As podcasters, we usually have a lot of things to say. That’s why we started recording podcasts in the first place. We have an opinion, a message, or a thought about a certain topic, product, or service that we want to get into the world. And most podcasters don’t just come up with a single idea for podcasts: they come up with tons. Having multiple podcasts is a great way to showcase all these ideas without having to compromise one.
Running multiple podcasts is no walk in the park, it takes time, hard work, and a lot of planning. But it can also be fun, rewarding, and satisfying knowing that you are able to get your message across to your audience.
Our Guest For Today Is Rachel Brenke, Host Of Real Biz Talk And Coffee And Contracts Podcast
Rachel is an entrepreneur, business strategist, and intellectual property attorney. She is the host and creator of Real Biz Talk, a seasonal podcast that gives tips and strategies needed in creating, growing, and running multi-million dollar businesses.
She also hosts Coffee and Contracts, a niche-specific podcast for photographers and its legal base. For coffee and contracts, she had been doing live recordings with an audience, where she answers all their questions live.
In this episode, we talk about:
- Recording with a live audience.
- Repurposing Content.
- Finding the right format.
- Juggling multiple podcasts and daily life.
The Real Biz Talk Podcast
Anne: Rachel, welcome to the show. I already mentioned that you have several businesses and several podcasts. So, with the several podcasts, which one was the first and how did you start that one?
Rachel: So Real Biz Talk Podcast actually started as Business Bites Podcast. It was a couple of years ago and it was just 12 minutes initially, like quick bites of content for busy entrepreneurs. And then, as it grew, listeners were like; we would love to hear you talk on this topic and that topic. And I’m really good with business, but I also know that I don’t know all the things. So that’s when I pivoted over to Real Biz Talk. We get real business, and real honest with the individuals that come on the podcast so they can talk in their zone of genius and share their expertise.
Starting The Coffee And Contracts Podcast
Anne: I see, and when did you start your next podcast? And how long into your podcast journey was that?
Rachel: So what’s interesting with the Coffee and Contracts podcast is; the brand that it’s under has actually been around for 12 years. I’ve been playing with different kinds of methods of how to deliver content and connect with your audience. I had done lives on Facebook, we tried Instagram and YouTube and it wasn’t getting a lot of listenership necessarily, it was more of a reactive “let’s wait to hear it”.
So we pivoted to this live format. We’re doing it on zoom, limited to 100 seats, and it allows for the audience to ask questions after the fact. So it rewards them for showing up live. The Q&A is only live, and it doesn’t go on the podcast. It’s allowing me to connect with the audience live, get to know them, and hear back from them, but it also allows for me to teach at the same time and get multiple things for content. We use it as a big episode and then we chop it into smaller pieces for social media as well.
Recording With A Live Audience
Anne: I have so many questions, but first of all, how is it to record with an audience? I can imagine that maybe there are different challenges when recording live with an audience than if it’s prerecorded. People may now also want to give live recordings a go, do you have any tips, advice, or learnings that you had over the past episodes you recorded?
Rachel: Yeah, you know what’s interesting…I go in with an outline. I know the topic I’m going to talk about and I try to teach much like how we’re doing this. When I’m in the teaching portion, I’m trying to do it as though I’m in my room by myself with the camera. The questions that pop up during those times aren’t heard because we try to reward the audience with the Q&A. So the first 20 to 40 minutes is me teaching, I’ll check the questions on the screen and try to put that into my teaching. After that, I’ll go back to the very specific questions, and do any follow-ups, but we cut whatever is publicly published and not have that Q&A portion.
So, I share all that to say, I would first determine what kind of direction you want to go. How polished are you wanting to be? I know going into that podcast at the first 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the topic of what I’m teaching, that it’s going to be repurposed for social media. I’m looking at it from more of a teaching and professorship standpoint since I’m teaching legal stuff and it makes it a lot easier to be able to slice and dice because we have 60 seconds over on Instagram, and all the different platforms have different length of videos, and you’re also wanting to try to find the sweet spot with your audience.
