Why Podcasting? Interview with Paula Okonneh

Podcasting has been around for years and has made a great impact on many companies. Paula Okonneh of “Chatting with the Experts” shares her podcast strategy. Paula Okonneh is the owner of two separate Podcasts. She is sharing in this interview how she started Podcasting and how it changed her business in a big way.

Paula Okonneh is the owner of two separate Podcasts, including one being a Panel Podcast, and is sharing in this interview how she started Podcasting and how it changed her business in a big way including how she shows up for networking. Podcasting has impacted her credibility and visibility and had the wonderful side-effect to increase her confidence at the same time.

Podcasting versus Public Speaking

If you struggle with Public Speaking, Podcasting can be a great first step to building the confidence you need to speak in front of groups or on camera. Paula is going to share in this interview how this worked for her.

Contact Paula on Social Media:

 

Transcript:

Petra:                     

Hello and welcome. I’m so excited to be with you here today for one of my VIP interviews, my expert interviews. Today I’m here to introduce you to Paula Okonneh. Paula works with entrepreneurs and professionals who want to create a complete and sophisticated business profile online.

I met Paula probably two years ago now in North Carolina when I was speaking at the eWomen chapter there. And we’ve been in connection ever since and so I wanted to bring Paula on to my VIP interviews and I’m really excited for you to be here.

Paula works with you whether it’s a mobile-ready website that you need or you want to do interview-styled podcasts. Paula can customize any service to your needs. When she’s not working with entrepreneurs and professionals you can find her listening to Wharton Business Radio and I want to hear more about that and spending time with her family. Welcome so much on my little show here today.

Paula:

Thank you Petra for having me. I’m super excited to be on.

Petra:

Awesome. Thank you so much. Tell me a little bit more, podcasting. When we discussed to do this interview we talked that we really wanted to figure out a bit more in podcasting. You’ve been doing this for how long now?

Paula:

I’ve been doing this since 2015. I’ll give you a little background about how I came into it. I was looking for something to make me stand out a bit from the crowd, the crowd of people who do—not a crowd of people but web design and development is my business. I noticed when I went to networking meetings I mentioned what I did and it didn’t cause a buzz and I thought what can I do differently.

As I was driving to a client’s business one day I was listening to the radio and someone started talking about podcasting and what podcasting has done for her. I was so intrigued. I called my client and said I’m going to run a few minutes late. I didn’t tell her why then but I needed to hear the tail-end of it.

Basically the person was speaking about what podcasts have done for her and that it’s a phenomenal way of marketing and that it’s a marketing tool that not a lot of people know about. I go that’s it, that’s exactly what I want to do.

So between listening to that on the radio and actually producing my podcast took exactly 12 months because I’m a perfectionist and I wanted everything to be perfect. I couldn’t quite get things to be perfect and on the 31st of December 2014 when I released my first one because my goal was to have a podcast out already and people be able to listen to it on January 1st of 2015 and here we are today.

Petra:

Yeah, that’s awesome. I love the story because it shows when we are listening to the radio and we are listening to somebody else’s podcast, we are listening to coaching calls, we are listening to mentor calls.

When we are reading a book just that there’s always something that we can take away from it and when we are open to receiving that I love that you got that message that day when you were driving in your car to get to a client and it made a major difference in how you are showing up in your business now. That’s awesome.

Paula:

Yes, it is.

Petra:

So what exactly is a podcast? If you could tell those of us who have not perhaps thought about podcasting at all, what is it and how do you get started with it?

Paula:

A podcast is really an audio digital file that you can download to your computer or to your mobile device and listen to at your convenience. You heard me mention about listening to the radio in my car and I’m wondering have any of you been in that situation like me where you’ve heard this program and you just want to hear the end of it.

You’ve gotten to where you are going and you are like, oh my gosh I really need to hear the end of this program. That’s where podcasting comes into being because if you have a podcast on your computer or better still on your Smartphone or your iPad you can download it there.

You can subscribe to this program and you can have an opportunity to listen to it at your convenience whether you are walking, whether you are driving because now you can listen to it in the car or even if you are in the gym or in an airplane. Recently I took a very long trip to Australia and podcasts kept me going. I listened to one after the next, it was marvelous. To me now it’s not 16 hours, it’s just down the road for me.

