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60: Seizing Opportunity in Podcasting with Twila Dang of Matriarch Digital Media

Published January 12, 2021
Run time: 01:14:18
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Audio is booming, and as more organizations recognize its value, a proliferation of podcasting tools, platforms, and shows are hitting the market every day, making a highly-accessible medium feel intimidating to noobs. Founder & CEO of Matriarch Digital Media Twila Dang is no stranger to the power of audio, and she joins the show to share how simple it is to get started with podcasting, with just a cellphone and a plan. Twila gets into the weeds of how businesses can be successful with podcasting and the doors that open when you make something you’re proud of.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How we can all work together to support women returning to the workforce
  • The power of podcasting for businesses
  • How a podcast’s shelf life compares to other forms of marketing
  • When to make evergreen content versus hosting an interview-style show
  • The work behind making a show sound effortless
  • How to present yourself in a way that’s accessible to your audience and represents your brand
  • How to combine your passion with what your audience needs in building your podcast
  • Why starting simple is the best way to experiment with podcasting
  • The importance of making a plan for your business podcast
  • How to find the medium that works best for you
  • Tips for using your network to market your podcast
  • Where you should be building a long-term online community

This episode is brought to you by The Jed Mahonis Group, where we make sense of mobile app development with our non-technical approach to building custom mobile software solutions. Learn more at https://jmg.mn.

Recorded December 16, 2020 | Edited by Jordan Daoust | Produced by Jenny Karkowski

Show Notes:

Matriarch Digital Media

MyTalk 107.1

Guy Raz

Tracy Clayton

Women in Podcasting


The Read


Honey Roast

Going Through It


Episode Transcript:

Tim Bornholdt 0:00
Welcome to Constant Variables, a podcast where we take a non-technical look at all things technical. I'm Tim Bornholdt. Let's get nerdy.

Before we get into this week's episode, I have a quick favor to ask. We are conducting a survey of our listeners to hear your thoughts on the show and to help us plan content and find guests that matter to you. We also selfishly want to know what some of your favorite podcasts are that you listen to. So, if you have a minute, please head to constantvariables.co/survey. You can even fill it out while you're listening to this episode. That's constantvariables.co/survey.

Today we are chatting with Twila Dang of Matriarch Digital Media, a full service women focused media company and online community that is changing the way the world talks to and talks about women and girls. Matriarch's focus is on podcasts that understand, respect, and uplift women, and Twila joins the show to share how podcasting can be an excellent marketing tool for growing a business. So without further ado, here is my interview with Twila Dang.

Twila, I'd love to introduce you to my audience a little bit here. So tell us a bit about your origin story and how you founded Matriarch Digital Media.

Twila Dang 1:29
Okay, so I'm Twila Dang. I'm the founder and CEO of Matriarch. I would love to tell you that this was more of an epic story. But it's really just more of the story of how I got here is really more of coincidences and seizing opportunities to be perfectly honest. I was, and still proudly am, a mom of three. And I was at home with my kids for about 12 years and was out of the workforce. And so I happen to have a group of mom friends who were all heading back to work. I had had the bonus baby. So they all had two and I had three. And I literally made a joke at a luncheon. I'd said I'm so glad I know all these professional women, because, you know, the only thing I'm qualified to do is talk and nobody pays me to do that. And we all laughed.

And a couple weeks later, a friend of mine who was at the luncheon called me on the phone. And she said, You know you made that joke at the party. And it turns out, I mean, I knew this, but I didn't connect the dots that I had made this joke in front of her. But she is the host of the morning show at mytalk 107.1. Her name is Alexis Thompson. And I immediately thought I might have offended her by making this joke, like, you know, like a pithy remark. And I was like, Oh, I'm so sorry. And she's like, No, no, no, no, I wasn't offended at all. I actually think you'd be really good at this. And I think you should meet my boss. And so she introduced me to her boss, who was a program director at mytalk 107.1. And about seven, eight months to the day that I met her I was on the air on a radio show. I had no training, no background, had never done this before in my life. I studied psychology and sociology in school. So it just made me fun to talk to at parties. And it just turned into this complete sort of rollercoaster of me learning how audio works.

So I wound up at the radio station hosting shows for them on the weekend, filling in for hosts, helping to host paid programming and training the individuals and business owners who would come in to, you know, buy airtime. And I enjoyed the job. I enjoyed it a lot. It was an opportunity to learn. Tt was really a chance to get back to professional work after I had been out of the workforce for a long time. But at the time, I was 40 year old mom of three that lived in the suburbs. No one was interested in giving me a long term job. Every media skews younger all the time. And so I was making decisions about whether I stay, whether I go, and, pardon me, and it just occurred to me that it felt like where I worked wasn't valuing women my age. And it also occurred to me that the world around me wasn't valuing women my age. I felt like I was being told already that it was kind of time for me to step aside. I was getting my AARP notices. I was getting advertisements, saying, you know, we can make you 10 pounds thinner, we can get rid of those crow's feet, we can color your gray hair. And all of it really infuriated me because I just knew at this point, I was like 40, you know, 40-41, I knew that I was in really like the sweet spot of my life. I was confident enough and had enough life experience that I didn't miss my 20s. You know, I still had a good physical body. I wasn't starting to get those, you know, like what happens when you hit a good middle age where you start to get these aches and pains that don't ever go away. And I knew I was sound in my mind. I had enough life experience to feel confident in the decisions I make. And I had done things I was proud of. I mean, I gave birth to other human beings, you really couldn't tell me I wasn't great. So the idea that there was a world around me that didn't reflect that really bothered me.

So I started, really and truly soapboxing to everybody. I was just like, this is terrible. And women deserve more, and women deserve a voice. And women deserve an opportunity to be seen for what we are in full. And every time I said it, someone would go, Oh, my gosh, are you doing that? Are you making something? And I was like, No, no, somebody else is already doing it. And so that went on for maybe a good six months. And one night, I happened to rant in front of the right person at the right time. And I made my little rant, and he looked me right in the face. And he said, I think that's a fantastic idea. And if you're actually going to do something with it, I'd happily invest in it. And so I went home and promptly tried to prove he didn't need to give me any money. So I went to Google. And I typed in, at the time, Women's Podcast Network. So this is in 2016. Nothing came up in the search results. And when I say nothing, I mean, how often does Google just present you with an almost blank page? That's what happened. And I was like, This is weird, and it has to be a sign. And then I thought, Okay, well, I mean, yeah, but what would I even call it, and I was like, Okay, I mean, everybody knows, I like to be in charge. I'm bossy. I like to be in charge of everybody. Anyway, I'd call it Matriarch. So I typed in matriarch. And matriarch itself was a trademark that was taken by a restaurant in DC that's no longer open. And there was a website for a South African, like PR firm. And I went, Okay, well, I mean, I would just call it Matriarch. I mean, it has to sound like it makes sense and it does this certain type of work. And so, you know, kind of messed around and came up with Matriarch Digital Media. And I looked it up, there was nothing, there was no search result, no website, no nothing. And I said, Okay, this is, you know, the universe isn't gonna tell you more clearly that you've got something to do. So I went and bought everything I could buy, got every social media handle I could get. And I called him in the morning and said, Hey, if you're serious, let's sit down and talk about a deal. Took us about seven months to hammer out a deal.

