interviews at studio quality, like this one.

ZACH: Here on Between Two Mics, we explore the challenges, opportunities, and new ideas with the people who are pushing the limits of what’s possible in podcasting.

[music]

ZACH: Today we are joined by our friend, Jaclyn Schiff, who is the co-founder of PodReacher, and a co-host of a new podcast, which we’ll get to in a minute here called This COVID Life. So  Jaclyn, welcome to Between Two Mics.

JACLYN: Hey Zach. Uh, it’s really great to be here. Fun to be amongst friends.

ZACH: Totally agree. And, uh, In the midst of strange times, glad we could still get together and, uh, hear that everybody’s kind of happy and healthy still. So, um, I think that we’ve been, uh, we’ve been wanting to have this conversation with you for a while. We’ve certainly been connected and friends in the podcast industry and beyond, uh, for, for some time now. So we are, uh, we’re also happy customers of PodReacher and, uh, really grateful that we can collaborate in that way. Um, and probably more so in that direction, uh, it sounds like which, which we’ll get to towards the end, but I think today, PodReacher as, as kind of is, um, I know it is, uh, is a really great service that you provide to, uh, to get podcasters more value out of their, their content in, um, in a, in a few different ways. So, uh, how, how did you kind of get started with that, uh, and, and focus on podcasting and, and kind of see this opportunity?

JACLYN: Yeah, thanks, Zach. And, um, it’s really, I mean, it’s, it’s amazing to work with you guys. Um, you know, I love supporting people in the podcasting space. Um, cause obviously as you point out, I mean, there’s a, there’s a real affinity and a heart there. So the main thing of what we do, PodReacher is, you know, we’ll take podcasts episodes and we’ll turn them into high quality blog posts, articles, and there’s different ways that people use this. Um, uh, but the main point is we’re helping people use, use their content to become more discoverable. And, uh, you know, I myself have just, uh, always kind of gravitated towards podcasting. You know, I was an early listen-well, I don’t know if I can say I was an early listener, but I listened to This American Life before it was like easy to download it on your smartphone. Um, you know, so like one of the OG podcasts out there and, you know, it was listening to a ton of podcasts before Serial was a thing. So have been a listener for a long time. Was a little bit of a maker, you know, years ago. And the more podcasting became, uh, you know, has matured and become, you know, more of a space. And I think especially growing up as a marketing channel, right? Um, I saw an opportunity there and, you know, noticed that one of the big things that differentiates, um, the sort of A-list podcasters from everyone else, is they’re doing a lot of repurposing. And decided to start a PodReacher, to focus on just one aspect of repurposing. Because as you guys knows, you know, there’s all the social media repurposing. I mean, there’s so many different ways to. You know, it’d be leveraging your content, and you obviously want to be doing that. Um, and we just focused on one specific piece of it. Um, you know, it’s probably no coincidence also that, like I have a journalism background. Um, I worked as a, as a healthcare journalist actually in, um, in, in Washington D.C. and in Chicago. And, uh, you know, in journalism, I mean the fundamental thing is you’re interviewing people. And you’re turning it into, you know, an article for people to read. So I definitely see what we’re doing as drawing on that, but. Uh, there’s a lot of other pieces as well, and we can, we can get into that.

ROCK: Yeah, absolutely. And, uh, one of my favorite things, and I guess we should say for the listeners: Full disclosure, we are not affiliates, but happy, super happy customers of PodReacher. So, uh, that’s, that’s the affiliation there. So, you know, it ends there, but definitely worth checking, her checking, Jackie and the team’s work out. What I love is though, is that like, you know, early on our, uh, founding advisor, Harry Duran from Podcast Junkies was always, um, just helping us, never lose, focus on, um, treating our guests like gold or, or putting the focus on, on whoever we’re interviewing. Whoever’s a guest on our podcast. And what I really love about your service, Jackie, is you’re helping us treat them more like gold. We give them more gold. Not only do they have the podcast now. The amazing write-up that almost tells the story about them, sometimes better than, than Zach and I try to do on here. So, um, it’s, it’s really awesome. And we were, we were hooked from the first, uh, from the first hit, as you say, cause it was for free. Um, so you know, and yeah, we’d love to expand on that more, but one thing I thought you said was interesting was you were a maker before. Was that, was that referring to your journalist background or was there some, something else you were doing? Like you’re your own little side projects?

JACLYN: No, I mean, Hey, if you go on Podchaser or Listen Notes and you look for my name, you’ll find a really old podcast. 

ROCK: Let’s hear it. 

JACLYN: Um, from like, from 2012 or something where, so, and back then I was like in global health. And, um, at that point, actually I was like switching from journalism to, um, I was director of communications for like a global health research organization. And so I was making my own podcast on the side with people in that space. Um, you know, some researchers, some like journalists and just having conversations. You know, I think, I think I only got like 12 episodes in or something, but, um, that was, uh, you know, my sort of, I guess, little, little side project experiment. And then, um, for the organization I worked with, I actually ended up doing a couple, a couple podcasts where we talkED to their, uh, researchers. So did a podcast for them. That, uh, that we had distributed in a few different ways, actually, I guess now that I think about it, and I hadn’t thought about it in a long time, like  we were doing a lot of repurposing with that. So, you know, I guess I’ve been a fan of this for a long time. Like, for example, I worked there during, um, there was like a big Ebola outbreak. Uh, and I think…Was it in West Africa in like 2015 or something? I’m probably messing up the dates. And, um, one of the guys that was like leading the World Health Organization response was like in this organization. So we did an interview with him, which was super interesting. Um, and. Uh, like wrote that up for the One campaigns blog, which is like a nonprofit that deals with global development issues. So, so yeah, early repurposing.