Petra:

Awesome, that is awesome. And that is a great idea of thinking about it from a different angle that it’s just really having all this wisdom in your pocket. It’s like your iPod wisdom that you can carry along. It’s lovely to listen to music but the podcasting will be able to expand you in your life and expose you to new things. I love that.

Paula:

Great, absolutely.

Petra:

How are podcasts similar to public speakers? There are a lot of people who say if I need to speak in front of the microphone or in front of a camera that’s something that really scares me. So how are they different to public speakers?

Paula:

Well, I’m going to flip it this way, if you are afraid of public speaking why not start a podcast? I say that based on my experience. I did not enjoy public speaking, I tell people I would have rather jumped out of a plane than stand in front of an audience of about 10 people and have to speak.

I could do one on ones, I could one on twos but once it became like a little bit more than that I would get so nervous I wouldn’t know what to day. But the podcasting gave me the means of getting my voice out there, maybe you can say hiding behind a microphone but I don’t want to say hiding. So talking to people, lots and lots of people without having to stand in front of them and see them. Does that make sense to you?

Petra:

Oh yeah because I certainly have been struggling a lot with public speaking fear so I can totally relate to that. I do more of a video recording in front of a screen and some people say how can you do that, you just talked to a screen?

For me it’s not like I’m talking to a screen. I’m thinking of all the people who will receive what I’m doing. I can totally relate to that and I love the analogy of saying if you are fearful of public speaking you are a step one that you can do and it’s easier.

Paula:

It’s easier. It’s because of doing some podcasts that I am now a lot more comfortable being in a room full of people and talking about what I do because I just visualize that. It’s a podcast but with people this time and I’ve had the practice.

Petra:

How often do you record your podcast and screen it?

Paula: 

I have two podcasts, I’ll tell you about that. The second one came because of the first one. My first podcast is chatting with experts. I developed that primarily because I wanted to model there’s a personal side to every business.

I would listen as Petra mentioned in my bio, I’d listen a lot to Sirius Radio powered by the Wharton Business School and they had amazing programs. I would sit in my car many a times if I had a long drive, I would just listen to one program after the next, women at work, people especially women talking about how they got into business and ideas and all those sorts of things.

That fascinated me because you hear about like Facebook, there’s somebody who created Facebook. I would love to know what made him think about that, why did he do that, who did he speak with? In my case I was bringing it back home so I would go to network meetings and hear a lot of people talk about their business and give the elevator speeches.

But I wanted to know more than that. I wanted to find out how did you create this business, what was your mission, what was your purpose, what drove you to start a business and why are you doing it? Have you had any successes, have you had any failures?

I found that podcasting gave me that opportunity to do that because now when I wanted to speak to a business owner I wasn’t asking them about business for me. I was asking them about themselves. I was asking them about what was the driving force that made them want to become an entrepreneur of some sort.

It was amazing. I got to know so many people and I guess so many people got to know me. That’s why I named that podcast, Chatting With The Experts because every business owner is an expert in the field of whatever it is that they do.

Petra:

Okay. What was your second podcast? You were saying that you have two and that the other one was a follow-up for the first one.

Paula:    

When I say it was a follow-up it’s because I started the first one that I met the ladies that I’m now in a panel with. And so the second podcast is about technology and about women. I met these ladies because of Chatting With The Experts, my first podcast and when we all came together we described ourselves as Women in Technology.

The main mantra going through all our conversations was where are the women in technology? There are so many women who are professionals in technology but they are not visible.

We wanted to start something that talked about that, showcased women, talked about our own struggles as being women in tech and also to encourage women and girls to know that we didn’t come from a background, we did not start where we are. But we’ve gotten to this point in spite of the stereotypes of women not really being good at technology, engineering, math or science. It doesn’t matter where you are.

If that’s your passion and if it’s something that you really want to do, go for it. That’s what my second podcast is about, it’s about the solo podcast like Chatting With The Experts but it’s more of a hybrid because it’s panel-based.

Petra:      

That’s awesome. It speaks to your passion and it also speaks to how you are building people from the ground, up. How you are lifting others as well at the same time so I love that. I do remember when we talked very early like right when I met you in North Carolina you were telling me that this was something that you had on the horizon. So knowing that you’ve now created it is awesome, congratulations.

Paula:   

Thank you.

