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In this edition of our WPA newsletter we talked with Wendy Bitter, Director of Marketing for Ellenbecker Investment Group to learn more about how they are adjusting their podcasting approach amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Listen to their shows and learn more about the services they offer by visiting http://www.ellenbecker.com/radio or visiting them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ellenbeckerinvestmentgroup

Tell us about your podcasts.

We have two podcasts, Money Sense and Milwaukee’s Philanthropic Community. Both air as radio shows on WISN AM1130 on the weekends. Money Sense has been on the air for nearly 30 years and we interview a variety of guests that relate to finances and personal wealth. We have never sold a product and focus on providing education for our listeners, which makes it a unique financial show. All of our topics relate back to our holistic approach of financial planning and helping individuals manage their finances. Milwaukee’s Philanthropic Community started in 2018 and features two non-profit guests each week helping listeners connect to organizations and hear all the good going on in Milwaukee. All episodes are shared on ellenbecker.com/radio, iHeartRadio, plus platforms like Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, and Google Play. We found listeners enjoy the content on the radio and would like to access it on-demand where they get their podcasts. It also allows for the ability to share specific episodes.

You happen to produce two podcasts. How do you balance two shows?

We have a studio in our Pewaukee office which makes it convenient for our hosts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been able to record remotely using Zoom which has allowed us to expand our guest options to individuals that wouldn’t normally be able to get to Pewaukee. All editing is done internally, allowing us to manage content and provide custom intros, exits and edits. It takes a dedicated team to schedule guests and produce the show. We try to record early in the week, get the shows to the station by mid-week and then they typically appear online the following week.

How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected your podcasts? How are you adapting? 

We created a special COVID-19 edition of our shows featuring guests that talk specifically about the pandemic and how it impacts businesses, individuals, mental health, finances, and non-profits. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted our content available on-demand quicker, so we are posting the episodes online before they technically become a ‘show’ with music and transitions. We increased the amount of Money Sense shows that we produce as well.  Typically it’s one per week, we’ve been creating a minimum of two per week.

What goes into your planning process when it comes to preparing for a new episode?

We want our listeners to feel like they are listening in on a genuine conversation. We have a 42-minute radio show that is cut into four segments. That allows us to include teasers before the breaks and break up the conversation into focused topics. For Milwaukee’s Philanthropic Community, we will meet the guests ahead of time, plan out questions so everyone is prepared and then research teasers. Money Sense comes more natural and usually we have worked with the guests in the past so we have a fluid conversation.

How far out do you plan episodes?

Our episodes are usually recorded 3-4 weeks in advance. For our COVID-19 series, we’ve increased our recording schedule to get the guests and topics recorded in a timely manner. We have enough shows to air on the radio through June, and perhaps beyond, as we are introduced to more guests and interesting topics to cover.

What’s your process in regards to booking guests for your episodes?

For Money Sense, we reach out to business partners and other professionals we know in the area. Sometimes, and especially for the COVID-19 series, we work with agents that represent book authors or other speaking professionals. We do not pay for guests, we want this to be an educational conversation and not someone promoting a product or service. For Milwaukee’s Philanthropic Community, we need two guests each week so we will typically be introduced to one non-profit and then we work with them to identify another organization that would complement their mission. We also ask the non-profits to complete a questionnaire to guide questions and topics of conversation. We have two EIG employees (one for each show) where part of their job is to book guests. They have many spreadsheets and email communications to help keep track of everything!

What advice would you give to a podcaster just starting out?

Keep it genuine, educational, and to the point. Our radio show allows for 42 minutes, but each segment is about 10 – enough to dive into a topic but then keep the listener wanting to come back for more.

Know your “why” and ask yourself “Do people need what I have?”. Be more about purpose than business.