Holly Shannon is not only the best selling author of Zero To Podcast, but also the Producer and Host of Culture Factor 2.0 – which explores the company cultures of today and what businesses are doing to adapt very quickly.
Holly also has a tremendous passion for working with podcasters of all levels and gives some great strategies for all of us. Get ready for takeoff!
Full Episode Transcript:
If you've ever thought about starting a podcast for your own business, or maybe work in the podcasting industry and you just want to know what it's like behind the scenes. I don't want to stick around for this one. Holly, Shannon is not only the best selling author. Zero to podcast, but also the producer and host of culture factor 2.0, which explores the company cultures of today and what businesses are doing to adapt very well quickly.
Holly also has a tremendous passion for podcasters of all levels, and also gives us all, some strategies that we can take. Our podcast to the next level. So get ready to take off. Thank you. Thanks for having me, Chris. Thank you for having me, Jim. We're just great. I ate all the cookies and milk in the back, so there's none left and I actually brought the champagne.
Cause you said it was a party Oh, nice. You got a headstart on us. Very nice. Yeah. So Holly you're you actually are now living in where I grew up the Washington DC area. Person. I always have fun talking about with the Washington football team. So now I know you're a recent arrival to that area from our conversation.
So we'll see. Maybe you'll like the football team, maybe you won't, but I'll be nice to do a live event, right? Yeah. Oh, geez. Yeah. You in your position, maybe prior you did that, right? You worked in the event space. Maybe you could talk a little bit about that because that did lead you to where you're at now and writing the book and being involved in the in the podcasting space.
Yeah. So I had always been in the event space. I've done trade shows, conferences, which he costs fatality, very large events, very small curated ones that are for like the C-suite board level retreats had a history of that. And then I got into doing more of the marketing strategy, which I did towards the tail end of last year and into this year.
That was really great. Actually it was with Oh, bears, resorts collection, really great team of people. They have 25 properties. I really got to work on my my strap size side of marketing, which is really fun, really understanding, the why and the end game of the goals. So I got to do that and then COVID hit and the whole event, industry and hotels, everything took a nosedive.
So I actually got into podcasting a bit by accident and have come to really enjoy it and thought this is really great. It's such a great marketing tool. And so I have built out of it the ability to get businesses B2B and in individuals into podcasting because there's so many. Great benefits to it.
I just love it so much. I could sell it all day long. It's really great. Yeah. So that's the. The trip, the trail my, my road was never linear. It was always a little bit of that, but it's all good. You were meant to be here, right? It, who knew, we weren't in control.
We didn't know that we were going to have this pandemic and it sounds like you're absolutely passionate and happy where you're at, which is awesome. So did you. When you were in those spaces, when you were doing what you were doing there, what exactly got you into doing podcasting?
Did you have those relationships from what you were doing prior and said, Hey, I'm going to see now that COVID is happening. How I can work with these businesses to help launch their podcasts? Actually, no. That would have been an easier way, but it just didn't happen that way. Cause a lot of those businesses imploded, at least for the time being.
What I did is I leaned into my other marketing sides. I like to joke I'm like a Swiss army knife of business and marketing. Cause I have a little bit of expertise in everything and I really just dove into the content creation side of it, the branding, all the other elements that come with the work I had done in the past, I had done it live and in person, experiential events, that type of thing.
And then it was translating it to the page. It was translating it to the voice. So I built out content for a lot of websites and had learned that podcasting would be a really good tool. Four companies got into it. I was actually working with a startup that was looking for a poll marketing tool.
So it was a great fit. And I created the podcast. The conversation in the podcast is about company culture. And that wasn't necessarily my area of expertise. But the thing that I've learned is that in podcasting and it's what I teach now is you don't have to be the expert, right? Like you. Need to be curious and you need to be open to conversation and you need to highlight and find the best people that are open to having that conversation because they're boots on the ground.
They have the chops as they say. It's just finding the right people and hopefully asking the right questions. I think I do pretty good job of it. I've definitely gotten the podcasts up to a really good level now. I'm happy to say it reached a top 10 spot with feed spot and it's ranked globally in the top 3%.
So I think I've found the secret sauce if you will, but I just really liked podcasting and the direction that it took me and ultimately doing all the writing that I do with content, it was a natural progression to start helping companies do that and to write a book it doesn't seem like the obvious path, but it actually is.
So you already liked writing, doing that sort of thing, but then you got into the audio. I think a lot of times it's I think it's that struggle to go from audio to written, but cause obviously you, if you're able to put that stuff out, so really what drove you then to write the book zero to podcasts.
