Building A Better Workplace: The Story Behind Our DEI Podcast

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I’ve been a fan of Wistia for what looks as if endlessly. I don’t want to enter why as a result of if you happen to’re studying this weblog or utilizing their platform, you already know precisely why. One of my #1 soapboxes with all of my purchasers (no pun intended) is that in the event that they’re gonna embed a video on their web sites, they need to 100% use Wistia.

Back in February 2020, once I was in the course of beginning my very own content material advertising firm, I reached out to Wistia to strike up a dialog and see if there was any potential for us to work collectively. We began chatting, and I used to be excited concerning the prospects.

Then, as everyone knows, a world pandemic hit, and we put discussions on maintain.
But, as all good freelancers ought to, I made positive to comply with up periodically. A few months later, I bought a message from Dan Mills (present VP of Marketing and then-Director of Wistia Studios), asking if I’d be considering serving to with A Better Workplace, a brand new podcast they have been beginning.

I consider my official response was, “Hell yeah!”

The 10-episode present our group in the end created is, in my humble opinion, one of the distinctive and fascinating podcasts on the market about variety, fairness, and inclusion (DEI). And that’s coming from somebody who is aware of lots about podcasts.

Today I’ll allow you to take a peek behind the scenes and find out about every little thing that went into making this wonderful present. The classes herein will undoubtedly aid you alongside your personal podcast journey.

Why DEI, why now?

We’ll be speaking about A Better Workplace lots right here, so let’s simply name it “ABW” for brief. Basically, the idea behind ABW was to discover ways in which corporations and organizations can create more numerous, equitable, and inclusive workplaces for folks throughout a spectrum of identities (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, and so on.).

ABW could be in contrast to another Wistia manufacturing. Other reveals they created — like Show Business, Brandwagon, One, Ten, One Hundred, and even Talking Too Loud — have been geared toward content material creators and entrepreneurs (the first demographics for his or her enterprise). However, ABW would goal group leaders trying to enhance the environments they lead. There could be no tangible insights round how you can enhance gross sales or appeal to prospects; ABW was undoubtedly not a conventional advertising present.

Why veer so removed from the carved-out path? Well, ABW was a testomony to Wistia’s dedication to assist make a greater world. Much like Wistia’s Culture Blog, it confirmed how severely they took serving to companies develop financially and mature internally in accountable, respectful methods.

Defining the “Avatar”

The goal Avatar for the present was cis-gender, heterosexual (aka “cishet”) thirty-something males, in all probability working organizations comparable in dimension to Wistia. We have been looking out for those who regarded like Wistia’s personal CEO, Chris Savage.

We knew there have been folks on the market like Chris who wished to be allies to equity-seeking teams and create company inclusive company environments, so we constructed our Avatar round that.

“Hold on,” you may be saying. “What even is an ‘Avatar’?”
An Avatar is the first goal on your present. This is the individual round whom your choices for friends, type, and content material will likely be based mostly. Savage made the proper Avatar for ABW as a result of, frankly, he and others in that demographic are the precise reverse of nearly all of the equity-seeking teams for whom we’d need to create empathy. In different phrases, they’d essentially the most to study from a present like ABW — and their training was of paramount significance as a result of they’re possible in positions of energy and affect.

Note: Picking an Avatar doesn’t imply you don’t count on others outdoors of that group to additionally get pleasure from or tune into the present. But consider it as a bell curve. You will all the time seize individuals who fall outdoors the principle goal, however the Avatar is who your focus will usually be on.

As Story Producer, my position could be to search out and recruit friends, write scripts (the place acceptable), monitor the interviews through the calls, and, when mandatory, edit the present.

Finding the perfect hosts

The hosts of the present have been going to be Jane Jaxon, Wistia’s VP of People, and Colin Dinnie, considered one of Wistia’s Customer Support Champions — the person has a voice made for radio! I keep in mind assembly them for the primary time and pondering that as a white homosexual lady and a cishet Black man, they made the proper co-hosts for a present about variety and inclusion.

If you’ve listened to the present (and I encourage you to take action), you’ll instantly discover Jane and Colin make a incredible podcasting duo. They have a terrific rapport, enjoyable banter, and every has a novel method of approaching how they ask friends questions and course of what they’ve heard. If the present didn’t have wonderful friends, you would be simply as entertained simply listening to those two.

