In this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, Steve Brown interviews Jason Boyett, Amarillo resident and host of Hey Amarillo, a podcast centered on Amarillo locals. Jason has a background in advertising and writing, and he decided to start his podcast in order to help fellow Amarillo residents get to know local people. This was a calculated risk, as locally-focused podcasts are in some sense designed to not attract a very broad audience. But Jason has been pleasantly surprised by the positive response his work has received, and by the ways in which it has given him influence and helped forge connections between people.
As a long-time follower of many podcasts, Jason considers the user-experience to be one of the biggest factors in a podcast's success. You can't have a good podcast without a consistent length, format, and frequency. He has personally overcome the challenges of starting a new podcast, including a lack of technical knowledge, the need for consistency, and determining what to talk about during the episodes.
One of the biggest benefits of podcasts he has personally experienced is that they can be formatted in a variety of different ways, giving podcast creators a lot of creative freedom. But Jason's Hey Amarillo podcast has provided some additional benefits that he wasn't expecting. He has built deep relationships with people in the Amarillo community he may have never met otherwise.
On top of hosting the Hey Amarillo podcast, Jason also works as a ghostwriter and copywriter for celebrities, publishing agencies, and other big brands. One of the biggest challenges freelancers face is the inconsistency of work, so he develops close relationships with clients, which allows him to maintain consistent patterns of work week to week. Jason has also published several books of his own, a fact that many of his close friends don't even know about.
Episode # 2 - Jason Boyett - Hey Amarillo Podcast
Jason Boyett is the host of the Hey Amarillo Podcast:
Link to Steve's episode on Jason's podcast: http://heyamarillo.com/steve-brown
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Jason Boyett: 0:02
And this is unique, I think, to podcasting: the connection that a person on a podcast, whether it's the host, whether it's a guest, whether you've got a podcast that's a panel of people...There's something very powerful about having someone's voice in your ear for several minutes a week, and I think that has to do with how humans have always communicated verbally. And so just the fact that my voice is in my audience's ears every week, it makes them feel like they have a relationship with me.
Steve Brown: 0:42
Hi everybody. Welcome to the ROI Online Podcast, where we believe you, the courageous entrepreneurs of our day, are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grip, and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown, and this is a place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Jason, thank you so much for joining us.
Steve Brown: 1:15
Glad to be here, Steve. I did not realize I was a hero of the American economy, but I'll take it if that's what you want to call me.
Steve Brown: 1:22
Well, you are. Did you know there's some stats that I came across that really blew me away? And it's that 98% of the businesses in the American economy have 20 or less employees.
Jason Boyett: 1:36
Steve Brown: 1:38
So what does that mean? That means that over half of the workforce in the American economy worked for those folks. So who are those folks? Well, they're everyday people like you, like me. And they have these folks that come to work for them that they're paying bills or buying houses, they're putting their kids to school, because the heroes of the American economy, as I call them, had the audacity to start a business. And yet they're doing it all on their gumption.
Jason Boyett: 2:11
Steve Brown: 2:12
They had the audacity to start a business, even though maybe they're not qualified in every aspect of running a business.
Jason Boyett: 2:20
That's familiar to me.
Steve Brown: 2:21
Yes. So you think about how many hats do you wear a day?
Jason Boyett: 2:25
Several. Some of them I wear very, very well. And a few of them I do not wear very well at all.
Steve Brown: 2:31
Exactly. But yet you just step into the day and do the best you can with what you got.
Jason Boyett: 2:37
Steve Brown: 2:38
So, Jason, I'm, um I'm excited to have you. You know what I learned about you? You had started a podcast, and I really admired that. And I loved it because one of the things that I have an expectation of my clients and of ourselves is to produce content on a regular basis.
Jason Boyett: 2:56
Steve Brown: 2:57
So I respect that, and I like that. And that's why I wanted to sponsor your podcasts there for a while. I think it's a great example of someone just sitting down and starting it and figuring out. And so I'm curious, tell me about what was the triggering event that made you go, "I'm going to start this podcast."
Jason Boyett: 3:20
First of all, thanks again for sponsoring my own podcast. I've told you before, but that was instrumental in me feeling like not only that I could do it, which I knew I could do, but that I could do it and feel OK about the time I was investing into it. Because, like you said, I'm a sole provider. I am a one-person shop, you know, in my business. And so my time is valuable, and I was starting a podcast when I had the idea. And I wanted to make sure that it wasn't just a labor of love, but it was something I could justify within, you know, the way that I ran my business.
Jason Boyett: 3:57
So I've been working for about 20 to 25 years in the advertising industry. The last 12 years, I have been out on my own as a full-time professional writer, primarily providing copyrighting services in the corporate world. So for a lot of businesses, for a lot of nonprofits... and my client bases all over the United States. So I live here in Amarillo, Texas. I grew up in Amarillo. This has been my home. This is where my family lives and my wife and I wanted to raise our kids. But my work life, because it's all digital, it's all over the Internet is completely disengaged from this area. And so I'm working with people in Washington D.C. or Colorado Springs or Fresno, California and was not doing a lot of stuff here in Amarillo other than one or two clients.