At the time, we had three equity partners, myself, a friend of mine, and Eric Heegaard, who turned out to be our essentially silent investor. He's still involved with the company today. And, you know, I knew so little about business that I literally only asked for enough money to buy equipment. I didn't even know to ask for enough money to like pay myself a wage to do the work. But we took the money, I called about 40 women that I know, who I knew from media and from my life and just said, Okay, I have a crazy idea. I don't have any money, I have no idea how it's going to be profitable, or if it can be profitable. But if we do it right, women will have an actual voice that's different than the ones that are imposed on us. And we can actually be represented the way that we deserve to be represented. And I'd like to be able to try to do that. And so I waited for everybody to tell me no. I was going to get excited if maybe even one or two people said yes, and nobody turned me down. And so by late spring 2016, we were recording. And it took us about a year to get everything up and off the ground and out the door. But we launched two shows in August of 2017. And we have been going ever since.

Tim Bornholdt 8:36
That's such an awesome story. Like, it's so cool to hear that. And one point that I really wanted to highlight and circle before we started. I know people actually want to learn about how podcasting can help their business, blah, blah, blah. We'll get to that good stuff. But before we get to that good stuff, there's more important things to talk about. And one thing that you were talking about was the whole reentering the workforce when you're in your 40s and the messaging that you get. You know, my wife and I have been talking and we have two young children at home. She's a stay at home mom, and and we're kind of very fortunate to be in that position. But you know, as you kind of highlighted with your story, the kids grow up, and then all of a sudden, you're kind of, as the mom, kind of left there like, okay, now what do I do? And she's been feeling those feelings, too. And I've been trying to be more empathetic and trying to put myself in her shoes too. And what you were saying just really rings true of the messaging out there is just awful. It's just basically like, well, if you're young and beautiful, you can have children and then by the time your children are old enough, then you can feel young again, maybe get your worth back, and it's terrible.

Yeah, it's one of the biggest things I think of when we talk about some of the things that the pandemic have caused and the things that are coming out of the pandemic. I think one of the things that's been overlooked really specifically is how many women had to leave the workforce to be able to care for family members and children. And how often we don't voluntarily leave. Yes, it's a beautiful luxury to be able to be at home with your children and have your bills taken care of and know that you can make ends meet. And then you can live as a family. But it is a terrible scourge that we don't and haven't developed systems to allow women to keep footprint in workm to keep career trajectory. I mean, I was essentially 15 years behind my husband in career trajectory when I went to work at the radio station. And even if I work my very hardest, I won't catch up to the income he was able to earn while I was at home with my children. That's unfair. We both went to college together, we graduated together. And we made life decisions together, and one of those life decisions wound up in the best interest of our children, but in the worst interest of my ability to take care of myself as an elderly woman if something happens to him. That's not okay. And we haven't addressed it.

Twila Dang 10:56
One of the things I tell women all the time is do work to keep your skill set current. And be very, very mindful of the work that you actually do in service of your children and how those skills can be translated. I know women who were managing 1000s upon 1000s of dollars in budgets every single year doing PTA and volunteer work. I know women who were coordinating events that you know, for hundreds of people, constantly for churches, and in social groups that we usually have to volunteer at because there's never any money or payment for organizations, when you run them as a stay at home mom. We put in 1000s of hours of volunteerism, at schools, at every level, from preschool all the way to high school. We are the backbone of those organizations. And we are oftentimes the backbone that makes up the difference in what schools don't receive in terms of aid and support from state and federal legislators. We make up the difference when monies are missing, or when effort or when teachers are or when manpower is missing, we make that up. And the fact that we can't take those skills and put them on a resume and be taken seriously by employers when it's time for us to go back to work is, to be honest, criminal, and we have to change it. We actually all have to work together to change that. Because what we're losing and what we lose out on in terms of skill set, experience, empathy, common sense that could actually be making a really positive impact in the workforce is getting lost by women who don't ever have an opportunity to get back in.

Now, mind you, it is creating other opportunities for us. I think women like me going off and starting entrepreneurial businesses. I mean, women, you know, women going back and getting advanced degrees, women starting businesses, is going to be key to us sort of having a long term future. But even those are fraught with the same old, you know, dialogue of who gets the money when they want to start a new business, who gets the support when we're trying to, you know, get venture capital or things or we're trying to solve particular problems. The money is still given to us at an under 5% rate almost everywhere, right? In terms of money's invested. So there's a whole conversation that we need to have constantly about the place of women and how it's viewed by everyone. The thing I tell anybody, when we're talking about our company is, women are 50% of the population, we physically produce 100% of the population, and that is not extended with the respect that it deserves.

Tim Bornholdt 13:38
Yeah, I would agree. I took a class in college on, not necessarily Women's Studies, but it was representation of people of color in the media. And there was a point that was made of like, you know, if you're shutting out any portion, like sizable portion of the population from having representation and being just part of the conversation, you're missing out on so much opportunity. And it seems like it's positioned in such a way that you know, if I give a job to a woman, then a man's not going to get a job and it's like, to me it's not a zero sum game. Like if you get all these people together, it's the rising tide lifts all boats metaphor instead, like, it's not going to displace anybody. If anything, it's going to just make all of us better as a society. So I'm glad that we took a second to have this conversation because I do think it's super important and like you said, we should have this conversation constantly. And if I have a platform like this, I'm going to take that opportunity while I have someone like you on here to have that conversation.

Well, I always try to remind people that equity for women and people of color does not equate to we want to displace the power structure that already exists. What we want is our opportunity to have access to the same opportunities that everyone else has access to. And that is I think, oftentimes if you're sitting in a power position, your immediate thought is, what will I lose? Because you think there's no way for someone else to win without you losing. But that's the old paradigm. That's how we've built everything. If there's someone telling you there's a new way and a better way to do it, and our survival as a whole will depend on finding a new way to do it, now's the time to really start listening, now's the time to really start opening doors and opening opportunities and letting some other voices come into the conversation. It's the thing I say all the time. I mean, I don't want you to have nothing. I just want what's my share, too.

So you know, obviously with all your experience with Matriarch, you've worked with businesses, you've been able to help people get into podcasting. And that's ultimately what we want to spend a lot of our time talking about today. So first of all, just basically, if I was looking, you know, for ways to get my message out there and marketing and all that stuff. And I come across podcasting, what would you say is some of the benefits that businesses can see by using the podcast as a medium for marketing?

One of the first things I tell people about podcasting is it's a unique form, in that it allows you to sort of push out other things that are distractions. The best analogy I can make for it is, whenever you watch, say, a morning show, if you've ever watched like Today Show or Good Morning America, and you're watching the screen, and they're trying to deliver information to you and you want to get that information. Something always invariably catches your eye or distracts you. It might be why the female anchor's wearing a certain color, it might be the window on the world that they built in the background with somebody waving in the background, it might be the configuration of the desk, or the color of the tie or someone's hair going askew. All of a sudden, your brain is competing to keep up with the thing you're trying to absorb, as well as all of the visual cues and the sound cues and everything else going off.