Petra:  

So do you feel that somebody who wants to think about okay perhaps they are listening to us the same way that you were listening to the radio those few years ago and they are thinking like okay podcasts, yeah I could do podcasts. Is it important to have a deeper meaning behind your podcast,

So do you feel that somebody who wants to think about okay perhaps they are listening to us the same way that you were listening to the radio those few years ago and they are thinking like okay podcasts, yeah I could do podcasts. Is it important to have a deeper meaning behind your podcast, the why would people create a podcast?

Paula:

It’s necessary I think to have a deeper meaning. I’ll use myself as an example. I was so interested and intrigued by business owners. That drove me to ask the questions to my guests.

If you are going to start a podcast decide on your target audience. Know who they are and then decide if you want to do that as a solo podcaster or in a collaborative form or in a panel form as I do. If it’s going to be as a solo podcaster then you know that you are the one who is going to have to reach out, get the guest, ask the questions and you are going to do the interviewing.

But if it’s going to be like a panel where you are going to have more than one person as the host then it becomes a little bit more interesting I want to say because it’s not just interview style now. It’s a discussion. When I do the other podcast—and it took me a little while to get used to that because I was used to being the interviewer.

But with the panel style it was not just me interviewing a guest but it was all of us interviewing a guest and then interviewing ourselves. So that’s a kind of different dimension and I struggled a bit because I was like, hmm I’m not used to this, I’m used to being the one asking the questions not being asked the questions.

And then I saw it as a way of growing, as a way of now putting myself out there as a form now of one step to public speaking because I was addressing not just audiences that I couldn’t see but also having a conversation with a fellow host on the show.

Petra:

That sounds really interesting. I wonder that must be a little more work to coordinate and to know which person goes in. Are you all sitting in the same room when you are doing this?

Paula:

Yes. We all sit in the same room. It’s actually been easier in some ways because I don’t have to look for a guest by myself, everybody brings guests. We talk amongst ourselves, we collaborate, we work on our strengths and our weaknesses. When I say work on strengths and weaknesses like I had someone who is a great strategist.

One of the ladies there puts together like all the documents that we are going to need for each episode then one of the other hosts is great at asking questions. So she puts all of that together and when she asks those questions they are always so engaging. She has a wonderful voice. I keep telling her your voice is excellent.

And then I guess I’m just kind of the combination of all two. I don’t think I’m the greatest strategist and I don’t think I have the greatest of voices but I bring something to the table obviously.

Petra:

So you brought the idea to the table too. You are the glue that brings all this together. That’s awesome. I love the idea. I’m sure that listeners here are thinking about how could I do that or how could I do that. What are the first steps of creating podcasts? What do you need to put in place? What are the must-haves for a podcaster?

Paula:

Firstly, as I said, was deciding on the target audience so that’s number one. Once you decide on your target audience decide on how you would like your podcast to be. Do you want to be solo like I did with my first one or do you want it to be like a group of you like panel style?

Once you decide on that then the next thing is deciding on okay what are you going to call your podcast? So come up with a name. When you come up with a name then you need to come up with artwork. Most podcasts are listened to on iTunes. They were the original people to start podcasts.

You’ve got to have artwork that fits this specification which is 1400 x 1400 pixels. After you’ve done that you’ve got to start thinking of how you are going to record your podcast. Are you going to do it at home in a home studio or are you going to go to a professional studio?

When I first started I did not know anything about professional studios so my option was just a home studio. Now with a home studio what equipment would I need? I quickly figured out that I needed a computer, I needed a mike—I did some research on that. And then I needed to find out what software program worked best for me.

I didn’t want to spend too much money so I used a free program called Audacity. There are some other recording programs that are available. Adobe has one called Audible and that is on a subscription basis. The one I use is called Audacity. I use that for recording and I also use that for editing.

Then with the home studio again I had to decide whether I wanted to do it through the telephone or by Skype. I had some failures there too because the first podcast that I did after I ended it and I thought it was a great interview, I played it back and I could only hear myself.

Petra:

Oh yeah, I know that with Skype. I’ve had that too.

Paula:

There was a learning curve there. I guess when you’ve got all of those down packed then comes the—some people call it the post recording which is the editing part. Are you going to edit it yourself or outsource because depending on your budget if you are going to outsource it then there’s some money to pay for that.

I had first one of my family members editing for me and then when college got a little bit more I don’t want to say challenging but when he got to his junior year he couldn’t do it any longer and so I had to teach myself that which has been great. Because I’ve learned now that it’s doable.

