Masters Series Transcripts: Serpil Senelmis (Co-director at Written & Recorded) and Corey Layton (Content & Marketing Director at Whooshkaa) – How to Create a Podcast

Camille Monce —  December 26, 2018 — Leave a comment

Podcasting offers businesses a way to connect with their customers that is personable and valued. It enables brands to reveal their personalities and provides consumers with useful information and entertainment. This podcast about podcasting outlines the key considerations in creating a podcast for your brand.

Serpil Senelmis is the co-director of content creation agency Written & Recorded. As a journalist for hire with decades of experience in radio, television, newspapers and marketing, Serpil helps organisations to tell their story. She steps through the podcast creation process from concept to publication.

Corey Layton is the Content & Marketing Director with podcast hosting platform Whooshkaa, where he has led the production of successful podcasts from Mercedes Benz, Facebook, and the City of Sydney. Corey warns of the pitfalls in podcasting and names the secret ingredient in reaching your audience.

Disclaimer: Transcripts may contain a few typos. Similar sounding words that can lead to them being deciphered wrongly and hence transcribed likewise.

Serpil Senelmis: For WeTeachMe this is the Masters Series where industry professionals share their secrets to business success. I’m Serpil Senelmis from Written and Recorded. Now I’m sure you’re already aware podcasts are an awesome way to learn, to be entertained, or just to catch up on the latest. They’re also an effective way for businesses to build relationships and communicate directly with their customers. And in this podcast about podcasting, we’ll explore how to create a podcast for your business or organization. Corey Layton is the content and marketing director with podcast hosting platform Whooshkaa has led the production of podcasts for brands such as Facebook, Mercedes, and City of Sydney.

Corey Layton 0:50
A company called gimlet who we represent here in Australia. They have a podcast called Jumpers, the brand podcast for our OB and the aim of it was you Okay, Google buy champions. And what it was was a tooth brushing companion for your kids. So it goes for, I think 90 seconds, and it tells a really great story that’s highly produced. And during the brushing, the voice will go. Alright, now brush the bottom of the teeth. And then says things like if you want to know what happens next, tune in tonight.