Twila Dang 17:10
One of the things I love most about podcasting is when you're absorbing a podcast, all of those other things fall away. You're just focused on the voice and what they're sharing with you and with as a very little exception, unless someone's voice is just grading and you can't seem to take it, or the audio quality is really bad. You have a moment where you can really just completely focus in on someone's words and someone's message. That's really powerful. And in our very fast paced, quick cuts, culture, the ability to just slow down and focus on one thing is a really powerful tool. And so I'm always telling businesses, to be able to share a story, to be able to share learning, to be able to share, and engage with people that you want to talk directly to about why you do the work you do and why it's important, or how it can be of benefit to them, I think that's just a really, really strong mechanism. Not to mention the fact that if you do it right, it can really be this beautiful evergreen content that tells your story, in your own words, again, and again and again. It's not like when you're trying to produce something, you know, for Instagram, where, you know, the reach is a couple of hours or Twitter where, I mean, I love to play on Twitter, but the reach of a tweet is 20 minutes. After 20 minutes you forgot I posted int and so did I, but a podcast you can find again and again. And you can repurpose the content within it again and again. And it can have this really beautiful shelf life and be a real signature for the work that you do.

Tim Bornholdt 18:50
And going on that same point, when you're focused in on somebody talking, and you just have their voice going into your ear, somehow you absorb this connection. Like any podcast I listen to,if I listened to an episode or a series of a podcast and you listen to you know, more than a handful of episodes, you just start to develop this rapport with this person where you're like, you feel like you know them so much more intimately because their voice is literally just in your ears. Everyone's listens to podcasts pretty much on headphones. I know you can listen to them other ways, but it's like having the headphones on your ears and just feeling that audio just sink right into your brain, you just develop this empathy with the host. And in turn, if you're running a business, that empathy can extend to your company and your brand or whatever you're trying to market.

Well, it's trust. I mean, if someone spends time with you and you provide value to them, then they will trust you. It's one of the things that I lean on most heavily when we work with business clients. Almost always they come in and say I want to do an interview show and I want to do interviews with these people I know that are notable and I always try to discourage them. And they're always like, I don't understand because I have access to like a Seth Godin, or you know, somebody like that. And I go, listen, imagine you have invited everyone over to a beautiful dinner party. And you've gone to the nines, you know, best table linens, best china, beautiful food, great atmosphere, wonderful lighting, and everybody shows up at the front of this house. And you're like, thank you so much for coming to this dinner party. I'm so excited you're here. And you open the door and you usher them into someone else's house, not your house. They don't have a reason to trust you. They're going to trust the person that you just introduced them to. And often they'll leave you and just go support the other person's work because they're excited that you gave them access to this person. They haven't learned anything about you. They haven't learned anything about what you bring to the table. They haven't learned why they can invest in your words and your actions and trust you in the long term. And it's a mistake we all make upfront because we're trying to provide as much extra value to an audience as possible. But sometimes you have to realize that the most important value you can provide is yourself and your expertise. Because that's how we're gonna get to know what you do.

Is there a way that you can, because you've held up a mirror to me now and I'm trying to rationalize this in my own head. So just going off that metaphor and off that thought, you know, is there a way to do it? Because I think I at least when I'm interviewing people, I try at least, you know, offer up some insights during the same conversation. Are there tips for if you do go down, because sometimes it is nice to bring a guest to your dinner party that can explain things differently or shed light on things is. Are there any tips for actually being able to host an interview style show while maintaining some credibility and provide some value as the interviewer?

I think one of the best ways you can do that is to make sure your interviews aren't structured as interviews. They can't be straight up, like, let me ask you a question, you answer a question. They really do have to become more conversations. But that puts you in the hot seat as the host to be able to conduct a conversation that not only sort of takes us from the beginning to the end of a conversation in an entertaining way, but also hits the beats of the things that you want the conversation to cover. So you're not just sort of meandering.

Twila Dang 22:38
One of the things I tell brand new podcasters, who haven't done this before, is that they have to find a way to incorporate themselves into a conversation. And I tend to refer to the podcast as a conversation when we're doing that. And so oftentimes, I'll tell them, Listen, there needs to be somewhere where you either onboard us into this conversation, or you off board us afterwards. So either you take some time at the beginning of the episode to talk to us about why you wanted to have this conversation or why you wanted to talk about this topic, or after you've done an interview with someone, you need to give us like a five minute, you know, like, this was such a great interview. This thing stood out for me. Or this is why I do what I do, you know, in relation to this because I think it can do X, Y and Z for you. I mean, you have to provide something that as the audience allows me to get connected to you and feel like, oh yeah, I didn't just listen to this podcast that Seth Godin was on. I listened to, you know, I listened to Tim's podcast, and Tim was great. And he had this great conversation with them.

Tim Bornholdt 23:45
Nice. Yeah, I was just gonna say, you know, obviously, besides my podcast, are there other podcasters that you think do that right? Like, because when I think of good interviewers, the first thing my mind goes to is thinking of like late night talk show hosts or like your Howard Stern's or your David Letterman's who you see there's a guest on the show. But you still know that it's David Letterman who is pulling stuff out of them, or Howard Stern is or whoever. Are there people like that that you turn to as good examples of people who are able to insert themselves into a conversation that maybe new podcasters can try to emulate?

Usually, if I'm trying to give someone sort of reference points of where to go, I try to tailor it to who they are as I'm getting to know them. I think oftentimes when it's a business podcast, and it's a professional coming in, and we talk about business, I tell them to go listen to Guy Raz. Because Guy Raz does a great job of having a calm, free flowing conversation but hitting all of the beats and to me, it's always good practice for them to listen to how effortless it sounds on the back end. So then we can get into the mechanics of how the sausage gets made. Because it's not that effortless for Guy to get there. It's work to make sure he can sound that effortless. A particular one of my personal favorites is Tracy Clayton. She hosts a podcast called Back Issue right now. She also hosts the Netflix series, Strong Black Lead, and all of its sort of subsidiaries and spin offs. And she used to host a podcast called Another Round. She's fantastic, partially because she has found a way to keep her actual voice intact, in terms of the energy that the show has, is directly pulled from her energy. And it doesn't sound like she's trying to have a persona or put a different - she's not trying to hold a certain air to match the energy going around the podcast, or whether she's talking about business and business with business professionals, or she's talking about pop culture. She's absolutely herself. And I think that's a skill to build toward. It's not easy to actually just sound like yourself how you would sound in a conversation on the street, in front of a microphone. It takes work to become that person. But I also think she does a great job of making an atmosphere for guests that allow them to relax too. I've heard her talk to other individuals who I've heard on other podcasts before and they have a certain you know, it's particularly Hollywood types, they have a certain persona. They have a certain, you know, their people have already come in and given you a list of questions and things not to talk about. And here's the points we're gonna hit on and this is the project we're talking about. And she gets them to relax and actually just talk to her like a person. They hit all the beats, but you also walk away feeling like, Oh, I like that person a little bit more than I did before when I listened to them. So I think in particularly those two I find them to be really good reference points for people.

