“You’re not going to build an audience with three podcasts.” – Molly Ruland
This week on the Gooder Podcast, I had the pleasure of talking with Molly Ruland, the founder, and CEO of Heartcast Media. We discuss podcasts, and how the platform has provided a powerful listening revolution for brands and professionals. We learn about ways that brands can utilize podcasts to humanize themselves and authentically connect with consumers. Along the way, we get to meet one of the hardworking business leaders whose passion extends past the microphone and office space into cultural revolution and human rights.
In this episode we learn:
- A background of Heartcast Media and the reason it exists
- Molly’s journey of transitioning from One Love Massive (a multi-sensory creative platform founded in D.C.) to Heartcast Media which focuses on supporting brands, NGOs, and businesses in podcast/content creation and distribution.
- The rise of audio storytelling and how podcasting has evolved in the last several years.
- Podcasts ability to humanize a brand and develop relationships with consumers and business partners.
- How podcasts can be an effective advertising tool for consumer brands.
- The importance of being intentional when starting a podcast by using your mission and business goals to drive content creation.
- Podcasting 101: for companies, organizations, and humans.
About Molly Ruland:
Molly Ruland has spent the last 20 years elevating and amplifying voices through community, art, music and culture. Heartcast Media was formed in 2018 to create a sustainable podcast production offering for businesses, brands, think tanks, and organizations with a message. She currently produces content for NATO, The Dept of Health, DC Gov, several podcasts for The Atlantic Council, and many more. Molly believes that “listening is the revolution” and she aspires to make the world a better place with intentional content.
Guests Social Media Links:
One Love Massive is a multimedia platform and cultural hub for all things creative in the DMV. We are a booking agency, marketing firm, production company and talent collective all housed in a 3 story building across the street from the Historic Howard Theatre where we have a podcast studio, recording studio and a live music stage.
Go-go is a popular music subgenre associated with funk originating in the Washington, D.C., area during the mid-60s to late-70s which remains popular in the Washington metropolitan area as a uniquely regional music style. It became the official music of the city in 2020.
The Toyota Motor Corporation is a Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. It was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda and incorporated on August 28, 1937.
Pirate radio or a pirate radio station is a radio station that broadcasts without a valid license. In some cases, radio stations are considered legal where the signal is transmitted, but illegal where the signals are received—especially when the signals cross a national boundary.
Frito-Lay is an American subsidiary of PepsiCo that manufactures, markets, and sells corn chips, potato chips, and other snack foods.
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) are items used daily by average consumers that require routine replacement or replenishment, such as food, beverages, clothes, tobacco, makeup, and household products.
TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is a video-sharing social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance. The social media platform is used to make a variety of short-form videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education that have duration from 15 seconds to one minute.
Black Lives Matter is a decentralized political and social movement protesting against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people.
FreshBooks is accounting software operated by 2ndSite Inc. primarily for small and medium-sized businesses. It is a web-based software as a service model that can be accessed through a desktop or mobile device. The company was founded in 2003 and is based in Toronto, Canada.
Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. was created in 2014 to provide fresh, fast, and affordable Southern comfort food to the masses. Our solution was perfecting the biscuit – making them with hormone-free dairy, real butter, and no preservatives. Through grassroots support, smart growth and investment, and growing demand, we also launched a CPG line of frozen biscuits in 2015 available nationwide and growing.
Black Girl Ventures’ mission is to provide Black/Brown woman-identifying founders with access to community, capital, and capacity building in order to meet business milestones that lead to economic advancement through entrepreneurship.
Diana Fryc: Hey, welcome to The Gooder Podcast, I’m your host, Diana Fryc, as partner and CMO of Retail Voodoo, an award-winning branding agency; I have met and worked with some of the most amazing women in the natural’s industry food, beverage, wellness and fitness. And as such, I decided to create The Gooder Podcast to interview these great subject matter experts and have them share their insights, passions and expertize in helping businesses all around the world become gooder.
So today we get to talk about something a little bit new. We’re going to talk podcasts, taking risks and being true to yourself, and we get to do that with a friend I can even say, and a little bit of a mentor. Molly, is it Ruland? I don’t even think I’ve heard your last name. Is it Ruland?
Molly Ruland: It is. When I was like 18, my mom told me it’s actually Ruland, but I told her she was way too late on that and I was sticking with my original.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, right. How fancy. I’m going to call you that from now on. You maybe shouldn’t have told you. So Molly, she is the founder and CEO of Heartcast Media and has spent the last 20 years elevating and amplifying voices through the community, art, music and culture. Heartcast Media was formed in 2018 to create a sustainable podcast production offering for businesses, brands and think tinks and organizations with a message.
She currently produces Content for NATO, the Department of Health, the D.C. Government, and several podcasts for the Atlantic Council and more. She’s very fancy and Molly believes that listening is the revolution and she aspires to make the world a better place with intentional content. Well, Molly, welcome after a three times of trying to get this started. Welcome.
Molly Ruland: Oh, thank you very much for having me. It’s really nice to be here. I always enjoy talking with you and seeing everything that you’re doing. So, the honor is all mine, thank you.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, for sure. So now for those that don’t know, well, many of you probably don’t know and this first time you get to meet Miss Molly. I met her when she was living in D.C. and in just recently in the last several months, moved to Costa Rica. So those of you that are watching on YouTube can see the lush greenery behind her. That is her new, maybe temporary, but for now is her new jam. It’s her new location. How’s it going down there right now? What’s the weather like?
Molly Ruland: It’s hot, it’s super-hot. Its right before the rainy season is going to hit and so the winds sort of stops for a couple of weeks. And it’s just like DC in August hot, so lots of sweating.