ZACH: Nice. Yeah. [Jaclyn laughs] It’s certainly inspiring kind of the possibilities that open up, like we, um, with our, with Squadcast, we focus on, as you know, right. Uh, but for our listeners, we focus on, on providing really great source recordings, uh, in really high quality. Uh, for the kind of the start of the podcast workflow. So you actually capture your content in, in, in that, you know, source quality. And then from there, the, the idea is that we set people up in a number of ways for success with, uh, re, um, with post-production is what we tend to say, but post-production includes this, this, you know, repurposing idea. And, um, and is a way to, to take that source conversation and, and really maximize the value and the content that you can create from it. So kind of a, a launching–off point. And our, uh, hypothesis there is that a, the higher quality you start with, like that, that just kind of ripples out into the other ways that you can use this. So if you’re going to transcribe that audio into text, as, you know, an, uh of a future step in that workflow . It probably helps that, that, that audio is really high quality. That’s going to help get it into, uh, get it into a, an accurate transcription and, and kind of, you know, snowballs from there outward. So I’m totally, totally with you on, on the value there. And I think most podcasters see that value and I’d be remiss not to mention our friend, Hani Mourra with, um, with repurpose.io, who, uh, as you mentioned, provides, uh, some kind of automation capabilities to take that source podcast episode. And, uh, and, and his focus is more on social media and, and automating kind of the, the assets into social there. Um, I see yours as a, as a, as a different approach, but complimentary for sure, where you have a, uh, a very kind of handcrafted process to take the conversation. And, and find a story arc, uh, if it’s, if it’s not obvious, and sometimes in our case, it’s a, you know, we’re getting better as podcast hosts and, uh, sometimes guests, right? Like they’re kind of, they can be all over the place. But you always managed to find your team, uh, and you managed to find a compelling story arc and kind of bring that to the forefront. And it’s not just transcribing and then putting it up on your blog or something along those lines. Like to me, that, that’s when we first met, that’s what I was, I was kind of expecting that. And I would have been kind of happy with that because of the SEO benefit, the search engine optimization benefits of that. And there are certainly people who do that, but that’s a far cry from what you’re producing. So I feel like there’s a big gap there. Can you, can you kind of unpack that, the differences there for us?

JACLYN: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for that setup, Zach. And I really appreciate it. Just to go back to one thing you said. I mean, I think one of the beauties of podcasting, and on, like, the kinds of conversations we’re having here is that they are informal and they are not linear. Um, you know, it’s basically like, you know, we’re having a conversation. It could almost be like behind the scenes and, you know, people get to listen in. And so, and I don’t think, you know..I think that’s a really good, good thing. 

ZACH: It’s intimate. 

JACLYN: What was that? 

ZACH: It’s intimate, right? It’s it’s, uh, it’s a behind the curtain kind of conversation. Right. But there are stories. And you, you managed to pull those out. Sorry to interrupt.

JACLYN: No, no, that’s that’s perfect. Um, cause I know I was getting away from your question, but yeah. I mean, [sighs] you know, I appreciate the setup because of actually being, you know, because I’m so steeped in it. So at this point, like, um, for something I was doing the other day, um, I was taking a look at how many episodes we’ve actually worked with at this point. And it’s like, well, over 400, um. So 400 different episodes that we’ve turned into blog posts. And, you know, we’ve worked with at this point more than 30 different organizations, um, so it’s, it’s a lot. And you know, that means I’m so in the weeds. So I don’t often zoom out and, and even think about explaining, okay, it’s not just a transcript and how does it differ. But, um, there really are, you know, so many different pieces to the process. And to, as you say, like extracting that story, um, you know, so what we’ll do is we’ll always listen to the full thing, you know, start through finish. And one of the things that I think is often surprising to people. And like we often, like, I often talk with the writers and my managing editor, um, Jessica Lawlor, and I, we like, talk about this a lot. A lot of times, the most interesting part of your interview is at the end or like randomly in the middle, you know, where someone like off to the side is, you know, coming up with like pearls of wisdom or something like that. And, you know, you might not even have set up the question in such a way that they do it, but they like go off on a tangent. They feeling comfortable with you and they say something great. And you know, we have a process that ensures that we get that information and we build a story around, like, that most important part. And you know, most important part is also a little bit subjective. You know, we’re always thinking about most important: for your audience. So, you know, when we, for example, when we work on the Squadcast content, you guys are talking to people in the podcast industry, people interested in pod, and there’s actually like lots of different types. And behind the scenes, a lot of times what we’ll do, like when we’re discussing, you know, a draft of something is I’ll say like, what kind of podcaster is this most interesting to? Um, so like when you interviewed Mark Asquith. You know, he was talking a lot about business of podcasting. So I’m like, I find this very interesting as a business owner in the podcasting space. And other people like me are going to find it interesting. You could have said like, you know, people who are interested in hosting, but that’s almost like too broad. So we always try to, you know, that’s like a filter that we’ll put on. And that’s specific to your case, but it differs from podcast to podcast, client to client.

ROCK: I really enjoy hearing the, the behind the scenes on this, because it makes sense because when I read it, uh, when you give us those drafts to review, it’s like, you could tell someone cares, like there’s, there’s, there’s a lot of caring that’s coming behind this. And it shows because, um, like I said, you know, we lived through that interview. And I’m like, holy crap, this story on Chris Krimitsos is amazing. Um, you know, and we were part of our interview.

