May 4, 2021
Learn the best practices when starting a company podcast with our guest Kate Warnock of Forcura.
Our episode guest is Kate Warnock, Director of Communications and Brand Strategy at Forcura. She manages all communications and brand efforts for Forcura, a leading SaaS technology company in the post-acute health industry
Five things you’ll learn from this episode:
- The benefits of having a company podcast
- The challenges of starting a podcast
- How to promote your podcast
- If a video or audio-only podcast will work better for you
- The most important element for a successful podcast or video series
Also available on
- “Depending on the industry you’re in, you need a secure infrastructure to sustain your podcast inventory.” — @mkatewarnock
- “There’s nothing more personal and humanizing than the human voice.” — @mkatewarnock
- “If you interview guests on your podcast, you can drive brand awareness and business for your company.” — @mkatewarnock
- “The platforms today are so user-friendly, it really doesn’t take anybody with any sophisticated knowledge to produce a podcast.” — @mkatewarnock
- “Make your podcast something you can be proud of and that can stand the test of time.” — @mkatewarnock
If you enjoyed this episode, would you please share it with others and leave us a review?
About Kate Warnock:
Kate is a health industry nerd having spent her entire career in this sector, first with a large health insurance company, and now in a healthcare technology firm. She is currently the director of communications and brand strategy at Forcura.
Guest’s contact info and resources:
On Top of PR is sponsored by ReviewMaxer, the platform for monitoring, improving, and promoting online customer reviews.
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About your host Jason Mudd
On Top of PR host, Jason Mudd, is a trusted adviser and dynamic strategist for some of America’s most admired brands and fastest-growing companies. Since 1994, he’s worked with American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Southern Comfort, and Verizon. He founded Axia Public Relations in July 2002. Forbes named Axia as one of America’s Best PR Agencies for 2021.
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- Hello, and welcome to "On Top of PR". I'm your host, Jason Mudd. You've tuned into a great episode today with Kate Warnock with Forcura. And she is talking about how to use podcasts and videos to break through the clutter in public relations. We're gonna walk you through her experience, and a little bit of mine, with doing podcasts and videos. And we think this will be a very helpful episode for you if you're planning on launching a podcast at your organization. You'll be glad you tuned in. Here we go.
- [Announcer] Welcome to "On Top of PR" with Jason Mudd. Presented by ReviewMaxer.
- Hello and welcome to "On Top of PR". I'm your host Jason Mudd. I'm joined today with Kate Warnock. She is a self-proclaimed health industry nerd. Having spent her early career, or entire career, in the sector. First with a large health insurance company. And now with a healthcare technology firm. She's currently the director of communication and brand strategy at Forcura. a leading SaaS technology company in the post acute health industry. Kate, welcome to the show. I'm glad you're here.
- Jason, thank you so much. That's that's a mouthful, right? But yeah, I mean.-
- I got through it.
- You did, you did great. If you remember one thing, you know, your audience from this, you know, it's health industry nerd. It's on my social media, my Twitter handle. I mean, I embrace it, I live it. It's true, so we're good.
- That's awesome, that's awesome. Well, you know, I nerd out on technology and healthcare. Earlier we talked about, I was recently talking to somebody from Google that heads up their data, and I just loved how their focus wasn't about Google, it was about healthcare and payments. And how do we make those easier and more accessible in the digital age? And I think that's absolutely so important. And I'm glad that, you know, organizations like yours and Google are very focused on accessibility and improving technology to ultimately improve the health care environment and the health care access that we have in our country.
- Yeah. Jason, I completely agree. You know, and good for you. Again, I'm sure that was a really cool conversation with the folks over at Google, but if anything this industry is broken in so many ways. And it's great to see that the focus really is on how do we increase access? How do we make it more patient centered? How do we make sure that the outcomes are highest quality? So, yeah, it's definitely the only place I would ever want to work.
- Awesome, well, I admire what you're doing there and thrilled to be a small part of it here through this conversation today. So, and speaking of today, we're talking about breakthrough the PR clutter with podcast and video, an area you've got significant experience with. And we want to share some of those smarts with our audience today. So Kate you've now launched three separate corporate podcasts in your career. And unlike me, you still have hair to show for it. So good for you. What got you into the podcast medium?