And I think you made a really good point too about it's a dangerous road to tread down of finding someone to emulate because only David Letterman can be David Letterman, you know?

Twila Dang 27:04

Tim Bornholdt 27:06
He's bringing himself into it. You have to be able to find, you know, what makes David Letterman, David Letterman and encompass that into yourself.

Yeah, and it's not always an easy thing to figure out, especially in a podcast format, where you don't see their mannerisms. You don't see what their physicality of what they're doing in a conversation to help put another person at ease. We know there's a difference when you're talking to somebody, and you can see their face and see their expression and see how their expressions are changing. It's very different than when you're just listening to a voice and listening for cues and hoping for, you know, a good opportunity to like make a point or pivot or whatever it is that takes. That does take work. And it does take practice. And it's always a challenge when you have someone, especially a business person who's doing this maybe for more of a marketing purpose, coming in and trying to not only help you feel comfortable, but to present yourself in a way that is accessible to an audience and showcase your brand and meet the goals for the marketing that this whole thing is supposed to do. That's a lot of moving parts.

Oh, yeah. And, you know, I was just thinking about just it's taken me a while to get comfortable.. I mean, takes everyone time getting comfortable in front of the mic, I'm sure, like, you just jumped into the career without having done it. And you were, like, thrown into the big leagues on the actual radio. You know, I think it takes time to develop that skill. And, oh, man, I just totally lost my train of thought. That happens all the time.

You have a young child. Trust me, that brain, that parent brain, it's permanent. Trust me.

And like I said before, we just changed all the bedrooms around and our kids are now sharing a room. So last night was the first night of that, and it was just all night, you know, one kid was crying and the other kid was crying and then one would jump out of bed.

Oh, bless you. I mean, I'll tell you this, that that is always the hardest part. It really truly is. I have two pieces of advice for you. One, my mom, who never let me subscribe to any new fangled parenting that I tried to adopt in the early 2000s, her always steady piece of advice was, I never let you cry like that. Go get my baby. So I always leaned into that. She said, They will be perfectly fine, you're fine. And secondly, it will feel at different points in time like super momentous and it will feel at certain points of time, like, what do we get ourselves into. But there will be all of this sort of magical alchemy that comes together to make your family just run like a family. And it goes by so fast that you really and truly will never have a full pulse on it before it feels like it's too late. You know, it's already past you by, so don't beat yourself up. Don't put a lot of pressure on yourself, just all you can do is give it 100% of your best effort. And just know that, God looks out for babies and fools, and we have all been both in equal measure.

Amen to that. I could not agree more. So, I guess on that note, I'm gonna keep all that in because this is a conversation, and in a podcast things happen sometimes, like you slip in, you forget, and this happens. This is part of life. So changing gears a little bit. So we've been kind of talking about why you would want to be a podcaster, and then we kind of jumped to the end of, you know, how can you be a better podcaster. But we didn't really get into the middle part of it. How do you get started? And how can you actually, you know, get some support? And I'm sure you have a couple of thoughts around that topic.

Yeah, so we actually happen to run, we run a thing called Women in Podcasting. We've been running it now for, we just passed, I believe our fourth anniversary, I believe. We get together once a month with women all over the internet now, since COVID. And we just try to teach the mechanics of podcasting. Getting in is usually dictated by a couple of things. One, do you have an idea that you think will be helpful to other people? I used to and I still do tell people that you need to find and focus in on something you're really passionate about, so that you won't get tired of it. But you have to remember that the thing you're passionate about isn't necessarily what the audience needs from it. So you need to have a combination of what is it, what's the topic that you just can't ever get enough of. And then you have to figure out what an audience would be able to do with or needs from that information and provide it to them.

In terms of the actual sort of brass tacks of how to get started, I tell people you can start at any point. You don't have to have a lot of money. You can have, matter of fact, these days, you can have $0, and really, truly make a competent, professional sounding podcast and get it out into the world, thanks to Spotify, purchasing Anchor as a service. You know, Anchor is essentially a service that allows everybody to podcast for free. You can do the recording there. Almost all of us have a smartphone and or a laptop, or a tablet. Any of those devices can be used to capture audio recording. In particular, I get a lot of pushback from people saying, Well, I don't have x, y and z. I don't have a tablet, I don't have a laptop, or I don't have a computer in my house. But I bet you have a cell phone. And if you have a cell phone, there's a voice recorder on almost every cell phone that is very, very, very effective, that is very good at doing what you need it to do. And then you can put it in a service like Anchor and actually make, you know, mild edits and put it out into the world.

Twila Dang 33:02
One of the things I tell people is don't bite off more than you can chew. And don't decide that you need to be a professional at every skill set to be able to have a podcast. Sit down and spend real time organizing your thoughts, your process and your time. So that when you do sit down to record, you can actually make something and control as much of the circumstance as you can. And then make something that you you know, you'll eventually be proud of.

A big factor in this is a lot of people get into podcasting and think they have to make perfect product and it has to go out in front of a bunch of people right away. I think that's a mistake. Go try things, go experiment, use your phone to record and get past all of the hiccups that happen when you start a new process. You're going to hate the sound of your voice. You're not going to know how to get into or out of a conversation. You're going to hiccup and make mistakes and go back and stutter and all of those things. That's okay. Make those things then you go back and listen to them and figure out how to improve it. Don't put it out in the world. Nobody has to hear that but you until you feel comfortable. Make things until you feel comfortable. Continue to make things until you feel confident. Continue to make things until you're proud of it, and then make things you're ready to put out into the world. Nobody else has to dictate that but you. You can decide and start whenever you want. And you can decide when it's okay for us to hear it whenever you want. There is no one sitting or clamoring in the corner going, I can't believe you haven't put out something. That's not how this works. And we put too much pressure on ourselves to think that we can only do things if we do them perfectly right out the gate, which isn't possible. And we all know isn't how real life works. So you shouldn't ever put that kind of pressure on yourself to do or make anything, you know, in terms of that.

Now I know you talk to business professionals a lot of the time on this and a lot of business folks who are trying to get into this from the marketing perspective. I usually give two pieces of advice. One, listen to your marketing team. If you have a marketing team in place, and you say this is something you'd like to pursue in terms of a podcast, listen to what they have to tell you about how your marketing already works, or how your audience works or how they perceive it or accept it. It might be a great fit for your team, it might be a terrible fit for your team. You need to listen to the professionals that you pay.

And then if you are going to move forward, you need an actual plan. A plan is not, We went and spent $3,000 on Amazon on equipment. And now we're just going to sit in one of our offices and start recording. That is not a podcast. That is just you talking to a bunch of people while being recorded poorly in the background. Actually put together a plan for how you're going to manufacture a show, what kind of timetables you're on, who's working on it, how you get the post production handled, and an actual marketing plan for how you roll it out into the world and make sure it has maximum value. I know it seems deceptively simple that podcasting looks super easy, because everybody seems to have one and everybody's doing it and the equipment and the access and the barriers to actually creating it are so much lower now than they were before. But it's still something that needs real effort to be done well. And if you see someone else doing it, and it feels like they're doing it and it seems super effortless, trust me, there's a lot of work that went into it. And you need to really respect the process that goes into it so that you can make something that you feel proud of, too.