So that’s the big picture when looking at determining the format that you want to do it. I mentioned Coffee And Contracts is relatively new, but the audience and I had been around for 12 years. It just wasn’t called coffee and contracts. We tried other ways and we’re finding right now that this works really well. So start with what your strengths and weaknesses are and what works best for you, what your audience is going to be into.
Knowing When To Change Your Strategy
Rachel: We’ll do a good three to four months of committing to that very specific process. Then we’ll look at the analytics, we’ll see what we need to change, and then we’ll make the changes. If you’re constantly making big changes from one episode to the other, you don’t really have any touchpoints on what’s changing. Variables could be the time of year, your audience could listen more in one season than another and they had nothing to do with your platform or what you’re teaching.
With Real Biz Talk, we very specifically choose the seasons that we are live, and we record and push out, because it’s for busy entrepreneurs and we know what seasons they’re busier in. So we try to push out episodes when they’re not so busy so that when we’re looking at what are key performance indicators and running a 3 – 4 month content runway, all these decisions that we just decided on how to produce the podcast.
We get a feel for it if the audience is enjoying it because there’s no sense in just making the decision of doing it this way or that way and then never really keying in if audiences are into it or not.
Anne: Yeah, exactly. Experiment, but also make a plan for the experimental phase so that you don’t switch up everything every time and you can really see what the data does. I think that is a great tip to really set a timeline. This is what we’re going to do for this time, and then we’ll go back, look at the data and see what we can change again.
Content Repurposing And Handling Multiple Podcasts
Anne: I also want to go a little bit more into content repurposing. I love content repurposing. I think it’s so, so important to do that so that we don’t make ourselves busier than we actually should be. I know that you are all about not hustling too hard, you have so many businesses and kids, and podcasts and everything, but you’re also not into the whole hustle culture. Can you tell me more about your message about this and how you do this?
Rachel: Yeah, it’s true. I have five kids, like it’s a lot some days. And I love it, I enjoy it. And it’s kind of nice, with having multiple businesses and multiple kids and so much going on, it forces me to be more strategic when I sit down to work. So every day has very specific tasks of what I’m supposed to do that day, and it’s very structured. I’m not so inflexible, but it’s very structured. How do I decide what I’m going to do? I need to make sure that I’ve analyzed all the things without paralyzing myself, but also ensure that I’m not just throwing spaghetti noodles at a wall and see what will stick.
Once I commit to those three to four months of a specific strategy, we have to make sure that we have a good structure for exactly what you just said, content repurposing. So I made the decision with Coffee And Contracts that for the first segment when I’m teaching, I know very specifically how I’m going to utilize those clips later, based on my outline. I know that I’m going to get at least three to four different topics, which can be even carved down into three to four posts themselves because of length. And so I’m already looking right there, that’s at least 12 to 16 different posts.
For me, when I’m sitting down to create the content and I’m going to repurpose it, I want to know the minimum way that I can utilize it. Anything after that is just an added benefit. The same goes with the video podcasts, making sure that I’ve got the lighting and the structure right like it’s going to be able to adapt to different platforms.
Content is king, right? You don’t have to have the most professional-grade expensive audio, you don’t have to have the best lighting or whatever it is. So content is king, but we still want to think about these other things, especially if you consider that when we put content out there as a podcast, it’s living out there. It may have a short life span, maybe on reels or Instagram stories, but if you’re really distributing the content it properly, it’s going to be living on your website, that’s linked into your podcast. And so, I think the biggest mistake I made, in the beginning, was really focusing just on content and not thinking of the bigger and longer picture.
Imperfect Action Is Better Than Perfect Procrastination
Rachel: I still think imperfect action is better than perfect procrastination. So don’t get yourself all tripped up. Cause we’re wanting to work more purposely here rather than this hustle, hustle, hustle, constantly put out content and make it perfect.