Jason Boyett: 4:57
And so I've always been a fan of podcasts. Been listening to at least a couple of podcasts for 11 or 12 years. I mean, almost since podcasts were invented, you know, as a media. So I was thinking at one point, it was specifically I was coming back home from one of my son's basketball tournaments and was listening to an interview podcast in which the guest for that show was actually someone I know, a writer friend of mine. And this was one of those sit-down things. It's a 45 or 60 minutes show, and the interviewer in this podcast was just interviewing my friend about his life and his work. And I just was learning things about this guy that I did not know. I had known him for several years, but him having the opportunity to sit down, talk about his life for 45 uninterrupted minutes, I was just like, "This is why I love podcasts." I was just thinking about that. "Podcasts are great. I'm learning all this stuff about Jeff." And then I started thinking about the people that I knew in Amarillo. I've been a journalist here for years. I've interviewed dozens and dozens of people for magazine articles and other publications in this area. And I thought, there's some really fascinating people in Amarillo that I'm sure my neighbors and my colleagues have no idea about.
Steve Brown: 6:22
Jason Boyett: 6:22
They don't have any idea what this person does or that this person has a business that has an influence and a reach far outside this area, or this person lives here in Amarillo but you could walk down the streets of New York City with them, and people would recognize them. I knew these people, but I didn't think Amarillo knew these people. And so I started thinking, "You know, what if there was an interview podcast where you just sat down and let somebody tell their story? And what if it was not something that was trying to get a national or international reach like most podcasts do? You know, you want to have a million listeners all over the world. What if it was one that just focused on a local area?" And I thought, "Well, there's a reason nobody's done that because you're limiting your audience. You might have in a city like Amarillo, best-case scenario you have 200,000 listeners. That's not a huge podcast in this day and age."
Jason Boyett: 7:16
And so I just started thinking about it, and I thought and thought, and I thought that somebody should really try that and see if it works. And I thought about it long enough that I finally talked myself into being the person to figure out if it really would work and take that leap and kind of experiment. And so I launched the show. It's called "Hey Amarillo." I launched it in 2017 in the fall as a weekly podcast. Every week I interview a different person who, in most cases, who lives in Amarillo and a few cases has an Amarillo tie like they used to live here and they've moved elsewhere. But it's primarily local people. My audience is local, but it has grown to an extent that it's fairly high profile in this area. And I hear from people all the time that I don't know, people that I'm not intimately connected to but know my show and listen to it week in and week out. And so it's... I treated it as an experiment. I think it's been a successful experiment, a locally focused podcast that is viable, you know, after two years and 125 episodes.
Steve Brown: 8:23
That's a lot of work. That's a lot of investment of time and focus with no guarantee of a payoff so to speak. I'm curious. First of all, you know, the traditional way of thinking is, "Why didn't you just go and get on a radio show and have an hour a week on some radio station?"
Jason Boyett: 8:44
True. I probably could have done that if I worked hard enough. I have contacts in local radio here in Amarillo. I don't personally listen to talk radio, and I listen to eight hours of podcasts a week and zero hours of radio. So I wasn't interested in that medium. And I really am one of these people. I'm not a millennial. I'm 45 years old. But I believe that podcasts represent one of the next big waves of how people communicate. And just as Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime are replacing traditional cable or satellite TV, you know, for a generation of people. Podcasts are doing that for that same generation. And so I didn't care enough about it to go through the trouble of starting a radio show. I wanted to do it digitally, and I wanted to do it with something that I had control over that had ownership over that I could do according to my terms and not trying to partner with, you know, some other radio program.
Steve Brown: 9:46
Exactly. So in other words, you own your content.
Jason Boyett: 9:50
Steve Brown: 9:51
You decide who your guests are, when you want to interview them. So you have a lot more freedom,
Jason Boyett: 9:56
All the freedom, all the responsibility. So I can't... Other than paying someone at this point to edit my show, it's all within my hands. And so if it's going to get done each week, it's up to me. But that's how I've been operating in my own business, you know, for more than a decade, I'm the sole employee. I'm the one who does stuff. I don't hire anybody out. And so all the content production, whether it's writing or audio, is coming for me anyway. So I know that I can work under those self-imposed deadlines. I know that I can meet my own workflow requirements. And so it just felt like a natural thing for me.
Steve Brown: 10:36
So, being like a pod... You were a podcast before podcasts were cool.
Jason Boyett: 10:42
I was listening to him before they were cool.
Steve Brown: 10:44
Jason Boyett: 10:44
I think the first podcast I ever did was probably around 2010, 2011 because of some of the writing I did. And so I got to appear on some podcasts as a guest and began to figure out how much I personally love the medium and how well it worked, just in terms of communicating with people.
Steve Brown: 11:05
So when you decided, "I'm gonna basically spend up my own channel." That's what a podcast is. You're putting it out there somewhere. You start interviewing people from this area, so you started to decide on what your content was going to be narrowed down to a certain niche or audience as well. Talk to me about, like, what opportunities are what are some unexpected things that have happened that you didn't expect?