So I had the podcast and I realized that I am very curious and I might want to start another podcast. And so I. Was also transitioning. The startup I was working with was going one direction. I was going another. And I wasn't sure if I'd still have the podcast. So I decided, let me write myself a how to manual.
So that way, if I have to start something else. I have the cliff notes version, if you will. Because I took really good notes. I, I sat down and I really put all of my notes together. And really, it was just, for me, it was literally how to guide so that I could start other podcasts and do it more for other people.
And when I was done, I was I should share this with people. Like I should not keep this just for me. And so I wanted to share it with the world. So I went about turning it into an actual book and not just something for me. And so now it's out there so that other people can get their idea on iTunes.
Oh, interesting. You're the original premise of you sitting down and writing. This was just so that you could have your own manual. So when you decided that you wanted to do that again, you can go, Oh, let me crack open this thing. I. I wrote down all of my notes and then as you're going through it, you're cause you're Hey, this could actually help thousands, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people on down the road.
Yes, exactly. So how much of the book is based on, let's just say. The philosophies of podcasting, not necessarily like the tech and stuff. So on Dealcasters, Jim and I talked to a lot of people that their first question is the type of microphone that you buy. And they immediately go into the, the delivery systems and, Oh, like what do you use as your hosts?
Do you use simple cast or do you use Lipson or. And they immediately go into that kind of thing before they think about actually the content itself and why they're doing it, what they want to accomplish. So how much of the book is based on, that philosophical? Cause I know when you're working with a lot of businesses, I'm sure, as I do as well you'll talk to them about developing a podcast and you ask them why they're doing it maybe or what they wanna accomplish.
They don't really know what they want to accomplish. They just know they need one. And that's not really a reason. So philosophically how much of that process is involved in the book? Actually quite a bit. I do address all of what I call the static pieces of it. Okay. What's the microphone I'm going to use.
What are, what's the headset I'm going to use? And yes, like you said, the podcast host, is it simple caster or Libsyn? And I do discuss all of that in there because they are legit questions. But to me there's so much more. And so when I addressed this, when I addressed this book, I took it from the standpoint of I was new to podcasting.
And I needed to know more than that. I had imposter syndrome. I wasn't sure about interviewing. I wasn't sure. About social media and all the other things. So those components I needed to address in there because I lived through it. Like this was real and it wasn't, I tell people. The reason why the book I feel is very genuine and really heartfelt is that I didn't have experience in audio when I started.
And so I designed this book with. My personal mindset where I was so no technical expertise in the area, didn't have money to throw at it for a big fancy equipment. Didn't know the first thing about how to do a podcast or what an RSS feed is, which is real simple syndication. I didn't know any of this stuff.
So it was really written from a very raw and genuine newbie. I have no clue what I'm doing, but I want to have one. Position. So I made sure to tap into all of that conversation in there. I'm on clubhouse often, and I do clubs there where I talk to aspiring podcasters, whether it's for business or individuals.
And then we dive into some of the other important topics that I cover in the book like that magic is in the niche. Like you want to get that niche, right? You want to drill down your podcasts because. It's not for everybody, even if you think it is, it's not for everybody. So you could say I'm doing a podcast on health and wellness and it's for anybody who's age 18 to Eddy 85.
Cause they all care or care about health and wellness, but. You're not going to find your audience. So if you say, I'm really into really interesting modalities, like in the wellness area, like mushrooms and CBD and things like that, then you're starting to already drill down. And so who is your audience?
Do you find the people most receptive to that are maybe more like between the ages of 20 to 40? Like we start to drill it down. So that's for like maybe an individual for a business. I am always asking the why do you want to have it? Because it there's work that goes into it, but it could be really beautiful work and it could be something that could be a tool that builds company culture.
It could be a tool to really highlight the thought leaders that work in your company and to get them future keynote. Speaking positions it could get them a TEDx. If they learn to speak and interview well and be a part of that community they could build a conference from there. They could build a virtual conference if we never get out of our house.
So there's a lot that can be done. And those are things I address in the book. I bring those questions up by dive into there so that they're thinking about. The big picture at the end, what they want to do with it and the refined picture of why they're starting. Yeah. So Holly, that you, now that you've you've written the book and you've had some time, are there things now that you're like, I almost need to go back and write the second edition.