Tim Bornholdt 36:30
I think the one piece of advice that I really take away from that is the starting simple and starting easy because I give that advice a lot when we're talking about building custom software. You don't need custom software for especially like getting started. And I think that's a mistake a lot of people make on that front is that they jump right into the deep end and have no idea how to swim. And a lot of times, you know, we actually do this for ourselves. We were trying to figure out like how can we build a sales tool for capturing all of our sales stuff, and we weren't doing anything yet. So we were out trying to build something. And we hadn't even written things down on a piece of paper like, this is way back in our early days, we hadn't even written down all of our sales opportunities. So we were like trying to build something without even knowing, you know, the basics of what is a good sales follow up look like? And how do you actually go about categorizing, if someone's going to get a work order or an estimate or whatever, you know, you have to like, just get that part down first.

It's a plan, right? You need to have a plan. And I would say a lot of people don't create a plan when they say they're going to make a podcast. They just decide. They think a plan is, I'm going to talk to these people about this thing. That's not a plan. That's more of a, here's the theme of the show, and here are the guests we're going to talk to. That's part of the productions, you know, but that's not a plan for how you're going to make something that meets the goals that you have overall. And is turns out to be a useful, you know, part of whatever it is that you already have going on. It shouldn't be this thing that is completely separate and detached from the work that you already do. It shouldn't be this thing that is you know, completely off in the distance.

Twila Dang 38:24
I also really, and there's no nice way to say it, but I always caution people on what I call like star syndrome, because it can be a little heady when you start to do something like this and all of a sudden your voice is centered. And you're talking about you and your experience. And you know there's a psychological concept about everyone being sort of the center of their own story. And it can be really heady when you're the center of your story, which is you become somebody who other people recognize because you're putting something out there for everybody else to absorb too, but it's centered on you. And sometimes people lose focus on that. They they start to think it's more about them than it is about whatever the goals are they were trying to set. And I always say, That's not always a very good combination. You know, when you're making something or you're trying to market something for, especially for a business, if you are your business, then you make sure that the best of you is on display in terms of that, you know. Display your expertise, display, you know, your skill set that you can use to help advance other people or help make things easier for other people. But be really mindful that you don't become you know, like, I think I'm so witty. I'm so clever. I'm so funny. And I start telling these stories and then you wind up sort of pulling in other people's narratives or really truly getting distracted from what the purpose of this whole thing is.

Tim Bornholdt 39:49
Well and that's one thing I wanted to make sure I went back and circled was, you know, we've talked about what a good plan looks like and what makes a plan and what does not make a plan. Are there some examples or like just baseline things when you're talking about devising this plan? And maybe this is part of your secret sauce. You can tell me that you're not going to give it away for free on the podcast here. But are there like certain things that when you're starting a podcast that you like generally tell people like, these are the parts of the plan that really matter? And here's the stuff that doesn't really matter.

Yeah, we focus a lot on, yeah, some I will say, some of it's secret sauce, because it's conversating with me, but anytime a customer comes to us and engages us about making a podcast production, this isn't really a secret, I always ask the same question. Do you really want to make a podcast? Tell me what it is that you want to do for the audience you want to talk to? And as they're talking to me, I'm able to sort of distill really quickly, is this audio content? Are you mixing up, you know, like a podcast for social media content? Is what you're trying to do, does it have the ability to reach long term because some people come to us and go, Yeah, we want to make a weekly podcast about X, Y, and Z. And it's like, you don't actually have enough content here to do weekly for a long period of time. That's not something that you really want to be doing.

Twila Dang 41:19
We also have a series of questions that we ask to really push their thinking. And I would say, a good 80% of the time with a potential client, after we've asked those questions, they actually need to go away and think about them. And then come back. And also have we thought about this, what we need to focus in on because oftentimes, we'll get someone coming to us going, I've always wanted to make a podcast. And that's all they thought about. There's no, it's like, Well, who do you want to talk to? I don't know. I just want I talk to people. People's too broad. And then it's, you know, and then they'll say, I just always had a vision of, like, I love gardening, but I, you know, but I also had this complicated history with my father. And, you know, and I've done this work, you know, I've written some books in the last few years, but I also really, you know, like, I also really am deeply invested in Chinese economics. And it's like, You need to pick a focus. Because you don't want to do all of this. And again, I say sometimes that comes back to that focus of, are you really in it because you have something to share? Or are you in it because you want people to know who you are, because then you become, you know, then a little bit of that star syndrome pops in because you start thinking you can just talk about anything, like how they give, you know, different celebrities or different you know, notable news figures the floor to say anything And I always say, But listen, they earned the ability to talk about anything, because they had a particular focus. Right? So you know, we listen to Hoda Kotb talk about what inspires her and her children because she is a newscaster first and we knew her for a decade or more as a newscaster. You can't just walk in the door and decide that everybody thinks what you think is going to be sparkling and entertaining. That's not how this works. I've been doing this for a long time. And even I know that I'm better served at the back of the house than the front of the house most of the time. And if I have something to talk about, it has to be really point specific.

Tim Bornholdt 43:15
And I think the whole thing of it comes back to when we were talking about having like, you know, your voice in your ear and that kind of stuff. It's like podcasting is such an authentic media that I think more so than anything else. It really susses out whether you are somebody that people want to trust and you have to really earn that trust right away with your podcasts. And if you don't have that focus, and you don't have that kind of empathy that draws people in to want to hear your story, podcasting probably isn't the right medium for you. Like go on Tick Tock or go do something else.

Well, you know what, though, there's nothing wrong with that. I think. I think sometimes we get ourselves into this thing where we think we have to be one or the other or certain things only serve certain people. Sometimes I tell people, Listen, the reason I do this is because deep down if you look at my sort of core traits, I'm a deep researcher. I love long term, long tailed knowledge. I love to talk to people. I love to hear people's stories. I'm very, very good at distilling information in real time and explaining it. I can absorb something and be able to process it and put it back out fairly quickly. And in working a radio I knew I could work in a live environment, which meant I can handle and juggle a lot of moving parts. It made for the perfect set of skills for podcasting.

Twila Dang 44:37
On the opposite end, I'm terrible with social media. I'm terrible with it. I like Twitter because you can be a smartass on 140 characters or less. Instagram, anywhere where it's like, Oh, you want me to take my pictures? I gotta take off my sweatpants, ugh. I mean anytime I'm on video, I've worn glasses since I'm three years old. Video automatically means I have to fight with head position, so you can see the pupils of my eyes because otherwise some ring light or something is gonna make me look like I'm wearing like white sunglasses inside. It's just too much mental work. Uou can literally see the frustration in my neck and shoulders whenever I'm on video. And that's okay. You use the medium that works best for you. And sometimes people are better at distilling a message really succinctly. Sometimes people are really great at their verbal processors. So a podcast format you would think would be great, but they need time to think about what they want to say before they say it. So that makes them wonderful bloggers, but not great podcasters. You need to lean into your strength. And whatever your strength is, there's nothing wrong with that. We can always find ways to adapt the things that we do to other mediums. But you should always find the medium that works best for you, and then just really deep dive in that medium first.