ZACH: That was our interview! [laughs]

ROCK: [laughs] Um, so I, I it’s, it’s, it’s awesome to hear, to hear that stuff. And, and, yeah. Um, I’m wondering though, like, has this had to, how much have you been stretched on, uh, because you’re, you’re catering to specific, uh, audience, like, you know, I can’t, I imagine you work on podcasts beyond podcasts, about podcasting or for podcasters. So like has, how has that variety kind of stretched you? Like, have you had to expand your knowledge on different markets and audiences to, to, you know, deliver the same type of, uh, quality that, that you’re, that we’re seeing from you?

JACLYN: Yeah. That’s, that’s such a good question. Um, it’s, uh, a lot of it is. So, uh, you know, a really important ingredient in all of this is the writer that works on the content. And honestly, when it comes down to it, the problem that I see myself solving for, um, businesses is finding very good writers. That’s like the primary thing, um, which is very hard to do. I, you know, so we screen writers and probably, I dunno one or two in 10, I will, you know, I’ll end up working with. Um, you know, it’s just hard. A lot of people say they’re writers, um, and a lot of people write. But you know, it, it doesn’t necessarily, um, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a label you can apply to a lot of things. 

ZACH: Guilty.

JACLYN: Um, uh, Zach, I’ve never read your writing. So I can’t comment on that.

ZACH: Uh, I’ll send you a copy of my book. How about that? 

JACLYN: Oh, is there a book?

ZACH: It’s called, uh, Angular JS Deployment Essentials. Yes.

JACLYN: Oh, okay. That sounds like exactly the kind of thing I’d like to read before bed.

ZACH: Yes, I’ll spare you.

JACLYN: Especially on a night I have trouble sleeping. 

ZACH: [laughs] I will spare you that.

JACLYN: No, I’m joking, I’m joking. it’s a, uh, no, that’s um, that’s awesome. And I did not know you had a book. 

ZACH: It’s it, feels like a, like a past life ago, honestly, but, uh…

ROCK: He did it super young. He knocked that one off his list, super young. So it’s pretty, it’s pretty crazy that that’s becoming like one of the lesser awesome things you’ve done, Zach. But man, when he, when he first came with this, like told, told our group of friends, Jackie, about getting this book deal. I just remember like calling up people like, you know, when, uh, it was like, you know, some big news had broken within our friend network. You hear Zach’s got a book deal. Can you believe that? Holy sh-you know.

ZACH: This will get edited out. [Rock laughs]

ROCK: I love it.

JACLYN: That’s amazing. Yeah. And you’re right. Like it says a lot about you when you’re like, yeah, by the way, I wrote a book and got a book deal when I was younger, but it’s not what I do now. You know, like…being modest.

ZACH: Um, to me, it’s, uh, it’s more interesting, like what it demanded of me than the actual like book. I think if I was to like, write a book about writing that book, it would probably be more interesting than the thing itself. It’s a, I dunno, it was weird. I got, I got, um, super lucky to get kind of approached to write a book that they already had kind of an idea for. And, and they found me as kind of a, a candidate who could, who could write on that topic and who had written on that topic within kind of the open source, JavaScript developer ecosystem. Um, you know, I had, I had written, I think what led to it was, I had written an article for software development journal magazine on the topic, and that kind of a publisher had tried to find an author to meet that topic that they had already decided they were wanting to do a title on. So, a bit weird. I did not pitch anybody to like write a book or whatever. I just kind of had it on my list, as Rock said. And it was just like, well, yeah, I’m not going to pass that up, you know, but it was painful. It was very painful. So I have tremendous amount of respect for, for writers because of that going through, putting myself through that situation. 

ROCK: Well, I was just going to say, I think this does fit in the conversation because the theme is, is that writing is hard. There’s not a lot of people that can do it well. I certainly can consider myself in that, uh, that camp where, you know, I struggled to articulate in written language what I’m thinking and feeling. But a lot of it is just like actually being willing to, you know, read it over and reread, you know, not be so quick to hit send, but from your perspective, Jackie, like, yeah. Why is it hard to find tough writers? Why is writing so hard for, for us humans? [laughs]

JACLYN: [laughs] Well, I look, I think like anything or like most things, I guess, the more you do it and the more you sort of hone your craft, the better you are. And either, you know, most people, a lot of people want to do other things with their time. They don’t necessarily have the, um, the aspiration of being a great writer and, you know, and then sometimes even, you know, people who want to, uh, they’re at different places in their journey, um.

ROCK: That sounds very diplomatic. 

ZACH: It takes the tremendous amount of energy to even start, but then to keep going, right? Like after you’ve written like, you know, a page or a section or a chapter or something, it’s just like that, there’s…It always felt like there was just something pulling me away from it. Like, and then the act itself is very difficult. Um, and I should stop making this about my experience, but it just, uh, it just felt like there was always, every single time I sat down, like within a minute or two, there was some reason to pull away.

