Ryan Foland speaks with Mary Drumond, a fellow podcaster who hosts the show The Voices of Customer Experience. In her podcast she interviews CX thought-leaders, executives, researchers, academia and Customer Experience front-liners. She is also editor-in-chief of the Voices of CX Blog.
Ryan and Mary talk about how speakers can use podcasting as another stage, helping to build your credibility as a speaker while acting as a showreel for both your speaking style and expertise.
Listen to this podcast to find out:
- How to get started creating your own podcast.
- Whether or not you should pay for platforms and tools right from the start
- Why it is essential to stay on top of marketing trends, even as they change rapidly.
- How to use podcasts to build your credibility and brand
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Mary Drumond: Hi this is Mary Drumond and I'm on Ryan's podcast talking about podcasting and why that's worth it for you as a speaker.
Ryan Foland: Ahoy everyone, I have to stop laughing because our guest today makes me laugh, not in a bad way, but in a funny way.
You can hear her in the background and that is because her voice is the host voice of the Voices of Customer Experience.
Her name is Mary Drumond, I had the pleasure of hanging out with her, having a few drinks with her, and was convinced that we needed to be on this podcast.
And today we're going to talk about speaking in the form of podcasting.
Mary, we hear you laughing so I'm not going to ask if you're there. How are you?
Mary Drumond: I'm great, thanks for having me, Ryan.
Ryan Foland: You know what, when you start off with a laugh, that's good, I've learned that if you can make people laugh you can get them to learn.
And so we're laughing and we're going to learn. So, I want to know more about you.
I want to do that by essentially pulling a single story, a standalone story from your past that really encapsulates who you are as a person.
Mary Drumond: Well the story that comes to mind is how I started out as an entrepreneur.
I grew up in Brazil actually so my Dad's American, my Mom's Brazilian, and I grew up in Brazil, and since I studied at American schools I had the gift of English as a native tongue, let's say.
As a gift in a country that doesn't speak English, because English is an international language. I was almost like born with a trade.
Naturally, when I was in high school and I wanted to make some money on the side I started teaching English lessons — English as a second language — and that eventually just morphed into my first business.
I was 21, and as arrogant as a 21-year-old could be, and I made more money than all of my friends doing their little hourly jobs. And I was starting a business.
And of course, I was really proud of it and I worked really hard at it. I did that for a while until I ran the company into the ground. I destroyed it.
The truth is that it was the most painful moment of my life because you go through a grieving process when you fail, fail spectacularly with your face on the floor, and it was something that I built from the ground up with blood, sweat and tears, and all that.
Confronting that failure in my life, and picking myself back up again and starting something new was ridiculously challenging. Trying to convince myself that that failure didn't define me as a person and that failure is part of it — that was an extremely pivotal moment for me.
Mary Drumond: I do Olympic lifting as a hobby.
I don't compete or anything I just do it to be strong and to show off.
I strongly believe, and this is one thing that I found working with people, is that the sport or hobby that people choose to practice really does define and speak a lot about their character.
I think that the reason I stuck to lifting and the reason I enjoy it so much is because the whole point and the whole purpose of lifting is to fail.
You fail over and over again and you keep trying. If you can lift it, it's because it's too light.
So you keep adding weight and you keep going up and up and up until you fail and then when you fail, you take a step back, you decrease the weight, you increase the reps or the repetitions and the amount that you do until it's easy to lift that weight.
And then you put more weight on. And then you succeed and then you keep pushing forward until you fail and fail again.
So that is something that I have adopted for my life, the idea that failure is a good thing, at least for me.
Ryan Foland: Dang, there was a certain point within that that I actually got goosebumps.
I recently read a blog article from you on LinkedIn that was about bad experiences, and how they're not always a problem for customers.
At the end of the day, there is something that makes you crazy about brand loyalty, being a fan of the brand that you want to be with whether or not you win or lose or are on hold for 45 minutes.
At the end of the day, is it worth it for you to be a fan of this company, and that's what your blog was.
Mary Drumond: That was amazing.
Ryan Foland: So let me take another stretch here, okay.
The stretch is that you are your own brand. You as a speaker, you as an entrepreneur, you as a failure. You are somebody that someone will either be a fan of, or not.
I want to transition into these skills that you have to teach people who are listening that traditionally might think speaking only happens from the stage, but we literally are speaking on the stage together here to a virtual audience.
So, how did you find yourself levitating to podcasting as a way for you to essentially be and build your own brand so that you can have people become a fan of you and your brand and your business and what you're doing?
Mary Drumond: Okay, well this is a great opportunity because it will allow me to talk a little bit about my insecurities and how I overcame them.