Tim Bornholdt 45:56
That's fantastic advice. So when it comes to podcasting, and you have a podcast, and you've got it ready to go, how do you actually get it out into the world and market it so that people actually want to listen to your podcast?

Marketing is always like this sort of beautiful twisted struggle for any podcaster. One of our main problems is podcasting doesn't have great discoverability. We are jumping in leaps and bounds. I mean, even in the last month, there's been some announcements, like knowing that Google is now using more definitive keyword search to be able to discover podcasts, if you're searching it in Google. Finding out then Instagram, I think that's just a couple weeks ago, announced that they're going to start tracking SEO and using SEO in their search results. So if you're using Instagram as a marketing tool for your podcast, you'll be able to use keywords to make it more easy to find. Those are some powerful things that we're starting to see happen. But by and large, we're still in the same place, which is if you go to Apple Podcasts to look up a podcast, and you don't have the exact name of that podcast, you ain't gonna find it. If you go and try to look it up by subject, what Apple is going to give you is names of podcasts or names of episodes of podcasts, which is, you know, that's difficult.

Twila Dang 47:22
I'm always encouraging people to do sort of a combination of things. One lean very heavily on your already established network, because your network of friends, family and business professionals and colleagues actually can help push your content forward in a way that traditional marketing means don't always do. So we never launch a podcast without having a real game plan to reach out to our loved ones and our associates and say, Hey, I made something. Here's what we were doing, here's what we were trying to do, we're really proud of it. We'd love it if you had if you had an opportunity to take a listen to it. And we provide a link so that they can listen right from the email that we sent out to them. We also make a point to share with them how they can support the show, and we're doing a better job of that. I think we were as a bunch of women making products we were always leery to say, um, can you do me a favor? Which is foolish. You know, if you make something you're proud of it, you want support, and your friends and family are the ones who would want to support you first. So now being able to communicate, here's how you can support the show. You can go do a review, here's a link to go do a review. You can share the content, here's a link to go share the content. However it is you feel comfortable asking, make the ask.

We also heavily use social media. I actually give our hosts a lot of power to use social media to boost the signal because they're having a more direct and honest conversation and authentic conversation with their communities than we are as the overall brand managing a bunch of different shows. So we are always encouraging, go out and have conversations however you feel comfortable. We have a mom who has a podcast about motherhood. She's very active on Facebook, she has an active website. And she's very active on Instagram. So she conducts regular conversations using those means. We have another host that does a food show. And she's using Instagram but she also has a website. So she's using those two mediums to actually have more conversations around the content that she makes. We're always encouraging that.

I particularly like to say that you should utilize social media to get your brand out there and to build audience and try to build a particular audience, but you should be steering them somewhere to build community because social media is rented space. Anytime they decide to change an algorithm all the work you've done can go down the tubes. We're seeing this right now with Instagram influencers who are basically now getting end run by Instagram and brands, who now that there's a shopping tag directly on our sites now, you don't need an influencer to tell you that a product is great. All you now need is for the brand to show you a really nice picture and put that little shop logo in there. And you just click right through. So these kids who were making all this money and had set their whole business model up on Instagram are now like in shambles at the moment, and they're panicking, because they got to find a new way to get engagement, right? That's because Instagram changed something. If you were directing people to your website, the only person who makes those changes is you. So if you're doing this, especially in a podcast format, push the content, push the content on social all the time. Let us know, share with us how the show is getting made, or dive deeper on the topics, have community conversations in places like Facebook. But always, always, always be pushing that content back to the website. Have people engage with the website, give them plenty of places to interact at your website, because you want to build community, the long term community, that will support and keep a podcast on the air. You want to build that in your house, not in a rented space.

Tim Bornholdt 51:04
I don't think an episode of Constant Variables would be complete without somebody dunking on social media one way or the other. So I'm very glad you threw that in there.

I don't mean to. Again, I'm always late to the party when it comes to socials. But I understand like, it was one of those things that when you're on the outside looking in, you can just see it. You can see very specifically when these things are built for engagement, when they're built, you know, to build audience fast, and not really built for safety. And they're not really built for long term community, they're really just built to have the creators, you know, be able to claim certain numbers and have access to certain pieces of information. That means they're never in it for you. It benefits them if you're doing well, it benefits them. But if you stopped doing well, they don't care, because it doesn't really harm them. They've already found a replacement for you. And even if it's something like TikTok. TikTok is crazy right now, right? It totally blew up during quarantine. We have maybe a year, no I would say 9 to 12 months, until they start to follow the same playbook as an Instagram or a Snapchat as it grows. Right now it's all open ended, because they want everybody here. But pretty soon, they're going to want to be able to make more money. And in order to make more money, they're going to have to start changing things and restricting things and pushing certain content forward, or pulling certain content back. And then you're going to be in the same place you were at, what, two years ago with Instagram, three years ago with Twitter, and four years ago with Facebook. At some point, they start messing with it. And whatever you've done is moot because you don't have any control over it. But you always have control of your website. You always have control of the things that you establish for your brand identity, whether it be driving people to a website, and then creating a newsletter for additional engagement, you know, or whether it's driving people to a website, and then driving them to like your YouTube channel or creating a section on your own website where you're hosting certain pieces of content that are just your content that isn't carried anywhere else. You need to be able to use this as a long term play to create engagement at your house. I will always say you own the mortgage at your website. Right? All this other stuff is rented.

Yeah, I'm glad you said newsletter too, because I was just gonna say that and suggest that that's another, besides your website, email is one of those institutions that thankfully, is still relatively open. And, you know, as long as you can get people to opt in to receiving your emails, and you don't get stuck in Google's weird Gmail filters, which is another story, I suppose.

Twila Dang 53:51

Tim Bornholdt 53:52
But newsletters can be super powerful for continuing to get engagement into your podcasts. So yeah, I'm glad you went on that tangent about social media. Because, again, I have very strong feelings about all of this.

Twila Dang 54:07
And don't forget how dynamic all of these things are becoming in terms of audio. I mean, now you can, if you have a Pinterest account, you can pin audio and video to a Pinterest account. You can pin audio to newsletters in certain formats. I mean, look at substack. Most people don't even realize this yet. But substack has an entire podcast thing that is now rolled into substack. So the way I'm encouraging people to use it is go make your own audio, make it as professional as you can and then upload it to your substack, and roll it in as a part of your newsletter or as a teaser pieces into the new or supplemental content in a newsletter. But everyone does understand that audio has value. It's just we're seeing now the interesting ways that people are trying to use it alongside video because I think people still are convinced that if you can make audio versus video, well why wouldn't uou make video? And I'm like, Well, there's a whole lot of reasons not to make video. It's five times the cost. And you have to buy all of this additional equipment to make it effective, like lighting and wardrobe and makeup and backdrops. When I'm making a podcast, I just have to plug in and go. And I can still get reach. So it's becoming even in the last I would say, in the last eight months with everything that happened with the pandemic, we're in the middle of it causing a real audio boom, in that a lot of organizations and a lot of companies that were just sort of, you know, using making sure that we had access to audio are now invested in making sure that audio is good. Because before they didn't really care, but now they care. Now look how many competitors we've seen pop up for Zoom in the last few months, how many audio competitors we've seen for services, like Zencaster, how many phone app, you know, mechanisms that we're seeing, like clean feed and toxic, that allow you to do interviews person to person on just your cell phones and have high audio quality? We are seeing an absolute boom, and it'll help all of us that want to be podcasters and are currently podcasters in the next like year to a few years to come.