- Yeah, so Jason, you know, yeah, still have hair. That's a good thing. Hopefully that doesn't change. So I really started kind of honing in on the opportunities with podcasting in particular right around 2012, 2013. At the time, my previous employer, I was a social media manager. And I was really, really keeping tabs on all of the industry trends as far as how are people getting their message out, right? So, you know, how can we really leverage social media to create relationships? And all of a sudden podcasting really started to start its movement. You know, we've seen it where it comes, you know where it's come to now. It's, you know, gosh, I mean, so popular and so available. But again, back in 2012, 2013, it was a very green field space. And so, you know, I kind of taught myself using a YouTube series, you know, how you podcast. And it took some time, Jason, to really get started because depending on the industry that you're in and we can get into this a little bit more, you really do need to have an infrastructure that is secure. Because the conversations that you're gonna have. I mean, again, you can appreciate, you know you want to make sure that your infrastructure is designed in a way to really sustain your podcast inventory and all of this stuff. So again, that long ago it actually had to go through, you know, again, working for a very large payer. It took, you know, the procurement team to get involved. IT got involved, but by God, we got the tracks laid. And, and so we did, we launched the first podcast. And a lot of that, Jason, at the time was really kind of talking to internal executives but expressly for an external audience. So, you know, we can go into that a little bit more if you're interested.
- [Jason] Sure.
- Or tell me where you want to go from here.
- Yeah, sure. Yeah, you know, for whatever reason, speaking of being like a technology nerd, I'm always attracted to and an early adopter of technology. And we started podcast, Axia started podcasting, I think it was it was definitely '07, maybe even '06. So we were in very early. When people were kind of like, "What's a podcast?" And we saw the opportunity. and some of those episodes are still available online. And so, you know, occasionally I might go back and listen to them and see, you know, how far we've come. But to be honest, I can't make too much fun of the product we produced-
- That's awesome.
- Because at the time, it was very good, you know? And so it was just recently we actually shifted up gears to do more of a guest format like this. So, yeah, and that's the thing about podcasting, right? I mean, you can start over, you can refresh, just like you can refresh your brand. So we asked you kind of what got you into the medium. Tell me why are you so passionate about it?
- Yeah, well, if nothing less than, you know, there's nothing more personal and humanizing than the human voice, you know. So for your audience that's possibly considering starting a podcast or starting a video series, there are so many benefits and advantages to having a podcast. You know, again, you are personalizing your brand. You are putting a voice to your company. You're creating that experience and really starting a relationship. You know, if you do it well, hopefully you have people come back over time. And they begin to anticipate your episodes. And then they're referring you out. Is that not the PR dream, right? Is to, again, you know, broaden your audience.
- Third-party endorsements
- Right, third-party endorsements, and really, you know differentiate your brand in such a unique way. You know, your content is available on demand. You know, it's not a one and done press release that someone may or may not see. Or you of course have it on your newsroom, but you know this is something that is available. Again, certainly you would syndicate to all of the podcast channels that everyone's familiar with. You know, your content is now where your audience is in a very organic way. So that's another benefit. And another thing that I think, you know, Jason, you've probably experienced this, too. As you start to interview guests. You know, if that's the format that you want your podcast to go, you can actually not just drive your brand awareness. You can actually drive business for your company. So, you know possibly speaking to people that you otherwise may not normally get to talk to, you know, from a marketing perspective or that sort of thing. But if you knock on their door and say we'd love to interview you or your executive for a podcast, chances are you're gonna have that person come back and say, "I'm interested." So, you know, it's just, you know, in a really neat package. It humanizes your brand, helps you control your message, puts you where your audience already is and can drive business.
- Yeah, and even if they don't say yes, they're at least flattered that you asked.
- For sure.
- And your clout goes up just a little bit. Your coolness factor in their mind, you know, increases some. So, you know, I appreciate that. I can see you're passionate about this topic. I appreciate you sharing some of those top benefits, but let's be real. And let's talk about what are some of the challenges of podcasting?