So when we started off this podcast, I did not want to host it, so I had an amazing content producer named Crystal Garrett and I was like,
"Crystal I don't want to do it. I don't want to expose myself in that way."
And she's like, "You know what, if you're not ready for it, I'll do it, that's fine. I'll take it, let's work on it together. I got you."
So she actually hosted the first season, so if you go all the way back to season one of Voices of Customer Experience, she hosts the first couple of episodes and then I join in, around, I think like, episode 4 or 5, and then gradually I take over.
But I didn't want to do it, I really didn't.
And then at some point, I felt like I really was the only person that could do this properly.
So, remember I told you I had a language school where I taught English as a second language all those years?
Ryan Foland: Yeah, because you were born with the trade.
Mary Drumond: I was born with the trade.
So what happens is my brother in law was my business partner at that language school. And one day I was sitting down having coffee with him and I said,
"Daniel, I feel so insecure about starting this podcast, I don't think I'm the right person for this."
And he's like, "Mary, what the h*ll are you talking about? Podcasting is basically teaching English, it's the same thing. All you have to do is get people to talk, and you're really good at that.
So just do that, just create dialogue. It doesn't matter where it takes you. What matters is whether or not you can engage with the person that you're talking to, and whether that's interesting for your listeners."
And he said, "I know for a fact, firsthand that it is."
Because when I was teaching English back then, I was everyone's favorite teacher because I could keep the conversation going. I was able to listen and ask the right questions. I think just by listening to what a person was saying and where that conversation was going, organically and naturally.
I think that's why I feel comfortable.
So what I am telling my guests is like, "Look, I want to know the overall topic that we're going to address just so you don't feel insecure, and I'm going to research the hell out of every single piece of content that you've ever produced and put on the web."
And that's what I do before speaking to guests. So I study everything about their lives so that I feel comfortable asking the right questions, and I'm not going to put them in a tough spot.
Because when I'm podcasting, I feel like the more comfortable my guests are the better because then it becomes interesting.
So what I try to do is this, the listeners almost feel like they're eavesdropping in on a natural conversation that's just occurring somewhere.
And that's what I try to do. That's the feeling I try to get off.
So when I'm speaking to my guests, I want them to talk about the subjects that they feel most comfortable about, that they don't have to plan for, that they don't have to script.
It will just flow and it will get them into that creative space.
It's almost like when you open up a tap and the water just starts pouring out, you don't have to think about it, you don't have to program it, you don't have to stop and ponder, you can just speak.
And that, for me at least as a listener, that's what's interesting. So I try to do the same thing.
Ryan Foland: I'm sure in the podcasting world you know a lot of other podcasters, right?
So do you find that there is a gap between—because I'm assuming you also know a lot of speakers because you're at these conferences and you're doing these workshops.
Do you see some characteristic traits of speakers who don't have podcasts, as opposed to speakers who do have podcasts?
Is there anything that you noticed that maybe the one hasn't taken the jump to the other, just inferring from who you know?
Mary Drumond: It's interesting. I do feel more comfortable podcasting with either fellow podcasters or speakers.
Of course, it's natural. It's people who aren’t intimidated by having a conversation, who are trained, almost to a certain extent, to speak.
And if they did have anxiety or some sort of nervousness about speaking, they probably got it out a while ago.
That is interesting because when I get executives on, they might not be such good professional speakers, but if you're able to find the point that they're passionate about, they'll make an amazing episode regardless.
But you need to find that area that they feel totally comfortable speaking about because that's when they get into their zone and forget about the other stuff that doesn't really matter.
And this is something that I use in my professional life, and I used it back when I was teaching.
It's the same thing with students. You have to make people feel comfortable. You have to give them some ground that's familiar.
If you put someone in a space it's got no safety zone or nothing that they feel comfortable and safe in, people tend to lock up.
But if you give them something that they're familiar with, you start off with a familiar concept, you can then build into something a little bit more complex, or into something a little bit more challenging.
Once again, like weightlifting, you start off with no weight on the bar and you have to start with no weight on the bar because you have to gradually build that up.
Ryan Foland: The bar is heavy, by the way, the bar is heavy. I'm just going to say it's like 45 pounds.
Mary Drumond: 45 pounds, yeah. But you have to start with no weight on there until you gradually warm into it.
So that's one thing that I do when I'm podcasting with nonpublic speakers, I give them a moment like we did at the beginning of this conversation to just warm up and get into the zone, and you get your nerves out, and you feel comfortable and you feel familiar.