JACLYN: Yeah. I actually think it’s um, interesting to hear your experience, Zach. So folks, I mean, like as a friend, it’s, it’s interesting, but like, how did you get that book deal? You published something, you did write something up, and then someone noticed it. Um, because you’d obviously done a good job. It was for an audience. Someone noticed it and you’ve got a book deal out of it, which I think makes, you know, that’s kind of the argument I make for, you know, creating and creating the kind of content that we do. Um, it’s, you know, and it’s, it’s always, it’s not necessarily about how big your audience is. And it’s, it’s about who ends up seeing it. And that’s why I think that target audience and, you know, speaking to the people that you’re trying to reach is so important. Um, and the point is, is the more you’re creating, the more touch points there are for people to see you, discover you and who knows what comes from that. Um, so I think, I think it’s a great illustration. Like I love that it came up in this interview. Um, I guess going back to like, so, you know, I see that I’m solving the pain point of finding good writers. It’s, it’s tough to do that, but you know, I think the original question you asked Rock, which I thought was a great one, is, you know, what happens when we’re dealing with people in different industries. And so like, you know, we work with, um, a, like a few different software companies that create like sales CRMs, or CRMs for, um, startup founders that are trying to raise capital or, um, marketing products, things like that. And so it’s all very different. So we always try to match a writer who kind of knows the space, um, so that they, they know like the reference points, and they understand the audience a little bit. Um, so that’s always helpful, but you know, that’s not always possible. And so what we, what we do for every client that we work on is, we have a pretty extensive client brief. Where we break all of this down. It’s basically like all of our, you know, uh, knowledge that we gained along the way. Um, you know, we’ll, we’ll say like, who is the audience? How do you think about, so in the case of Squadcast, like which podcaster is this specifically speaking to? Like not every article should be speaking to every podcaster. Um, and so like, think about that when you’re framing it. So there’s different ways we get around it. That’s also why I, I like to work with writers who have journalistic experience, but who aren’t exclusively journalists, because if they have journalistic experience, they will do the digging to understand, um, you know, if they don’t know what, Zach the topic of your book, which I haven’t even, I can’t even like repeat to you, but if they don’t know what that is, right? Like they’ll be able to, they’ll have the skills to do the research so that they can like, um, explain it well to, again, the, the audience.

ZACH: Yeah, it’s occurring to me now that, you know, it’s, it’s essentially our output is, uh, our, our podcast episode that we publish that that has been edited and refined. And, you know, we’re kind of to some degree, self-editing as we speak to each other and improv, and you know, all of the things that kind of come upstream from that, um, that. That’s the input to your process. And, um, it’s fascinating how it goes from. You know, from, from kind of what we consider to be done to this, this other form of, of done that is like, you know, different and amazing. So what I’m wondering now is, is what can, what can we do, to be selfish and make this about me, again? I’m sorry, but, uh, what can, how can Rock and I record and have, uh, interviews that uh, play to your strengths and provide you with kind of that, that better input, uh, to, to, to help you in that way? And, and not about us, but what can every podcaster do in their interviews?

ROCK: I’m sure she’s learned a thing or two.

ZACH: Yeah. To, to, uh, to really maximize what you can then create out of like the story arc and the, the things that, uh, you know, the pearls that you pull out of it. 

JACLYN: Yeah, no, I think, I think it’s a good question. And I think it’s good to, especially if you are repurposing a lot, and it’s a big part of how your marketing is to, to start with the end in mind. And so to go, you know, before you even sit down for the interview to think, okay, this is going to be, uh, you know, social. Um, our biggest channel is LinkedIn and you know, we’re going to plan on publishing this, um, you know, on our blog and then we’re going to do another one for, you know, Entrepreneur or wherever else, and it’s going to be a podcast interview and all of that. So I think starting with those things in mind can help you kind of break down, can help you, like think through the flow of the interview. Um, you know, and there’s a lot of different, you know, there’s a lot of different ways you can think about it. But, I think going into a conversation knowing that you kind of would like to put it in different directions, um, can definitely be helpful. And I mean, I think in your case, I would ask you guys, um, you know, how do you decide who to have on your podcast? Um, I’m sure, you know, sometimes it’s just: Hey, let’s have you on the podcast. I’m sure sometimes there’s a little more thought behind it. Um, but even if you’re thinking of that question, like, you know, who’s this interview going to serve. Um, and, uh, you know, we wouldn’t expect this, but it would always be helpful. Like if you send it to us, be like, we spoke to this person and we’re thinking like, this is like who it’s for. And like getting your take on that would definitely be helpful. And I think that’s something that regardless of the space that you’re in, you can, you can adapt.

ROCK: Yeah. That’s, uh, I love that. Um, thank you. And it, I think it’s probably not something we do enough, to be fully transparent. Our…you’re right. Like most of the, the ways that we find our guests is, uh, just through the community, whether it’s at local meetups or going to events like Podcast Movement or Podfest, which we’ve talked about on this show plenty of times. So that happens. Uh, there’s people like you who we just need to get on because you know, our audience, and hopefully we can help, you know, the greater world know about people like you, Chris Krimitsos. So it’s like, these are people that we have incredible respect for, for what you do on a professional level, but you’re also just wonderful people. So, uh, and you’re pushing the medium forward. So that’s, that’s what this show is all about. Uh, there are some people that reach out to us and, and with them, we always try to schedule a, like a, pre-interview interview just to get to know them better. And, you know, we really just don’t want the first time that we’re talking with them to be the interview. It happens all the time when we’re a guest, but for our show, we want to really find out what the story is before going into it. But we’re def-I wouldn’t say we’re thinking about, okay, like what podcaster is this for? Like, you know, I do have certain podcasters in mind, like, you know, oh, uh, Jonathan Bloom is going to love this one or, or, uh, Scott Johnson is going to love this one or, you know, is it’s just because we built those relationships over time. Like, I definitely think of specific people, but, you know, as the different, uh, segments of podcasting, which is absolutely true, there’s not one, uh, one mic, one headphones do not fit all. 

JACLYN: I actually love that you can like put a specific name, a specific person, because I think this is more powerful when you ima-, like you’re thinking of that specific person rather than, okay. This is for people between the ages of 25 and 30 and you know, like it’s, um, it makes it a lot more personal, and I think it comes across in your conversations.