Serpil Senelmis: We’ll hear from Corey shortly. But first, well, it’s me. As the Co-Director of content agency Written and Recorded. I make podcasts for large government organizations, individuals and businesses of all shapes and sizes. So I’m stepping out from behind the scenes to explain how we make podcasts. Now, a good podcast has to be a little bit like a book, think about a really good book that you’ve read. It’s got rich characters. It’s got really great storytelling. It takes the imagination, it paints pictures for you, and the strength is that you get to paint those pictures and filling those gaps, that’s what a podcast does because you don’t have images that go with it. And a branded podcast if you considering a branded podcast has to have all of those elements as well, it needs to have compelling storytelling and a narrative arch. Three key factors you need to consider when making a good quality podcast is you need to really know your audience. Who are you talking to? And what do you want them to get out of? It needs to be passionate about the subject matter that you’re talking about, or at least have done research on the subject. So you are engaged in the actual topic that you’re talking about. And you need to bring in great storytelling elements. So knowing your audience will help you shape your whole podcast that will dictate what themes you choose what topics you choose. So before you start your podcast, you need to ask yourself, what’s in it for my listeners, and what’s the problem that I’m trying to solve for them. And then you need to show genuine interest because genuine interest is infectious, your listeners will actually pick up on that energy and will be enthusiastic along with you. And listen all the way you can’t fake enthusiasm if you’re not invested in it. Why would you expect your listener to be and you can’t just plug in a microphone and start recording. Like any good content. A podcast requires research, a plan, and a storyboard. And you need to hook your listeners from the get-go. The first 30 seconds are crucial, you need to hook them in. If you haven’t got them in the first 30 seconds, chances are they’ll switch off and they won’t continue listening. The rule of thumb is garbage in equals garbage out. So what you need to do is to create a good quality product that stands out from the pack. So how do we do that? Where do we begin to create a good quality podcast? First, you have to start with a purpose, or a business objective that requires you to be clear on what problem you’re trying to solve, or what opportunity that you’re trying to address. And be clear on what you hope to achieve with the podcast. You really need to be really clear on who your target audience is, if it helps create an avatar of them so that you know what sort of person that you’re speaking to, then do your research. Think about why would this audience listen in? And what’s going to keep them coming back and listening over and over again to this podcast? And while you’re researching, look at what else is out there. Is there a podcast that inspires you that you would like to emulate? Maybe it’s the tone that they’re bringing in, maybe it’s the gift that they’re bringing in so jot all that down. And see what you would like to emulate, then you’re ready to start planning. So come up with a concept and an idea, which will create your roadmap for the podcast. And then consider the types of guests that you want to get. Now this is really crucial in the industry we call good guests, the best talent, make a dream list of the talent that you would like to get not just anyone run of the mill because you want to get the best people in your podcast to have engagement. We had Nathan Chan here a few weeks ago. He is the founder of Founder Magazine. It was talking to us about how he got an interview with Richard Branson. Richard Branson didn’t know who Nathan was Nathan wasn’t a known brand at the time. But he tried, he kept on knocking on the door. He was tenacious, and he got that interview. If you don’t ask you don’t get put together your dream list and work your way down from your dream list. Then consider your tone. Is your podcasts going to be funny? Is it going to be instructive? Is it going to be investigative, this will all be determined by once again, your audience, and the types of guests you’re going to have, and what the purpose of the podcast is. Consider the format. Are you gonna have studio interviews, will you have field reports? Or will you have a bunch of journalistic reports stitched together? And then duration is really important? Is it going to be short, sharp, and snappy? And you’re just gonna roll out an episode for 15 minutes every week? Or do you want to really deep dive into a topic and pick some themes over an hour and release the podcast perhaps once a month? So these are all important considerations. And then think about the structure of it. Will it be narrative style? Would it be interview-based, will you have a co-host so you can bounce off each other so you don’t feel like you’re left alone? And then once you’ve done all of this It’s time to put on your editorial hat. And that requires storyboarding. And that requires a script. And your scripts have to be tight. You need to have tight intros, tight narrative links, tight outros. You can’t just be rambling. No one wants to sit there listening to your stream of consciousness for 40 minutes. It comes back down to the whole idea of great storytelling. And in the great storytelling, keep reminding your audience why they’re there, make it clear to them what this podcast is again, and again. Choose your style and your sound. In a podcast, you have all sorts of elements that come together. You have ambient sounds, you have music, you have interviews from different sources, and you have to think about it as if you’re putting together a beautiful composition, a beautiful musical piece that you want to sing. If something sounds jarring in that mix, rip it out. Just leave it out because it will stick out and make the rest of it not sound cohesive. And then have a call to action. Think about what you want your listeners to do. At the end of listening to each episode, then you’re ready to record. Now you may have read on the internet that it’s pretty easy to record a podcast, right? Don’t trust the internet. You do need high-quality equipment to record a podcast, you need a high-quality microphone, and you need editing capability. If you don’t have any of these things. It’s best to call in the experts or at least learn how to use these things.