Diana Fryc: But it’s comfortable though.
Molly Ruland: Yeah, I’m like, I know this feeling. It makes the beers taste better. So it’s fine.
Diana Fryc: So before we get into too much of some of the mystery that I want to talk about, why don’t you tell us a little bit about Heartcast, how it came to be, and kind of why it exists?
Molly Ruland: Yeah, absolutely. I formed Heartcast Media in 2018 after owning a multimedia company for the last 20 years that was successful, but it wasn’t sustainable. And so I realized that nothing can be truly successful if it’s not sustainable. So after reading the five page or the 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib and there’s a quote in there where he says, ‘If you can’t leave your business for more than six months and still have a business, you just have an expensive hobby.’ And those words really hit because I couldn’t leave my business for more than five minutes without somebody burning the building down and I just decided that I wanted something different. And so I really dialed in on, I rekindled my life, right? I looked at what brought me joy, what didn’t and I dialed in on the things that I really love, which is amplifying and elevating voices like getting behind the camera, helping people to reach their goals, like being very specific about creating what is the goal post, how do we get there, what does success really look like, and then creating opportunities to do that.
I closed the other business, which had really been more focused on hyper local music and community art, music and culture that’s where all of that came in. And I closed that business and I formed Heartcast Media specifically to bridge the gap between very expensive content in the business world and feasibility. So, in the music world, you’ve got like young kids making whole videos and movies with iPhones and teaching themselves how to edit on video software for free using a bootleg computer like no resources, no help, no nothing, creating this amazing stuff. In the business world they’ll pay Ted from IT $10,000;
To make a video and it’s just like there’s this huge chasm in between those worlds and the content coming from the creative world is so much better than the stuff in the business world. And I thought, well, I have an opportunity to bring this skill set to the business world and create content that’s actually sustainable for businesses to maintain. If you do three podcast episodes but they cost you $1500 each, like it’s going to be hard for you to maintain a season or a second season and as you know consistency and longevity is key. You’re not going to build an audience with three podcasts, and so if you’re looking at having to spend $25,000 to produce three, that’s just not realistic. And so I wanted to come in and I‘m very passionate about video.
So I really wanted to bring in the video element and bring that into the business world because I think it matters, and so that’s why Heartcast Media was formed was dialing in on the IP that I had created from taking so much content in and filming and editing and audio and video and then making that into something that really fit.
Where I wanted to put my energy especially with politics and everything, with trumping in office also, the stakes got a little higher from after 2016, especially being based out of Washington, DC it’s really great to elevate and amplify amazing music. But I just felt like it was time to dial in on some bigger messages that could reach more people and it just sort of fit where I was in my journey as a young club kid, graffiti writing, derelict into being a whole adult, and so that’s the origin story of Heartcast Media.
Diana Fryc: Well, so let’s talk about this just before you wanted to grow up and you’ve got this whole, like, moving into the grown up seat. But you were doing One Love Massive, and I got to be honest with you, I only have, like, about this much of knowledge of what you were doing before. But we now share some social networks, and I can see that that is part of your DNA is part of your love and blood. And talk about that a little bit and maybe what transitioned over, what was that all about?
Molly Ruland: One Love Massive was the multimedia company that was really focused on like local music and creatives. And for me, I think at the core of it, it comes from just wanting to be seen and heard myself. I grew up in a family where I was basically invisible and when I find something that I really like, I want everyone else to have it too. When I find a restaurant that I like, I want to tell everybody, when I hear music that I like, I want to share it and like text it to people that’s just who I am at the core. And so for me, it was all about love for the local community and not working with big artists, but making sure that the creative community was being supported. And so it was always about putting money in their pockets, and so it is a big part of my DNA.
I grew up in a very musical household. I grew up like playing multiple instruments and knowing how to read music, very big Irish family. So I played the concertina and the team. I come from a long line of bootleggers and bartenders when my family literally and union organizers. So when my family emigrated from Ireland originally on both sides, it was because of the potato famine. And my dad’s side went to New York and ran illegal booze up and down the coast. And my mom’s side of the family landed in Scranton, Pennsylvania. And actually one of my great, great cousins was one of the ten men that was hung on the day of the rope in Scranton, Pennsylvania, for organizing unions because the coal barons were taking terrible care of the people working for them.
So it’s in my DNA to break the law and give shit about people like it’s just who I am. I don’t think there’s anything I can do about that; and so when I see injustice, I always want to fight it. And when I see things I’m excited about, I want to share. And I feel like D.C. is a microcosm of all of those things. There’s so much inequity, there’s so much displacement. There’s so much gentrification. But there’s also so much passion and love and Go-go music and like people and we’re just cut from a different cloth. Like if you say good morning, we’re going to say it back because we’re not New York. And so, I wanted to love back the city that loved me. And so that was really for me, 20 years is, from D.C. to California and back again.
Diana Fryc: It’s so funny.
Like, I meet people like you who just like something happened in their family history and somehow that Rabble-rouser or the organizer DNA just kind of sinks in and I feel like it wants to just almost accelerate. I feel I have the same thing to like my family has got some really interesting background and the more I hear about I’m like, oh, I’m like that too except for amplified definitely. Then maybe that’s why we connect so much, is that we’re a little bit of a troublemaker in a good way and you’re probably a lot more than I am but…
Molly Ruland: You never know. You never know.
