Producing My First Podcast Episodes

Aaron Kaufman of The KW Effect

I’m all about learning new skills and honing my existing ones, so when I was asked to take a stab at producing the Profit Share Mastery podcast, I figured it would be a handy feature to add to my digital toolbox. After all, the process has extensive overlap with past projects and existing capabilities. Working with audio and video isn’t new, so there wouldn’t actually be much to learn.

Skill Stacking

In Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about habit stacking, or latching new habits on the back of old ones. For example, my morning routine includes making coffee in my kettle and French Press, then putting on a vinyl record. My goal is to become a better writer, so while the French Press steeps, I sit down and write a little, like I’m doing right now.

Skills can be looked at similarly.

There’s a reason why learning a third or fourth language is easier, why you pick up a second or third instrument more quickly if you already play one–you are building on an existing skillset.

Putting together my first two episodes of Profit Share Mastery follows suit.

When I volunteered at KSVR, the community radio station in my old home of Skagit County, WA, there were a handful of times I wanted to have my Friday night off. That meant putting together a two-hour audio file packed with songs, me talking, and PSAs. I’d use Audacity to splice the tracks, adjust audio, record voice-over, and, finally, export the final product for air time.

At North Cascades Harley-Davidson, I would film and edit clips to promote and show off new and used motorcycles we’d get at the shop, then promote them on the dealership’s website and on social media.

Both skillsets lent well to my taking on this new one.

(An aside, I strongly recommend checking out Atomic Habits [paid link]. It’s a phenomenal read!)

Profit Share Mastery

Podcasts are a great way to boost your audience, talk about your passions, or promote your brand or personality. They allow for unique connection and influence building. You can leverage others with expertise in the topic at hand, aiding in these goals.

In fact, right now I’m strategizing what I might include in a podcast, should I start one, and what I would call it.

The Profit Share Mastery podcast is a monthly podcast that covers building wealth through Profit Share. In it, the hosts interview Keller Williams agents on how they have found success in recruiting new agents to the company.

In the first episode I put together, the hosts interviewed Aaron Kaufman of #TheKWEffect. Aaron is a vibrant and enthusiastic speaker, and he makes a topic like recruiting through the means of generating internet leads fun and inspiring.

See what I mean:

In particular, I love how he quotes Red from Shawshank Redemption and relates his dialogue that “Geology is the study of time and pressure” to Profit Share. Pure genius!

The Process of Podcast Production

The files come as large, filmed footage files recorded digitally over Zoom. Webcam footage isn’t always the best when compressed in such a manner, but it’s the content that’s the important part.

From there, it’s as simple as affixing the intro clip, intro music, and outro music, and verifying audio levels align properly. There truly isn’t much to it.

Some podcasts are highly edited, requiring a lot more post production splicing and adjustments. Others, like this one, are a cohesive conversation requiring minimal editing within the meat of the file itself.

Podcast Syndication and Distribution

To have your podcast featured on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Spotify, Stitcher, and wherever else you tune in to podcasts, you need to have accounts with those companies and upload new files when they come out.

Enter podcast distributors. These distributors do the heavy lifting for you at a minimal cost per month. By having an account with Simplecast, Liberated Syndication (Libsyn for short), or one of the other seemingly countless distributors and syndication companies, you just need to upload the file and they’ll distribute it for you.

There are other steps, like creating a title, writing a description, uploading an episode image, etc. But once again, this is just skill stacking. As a digital marketer, writing optimized content is nothing new to me.

In the second episode I produced, the hosts interviewed a father who used earnings from Profit Share to help his daughter get to the Olympics. He talks about the costs associated with being a top athlete, and how his journey required a few cross-country moves.

He notes that, were it not for Profit Share, his daughter would not have been able to go to the Tokyo Olympics. They simply wouldn’t have been able to afford it. She is now an Olympic medalist.

Here’s that episode.

Additional Tasks Associated with Having A Podcast

Alright, so you have a podcast. You got it syndicated. All that fun stuff. What next?

There are a few things you should focus on as you continue your podcast journey, and they surround building an audience.

You’ll want to promote it on social media. Have a Facebook page, a YouTube page, Instagram, maybe even throw TikToc into the mix if your target demographic aligns.

Go beyond podcast production itself: pull the best snippets to plug on social media as teasers. I’ll upload these as well as full episodes to YouTube. I’ll share the teasers on Instagram Reels and Facebook Stories. You can use an online design platform like Canva to easily created highly designed-out Reels, affix Thumbnails to your YouTube videos, and more.

Of course, the other thing you want to do is develop a strategy around growing your podcast ratings and reviews. Platforms like Audible and Apple Podcasts use these to rank your podcast. Ratings and reviews will help draw new listeners to your podcast as they improve your ability to be found. Think of it as SEO for your podcast.

Are you looking to start a podcast? What other methods or tips do you have for podcast syndication and distribution? What have you found useful in your journey as a host or a producer? I’d love to hear, so feel free to share below!

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Case Study: Using Google Analytics to Combat Fraud

Nasa Globe

Data is everywhere. When you step back and look at it from a holistic view, it can be quite overwhelming. Take a step closer, and you can begin to connect the dots.

As an E-Commerce Marketing Manager at Vaughan Premier, Ltd, my team leaned heavy on the creative side. I had two to three copywriters who built product pages and created content. I had a photographer and stylist who also acted as my creative lead. I had a graphic designer who also filmed and edited video and managed social media.