 

This is an enormous takeaway: Pick nice hosts. This might look like a no brainer, however I’ve heard my fair proportion of reveals the place friends lack power, poise, and even character. If you’re doing a present about advertising, don’t simply enlist your VP of Marketing because the host in the event that they don’t get pleasure from participating folks in dialog about advertising matters.

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You desire a host who’s expert or snug with asking questions and interacting with friends. You have the choice of both recruiting from inside or hiring an expert. Following our earlier instance, if the principle host you choose is nice sufficient to hold the present alone, your VP can in all probability be a co-host if they’ve one thing distinctive so as to add to the equation.

Selecting the format and topics

The subsequent order of enterprise was deciding how the show would be formatted. Would it simply be Jane and Colin speaking to one another about points? Would we’ve got friends? If so, would we do a panel of friends or have every episode simply be a 2-on-1 interview?

We selected a format that’s truly a combination of three kinds:

  • It’s one half storytelling podcast, whereby both Jane, Colin, or the visitor recounts a narrative to have interaction the viewers.
  • It’s one half host-discussion present, the place Jane and Colin have in-depth and comparatively prolonged conversations that bookend every episode.
  • And it’s one half interview! The “meat” of the podcast “sandwich” is a Q&A with an skilled within the discipline of DEI.

Once we had the format, we would have liked to choose the matters. Of course, we knew that the present could be about DEI and associated topics. But with a purpose to decide particularly what every episode could be about, we created a listing of more particular potential matters. They ran the gamut of concepts falling beneath the main classes of race, gender, sexuality, and id.

The screenshot of our matter brainstorm doc under illustrates two issues: the vary and variety of matters we thought-about, and — more importantly — simply how severely Wistia took this matter. To today, that continues to impress and encourage me, particularly provided that this can be a matter that doesn’t actually feed into Wistia’s regular core enterprise proposition. It really is an funding of time and expertise to make the working world a greater place for everybody!

Picking a show title

Last, however actually not least, we needed to choose a reputation. This might come as a little bit of a shock since I began off calling it ABW to you, however we had no thought what to name this podcast as we labored the idea out!

As I wrote in my submit about creating a podcast that pops, choosing the right title on your podcast is essential. As we did for the subject concepts, we created a Google Doc to brainstorm varied titles with one another. We checked out names of different DEI podcasts and threw out all kinds of loopy names like “DEI Disrupter,” “INC-lusion,” and “Better KPI with DEI.” (I’m embarrassed to say that final one was considered one of my concepts. Yeah! I did that.)

Our ultimate listing was narrowed to the next contenders:

  • All Things Equal
  • A Good Place To Work
  • Woke At Work
  • Included
  • Growing Intentionally
  • Growing With Intention
  • Intentional Workforce
  • Perspectives
  • A Better Workplace
  • Leveling The Ladder
  • Leveling The Workplace
  • Working Toward Equity
  • Work Equitably
  • Diverstia
  • Organizational Equity

 … and naturally you already know what gained!

Picking a reputation is all the time such an fascinating course of. It’s an interesting look into the human psyche to see how folks reply to those sorts of selections. We all had completely different ranges of non-public funding and fervour for the completely different contenders. In the top, I feel “A Better Workplace” gained as a result of it in the end spoke on to the purpose at which all of us have been aspiring.

Now that we had the hosts, format, matters, and all the remaining in place, it was time to start out making it occur.

The course of of making the present was not in contrast to a course of with which a lot of it’s possible you’ll be acquainted: video manufacturing. There have been 4 key levels: pre-production, manufacturing, post-production, and distribution.

1. Pre-production

The pre-production course of was closely front-ended within the three or 4 months main as much as the present premiere. Pre-pro concerned weekly conferences with Jane, Colin, and Adam Day (Executive Producer and Wistia’s present Creative Director). On these calls, we’d speak concerning the varied episodes we wished to have and focus on the scriptwriting course of.

Finding and booking guests

The most difficult side of manufacturing any present is finding the guests and reserving them.

For ABW, I pulled out all of the methods I had up my sleeve. I used my community. I leaned on Jane’s assets because the VP of People. I watched dozens of TED and TEDx Talks. I then adopted the breadcrumbs of these TED Talks as I researched audio system and located connections. One visitor I discovered, Toni Howard Lowe, I sourced through LinkedIn due to a coaching she was selling about microaggressions.