Tim Bornholdt 56:17
Yeah. And again, there's all these cool tools, but do not forget the plan.

Twila Dang 56:21
Yes. Listen, you need a plan. Please don't do it without it. But if you don't do anything else, you just call me. You need a plan, folks, don't just jump in. And the thing is, I'm notorious for, I mean, my entire business model was essentially, Hey, let's just jump in with both feet and see what we get. But at the very least, I think the thing that saved me at every turn was I'm also a parent. And parents are by nature planners. So even if we think we're jumping in with both feet, we really aren't. It's like I jumped in the pool, but I actually have a bag over there. And it's got a towel and new shoes and clean socks and plastic bags for the wet clothes. I mean, we're planners by nature. So even as I was jumping in and saying I want to start this thing with both feet, I was already on Google trying to figure out how to do things. I was already talking to, you know, friends and colleagues at the radio station to say, Hey, if I only had X amount of dollars, and I had to buy, you know, equipment to get started to record out of my house, what would you absolutely spend money on, what would you not spend money on. And even as I've recruited people to work on the teams, to be able to lean in on people that are much smarter than me and much more accomplished, you know, in their skill sets, and really trusting that knowledge to make sure that as our company grows, it grows in the right way, in a smart way. All of that is planning. And it's worth doing because who wants to put all of this effort into something and then at the end of the day, you're not proud of it.

That's even what I say above trying to profit because I get asked two questions. How do you start a podcast? And how do you make money off of it? Those are the two questions I get asked constantly. And I always say I can tell you how to get started. But we don't need to talk about money until you know what you're doing. And oftentimes I tell people like, Listen, money is not the concern. What you need to do is make something you're really, really, really proud of, because if you've made something you're proud of, it won't matter if you make money or not. And that's it. To be honest, 9 times out of 10, opportunities to make money will arise out of it because you've made something that you're proud of even if it's not in the way that you think that you're gonna make money. It might not show up as a sponsorship or as advertising within your podcast, but you might find some unique way to make revenue. But it all comes out of the same thing. If you made something crappy, you're not going to feel good about it and no one else is going to want to support it. But if you made something you're really proud of, all of a sudden doors and opportunities open up that you never anticipated and now all of a sudden you're doing something unique.

Tim Bornholdt 58:47
You know, through quarantine my wife's favorite TV show is RuPaul's Drag Race.

Twila Dang 58:52
Oh yes. I like your wife more and more.

Tim Bornholdt 58:56
Me too. So I've sometimes like walked in, you know, pre quarantine, I've walked in and seen her watching an episode and I just didn't really get it. It's like, Food for you. You know, I'm glad you found something you like but I don't get it and then during quarantine right when it started, season 12 came out. And she's like, Just sit down with me every Friday. Just watch this with me and see if you like it, And it took a little bit but what I finally understood about that show and what makes that show so much fun is that they're having fun and you can tell like all of them put so much work and effort into being the best drag queen they could possibly be and the fun that comes off of them is intoxicating and it's like magnetic. You're just drawn to these people because you can tell they are having so much fun. And the same thing applies too if you're hosting a podcast or you want to get a podcast going for your organization, tt can't be something where it's like the marketing team just says, We need a podcast. And then someone rubber stamps and says, We'll go get the podcast going. And here goes the podcast. And it's like, if you're doing that for your brand, it's gonna come across very quickly that it's inauthentic. And that it's just something you have to do because someone told you to do it. Versus if you really want to podcast and again, like back to our earlier conversation when you are like, do you really want to start a podcast? It's like, the reason you ask that is because you're trying to suss out how authentic are you being with your messaging and with your marketing. And in this industry, in this era we live in in 2020, authenticity is the key to everything. We all want to make a connection with somebody, especially when we're also isolated and distant from each other. And if you put out a podcast, where you are authentic, and you're your true self, and you're having fun, then your guests are going to have fun. And then your listeners are going to have fun. And they're going to spread the word and they're going to tell people, Hey, you should check out this podcast about X, Y, and Z. And then it's going to bring more people in. And ultimately, that's when you can find those revenue money making opportunities. But you have to have fun, and you have to enjoy doing what you're doing and it just has to be authentic. Maybe not necessarily fun. But just you have to be yourself.

Twila Dang 1:01:07
I like to point out to people because sometimes it's the other part of this paradigm that people kind of get mixed up. And I've said this several times in consultations. There's a difference between having fun and being funny. I was tell people, Look, funny is objective, and sometimes what you think is funny is not funny to somebody else. Or it could be offensive to somebody else, or it just could fall flat. I said, but having fun is, Are you like did you get excited on recording day? Are you excited to talk to somebody you haven't talked to before? Or re you looking forward to this? Does it feel like something that gives you energy during your week and not takes away energy during your week? Because if you show up to something and it just feels like, Oh, god, it's recording day. You won't want to do it. And that will come across in everything you do.

It's funny because I got a piece of advice, really early on in my radio days from Julia Cobb, who is one of the co-hosts of Laurie and Julia at MyTalk. And at the time, I didn't clue into it. But I get what she was telling me now. She said, whenever you go to talk, you need to smile. And I was like, what, and then she was like, because the listeners can hear it, they can hear the change that a smile brings to you, like a smile actually changes your face. And that means it kind of changes your carriage. And it changes your energy. And then all of a sudden people can tell the difference between like, Hey, I'm really glad you're here. Thanks for coming today versus, Hey, I'm really glad you're here. Thanks for coming today. And she's absolutely right. And I can see it immediately. Sometimes we have hosts that come in to record and they've just got a bunch of stuff going on. And they're not with us, right? And I just stop everything. I just go, Hey, listen, we don't have to do this today. And they're like, Are you sure? And I'm like, Yeah, cause I want you to be like the best of who you are, you know, the person that I got to know that I wanted to work with, when you're here. And if something's keeping you from doing that, or you're not able to, you know, put that aside and focus in on the thing that makes you feel good, then let's come back to the table when you're feeling it, like let's figure this out. And then we have some people that this is the highlight of their week, they show up and they go, you know, I'm so glad we get to do this week. I mean, when quarantine happened, we were trading a lot of emails, it was just like I miss talking to you. And it was like, Yeah, I miss talking to you too. I miss talking in a room with you too. Because for all of us, it was it was providing something, right? It was enjoyable. We were having fun, even when we were talking about difficult, terrible subjects. And we would cry through whole recordings because we were just talking about something so tough. We were were enjoying being together making something and I think that's something that can't be discounted. There's magic in being able to have the time and the effort and the ability to make something and be creative in this way that can really transcend a process like this that could normally be like feeling like you're taking medicine. I mean it's one of the things I'm most proud of is that we have a good time making the shows that we make. It takes a lot of work for all of us to do the things we do but we really enjoy being with each other getting to do it.