ROCK: It’s just not as intentional as, as what I think I’ve learned we should be with, with in regards to that. It’s more so like, as it happens in the moment, I just, I’m, I’m thinking of someone that, uh, is, is, uh, in our audience, a fan and, and we’re a fan of as well. And so, you know, that comes up sporadically, but not like going into it with. Okay: so-and-so is going to love it. Therefore, I know other people like them. Well, and I think, I think that’s more so what, uh, I’m um, I’m at least learning from this.

JACLYN: I think it can help. You know, I think that one of the things that’s so interesting with content is: There’s not there isn’t really a formula for like everyone, you know, there’s no one size fits all. You’ve just said it yourself. And, and it is, you know, it’s true. Um, you know, in different, uh, in in different media and everything, that’s just, I think there’s no way you kind of have to find your own way. And that’s what makes it fun and challenging. Um, but you know, one of, one of the things that I find with podcasting, and this is like a theory that I have, I think any time the host is like legitimately learning in the interview, it makes for good content for someone. That’s my theory.

ZACH: I think that’s totally logical.

ROCK: Listeners. Let’s, let’s test this theory. Let us know what you think.

ZACH: Yeah. Yeah. And, and, uh, just to kind of expand on what Rock was saying about our, our, our guest kind of selection process. It’s matured over time. I think we, like a lot of podcasters, and like, we recommend to a lot of podcasters, we kind of started with, uh, a wishlist and, uh, and start to kind of work our way backward from there. But yeah, our primary criteria is like is, uh, inspirational to us. And, and what is inspiring is within the kind of a broad definition of podcasting. Um, some people have a very specific definition of podcasting, um, and that’s fine for those people. But I think the point of this show is to explore the edges of podcasting and the people who are pushing those edges outward. So by definition, some of those things may stretch, you know, it may, it may kind of be a stretch of that, uh, for the stricter definition and that’s fine. Right. That’s intentional in our case because we’re pursuing conversations with the people who are, who are innovating and pushing those boundaries. But it’s different for every show. So I have tremendous respect. The work that you do, uh, for, for those reasons, because it, it, it doesn’t feel like there can be kind of a cookie-cutter process going on, on, on the inside of the PodReacher your team. Um, it, it feels very handcrafted at least to us as your, your customers and, and our audience and our readers and listeners, you know, I have expressed the same to us, so. I’m tremendously grateful that, that you can help us, um, in these ways with, with expanding and finding the, the, the stories that we as hosts, don’t always like catch in the moment and focus on within our conversation. Those stories, uh, you know, need to be brought to light. And, uh, and that, what blows my mind, every single article, draft that you send over is. This was there the whole time, you know, why, why didn’t we focus on that? Or, you know, this, it feels like, um, it feels cyclical. Like we could almost take what you produce and then go back and have another conversation with that person and focus like on, on those things. And it would be something completely new and we could keep going in that cycle over and over, um, is, is always trips me out.

JACLYN: Yeah. Or, you can go back to the interview and sort of create a more edited version, um, with that kind of narrative in mind. 

ZACH: We have considered that.

JACLYN: But, but again, I think there’s a lot of strengths to, um, the format that you guys use.

ZACH: We’ve actually, uh, considered that, and this may get edited out. Cause we may still do it at some point where we essentially, um, rather than have you at, at the end of our production process, we have you in the middle of our production process, and then we take what you give us. And then we go back and do another audio editing pass over it to like, remove our questions from it and do more of like a narrative story arc with like narration and yeah. So, so just kind of a, a reversal in the process could get, uh, get us to like a completely different place, right? Like, uh, more of the, uh, The Kitchen Sisters or the NPR style kind of storytelling.

JACLYN: Yeah. Or like, uh, I really like, um, what’s his name? The, the editor in chief of Entrepreneur, uh, has a pod-Problem Solvers. That’s like 20 minutes long. And, and sometimes you hear his questions, sometimes not, but it’s. It’s tight. It’s, yeah, I think it’s very well produced.

ZACH: Do you have any customers or people that you work with who have that sort of workflow? Because it was something that I brought up to Rock I think, I think it was like the second or third blog post article that you had sent over.

ROCK: It was early on. 

ZACH: And it was just like, oh, well, what if…And the reason we didn’t do it was because, and we still haven’t is because it would lengthen the production, you know, the post-production process. But if it gets us to like, you know, 10, 20 X, like crazy level of, of awesome podcasts, then it’s well worth it. So I’m, I’m curious if you have any customers who kind of, uh, use the service in that way?

JACLYN: No, not that workflow. I think it would be very interesting to explore.

ZACH: Let’s do it. We should try it.

ROCK: Push the boundaries.

JACLYN: I would be all for that. Um, no, I think it could be very interesting. And obviously, like we could do it where we could give you more of, like, we could create the articles so that you have that, but we could like, you know, do more on pulling out the quotes and like, you know, with the time and all of that. And that’s, you know, more of what we’re doing with the, with part of our package for show notes. So, yeah.

ROCK: Well, yeah, let’s, let’s, let’s unpack that a little bit more. I, uh, you know, we were teasing the listeners about that, that you’re, you know, you’re not just a one-shot pony, one trick pony, whatever you got, you got more, there’s more to you than that. So beyond the, the wonderful, uh, blog posts that we’re big fans of what else can PodReacher offer? 

JACLYN: Yeah. And, you know, for a long time, it really kind of was one thing. And, uh, you know, before the interview, I guess we talked about the merits of being focused and that’s something I, I feel strongly about.