Serpil Senelmis: Think about it if you’ve ever recorded a lecture or a presentation on your iPhone, and then you’ve listened back to it the next day. It sounds pretty terrible, right? You’re listening back to it. It sounds really scratchy. It’s not the most pleasant listening experience. Why would you offer that to your audience, as something to listen to week in and week out. You don’t want to do that. And in terms of the way sound works you’re listening to my voice at the moment, can you hear anything else? Someone pointed out that the aircon, yeah. Can you hear the traffic outside? No, because our ears are not like microphones. Our ears are trained for selective hearing wars microphones aren’t like that. Microphones are sensitive little things, they pick up everything so this microphone on my chest, it’s picking up that air conditioner, it’s picking up traffic noise, and every week when we edit the Masters Series podcasts we use editing techniques to edit out that low hum conditioning frequency so that when people do download the Masters Series podcasts that they have a pleasant listening experience. So all these considerations are important. Editing is important for two reasons, one for quality. So there are many, many examples of bad editing. Some of the ones that come to mind uneven levels or popping or outside noises bleeding into the interviewees’ voice while they’re talking. And it just sounds horrible. No one wants to listen to them. So you need to consider all those factors when you’re editing a podcast. But the other factor you need to consider is from an editorial perspective. Say you’ve spent 40 minutes recording an interview and you’ve had a 40-minute chat with someone. Do you need to upload 40 minutes of that conversation for your audience to listen to? No, chances are, the person said five minutes of gold, five minutes of key takeaways. You need to be really harsh with your editing and offer your audience only the key takeaways they need to hear. They don’t need to hear the rest of the 35 minutes because they’ve got a life and you just want to give them the key points and give them quality. So once you’ve done all of that, it’s time to get your podcast out there, and this is easier said than done. So once you’ve done a good quality podcast, upload it to a podcast platform such as Whooshkaa. But then after that, you can just leave it there, you need to let people know that it’s there, you need to use all of your marketing power, you need to put budget behind it, to communicate to your prospective audience that you’ve created this podcast specifically for them. And that means first and foremost using all of your marketing power. Start with branding first, give your podcast a clever title. Have nice, compelling artwork that’s going to stand out in the podcast mix. And then use all of your channels whether it’s your social media channels, it might be Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, whatever social channels that you’re actually already engaging with your customers or your potential audience with on, use that to notify them that you’ve created this podcast, make it easy for them to access the podcasts, put a badge on it so that they can immediately click on it and download and subscribe. Do the same thing if you’ve got a website hosted on your website. So use all of your marketing channels if you’ve got an EDM communicate through EDM. And then if you have got the budget, and I would say put money behind it, because if you’ve spent money making it, you should spend money marketing it to get it out in front of everyone. It’s like any other medium. If you don’t market it, people aren’t going to know that it exists. So why don’t we do it under a blanket? It sounds like it’s technically easy. But there are a lot of considerations in making a podcast that’s of high quality. The thing that I can say that is the same or similar is other markets such as advertising or search engine optimization or website design. You can basically have a crack at all of these things. And in fact, we probably all have had a crack at all of these things. But once you call in the experts, you’re going to get better results. Because you are competing with radio stations, you are competing with newspapers, you are competing with commercial brands that are pumping out podcasts. So to be able to play in their league, you need to think like they do. And in summing up basically, some key points have a clear purpose. What’s your business objective? Make sure you plan, research, have a roadmap. Record your podcast, have fun while you’re recording your podcast. But also make sure your editorial hats on all the time as you editing. And then it’s crucial that you consider distribution and marketing as part of the entire mix, not just making the podcast Thanks, guys.

Serpil Senelmis: So what do you think? Did I do okay? We really enjoy making the Masters Series podcast and our aim each week is to capture the mood of the event and wrap you up in it. We hope you find it both informative and entertaining. Up next Corey Layton from Whooshkaa. He offers a broader perspective on the whole podcasting phenomenon.

Ad Guy: Masters Series is presented by WeTeachMe. In addition to offering a wide range of classes, WeTeachMe is a booking system that helps teachers and schools reach their students. If you have a skill to share, you can find your pupils with This podcast is produced by written and recorded Did you hear the one about the journalists that started a podcast company to capture and release the stories of businesses? You just did? Well, head over to to find out how you can get your story out there. And now, back to the podcast.

Serpil Senelmis: Thanks Ad Guy, Corey Layton was a bit of a radio wunderkind before he joined the fledgling podcast hosting platform Whooshkaa. Over the past few years, he’s led the production of some very successful branded podcasts, including tough conversations from Mercedes Benz. In this fireside chat with WeTeachMe’s Wayne Lewis. Corey says a good story is not enough to build an audience. To do that, you’ll need to rely on good old fashioned marketing.

Corey Layton: Simple had it a 100% on the money, podcasts are really hard, like really hard. In fact, the advice we give to a lot of people in fact, most people that come to us are going hey, we’re thinking of doing a podcast is, maybe you shouldn’t, because building an audience and doing it consistently, and doing it with hot production is really difficult. There’s 550,000 podcasts in the world that are active right now. And all free, and so vying for your piece of that pie, and knowing how to shout out to your particular target in whatever nation is, and to cut through that noise is really difficult and unless you committed and are in it for the long haul, I’d say go, go try something else.

