In this SPECIAL PROGRAM, David Lykken sits down with Taylor Ellard, National Project Specialist @ Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, as well as the host of the podcast Lending Forward, to discuss all things podcast!!
Should you start a podcast? Should a company start a podcast as an originator? That is some of the questions we will address in this episode.
Taylor’s been in the lending world for about seven years now and landed at home at Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group. And as they have thrived, they knew they had a need for a podcast and she was excited to take on that task!!
Lending Forward is a weekly podcast hosted by Taylor Ellard and powered by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group. They bring you raw stories from real people in the mortgage industry. They are covering what’s next in lending, forward-thinking, and reflecting on lessons learned from Mortgage Bankers, Realtors, Financial Advisors, Coaches, and more! How are you lending it forward?
Click here to read more about this podcast click here!!
SPECIAL EPISODE: All Things Podcasting!! With Taylor Ellard
I am excited to have Taylor Ellard joining us. We’re going to talk about podcasting, and Taylor is the National Business Development Specialist. Anyway, you are a leader because you have an amazing podcast that’s so successful, and we’re getting a lot of inquiries, Taylor, about starting podcasts. “Should we, as a company, start a podcast? Should I start a podcast as an originator?” That’s some of the questions. I’ve been doing one now for several years. You’ve been doing one for a while. I want to get into talking about that but before we do, let’s let our audience get to know you.
I graduated a few years ago from college with a Broadcast Journalism degree. I went to Radford University. Go Highlanders. What I gathered from that was loving to be behind the mic. I was the morning announcer in high school. I’ve always had this love for being behind the mic and reading a teleprompter. I channeled that into graduating, and that led me down a road of social media and digital, mainly in the lending sphere. I’ve been in the lending world for several years now and landed at Home Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group. We have thrived and knew we had a need for a podcast. I was excited to take on that task, so here I am.
We got introduced by Emily Farley, who I got the honor of coaching. She is the Executive Vice President and Head of Production there at the company. What an amazing company, Atlantic Bay. The more I learn about this company, I go, “This is one of those special companies, and the story needs to be told,” and you’re doing a great job of doing just that through your podcast. Let’s start with this question again, the basis for this whole interview. I’d love to get to know you better and all that. I want our audience to get to know you, but they can do that by listening to your podcast. Let’s give a shout-out at the beginning of the show, and we’ll do it at the end of the show. What is your podcast, and how can people find it?
It’s Lending Forward. It’s everywhere you find your podcast, and we are talking all things lending, real estate, financial industry-related topics, coaching, you name it. We’re uncovering raw stories, providing solutions, and sprinkling in some Atlantic Bay way.
You’re doing a great job of it. I’ve listened to a number of your podcasts, and a lot of it comes into the delivery of it, the messaging, and we’re going to get into that in a minute. Let’s start with this. Why did Atlantic Bay decide to start a podcast? It sounds like that was not your idea, someone else’s, and you signed up for the job. Is that correct?
It was a little bit of both. There was a need, and I wanted to solve that need. We needed a platform where we could talk about things that are relevant in the industry and have those conversations of being able to highlight what mortgage bankers and agents are going through and what borrowers are up against. This speaking platform felt so organic and natural, and being able to highlight some of our mortgage bankers and some of their amazing agents and having that platform to do so. It was a need, and we found the way, thank goodness, but it was a labor of love, and it continues to be.We just needed a platform where we could talk about things that are relevant in the industry and have those conversations to highlight what mortgage bankers and agents are going through right now. Click To Tweet
It was a joint thing. You saw the opportunity, they saw the need, and you guys came together like chocolate and peanut butter, as Reese’s commercial goes. Tell me a little bit about the focus. Was it originally intended to be external and internal or internal, and then when external? Talk a little bit about what was your original mission.
It was from a recruitment standpoint, being able to talk about the company and highlight it humbly telling our story. That’s what a podcast is. It’s storytelling and being able to extract information that, unless you are inside Atlantic Bay, you would not know. It has always been external facing. We never thought about it internally, although it’s pretty smart to have an internal podcast to get a message to the employees that work for you, whether that’s bank world or other financial institutions and beyond. We’ve proudly over 1,000 employees at Atlantic Bay, and it’s growing exponentially. We’ve always pretty much had the goal of externally facing podcasts.
There is a need to communicate from within, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use an external facing to communicate from within. It’s the transparency that you do a great job at. It creates an opportunity for transparency, which is so important. What went into launching this podcast? A lot of people go, “I would start one, but it sounds so daunting.” What went into it?
