Kevin Campbell of the Syniti Podcast Series: Provide an Insider’s View to Encourage Podcast Engagement and Bingeability
As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a bingeable podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Campbell.
With a solid track record in driving growth at scale, Kevin joined Syniti as president, global consulting and services April 2018, and was named as CEO in February 2019. During his 20+ year, 2-term tenure at Accenture, he was Group Chief Executive for Outsourcing and Group Chief Executive Technology where he drove double-digit growth. Kevin was also CO-COO for Bridgewater Associates and COO for Oscar Health based out of New York.
As CEO, Kevin’s leadership remit is: Inspire and empower those around him to deliver on the business’ vision and purpose. He oversees all aspects of our operation while also taking every opportunity to engage with customers, partners, and employees on the ground around the world.
At home and in relaxed mode, Kevin devotes himself to family life. He also coaches his children’s sports teams and can often be found at various sports fields hurling encouragement.
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Can you tell us a bit of your “personal backstory? What is your background and what eventually brought you to this particular career path?
I’ve always been drawn to solving complex problems, working with high-performing teams and scaling companies.
I’ve had the pleasure of working, for more than two decades, with the world’s leading consulting and systems integration firms, of all sizes. I’ve spent over 25 years at one of the world’s top consulting firm, Accenture, in various roles, including leading delivery for the organization.
After Accenture, I was ready to try something different. I went to work for legendary investor, Ray Dalio, of leading hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, where I served as Co-COO. I also worked as COO of Oscar Insurance, which was the first established insurance company in NYC in 25 years.
What attracted me most to Syniti was the fact that the data space was hot. We were working with Fortune 100 clients and tackling the world’s hardest problems… and all with global leaders and people that I could have some fun with.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
The most memorable moment was actually the launch of the first podcast episode. For the first episode, I interviewed Joe Tucci, former Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive Officer of EMC Corporation, now Dell EMC, and Chairman and Co-Founder of Bridge Growth Partners.
As Chairman and CEO of EMC, Joe oversaw one of the largest, if not the largest, technology merger in history, with the merger of Dell and EMC. Getting an insider’s view of this massive merger was an honor and such a wonderful experience for our listeners. He is such a powerhouse and we were so fortunate to have him as our first guest.
Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaways you learned from that?
Luckily, we have not had many major mistakes. However, one of the lessons we’ve learned occurred during one of our first podcasts. For the interview, the guest joined the interview on their cell phone.
For the video portion of the podcast, the phone began to slip, and the guest would slowly slip out of frame. To make matters worse, the guest’s audio would drop during the interview and there were times when we could not hear him. Ultimately, we had to re-record the interview.
This is a good rule of thumb. Always perform technical tests, testing in the same location, using the same technology and internet connectivity, before you record the podcast episode. During technical tests and dry runs you are able to correct some of the issues that you may experience on the day of a recording.
Also, we had one podcast where the guest’s dog continuously barked in the background. As we are all working from home, feel free to encourage your guests to put their pets in another location of the home to prevent background noise.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
We launched our new CEO TO CEO Podcast, September of 2020. We’ve aired seven global episodes to date… While having launched only a few podcasts, we have been intentional and have taken the approach of quality over quantity. Our podcast features some of the world’s top CEOs and thought leaders who have completed large scale global mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.
Guests have included, Joe Tucci, former Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive Officer of EMC Corporation, now Dell EMC, and Chairman and Co-Founder of Bridge Growth Partners, as well as Paula Tolliver, former Corporate Vice President and CIO and CDO of Intel Corporation and former Corporate Vice President of Business Services and CIO at the Dow Chemical Company.
What are the main takeaways, lessons or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?
The main takeaway is that data is at the heart of everything. Our podcast welcomes honest conversations meant to challenge traditional ways of thinking about data and the power of data to move the needle forward for businesses… and all from perspectives of the world’s top global leaders. The podcast explores the world of Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures from an insider’s perspective. For our listeners, we want them to walk away with extraordinary insight into how data can create powerful change for companies, particularly those who are driving financial transactions. We also always ask our guests what the best career advice has been that they’ve ever received. This has given our listeners some great tidbits.
In your opinion what makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or your content?
Sixty-seven million Americans listen to podcasts each month. Podcasts are more and more common throughout the world. Because of this, it can sometimes seem hard for a listener to pin-down the podcast(s) for them.
There are truly so many podcasts that are out there. I can even imagine that there are a number of podcasts within your industry that may cover the same topics that you do. Providing unique perspectives, and more importantly guests, can distinguish your podcast from the rest. Also, having a host who, regardless of the guests, makes the interview both interesting and insightful is good.
For the Syniti CEO TO CEO Podcast, we offer a new perspective and a deep dive into a particularly unique topic. We explore the power of data to drive successful Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures, particularly during the pandemic.
This is timely because in today’s environment, more than half of executives globally are opting to transform through transactions and plan an acquisition this year
This is an evolving topic within the industry. This is a sweet spot as the industry does not offer many podcasts that cover this topic.
Doing something on a consistent basis is not easy. Podcasting every workday, or even every week can be monotonous. What would you recommend to others about how to maintain discipline and consistency? What would you recommend to others about how to avoid burnout?
Establish a process for your podcast, from pre-production, production and post-production. Production includes:
- Scheduling guests;
- Planning content and interview questions;
- Recording the podcast interview;
- Editing the interview;
- Creating graphics;
- Conducting approval processes;
- Creating social media assets;
- Publishing and promoting the podcast.
Establishing a process will allow all team members to produce sustainable and repeatable programming. Also, spread the work across a number of team members to prevent burnout of one or more team members.
What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?
I’ve been blessed to have some really great mentors. They were people who took a chance on me and who enjoyed growing people and making them better.
I am also an avid reader and I am passionate about intellectual development. I think I have a true desire to learn and acquire knowledge and apply it in support of others. My parents were a huge influence on me as well, which is probably why I am involved in the community. Throughout my career, I’ve had some breaks in my career where I took time out to volunteer. This included from the career development of others to working in food banks. I’ve had people help me when I needed help and I always wanted to give back.
Is there someone in the podcasting world who you think is a great model for how to run a really fantastic podcast?
I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, “Revisionist History Podcast”. I listen to it regularly. Podcasts are such a great way to communicate information and to pass along experiences. I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast and listen to it on long drives. It offers a great deal of wisdom.
What are the ingredients that make that podcast so successful? If you could break that down into a blueprint, what would that blueprint look like?
It takes time to develop a podcast. For us, we looked at the following elements to create the framework for our podcasts, which has been quite successful for us.
- It’s About Your Listeners. When you are launching a podcast, it is easy to focus on the numbers… the number of downloads, the number of subscribers or even the number of episodes. But it is important to remember that podcasting is about the listener. So, each download is a listener — someone who is taking time out of their day to listen to what you have to say. Someone who is learning and gaining new insights from your podcast.
- Trim the Fat. During a podcast interview, the guest and host may find themselves veering off into a new or different topic. Trim any conversations that do not support the overall narrative of the podcast/episode. Keep in mind that topics should be focused, informative, entertaining and engaging. Have a clear narrative.
- Quality Over Quantity. If your podcast doesn’t promise valuable content, or engages the listener’s interest, they will not stick around for the next episode. No matter how many podcasts you have, it is important to ensure that your podcasts have quality audio, questions, guests, and interview topics.
- Don’t Forget the Guests. The podcast guests are what distinguishes your podcast from the rest. Select guests who have a range of experiences to pull from. Select experts and those who can offer different perspectives from previous guests. The guests should also be comfortable answering questions. Steer away from guests who answer questions with one or two sentences. You want to drive an engaging conversation and the guests can make that happen.
- A Thoughtful Well-Informed Host. The host sets the tone of the podcast. The host will lead thought-provoking interviews. Select a host who can confidently drive compelling, entertaining and engaging conversations and who is comfortable in front of a microphone.
- It takes time to grow. Investing in a promotional plan, incorporating SEO and tapping social media strategies can help elevate your podcast to reach your targeted listeners. Just remember, there are many podcasts out there and you must have unwavering dedication to making it succeed.
Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast?
- Invest in quality equipment;
- Be consistent. Select themes, topics and interview questions that support a focused narrative and the brand of your podcast;
- Offer experts who can drive engaging dialogue;
- Make your podcast SEO Friendly (iTunes and Google Podcasts are actually search engines). Place key words in your title and description that will help listeners find your podcast in key searches. This will also give you a boost in the rankings. With keywords in your podcast, title, subtitle and description you can increase the rankings of your podcast and reach the listeners who want to find you; and
- It takes strategy. Your promotional plan should incorporate social media tactics. Don’t forget to partner with your guests on promotions and tap their networks and social media profiles to increase awareness.
Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine Article about Kevin Campbell!
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1) Book Great Guests. Tap into your own network to identify guests. Identify potential guests from former colleagues, associates and mentors. Feel free to also identify experts on LinkedIn and cold call/reach out to them. Look on other social media platforms using hashtags to identify experts for topics. Also, look for experts who have participated on other podcasts. They are more likely to be open to participate in another podcast.
2) Increase Listeners. Don’t underestimate the power of SEO. Develop a compelling title that has strong SEO and searchability to help search engines pick up your podcast. Also, submit to directories and podcatchers. Submit your podcast’s RSS feed to every podcatcher and directory. Turn your podcasts into blogs with strong SEO and share soundbites of key quotes on social media. Don’t underestimate the power that your guests may have. Partner with your guests to promote your podcast on their networks as well.
3) Produce in a Professional Way. The right location (quiet location), having quality microphones and having high quality recording/ audio and editing software can help you produce a quality podcast.
4) Encourage Engagement. Give your listeners aninsider’s perspective so they can walk away with extraordinary insight into how data can create powerful change for companies, particularly those who are driving financial transactions.
5) Monetize Your Show. Selling sponsorship and ads is a common method to monetize your podcast. However, sponsorships depend on how many people listen to your podcast and the demographics of the audience. Publishing your podcast as YouTube videos will provide you with the opportunity to syndicate your show on YouTube. When posting on YouTube, all you have to do is enable monetization in your account settings and YouTube will manage the ads and disburse the funds.
What makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or the content itself?
Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine Article about Kevin Campbell!