Jason Boyett: 11:34
The one that I guess has been the most surprising to me is that it has raised my personal stature in this area, which to me it feels like an odd thing to say. My humility meter, you know, starts to redline when I say something like that because I didn't do it so that people would know who I am. I did it because I thought my guests had stories to tell and I wanted to facilitate that. But then what I found is that... You know, I've been in a restaurant before and someone has heard me talking and recognized my voice because they listen to the podcast and has come and introduced themselves to me. And I didn't know them ahead of time. And Amarillo is not a huge place. You know, I expect to know somebody every time I go in a restaurant. And so that happening was a surprise.
Jason Boyett: 12:25
And it's resulted in me being asked to MC events or to come speak to groups or... It's made me, I think, more of the local media figure in the traditional media figure sense than I thought it might by doing sort of this underground new digital media podcast kind of thing. And so that has been a surprise to me. And I've... The thing, though that I think has been most fulfilling is not that part. It's that people come to me almost every week now and suggest to me someone that I should interview. And so they say, "Hey, I know this person has this incredible story. You should go talk to this person." and so just interpersonally, I've had the opportunity to meet so many interesting people and to build relationships.
Jason Boyett: 13:20
And these relationships that I haven't just been personally fulfilling, but at times have been professionally fulfilling. I mean, I've had people ask me to write something for them that wouldn't have otherwise. I've had people ask me to consult with them because they want to start their own podcasts, and they were inspired because mine was the first one they ever listened to. And so I feel like with any other creative endeavor, there's an aspect of it that is inspiring to people that inspires them to create something of their own or to participate by giving me guest ideas or whatever that is. And that part has been very fulfilling to me. It's connected me more deeply to the place that I live, and that's one thing that I think probably was in the back of my mind as I started it. I want to invest more in this city, but the degree to which that has been satisfying to me was not something it really anticipated.
Steve Brown: 0:00
You know, I'm thinking that... The folks that are listening to this, they're the business owners. You know, they're coming to the realization that they need to position themselves better for modern marketing. And it's not exactly clear the best way to go about it. And what you're talking about is, because you started to have these conversations, you've had a lot of opportunities come to you. Valuable ones that you didn't expect, just because you were starting to deliver or share the knowledge that. you had or pull knowledge out of others. And I think that's an excellent example of what someone legitimately could expect as a business application of a podcast. Would you agree?
Jason Boyett: 14:15
I do agree, and you know, that's something that I think probably has been in the back of my mind for years. You know, I've spent 15 or 20 years not only as a copywriter but as an author and so I've written several books. And one of the things that publishers were always interested in when you send them a book proposal is: They want to know what your platform is. How big is your platform? Because they want to know how many guaranteed sales is your book going to have before they agree to anything. And so that's why 15 years ago, you saw this huge outgrowth of blogging. People who wanted to write books but didn't have a platform, so they started a bl hoping that they can build an audience, that they can provide content, that that content would draw in a potential customer base for a book.
Jason Boyett: 0:00
Well, I think that model is applicable to any kind of industry beyond publishing. If youThis is the pest control service I use." And so that it really has followed that same model of what content does with the business and establishing that relationship and establishing expertise and drawing people to you and creating that platform that either has a potential to drive sales, to make connections, to do whatever your business needs to do. And so, yeah, it's a form of content, and that's what content does when you handle it correctly.
Steve Brown: 17:25
You know that... I think the thing that you and I are doing for our clients or the people that we advocate for is that we're helping them better communicate to their audience.
Jason Boyett: 17:38
Steve Brown: 17:38
I think that's like the number one problem that every business, brand, church, school coach, parent has is struggling to communicate better. And that's like... We suck at communications naturally. We have to really work hard to get it, and so to have someone like you or us to help them get their message clear and communicate more value but connect, that's... What started to make more sense to me, everybody talks about producing content, producing content, but it's a higher thing. And what you're talking about is universal through time. Right now we're talking about podcasts, a digital file sitting somewhere that someone will listen to it sometime. But 4000 years ago, the leader had to communicate something to his tribe or to his followers and needed to be good, and the ones that were good at it ruled the world. Ones that sucked...
Jason Boyett: 18:44
...did not have any followers.
Steve Brown: 18:46
Right? And so that's all you're doing.
Jason Boyett: 18:48
Yeah, and I think that that one of the most interesting byproducts of it has been the connection. Just... And this is unique, I think, to podcasting: the connection that a person on a podcast, whether it's the host, whether it's a guest, whether you've got a podcast that's a panel of people, there's something very powerful about having someone's voice in your ear for several minutes a week. And I think that has to do with how humans have always communicated verbally. And so just the fact that my voice is in my audience's ears every week makes them feel like they have a relationship with me. Whether I know them or not, they feel like they know me, and that relationship builds trust. And so it adds a heavier weight to the things that I say. And when I invite a guest on the show, I act as sort of a gatekeeper for that guest and their ideas. And so I think sometimes it elevates the guest because they trust me to have chosen somebody who I think is worth listening to. And so in all these different ways, you know, this creative energy of the podcast is because it's regular. Because they enjoy the show. Because it's familiar to them. And then because all those things work together to make them trust it, it elevates the content in a way that maybe I couldn't even do if I was just writing these things down.
