Traci DeForge's 25-year professional career reflects a unique combination of Broadcast Media Management and Fortune 500 Business Consulting. She identifies successful business development opportunities for innovative growth. From early stage design and development start-ups to her work with Fortune 500 companies including Google, Hilton, Weight Watchers International, Microsoft and British Airways.
How did you get into the industry?
I spent the first 20 years of my career in broadcast radio until I started my own consulting business in 2004. Once podcasting started to become more popular in 2015, I built a team of radio professionals to begin producing podcasts for B2B and B2C businesses.
Any emerging industry trends?
There are many emerging trends in podcasting right now. Businesses are using podcasts as marketing tools in innovative ways to tell the story of the brand through fiction story telling. Large companies are utilizing them for internal communication tools for remote teams. We are also seeing some savvy use of podcasting to create hype around live tapings at industry trade shows.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
The idea of listening and sharing your favorite podcast has become mainstream water cooler conversation. Podcasts are being converted from their audio format into TV documentaries and comedy shows on HBO. Radio stations are building out podcast networks to expand their programming to attract more listeners. Parents are even using them as an entertaining way to encourage their kids to brush their teeth! The challenges emerging as a result of the explosive growth in the industry centers around accessibility, quality audio production and monetization. We are quickly moving beyond the “build it and they will come” mentality. Listeners have to know where to find you and a podcaster needs good enough sounding audio for the them to subscribe and continue to download. This creates a cycle where monetization and distribution are becoming increasingly paramount to sustain the longevity of a show.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I’m inspired everyday to have a business where clients can have access to a platform helping them change the conversation in their industry. I started my own podcast, Journey to There; Exploring the intersection between personal and business growth in 2016 to share my story of how the challenges of a successful professional career have impacted critical decisions in my personal life. The idea I could make a difference to other women in business drove me to get my message out into the world. This commitment was the foundation for Produce Your Podcast. I wanted other busy executives and entrepreneurs to have a simple and easy way to have a podcast for their voice to be heard without adding another time intensive task to their to-do list!
What's next for the Business in the near future?
The possibilities are endless for what is next in the world of podcasting. Produce Your Podcast is positioned to accelerate their growth right alongside that of the industry. We’re expanding our global client base and our online community. In addition, we are getting more involved in initiatives popping up around the relationship of radio broadcasting and podcasting by providing some cutting edge solutions to the mash up of the two mediums.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Our commitment to broadcast quality audio production is our biggest differentiator. We honed the technology to produce a podcast host from most anywhere in the world by connecting them to a live engineer in our studios without them ever leaving their home or office. This takes the frustration out of the production process since they always have a skilled expert recording and editing their audio. We connect them to their guests when it is time to record which elevates the professionalism on their behalf. We’ve made podcasting fun and relaxing instead of a stressful and often times overwhelming experience.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
You are only as good as the systems you have in place. I was out of the country on vacation when one of our clients had their first scheduled recording session. I thought everything was handled until I realized the team had not been communicated properly on the time differences between the client and the studio. We were represented in three different time zones and had to scramble to get everyone on the same page for a seamless customer experience. This was a big wake up call. We needed a better organized communication funnel in order to manage the level of growth we were experiencing. I developed a ten step workflow process immediately after returning from my trip. I also implemented some additional fail safe operating systems.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Podcasting should be fun! We work diligently behind the scenes so our clients don’t have to work at all. An ideal experience for our customer would be to enjoy the benefits of having a show without worrying about any of the details it takes to do the show. We’ve done our job when they leave the recording session laughing and talking about what a great show they just did!
How do you motivate others?
I motivate others by not taking myself too seriously. Things don’t always go as planned and noone is perfect. I make mistakes and when I do I acknowledge right away what went wrong and what I will do next time to improve upon the situation. This opens up and honest line of communication and accountability to each other. I also don’t let anyone work on their birthday!
Career advice to those in your industry?
Get Started. It is not too early. It is not too late. Launch a podcast as the content marketing hub for your digital strategy. Record your show and distribute to all the platforms. Transcribe the episode and use the content for blog posts, social media posts and newsletter content. Re-purpose the episode audio by adding images and post on youtube. You only have to create the bulk of the content once and you have a full scale marketing strategy outlined for you.