When reaching out, I might ship a template e mail (tweaked, after all, to be more customized for every individual) after which I’d comply with up three or 4 instances if mandatory till I bought a definitive “Yes” or “No.”

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One problem we had — which is true for all new reveals — is that we didn’t have any episodes created but that I might level folks in the direction of for example. That meant they needed to comply with be on a present from some firm they might not have heard about. (Many of the friends we contacted little question had seen Wistia video gamers however could be hard-pressed to acknowledge them as such. Which, satirically, is likely one of the beauties of Wistia gamers. You can customize them with your own branding!)

So with a purpose to present some form of social proof, my invitation e mail would reference names I used to be positive the friends would have heard of. Here’s my primary template:

“My name is Ron Dawson, and I’m a Story Producer for the new Wistia podcast, A Better Workplace. It’s a show about helping companies address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are currently producing an episode I think you would be a great guest for.

You would be in good company. On Wistia’s other shows, they have had such guests as LuLu Wang (Director of The Farewell), Brian Halligan (CEO of Hubspot), Mark DiCristina (Head of Brand at Mailchimp), Brendan Gaul (Global Chief Content Officer of UM Worldwide), and Nick Francis (CEO of Help Scout).

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. You can also use my scheduling link below if you’d like to set up a quick 15-minute chat to discuss further.

[LINK]

All one of the best,
Ron”

By listing names of past guests, it ensured that whether or not someone had heard of Wistia, they knew we produced high-caliber shows.

I’d then use my Zoom-connected Calendar Hero account to book multiple people and have Zoom links sent automatically.

Wistia even went to the trouble of sending confirmed guests a USB microphone to use if they didn’t already have one. That’s how important the quality of this show was! Guests were allowed to keep it afterward, as a token of Wistia’s appreciation.

Scriptwriting

You may be wondering why we needed a script for a show that is largely based on conversations and interviews. Well, believe it or not, much of the opening and closing segments of the show were scripted. Think of it like using a script for an improvised movie.

For each episode, I would write a draft of what I thought Jane and Colin should talk about. The information in the script would be based on points to be discussed during the interview, stories I thought would be good openers (referencing information Jane or Colin shared with me during our meetings), or media clips that would be analogous or illustrative of a topic discussed in the show.

For instance, for the “Code Switching” episode, we included clips from a humorous Key & Peele sketch.

 

Once I had a draft of the script prepared, the 4 of us would as soon as once more collaborate and remark through Google Docs till we arrived at a model all of us felt good about.

The precise taping of the interview was fairly easy. As our resident audio skilled, Adam would hop on the start of the decision and stroll the visitor via organising their microphone and Zoom settings. We all the time had it in order that the visitor was recording a separate audio observe of simply their dialogue domestically on their laptop. We did this as a result of the native recording on their laptop could be the next high quality than a distant recording on our finish.

Likewise, Jane and Colin would every file on to their computer systems through Garage Band linked to a Focusrite Scarlett audio interface. This setup yields the very best high quality audio mixed with the comfort of Zoom (with out counting on its poor audio compression).

Creating and recording the “paper edit”

I might additionally create what’s referred to as a “paper edit.” This is just about what it feels like — a paper model of the ultimate edit. There are two elements to this: the pre-written script, plus excerpts from the audio transcript.

I’d take the pre-written authorized script (i.e. the opening and shutting sections I referenced above) after which mix it with an edited model of the written interview transcript. To create this edited transcript, I’d take heed to the uncooked interview and read together with the transcript. If there was a bit I wished faraway from the ultimate episode, I’d simply red-line it.

I might then take the remaining sections of the transcript and replica and paste them into the principle episode script.

The motive I embrace this a part of the method in Production (regardless that it’s known as the “paper edit”) is as a result of this ultimate script could be utilized by Jane and Colin to file the intro, outro, and interim sections of every episode.

Wrangling the files

Collaborating on the post-production course of with Jane and Colin in Massachusetts, Adam in New York, and me out in California required a stable collaboration platform. So, we turned to Frame.io. We used the positioning for storing interviews, media clips, and transcripts. It additionally allowed us to supply feedback on episode drafts.

After every session, I had friends ship me their facet of the native recording through WeSwitch. I’d then add these to our Frame.io account as nicely.

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Editing and review

I edited a few the episodes, however all of the others have been edited by Adam Day or third events.

We selected to outsource right here as a result of there’s more than meets the attention with regards to enhancing audio. You should think about issues like balancing audio ranges, compression, successfully weaving in music, after which exporting the very best quality within the smallest potential package deal.

Hiring a devoted audio engineer with the particular instruments to do all of that is best if you’d like the best-sounding present. Even for the couple episodes that I edited, we had a professional engineer end the ultimate polish. (It goes past the scope of this text to get into all of the sorts of software program you should use to edit your podcast. So read this if you wish to study more!)

For these of you who use any type of video collaboration platforms, you perceive the significance of getting one centralized hub for feedback and suggestions. During the enhancing course of, drafts could be uploaded to Frame.io, the place the collaboration would start.

Once an episode was accomplished, we’d get to work with the social media and advertising groups to start out selling the episode.

Audiograms and social media playing cards could be created and used throughout Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Every different week, Adam and I might meet with Wistia’s Marketing Manager, Tyler Borchers, to debate the advertising technique for every episode (e.g. which sound bites to make use of, when to submit, tagging friends, and so on.). Then Wistia’s Social Media Manager, Frank Emanuele, (star of Wistia’s Social Media Guide), would create URL shorteners for every platform so we might observe the place clicks to the present originated.

I’ve had the pleasure of manufacturing a lot of podcasts for practically 15 years, and I can truthfully say the work we did on A Better Workplace is a few of my proudest. Great hosts. Great friends. Great classes to be discovered. I encourage you to hear.

And, talking of classes discovered, I hope you’ve discovered this weblog submit a priceless one on how you can produce your personal podcast. Please all the time be at liberty to e mail me when you have any questions.

About the writer

Ron Dawson

Owner, Blade Ronner Media

Ron Dawson is Owner and Lead Content Strategist for Blade Ronner Media. He combines an eclectic mixture of expertise from a 25+ yr profession working for giant and small corporations. Prior to beginning Blade Ronner Media, he acted as managing editor and senior content material advertising supervisor of Frame.io’s weblog, serving to it develop to turn into one of the revered within the trade.

Now he works along with his purchasers to create results-oriented advertising and content material. He presently serves because the managing editor for each the Film Riot weblog and OWC’s Rocket Yard weblog, and director of content material for the social media sharing platform UNUM. He’s additionally the host and producer of the filmmaker podcast Crossing the 180, a part of Pro Video Coalition’s Art of the Frame podcast community.

Ron is a prolific writer on Medium, has written for quite a few trade web sites and magazines, is co-author of ReFocus: Cutting Edge Strategies to Evolve Your Video Business, and is most not too long ago the writer of a satirical memoir (quickly to be printed). Once upon a time, he danced in a semi-professional Lindy Hop swing dance troupe.

About the writer

Ron Dawson

Owner, Blade Ronner Media

Ron Dawson is Owner and Lead Content Strategist for Blade Ronner Media. He combines an eclectic mixture of expertise from a 25+ yr profession working for giant and small corporations. Prior to beginning Blade Ronner Media, he acted as managing editor and senior content material advertising supervisor of Frame.io’s weblog, serving to it develop to turn into one of the revered within the trade.

Now he works along with his purchasers to create results-oriented advertising and content material. He presently serves because the managing editor for each the Film Riot weblog and OWC’s Rocket Yard weblog, and director of content material for the social media sharing platform UNUM. He’s additionally the host and producer of the filmmaker podcast Crossing the 180, a part of Pro Video Coalition’s Art of the Frame podcast community.

Ron is a prolific writer on Medium, has written for quite a few trade web sites and magazines, is co-author of ReFocus: Cutting Edge Strategies to Evolve Your Video Business, and is most not too long ago the writer of a satirical memoir (quickly to be printed). Once upon a time, he danced in a semi-professional Lindy Hop swing dance troupe.

Jerry Gordon

About Jerry Gordon

Webmaster, nature and tech lover. Jerry manages the day-to-day operations at DigiToolsadvisor. He loves enjoying his free time, but most of all, trying new tools to master.