Steve Brown: 20:26
Jason Boyett: 20:27
I think the audio nature of it, the interpersonal nature of it, gives greater weight to some of the ideas. And that's fascinating to me.
Steve Brown: 20:37
And makes them more human.
Jason Boyett: 20:38
Right. And as a writer, that's something I care about because I'm doing that all day long for my clients, and I'm just writing. I'm not saying things. I'm not recording things for them. And so you see that the written word is great, but then the spoken word has some other strengths than you get when you're just writing. Just like TV, like visuals have another strength, can elicit more emotion, maybe than just audio alone can. And so all these different things have their strengths, and you start to get to realize that each one can do a different thing. And it's that ability to provide something of everything that can be really effective for a company. Whether it's a blogger, whether it's videos they're producing, whether it's podcast they're producing, being able to sort of scattershot in all these different approaches is going to hit different needs. It's gonna have different results.
Steve Brown: 21:31
We talk about HEO. I think that one of the traps of modern marketing is designing for robots or trying to please Google and the SEO stands for search engine optimization. And we say, "Forget that. Focus on HEO, human experience optimization." And that supersedes all of that and what you just described about that voice in the ear, about the trust and the passion that comes out, is a beautiful example of HEO in play. That's where the future is for modern marketing, so to speak, is becoming more human. We're moving out of an industrialized nature, if you will, of being yelled at by advertisements to this rebellion. To like you described. I just didn't... I wanted to have control, and I want to set up my own platform, and I wanted to start connecting with this meaning behind it, with this passion, and that's HEO. That's a great example of that.
Jason Boyett: 22:39
Yeah, I think so, too. And it's been incredible the way that this project has connected with people in Amarillo. You know, in thinking about a city or region and coming up with a product like mine that celebrates the people that live there. I was interested in it just in seeing if it would work and wanting to tell some stories. And then I've seen what it does is it has made people feel better about living here. It has made people feel proud of the city because they see what it produces. It has served to attract people to this area. I've heard from listeners who were like, "I got a job in Amarillo. I was moving here, but I didn't know anything about this city. So I started listening to your podcast and, you know, three months later, when I finally did move, I feel like I already knew the place I was moving to." And so being able to have those human connections, whether it's someone who's lived here all their life, someone who's just discovering, somebody who's traveling here or passing through here, has been really encouraging aspect of it for me. It's one of those results that you don't anticipate when you're thinking, "There should be a podcast that does this thing." It takes dozens and dozens of those podcasts, dozens of guests, to really create this larger thing that you didn't anticipate at the very beginning,
Steve Brown: 24:07
Right. We're gonna take a moment here so I can tell you about a book I believe you need to read. Most every day for the last 10 years, I've worked with business leaders such as you. And there's this common conversation that I've had over and over. And it goes a little like this, "Steve. I see other brands excelling online, and I feel we need to do the same because my customers are expecting it of us. I'm not sure where to start, but I think we need to redo our website. What's the best way to approach this?" And this is why I wrote my book, "The Golden Toilet: Stop Flushing Your Marketing Budget into Your Website and Build a System That Grows Your Business." It's a book designed to empower my business leaders so that they have the words and the proper expectations to communicate what it is they really need and get what they really need instead of something that's sold to them. It puts them in a position of confidence and clarity. And so to get this book, it's a great read, you can go to Amazon and get it there or you can go to thegoldentoilet.com and click on "Get Your Copy." Now back to our conversation. So when you think about folks that they're starting to consider, "OK I'm my I might could see myself doing a podcast, but..." Talk to me about the common objections and what you would say to those common objections.
Jason Boyett: 25:52
I think the most common objection would be I would like to do a podcast, but I don't know anything about it. And that's a legit hurdle to get over.
Steve Brown: 26:06
That's what I thought.
Jason Boyett: 26:07
It has some technical things, but the bar for entry is really very low. It's just like with... 2007, 2008, when people were starting to think about blogs and blogging. You had a lot of bloggers who became very popular, who started making money on their blogs, and they knew nothing about how to do that when they started. But you had tools like WordPress, BlogSpot, and places like that that would help facilitate the creation of a blog, the publication of a blog. Well, podcasts are in a similar place in that there are countless different businesses online now that can help you create one. So all you really need to be able to do to do it at the most basic level is you need to be able to record yourself talking. Well, guess what? We all have smartphones that can do that, you know.
Jason Boyett: 27:01
And so, yes, it helps if you know a little bit about how to record audio or how to edit. If you know a little bit about marketing yourself. But you could record a podcast by recording a file on your phone and uploading that to Dropbox and then just giving a lot of people your dropbox link. People could listen to a show that way, and I've talked to students at school... I've said, "If you want to do one, and you don't have any money, do that first and see if people resonate with it." And then you can look into, "Well, how much should I pay to host it? Or should I get a nicer microphone?" And so the barrier to entry is much lower than people think.
