Episode 109: Using a Podcast to Grow Your Consulting Business—with Zack David
Deb Zahn: I want to welcome you to this week's episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. This episode is all about podcasts and in particular, how you can use a podcast to help build and grow your consulting business, attract clients to you, and all the nitty-gritty you need to know to be able to start one. We're going to get rid of the mystery of why to do it, how to do it, and I brought on a fantastic guest, Zack David, who is The Podcast Man. We're going to break it all down for you. Let's get started. I want to welcome my guest today, Zack David, The Podcast Man. Zack, welcome to the show.
Zack David: Thank you, Deb, for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.
Deb Zahn: Absolutely. So let's start off. Tell my listeners what you do.
Zack David: Well, it’s pretty much as it sounds. I am The Podcast Man—self proclaimed—but we're rolling with it. I've been doing audio editing ever since I was a youngin’, basically when I started playing around with music with my friends. Then my radio station days really got me polished at the audio editing, editing the local politician spots and stuff you can imagine. We keep fast forwarding, and it was actually a side gig for me. And then we entered the pandemic, and I said, "We’ve got to switch gears a little bit because my gigs as a musician...they kind of went out the window for a while." I said, “I love podcast editing, and you know what? People need these services, and they need other services that go along with it too." That's how that got started, about a year and change ago, officially as The Podcast Man. That's what it is. I'd say it's about a full shop service for you. There're some marketing things that I get a hand with, a little bit of help with, but I'll help you with the editing, the show notes, transcription, launching your podcast, all that fun stuff—not so fun for people who don't want to learn it and don't have time to learn it. It’s fun stuff for me because I'm a nerd. That's what I do in a nutshell.
Deb Zahn: That's wonderful. I know you only because I follow you on Instagram, and you have some of the best tips I've ever seen on podcasting. So yeah, I've been following you for a while, and I like all of your stuff. I'm like, "I’ve got to get this guy on because podcasting is a tool for consultants." I think it’s incredibly powerful, and it's underutilized at this point in the consulting world that I've seen. I've definitely seen some podcasts, but whether independent consultants or small boutique firms, midsize firms, I think it's a great opportunity for folks to explore that. So let's start off with the why first. If someone's a consultant, why the heck should they be doing a podcast?
Zack David: Absolutely. That's where we always have to start, right? The why. There are a couple reasons. The two main reasons are to be an authority in your field, if you have a public podcast. Be an authority in your field, provide that value, and people will come to you. They will listen, and this will be a huge driver of leads for you. That’s that in a nutshell. We can expand on that. And the other one that I've been looking into recently—and that I'm actually going to launch for my clients—is a private podcast. I really love this idea because, for the people who you want to have access to it, you send them a unique RSS feed. We won't get too much into the nerdy stuff, but it's a URL. They can pop it into whatever podcast player they use, and then it's exclusive to them. So as a consultant, you can shoot this out to the people that are your clients, the people that you work with, and they will have, super conveniently on their device, this extremely valuable information. I always say it's to drive leads, it's to be an authority in your field, and it's also really to just love up on your clients and your community. You just provide that amazing value, and it's on the way up. You may have seen the research. If you want to get nerdy about it, the Edison research...what's it called again? Infinite dial. OK, that was a mouthful.
Deb Zahn: There you go.
Zack David: I got it. I cheated. I looked at my notes, but I got it. Just check that out. Things are on the way out, both for new podcasts and for podcasts listenership, which is really exciting. Radio.com just expanded. You may have been hearing on the radio.
Deb Zahn: Yeah, yeah.
Zack David: They're no longer saying, "This is a Radio.com station. This is an Odyssey station." They said, “We’ve got to change our name because this ain't just about radio no more.”
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: This is about podcasting as well. This is about other forms of audio consumption. I mean, I get excited about this stuff, but Facebook is going to be launching an in-app podcast kind of interface. Spotify and Apple also launched their subscription services. It's getting crazy, it's getting exciting, and it's just a great thing to be a part of. As a consultant, it's going to be great for you, just for driving leads and also working with your current listeners (your current clients and community). It's an exciting time. It's on the way up.
Deb Zahn: That's fabulous. I'm going to insert a couple plugs for it too from two different perspectives. So one is that I have an interesting experience. I do the Craft of Consulting Podcast for my business, helping people become and succeed as consultants, but it turns out some of my consulting clients also listen to it and tell other people about it. I have this interesting reaction sometimes when I talk to people who don't know me and have never met me, and I've heard this now over and over again.