Wayne Lewis: And when you create that content for the people, what are some of the key things that you know you like to hone in on obviously Serpil talks about a lot of things in terms of the plan and the script and everything else? What is it that you see as being the most successful ones and what gives them?

Corey Layton: The ones that are most successful are probably the ones with money behind them because they have an inbuilt megaphone to shout out and go we exist, we’re here to whoever that target is. Beyond that the ones that actually take care in telling a story and adding production values is integral. We are a podcast host. And we have a lot of podcasts on our network where someone goes, right let’s talk record, and then stop at the end. And I upload that and they expect people to be driven to it. And while your family and friends might, getting people to stay and have them engaged for the continued amount of a podcast, takes a trick. And so, production and knowing how to tell a story absolutely is key.

Wayne Lewis: And telling that story is that enough to build the audience and the community. Would you say?

Corey Layton: No, no, no. So if your cover-up is crap, and a lot of people don’t even think about their cover-up, they get to the very end. They’re like, Oh, we’re launching in three days to get to that cover-up. The thing about podcasts is people judge them by their cover. And so if you don’t have a great piece of cover-up, no one will even press play because they’re surrounded by great cover-up that’s out there, and it’s free. And they’ll just go somewhere else. They won’t even listen to your first second. And so your packaging is really key.

Wayne Lewis: Yeah, we actually got some good advice on that. From WeTeachMe Masters Series podcast about the title and keeping it clean and simple, getting that cut through so…

Corey Layton: And don’t have an image of a microphone or headphones on. Because people know it’s a podcast.

Wayne Lewis: Yeah, exactly. So that takes us maybe onto you must have seen obviously some, we don’t have to name any names, but where has gone wrong for people if you’ve got any horror stories of where you know, people put a lot of cash into this?

Corey Layton: I do, any I can share? Not really, um, there are. I did say earlier, having a megaphone is helpful to get a great podcast, but the moment someone might press play and they may engage if it’s not great. People decide if they’re going to stick with the podcast in the first minute or two, they will decide if they’re going to stay on or not. And there are a lot of podcasts where by the time you hit the two-minute mark, they’re still teasing what’s coming up. And so we’ve come across, and there are plenty of big publishers out there that break those rules. And even though they have the megaphone to shout from, they still don’t convert into listeners, because word of mouth is the most dominant way that people get recommendations from podcasts beyond social media, it’s all about friends recommendations. And if someone samples something, and they got no guy, they’re not going to talk about it and no one’s going to find it.

Wayne Lewis: We had a little chat with Serpil before and we were talking a little bit about trends in terms of coming over from the US. Is that something that the Australian market looks towards and should people be following some of those trends as a way or is it more focusing on what they’re branded?

Corey Layton: Look, the content that resonates most worldwide is true crime. We look after podcasts like a teacher’s pet and dirty john and these massive juggernauts that females in particular here in Australia cannot get enough of. And now there’s a lot of people going yeah I’m gonna make a true-crime podcast and some of them don’t work as well if they miss had to tell a great story. There’s a few out there that are beautifully packaged but still miss it, and I just don’t grow the teacher’s pet. That story has kept divided the nation and from a podcast perspective, some may question how it’s been told. The story is so powerful that audiences globally continue to listen to it. And it’s the first Australian podcast to ever dent anywhere around the world. They were number one in the US, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, you name it. So true crime is a big one. Also. snackable formats, so connected speakers Google Home Amazon Alexa where that is shifting not just here in Australia but globally and the ability to create different podcasts for different moments in your day. They are podcasts, they’re short form. The best example I’ve come across comes from a company called Gimlet, who we represent here in Australia. They have a podcast called Jumpers. It was a brand podcast for Oral-B. And the aim of it was you put one of these devices in your bathroom and in the US prevalent, and you say, okay, Google Play Jumpers. And what it was was a tooth brushing companion for your kids. So it goes for, I think, 90 seconds, and it tells a really great story that’s highly produced. And during the brushing, the voice will go alright, now brush to the bottom of your teeth. And then says things like if you want to know what happens next, tune in tonight, and so it builds in how long to brush your teeth for and entertainment for when you’re in the bathroom, brushing your teeth. That’s a really clever ID. And as these smart speaker devices gain traction here in Australia, and they’re rapidly doing so, the ability to start to think about not just podcasts, but short-form audio content that can be your companion at different moments in your day. That’s the really exciting spice.