ZACH: Respect. Focus is hard. 

ROCK: It’s hard. Yes.

JACLYN: It’s really hard. 

ROCK: Saying no is a skill. And a talent. 

JACLYN: [laughs] It really is. And I dunno, you know, I actually feel like I like, so I’m a big business podcast junkie and I feel like I sort of learned the value of that, like directly from business podcasts, because I think if there’s something like I take away from most things, it’s the people that focus like, you know, there’s like, that, you know, if you stick with the focus for long enough, um, it equates to success, some kind of success. Um, and I think a lot of people go wrong by just, you know, shiny objects And it’s easy. Like it’s very easy to do. Um, I’m a hundred percent as like distractible as the next person. Um, so I don’t know. So it’s a constant challenge, but, um, but I think it’s important, um, as to, so, so we were very focused on that. You know, for a long time, and that’s still like the main thing, but just recently, we’ve just started doing our own version of show notes. And, um, we’ve started working with, um, a handful, very small number at this point of kind of boutique, um, agencies, uh, smaller production shops, uh, that are really like, you know, working with people that are. You know, trying to create, um, you know, a really top quality podcast. Um, those are like the clients they serve and we, uh, offer them those agencies, um, an unlimited monthly package of show notes. So it’s a new thing for us. And you think we’re testing and it’s, you know, it’s funny, like we’ve…There are a few clients that we work with on show notes, but it’s just, it’s like they came through other channels, and it just wasn’t like the main thing we do. And, um, I, you know, I just, uh, it wasn’t necessarily the most interesting thing to me at the beginning. Um, and I think that’s sort of why we didn’t pursue it. And I think the repurposing we do ends up being a lot, um, higher value, honestly, like I think in terms of the discovery, I think, um, there’s just a lot more you can do with it. And it’s not to say show notes don’t serve a purpose, but what ended up happening is I talked to so many people in the industry who would, uh, you know, who have production companies have, you know, different sort of, um, editing services. And they’d constantly talk about the pain point that is show notes. Either they were getting complaints from customers like this isn’t a hundred percent right. Or, um, well, they weren’t hearing anything from, from customers, but they just weren’t very confident in the quality of the show notes that they were giving them. And, uh, after a while it just sort of clicked for me. And I thought, well, there’s no reason that we couldn’t do that. Um, you know, I, I have a team of really good writers. We, you know, we talked about that and, um, you know, and after looking at a lot of different show notes, you know, we’ve had so many internal conversations about like what makes for good show notes? Like what do you really need? What makes it a good resource? Um, and so I think as we kind of evolved our thesis on that, um, we thought, you know, why, why don’t we do this? Um, and so as I say, we’ve just started, it’s pretty new. Um, but, uh, but yeah, it’s, um, I’m having a lot of fun with it and, um, I just started a series on, on our blog breaking down, like, um, what I think are really good show notes and like talking about how they do it. Um, so the first one was, um, Side Hustle School, which I think does really cool show notes.

ZACH: I saw on Twitter. Yeah. That, that was inspiring to, uh, to see. And you’re, you’re very active on Twitter, so it’s, it’s always good content, uh, all over the place. 

JACLYN: I’m a big Tweeter.

ZACH: Yeah. And it’s, it’s a topic of conversation or maybe debate within, within the industry, kind of the, the merits of show notes, where they can be impactful, where they can add value for your audience. Um, separate from the blog post. So how we use the articles is sometime after the, the podcast episode is published, maybe we’ll call it like a month or two later, something along those lines. We, uh, to have some diversity in our content as well, right. We don’t want to just kind of keep talking about the same person over and over again. So we kind of mix things up. So the blog post will kind of land some point thereafter in the future, but the show notes accompany the article, or, sorry, the podcast episode when it’s published and are kind of a part of the RSS feed and what can show up in the, uh, the, the playing, uh, the Podcatcher playing apps for listeners and kind of have contextual things. So I’ve seen a bunch of different ways to do this. I know, uh, I know Spotify has this thing where you put a timecode in there and they’ll automatically make that a link. So you can kind of jump to that. And, um, I think YouTube may do something similar to that. Um, I’m not sure, but, um, you’ve dug way deeper into this than I have. So just at a kind of a high level, what are some of the patterns that you’ve seen emerge as the best practices with your research? 

JACLYN: Yeah. Uh, and I think research has a strong word. I think it’s really been, you know, us just looking at different things and, and discussing, you know, why is this, does this seem more appealing? Why is this, um, you know, why does this read better? And, and those kinds of things. And so it’s, it’s certainly evolving and just something I’m devoting a lot more of my thinking to, um, I think there’s also, you know, there is this, um, uh, assumption, not assumption, but I think 95% of podcasters are like, yeah, I need show notes. Now what they mean by show notes, like, you know, like you said, like, is it something that goes on the website and in the player? In, you know, in your podcast app, in the description area? Should those things be the same? Um, and I tend to think not, um, from the listener experience. I know, you know, just the other day I was scrolling through. So I have, like, I have like five different podcast apps on my phone. Um, and I’m an Android user, so I’ve got Spotify, I’ve got Google, I’ve got Stitcher and like one or two others, but those are the three main ones I use. Um, and you know, I was scrolling through one of them and I noticed that, and I’ve seen a lot more podcasts doing this. Where they basically put like, like a really robust version in the description area. So they’re like, you know, sometimes it’s even like a full transcript of the episode or something. And I scroll to one, and I thought the title was really interesting. Something I totally would’ve listened to, but then it was like the full thing in the app. And like I scroll to it was like: Okay, well, that’s what I was going to learn. I’m not going to listen. And so I think from a listener experience perspective, um, I think you want a shorter description. I don’t think you want to give everything away there. I understand you want to have keywords in there. You want it to be findable and all of that, and I’m not saying do away with that totally. But it doesn’t mean you have to have the full episode. It should be like, you know, I think a, a good trailer for a movie. Give away just enough, but not everything.