It can be imperfect, don’t get wrapped around being perfect, but also think long-term. How’s it going to serve you? Because I look at stuff from five years ago, and I’m like, “Oh, that was really good. I said that, how can I reuse this? Well, the video is awful, so I can rip the audio at least.” But if I had thought about it five years ago and it had decent video, I’d be able to just reuse the video without having to necessarily re-record. Or you know, create slides now to overlay the audio. And that’s just kind of how I go into each of these. How can we make sure that this has long-term, longevity and use not just now content repurposing?
I feel like the conversation is often just ‘how can I immediately use it?’, but we need to think long term about how we can utilize it. Especially if you’re talking about the main pillars of your business. One of mine is ‘legal’ obviously, and so anytime that I bring in legal information to the forefront, I want it to be timeless. I want to be able to pull up a video from five years ago and not cringe over the quality.
Anne: Yes, I love that. Really, the long-term vision for your content, that podcast is always there, it lives out there. Also, Real Biz Talk is not releasing new content right now, right? You’re in-between seasons, but people can still listen to the older episodes on the website and they’re very easy to find.
Don’t Be Afraid To Change What You’re Doing
Anne: Are there any other learnings that you had over the past I think more than 300 or maybe even more episodes that you created over your podcasts.
Rachel: I think don’t be afraid to change what you’re doing. You know, I was like, “12-minute episodes for the busy entrepreneur. Get in, get out, give a lot of information.” But because I stopped and listened to my audience when they were like, “Hey, can you talk about the psychology of X?” Well, I’m not a psychologist, you know? Or other topics that I couldn’t really give a fair shape to. And if I hadn’t pivoted over to bringing on guests, I feel like I probably would’ve lost some listenership and it’s not for anything that I necessarily was doing. It was what I was not doing. I wasn’t pivoting and changing and growing with what the audience was interested in.
Now, the other side of that is, that just because the listener says, “I would like to see this.”, doesn’t mean you have to do this. You know, it’s a balance of how it fits into your plan. But I know that for me in the beginning, I was like, “I’m going to do this. I’m only going to do it this way.” So that’s why I really try to commit only to that 3-4 month type of content runway and then do reevaluation. We try to survey our listenership cause we have a Facebook group that goes with it as well for both the podcast.
I still use the real BizTalk episodes. We share them in the groups all the time, and we reassure them. They’re timeless content, there’s not a lot of time-sensitive information in there which may be different if you’re like a news podcast or about celebrities or something that I might have a shorter shelf life. A lot of what I’m sharing can be utilized again and again. And so even now, we still go back to those old episodes and say, “how can we still seamlessly use them?” And we use them to answer questions in that community without me or my team having to recreate something.
Anne: Exactly. That sounds really cool. The Coffee And Contracts podcast has been around for a few years now, but the brand has already been there for 12 years. What changes did you see in your business since launching the podcast, or since doing that consistently?
Rachel: I was just talking about this with the team this morning, actually. It’s almost intangible, right? Your podcast is very difficult, and unless you’re delivering it only on your website with a direct link to buy a product or do an action, it’s really hard to track it.
So for me, we sit here and segment on the back end. We know who the registrants are, we look for purchasers, and we look at the numbers. We had determined that our goal isn’t so much a monetary return it’s for brand awareness. So while we may not immediately make a sale now or in the next seven days, it doesn’t mean in six months when that person has a problem and they already have the brand awareness, they understand how I teach, they’re confident in the products, then they’ll buy into it.
And I know that my subject matter of legal’s a little different, a lot of my listenership is more reactive. And so we actually find that most people are waiting till they have the pain to seek out the solution. So they’re not necessarily listening to my podcast when I deliver it in January. We’ll look at the listenership going up later on. Like further out than when I just published it, whereas I think other podcasts may find it differently. So, I think we just determined that brand awareness is what’s most important. And we did find it to be a supporting actor in the revenue generation, but it’s not our sole revenue generation activity.