Wayne Lewis: So that kind of leads on to Whooshkaa as the distribution channel. And what people should be looking for in a distribution channel. Can you share some thoughts on Whooshkaa?

Corey Layton: We’re Australian vice the high majority of distribution channels are all in the US and to be able to pick up the phone, just talk to someone and get some advice is often really helpful. We’re free platforms. So if you understand podcast use us, it’s free, and then people go, but why are you free? How do you make money and so we make money by monetizing the top 10% of podcasts on our network. We work with those podcasters and brands to connect them and there’s often podcasters in our top 10% that don’t want that or are quite picky, and that’s fine.

Wayne Lewis: Yeah, the analytics that go into the back end of podcasting. I’ve been looking at the website myself and the AI and everything that’s going on around voice. So should people be delving into the analytic side of things?

Corey Layton: If you’re looking to produce a podcast analytics are essential. One of the realms you can get some stats via Apple analytics talks to you about your time spent listening. Now if you make an hour and 20 minute podcast and your time spent listening is 20 minutes in, you got a problem. Equally if people are skipping over a certain segment that you think is really funny every week you can see that skip and then you like maybe I’m not so funny. Analytics are key via Spotify, you can get an understanding of your demographics based on gender and also age. It helps you understand where your stories are resonating most, and the sort of demographic that you need to continue to pitch at or grow. And also the download source. So you will start to see, are people listening to my podcast via my website via Facebook, or Apple viral, etc, etc. that will also help you if you can put some money behind it understand where are the channels that are converting nice for me.

Wayne Lewis: So would you recommend then based on that our audience if they’re looking to partner with somebody else, is it more like a courting and dating process where they should be asking certain questions when they’re having these meetings to think is this person suitable for me to be working with?

Corey Layton: Absolutely. So you’re talking about a guest on someone’s podcast or?

Wayne Lewis: Guest or partnering with them as a brand.

Corey Layton: So from a guest perspective, yes, often thinking about the distribution like as simple spark about go high go for Richard Branson, if you want, think about who is the talent that is huge in your niche, and then look at who has the biggest social followings because they gonna be the way that you get to convert people to listening as far as brands and having a brand fund your idea if that’s what you’re looking to do, it’s difficult because unless you’re a name, or you have something established behind you, you’re asking your brand to take a leap of faith into come on this journey with me. I’m going to make the show about x, it will be great. And then they say to you, sure, how many listeners will you get? You need a crystal ball to answer that question. If you have an established show, it’s much easier to then get brands on board to help you but from the outset, it’s difficult.

Wayne Lewis: So selling the vision and the story enough would you say?

Corey Layton: I would say, depends on who you are that’s selling as in are you recognizable and respected name with credibility in whatever the niche is that you’re going to talk about. Then there’s a reason to back that horse but if no one’s ever heard of you, and you’re just getting started in the industry, with a brand put money behind you probably not.

Wayne Lewis: Awesome. Guys, can we have a round of applause for Corey Layton of Whooshkaa.

Serpil Senelmis: So like any digital marketing, analytics are key to podcasting success, and those short daily podcasts for smart speakers sound amazing, don’t they? Thanks, Corey. Next time on Masters Series business oops, things that went wrong. There’s nothing like a good disaster story and the recovery story that hopefully follows Until then, I’m Serpil Senelmis from Written and Recorded, and for WeTeachMe this is the Masters Series.

About Masters Series by WeTeachMe

Masters Series is a show about inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and visionary dreamers, and the stories behind how they built their companies.

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