Jason Boyett: 27:41
I think, beyond actually starting it and doing it, the hardest part after that is the consistency because a podcast is like a TV show. If you started watching a TV show and you watch the first episode and you thought, "Oh, this is great. I guess it'll be on next Tuesday and I watched the second episode." And then next Tuesday rolls around and the show's not on. Well, then you're gonna lose interest. There's got to be that regular occurrence. You have to expect it to arrive and then find it where you want to find it. And so when people start a podcast, and they think, "I'm gonna do a weekly podcast." And they do three weeks in a row, and then they get busy and they miss the fourth week, and in the fifth week, they release it on a Thursday rather than a Tuesday. When you start to lose that regularity, that's where podcasts lose their audiences. That's where they fail. So I think the best thing I ever did was deciding I'm going to release this every Monday. And I have not missed a Monday for 30 months now. And that's the hardest part because, when you commit to a podcast, you're committing not just to making this one show, this first show, but making that one and every one after that until you stop the show altogether. And that regularity is very difficult for someone who treats it as maybe a hobby. Or maybe a thing I might try to do as opposed to, "All right, this is my job. Now I'm going to do this."
Steve Brown: 29:11
So I'm hearing commitment.
Jason Boyett: 29:13
Commitment is a big deal. Yeah.
Steve Brown: 29:14
So what would you say to someone that would go, "But what do I know? I mean, what am I going to say?" Or almost like, "Should I even give myself permission? I don't know that much. People know way more than me."
Jason Boyett: 29:30
Well, in that case, I would recommend that they do a show like this where you interview somebody who has experienced beyond. That's why I'm not comfortable in this place where you're asking me questions because I want to be the one asking questions, because then you rely on the expertise of someone else instead of your own opinion and the things that you want to say. Because I run out on that really quickly. And so you know, there's a lot of different formats for podcasts. The kind where it's just a single person's voice giving advice or talking about something you're an expert in. You've gotta have a deep, deep well to draw from, or your show's gonna get repetitive.
Jason Boyett: 30:13
And so often that takes, like, really sitting down and scripting out a show or knowing what you're gonna talk about. And it should probably be a short show. I wouldn't make it an hour and a half podcast of you just spilling your guts alone. So that's why interview shows are very popular. Shows that have guests. That's why panel shows are very popular. If you have like a political panel that's talking about current events or a cultural panel that's talking about movies and you've got two or three people, then it's a conversation that's driven by multiple voices. Multiple perspectives. And that's a lot more sustainable than me just talking into a microphone for several minutes on a weekly basis.
Jason Boyett: 30:55
So that's why those different formats... If you're starting one, you really need to know, "What is my format going to be? How often am I going to release an episode? Because once I commit to that, I'm not gonna change it." And sit down and decide all that beforehand. Because otherwise, if you're just kind of feeling your way through it, either you're relying on your audience to follow you as you're just kind of stumbling in the dark, or you take this weird shift and you lose a lot of people because all of a sudden your weekly show turned into once a month show or your single voice show turned into me plus my three best buddies because I got tired of hearing myself. And so, yes, you're building the trust of the audience. To keep that trust, you've got to keep that familiarity that they have come to love and that does require commitment. It's a big, big part of whether or not your podcast is a success.
Steve Brown: 31:48
You know, when I listen to... I noticed that when I listen to things, like when I'm driving or when I'm busy or something... The length of the piece that I want to listen to, I noticed that I look at how long it is and I choose the longer ones rather than the shorter ones. Because if it's just five minutes, that means I got to stop what I'm doing after five minutes and pick something else.
Jason Boyett: 32:11
Steve Brown: 32:12
Talk to me about why you decided on the length of yours or does that just happened? Or did you like, really kind of study and think it through?
Jason Boyett: 32:21
I did think it through. Originally, I intended my show to be 35 to 40 minutes, and my first few episodes were about that length, and it started growing a little bit longer just because I found it more comfortable for me to maintain less control over the conversation I was having with my guest, When it was at 35 minutes, I had eyes on my watch and I'm stopping my guest, you know, in order to move to the next question. I'm trying to rein them in so that I can hit this time thing. And that to me felt like I was trying to have too much control over it. And so by sort of allowing my podcast to extend to about 45 minutes or 50 minutes at this point, it's a little more comfortable for me as the host, I think a little more comfortable for the guest because I'm not trying to corral them. But it's still, I think, a good length. And the way that I think about it, because this is how I typically listen to a podcast is, I listen to it while I'm working out for the day, and traditionally that takes me about 45 minutes, whether I'm going for a jog, whether I'm going to the gym. Whatever that is, 40 to 50 minutes is like the sweet spot for that, and so that's about what my show is.