It’s twofold. I hear when people say, “You can get very caught up in the overthinking piece of it.” You can plan until you’re blue in the face to launch this thing. “Will it go right? Will I ask the right questions? Will people want to listen to it?” Let’s get that out of the way. Just do it. If you think there’s a need, solve the problem, get out there and do it. I was one of those who was like, “I got to get it with a bow on top and let it fly.” That was not the case. I needed to push and surely said, “I’m going to do it by this state,” and we did it. Going into it, coming up with a name that’s no easy feat because that’s the brand.
This is who we are, Lending Forward Power by Atlantic Bay. That messaging, knowing who our target audience was and who that demographic that we wanted to speak to every time was, we wanted to incorporate a name that was powerful. Lending to elude to the industry, but that also means lending forward knowledge, lending a hand from your charitable arm and then forward, forward-thinking. Coming up with first your target audience, the name, and then what types of people would come on, how do you keep your listeners engaged? Planning that out is initially all you technically need. From a content perspective, you got to ask the right questions.
Talking about the equipment, let’s start with that. A lot of people say, “You’ve got to spend thousands of dollars on equipment,” and that’s not true. Talk about what equipment you start with that will help people.
You got to love Amazon. You can learn a lot from the reviews on Amazon, but you can even get a $50 mic and start with that. You can download some software to be able to edit yourself and play around with it. Have your friends come on to start with that. You’ve got the headphones. You can get the mic and piece that gets your Ss and pops out. The shock, I can’t even remember what it’s called because I don’t have it. You don’t need all of the bells and whistles.
I’ve got a pop filter. I never used it. It’s not what it’s about. It’s about the message. You talk about a microphone, the one I happen to be using is a $1,000 microphone. There are the $50 microphones, and honestly, most people are not going to hear a whole lot of the difference. You can go with the more affordable one. The guy that co-hosts my show, Jack Nunnery, reached out and bought one of those $50 ones.
I’m amazed at the quality of it, and it plugs right into the computer. Talking a little bit about the equipment, you have to go into a switchboard. You have a shout-out to RØDE, which came up with a podcaster pro. I love that board. It’s a wonderful board. You don’t need that. You can use your computer right on out.
That’s what I do. I don’t have one. As a matter of fact, it’s easy to have a mic and be able to go live in places. Its easability of being able to do it from wherever. That’s also nice when you have guests and want to sit down with them and say, “Here, I’ve got two mics. Plug one into your computer. I’ll plug one in mine. We’re going to go live. We’re going to record now.”
They got the little Lavalier mics. Also, RØDE has those. I’m a fan of RØDE Equipment. They have the two Lavalier, and it plugs right into your computer, a nice little splitter that takes care of it and all that. When you talked about downloading some editing software, I used Audacity. It’s free. It’s very robust. Is there anything else that you would recommend that you’ve looked at?
Honestly, you can get Zoom or Teams. It’s that simple and hit record. Don’t overthink it. You shoot yourself in the foot when you do that because, honestly, you can get it and go. You want to step up to the bells and whistles if that’s the route that you’d like to go or continue this. You can get an editing tool or use a company that edits it. We use a company that edits our stuff, Castos. They’re awesome. As you said, they’ll pull the ums and the uhs because you will have some uncomfortable guests or it feels like you’re pulling teeth. Don’t let the equipment debilitate. Get something, and then you can always modify it.Don't let the equipment debilitate. Just get something out and then you can always modify. Click To Tweet
We’ve used Castos in the past. They’re good company. They do a great job. I am so particular about the audio quality that we went and hired our own person that does that, Nikki Whitaker. She does a phenomenal job of doing that. Again, to the point, it’s the message. It doesn’t have to be perfect. When people try to make everything perfect, Taylor, they miss the biggest part of this thing. Make it organic, and there’s something more authentic when it isn’t exactly perfect all the time. I tell Nikki, “When you’re editing, leave some of the goof-ups in there. It makes it a little more credible.”
That’s one thing I coach some of our mortgage bankers on as well, and that’s with video content. You need to be relatable. You’re human. It’s okay to stumble and fumble over your words. Not everybody is a Broadcast Journalism major.
That comes to the video and audio. “Should we do both?” I’d love to get your thoughts on this. Most people listen on an audio basis, even if you have a video. Video is used less than 20% of the time when it comes to the actual listing. They may listen to it on YouTube. Therefore, the video is playing, but the reality is that they’re not watching it. Talk a little bit about that if you could.
It’s a valid question. “Do we do both? Do we do the one audio piece of it?” There’s value in the video because you’re able to break it down into bite-size consumable pieces for social media purposes or YouTube. There’s a lot of value in the video because people want to know and see you. When people are getting their podcasts, they’re doing something else. They’re not watching. They’re either driving or getting ready in the morning.