And these are some things that I wish I had put in the first edition. Are there any things like that you have discovered, it's funny, like you were saying you have some new tools that you use to. Lately descript, hello, audio. There's like a lot of new kids on the block. And I think if I did another iteration of the book or the next copyright or whatever I might address what some other software's are doing out there, but there's only so much you could keep up with the tech piece of it.
In a book because it's ever changing. I do a section, there's a chapter on editing and I use garage band. As the example in there, I could do examples to five different types of there's ProTools, audacity, garage, but there's all kinds, but at some point you have to just pick one. Give them a taste.
They might have to go to YouTube university for a little bit more, do tutorials, and there'll be new kids on the block that change the way we do it. So perhaps there'll be another version at some point, or maybe there'll be sections that I dive deeper into. Like for example, for businesses, I really could practically write a book about all of the different components.
Of building one for company and the why behind that. So I probably could do podcasting for B2B. And have it be its own separate entity. So zero to zero to podcasting business. I don't know. There you go. There we go right here on dealcasters. . Find out the next book from Holly Shannon just now.
So we had Mitch Jackson, the streaming lawyer on a few weeks ago and he wrote a book on mastering social media. And the reason why I bring that up, is it somewhat parallel to what you're talking about? If you spend too much time writing a book. And you're too involved in the tech, by the time it's published, there's some outdated stuff in there.
So it sounds like you really spent an inordinate amount of time on the mindset on developing the plan on all of that. And I think one of the things that, you know, as a podcaster myself and where I also work with podcasters, I find that there's a. It's a lonely thing. And I think a lot of content creators, especially early on, it can be very lonely because you're you record something, you've got it in your, you've got your MP3 and you upload it to your host and then you sit back and maybe you shoot out some audio grams or whatever, and your socials, and then you don't hear a peep and you poured yourself into this thing, right?
How do you work with someone that you mentioned imposter syndrome and then, there's also, a lot of people that compare themselves to, especially in the content and when you're looking at subscribers and all that, but in podcasting, it's it's a smaller pool, then YouTube channels. And but it can be very lonely. So what's your take on that and how have you maybe historically worked with people that, that are battling those kinds of things? Those are all really good questions. So I think that when you're doing something new, I think there's always a certain measure of imposter syndrome.
I usually try to say that. The more you interview, the more you work through that, and then you don't have it anymore. It's like lifting away. I always say the microphone is a hand weight. Like you have to keep lifting it up and speaking into it. And before you know it, you really do. You're not thinking about that anymore.
Then you start to think about what could I interview, like that's another really great thing. Yeah. There's some loneliness, but I love when I can sit and I can. Strategize for myself, like who do I want to interview or to be spontaneous? Like I read like a really cool article on LinkedIn about somebody or I just hear about something and I could like immediately act on it.
Like I could just fold email that person pull, DM them and ask them to come on the podcast and being curious. Like you can interview so many different people. It's ridiculous. Everybody says yes to a podcast. So it's just a great way to meet people. Hell if you're on a job search, like it kicks doors in, like you can talk to two people that would never even look at your resume.
So it's just such a great tool. I think it's it does have its share of loneliness. I suppose if you do a podcast with somebody, like if you have a cohost, you'll have like that relationship, like you guys have where you could sometimes interview people and then sometimes just be the two of you having conversation.
So that might be a way to not feel lonely or maybe you have somebody who's really good at the social media strategy. So you can have somebody to work with. I love that. I think involving somebody else. Is key, whether it's hiring something, someone like you, or just having a partner, to just bounce some things off that will help you sharpen the irons and give you some honest feedback.
Lots of times people will say what do you think about this? And the reason why they're asking you is because they want you to give them a compliment. But I think. What I do is I try to surround myself with people I know will be honest with me. And if they do give me good feedback, then I can truly feel good because, I knew they would, let me have it if it sucked.
So I think it's important to surround yourself. And, yeah, I'm lucky to have Jim here on, on this thing, and I'm sure along the way for you when you were doing, when you started culture factor and you started doing that. Along the way you found somebody that was helping you through your journey.
Can you talk a little bit about that? I had some interesting cheerleaders, so it's funny how social media has become where a lot of our relationships have been forged. Of course my family supports me. It goes without saying my son has been like amazing. He listened to my podcasts.
He subscribes, he does all that stuff and he listens to it and then he talks to me about it. He says, he actually helped me improve some of my interview techniques because, you don't know what you don't know. And I so that was pretty cool for me. I am surrounded by that and being on social media, I've had so many interesting conversations with people on LinkedIn clubhouse, Instagram people I've met.
And it's so nice because you can riff with them. You could collaborate with them. Sometimes they...