ZACH: That makes a lot of sense. And, uh, so then, so that’s the description then? It sounds like you draw a distinction there. And that makes a, makes a lot of sense, because like you said, you, you’re the call to action there is not to read the show notes and be done like a blog post. It’s to actually you want that person to actually click play and listen to the episode. So the, the that’s the description, where did the show notes live in kind of your model? 

JACLYN: Thanks, Zach. You’re connecting the dots. I’m like, I’m sort of like all over the place, but no that, yeah. So I think the description does that. And then the show notes, um, you know, live on your episode page, uh, on your, on your website. Um, I, you know, I think you have, you have an episode summary, which probably is similar to the description, but probably is a bit longer and beefier, um, for SEO purposes. Um, you know, again, I don’t necessarily think it should be the whole thing. It’s a summary. Um, but I think that’s a good practice. I think, depending on the type of podcast you want some kind of key takeaways section, um, what, that, that, that tell you what you’re going to learn, but again, you know, isn’t like everything you’re going to learn. Like, because I think the point of show notes is, and I think this is, what’s kind of hard about them, and why it’s hard to please people, um, with them is because you, um, it should be a resource for people who have listened. So a way for them to like, okay, they found this conversation really interesting. And then they went to go back afterwards and, you know, see what are the points we made about show notes. So it’s got to satisfy those people, but then it’s also got to satisfy the people that are coming to the page before having listened, or that is, are just discovering your podcast and, you know, get them to want to listen, um, if not to that episode. And so those are two different things. I think it’s probably helpful to define, um, you know, define your priority, um, for your podcast before you even like, come up with the show notes format. Um, you know, do you see this mainly as a resource for current listeners, or do you see this as an entry point for new listeners? And that’s kind of like dictate format a lot. Um, but in general, you know, I think you do want to have key takeaways. I go back and forth over timestamps. We’re experimenting with a few interesting ways of doing them where we’re actually putting like a, a summarizing phrase or something before the point. So like, if you’re quickly skimming, you’re like: h, here’s where she talks about, like uh, best practices for show notes or something like that. Um, so we’re experimenting with that. And then I also think you want to make it visually appealing and easy to skim. So like a lot of people just kind of throw up some text and don’t really format it. And that hurts my eyes personally. So, so I think there’s easy ways that, that people can, can make that, uh, you know, it can just make it a little, um, easier on the eyes. So formatting using like H2 tags or your different section headings and, you know, I am very partial to emojis. I’ve actually been tweeting about that a lot. Cause I like that. I like it as a way of breaking up text.

ZACH: And it communicates on another level too, right? Like it’s, it adds like another dimension of communication that is somehow supplemental.

JACLYN: It’s, you know, I think, um, I actually saw a webinar recently, uh, where, uh, the speaker was talking about best practices for virtual communication. And I was saying like, you know, and this was, probably most of the people on the webinar were, were older. Like maybe forties and fifties. Now who have I offended by saying that, but I mean, that’s the age group that they were in. And so, um, uh, and you know, the speaker was saying that, you know, emojis like aren’t for kids. And was trying to make the point that way, that the more we’re pushed to virtual communication. And we were talking about this just before, you know, we’re all on Zoom, we’re all, you know, like, you know, texting, messaging a million different ways. Emojis are a good way, yeah, to indicate tone, add personality and, and also just again, break up text. So I think they’re doing a lot of different things, and I think there’s ways that you can use them strategically. Emojipedia is my friend.

ZACH: I just, uh, I hate the amount of ads they have on there. It makes me want to build, I’d kind of want to do a weekend project and just build one that’s just like, this will never have ads on it. And it’s super fast for you to copy emojis, search and copy emojis because that’s all you’re really trying to do, right?

JACLYN: Yes. It could be faster. I agree with you. I have to say, I don’t notice the ads as much. But I’ve noticed the site is slow and it bugs me.

ZACH: I get why they have ads there. Cause it’s incredibly popular page. Um, yeah, it’s just, uh, yeah, we’ll, we’ll maybe we’ll collaborate on that. Make it super fast. Yeah. So I, I agree with you there on formatting. That’s one of the things that even if you have great, you know, writing and word choice and vocabulary, and clearly articulated messaging. If it’s a, a wall of text, uh, you, you, you kind of turn people off to that. And having went to, you know, art school and design and all of those things, hierarchy, uh, is incredibly important for, for a text treatment, typography. And it, it, it pulls people into want to read it and to continue reading it. So that, that your, your service that you’re providing kind of goes to that, uh, aesthetic length is, is something that I think, um, I didn’t know before, you know, hearing, hearing you talk about it. So that sounds incredibly appealing, uh, to, um, and I love that you brought it back to the, the audience and the, the reader, because that’s really, you know, who is the, the benefactor of making this content, our podcast. and our articles, and our show notes is it’s all in service of the, uh, the learning benefits of, for, and the gains to be had for, for our audience. Um, no matter the format, so that you’re going to that kind of aesthetic length, I think speaks volume to, uh, to the, the, the level of service that you’re providing to your customers. And, um, you know, that that’s incredibly exciting. So congratulations on, on the, you know, the, the, the new service offering that, uh, is coming from, from PodReacher. And, um, I’m curious, um, how, how’s, how’s it been so far for your team? I imagine some new processes, right? Some new, some new things along those lines and, uh, and, and customer kind of feedback early as well.