Anne: Yeah. So I expected when I started this podcast that this was going to be where I would find new clients but that didn’t happen. Like, you said, not directly, but I also noticed that the new clients didn’t listen to the podcast. So they found our website, Instagram, or something, then listened to the podcast. And that is basically what nurtures people into then booking a discovery call and becoming an actual client. So it’s more like an in-between phase, and I think that’s also good to know for other podcasters. When you don’t make direct sales from the podcast, that’s okay, you’re not doing it wrong.
Rachel: And that’s discouraging. It can be very discouraging. You just don’t know the seeds that you’re laying out there. What you just said about nurturing just resonated with me so well, because I think it kind of gives me permission to step back and go, “You’ve planted the seeds. It’s out there. It’s nurturing, It’ll come around.” And even if it doesn’t, just think about the number of people that you’re reaching with your podcast. You don’t need all of them to be your clients or your customers, you only need a segment. And so, if you’re a newer podcast and you’re feeling discouraged, I’ve been doing this for how many years, and I still don’t see a one-to-one equivalent.
Now, I see enough value though. Like you just said, I hear from clients, “Oh, I heard you on a podcast,” or “I found you from here.” I see enough value that I still do these interviews and I still have my own podcast. I just don’t go into every week going, “Okay. I’m recording this podcast at 1:00 PM Eastern and I expect to see the landslide of money.” It’s not going to happen.
Anne: Yeah, exactly.
On How They Look At Analytics And Figure Out What Works And What Doesn’t
Anne: What are some of the analytics that you look at? I know podcasters in general, complain a little bit that there is not much info out there. Like, I don’t know how we’re doing because the data is quite limited in what you get on most hosting platforms. So, what do you look at specifically when you’re making decisions on what to change and why to change that?
Rachel: So I know for us, we’re a little different. Like I look at the normal analytics that we have. We track like listens, downloads, all that sort of stuff. Apple is so super limited on what it gives us there, but for us, we utilize the podcast more to nurture our existing listenership. And so it’s our email lists that we’re feeding it to because it’s my core content that I’m putting out. I might do some social media posts with static images, but this is really the only content that I’m putting out in front of my audience.
And so, what we track is we email to our list, we’re letting them know that Coffee And Contracts live recording is coming up. And then we track obviously opens, clicks and subscriptions cause they have to RSVP cause we only have a hundred seats. Then we look at how many actually show up for the live, then we send out the replay.
We check all the same analytics because we’re also trying to see a correlation between the time that we email out emails, the subject lines, and what the actual topics are because everything else is consistent. They know it’s going to be every other week, they know exactly what the format is going to be, so all those variables are taken off the table.
For the most part, we’re really only tracking sign-ups, attendance, and then getting onto the normal list. If they’re new RSVPs, we’ll email them and ask them if they went on and got the email list, we don’t just blast them on there. So we’re kind of looking at new people and existing people, and then all the analytics I just mentioned for both. We see that we really have more existing audience members that come and that’s okay. Because again, the goal is, brand awareness and resource content for them.
Anne: I love it. Thank you so much for sharing all this, Rachel. I think it was really good to hear how you approach this whole podcasting thing and how you make the decisions. I learned a lot from you.
Connect With Rachel
Anne: What is the best way for people to find out more about what you do, and where can people find you best?
Rachel: So you guys can find me @rachelbrenke.com. We actually have a podcast or specific page where you can find legal documents to use with your guests and stuff like that. As well as my podcast, the Real BizTalk is linked at the top and we’re going to be opening up the next season in June because we’re then leading also into our next enrollment for our community.
So if you guys have any questions at all, you can find me on @rachelbrenke.com or social media, just reach out. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them or else find a resource to help you guys out.
Anne: Awesome. Thank you so much, Rachel. This was awesome. Rachel: Awesome. Thanks for having me.