They did all of this under my direction, while I took on the roles that required more technical, analytical, and managerial expertise: SEO, SEM, Web Development, etc.

In late 2016 or early 2017, the Customer Service department caught wind of a concerning trend. A few customers called in claiming they had never purchased from us, yet their cards had been charged anywhere from $400 to $700 from our company.

using google analytics to combat fraud
Photo by Jefferson Santos on Unsplash

What was happening?!?

Early Fraudulent Findings

Our early findings found that third parties were using stolen card information to place an order using that individual’s card and billing address, and shipping it to a nearby location within the same zip code.

It was unlikely to be the work of one individual, given that the zip codes spanned the country.

It was possible that some sort of organized crime was taking place, given the breadth of the situation, but also seemed that the amounts were small fries for that type of operation.

No, it was most likely somewhat random individuals following instructions from the dark web to get free product using stolen credit card information. (NOTE: This is all alleged, as we never obtained verifiable proof.)

Using Google Analytics to Combat Fraud in E-Commerce

The Marketing department sat just opposite a cubicle wall from Customer Service. Overhearing the Customer Service manager discussing the issue peaked my interest when she noted that these orders were going to different locations around the country.

At the time, I spent a few hours a day in Google Analytics. While not the most robust analytics system out there, it provided a more than adequate glimpse of customer data.

In e-commerce, you can connect your store and cart to Google Analytics, and create goals to track conversion rate, product purchases, order data, and more. Knowing this, I asked the Customer Service Manager for a list of fraudulent orders.

We knew the fraud was stemming from orders with a different shipping and billing address. If we could find other common data points in how the orders are placed, we can predict whether or not an order is fraudulent.

Patterns Emerge in the Data

What constitutes a pattern? One or multiple data points that align across multiple seemingly random events.

We knew the following simply by knowing which orders were fraudulent:

  1. Only a handful of specific high dollar value items were targeted.
  2. Fraudulent orders would be billed to one address but shipped to another in the same zip code.
  3. Orders only contained one or two unit of those products.

Alright. That’s a starting point. But for a company that shipped out 200 to 300 orders a day minimum, it was far from enough to combat the issue. We needed more.

Knowing the order numbers, I could use Google Analytics to see how those orders were placed and determine whether or not it was fraudulent. Time to connect the dots.

using google analytics to combat fraud
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Google Analytics allowed me to matrix order data from all of the known fraudulent orders. By digging into the specifics of how these orders were placed, and other data within the dashboard, I was able to find several trends:

  • These orders had no Source / Medium attribution. This means they either visited the site directly (example: a URL copied and pasted into the browser) or their source was masked and hidden (clicking a link from a site not visible to Google).
  • These orders landed directly on the Product Page purchased. This means that it was highly targeted. Suspect orders landed on the product page, made the purchase, and left in the matter of a minute or two.
  • Orders targeted similar high dollar value items within the same product category, and they always contained just one unit.

Now we’re getting somewhere. Other commonalities existed, but the above bullets were enough to allow us to flag any order that came in for those items, and check to see if it was fraudulent.

Flagging Potential Fraudulent Orders

Knowing there’s a pattern of fraud means nothing if you cannot develop a way to combat it. Discussing the issue as an interdepartmental management team, we developed a process in hopes of flagging potentially fraudulent orders.

Interdepartmental Monitoring:

The products in question were marked with instructions for warehouse pickers. If the item was the only on an order, these employees would take it to a supervisor for verification and next steps.

e-commerce warehouse
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Warehouse workers were in the loop regarding the type of fraud and the patterns we were seeing. This level of transparency was empowering and rewarding for them when they found such an order.

Being in Google Analytics so frequently, I checked incoming orders regularly, sorted by dollar value, to see if any jumped out as possible issues.

The Customer Service manager monitored incoming orders in NetSuite, our Enterprise Resource Planning system, for the same.

Three departments, all working together, and all in the loop to combat fraudulent activity. So we had a process to flag orders that might be fraudulent. But what next?

A Process for Verification

Potentially fraudulent orders would come to the Customer Service manager, who would work with me to confirm they fit the pattern before taking next steps.

If the data points aligned, we decided we need further verification. We would contact the phone number associated with the order, and request further verification the order was legitimate.

e-commerce customer service
Photo by Berkeley Communications on Unsplash

Given the type of product we sold and the dollar values involved, customers were always happy to provide further verification to confirm their order was legitimate. Due to the types of patterns involved, most orders that had these commonalities were fraudulent.

Thriving at the Intersection of Chaos and Innovation

The owners of the company often said “We thrive at the intersection of chaos and innovation.” It was a mantra we took to heart, and it’s one I continue to hold dear to this day as a personal mantra.

Throughout my career, I have found myself at fast paced, diverse organizations. I have been in roles that require me to pivot from one task to another without hesitation or complaint. Roles that require things to be done one way one day, and another way the next. Days that are truly never the same.

It could be stepping away to devise a plan to combat fraud, creating a contingency plan for large-scale events, or assisting on the sales floor on a busy day.

In today’s professional work environment, we have to be comfortable thriving at the intersection of chaos and innovation.

More posts about work I’ve done can be found soon. See them here.

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