Diana Fryc: Well so I just thought it was funny because I’m looking at your background and it’s like you were in the mortgage industry and then you were in the event industry, now you’re in the podcasting, you’re just like you are all in and not afraid to take risks like this is the thing that you’re doing. And is it like a passion thing? Is it that you just follow your passion or do you do it even when you’re afraid? Well, I’m going to say to the person who just moved to Costa Rica, like, yes, you seem just like I’m going to do it anyways because I got to do it.
Molly Ruland: Well, it’s a combination; I moved out at 17 and never went back home. And I was born with a rare congenital birth defects and so I basically have really weak bones and I wasn’t supposed to live more than 20 years. I have a team of doctors at Bethesda Naval my whole life, and I moved out at 17 and had my first surgery at 19 and another one at 31, and another one at 33. And so for me like the different adjustments were based on survival. I was in child care for a little while, realized that just wasn’t enough for me and then I got the job at a mortgage company.
I was sleeping in my car in the parking garage, got a job at a mortgage company, and outworked everybody else and learned the industry and became a processor and crushed it. I did whatever I had to do. I bought a house at 23. I sold it at 26. I’ve had to reinvent myself because when you have a spinal surgery like that and you don’t have any family support and you don’t have a trust fund or any savings or anything else, you have to do what you have to do. I was a business manager for Toyota. I was a secret shopper for hotels, resorts and casinos. I traveled around the world under fake names.
Diana Fryc: That kind of sounds like fun.
Molly Ruland: Yeah, I’ve lived a pretty fascinating life. I think the 13 years in real estate finance at such an early age, because I didn’t go to college, but I learned a lot about money and fake money on paper and everything else that comes along with the subprime mortgage business because, I was in the thick of that. I was in the 90s, and so a lot of it was just survival when you have a spinal surgery like that and you’re knocked down. In 2006, I broke my neck bartending. I was bartending one night a week. I know everyone thinks it’s like a Coyote Ugly story, but I just snapped because my bones are really weak and I was like, washing dishes and looking up. If you really think about what bartenders do, it’s like really hard on the neck. My neck snapped and I was in the hospital. I broke a vertebrae in my neck and like a week later had surgery and then a year later after that was rear ended, and then I was in physical therapy for three at NIH after that.
There’s been times when I couldn’t, like, put on my own pants or my own socks, like, never mind, go to work. And so I have followed opportunities when they came and I just learned how to survive. But I always really enjoyed what I did. I like challenging things. I like the mortgage industry, and then I formed One Love Massive in 2001, but it was just sort of a side project. And then in 2009 is when I really, like, put all in and just sort of go where the opportunities take me and the things that I am excited about. Not having a family support system can be really tough, but it’s also can be really great because I don’t have anybody else’s self limiting beliefs or expectations of what they think I should become or what I can’t become or any of that. And so I’ve lived a life that really served me that was filled with like beautiful people and music and art and all kinds of cool stuff. And so I don’t know if it’s like being brave or if it’s just literally surviving and wanting to do it in a way that’s enjoyable and filled with love and intention and compassion. One Love Massive;
Heartcast Media, it’s just at the core of everyone wants unconditional love. Everyone wants to be happy. Everybody wants to be heard, so I feel like that’s the core of all of it, really.
Diana Fryc: Let’s kind of talk about what we’re really here to talk about you, but let’s anchor it around this whole podcasting thing. You and I met, of course and full disclosure, Heartcast right now is my biggest fan and also the resource that I use to develop these podcasts. And as I’ve been in the industry or doing these recordings, I’m noticing just the mass proliferation of podcasts, and I think obviously in the last 12 months, Covid has accelerated it because people have wanted to just be busy and do something and find different ways to get content out there and have exposure. But it was kind of already growing before that. It wasn’t like all of a sudden; out of nowhere is it democratization of ideology and content? From your side, what are you seeing? Why are podcasts the rage? And yeah, I’ll just leave it there.
Molly Ruland: It boils down to accessibility. Whether it’s physical or you’re messaging or whatever. And we’re so limited by 123 characters or whatever it is, and you can’t express who you really are as well as if you just hear someone’s voice. Even here in Costa Rica, everybody uses WhatsApp, but no one sends each other texts, they send voice messages like a record button and you leave a message and then you listen to it, then you record yours back. And so you’re having these clips of records because the intention is there, you can tell if I’m being sarcastic or if I’m mad, which does not translate well in my end apparently. I’ve been told.
And so, it’s that same idea of like feeling more connected, like I want to know who you are, and also I want to have a longer conversation about shit, like you can’t get it done in a tweet and you can’t get it done. You’re limited by these things. So I think that it’s this idea of like pirate radio where it’s like there’s no gatekeeper. Like, you can create content and you can get it to a million people in one day. There’s no reason why your podcast can’t be heard by as many people as you’re willing to pay to get it in front of. Or just be really creative where 10 years ago or 20 years ago, you couldn’t just broadcast your message to the globe without paying a lot of money to do that. So I think it’s a combination of like on some level, is there a little bit of narcissism? Possibly; but the reality is, is those podcasts don’t make it past one episode because they’re like it’s like the selfie like, oh, I want to have a podcast. I want to feel it and then they look at it and they’re like, this is so much freaking work.
Diana Fryc: It is. And it is some more work than people might think.
Molly Ruland: Yeah, and then they’re like and two people listen to it, I’m out. Actually it’s like 10% of the podcast that exist in the world are active. That’s it, 10%.
Diana Fryc: 10%?
Molly Ruland: Yeah. It’s pretty bad. And so it’s like there’s so many in the directory but did they ever come back, did they get past six episodes? Has they posted anything. Well, 10% of the podcast in the Global Directory have posted anything within the last thirty days.
Diana Fryc: No. So that’s crazy.