Tim Bornholdt 1:04:27
Right. And like you said, you know, it's not necessarily always fun. But you really can feel it in audio terms when somebody is truly enjoying what they're doing and even when it is something where you're crying or you're having like a really difficult time having a difficult conversation. You can still feel passion, which maybe is the right word. You can really just feel that they care and that's really what I, when I listen to a podcast that I really enjoy, it's like you can just tell the hosts really care and even if they have a persona of coming off, as you know, aloof or dismissive or you know, whatever, it's like you can tell the people that show up and actually care and want to put forth their best foot. It's like, all the other stuff is going to get figured out. And I say that with, you know, have a plan. Don't just do this without having a plan. But the pieces fall into place, once the passion is there, then you can use that passion to develop the plan, execute the plan and have a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

Twila Dang 1:05:28
Yeah, I agree. I think you've said that about as well as you can say it. Yeah.

Tim Bornholdt 1:05:33
Nice. Well, I just took what you said and repackaged it.

Twila Dang 1:05:37
That makes you an excellent podcaster, sir. Because sometimes our job is distill information. That is perfect.

Tim Bornholdt 1:05:44
So one last question before you go, I don't want to take up all of your morning here, even though I feel like I could. When it comes to podcasting, since you're in this space, and you've already thrown out a couple of really good, you know, hosts like Guy Roz, what are your favorite podcasts? And it doesn't even have to be anything that people can take away, you know, something specific from. Just what are you listening to these days?

Twila Dang 1:06:07
Okay, so I listen to a lot of things. Again, I'm a nerd, and I'm an audio nerd. So I'm constantly like investing in things that allow me to get other people's experiences. One of my favorites, I try to tell people often I try to listen to things that are completely like away from the things that I make, sometimes, just, I listen to things for pleasure, but I also listen to things for you know, the process and how people make things. So I thinkthe first podcast I ever listened to was called The Read. I still listen to it to this day. It's two Black queer, you know, now at this point, culture writers, who have delightfully, like, acerbic takes on pop culture, and particularly Black pop culture, because at the time they started, no one was talking about anything but what was considered traditionally, you know, mainstream white pop culture. And they have grown as podcasters over time to become these deeply thoughtful people who don't just, you know, have hot takes on issues but have real deep, thoughtful, you know, words about how it impacts not just what we're watching or what we listen to, but how it impacts how we live. And It impresses me so much how they've grown as voices, you know, in terms of stepping into the power and the responsibility that that takes when you are a public figure. I find them just endlessly entertaining.

Another show that I've been listening to recently, and I'm super biased, because she's now a friend of mine, and I really respect her. Her name is Renee Richardson. She runs Broccoli Content out of the UK. But she has a show that came out last year called Anthems. And Anthems, the sole purpose is to highlight the voices of marginalized people who don't normally get to tell their story. And each season runs under a different theme. And there are different voices telling different parts of their story. So you can jump in just about anywhere. But the stories are so beautiful and moving and funny. And they give you a different perspective on life outside of the United States. And she's just done such a wonderful job of being 100% committed to what she wanted her content from her company to do, which is really give voice to voiceless people. And I already love her because she's just a wunderkind, but, but I really love the content that she made in particular with that season, with that show.

I also happen to love a little indie podcast called Honey Roast. They haven't made any new episodes yet this year. They launched earlier in the year. And so they've got, it's like a little short season. But it's really an opportunity for people to give appreciation to other people in their life, whether they're someone they love or they know or that's friends with or that they work with. It's really a chance for one person to publicly give accolade to someone else in their life. And they get to tell you exactly why that person deserves it. And I just think the world could use more of that. And I just thought it was a beautiful little slice of heaven when I started to listen to it. I really think they're great.

And I will always be a stand for anything that Tracy Clinton does. Because I just think she's super impressive. And I missed another round forever. I will miss it forever. It went off the air but she took over MailChimp's podcast, Going Through It, this season. So the second season is her doing interviews primarily with Black women in business situations where they were faced with a particular challenge and they had to figure out how to move past it. And I just love how they gave her the freedom to come in and put her stamp and her voice on it. And I love that the stories that she told were so varied and wonderful. And in this year of 2020, when we really saw how deeply Black women tend to put their energies toward the greater good, to hear stories of women who were not only standing up for themselves, but ultimately standing up for all of us, I just found those to be really wonderful.

Tim Bornholdt 1:10:29
Those are such great picks. Mine are all, like, not inspirational at all.

Twila Dang 1:10:36
I can give you one that's totally candy. Have you listened to the Boom Bust about HQ Trivia? It's like the oral history of HQ trivia. That's great. I mean, it's interesting from the business perspective, because it's interesting to hear like how something got built, became a phenomenon and then kind of undid itself. But I mean, but it's definitely interesting. It's super, I think, favorite episode's, Episode Two, where they really talk about the host and how he, you know, how he came in is just a host, and then kind of became the face of the thing. And then they kind of had a problem in their hands. Because what happens when the person that isn't in power actually becomes the most powerful symbol of your brand? It's kind of, yeah, it's super interesting. It's super interesting.

Tim Bornholdt 1:11:23
Twila, like I said, I could talk to you for hours. This was a fascinating conversation. I'm sure that people listening here are gonna want to get in touch with you as well. And kind of at least have you kind of hold their feet to the fire about getting started with a podcast. So if people want to get in touch with you and Matriarch, how can people find you?

Twila Dang 1:11:42
Well, the easiest way to find the brand, well, I guess before I say that, because I mean, not that I'm not good at self aggrandizing. But thank you. I appreciate that you had a good time talking to me today. I always do love to have conversations like this. So I appreciate you giving me the time. But the easiest way to find the brand is go to the website. We are at matriarchdm.com. So it's Matriarch, the DM is digital media. But I didn't want that long of a headliner. So it's matriarchdm.com. I am Twila Dang everywhere on social media. You can find me on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Instagram. Now sort of on TikTok. You can't really you can't really see anything. I don't post anywhere yet. But I am everywhere on social media. It's just my whole name, all lowercase, Twila Dang. You can also find Matriarch in all of those places. If you type in matriarch digital media, you will find us right away. But the website is the easiest place to find us if you want to do work with us. We have an intake form if you're interested in information about our production house, because we not only have a network of shows that we run, but we have a production house where we help work with individuals and groups and organizations if they would like to make content as well. We are happy to provide services to help people do that.

Tim Bornholdt 1:13:01
Awesome. I really again, appreciate you coming on the show. And I hope that everybody takes a chance to go check out your site and maybe get in touch with you if they are thinking about podcasting. So thank you again for coming on to, Twila.

Twila Dang 1:13:11
Well, thank you and thank you for the time.

Tim Bornholdt 1:13:13
A big thanks to Twila for joining me today on the podcast. You can learn more about Twila and Matriarch Digital Media at matriarchdm.com.

Show notes for this episode can be found at constantvariables.co. You can get in touch with us by emailing Hello@constantvariables.co. I'm @TimBornholdt on Twitter and the show is @CV_podcast. Today's episode was produced by Jenny Karkowski and edited by the baronial Jordan Daoust.

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