JACLYN: Yeah. I mean, again, to this, to the point of this being like, kind of behind the scenes of the business, I think, you know, I think I’m comfortable sharing this, but, you know, and, uh, another piece of it honestly was, um, you know, when the pandemic hit, um, I, you know, it was thinking about like, okay, um, you know, we, we need, like, I know we’re not the, we’re not the, um, the cheapest game in town. Um, and you know, we’re not the most expensive either, but, um, I just thought, you know, now’s a good time to have a, uh, a lower cost offering. Um, and, and, you know, again, what I like with show notes as well is, um, everyone, you know, feels that they need them. Um, whereas not everyone feels that way with repurposing and, and honestly, you know, they serve some types of podcasts more than others. Um, and, uh, you know, I’ll be the first to admit that. Uh, so, so yeah, around that time, I was just sort of thinking, you know, what can we do here to have a little bit more of a budget friendly option? Um, and so I started thinking like, maybe it is time, you know, it was replaying all these conversations with industry people in my head. And I’m like, maybe it’s time for us to have a show notes offering. And what does it look like? And, um, the, the page that’s going to go up, which isn’t even on our website yet is, you know, it’s for people who don’t think that show notes should be an afterthought. So, you know, we’re still like, I think in line with the PodReacher brand, which is high quality content. But, uh, but yeah, it’s not gonna, you know, it’s, it’s, um, a lower price point than what an article is going to cost you. Um, and, uh, so it’s, it’s very new. I mean, we’re, like I said, like at this point we’re working with like fewer than five agencies that fit the, fit the bill of what I described, you know, they’re boutique, they’re pretty high touch. Um, and so we’re seeing how that goes. We are going to start, um, offering like direct-to-show. So, you know, you’re just producing one show and you just want to pay per show notes. We can do that. Um, but, um, so yeah, so it’s new.

ZACH: And your, uh, your, your new podcast, uh, launched recently. And I I’ve noticed that, um, you know, you touched on the pandemic, uh, briefly and much can be said about how it’s true, how, uh, how terrible the situation is, but I’m trying to keep things positive and focus on the silver lining here. And I’ve noticed with, uh, myself, uh, first and a few others that, um, that I’ve spoken with, and I see this pattern with, with you as well, that the, uh, the pandemic is serving as, as a, as a real life catalyst for creativity that, uh, you know, for one reason or another, it, it, it spurred you to create something different. Like, you know, it’s a new service offering within PodReacher or your new podcast, This COVID Life, which admittedly, when I first saw you launched this, I was like where’s she coming from with This COVID Life. And I it’s, because I didn’t know your, your background outside of podcasting and before, and I was even more impressed when I learned like, oh, this makes a lot of sense. So, uh, what are your thoughts on, on your new podcast? Congratulations by the way on the launch.

JACLYN: Ah, thank you. Yeah. And it’s, it’s funny because, um, you know, it’s just like a limited, we decided pretty early on that it’s going to be just eight episodes. It’s a limited series and we’re already, already seven episodes in, so, um, launch and conclusion. Um, so, but yeah, it’s, uh, it’s, you know, it, like, it seemed like a perfect way for me to like tie so many different pieces, um, of my life together. Um, so one is, you mentioned, you know, being a former healthcare reporter and specifically like global health, um, I just found, you know, living through this, I mean, as we all do, but like, you know, with that kind of lens really fascinating, and it felt weird to kind of be on the sidelines of the story. And then, um, a good friend of mine who I go back 20 years with at this point, um, you know, is, uh, a doctor in Atlanta and way before this, I like…So she’s a huge podcast fan. We like always comparing notes, what we listened to and you know, like I’ve said to her, I’m like Lakshmi, you, you need to be on podcasts. You know, like you are like the, the female, millennial, Sanjay Gupta, like this needs to happen. Um, and she’s like, I would like, I’d want to do it, but, you know, a doctor likes doing heart transplants and stuff like that. She’s got more important things to do, but so when this first started happening, you know, we were like having WhatsApp conversations, just sending each other voice notes. And I said, let’s, let’s just make a podcast. Like, I, I have questions for you. I’m curious. And going back to my thesis, like, you know, whenever you are learning something in real time alongside your audience, I think it makes for good content. So I thought a way to try, um, and I’d been itching to, to make a podcast again. And so this seemed like a good way to dip my toe in the water. Um, do something a little bit different. Kind of, uh, you know, go with the moment, um, the moment that we’re all in and it’s, yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. Um, interesting, reminded me how much work it is. Um, but, but I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s been, it’s been great that, you know, she’s made the time to do it. 

ZACH: And I saw on Twitter that, you know, you have, uh, close to probably over this now, but like around 800 unique downloads, like, it seems like a great landing for the launch of your, of your new show. And so subscribe to that, check out Jackie’s work. Uh, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s many things and now in, in the podcast, uh, kind of driver’s seat again. So, uh, congratulations again on the launch and check out This COVID Life, wherever you listen to podcasts.

JACLYN: That’s all right. I couldn’t have said it better myself, Zach.

[music]

ROCK: This has been another episode of Between Two Mics with Zach and Rock from Squadcast. 

ZACH: The best way to record remote podcast interviews like today’s, in studio quality.

ROCK: Visit bit.ly/squadpod to check out our resources page where you can download your free remote interview checklist.

[music fades out]