That’s when I listen to my podcast when I’ve got free time away from children, and it’s my own time, but I’m also not watching it. I see both sides, and there’s no problem in recording on Zoom or Teams and then using your phone to snip it up. Maybe it’s not a full video aspect to it, but I see both sides of it. If you’re utilizing tools that are already on video, why not chunk those up, like I said, into bite-sized pieces that you can push out on social?
What you’re talking about right there is pushing out snippets, as we call them, out to social media to capture their attention, to draw them into listening to the full podcast, which gets into some of the advantages of the messaging. Let’s talk about some of the benefits that Atlantic Bay has realized as a result of it. First of all, it’s beneficial for you because we would’ve never met had you not been doing this. That’s a great opportunity. That helps a personal brand to go out there with it. It does help a company. Talk about the benefits, and if you can, give some stories that give credence to the benefits of your life.
Not only does it benefit me in being able to do what I love and push that out on social media. As far as helping Atlantic Bay, my goal was always to alleviate the conversation of who Atlantic Bay is. I wanted people to get a peek behind the curtain, if you will, as to who Atlantic Bay is well before they even pick up the phone to call. I wanted them to know and spread the word. For me, I can tell my story. I wouldn’t have met you. I’ve had Geoff Zimpfer, Dave Savage, Phil Treadwell, and Alec Hanson. I’ve spoken with all of them because of this platform. They’re huge heavy hitters in this industry. Our people love them.
Our people love you. It was such a God-wink, but it was something that was like, “How empowering should you feel that you’ve done this good job?” I didn’t know what to expect. Again, if you’re getting into podcasting and you’re like, “I want to do this. I don’t know how to do it,” but when you look where I am and look back on it, I haven’t done it this very long. I can tell you one thing, the number of doors it opens is astounding. Being able to have meaningful, impactful conversations in the industry and beyond is huge.
Besides the fact that we are able to highlight some of the amazing things that Atlantic Bay does for its folks, we’re also able to talk to agents and navigate the waters of what’s going on. In turn, having some of our mortgage bankers on to tell their story so that when we get in front of the next generation of mortgage bankers, they can understand what it takes to be a good mortgage banker, some of the coaches that we deal with and what they’re empowering their people. That’s my story in a little bit of a nutshell.
Everyone’s focused on recruiting. Has your podcast helped recruit new loan officers or production people for your company?
When mortgage bankers come to a company, it takes years for mortgage bankers to make the switch. If we can, we are pushing out the messages that we receive to some of the recruits and trying to tell them, “Listen to these conversations that Taylor’s having with you or some other folks in the industry.” It boils down to one thing. I can’t say directly, and that’s where we can talk about ROI. It’s like social.
It’s a little bit indirect, but it’s still very direct at the same time because you and I are going belly to belly, and I’m also, “I know someone who can benefit from this podcast that’s struggling, that wants to go from the bank over to Atlantic Bay. We’ve got to figure out what that looks like. Here, listen to this podcast. It’s incredible. It’s empowering, but it’s hard to quantify.” That’s something that people will run into. We’ve got a great number of listeners. Ask the question is the biggest piece of it. If you ask the question, “How did you hear about us?” They say the podcast.
That’s a win. It works so well. A lot of people say, “Dave, I don’t have your bubbly personality.” You clearly have a bubbly personality, and you have a broadcast and media background. You’ve got training in that. Has that been the key to your success?
I would not say that. I would say the key to my success has been that I’m tenacious. I want success for my podcast. It doesn’t take a bubbly personality. It takes having a goal. If you have a goal of what you want to achieve and how to guide the conversation towards that goal and extract the greatness that comes out of these conversations with questions, this is one big story and one big win on my part. For the first five podcasts that I did, I don’t know if you go back and listen that you can tell any difference, but I always had ten questions, and I knew I wanted to cover each of those questions.
I found I wasn’t actively listening because I was so busy trying to stick to those questions that I wasn’t getting the meat and potatoes out of the conversation that hand was. I quickly learned to pivot from that. Have a few questions that I know I want to cover but don’t, by any means, stick to them. Let that be the roadmap and then ask the questions in real time. That’s a big nugget if I can provide anything as learning how to actively listen. I’m talkative by nature. If I dial it back a little bit, don’t feel so pressured towards the questions and move forward.
Jason Mraz has one of my favorite songs You Do You when anyone tries to be a Taylor, a Dave Lykken, a Phil Treadwell or any of the others out there that are doing such a great job of the podcast when you try to imitate someone else, you are faking it, and you’re not being real. Things come across with a greater sense of authenticity, genuineness, and connection ability, more connection power when you be you. That’s what that song talks about that. What would you say to those that are trying to be something else? What’s the importance of being you?
Your listeners hear that. They hear if you are not coming across as yourself. It could be painful for them. You might turn people away, and that’s okay too. Not everybody’s going to love your podcast.
That’s reality. You run around people out there, and they go, “He’s too this, or he’s too that,” and that’s fine. There’s someone else out there that does what they like to listen to better, so let them go find them. You got to get a little bit of thick skin, too, to a certain degree because you do get some feedback that’s like, “Ouch, that hurt.”
Honestly, if you’re in sales, you know what to expect. I feel like you could take it or leave it. For those who aren’t in sales but are interested in this, be organic. Be yourself. Know what the common goal that you’re trying to achieve is and work towards that in a way that you’re going to extract the information. You don’t have to be bubbly. Not all people that are on these podcasts are bubbly. Some people might be a little bit monotone, and that’s fine as long as you’ve got that message. Like you said, as long as you are clearly giving this message 1 or 2 pieces for people to walk away with, then you’ve done a good job.As long as you are clearly giving this message, one or two pieces for people to walk away with, then you've done a good job. Click To Tweet
How do you organize your interviews? You talked about not reading scripts. That’s so important. I go through the questions before I start it, but then I turn on the microphone and let the conversation flow.
I honestly know whom I’m going to talk to. I know what their superpower is, and then I want to extract that by asking them meaningful questions. In my podcast, at least, I always end it with, “How are you lending forward?” I don’t ever tell them how to perceive that question. That’s my flagship. I’m always sticking to that. Maybe you create your own flagship and let it guide its way into what makes the most sense for whomever you’re meeting with.
That be, whether that comes through in question form or that you want to talk about a certain topic. I personally plan out topics pretty far in advance. I’m booked until August 2022. For me, that’s huge because I just started. For each one of them, I want to pull something that’s meaningful and have the conversation that is going to provide the listener with as much as they need to come back for more and even go and research the person that I’m having.
That’s important. You cover things with both substance and energy. I listen to some people that have substance, but they deliver with the worst energy in the world, and then there are people that deliver lots of energy, and you go, “What did I get out of that?” You have to have a combination of both.
It’s important to be humble and influx your voice. That came for me pretty organically. It’s natural for me to use my hands and be very passionate about my messaging. One thing that I’ve learned throughout these last few months has been that my nervousness shows us compassion and energy. I’ve powered into that somehow over the years. I know I’m nervous, but I’m going to come across with this big energy, and I know I’m passionate about this. That messaging shows through.
What are some tips, tricks, and recommendations you have for a company considering starting its own podcast?
Tips would be to figure out who your target audience is and what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Whether that’s exuding the core values of your company through a podcast or that’s preaching about something, or talking about finance, whatever it is, figure out who your target audience is and do so accordingly. Alter your messaging to make sure that it’s true to those folks. For tricks, I would say learn what’s working for you. Go to your closest friends and family and say, “What are things that you think I’m really good at when talking to you? Do I ask a lot of questions?” I should hope that anybody could be able to podcast. It does take a fair amount of planning, and that’s one of the biggest things.
As far as tricks go, just do it. Don’t plan to where you debilitate. Plan where you’re going to get that job done, and it’s going to look great, and you’ll always be your own worst critic, but just do it. Even though people are like, “I can’t listen to my voice anymore.” I’m like, “Just do it and don’t even listen back.” As long as you’re giving your people what they need, that’s all that matters. Give yourself grace through it, and you’ll learn. I’m always trying to educate and grow and have grit and not sticking to the bullets in the questions that were learned. I didn’t know that going in. I could have planned out questions for 25 episodes but I know better now. I know I extract more and give a good interview so much better when I’m actively listening.
You do such an outstanding job, and the most important part as you’re talking about is having a general idea of where you want to go but, most importantly, be you. Jason Mraz’s song says it so well, You do You. Everyone else is taken. You do you. No one else has taken you. That’s great. Great messaging, great successes. How could people get ahold of you if they want to reach out to you, learn more about your company, learn more about you, and learn more about your podcast? How can they reach out to you?
You can visit AtlanticBay.com to hear more about Atlantic Bay, which I love so much. Taylor Ellard, but my Instagram is @Lending_Forward, where I promote the podcast. If you’d like to find the podcast, it’s on Apple, Spotify, and Google at Lending Forward.
You’re doing a great job. Thank you so much for taking some time to share some of your ideas and what’s made you successful and hopefully inspire some others to get their podcasts up and running.
Thank you so much for having me. I always enjoy our time.
I enjoy our time together so much too. Thank you.
- Home Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group
- Lending Forward
- Geoff Zimpfer– Lending Forward Past Episode
- Dave Savage – Lending Forward Past Episode
- Phil Treadwell – Lending Forward Past Episode
- Alec Hanson
- @Lending_Forward – Instagram
- Apple – Lending Forward
- Spotify -Lending Forward
- Google – Lending Forward