They're like, "I feel like we're already friends," because there's an intimacy to podcasts that you just can't get through a webinar; you can't get it through a Zoom meeting. There's just something special about having a conversation in someone's ear and having them listen to you say things that are valuable to them. It's different than other mediums, and that's, I think, one of the reasons it's so special. Then there’s the last thing I'll just plug before we jump into the other good stuff: It’s you can innovate with your clients.
I was working with a client, where they needed people to understand the basics of something that we were trying to do. Everybody is tired of being on Zoom calls. Nobody is listening to the webinar recordings because you have to sit in front of it, do it, and that whole thing. So we said, "Well, why don't we just do a podcast." We did what you suggested, which is we had our link, and we put it out there; it was in a state. 67 people in the state listened to it, which is far more than what we thought was going to happen for a very specific topic that we wanted there to be some good understanding about. And then not only that, like all over the world, people were listening-
Zack David: Yeah, that's amazing.
Deb Zahn: ...to us describe what this very special thing in the healthcare space is. So you can also use it in an innovative way with your clients to help them solve problems that they have. I will guarantee you, no other consultant, or few other consultants, are showing up and saying, "Why don’t you do that through a podcast?"
Zack David: Yeah, absolutely. Just to rewind, I have to say, people may have told you that they feel like they're friends with you because you're such a nice person too.
Deb Zahn: Thank you.
Zack David: You’re one of the first people I connected with on Instagram, like a year and change ago, when I created that account. I'll be releasing a little “100 posts celebration” on my Instagram. One of my things on there is that I didn't even really like social media, or Instagram, or anything when I started. But then I started connecting with people like you, and I said, "Oh, this is fun." So I wanted to just mention that to you.
But you're also completely right that the intimacy is there with podcasting. The convenience is there too because people can just listen while they're cleaning, driving, working on other things. Then if they have an issue with, maybe, “I'm not going to remember this, or I need to go back or whatever,” that's what the show notes are for on the podcaster’s website.
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: I do mention that because a lot of my clients who start off are like—and I totally understand it too—they're like, "OK, what are show notes?" And to me, I'm like, "Well, obviously…” because I've been doing this a while. But then I think, “Of course they don't know if they haven't done it before.” So yeah, you definitely need to have somewhere to point your listeners to. That's just another thing that you'll be setting up when you start your podcast, but it's just a fantastic medium. I'm kind of biased, but I love it.
Deb Zahn: I would agree. Yeah, I'm biased too. So as you know, I recently surpassed 100 episodes.
Zack David: Yes, that's amazing.
Deb Zahn: I’m putting them out weekly, and it's one of my favorite things that I do. It's one of my favorite things that I do during my week. It's also fun, but you can imagine, and I'm sure you've seen this because the biggest people reached out to you. So let's say a consultant decides, "All right, you convinced me...I'm going to do a podcast," and then they get that deer-in-headlights look because they have no idea what to do next. I had that when I started, so I know what that feeling is. What would be the first thing? There’re obviously a whole bunch of things that someone would need to do to set up a podcast, but what would be the first thing you would tell someone to do?
Zack David: Yeah, for sure. I think the first thing—just going back to the beginning of this chat that we're having too—is finding your why. So it's kind of the marketing and strategic side of things. That's where I would start: finding your why, finding your ideal listener, coming up with your strategy—and this sounds dramatic...I swear, I'm not a drama queen or king—you need to have like, if you can, 40 or 50 episode ideas. They don't have to be perfect, but if you can have that list, that running list...because the weeks don't stop coming, and if you release every week, which is suggested to do, you don't want to find yourself, the night before the episode is supposed to go live, jumping into your studio, "Oh, gosh, what am I going to talk?" You know?
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: We start with, kind of, the strategic stuff. To me, that's the harder stuff because...and that can also be hired out. You can get help with that too. But what you definitely should get help with—unless you have a lot of time and energy, which most of us don't have that to spare because we're focusing on our actual business—what you should do is either get somebody to help you or just take a deep dive into some YouTube videos and some help-guides on how to actually launch what you need to launch. You'll find that you need the basic stuff: the episode title, the description, the categories, the image. But it's nice to have someone guide you along because you don't want to throw any old podcast name out there or any old image out there. You need something that's going to grab people's attention, but also be very concise to what you do. So you're going to need some help with that, the technical nerdy stuff. I always say, “If you're going to go at it on your own and if you have the time and energy, that's awesome.” You can go with...I really like Buzzsprout as your host. I, personally, use Libsyn just because I've…
Deb Zahn: Yeah, me too.
Zack David: Libsyn is just the one that I've been editing people's podcasts on for them and publishing their episodes for six or seven years. I guess I'd have to do the math, but Libsyn is just...I've never had any issues with them. If I do, I just reach out, and they just help me out.