Those are some of the [0:18:49] of it but on the whole I think podcasting is fun because you get to know your audience. You get to speak to people and as human beings we relate to voices.

Someone said this to me once and it made sense to me afterwards which is the first thing all of us hear is our mothers’ voices when we are in utero and so we as human beings connect to voices. A podcast gives you that opportunity to get that voice out there and people relate to you and they feel almost like you are their friend.

Petra:

Yeah, awesome. The way that you were just going through this it sounds very much like you’ve got a list, a list that you’ve worked out that you know when somebody starts a podcast these are the things to know. Is that so?

Paula:

I do have a list. I don’t have a physical list that I look through. It’s just kind of based on having done that and having spoken about this to a few other people who are interested in taking podcasts, yes there is a list.

Petra:

Yeah, there is a list of things to do. So would you say podcasters are the voice behind businesses and products and services?

Paula:

I would say they are, yes. I don’t have statistics at my fingertips now but podcasters have started to become a lot more popular. People are more aware of what they are now than they were two years ago when I started.

I did mention to you that I wanted to make a difference so when I went to any networking meeting I spoke about some of the things that I did and it did cause a ripple. People were saying what’s a podcast and I said, come talk to me.

Petra:   

Yeah.

Paula:    

A lot more people are aware what a podcast is.

Petra:        

And also of what you are doing so it’s creating a lot more visibility for you and your business. It must have.

Paula:    

It certainly has.

Petra:  

If somebody was to think about adding a podcast to their business what would you say could be the potential results that they would get from offering a podcast?

Paula: 

One big thing would be credibility and the second thing I would say is visibility. As I mentioned I had a lot of businesses, I did and still do web design and development. When I started podcasts I found that a lot more people knew who I was.

I’m not saying that to boast but I’m just saying that in terms of now having doors open for me. Because when I’d call up someone and say I’m Paula Okonneh. I am the host of Chatting With The Experts, it’s a podcast in which we interview business owners. We want to know the stories behind your business, the doors open.

People said yes, I’d love to talk with you. Would you come see me or here’s my card with times when you can come through my office? So that gave me an opportunity to get to know them. I went and met a lot of business owners because I wanted to find out more about them. I wanted to find out the personality behind the business.

Through that, not only did it give me credibility like I said but I also have another business. But it also gave me visibility because I showcased those businesses. People got to know about those businesses. Through them knowing or hearing the stories of these business owners, whether they were solopreneurs or entrepreneurs they got to know and hear the voice of Paula Okonneh. It’s been great!

Petra: 

Awesome. Well thank you so much. Now what I’d like to do is perhaps tell our listeners how they can get in touch with you either because they are interested in your services with regards to websites but also to learn more from you about podcasting. How can the listeners and viewers get in touch with you?

Paula:       

I do have a website. It’s called www.ChattingWithExperts.com. You can find me on LinkedIn, just put in my name Paula Okonneh.

Petra:    

I will put those links under the video, how about that? That’s awesome. Do you have something that our listeners may be able to take away from you? Do you have a download or something that we can direct them to?

Paula:    

Absolutely. I’m giving away today a list on how to create a podcast. I know that Petra did ask me if I have a list and I said no. But I actually do have a list and that’s the gift that I have for you guys so that you can see the steps you can go about creating your podcasts and if it’s overwhelming, call me. I’m also on Twitter, you can search me under Paula Okonneh or Chatting With The Experts and I am on Facebook.

Petra: 

Awesome. Why don’t you send me all the links, the direct links and I will add them all right under the video.

Paula:  

Absolutely. I’d love to do that.

Petra:    

Awesome. Paula, thank you so much for your time and for being with me here today and for sharing your story, how you started with your podcasts and also your tidbits of how to get started with podcasts.

For those of you who are listening now who want to start creating your own podcasts, thinking about that panel version, I love that. And I’d love to get the link to both of your podcasts also added into the page so people can listen in to your podcasts and start subscribing to that absolutely.

Paula: 

Thank you, Petra. This has been fun. Who would have known? As I said podcasts are what have given me the courage to be able to do this. I’d never done this a year or two ago.

Petra:

And you are in front of camera now so your exposure is getting higher.

Paula:    

Yes, yes, yes.

Petra:   

Thank you so much Paula and I will see you again soon.

Paula:  

Sure. Thanks.

 

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