Molly Ruland: Yeah, because it’s one of those things where if you’re starting for the wrong reason, you’re not going to get out there. But if you’re being really intentional with your content, and I use you as an example all of the time because it’s such a great success story. You were like, ‘I want to do this for the business. I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I want to commit to this. I want to do it the right way,’ and then look how quickly you saw results, you know what I mean? Like being strategic about who you’re interviewing? Like some of those earlier conversations about like who the hell am I supposed to call to do this thing, and just defining what success looks like and then knowing how to go after that. What do you want to happen? Okay, it’s working. What does that mean? Do you have more email addresses? Do you have more discovery calls? Like what are you trying to do? Because I think it’s a great business development tool. And then from accessibility, the days of everybody flying to Orlando to go to a convention that nobody can afford, like who fucking wants to go to Orlando again? Like, Christ’s sake, man. I went to Orlando twice before the pandemic.
I’m like, ‘I’d really like to go to Ireland or something not Orlando twice and staying in a $300 a night hotel room because I don’t want to take shuttles every,’ you know what I mean? Overlooking the lovely parking lot, it really leans into the stuff that you and I are passionate about, and that’s like diversity, right? Like, not everybody can afford that and not everybody is physically capable of that. People have anxiety. People are in wheelchairs like it is so privilege to do all this shit that requires so much money and effort and commitment and time off and it’s just really audacious. Well, the way we’ve been doing things in a podcast allows an opportunity for you to connect with people and talk to somebody from around the world, even if it’s just the person you’re interviewing that’s doing business development dinners or sending people to this convention and that, those days are kind of over and a podcast can replace that. So I feel like it’s just a savvy business.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, well, so then how do we translate that? We can talk about folks like me, are smaller on the business side or even individuals that are trying to do something more. But when we’re looking at and we can look at really any size. We could be looking at a startup CPG brand or we could be looking at somebody like Frito-Lay, like there’s no difference. How are you seeing brands using podcasts and all and it’s more of a content creation or guesting or even just simply advertising, like, is there opportunity to connect for those brands? And who I love to know who you think is doing it well and regardless of what business category they’re in?
Molly Ruland: I think you’re doing a great job of your part, I think you’ve done a wonderful job. I really do. I think you’ve accomplished everything you wanted to. I think that there’s so many different ways to use a podcast, right? Like you’ve got internal communications, like do you have big hunky products that are annoying to explain? Are you trying to reach your staff? And nobody wants to read the letter from the president, like internal private podcasting, like that’s a whole library of RSS feeds. Like that’s a whole thing for just internal communication, because then you can listen to it on your way home and you’re not really impinging on your employees time and some of is likely to listen to it. And you can hear, if your CEO is like genuinely gives a shit or not, you’re going to be able to tell. There’s just so many different ways. But that’s the one thing that I was like talk to clients about first is like, okay if you just want to podcast because everybody has a podcast and like everybody is telling you, you should have a podcast and it’s great for business. Okay, cool. I’m glad you’re committed, but that’s not it. That you‘re going to be one of those 90% of the podcast that‘s chilling in limbo.
So what does success look like? And right now, I think we’re all kind of caught up in this TikTok generation of like, ‘Oh, I need a million hits.’ No, man! All right, if you’re doing this for business development and you want one new client a month, how many people do you think needs to listen to the podcast in order to compel one person? You don’t need a million downloads? It’s like a misnomer. It’s unfortunate because when people feel like it’s not enough, I don’t have a million downloads. I don’t have… You don’t need that. I have one client, they do geospatial satellite mapping and they talk about GitHub and all this shit, I don’t understand and they were like, ‘Yeah, we just got a thousand unique listeners after like a year.’ They did like 42 podcasts and they’re stoked about it. And I was like, that’s impressive. I didn’t think that many other people cared about you guys because it’s so specific.
It’s so specific to like you have to be an engineer NGO satellite mapping to understand anything that they’re talking about on this podcast. But the reality is, is if you are looking to hire a corporation to do that for you, and you got a five million dollar contract, don’t you want to give it to the guys who are so passionate about geospatial satellite mapping that they talk about it in their time off on their podcast that is 43 episodes? So that thousand listeners could get them a five million dollar contract. They don’t give a shit if they’re trending on iTunes. No one should give a shit if they’re trending on iTunes, quite frankly. Like why do you have it? What does that even mean? Trend on YouTube you get plays for your videos, it leaves you — iTunes is just taking your content and then giving you this fake accolade of a million downloads, all those million downloads like it doesn’t matter. It’s a trap, right? Like, what do you want to do? Do you want to have a podcast for visibility? Is it for business development? Like, are you trying to woo new clients?
Are you just trying to maintain your current client base? Do you want to interview success stories from your biggest client? You have to figure out what is the goal of the podcast, not just that you want to do one. You have to really define why do you need more clients? Are you trying to not spend any more money with Zuckerberg. Like what? There’s no wrong answer. You just got to know what it is.
Diana Fryc: I think you say a couple of a couple of things that I think are really interesting. One is that intentionality, like I think just like any business or marketing objective kind of going, okay, well, what’s the end goal here? I also think the whole like downloads, is so much like social media. On our side, when we’re doing brand development, a lot of people are hung up on how many likes and clicks and followers that we have and we always come back with, it really doesn’t matter. Those things don’t actually convert into actual business and sales. So you have to be careful with what you’re doing and kind of use those downloads as a barometer that you’re headed in the right direction, but not necessarily valuation of success. Like the success is the conversion and what you’re attracting to you, is that an accurate assessment?
Molly Ruland: 100%, because the numbers can be misleading and it’s a trap. It’s just like anything, you get on Facebook, you post something, and you think it’s hilarious. No one likes it. You’re like, what the hell, man? That was so funny, right? So, it’s just like this negative reinforcement, right? Like, if you don’t have the numbers, you’re going to think, oh, man, but you don’t need them. I have a podcast and way back before the pandemic I interviewed him and I just because I think he’s a fantastic human being and I’m just fascinated as a like a social justice for profit companies change the world. He’s the most amazing, nicest person I’ve ever met in my entire life and I had him on one of my podcasts. And I read everything he’s ever written. And I listen to every podcast he was on. And I got him in my studio and I asked him about when he was Sunny the Clown and Sacket Harbor in high school is the mascot and he was so taken aback.
But I just really wanted to ask him questions and nobody else had asked him because I was genuinely curious as to who lit that fire. And it was such a great compelling conversation and now, like, I literally love that guy. He’s my number one client. They’ve sent us so much business from a financial. It’s probably like 50K where the business and that interview two years ago. But not only that, but like the other day he emailed me, it was like, I just want to let you know I love you and I hope everything’s okay in Costa Rica. And that’s a client, you know what I mean, that’s a client. That’s someone who I really respect who literally like said those words to me. And I’m like, I’m so great because he knew, like, who I am because I spent that time to really get to know him and that’s the only thing you’re really good at, too. You’re a great interviewer. You ask great questions and you make people feel heard and so they want to continue to be around you. They want to continue to work with you. They want to connect you to other people who are also great like you. And so that’s what a podcast really does. Like who are you interviewing? Why are you interviewing them? Like, what’s the point? What are you trying to show about yourself to your audience because you’re the only consistent on your podcast; you’re the only one that’s there every week. So they got to like you and you never know, like who’s going to be at dinner next week.
Like, oh, we need a CPG brand. I listen to this podcast. You should you just never know where… And so you don’t have to have a million downloads. A thousand of them over the course of a year could generate a significant amount of business. So, if you’re looking to get famous on iTunes and that’s your only reason, that’s a whole different conversation. But if you’re trying to create a podcast for your business, realistic expectations will highlight the collateral benefits of podcasting so much easier than if you have this idea that you’re going to get like 500,000 downloads or something.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, I think the thing that’s super trippy about podcasting for me is between being on podcasts myself as a guest and then hosting a podcast. I will meet new people who will have listened to me and I’m coming into the conversation or the relationship new and they already feel like they know me. And so there’s this comfort level that they have with me already. And sometimes somebody will reach out to me, having heard something that I recorded a year ago, like it’s not just the most recent thing. It’s like, oh, I’ve heard this conversation and can you connect me to this person or et cetera, et cetera. So it’s kind of a weird ecosystem to be involved in. And I think from a business and a brand development standpoint, I’m curious. I would love to find out. I don’t know of any brands that I can think of that are like doing or I’ll call podcast branded content that they own like this out to the consumer base.
I haven’t seen any, but I don’t think it’s because it wouldn’t be successful. I think that they’re more comfortable with something like advertising because you can get a report that says this many impressions and this many clicks in this podcast is not quite as tangible. And already in marketing arena, when you can’t have anything tangible, people get a little squidgy. But I think there’s room there. I think there’s an opportunity that’s been untapped.
Molly Ruland: Oh, for sure. I mean, podcast advertising revenue is expected to hit two billion. I read a stat yesterday that said it’s going to advance more in the next two years than it did in the last 10 because we have brands are realizing that like advertising on podcasts is the way to go. Listen, man, we all sat home in the pandemic and watched all the Facebook documentaries about how sucking our blood dry and reselling it, not even giving us a cut of it. And so everyone’s sort of like thinking again and like, George Floyd and Black Lives Matter and just really like, “Yo, where am I putting my money?” You know what I mean. Like what’s going on. The world has changed, the world has really, really changed. And so, there’s definitely companies doing it, like FreshBooks, which is like a quick books.
They have a podcast, how I make a living or something like that. There’s some companies doing it. But I think it’s the next frontier because people really are getting sick of social media and people really are tuning out from that. And I think that, I listen to a lot of audiobooks too, and they make me feel better, especially being in Costa Rica and being so far away, like putting on a book and having another voice in the room and getting excited about it and looking forward to listening to more of it. Those things really matter. And so, it’s that that personal connection. It’s like you said, people feel like they already know you because they’ve been listening to your voice. That’s personal.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, well, and you share these anecdotal, especially when you’re talking with somebody or you have a relational moment with somebody and you’re like, oh, yeah, that happened to me when I was three or I went there, too. And suddenly you’re kind of like dripping these little things about you that people can connect with, that they just can’t otherwise.
Molly Ruland: Yeah. When are you going to get an opportunity to be your true, authentic self, like not when an interviewer from the newspaper calls you, not like they’re going to butcher the shit out of whatever you say and pick three sentences that were even grouped together and you’re like, “What! I didn’t say that.” And then nobody gets to hoot your own horn or just show who you really are. And that’s the thing you’re not talking about, like Retail Voodoo all day on Gooder barely at all. But you don’t need to because people know that you’re like the matriarch of Retail Voodoo. And so they like you. They want to know about your company and they want to work with you, it’s the queen. And so, it’s all relative. You know what I mean? Like, I’m sure you’ve gotten business from the podcast. I think it makes a difference.
Diana Fryc: It does. I want to talk about this listening is the revolution. I want to kind of just shift massive gears here because I want to kind of get into a little bit more about you, step away from podcasting. But listening is the revolution is about you as well. So what is what does that mean and what do you want it to mean to others?
Molly Ruland: Err on the side of compassion. That’s the short answer, if you listen to someone, you can’t hate them. You can say, I think you’re an idiot, I disagree with you, but you can’t hate somebody. And when I formed Heartcast Media, I was like, I want to make the world a better place, like one conversation at a time. And that was in 2018. And then over the course of 19 and 20 and just watching the United States fall apart because of the political divide and the racial divide and everything else and it’s just like, man that statement just never rang any more true than like, I’m not a huge fan of Trump fans. But like, if I could sit with them and they explain to me that they’re hungry and they’re losing their farm and they just give a shit about their grandkids and I can’t hate them anymore. I can still think you’re a freaking idiot for voting for that guy, but you’re just a misinformed idiot. And I can’t hate you and I can’t be cruel to you. And I can’t say horrible things to you on Facebook, like the things that I saw other people saying. And it’s like err on the side of compassion, man. Every single one of us got some sort of a struggle. And so, that’s one thing I like about podcasts is you can’t interrupt, you can yell at your phone or whatever but they can’t hear you. You have to listen.
And I think that’s hard. I think as a nation, as a society and whole, we all need to lengthen our mental elasticity. And we are all like keyboard warriors and like we’re just like listening to speak again. And I really feel like that is a lost part of our civilization, is the ability to just listen. And so I think if we could dial more in on that, even if it’s somebody you don’t like, I’m not saying somebody is outwardly racist and stuff, but have some compassion, listen to each other. It’s really hard to hate someone if you listen to them and you never know, maybe you can help or maybe you can provide some sort of perspective that’ll help them because at the end of the day, everybody is just broken. I really do feel that. I mean, all these poor people that believe these, they’re so upset because they think it’s true. And if I thought all that stuff was true, I’d be upset too. I just know that stuff isn’t true. But like at the core, they’re hurt people. They’re just hurt people who think they’re doing the right thing, as crazy as that might sound, we can’t we can’t push people into corners, we can’t isolate anymore, we have to listen. We might not hang out afterwards. You might not change my mind, but I can at least be civil and try.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, for sure. And I think that’s just for the reflection of you were kind of in the thick of it. D.C. that’s what it’s all about and you are kind of in the center of the hurricane. Well, no, that would be the quiet part. You were like in the actual storm of a hurricane all the time. I’ve been to Baltimore a few times in D.C. a few times. And every time there’s anything big politically, it’s just like a shit show. It’s just wind and everything’s blocked off. I think the people that live there are probably accustomed to it. But when you’re there as a visitor, it’s like super disruptive and so by nature, politics is disruptive. It’ll be interesting to see how the next few years goes. Oh my gosh, that’s another 12 podcasts.
Molly Ruland: Exactly. That’s season four of Gooder.
Diana Fryc: You know what, I have loved getting to know you during this past year as we’ve been working together and kind of getting this whole idea of owning your content, whether you’re an independent person or small business or even a massive brand, that you have much more say and control than we’d like to believe. And I think sometimes we get caught up in like, I need a flashy agency or I need a multimillion dollar influencer in order for this to be legit or for my coworkers to find this to be credible effort. And I think podcasting is so simple in its nature. And I think that there’s a lot of opportunity for growth there. And it’s fun to see that you could be either really, really broad or really, really narrow and focus on the Rocks of Mars and be totally successful either way.
Molly Ruland: Yeah, because there’s people who are also equally fascinated by the Rocks of Mars. And so find your tribe, you know what I mean? Get it together. I do love it because podcasting is simple. It’s not easy and it’s not cheap. Everyone’s like, oh, you do it from your phone. Don’t do that. There’s a reason why only 10% of podcasters are active because they recorded them on their phone and nobody wants to listen to that. You got to be authentic to yourself and find your voice and find a way to share that with as many people as possible. And I think there’s value in that, especially now we’re all coming out of our houses seeing the sun again for the first time. We’re a little banged up. We need some coddling, people need to see you and see you’re doing it and then feel good about what they want to do, you know what I mean? So I do like the simplicity of it. At its core, it’s just these conversations that you get to listen in on and you just never know. It’s like with audio books, like I’ll read a whole book and there might be three things in there that made me go, oh, and those three things could change my life. And maybe the other 400 pages didn’t resonate. But those three things are going to change my trajectory. And that’s how I feel about podcast, too. You just never know what thought or situation or perspective is going to, like, create that moment for you.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, I think on that note, if you haven’t listened to Kevin Hart’s that he has on audio. Crap, what is that called, the audio player.
Amazon’s audio. Kevin Hart came out with something and it is hilarious and it’s personal development. It’s told through the Kevin Hart personality. And you can’t help but just love that. You just can’t. On that note, there’s a plug Kevin, you hear me?
Molly Ruland: That’s right, wherever you may be.
Diana Fryc: Wherever you may be. Hey, before I wrap things up, I always like to ask my guests just kind of a few questions. So I’m going to go ahead and ask you these two. So I love it when a guest can tell some sort of interesting fact, I call it a happy hour fact that people can share about. It can be about D.C. or Costa Rica or podcasting or anything. What do you got for us?
Molly Ruland: Oh, man. Okay, this is super random, but it’s the world’s longest palindrome. Do you know what the world’s longest palindrome is? You know what a palindrome is? This is so random, it’s go hang a salami I’m a lasagna hog. Somebody told me that one time and it’s stuck and you never know. You might win like a million dollars on Jeopardy with that one. And I just find it to be really funny. And you do too.
Diana Fryc: Say it again but say it a little slower.
Molly Ruland: It’s go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog. I don’t know who figured that out, but that poor soul needs to get out of the house more.
Diana Fryc: Oh, man. Okay, well, check that box.
Molly Ruland: You never know. It could win you trivia night at the bars or something.
Diana Fryc: Never know. All right. Who are some women leaders or even rising stars that you are watching right now? What are they doing?
Molly Ruland: I am a big fan of Ayeshah Abuelhiga, like you met her from Mason Dixie Biscuit Company. She’s just such a firecracker. I love me some Ayeshah. And Shelly Bell with Black Girl Ventures, client of ours, actually, she just got funded by Nike for 300 million dollars. She is out here getting women funded, because historically speaking, black women get less than .2% of VC funding, which is atrocious. And so I really respect both of them because they are like the I don’t give a fuck kind of woman that like you just bulldozes the whole scene and they’re both beautiful and they’re both ridiculous and they’re both like, talk whatever shit they want, but they’re out here making real change and they’re getting it done and they’re shattering this idea of what a successful woman is supposed to look like, talk like, feel like, think like all of that. And so I love what they are doing to every room that they walk in. And I encourage more women to just do that and be yourself and just be unapologetically yourself all the time, because that’s what’s going to make people fall in love with you, whatever that is.
Diana Fryc: I love Ayeshah. She reminds me like if I was to make a T-shirt for her, it would say I have had enough. Like, I feel like that’s the shirt that she would be walking around wearing with a crown and a scepter. I just feel like that’s her.
Molly Ruland: It’s crazy. I met her, her shop, was in DC, like what she did with Mason Dixie, two years is like, I don’t think people fully understand how insane what she’s done is in two years and now it’s been five years or whatever. Yeah, she’s super smart, man, and just resilient and a survivor and I’m definitely really grateful. Luckily I know both of them, but really, like, you don’t need to know them to watch their podcast and fall in love with them and see what they’re doing for sure.
Diana Fryc: What trends are you watching right now, and this is, of course, outside of our category, but what are you watching right now? What’s happening in whether it’s branded content or media or podcasting or related? What’s happening? What are you watching?
Molly Ruland: I mean, I think the biggest trend right now is going to be dynamically inserted podcast advertising and doing like media buys, like, I think, the old school industries are drying up and shifting over to podcasting. And I think that people need to get aware of that. So even if you don’t have a podcast but you have a business, you should be advertising on podcasts and you should be really active on being guests on other people’s podcasts because;
Like Clubhouse, for example, which I hate because it’s just a bunch of people being like, thank you so much. Now let me tell you about me. And I just can’t handle it. But there’s obviously a need for that. And there’s good things coming out of that, but it’s not going to last as long. So have you found some success on Clubhouse, go get on some other people’s podcast because you’ll get the same reaction, except it’ll be a much more dedicated conversation. You’re going to be standing in some line like, you can get your message across. But I think that podcast should be a part of every single business’s marketing strategy, from having a podcast to having your top dogs be on other people’s podcast and to advertising your business on podcasts. And if you’re not messing with those three verticals in 2021, you’re going to get left behind, period. Point blank. So that’s where I would put effort.
Diana Fryc: You know what’s so interesting? I can tell you, I’ve had so many men reach out, I want to be on the Gooder podcast. And right now, the way I have it form formatted, I was really focusing on women in leadership. And it may change in the future. But right now it’s the way it is. Women declined being on the podcast, mostly because they feel like they have nothing to say or nothing to contribute. And I think it makes me so sad because I think it’s just kind of a further for me, it’s just a little bit more reason why to keep going and doing what I’m doing is because we still we put too much pressure on ourselves. And I think that businesses and organizations can encourage their folks to participate, then I think we can start normalizing this kind of degenderfy. I don’t know if that’s even a word, but anyways, we can kind of normalize it.
Molly Ruland: Yeah, well, if you do a Gooder podcast for men, you could just call it Good-ish, I’m just kidding. You’re great. It’s fine. I’m just saying. Well in that kind of touches on for me, this idea of imposter syndrome and I’ve been like cursing, I fucking hate it. And I hate that every women’s event, it’s like half the speakers are talking about it and how to overcome it. And I’ve had a really hard time articulating that. And then I read this article I can’t remember as two women’s names, it’s on Medium and the title says, Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome and it breaks it down in like words that I’m not smart enough to come up with. But basically Imposer Center implies that there’s something wrong with the person instead of the environment. And that’s bullshit. The environment is what’s flawed. It’s sexist, it’s racist, it’s classist.
White dudes and men see examples of themselves almost to the tee down to the Dockers and the loafers. They see people who look like them succeeding. They are not questioned in the same that way that women of color, people of color and women are. And so this idea that there’s something wrong with us, oh, I’m feeling insecure. There must be something wrong with me. There’s nothing wrong with you, man. We just need to put more women in positions of power and leadership and pay is more God damn it, there’s nothing wrong with you. And so, yes, go on that podcast. Go on that podcast and maybe it’ll suck, but who cares. And everything I do isn’t a win, like I’m not everybody’s Jam. I’m sure some people are listening to me like, oh, she’s great. I wish she would curse less. Well, I’m not. I’m not for you and that’s cool. And I’m not going to change who I am because that’s who I am and I’m passionate about these things.
And so there’s nothing wrong with you. And if you are having those doubts, there’s nothing wrong with you. This is society showing its whole ass. That’s what it is. Everything is built this way. Every woman has something to say. Every woman is valuable. Every woman should be heard. And so, I say this all the time to people, I say, listen, if you’re feeling a little unsure, just channel your inner white dude and just pretend you’re good at everything and go do the damn thing because you need to be heard. And every time you or I get in front of an audience and I am myself and I don’t wear what they want me to wear and I speak the way I want, I inspire women in that audience to do the same thing. And so it’s like women in the podcast industry, stop devaluing yourself, stop taking shit pay to do editing podcasts because you’re making it harder for every other woman in the industry to survive. You are not helping any of us out. So if you’re throwing events, stop talking about imposter syndrome, stop fucking talking about it. Stop devoting half of the women’s events to imposter syndrome. We don’t need to talk about it anymore. You should talk about Imposer Santorum being a toxic, racist environment to the men who are creating it. Stop talking to women about it. So if any woman is listening this and thought to themselves, I don’t have something to hide, it’s bullshit. You do. And like, do it, man, because you need to be heard and other women need to be heard. So, I hope that Gooder always stays women focused.
And I’m really glad that you don’t make a big deal about it. Like you just do it, because I think if you’re going to champion women, it’s like taking pictures of yourself, giving somebody experiencing homelessness money. It’s the wrong reason. You shouldn’t have to advertise that you’re celebrating women. You’re just doing it. So I think it’s awesome. And you can have some dudes on here. I don’t hate all men, just most of them.
Diana Fryc: You’re hilarious.
Molly Ruland: I don’t think anyone.
Diana Fryc: Here’s the thing, I obviously have no issue with men at all. What I’m trying to do is, of course, normalize the fact that women are equals. And I know we say it, but it doesn’t show up that way quite yet. And so, let’s just keep doing it. This is not anti man. This is not anti cis gender man. Listen, diversity comes in a bunch of different ways. And from a business standpoint, we cannot take care of all the people who are marginalized. If the only people that are making decisions are the ones that have all the say, like there’s no ecosystem, there’s no symbiosis there.
Molly Ruland: Right, they don’t want things to change. It’s working out really well for them. Why would you rock the boat? You know what I mean? Of course, they’re not going to change things. It doesn’t make any sense.
Diana Fryc: The thing is, I actually think they think it’s working out well for them. But the reality is, is that if we normalize and we give everybody value, it actually works to everybody’s benefit. Like if you’re older white men and you’re straight and you give other people authority and you give them opportunity, actually you don’t lose anything because when you elevate everybody else, the water rises for everybody.
Molly Ruland: All worthy boats rise with the tide. Exactly. Well, I love it.
Diana Fryc: Well, how are you keeping yourself sane these days?
Molly Ruland: I am working out for an hour every day, I’m meditating every day. I’m taking Spanish lessons every day and I’m doing intermittent fasting every day Monday through Friday. And then I act like a heathen on the weekends and it’s working out for me pretty well. I’ve just recently bought some canvases and some spray paint to create some artwork. So I have some familiarity here. And really, I’m looking at the pandemic, the pandemic, as they say here in Costa Rica, as an opportunity to really work on myself. Like we’re still not out of the woods yet. We’re still kind of in our basements. It’s not going to change for at least another six months. I mean, if you’re fully vax, that’s cool, but not everybody is. So we can’t jump back in the fire. But I feel like instead of coming out of this, ready to, like, start something, I want to do it now.
There’s a lot of downtime. I’ve never had this much like authority over my own schedule on time. And so I’m spending an hour a day working out and then, I’m putting that time in every single day so that when this thing ends, I come out of it like stronger. And it’s not about losing weight. It’s about literally being stronger because we have a whole lot of trauma that we haven’t even touched yet. So, like, we’re all excited to go back outside but everybody forgot they’ve been cellar dwellers for the last 16 months. And we’re all a little weird man. Yeah, it’s hard.
Diana Fryc: Okay, if people wanted to learn about Heartcast or have you on as a guest or just learn about podcasting or video recording or anything, how do you like them to get a hold of you?
Molly Ruland: If you go to heartcastmedia.com and you go to the podcast page, there’s like tons of opportunities to schedule a call with me. Our social media, Heartcast Media, everything, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, all the things, just hit me. You can find me anywhere. I have access to all those pages. You can hit me up any time. I love getting in front of more women. I love getting in front of audiences of any kind. And I’m really excited about talking to businesses about how podcast can really increase their bottom line. So, if anybody’s interested in that, please let me know. I enjoy talking about it. And I’m usually pretty good at illuminating a path for people that makes sense and gets them excited about the process.
Diana Fryc Definitely a good coach. If I was to use the word coach definitely is what I would say. For those who are afraid and uninitiated, you are the coach for sure. Oh, my gosh. All right, girl, I am so jacked that we have this time together and I thank you so much. I’m really looking forward to finding my way down the Costa. Actually, I was looking at trying to come down there between December 25th and New Year’s Day. I just started looking down and of course, everything is pretty much booked up for my family size, which is crazy time, but so it have to be later on.
Molly Ruland: Well, and that is the most popular week in Costa Rica, Christmas and New Year’s. I looked last year because it was right when I came down here and the flights were like, $400 normally and like $1900 that week. It was, oh my God, what is going on. So we’ll find a way.
Diana Fryc: It’ll happen. Girl’s weekend, something is going to happen.
Molly Ruland: Heartcast Media retreat, whatever.
Diana Fryc: Oh I like it.
Molly Ruland: We can put some microphones out and be like, it’s business.
Diana Fryc: Excellent. Well we’ll see you next time Miss Molly. And to everybody else, thanks for listening.
This episode is sponsored by Retail Voodoo, a creative marketing firm specializing in growing, fixing and reinventing brands in the food, beverage, wellness and fitness industries. If your natural’s brand is in need of positioning, package design or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at retail-voodoo.com. And so there you go. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to this channel and share with your network. Until next time, be well and do gooder.