Deb Zahn: Now let's tell people what it is because I have to admit, when I first started, I had to figure out what all these different things meant. And then I finally figured out, “Oh, OK, so Libsyn will host my podcast.” The easiest way for me to think about it is, if you just try and put all of those on your website, your website is going to crash because they're really heavy files,\ or whatever the right terminology is. So this is where, regardless of where people are listening to it, it pulls the episode from that, so somebody can listen to it. Does that sound like a reasonable way to think about it?
Zack David: Well, I might need to hire you because that's better than how I would have said it.
Deb Zahn: That took a few rounds to figure that out.
Zack David: There you go, but you got it on the first try, live, right here. Just so everybody knows, that was not edited.
Deb Zahn: That's right. That's right. I didn't try a few times.
Zack David: Yep, that's perfect. So it'll host it for you, so you don't have to actually have the files living on your website. Then they also—the hosting websites: Libsyn, Buzzsprout, Simplecast—they will also create the RSS feed for you, which basically, just shoots this information out to the world and the different directories, also known as just apps or podcast players: your Spotify, Apple, Overcast, Google podcasts. They will read that RSS feed and automatically update, which is really nice because it would be a nightmare to have to go and manually submit each episode to every single directory.
Deb Zahn: Oh goodness.
Zack David: That would be bad, so ever since the dawn of time of podcasting, the RSS feed has existed. Then inside your host, if you go at it alone, you will have to go in there, and make sure that—and also make sure you're doing this Deb. I'm sure you are, but—make sure that you are also submitted to all the possible directories inside there because there're some that are not automatic, like iHeartRadio and Odyssey, actually, the one that we were talking about before.
Yeah, just go in there, and make sure to configure that stuff. The host is great. If you dig enough on the internet, somebody will say, "You don't need a host. You can write your own RSS feed and all this stuff."
Deb Zahn: Nope.
Zack David: I'm like, "OK, are you a professional coder or something? Just don't worry about that." You need a host because they're also going to provide that support too. Libsyn, Buzzsprout...yeah, they're all great.
Deb Zahn: So let's go back because this is...I know exactly what you're talking about because I researched, and I watched videos and all of that stuff. So when I started, just to recap, I needed to know: Why am I doing my podcast? Who am I doing my podcast for? What is it that I'm trying to actually help them with?—which is, again, the value question...When somebody listens, what do I want them to get out of it that is actually useful to them?—then I had to...I'm going to just be honest, I had to think about how I wanted to appear.
So I decided I'm “Deb PG-13”, which no one who knows me knows who that person is. I actually...I said this on another podcast. I had some good friends of mine joke that they would actually pay for the Deb-regular because they thought that would be funnier. So you had to sort out all the strategy stuff, which is just as you said. And then there's the technical stuff, which is having your host and all of those details. The editing is also a big piece, and I think that scares a lot of people because they feel like they have to figure it out. I will say, that's the first thing I outsourced.
Zack David: Yes, that's most people.
Deb Zahn: I did everything else at the beginning, and I watched a few videos on editing. And I thought, “I could do that, but why am I doing that? Why am I doing things that somebody else could do better and faster?”
Zack David: Yeah, absolutely. There is a saying in business, and I don't know if I get it exactly right, but: “Find the things that only you can do amazingly. You do those things that only you can do, and then outsource anything else that you can’t.”
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: Anybody that is a professional in it is going to be able to do the editing—and this is not to sound like hoity-toity or something—but they're going to do it better than you because they have the experience, just like you're going to do whatever you do better than others. So it's definitely a time saver and energy saver. The launching stuff too, it's one of those things—where unless you're planning on launching, eventually, like three, four, or five podcasts—you might as well just get someone to do it for you. There're a lot of companies that will guide you along the way, and then there're some that, like, “I pat myself on the back,” that'll just basically do it for you. It's like...I've grown up in a family of entrepreneurs, and I know that it's just...if you're going to do something once, you might as well just hire it out. And then the ongoing stuff—like the editing, the show notes, and stuff like that—if you have the resources to hire that out too, it's a great idea. You'll have a working relationship with your editor too, where you can say, "Hey, please chop out this part."
Deb Zahn: Exactly.
Zack David: There will be ongoing support, so it's not just like, "They're not going to know how to do it like I do."
Deb Zahn: Yeah, they do.
Zack David: I mean, come on. We're entrepreneurs. We're consultants. We all have that, kind of like, “It's hard for us to let things go.” Even for me, I'm like, "They're not going to do it like me," but the truth is that they're going to do it just fine, and if they don't, you're just going to request that they fix something. Then it's all going to be hunky-dory.
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: It's really...it's no issue, and you'll get to know each other as you go along too. And then, you know, you can decide on the other things too. The show notes, to be-
Deb Zahn: Describe what show notes are because there’re going to be some people who have no clue of what that is, or a transcript, or anything like that. What are those, and why do people have them?
Zack David: Yeah, thank you for backing me up because I just get going on fire.
Deb Zahn: I know, right?
Zack David: To me it obvious, but yeah. Show notes...this is a best practice, and I would say, “Do this.” Every once in a while, there is a podcast where their strategy is different, and they'll send their listeners to a different place that's not the show notes. But the reason that I always say that you should have the show notes...what they are is...each specific episode will have a specific post on your website, and that will have the summary of the episode, the resources—so that way, while you're driving as a listener, you don't have to be, like, jotting things down.
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: The resources will all be there in the show notes, and the CTA is the “call to action”, which is very important because, during your episode, you have to be...we all have to strike this balance of being an appropriate level of salesy. You're not going to be saying every two minutes, "...and buy my course,” or whatever, or, "Hire me."
Deb Zahn: Oh, yeah. I've heard those.
Zack David: Yes. That can be kind of painful, but it is appropriate. Of course, people listening to your podcasts...they're going to understand that like, we're all entrepreneurs. We're all consultants. We're all business people. People are going to understand that. So what I was getting at is...that information will also be in the show notes, so people won't have to be like, "Wait, where should I go to connect with the podcast host again?”-
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: ...or, "What was I supposed to do to get that free resource?" So the show notes...yes. And I've had a couple clients, over the course of my business, where I've started the show notes for them. I have one client who is a postpartum athletics coach.
Deb Zahn: All right.
Zack David: Yeah, and this is good.
Deb Zahn: Talk about a niche.
Zack David: That's right. You need to find your “\neesh\”, So I was writing her show notes—and she had these episodes that were her personal journey through breast reduction and things like this—and she was like, "Zack, you're doing an amazing job, but I think I'm just going to take care of the show notes on my own because it's too personal. It's kind of weird for you to be talking about my journey through breast reduction. I just need to write."
Deb Zahn: I can see where she might want to take that back, but they're a nice summary so that if somebody goes to your podcast page—let's say that's where they're going to go—they can glance at it and think, "Is this relevant to me? Do I want to do it?" Some even do timestamps. So if you want to go to a specific thing, and you don't want to listen to the whole thing, you can go to that. I've also had people tell me that they’ll look at the show notes. For whatever reason, they can't listen to the podcast, but then they know that they want to download the transcript—so a transcript is actually a transcription of everything that gets said in the podcast—because they really want it in their hand, and they want to read it. So it also helps them dig deeper into your content.
Zack David: Yes, absolutely. The other perk, and the other reason that I find these aspects of podcasting very important, is that some people will just literally go there and decide if they want to listen to the episode. So they'll read it first. That does happen sometimes. The other reason is the SEO power.
Deb Zahn: Yeah, so say what SEO is. That's a powerful acronym for anybody who’s doing anything on the web.
Zack David: This is “Search Engine Optimization” I have to do my own echo, unless the editor knows how to fix that on your end. They can put it in.
Deb Zahn: Yeah. We can put in some sound of it, like a tiger roaring or something like that.
Zack David: Yeah, make it awesome. OK? But, yes. Now I’ve lost my train of thought there. Oh, SEO. Thank you.
Deb Zahn: Oh, SEO.
Zack David: Thank you, my brain, for bringing me back. See, I just got my first vaccine shot yesterday, and I'm all woozy.
Deb Zahn: Oh, goodness.
Zack David: I'm just kidding. I'm pretty much completely normal. Well, I'm never completely normal. I'm always, kind of, an interesting guy. So SEO is search engine optimization, and Google crawls—too bad this isn't released close to Halloween...creepy crawly—Google crawls the websites for things that people search for. So if you're speaking about a certain thing in your episode (you and your guests), or if you're doing a solo episode (that's OK too), basically, people will search for that on Google, and then it will lead them to the show notes page. That's why the transcript helps too because, just imagine, every single thing, the whole dang episode, is on your website on the show notes page, and it's searchable. So this helps people find your podcast, not through a directory, not through Apple podcasts, but through Google-
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: ...which is actually still way more powerful because of the actual directories themselves. They're working on findability, and I think things are just getting better and better. When I started this, like 5...6...7 years ago, if you didn't type in, verbatim, the name of the podcast into Apple Podcasts, it didn't show up. Things are getting better, but they're still not as good as Google Search, which is just, basically, the Creme de la Crop—if that's how you say it—of all the search engines. The SEO...that's another reason you need the show notes, and if you can do the transcription too, that's awesome.