I do think that my experience in talking to people and being engaging and getting on stage and speaking in front of others does give me a huge advantage when it comes to podcasting.
I'm able to identify when my guest is comfortable and when they're ready to start talking.
And I've got to be honest, there have been episodes that I've recorded maybe 65, 70 minutes and then cut it into a 30-minute episode because the first 30 minutes of the episode weren't good enough because a person was still warming up. I made the mistake of starting or pressing "record" before the guest was actually ready to start talking.
Ryan Foland: That's an interesting point.
Okay, so pop quiz, Miss Teacher, here's a true or false question: As a speaker who's trying to build a speaking business, having a podcast is a great idea. True or False?
Mary Drumond: True.
Ryan Foland: Okay, why?
Mary Drumond: Well, I think it's true as long as you have something that you're going to focus that podcast around. So yours is about speaking, mine is about customer experience.
There's an undercurrent that's a constant on my podcast, on yours, so even when I'm talking about marketing, even when I'm talking about data analytics or market research, I'm still somehow tying it back to the general concept.
So if you do have a message that you want to get across, then podcasting is a great idea. So find that focus before you decide to start podcasting.
Sometimes people do it the other way around and I think that that's where it's a mistake.
And you just get lost and there's no consistency because the truth is there are so many podcasts out there, what makes people want to listen to your podcast?
If there is always a certain concept that you're going to get across that's of interest to them? In our case, we do business podcasts, so it's about professional growth, it's about improving as a person and getting ahead in your career.
So when I'm talking about marketing, I may be identifying directly with the marketers that listen to me.
But what am I giving to my faithful listeners who are customer experience practitioners?
There has to be something in it for them as well or else I'll lose them.
Ryan Foland: Right. So not podcasting for the sake of podcasting, but podcasting within a certain focus based on most likely the topic that you are speaking on.
Like Shep Hyken, a great example, he's an amazing speaker. He calls for great rates and he has a lot of demand, and he also has a podcast.
I'm curious why more speakers don't have podcasts to build their business? Why do you think that's the case?
Mary Drumond: Well either they don't know about it or they're just not there yet.
I mean, Shep is a great example. Shep has been around since 1984 I believe, I think the last time I talked to him it was 1984 because it's the year I was born and I'm like, "Wow".
It's amazing because he manages to keep up with the times, he's there with every single trend. He's just there, he doesn't get stuck into some old way of doing things.
Ryan Foland: He moved on from the cassette tape is what you're saying?
Mary Drumond: Yes he did.
And so he's constantly progressing, and he's staying in tune with the market and the direction in which the market is going, and that's where he is.
So I think that maybe what it is with a lot of speakers is that they're still caught up in the old way of doing things.
I don't charge for my speaking opportunities, so this is something that I can't really relate to, Ryan. I do believe that you do this because you're a speaker for a living, but I feel like it's a very competitive market as well.
There are a lot of speakers out there, so what makes you special, what gives you that edge?
The good thing about podcasting is that it actually gives you numbers.
So if you're trying to promote yourself, if you're trying to brand yourself, if you need to prove to an organization that you're going to be good, let's say acquisition in this case, because they are paying you for that speaking opportunity.
Ryan Foland: Yeah, you're getting acquired for that amount of time, yeah.
Mary Drumond: Right, so having a podcast, giving them something, "Okay, you want a sneak preview of what I do?
This is what I do. These are the guest that I've spoken to. This is my reach. This is how many listens I have. This is how many downloads I have."
And it gives people an opportunity to listen to how you perform. That's what I think at least.
Ryan Foland: So if you haven't noticed, we actually transitioned 2 and a half minutes ago into the third part of our show, which is the business of speaking, and specifically, how speakers can leverage a podcast to help either market themselves, gain more recognition, more credibility, and you are feeding right into my secret plan of a smooth transition here.
Mary Drumond: That's beautiful, it's because I'm a podcaster myself.
Ryan Foland: Yes, so from a podcaster standpoint, if you are not charging for your speaking fees, totally awesome, how are you using the podcast to monetize your business?
Because speakers realized that they still have to speak for free and people like John Bates will even donate a certain amount of speeches per year just to be philanthropic, which I think is awesome, and I try to do that too.
But for a speaker listening, they're like, "I've always wanted to do a podcast, and maybe now I'm thinking about it, but I'm just not really sure. How do we monetize it?"
Everybody always asks that, like, "How do we monetize it?"
And for me, I don't monetize this show. I have a sponsor so it's a 0 out of pocket.There is a cost that is paid for, but I use this as a relationship-building tool to build relationships.
I've met some of my best speaker friends by just interviewing them first.