Jason Boyett: 33:40
Now. If I'm driving and listening to something, I'll listen to an hour and half show. But rarely do I do that just on a daily basis, because then I know I won't finish it while I'm at the gym. And then I'll have to stop, you know, with 15 or 20 minutes left. So part of it is just the way that I use podcasts myself as the accompaniment while I do another thing. And so that's why I think that 35 to 50 minute window is kind of a sweet spot, because it's something that you can do during lunch. Or you can do while you're commuting, you know, to work and from work, depending on where you live or while you're exercising. It's not an hour and a half or two-hour commitment and it's not over in 10 minutes, and then you have to find something else to listen to.
Steve Brown: 34:25
Right. So who are some of the folks that you love to listen to?
Jason Boyett: 34:30
I tend to listen to podcasts more these days as a replacement for the news. You know, the time is gone where you watch the evening news on your TV or even read the paper for a lot of people. And so this is how I catch up on current events. And so I listen to a few political podcasts. Some of them are news agencies like NPR will have a daily or weekly podcast that just kind of breaks down, "This is the stuff that's happening." The New York Times has a podcast called "The Daily" that is a daily interview with a reporter about issues that they're writing about and as a journalist myself, I think that's fascinating because you have this written piece that might be the front page of The New York Times, but this podcast is an interview with the reporter who wrote that piece. And so they're talking through their sources. They're talking through their understanding of this thing that they're writing about. And so it's a nice backdoor into learning stuff like that, and that's one of those podcasts... It's about 25 minutes long, and it is out every day. Has a host, has a guest, you know, and so it's a very... A format that they don't often break. So that's one that I listened to.
Jason Boyett: 35:42
Ezra Kline is a podcaster and a journalist. He has a show called "Ezra Kline Show" that I think, probably has influenced my style more than almost anything else. Just him as an interviewer and the way that he approaches guess and sort of the open-ended way that he asks questions, how he introduces his guests... It wasn't intentional, but the more I listened to my own show and his show, I hear overlaps like even in the way we talk. So I think that's been a big influence on me, whether I knew it was or not.
Jason Boyett: 36:14
And so those are the types of podcasts I tend to listen to the most regularly. I get into other ones that are more narrative long-form, where you might have eight episodes exploring this one big story. And that's a very different type of podcast. It's a limited season, but those can be really interesting. The most recent one that I've been listening to in that regard is called "Boom Town," and it's produced by Texas Monthly, and it's about life in Midland and Odessa during the boom of the oil boom and the bust seasons and how that impacts all these different businesses. It's just really digging into this one story in this one place.
Jason Boyett: 36:56
But, you know it. It just shows how broad of a medium it is and that you can tell stories that are nonfiction. You can tell fictional stories. There are some excellent podcasts that are long-form and that air just telling this one big made-up story. You can do topical stuff that's tied to something that happened yesterday and the podcast "The Daily" comes out tomorrow and talks about it. So there's just so many different places you can go as a consumer of podcasts that I love. But also, as a producer of a podcast, I keep thinking, "Oh, maybe I should try that. You know, that seems really interesting. How would that work if it's just focused on a city like Amarillo?" And it gives me the itch to maybe tell a longer form story that's tied to the area that's separate from these week to week interviews that I do. And so I'm always inspired to try something else. I haven't yet done it, but I keep thinking, "Ah, that would be fun to give that a shot."
Steve Brown: 37:57
I think that people would love that to have... You could have special episodes from time to time. So for my book, I just finished doing the audible version of my book, and I mentioned several authors and there's other topics in there. And so I'm starting to interview those folks, and I'm gonna add those interviews at the end as bonus content. But I want to also release those during this podcast as like a special episode. not necessarily in the typical format. I think that'd be a great idea.
Jason Boyett: 38:35
DVD Extra, but with a podcast.
Steve Brown: 38:38
Yeah, I'm sure you could... There's a lot of really interesting stories that people don't know about for Amarillo.
Steve Brown: 38:45
Steve Brown: 38:46
That, you know... I've stumbled into some, like, true crime or I don't know what the other one is, but super interesting. You get sucked into, like four or five or six episodes. "Dirty Bob" was on that was fascinating.
Jason Boyett: 39:03
I think that obviously those are super popular right now, the true-crime ones. The hesitation for me, and this is just my own personal hesitation, is those air more tightly edited. And so it's not just me sitting down with you. The two of us talk. I have a file. I upload that file and you got a podcast. These required multiple interviews. Sometimes there's spooky music, you know, or there's snippets of conversation. And so it's a much bigger leap on the editing side and so that does require a lot bigger investment than just, you know, two guys sitting in a chair and having a conversation.
Steve Brown: 39:43
Right. If someone wanted to work with you, describe who those people are and how you can help them.
Jason Boyett: 39:51
Do you mean, like with my day job or in the podcast world?
Steve Brown: 39:55
Well, either whatever... You know, there's folks that come to you. You talked about being a ghostwriter. You've done some...helped people write books. There's... So talk to us a little bit about if someone is listening to this podcast and they're curious. Maybe that now they've been hearing you in their ear and they're going, "I'm I wonder if he could help me." What what would that be? And who are they?