Deb Zahn: Yeah, and I will tell you that—and this is my first website I've ever had—my organic search, meaning that people who find me just by googling something related to what I do, has gone up dramatically as my episodes have gone up. And when I actually look at the data, the number one reason people are coming to my site is my podcast. So I knew it would be powerful.
I didn't know it'd be that powerful, but if you're a consultant, and one of the things that you want people to do is find you in some way—so you're still going to do marketing, you're still going to do outreach...all that good stuff—but if you want to be found by folks who are searching for your area of expertise, or the great things that you can do, a podcast can help you do that. It can help draw people to your website, so they can find out even more about you.
Zack David: Yep, absolutely...absolutely. And at the same time—and I'm always super honest with people—it is not like the old baseball field. It's not necessarily, “If you build it, they will come.”
Deb Zahn: Oh, yeah.
Zack David: Oh, yeah. I always...and I am super honest with my clients at first. I'm like, "Hey, I'm going to do my best to help you. We're going to make this bad boy sound beautiful. It's going to be on the 50-plus directories, but you also do need to show up and market it too, like what Deb does a great job of with her audiograms and stuff." And maybe your next question will be “What the heck is an audiogram?”
Deb Zahn: You knew I was going there.
Zack David: So an audiogram is not a graham cracker. I haven't had lunch yet today. An audiogram is, basically, a little snippet from the episode. Usually, you try to find the best one, or you can have a couple of audiograms per episode, and it's technically a little video. It's a still image. Actually, it can be video too-
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: But an audiogram, itself...you'll grab, usually, a still image, and then there's a little waveform that signifies that there's audio. And this is good because people, otherwise, maybe would think that it's just a still image.
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: But they see the little waveform and it's...I usually say to keep these bad boys to like, 30 seconds to a minute. These are very important to hook people in. You want to make sure that they know where to go and listen then because the studies show that people, usually, aren't going to listen to a full episode on Instagram or Facebook. They're going to be drawn in through these audiograms and these quotes. Image quotes, also, are good, or even little videos, like little snippets from the video—if you're recording on Zoom—just the little Zoom video.
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: Just any way to draw people in through social media...that's a huge...one of the main drivers of getting new listeners to your podcast.
Deb Zahn: And I'm going to put a plug in for captions because many people, particularly in the professional space, are supposed to be working. Instead, they're watching your thing, and they may not have the sound up, so the captions are helpful. They're also very helpful for folks who are deaf and hard of hearing. You want to encourage as many people as possible to be able to participate in what you're doing. But yeah, I have upped my game over time, mainly, because I work with smart people who help me do that.
Those types of posts get more attraction than a lot of other things, and you have to decide how you want to do them. So personally, what I've told the people who helped me with social media is, I want my guests to always be preferenced. At one point, there was a marketer who wanted to put my big picture with my guest’s teeny-tiny picture. And I said, "First of all, that's not who I am as a person. I don't like stuff like that, but second of all, why would they promote that? Why would they send that to everybody they know?"
The whole point is—you also, if you're going to have guests and do interviews—one of the ways that you get increasing attraction and folks finding out who you are, is that your guests will promote it. And if you are going to do that, you want to honor your guests as much as humanly possible—at least that's how I do it—so that they're the ones that sound fabulous; they're the ones whose picture is there. And it may seem like you're diminishing what you do, but you're actually amplifying what you do, and you're just being a good human, which I think is always the right thing to do.
Zack David: Yeah. Especially now, more than ever, people are tired of these big, huge corporations and stuff. We're like, "We're coming down to ground level. We're working together."
Deb Zahn: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Now equipment is also something that often throws people off. I've actually had people say to me, "I want to start a podcast, but I don't have thousands of dollars to invest in all of the equipment." And I said, "Well, I didn't either. So I didn't, and I have all the equipment I need to do it.” What are some of the basics that you think folks need to have so that their sound quality demonstrates quality, which is really important because you're giving your listeners an experience of what you're like. What're the basics they need?
Zack David: Yeah. I just wanted to add one more thing real quick—and we don't have to go into it at all, but it’s just because I want people to find your podcast when you start it—be a guest on other podcasts too.
Deb Zahn: Yay!
Zack David: Yes, so we don't have to go into that. It pretty much explains itself, but it's going to bring new people to your podcast.
Deb Zahn: Yes, yes.
Zack David: So there we go. And yes...my favorite part...the nerdy equipment stuff!
Deb Zahn: I knew you'd love that part.
Zack David: Deb, over there, has like, I think an ATR2100 mic. Is that the one?
Deb Zahn: Correct, correct.
Zack David: Yes, and you know what? That mic does not cost thousands of dollars, not even hundreds.
Deb Zahn: Yep. It's not expensive.
Zack David: And you know what? She sounds great. She sounds great.
Deb Zahn: And it has ports...lots of ports that I can plug things into, which I really like. So a mic...you need a decent mic.
Zack David: You do need a decent mic. Some people will say that you can do it straight from your iPhone, and technically you can, but this is where I actually like to start, here. This is where I like to start. You can...if you are recording in a thousands-of-dollars professional recording studio...Do you have that?
Deb Zahn: I do not.
Zack David: Does anybody else have that?
Deb Zahn: I have a cat tower behind me.
Zack David: So we don't want to do that because—the type of mic that Deb has, the type of mic that I'm using—these are dynamic cardioid, polar-pattern mics. Don't really worry about remembering that. Just remember the dynamic part because, what a dynamic mic does is, it has a polar pattern, which means that it just picks up what's pretty close to it. It does a great job at not picking up everything else in the room like cats...
Deb Zahn: You know, that's important for me.
Zack David: ...which is very common. Yep. I'd say about, at least, a third of the people that I chat with have cats. I'm impressed that there have been no cats in your frame there, Deb.
Deb Zahn: I'm almost disappointed that there haven't been. I think they're napping, but we'll see if they make a showing later.
Zack David: Yeah. So the dynamic...I'll just say it a bunch of times, so you have to remember it. The dynamic mic—and maybe, yeah, Deb can toss it in the show notes too, probably—the dynamic mic, just like the one that Deb has, is going to have that ability. And we pretty much all need this too because you never know when there's going to be emergency vehicles going by outside, or even...like, my doorbell just rang. You may have heard it, or you maybe didn't.
Deb Zahn: Didn't hear it.
Zack David: So that's because of the mic that I have. I hope that wasn't my delivery from BevMo! I told him to come later.
Deb Zahn: Darn them. Well, I have to say—so nobody skip over this part who's doing a podcast because I can't tell you how much time I Googled (not being a tech person) “dynamic versus condenser”—I always had the most difficult time figuring out what the heck to do. Then I, finally, just looked at Pat Flynn’s site, who's a podcaster and an entrepreneur, and I said, "I'm just going to get what he has because I can't figure this out.” So the dynamic mic is actually a gem that you should remember.
Zack David: Yes, and Pat Flynn is a gem that you should remember too, if you have the time and energy to look at his videos.
Deb Zahn: Yeah. His videos were so helpful to me when I started.
Zack David: That's the guy that I learned from, like seven years ago, to get started with all this.
Deb Zahn: Oh, wow.
Zack David: He's a really nice guy too. But, so yes—and this is not to say that you can't use a condenser mic, if you have a room with pretty much zero echo and zero unwanted noise, which almost none of us have you can use the condenser mic because it gives you a little more natural of a voice sound and a little less radio voice, but really, we want that professional sound anyway. A radio-sounding voice is going to sound better on people's little devices, like iPhones that have little, high-frequency-pitched speakers in them. People need that good, rich-sounding audio, otherwise, it hurts your ears to listen on.
Deb Zahn: That's right, and then, you lose the intimacy part that we talked about.
Zack David: Absolutely.
Deb Zahn: I've heard some people's podcasts, who were saying things that were actually valuable to me, but they were so unlistenable because there was all this distraction and static and all of that that I didn't continue listening to them. So you don't have to do everything perfectly, but the sound quality really, really, truly matters.
Zack David: Yes, absolutely. And before I forget, I also love that you're using the style of pop filter that you're using. I'm using the same one.
Deb Zahn: Nice.
Zack David: If you're just listening to this, and you don't have the visual, it's the one that's like a circle kind of dealio. It's a little more obstructive, to admit it, but it does a way better job than the one that just goes on the mic, itself. The one that goes on the mic, itself, is also helpful, but it's not quite as helpful with getting rid of these plosives: the P and the B sounds.
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: This is an issue if you're listening in a car because, a lot of times, the car stereo has more bass. And then if you have these harsh P and B sounds, it's like your speakers are popping in your car, so just get one of these little things.
Deb Zahn: Oh, yeah. I feel like we should illustrate, “Peanut Butter.” It sounds horrible.
Zack David: See! Oh, that was a plosive.
Deb Zahn: Thank you. Peanut Butter happens to be a rescue cat that I have right now. But I listened to someone's podcast, who clearly didn't have this filter that toned down those sounds, and it was jarring every time he said a P and B, which turns out to be really common letters in English words.
Zack David: Yes, absolutely...those consonants. Then we got to look at a scissor arm, which is what Deb has over there. Or I just have a mic stand because I'm a musician, and I have these things all over the place.
Deb Zahn: OK, that's super cool.
Zack David: The reason that I like this is because I have it just set on my floor here. I did have a little desktop one, but then when I'd set my hands on the desk or something, the sound…
Deb Zahn: Loud noise...
Zack David: ...would vibrate up through. And speaking of sound vibrating up through your setup—if you have a shock mount, like Deb has, and I have one too—yes, it's the thing that makes your setup look really cool and professional.
Deb Zahn: It does.
Zack David: But you know what it also does?
Deb Zahn: I don't exactly know what it does, but it's super cool.
Zack David: It helps a lot because it just helps get rid of some of the vibrations before they arrive to your mic. And if you're a heavy metal singer, it helps get rid of some of the vibrations that you're screaming into the microphone, but I'm assuming most of you aren't that.
Deb Zahn: That's right. Although, we should attach your picture of when you were.
Zack David: Oh, you remembered! Yeah-
Deb Zahn: Oh, yeah. I've seen that.
Zack David: ...back in the good ole’ days. But my throat thanks me, now that I'm just a podcast nerd.
Deb Zahn: That's great. Let me throw out one other piece of equipment that I want to get your thoughts on. So my audio, I was just recording into my computer, and then my editor said very nicely, but essentially said, "You're killing me. Get something that you can record multiple tracks." So the biggest expense that I invested in was a Zoom H6. “Zoom”—not like the recorder that we're on but—is a device that actually would let me record up to four tracks. They now make a podcast version that's at a lower price point. This was a game-changer for me. My audio quality went up dramatically.
Zack David: Yep. That was a great, great suggestion. There're different pieces of equipment that you can use to achieve it, but the Zoom pack is great because then you probably just send the editor your audio that's recorded right into there, right?
Deb Zahn: Yeah.
Zack David: So this is not the audio that's recorded inside. This can get kind of confusing. That's why I call your equipment the “Zoom pack”, and I call the software “Zoom.us,” if we want to.
Deb Zahn: There you go.
Zack David: And what I'm doing, actually, is I'm recording on my end, into my computer. This is another way to do it, just with the QuickTime recorder in the background. I'll send you that audio. So then we won't actually be using the audio over Zoom, and we won't have to worry about the compressed audio, which happens over the Zoom.us platform, because we are actually using locally recorded audio. If you just want to look this up again afterward, this is called a double-ender. So we're both recording, locally, our own audio on each end, and then the audio-editor gets to put them together afterward. The puzzle pieces which-
Deb Zahn: That's right.
Zack David: ...isn't too hard because we aren't taking breaks. We're not hitting pause on anything. We're just flowing with it. This is a little more advanced. A lot of people just start with like, "Oh, whatever, I'll just do it on Zoom.us." And that's pretty good, but I think it is worth the time to look into a Zoom pack, like you have there Deb, or look into the double-ender recording technique. Or just hire somebody that will help you with this stuff. Or look at a double-ender recording or Zoom pack on YouTube, and check it out because it definitely is a game-changer with having those separate tracks too.
Deb Zahn: Yeah. What happened—and one of the reasons we did it—is I was recording someone, and they kept having all of these loud noises in the background, including when I was talking. Well, if you record it on a single track, you can't do anything about that because it's recording those sounds and my voice at the same time. Once I switched to recording my guest’s voice and my voice on separate tracks, now—if anything...if like, I go into a coughing fit while you're talking—the magic of editing takes that all out.
Zack David: Yes, it's beautiful.
Deb Zahn: And it sounds smooth like butter, so it's a very good thing. I know that we went into a whole bunch of technical stuff, but I think we hit the highlights: have a strategy, know the back-end technical stuff (or find somebody who can do the backend technical stuff for you), and get good enough equipment. And again, everything isn't at a high price point anymore...
Zack David: That's right.
Deb Zahn: ...but good enough equipment so that everything about your podcasts says quality.
Zack David: Absolutely. And just to toss one more little drop into the bucket there...even if you're just starting off—and you don't have a Zoom pack, or you don't want to look at what the heck a double-ender is, like, “What's going on?”—you can go into your Zoom settings real quick, into the preferences, and click on the box that says, “Record each participant as a separate track.” That will help because yeah, Deb, this is the beautiful thing. This is like the stuff that gets me excited about editing because absolutely, if I'm talking, and Deb's cat starts meowing, then the editor just edits out Deb's track while I'm talking. Now I mean, if I'm talking, and my cat meows, there's not too much we can do, but…
Deb Zahn: That's right. That's right, and I have definitely had that before. Well, let me ask you this last question. I'm not as nerdy as you, but I approach that nerdiness zone. We can go on and on about this, but let me ask you one last question, which is, so you're The Podcast Man—you're out there, you're helping people—how can people find you?
Zack David: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I am most active on Instagram. This is another tip I can throw out there too just because some people will say, "Do all the social media." Others will say, "Focus on one and really show up." I like that ladder approach.
Deb Zahn: Yeah, I do too.
Zack David: And what I did, actually, just as a little tip, is on my other ones, like Facebook, I pinned a little comment on top saying like, "Hey, thanks for stopping by. We are mostly hanging out over an Instagram," just so people aren't like...
Deb Zahn: Brilliant.
Zack David: Oh, thank you. It's just so people aren't like, "Oh, this guy’s not doing anything on socials. He's not doing anything." So Instagram…@The_Podcast_Man, with little underscores underneath each word. Thepodcastman.com has all the good information, and that's pretty much it as far as where I'm hanging out.
Deb Zahn: I will put a link to that in the show notes. So if you're driving, don't worry about it, but definitely, definitely, definitely follow this guy on Instagram because I have actually changed some things that I did based on your tips.
Zack David: Oh, that's great to hear.
Deb Zahn: I found it really helpful. But let me ask you my last question I always love to ask, which is, how do you bring balance to your life, whatever that means for you?
Zack David: That is a great question. Living in Southern California, I am obligated to say some of the cliché things, like going to the beach, meditating, and doing yoga. Hey, that stuff actually helps, but each one of those things isn't for everybody. Maybe meditating isn't for you. You know, that's fine too. It's really about finding things that allow you to just realign with yourself and just take a chill pill when you need to. What I've done is, Sundays, in this household, are either not for working or just for working on fun stuff.
Maybe, I'll hop on, and I'll be like, "Hey, I want to get my...I want to go a little further into my planning into the future of my Instagram posts or just.." you know, some of that fun stuff like that. But I do recommend having that day—or hey, if you're really busy, and it works for you to just do a half-day or a couple half days, whatever it is—just don't burn out because it's going to affect everything you do.
Zack David: Even before the pandemic, I thought it was all about “no pain, no gain”; “You’ve got to bleed it out.” “If you aren't tired, and you aren’t grinding, then you aren't doing it right.” But it's actually, kind of, the opposite. You need that self-care and reading. I'll even go back and play a little bit of video games, some of the childhood stuff, you know, which is probably expected from an audio-editing nerd.
Deb Zahn: Yeah, I would hope so.
Zack David: But you’ve got to love yourself. You’ve got to show up. Maybe it's family time, and that's ...ever since we started implementing the “Sunday, Fun-day”, Monday through Saturday, I'm getting way more done than I ever did seven days a week. I'm like, "And I get a free day. This is incredible."
Deb Zahn: Yeah, yeah. Like if you just implement it, then you have to figure it out rather than trying to figure out how to make it work, and then implement it. I did “Mom Time” on Wednesdays, and everything's fine because I figured it out after I did it.
Zack David: Yes, and you know what? If you're very driven, you may get a little bit of anxiety the first couple, like, "I should be working. What should I be doing?" You get a little itchy, not literally, hopefully.
Deb Zahn: ...depending where you're hiking.
Zack David: Yeah, exactly, but that's normal. Just learn how to go with that too, and it'll work out. It's definitely worth it.
Deb Zahn: Awesome. Well, Zack, I can't thank you enough for coming on. This has been fantastic. We'll have information in the show notes, so folks can find you. I'm going to put the word “dynamic” down there, so they don't spend all the time I did trying to figure stuff out. But thanks so much for coming on.
Zack David: Yeah, and absolutely. I just wanted to mention too, to the people listening, if you want to say thanks to Deb, and you want to get the word about this podcast out to others, don't forget to go onto your favorite listening device and leave a review too.
Deb Zahn: Thank you!
Zack David: It helps.
Deb Zahn: I did not tell him to say that.
Zack David: She didn't.
Deb Zahn: We didn't edit that in afterward. Zack, thank you.
Zack David: No, thank you so much for the opportunity. I had a lot of fun talking to you. I miss talking to people.
Deb Zahn: I know, right?
Zack David: I had a great time. Thank you, Deb.
Deb Zahn: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. I want to ask you to do, actually, three things. If you enjoyed this episode, or if you've enjoyed any of my other ones, hit subscribe. I’ve got a lot of other great guests that are coming up and a lot of other great content, and I don't want you to miss anything. But the other two things that I'm going to ask you to do is, one is, if you have any comments—so if you have any suggestions or any kind of feedback that will help make this podcast more helpful to more listeners—please include those.
And then the last thing is, again, if you’ve gotten something out of this, share it. Share it with somebody who's a consultant or thinking about being a consultant, and make sure that they also have access to all this great content and all the other great content that's going to be coming up.
As always, you can go and get more wonderful information and tools at craftofconsulting.com. Thanks so much. I will talk to you on the next episode. Bye-bye.