So personally, I look at how I monetize my podcast as a way of expanding my network and gaining this credibility.
But for you what are some of the reasons why people should have a podcast as a speaker and how are there ways to monetize?
Mary Drumond: Well in my case, very specifically, I use my podcast as content.
So not only meeting amazing people and networking, like you said, but there's something else.
I work at a startup and when you have a startup, nobody really knows about you.
Ryan Foland: I love how you said that, by the way, real quick, I love that pause, like I just want to replay that clip, it was like, "I work at a— startup."
Mary Drumond: I don't have a budget. There is not like money pouring through the ceiling.
When we started, I swear to god that the first episode was recorded on a pair of AirPods for real.
That was the first episode we recorded. It was, pardon my profanity, it was the s*ittiest recording of all time.
We started off with nothing, but we started because we had this idea that if we attached our name to people who already had a reputation or already had a following, through association we'd become reputable as well. And it worked.
Going back to Crystal Garrett, my content producer from season 1, when I told her I wanted to do a podcast she's like, "Sure, let's do it, I'm down."
She was a real warrior because she went out there and she said, "If we're going to do this right, then we're going to get the best speaker we could possibly think of. So, who's the very best speaker?"
And I said, "Joe Pine." Joe Pine wrote The Experience Economy 20 years ago and it's what started the customer experience revolution in the market.
So if anyone could give this podcast the boost that it needed to get off its feet, it was Joe Pine.
"But let's start slowly because we're not ready for Joe Pine yet, so let's start off with some no-name so that we have that learning curve and we can gradually improve, and then by the time we get to a big speaker we already have this down, we'll know our way through and we'll know how to edit and how to distribute this content properly."
That's not how it worked out, Joe Pine was our very first guest.
Ryan Foland: With the sh*ttiest audio ever.
Mary Drumond: With the sh*ttiest audio, and it was so bad because the internet connection kept breaking up and we spent 10 days editing that podcast episode in post-production because it was so bad that you couldn't even hear it, like that's how bad it was.
So we had a crash course in podcasting because our very first guest was maybe the biggest name in customer experience and it really did blow up in our faces in the most positive way possible.
Mary Drumond: What happened is that we didn't have any other choice other than to make it great.
So I mean, we went as far as we could, we did the very best job possible with the resources that were available to us, because we didn't have a choice. We had an opportunity.
Ryan Foland: Which is better than nothing at all. It's better than no bar, right, it's a bar versus no bar.
Mary Drumond: Right, so the bar started off ridiculously high, but the truth is that once I got Joe Pine, everybody else just rolled in organically.
Because another thing that lots of people don't talk about is how do you get people to come on your show?
How do you convince them to give you their time, which is really valuable?
In a lot of cases, speakers are charging for their time, and if you're a startup like me, you don't have money to pay people speaking fees.
So what do you give in exchange, like where is the mutual benefit? That's one thing that's really important.
So by starting off with Joe Pine we were are able to leverage that to get everybody else in, and then it just became natural.
Nowadays I have people approaching me asking to be on the podcast, whereas before I was like begging people to come on the show.
Ryan Foland: That's a great story. I love how we came back to the Olympic weightlifting with the bar being high, you couldn't script this stuff.
So here's an unscripted sort of, let's do a blast of some of the technology and things that are happening right now.
So we're using Zencastr, we both used Ringer and Zoom, but from a podcasting standpoint, I've had experience with Libsyn with Blueberry with a customized one.
If you had to step people through the basics with what they think is this high bar with no weights, what is the easiest way to start, with the caveat that in a couple of months this might all change?
Mary Drumond: I think that if you're looking to start off and you still don't know if this is the right thing for you, but you want to get started, don't wait until you get a Yeti mic.
Don't wait until you can afford to pay for Zencastr every month. Don't wait until you have an amazing computer.
So when we first started out, other than that first episode that was a clusterf*ck, if there is anyone, we decided to use Zoom.
I know Zoom is a platform that's normally used for meetings, but there's a record feature in it and it does give you a pretty decent audio track.
So we started off using Zoom, and I know a lot of podcasters who still use Zoom today, and truth be told, Zoom is always my back-up when all else fails.
Sometimes I have technical issues. Sometimes a person on the line cannot connect to Zencastr.
I once interviewed a top executive at a big bank and their firewall didn't allow anything through.
And it was like I only had those 45 minutes and this person was really difficult to get hold of, and I couldn't miss out on that opportunity. Zoom, and he called in from his phone from like the hallway of the building, and that's how we did the podcast.