Jason Boyett: 40:17
The place that I really excel and have sort of carved out my little corner of the market is as a writer who has not just a grasp of the way to tell a story creatively, but also enough of a journalism background, enough of a marketing background, that I can pull all those things together to benefit a client and to do it on a regular basis. And so, like I said, I started in the advertising industry. I did graphic design for a long time. I did creative direction for a long time. I was involved in all these different elements and started to see that there are a lot of people who were good at photography or good at logo design or good at page layout, but still nobody could right. And so I sort of narrow down what I did to the writing side of it because I had less competition and I still have less competition, right. There's not very many people who feel comfortable doing the kind of stuff that I do, and that's why they pay me to do it.
Jason Boyett: 41:20
And so the companies that I have really targeted and valued as clients are the ones that need a regular amount of content, month to month, and need to just throw an assignment at me and know that I'll get it done without needing my hand to be held or anything like that. And so I develop these long term relationships to where I know the voice of the company. I know what they expect. I know how fast they need it. I know what works for them and who their audiences is. They don't need to manage me at all. And so I operate in a lot of cases... I've had clients come to me and say, "Yeah, we just let go a team of copywriters, but we need somebody to fill in the gaps and we don't want to hire somebody," and so they contract with me. And so I'm doing the work of a full-time employee or maybe a couple of full-time employees, but I'm not a full-time employee, which obviously is beneficial to somebody who doesn't want to pay all the medical benefits and stuff like that.
Jason Boyett: 42:23
But I have a close relationship with those clients and that I might as well be an employee because I know everything that they do, and I know their voice well enough that I can speak on their behalf. And so I have clients from a white label travel company in California that does work for big organizations and puts on cruises and tours on the behalf of these other entities. And I work for them on a daily basis, writing blog posts for them, doing work for their clients, ghostwriting as the company itself, and sometimes ghostwriting as the clients that company serves so there's like several levels of ghostliness there. But it's doing things from writing social media to writing emails, to writing blog posts, to scripting videos, all those different kinds of things. And that's just for one company. And it's an ongoing amount of thing. I know I'm gonna have this many hours of work every month. It's going to be the same general sphere of of stuff, and so it's mutually beneficial. They have pseudo employees they can trust who will prioritize their work. They don't ever email me and say, "I wish Jason would respond. You know, I haven't heard from him in a couple of days." I'm there because they're my boss.
Jason Boyett: 43:40
And so that sort of relationship is the one that I have valued over the years and developed over the years and that I now have 10 to 12 of those clients, and I'm working for those clients every week during the same type of stuff. And it's ongoing. I know that I'll have the same amount of work this month as I will next month, but it's all content, you know. And it's content that's talking to totally different audiences. You know, one is the nonprofit world. One is a for-profit travel company. One is a big federal agency that does internal reporting that I write for, um and so there's... It's diverse enough that it keeps me interested. I'm not doing the same thing every day, but I am doing the same thing week after week for these clients.
Steve Brown: 44:27
Jason Boyett: 44:28
And so it's it's enabled me to build a business as a freelancer that has consistency not just of work, but consistency of quantity, of how much I get paid month to month. And obviously that's the scary thing about being a freelancer. You might make this amount this month, and who knows what will happen next month? Well, I kind of know because I have these ongoing relationships and I've prioritized those that had an ongoing nature of work and could pull me in as almost an employee. Just an employee who's not sitting within an office.
Steve Brown: 45:06
Right. A couple more questions. And really, I've enjoyed having you. And this has been excellent conversation. So you've written some books.
Jason Boyett: 45:16
Steve Brown: 45:17
Does everyone know that or... Do many people know that?
Jason Boyett: 45:20
I mean, if you Google me, you'll find those books pretty quickly. A lot of people locally don't know that. They might know my podcast. They don't know my books. I've had guests... I've got some of the covers of my books on the walls of my office, and I'll bring in guests to record a show, and I'll see them looking at those. And after we record their like, "Did you write those? Do you write books? I just thought you were this podcaster. "
Steve Brown: 45:44
Jason Boyett: 45:45
Um, so it's kind of my secret life. Yeah, I started 2004, 2003. Maybe I had always wanted to be a writer, and when I thought about being a writer, I thought that meant writing books. And so I wanted to write books. And just happens to have some of those random relationships that happened online via email and websites and stuff and met some people that were starting a publishing company. They needed a writer who could speak the language of 20-somethings. I at the time was a 20-something, and I had some of the expertise they were looking for and had the opportunity to write a few books with them. That led into several other writing projects, some under my own name, some under other people's names.