- Yeah, for sure. So, you know, first of all, if you're going to podcast, you want to do it right. You know, you want it to be polished. You want it to be well executed. You want to put your best possible product in market. And so that does not happen easily or without a lot of time. So, you know, the number one challenge to me is, this is under my aegis here at Forcura. Give me 10 seconds to just backtrack a little. The podcast we produce at Forcura actually has nothing to do with Forcura, which might seem a little odd. What we do, it's called "Innovate Jax". And I launched this podcast within two months of me joining the company. We started a podcast. And the reason why was, you know, our founder and CEO Craig Mandeville is extraordinarily passionate about our hometown. Our hometown is Jacksonville, Florida. And he was a transplant himself. Moved here from Austin, you know, about gosh, 20 years ago. And really feels like Jacksonville is underrepresented as far as an innovation hub. And he really kind of wanted to kind of help set the tone you know, put Jacksonville more on the map. But we didn't necessarily want to do you know, events or, you know, something that was possibly more costly. And I said, "Well, you know, if we've got all of these "great innovators here in the city, let's interview them. "Let's put them in a, you know, put it together as a podcast "and really elevate our city by elevating the people "who are doing these really fantastic things." So Eureka, that's how we started our podcast. The kind of tangential benefit to Forcura, Jason, again, we're not selling our company or our services at all through that. But we are trying to attract and retain the best possible talent for the city. So that's obviously a roll over benefit. And then of course it is also kind of cool. People are like, "What's Forcura?" And they click through and discover us that way. So back to the challenges. Challenges absolutely are you know, the time involved. It's also then identifying your guests, you know? So again, depending on the format that would make sense for your organization trying to find the right person, trying to get on their calendar. You know, you want to research that individual. It can be just hard to get those guests lined up. Yeah, you know, but one thing as far as another benefit is, this is really, it's a low barrier to entry as far as costs. It is definitely not cost prohibitive. So, you know, that's definitely a plus. But again, if you look at the cost of the individual's time involved that that needs to be factored in too.
- Right, right. It's a labor of love, right? Because it does take a lot, it is a lot more difficult than people think.
- And probably the things people think are difficult are not the difficult parts. So in other words, like, you know, you could decide I want to have a podcast. And if you're a go getter and you record an episode today. If you pay the right hosting and distribution company you could probably be live in a matter of hours And then live on certain platforms in a matter of days. But then you've got to keep it up, right?
- So it's like you said, it's not a one and done thing. So when we first launched into podcasting, you know around 2006, 2007, we were posting an episode once a month. Now we're doing an episode once a week. And launching an episode once a week. So it's a lot bigger, larger undertaking. And, you know, I tell people all the time, you'd be amazed the number of people that have to touch and be involved to get this produced everyday. From a guest coordinator, to the host which is me, and then a producer, which is me and two other people, an editor, the graphics, right. The writing, right. It's a whole big thing. But it's only as big as you need it to be, right? There's many other ways that you could get it done. And it could be as small scale or as big scale as you want it to be, you know? But yeah, that's just been my experience. But I think people are often surprised about how big of an undertaking it can be. And then, you know, once you get going, I don't wanna say it gets on autopilot but kind of everybody gets used to what the work is. And the learning curve is then gone. And then you just move into production mode. And, you know, at least for us, we're trying to get it 1% better every day.
- You know, Jason, I'll add to that. I think the other thing too, that's really important. As much as it can be self sustaining, you know you kind of figure out the formula, the formula works well for you and your team's working well. Don't forget that on the backend, you want to promote your episodes. You know, obviously if you have a great subscriber base they're instantly gonna get that new episode and, you know, they've got your content. but that's not to say you don't always want to grow your audience. And so it's really, really important to remember as you're producing this content, you want to have that follow-up, you know. You want to have that promotion. Put it up on your website, Tweet it out, have it on your LinkedIn pages. Ask your guests to share it. You know, no better way to get that word out than to have your guests, who hopefully could be a very influential individual, share it out with their community, too. So if you want more eyeballs and ears, you know don't forget that last piece.
- Yeah, absolutely. That's a great point that you mentioned there. And you know, we'll get a little bit more into that with this question, which is explain your process for creating an episode.
- Right, so, you know, really, again, it does begin with, you know, do you have your infrastructure for the actual production already created? So the first step you'll need to do, kind of going, taking that original step, you know, it's really, it's putting together, you know, your plan. What is your full plan? What's your goal of the podcast overall, and then for each of your episodes? So identifying your guests, making sure that you have all of your assets. So, you know, Jason, you do a great job of having all of these professional touches. That really translates to a much better user experience when you have great audio. So where are you recording? When you have great video, what's the quality of the platform you're using? You know, are you gonna have a lower third or those titles that might run in beneath your guests? All of that needs to be done in advance, because you might even have to have your guest approve. You know, like questions. In previous, you know, I actually still do this now. My goal is always to get the best out of my guests. Always, you know, it's about them. It's not about me. How can I keep them in their sweet spot, talking about things that they know right off the top of their head? I want to minimize the amount of preparation they need to do to be able to sit down and talk with me and give me a full hour of their day. So I'm gonna do my legwork, you know. And that's gonna involve a lot of research, you know. If they published anything recently. I'm gonna make sure I understand their business. Go into their backgrounds. You know, a lot of these folks, you know, have whether it's on LinkedIn or however you might find it, you know, a Google search. You really want to dig in to what's gonna be interesting for your audience to hear your guests talk about. So that sort of preparation is, you know, really key. And if anything, I think it's the most important thing. So that's part of the process. I draft those questions, Jason. And then I actually send them to my guests in advance. You know, depending on who you're speaking to that individual might even have to send it to their legal or their marketing team or their communications team just to make sure that there's a comfort level there. And then we set up the time to make the recording. So whether you're doing that locally, or if you're using a studio that you're renting out to record, that can take, you know, about an hour or so. And then in post production, you know, that's where you're editing. You've recorded your introduction and your outro. You know, your intro/outro is the terms that we use. Those get put on to the body of your interview. You know, any editing to polish it up. If the person said, "You know, I wasn't happy with that. "Could you edit that out?" And again, depending on the individual you're talking to, they might actually want to hear your recording before you publish it. So, you know, you have to build that into your timeline so that you're aware of all of these pieces that could cause a little bit of delay. But then when it comes to actually publishing, as you know, it's the push of a button. The platforms that are available today are so user-friendly. It really doesn't take anybody with any sophisticated knowledge to really produce a podcast once you have those pieces in place.
- Sure, yeah. It's all about having the right setup and the right arrangement. So Kate, we're gonna take a quick break and come back with more. And talk some more questions about using podcasting and video to get your message across and break through the clutter.
- [Announcer] You're listening to "On Top of PR", with your host, Jason Mudd. Jason is a trusted advisor to some of America's most admired and fastest-growing brands. He is the managing partner at Axia Public Relations, a PR agency that guides news, social, and web strategies for national companies. And now back to the show.
- Welcome back to "On Top of PR". I'm your host Jason Mudd, joined by Kate Warnock with Forcura. And Kate was just beginning to kind of explain to us about her process for creating a podcast episode. And now I'm gonna ask you Kate, welcome back, about doing video versus audio. So for example, with "On Top of PR," we have a video version and we have an audio only version. You haven't decided to do both of those. And I can understand, some days, why you wouldn't want to do that. But I am curious a little bit about how did you arrive at the strategy of doing video sometimes and doing podcasts other times. So maybe talk to me about that.
- All right, will do. Thanks for having me back. I'm glad I made to the second half.
- [Jason] You survived.
- So, you know, again, when we started... The three podcasts that I have published in my professional life so far have all been audio only, Jason. And the reason for that was more kind of simplicity. You know, it's easier to just get audio. I mean, I have actually recorded folks over the phone, you know, before Zoom was a thing. So it just made people more accessible. And also kind of the thinking at the time, when podcasts really kind of first came on the market, it was the fact that it kind of freed you from having to be, you know, attached to your desk, right? You know, or looking at a phone or that sort of thing. You know, I think a lot of podcast consumption still happen in the car. Or while you're exercising. So this was something that could be, you know, when it's audio only, you don't have to worry about the user experience other than, do they have access to headphones? So that's, you know, kind of where we stayed with Forcura's podcast today, still audio only. As far as the video that we leverage though, it was a different intention for that. And tell you a little bit about that strategy. Again, breaking through. The way we use video is kind of in two ways. So back when conferences and expos had, you know big expo spaces and we were all together. You know how hard it can be when you're in a giant floor, you know, that's got a thousand booths on it. How do you stick out? Well, nothing's gonna make you stick out faster than having a full production suite in a little 12 by 12. It can happen, we've done it. With your camera, with the lighting, with the backdrop. I mean, you instantly are going to stop traffic dead. And everyone's gonna say, "What are they doing?" Talk about break through the clutter, right? You've broken through the clutter. So again, a lot of the same preparation. You know, we've done, you know... The thought there is our brand likes to really position ourselves as thought leaders. So when we go to these industry conferences, Jason, of course we have our sales reps there to sell. But we are also there to kind of capture, you know, what's the conversation that's happening at these events. And I don't mean, tell me, you know, "What did you hear today in this keynote?" It's something that's meant to be, you know, have a little bit more shelf life to it. So we're talking, we target, again, influential people. This again can be, you know, it can be to your opportunity to drive that business that I mentioned before. Maybe you've been wanting to get in front of, you know the CTO or the CEO of an organization. And you've just not been able to get through in traditional marketing ways. Invite them to be on your interview at this event where you know that they're speaking, And boom, you've got that person in your chair. So, you know, it's just a really great way to again think longer than the event itself. Maybe think about the themes of that event, but then think longer term. And now you have a marketing asset for yourself and a marketing asset for that interview guest. You know, it's something that they want to share out. Everybody likes to look good. Everybody likes to sound smart. You are pretty sure that, you know, especially if you've worked with their marketing teams in advance, that this individual is going to share your content, right?
- Yeah, I love it.
- Boom. So that's the breakthrough. That's the strategy.
- Well, and what I'm hearing you say is the importance of putting the relationship into public relations, right? And building a relationship, not only with your guests, but then working with your guests to build more relationships with a larger audience.
- Absolutely, and I mean don't insult the person by not preparing. Look at yourself as you are the brand ambassador if you are gonna be the host on camera. And I also recommend use someone within your organization. I know that you could hire outside talent. And that's certainly something that people do. If you have the right skillset internally, I strongly encourage you use it because you want to own that experience. You want to own that relationship. And again, it gives you a chance to be consistent so that event to event people come to expect that you're going to be there. So, you know, it's again, a way to build that brand awareness. Don't outsource it unless you really don't have anyone that would be the right fit to have that kind of conversation and to be on camera.
- Yeah, yeah, I love it. Thank you, Kate. You know, we are so quickly running out of time here. So I only have time to ask you one more question, and I apologize for that. So tell us, what's the most important element for a successful podcast or video series?
- Okay, I'll say it really fast. It's actually three. Preparation. Do not go in there feeling like you don't know this conversation front end to back. Even if you, you don't want your guests to be scripted, but you want them to feel prepared because if they're prepared, they're gonna be comfortable. You're gonna have a much better conversation with them. So that's number one. Second, energy. Do not be flat on camera Do not be flat on the microphone. No one is going to, they will tune you out. If you don't sound interested, they won't be either. So high energy, really, really important. And then finally, the finishing touches. Don't forget about the quality of your audio and your video, your lower thirds, your marketing. Make this be something that you are proud of and that's really gonna stand the test of time.
- Those are great tips of advice. Good words of wisdom. Thank you for sharing that, absolutely. And you know, it's an interesting journey as you go through the whole podcasting experience. You know, no two shows are alike. No two guests are alike. But what you can do is create a consistent image, a consistent format, and a consistent presentation of your show to, you know, keep the viewers engaged. And kind of help make sure they understand what they can come to expect from you. And, you know, just staying on brand I think is really important as well.
- For sure.
- Yeah, well, Kate, this has been a pleasure to connect with you. Thank you for sharing and taking time from your other podcasts and videos that you are producing there. And if there's ever anything I can do for you, please certainly let me know. Similarly, if our audience wants to reach out to you, what's the best way for them to connect with you, Kate?
- I am just Kate Warnock on LinkedIn. I claimed that a long time ago, so please just feel free to connect with me there and message me and we can start a conversation.
- Well, that sounds great. I'm sure we'll have people who are interested in connecting with you on LinkedIn, as you and I have recently done as well. So Kate, this was a great episode. I'm so glad you could join us. Thank you for being here. And with that, this is another episode of "On Top of PR". And we're really glad you were here today. If you found this episode beneficial, if you and your organization are considering starting a podcast, do them a favor and share this episode with them so that they can get more familiar with podcasting and how to break through the clutter. And in the show notes, we'll put some resources to our solution we call Brandcast, which could help you also get in the business of creating a branded podcast for your organization. With that, this is Jason Mudd from Axia Public Relations, signing off. Thanking you for watching or listening wherever you might be. We really appreciate you and the growth that we've experienced through our podcast. And we are so pleased that you are staying on top of PR.
- [Announcer] This has been "On Top of PR" with Jason Mudd presented by ReviewMaxer. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. And check out past shows at OnTopOfPR.com