And I had Diane Magers on my podcast this season and she recorded the podcast in an Uber going to the airport. In the background you can hear like the Uber driver opening the trunk, picking up her luggage.
And so when it comes down to it, even though I have the Yeti and I have the mini studio and I have everything, sometimes I just go back to Zoom because it's reliable and it's super-duper consistent.
Ryan Foland: When in doubt Zoom it out.
Mary Drumond: Oh my god, I'm going to use that from now on. Yes.
Ryan Foland: Do it.
Mary Drumond: I mean, the amount of things that we can do nowadays that wouldn't have been possible just a couple of years ago.
I was thinking that in 2011 or even more recently, we didn't even have Snapchat or Instagram stories, we didn't see life that way.
It changes so quickly, and the truth is that the tools that we'll have in the future are definitely not the tools that we're using now, but each new step provides us with so much more opportunity to make the world smaller, and if we don't take advantage of these things, we're missing out.
And when it comes to podcasting, I do believe that there's a lot of truth to that. Like we use SoundCloud to host our podcast.
There is a paid version but there's also a free version, so all of the platforms that we use nowadays in a pro model, all have freemium versions people can use to start off.
So I think that if you don't feel, you don't know for certain if podcasting is the right thing for you, or you can't allocate that budget or you don't have a budget, you're working on zero budget, or even if you don't speak professionally and it's a side hustle, getting it started, you don't know what sort of proportion it is going to take.
Who knows, you might get a Joe Pine on your episode one. We definitely weren't expecting that when we got started, and we're heading into our season 4.
So just getting started, making use of the digital tools that we have nowadays even free of cost. Okay, you might have to watch an ad every once in a while, but still, ultimately, there's no money out of pocket.
And ultimately what you reap, the potential of what you may be able to reap, the listeners that you'll reach, the reputation that you'll create, if it does go right, I think it's worth it. Look at it like that.
Ryan Foland: And I would echo that. And you know what, we're perfect on timing, we're right on the spot.
I have 2 things I want to say. One, when you're just saying that last, I want a new phrase out there which is "When in doubt Shep it out."
When in doubt Shep it out because he is the iconic figure of someone who's been around from the eighty's following all these trends. So that's number one.
Number two is that you cannot control your surroundings, like there is some Olympic weed-whacking that's going on outside my house because my gardeners are here, so I mean this is perfect, it is perfectly perfect, so don't stress about it. If you are a speaker, listen to this podcast again and see if it convinces you to launch a podcast.
And again the bar is going to be high but you can be an Olympic podcasting wrestler who also lifts weights if you just start.
Mary Drumond: If you Shep it out.
Ryan Foland: Mary, this has been a ton of fun and it's obvious that you have failed enough and dropped enough weights to really not only be entertaining but actually be passionate about this.
And the one thing that I take from this is that you said the executives who are passionate about their topic, that's when it's the best.
I pretty much feel like you are passionate about all the stuff you're talking about, and that's what made it exciting to hear and to listen, and to pry, and to poke, and to talk Olympic style.
Mary Drumond: Awesome.
Well, we'll continue this conversation because I'm going to have you on my podcast, and then we can just go back to this dynamic. It'll be great.
Ryan Foland: Sweet, sweet. So if people are going to find out more about Worthix or your worth it index or you, where do we want to point them to go find you?
Mary Drumond: They can go to the Worthix blog, it's easy blog.worthix.com but I'm also all over social media and I tend to publish a lot on LinkedIn, so that's a great place to find me as well.
I'm super open, I connect with everyone. I try to use every single opportunity that life is giving me to connect with people and learn more.
So if you do want to connect with me, please do. That will make me super happy.
Ryan Foland: Awesome. If you need any weightlifting advice, I am sure they can hitch up there too.
Mary Drumond: Just watch my Instagram stories, they are amazing.
Ryan Foland: Awesome.
Well hey, so much fun now.
If you are listening and you had as much fun as we did because you were eavesdropping on this natural conversation, share this episode, like this episode, leave a review, and subscribe.
And go listen to the past episodes, listen to future episodes, all that stuff that's my shameless plug for the World of Speakers.
Today it was exciting to talk about speaking through the microphone because it's exactly what we are doing.
I think it's a huge opportunity to jump on that train.
So Mary, thanks again for everything and we will talk to you soon.
Mary Drumond: Love it. Thanks, Ryan.
A bit about World of Speakers
World of Speakers is a bi-monthly podcast that helps people find their own voice, and teaches them how to use their voice to develop a speaking business.
We cover topics like: what works versus what doesn't, ideas on how to give memorable presentations, speaking tips, and ideas on how to build a speaking business.
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