Jason Boyett: 46:31
And so I've written about a dozen books you can find that are written by Jason Boyette. I've written another four to five for other people, and you won't find my name anywhere you know, those air, true ghostwritten books. But yeah, it's kind of something that I have done because if you are a writer, a copywriter, or a corporate writer going after a job, and they see on your resume that you have also written 15 books with traditional publishers, that makes you seem a little more legit. And so it's one of those things that hasn't been a huge part of my income. It's hard work to write a book. And it's... You don't make much money but looks good on a resume. And being able to show people an actual product, as you know, a book that has your name on it is a calling card and establishes expertise, even if it's in a totally different subject. It shows that you can sit down and you can write 300 pages about something and get it done. That's impressive. Most people can't do that. And so, yeah, that's it's one of the things that is not super public. A lot of people who are my friends have probably never read my books, but it's something I've done
Steve Brown: 47:48
That's funny. It's kind of hard to get people to... I'm surprised how many people go, "What, you want me to read a book? Yeah, that's a big commitment!"
Jason Boyett: 47:56
Who has time for that?
Steve Brown: 47:58
Yeah. So what's one question that you would you wished I would have asked that you love to answer?
Jason Boyett: 48:05
Oh, man, that's a good question. I'm gonna add that to my own podcast. I'm trying to think of the things that I actually do want to answer because some of the most interesting stuff I do because it's ghostwritten I can't talk about right. So you should ask me, like, "What's the weirdest ghostwriting project you've done?"
Steve Brown: 48:25
So, Jason, I was just wondering, you know, while you're talking about this... I'm curious about... Is there some weird project that you got to write for that you were, like, almost like, "Oh, my gosh, I'm wouldn't have done this. But now this opportunity's here." And you enjoyed it.
Jason Boyett: 48:44
Yeah, that's a good question. So most of my ghostwriting is hidden behind nondisclosure agreements. I can't tell you who I write for, whose voice I have been on social media. I've done celebrity social media, ghostwriting on Twitter and Facebook and stuff like that. So I can't really reveal that even if there wasn't a nondisclosure, I shouldn't reveal that. That's just best practices. But one of the most enjoyable things that sort of happened is I worked for a company that represented a lot of celebrities, celebrity musicians, authors, and did social media for them. So it's the kind of thing that a manager would hire this company to produce social media. That company would hire me. There would be several levels of disconnect between the actual celebrity and myself. And so what I'm pretty much doing is I'm writing a spreadsheet, and that spreadsheet is getting approved by various levels. And sometimes it appears in the celebrity Twitter feed.
Jason Boyett: 49:45
Well, I have one client, you know.... When Twitter began, it was just 140 characters. You would write it... You had to communicate in this very brief amount of space, and you had to be a good rider to master Twitter. That's how I got into social media ghostwriting was that I was good at Twitter. I was an early adopter. I started getting approached to do that for other companies. Well, eventually I got hired by a rap label to do all of their social media through this intermediary, and it shifted as the culture had shifted from being able to write 140 character. Twitter posts to 280 character Twitter posts to finally with this rap label, I was choosing a series of emojis to accompany a graphic. That was my ghostwriting. And so I got paid to produce 20 posts a week that were pretty much just emojis and choosing the right emojis. And not just emojis that I use or that my kids used, but that would appeal to this particular demographic. And so it required me to learn a lot about rap, a lot about that audience, a lot about the music and the themes and all that stuff, so that I could pick an emoji. And so that's sort of the weirdest turn that my social media ghostwriting took was emoji management.
Steve Brown: 51:11
Emoji. So there we go. There's a full circle to HEO and what we were talking.... Emojis have been with us since the beginning of time. We see emojis on or I see them in pictures. But in caves
Jason Boyett: 51:28
Steve Brown: 51:30
And so there we go.
Jason Boyett: 51:32
And that's what's most is super interesting about it is that with the however many emojis we have now, they have different meanings for different people. And so you don't just have to know what you think that emoji means, but how your audience is going to interpret that emoji, and so it requires some anthropological investigation. You know, you've got to know your audience. So, yeah, I say it, I minimize it like, "I've had to pick some emojis." But I had to pick the right emojis, and I had to know what those translated to in this group of people that I was speaking to.
Steve Brown: 52:11
To evoke an emotion, to evoke trust, to evoke some bonding. And some... And to really bring them closer to that brand or that rap label. Right? All right, well, speaking of rap, that is a wrap. This has been a great conversation. I've enjoyed it. And Jason Boyett, that if someone wanted to contact you, where's the best place they could find you?
Jason Boyett: 52:35
I would go to my website, jasonboyett.com where the content has not been updated in months. I'm really good with other people's content. I'm terrible with my own. I'm like one of those unhealthy doctors.
Steve Brown: 52:47
So that 20-year-old version of you is still on the website.
Jason Boyett: 52:50
Yeah, that's right. I look really young. You can see some of my blog posts from 2012 maybe.
Steve Brown: 52:56
All right, so that's jasonboyett.com.
Steve Brown: 52:58
That's right. The podcast is at heyamarillo.com, and you can find it on whatever podcast app you listen to. Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts.
Steve Brown: 53:08
All right, thanks, Jason. And thanks everyone for listening and stay tuned, and we'll have a great episode coming up next week. Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast. For more, be sure to check out to show notes of this episode and feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn where we can chat and I can help direct you to the resource is you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better, be sure to pick up your copy of my book, "The Golden Toilet" at, surprise, thegoldentoilet.com. I'm Steve Brown and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast.