Welcome to the Telling of Story Podcast. I’m your host, Storyteller Jewels, and along with my guests, it’s my endeavour to explore the art and science of storytelling, to attract, engage, and retain a business audience, and to unpack why it works for some, and not for the many that try. Listen in as Rachel talks about taking the first step in telling your story.

Rachel: Start with one platform. Start with LinkedIn. Take out one photo of you not in your business persona and not in your business disguise. And just challenge yourself to share that and type one paragraph about why you’re doing that. And why refueling at the weekend helps you, like, jump straight into business.

And it doesn’t have to be anything big, it can be that tiniest first step to get yourself starting to share your story. And then once you’ve started sharing your story, the rest is going to come quite easily because it isn’t so scary as people think. 

Jewels: In [00:01:00] this episode, I have the pleasure of talking with Rachel Franklin Hayes, armed with a psychology degree from the University of Reading.

Rachel’s journey began in in person customer service and sales, forging her commitment to authentic connections. Boasting a diverse background in sales, leadership, and customer service across various industries, Rachel brings a versatile set to the table. Her approach is rooted in creating meaningful face to face interactions.

Which has then evolved to fostering the same meaningful connections for digital and remote companies, shaping her into a client success powerhouse. Passionate about authenticity and people first philosophy, Rachel believes connection should extend further than transactional relationships. Her belief in the value of genuine connections extends beyond professional realms, making her not only a client success expert, but also a life skill enthusiast.

At Pickle Co, Rachel serves as a catalyst, guiding clients in crafting their unique message [00:02:00] and developing their personal brand. Her dedication goes beyond the business realm, enriching both enterprises and clients alike. Rachel, welcome to the show. 

Rachel: Thank you so much for having me. 

Jewels: Rachel, psychology, tell me about the connection.

You do have a background in psychology and tell me how that you’ve used that and maybe how that may have influenced your work today. 

Rachel: Of course. Well, I think that the motivation to even study psychology goes back a little further than that. So I’ve always been really fascinated in the way people tick, and I’ve always wanted to unpick that a little bit further.

So honestly, in the choice to study psychology, that’s because I was already fascinated with the connections between people and how we actually function, right? So, um, I chose to study psychology with those motivations already behind me. So, with the degree, it was fantastic to start to walk through that.

And I actually dived a little into the neuroscience as well. So [00:03:00] beyond the kind of cognitive realm and into actually the fundamentals of how our brain anatomy works. And alongside university, as most people do, I was also working to pay the bills, get a bit more beer money, you know, all of those, all of those kind of things.

And I was doing that in bar work in hospitality and like customer success in retail. And I really found that there was this like huge connection between what I was doing. at university and what I was actually finding when I was working alongside people. And I found that those skills were just so transparent and I loved it.

And I really feel like retail should almost be some form of national service, right? Like, you understand a lot more about, about humans when you’re actually working face to face with them. So I found that huge, like, consolidation between what I actually loved about people and my motivations to study psychology, and then transferring that into work and into the workplace and into selling more and learning more and connecting more with people.

So [00:04:00] once I graduated, really, that was something that I still found such a huge love in, which is why I went straight into in person sales and in person showroom sales. And again, all of those skills, all of those unpickings for actually how we cognitively make our choices really came into play there too.

And I found that I was like naturally quite good at sales because I just loved connecting with people. And I’ve always been a huge believer in the whole, people buy from people approach. So by putting that authenticity and that love of humanity in the front seat, you can actually go quite far in those fields, even if you wouldn’t necessarily consider yourself a salesperson by default.

So I found so much love for it and I love doing it. And ultimately that’s where we are now and what I’m doing now. It’s all part of that. Continuing that journey and just stemming from a pure love of people. 

Jewels: Rachel, this is an area that absolutely fascinates me because connecting people’s reactions and what they do and how they think and how they make [00:05:00] decisions is obviously a massive part of marketing, which is something I do on a day to day basis.

Right. And I absolutely get. The love of the face to face kind of interaction, right? You get that immediate response and you can kind of craft your message. And if you’re presenting in front of a room or, or selling something or in whatever format that kind of looks like, you’re getting this immediate feedback, which over time, if you sort of understand and think about it and reflect on how you interact with these people, you can kind of start to Make changes on the fly and be able to adapt to a situation, to get to a place where you’re trying to get to, whether it’s a sale, whether it’s a decision made, whatever that might look like, right?

How does that translate to digital when you don’t have that, necessarily have that one on one? Relation is something that I’ve been working on for ages and trying to sort of make sense of it. How do you keep that connection alive? How do you influence people to make [00:06:00] decisions when you don’t see their reaction when it’s not a live interaction?

Rachel: Absolutely. I think It’s something that’s almost becoming harder to navigate with the advances in technology now as well because we all know how good those AI chatbots can be and how good everything that underpins like digital businesses actually is because they can just make all those decisions for you and that’s a very, Inhuman approach to it, right?

But it’s easy and it gets the job done. So I think you really have to build those relationships and continue that authenticity and business. Now you have to really reflect on like each touch point in that customer journey before they’ve even joined you. So it’s really looking at how we can inject our humanity and inject some form of connection into that rather than just being an AI chatbot on the screen.

Like, actually, what if we fed into that journey to allow people to benefit from? So to give you an example, there’s always going to be some form of email chain. So Maybe you’ve got an [00:07:00]onboarding one, maybe there’s a sales one, maybe there’s a client journey email chain. Actually, what’s influencing each of these steps?

You probably have trust on the wall as a company like manifesto, right? It’s going to be one of your commitments to people, but it’s actually every step in your customer journey reinforcing that. So I really think it’s going. Right back into the data that’s underpinning everything. We’ve got to look at email open rates.

We’ve got to look at all of those tiny little pieces that build up the business and are your customers actually engaging with them? Because if they’re not, then your approach isn’t going to be authentic enough or not true enough to what they’re expecting from you. So I definitely think it’s really going right back to the numbers and finding out where you’re actually hitting it with your clients and where you’re not hitting it with your clients.

Just starting to build up the actual company philosophy from there, because if everything isn’t mirroring how you want your company to come across and everything isn’t mirroring those intrinsic values that you’re holding, then your customers aren’t going to [00:08:00] be feeling that. They’re going to get bored in a journey.

They’re not going to be opening emails. They’re not going to be responding to chatbots. You’re going to have huge customer success wait times just because you’re not really putting humanity first and reflecting on those company values that you are. Trying to get across to people and probably not doing so well because you’re hiding behind tools rather than actually investigating what’s working for people.

Jewels: I have a little bit of a theory, which I’d like to sort of run by you and maybe ask your opinion. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a little while. So when in, I guess, going back not that long ago, and I can tell that there’s quite an age gap between you and I. So when I first started in business, absolutely no internet, et cetera, et cetera, right?

So any form of sales was pretty much face to face kind of selling. There’s a few exceptions, but for the most part, you were able to present yourself in front of somebody at some point in time. And that’s where most of the trust was built. That’s where most of the interactions occurred. And going back to what I said [00:09:00] earlier, when you are able to do these face to face interactions, you’re able to adapt, right?

So. What I could do as a sales type person in a situation was adapt to the person I was selling to. Roll forward a couple of, a few decades, especially in the last sort of five to 10, right? When there is so much, there’s been an explosion of everything, explosion of social media, explosion of digital explosion of different ways to communicate with lots of different people, and what I’m seeing is if you can no longer really Or successfully adapt to every single situation, right?

It’s impossible, because potentially, depending on your following, that could be a thousand, that could be ten thousand, that could be ten million people. There’s no way you can obviously create content, for example, for ten million different people, not even a thousand different people. You wouldn’t even be able to do it for five hundred, right?

And it’s talked about a hell of a lot, the idea around authenticity. So [00:10:00] now we’ve moved into this space of people need to be attracted to me. And therefore what I need to project is actually the more authentic self, right? So in the old days, I would project something that they wanted to see. But today, if you’re not projecting your authentic self, you won’t really be able to create a following.

Because otherwise, if you’re trying to project lots of different personas based on who you think the right buyer is, then you’re going to have all these mixed sort of messages going out to market. Therefore, it’s actually better to lean into you, the personal brand you, and see what comes the other way.

Discuss. Tell me what you think. 

Rachel: I think this is what I, I love so much about personal branding because now, obviously, exactly as you’ve just said, in a world where everyone has the potential to have an audience right at their fingertips. What actually makes you different? And that’s the fundamental thing that you’ve [00:11:00]got to get across to people.

Because you probably don’t know the most in your area and your brand probably hasn’t been around the longest. And there’s all of these things that people could very easily listen to someone else. So why should they even be listening to you? And that’s the, the question that personal branding needs to unpick.

Because people choosing you is ultimately why people are gonna. love and stay with your brand. So why are you different? And the very fundamental baseline of that is actually who you are. So you being you, your journey, all of those little bits and pieces over time that have made you into the individual that you are today.

And I think that’s where authenticity comes into play so strongly here, because if we aren’t actually behaving like ourselves, if we’re not putting across this genuine, authentic, personal brand image, then. How are people ever going to connect to us? And why will we ever be able to stand out in a world that’s so saturated with other people that probably have more knowledge and probably have more time and probably have a bigger business?[00:12:00]

So that is why I love personal branding so much. And honestly, that’s why I love podcasting so much, because it gives people that chance to absolutely show who they are through these long conversations, show what you’re passionate about, show what you enjoy and show why people actually should listen to you.

And that is again, right back to that human connection. So even without us being in the same room now, even without listeners being in the same room as us, we’re all actually connecting over this same conversation. And I love that. I think that’s so powerful. 

Jewels: I’ve personally really lent into the personal brand idea in the last few years, probably around the time I started the podcast, right?

Two or three years ago, really sort of started to lean into the, this idea of personal brand because And the reason I’ve sort of made that realisation is pretty, you know, you’ve touched on it there where there’s, you know, I run a marketing agency as my sort of primary role, I do a bit of consulting and other kinds of things, and there are millions of versions of me around the world, right?

There are tens of [00:13:00] thousands, probably just in Australia alone. And so, They all start to look the same, right? Every business starts to look the same. And so when somebody is trying to make a decision on, do I buy with, you know, from Jools or do I go somewhere else? The only thing in many cases that will differentiate you is you.

And so now when working with a lot of my clients, I encourage them to build their personal brand alongside their business brand as well. I think the business has a place. To have a brand too, but particularly privately owned organizations, I think the CEO or even the leadership team as a whole should have a personal brand because that’s what’s attractive.

You know, you’ve only got to look at people like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, you could name the top sort of 10 richest people in the world and they all have really incredibly successful businesses, but also probably. [00:14:00] More successful to some degree, personal brands. How do you sort of encourage people? And one of the challenges I have is there’s a lot of people out there that go, Oh, there’s no way I’m getting on video.

There’s no way I’m writing content. They struggle with the idea of putting themselves out there and storytelling. Telling those personal stories, what’s some guidance that you might give to somebody who’s going, Yeah, that kind of sounds right, but I’m scared to even start. I 

Rachel: think when I’m talking to people about this, same thing.

People know that it’s needed and I think those conversations always have to come back to that. If you look on LinkedIn and have a scroll for a little while, you’re going to see 50 percent of the content you’re looking through is probably AI generated and it’s probably very impersonal. But at the very least, that content is going out there.

So if you are sat there and you’re not actually contributing anything, then your brand isn’t going to get heard. Like your personal brand is going to be absolutely non existent. And in today’s landscape, it is. [00:15:00] essential for us to have some form of personal brand. Because ultimately, we’re, especially with like independent consultants and people who are very owner run businesses, it’s so important that when people are looking up your company and looking up who runs it, they’re actually learning about you and they’re choosing that they want to work with you directly.

So in the absence of a personal brand, you’re just not going to have any of that leverage. Thanks. Yes, it’s super daunting, I think, to be the, when you’ve got absolutely nothing, to start putting content out there about yourself. But again, you’ve just got to come back to that. Baseline motivation. If you don’t do it, there is no way for you to be able to have a really competitive edge now, especially in this like primarily very digitally driven landscape, my advice, I guess, for starting out when you’ve got nothing behind you, it’s.

is very much to focus back on, on that personal journey, that bit that’s only yours, that all you have and no one else can talk about. And you don’t have to go [00:16:00] really deep at the beginning, but just even that gentle reflection into why you chose to do what you’re doing now, whether you’re a coach or whether you’re a business leader, like that story about actually, why are you doing this?

That’s enough. And that’s a really easy story that everybody has. Just let people know actually why you’re showing up today, why this is the conversation you’re wanting to be having with people, why you. And I think that’s a really nice place to start because that’s something that only you can own and your audience will, if they resonate with that, they’re going to want to know more about you, want to know more about your business because they understand why you’re there and why you’re doing it.

Jewels: How do you break through to those who may be a different generation possibly, you know, you’ve grown up as a digital native, I assume others haven’t, right? There are people sort of running businesses that are in their fifties and sixties that aren’t techno savvy. They haven’t necessarily grown up with the tech.

They might be on one platform, two platforms, but they’re not necessarily actively doing it. And I have a friend that I can, [00:17:00] Sort of talk about as a reference point, you know, he’s online. He’s not scared of technology. In fact, he’s got a technology background. But he is quite afraid to get his personal message out, like he’s, that leap of putting his personal self out there is massive for him.

Where do you go with somebody like that? Like, what’s an easy, just really simple step one, two, three? 

Rachel: Obviously, if you’re not used to putting yourself out there, I think jumping in and starting with video might be a little bit too heavy, but it can be as simple as start with one platform, start with LinkedIn, take one photo of yourself, Out of office hours with your family, walking the dog, whatever you’re doing in your spare time, take out one photo of you, not in your business persona or not in your business disguise, and just challenge yourself to, to share that and type one paragraph about.

why you’re doing that and why refueling at the weekend helps you like jump straight into business and it [00:18:00] doesn’t have to be anything big it can be that tiniest first step to get yourself starting to share your story and then once you’ve started sharing your story the rest is going to come quite easily because it isn’t so scary as people think.

And then, beyond that, it’s then choosing actually how to create content, because these people are busy, it’s hard to create content, this is a full time job for a lot of people. So, again, let’s swing back around to why I love podcasting so much, because the conversation we’re having today, like, What can we take from this?

We’ve got a transcript, we’ve got maybe an article in there, we’ve got some short videos which you can pop on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, and we’re going to get all of that juicy stuff from one conversation that we’re having. And I think that’s the beauty of this as a medium, because people can Do podcasting.

They can tell a story and then you can recycle that. Use that loads, use that until everyone has seen it. And you’ve only had to do one thing to get it. So I think really maximizing your time when you’re like a busy [00:19:00] CEO, that’s so important. And it’s really enabling yourself to maximize the personal branding effort you’re putting into it.

Jewels: I mean, that’s a lovely example. And you don’t even have to be the podcaster. You can go out and try and get onto other people’s. Podcasts, maybe in your industry where it kind of makes sense and be a guest. And that way you can do, you can get all of that benefit, all the video and the audio and the transcript, et cetera, to use without necessarily having to do all the back end grunt work as well.

Right. So it’s a really nice place to get out there. And when somebody’s presenting questions to you, I think for the most part, like a CEO or a producer, Self run organization, for the most part, if they’re asked a question, they can respond. They’re okay in that scenario. So it might actually be quite a nice, easy way to venture into sort of longer form content to get the shorter form stuff to then distribute accordingly.


Rachel: Yeah, exactly that. Like, these people, they handle boardrooms, they [00:20:00] can handle a podcast host asking them some questions. It’s a really nice transition. I think, I love seeing people take that journey into starting to actually, to guest on podcasts. Again, you just need to, Tell people what you know, tell people the knowledge that you’ve probably been storing in your brain for 20, 30 years, and get out there and start having some conversations.

Podcasting is a really beautiful way for us to tell a story in the modern world, and I’m so passionate about it, particularly in the context of we’ve touched on it a few times with AI. There’s so much AI content out there and so much inauthentic content that if you Like yourself, if you host a podcast, people know who you are.

People are able to come and listen in and actually connect with you and know what makes you tick. And that’s not just hosting, also, it’s guesting. And it’s a really beautiful way to be heard above all of that just mundane noise that, you It’s just very loud and very boring on social media. It gives you an edge.

Jewels: Do you think [00:21:00] there is a limit to how much personal stuff you can or should share, particularly in a business context? Let’s go down that path. 

Rachel: I think there is a limit. The balance is really important here. I think if you’re every single bit of content you’re putting out into the world is purely personal, then people potentially aren’t going to understand you actually are an expert in your field as well.

So there’s a really important balance to strike between. I don’t know, the way I always would spin this is the difference between being an authority in the subject matter and being, like, a person of influence. Like, you can’t, you need both if you’re wanting to get your message across properly. And the person of influence side of things is very much you sharing that personal journey, making people understand why you’re a voice they should listen to.

But that authority on the subject matter is Potentially equally as important and you definitely need to be sharing both. And that’s just as easy to get out there and maybe easier for [00:22:00] people when they’re starting personal brand work. Because you just need to share educational content. Make a, maybe a little LinkedIn post telling people three things that they need to know about the area you’re working in.

And that’s a really nice way to give yourself that balance. Again, show that you know what you’re talking about with your business and with everything like that. But also balance out with the personal work so people actually know it. Who you are, the human behind it. 

Jewels: Is there a magic formula, do you think?

Is there an 25, or what’s the balance? Like if I was to, you know, if I’m, let’s say I’m focusing on LinkedIn, a business person, I’m a thought leader in my space or an expert in my space, let’s say, I want to get that balance right. Do you think there’s a magic formula? Do you like, where do you think that might sit?

Rachel: I think as long as it’s consistent and as long as it’s something you can maintain, I think that’s going to be where I’m going to, like, bottom out here and say that’s what you should be doing. Because ultimately, if you’re not going to do [00:23:00] anything because you’re in your head about an 80 20 formula, then that’s going to be worse than just saying, okay, I enjoy making the personal stuff.

I’m going to put the personal stuff out there and I can do that once a week. And maybe I’ve got a few ideas for educational content, so I can do that. twice a week. If that works for you, and if you can do that every week consistently, then that is going to be your secret formula. If you’re unable to put together that much educational content, then you’ve really just got to start with what you’ve got the time for.

I think the personal stuff is, is really what gives you the edge, but if all you can ever share is educational, then it’s better doing that than nothing. So, I think getting too caught up in that, especially when people are starting out. is going to be a detriment to them. And ultimately what we need to be talking about here instead is just consistency.

What can you consistently produce? What can you show up for once a week and tell people? And once you’ve got the consistency, that’s when I would diversify it a little bit. Make sure that maybe you’re posting a little bit of video, and you’re posting a photo, you’re posting just a [00:24:00] text based article, you’re posting a newsletter and vary it once you get to that point.

But if you’re not showing up and you’re not showing up consistently, that formula is never going to work for you. 

Jewels: I’ve noticed a bit of a shift on LinkedIn in particular. So I have the, you know, when LinkedIn first started was very much the suit and tie social media platform. It was only business oriented and it’s probably only the last few years there’s been a quite a noticeable shift between just purely business content and now.

A reasonable mix of personal stuff. Now I’ve had conflicting opinions about that. I have an opinion, but I get some people that say it’s gone too social. Like there’s too much personal stuff. I don’t get any value out of it. I don’t care if, you know, their cat is funny, you know, that kind of stuff. And then other people kind of love it.

It brings that human side. What’s your thoughts on where it’s gone and can it go further or is it the right balance right now? 

Rachel: I think this is. Potentially coming [00:25:00] back to choosing. the right platform for your brand messaging and making sure your presence is true to where your audience are actually sitting.

Like, if you do want to only be sharing personal content all the time, you’re probably better sticking to building a Facebook community or building an Instagram page or something like that. I think LinkedIn is beautiful because it does have that balance now. Personally, when it’s showing only business content, I feel it can be a little bit dry and you don’t necessarily know who you’re taking the advice from.

I think that the split that we do have on LinkedIn now between personal content and business facing content is great, but I think if it moved to be completely a social platform like we see on like Instagram or Facebook, there would be way too much. LinkedIn is very much still meant to be somewhere where you can show off your business, show off your It’s our CV online, isn’t it?

So I think we’ve kind of got to look at it. In that respect, but again, I think it’s still about personal branding is like, so at the forefront now [00:26:00] that I think if you’re not building your personal brands on LinkedIn and people aren’t going to investigate further into the business side of it anyway, ultimately consumer behavior is changing slightly and who we choose to work with is very much happening before the point we’re signing up, people are connecting with brands for.

months or years before they actually choose to work with them. And I think putting your personal brand and your business brand in that position where people can actually grow to know you and grow to follow you and like you is the most powerful thing you can do. And that does need LinkedIn and it does need a combination of business and personal, I’d say.

Jewels: Nice. Rachel, let’s change tact a little bit. You, I believe it’s recently, spent some time in the Scottish Highlands on having a little bit of a break. Tell me what you learned about yourself in that period. 

Rachel: It’s been a journey. So I think Let’s go back a tiny bit more to give some context to this. Before I started in like the career with Pickle that I’m in [00:27:00] now, I was working in an office based job for a SaaS company.

So five days a week, it was quite intense. I was running their sales and their customer success team. And it was very, honestly, I loved the company. I loved every single thing about that job, but There was, if I’m being real with myself, a misalignment between business me and home me. And business me got way too much attention.

And I just, I was almost burning out. I was completely out of sync with myself at that point. So I knew that there was something more that I needed in life. There was something more that needed to put some wind in my sails again. to be honest, get me out of the office. And that’s when I wanted to find something that felt a lot more me in the business side of things, which I’m delighted to have found as a huge lover of storytelling.

I’m delighted to have found that with Pickle, but I also work completely remotely. We’re a completely remote company. So that enabled me to make that decision to like, let’s see what Scotland’s like. And I [00:28:00] think While we were traveling around Scotland and we were living out of our van for a while. So we have a converted van that we were living out of while we were traveling around Scotland.

And while we were doing that, I just found this huge alignment between me as a person and me as a business that they didn’t feel like two separate things anymore. They were very much the same motivation to fuel both of them. And that alignment in my own life was perfect. I think I found calm, I found peace, and obviously when you’re surrounded by those incredible landscapes, it’s hard to not feel those things.

But the main satisfaction that came out of it for me was actually like, yes, there actually can be a little bit more to life than, you know, Sitting through the office job and doing that to pay the bills but then having this tiny little bit version of me that sits at home wanting something a bit more.

So yeah it was, it’s perfect and I think that kind of self discovery and that realization that actually I found some more alignment just within who I am was the best thing about that for me. 

Jewels: I mean, I can see it in your face, obviously, that this [00:29:00] sort of genre brings you joy, which is fabulous. It’s beautiful.

And I think it is something that is changing quite a lot too, where people aren’t satisfied with just the wage, just the pay packet, right? You know, grinding it out just to get the bills paid. Doesn’t suit any, everybody. I mean, not everybody has the opportunity to not do that. Like there is, you know, obviously lots of people that have to work for lots of reasons and they’re only good at something and they do that and that pays the bills.

But I think this alignment in who you are and what you do then obviously brings your attention span and your joy and your empathy and everything about that. You bring to work as well. So it obviously will reflect in your capability and your ability to do your work in a successful fashion. That also sort of ties in nicely with that sort of level of authenticity and showing a bit of yourself as part of your work.

[00:30:00] Right? So if you can start to blend those two things a little bit, you don’t have to, you know, I’ve written a couple of pieces on. You know, when I first started work, there was definitely a Jules at work persona because I started quite young in business. So I was the business owner at the ripe old age of 18.

It was my first sort of foray into it. So I had to have this, I guess, professional face for the business because I was so young, I guess. And I wanted to, to command a little bit of respect if I could, I thought, you know, if I tried hard enough that people would respect me, but then there was the. The party jewels who wanted to go out with his friends and have a great time.

And there was a very distinct difference between those two, two people. And it took me, I spent sort of seven years in that mode and it burnt me out. Like I, I couldn’t live these two lives. It was quite exhausting to be one and the other in the same day for the most part. So I applaud that. People are [00:31:00] starting to think that way a little bit differently.

I applaud that you can take the time out to do that. And clearly you’ve found a space which brings you joy, which brings me joy just hearing it. So well done. Congratulations. 

Rachel: Yeah, it is a crazy experience to kind of go from Like, the former, the nearly burning out, the working really hard in the office to actually finding that alignment.

Because honestly, I’ve never worked harder than when I was away. And it’s because as soon as your passion aligns with what you’re doing, everything, every single bit of your being can push in that same direction. Rather than having those two conflicting sides of you, which are very much going to pull you apart and burn you out, rather than actually progressing you within your career and within your life.

So I think it really is a full circle thing. Everything coming together and I’m 28 at the moment, delighted that I found that at this point in my life. It’s, uh, yeah, really, it was a really beautiful move for me. 

Jewels: Nice. Yeah, absolutely fabulous. Thank you. So what now brings you so much [00:32:00] joy in your work? Tell me a little bit about what you do and how you help people and what that looks like on a day to day that’s no longer work.

It’s just passion that you just happen to do throughout the day. 

Rachel: Exactly that. Well, I’ve got the absolute privilege of working with a CEOs, business owners, and effectively, What we do as a company is we help them get, get placed on podcasts, um, as effectively as a personal branding tool. So a lot of the time, these are people who maybe have no experience all the way through to people who are podcast hosts themselves, but ultimately the one thing everyone has in common is that they know there’s more that they can be doing with their personal brands.

So I get the absolute joy. of spending time with them and teasing out all of those little things that make them unique, those talking points that can actually get them in front of a microphone and get excited about sharing them. And that is basically my day to day. So obviously we have an outreach team that are wonderful and I [00:33:00] get the pleasure of And then I have the client side of it as well, which is ultimately where I get to help people build out their personal brands, help them get across to their audience, who they actually are.

Jewels: Yeah. Have you learned anything from those experiences? Like what have you taken from working with a diverse set of different people when they’re sort of on this, as you say, some are early in the journey, some are partway through, some are more experienced. What have you learned that maybe you didn’t know?

about the human psyche or connection or wherever you might want to take that. Bob, can you share with us that you’ve learned? 

Rachel: I think one thing that generally a lot of these people have in common is they’re still trying to work out who their audience is. So who, I know what I want to say, but I don’t know who’s going to be the best recipient of that message.

And that’s just, Again, it’s so important when it comes back to branding and even back to like the fundamentals of creating and shaping your business is knowing who you need, who you’re actually talking to and who you’re actually targeting and [00:34:00] what do you have that they want to hear. And I think building and making, helping people identify those connections between what they’re doing and who they can best serve and how they can serve them is the most important.

One of the most beautiful things about it for me, and one of the things I like the most. And then you also have , the kind of other side of it where sometimes people show up and they wanna talk just about the business, right? They’re there to promote the business, they wanna put business first, business in the front seat.

But actually that just, I’ve known, I’ve seen how much that falls flat business in the front seat, especially on podcasting as a medium, it’s not necessarily gonna work. And if you show up trying to be selling and show up, trying to sell what you do, people are never gonna. relate to you and they’re never going to actually feel that like we all have a spidey sense for people trying to sell us things now and it just doesn’t translate.

So it’s helping people take their sales message into a educational message and taking it into a how you can do this rather than I want to sell you this. And I [00:35:00] think Just unpacking people’s messaging and unpacking these brands messaging is one of my favorite things. I think that’s where everything aligns to me.

Just finding the authenticity within the sale. 

Jewels: I’ve absolutely loved that conversation. I have one more question for you. If I may, we could talk about this clearly for forever. Storytelling passion is palpable in the room, which is cool. But where do you think maybe either the podcast platform itself?

Because there are millions of podcasts out there. A lot of them don’t last, which I was statistically, I was kind of surprised at how many sort of failed really early. But then when I got into it, I realized I get why it fails because it’s not actually an easy thing to host and all the everything else that goes around with it.

So I can understand the fail rate. But it is a pretty popular medium still, which is kind of, it’s, it’s to some degree than the modern radio, but on demand, right? So [00:36:00] do you see it evolving? Do you see it as this is a platform that will stay fast for a long time because it naturally is just a good medium, even the way it is, it doesn’t need to necessarily evolve.

Do you see any. Crystal ball kind of stuff. 

Rachel: Well, I think when we, if, when we look at the data, we’re in a position now, uh, podcasts are very much still growing and despite the fail rate, there’s still more and more numbers creeping up each year. And that, that trajectory is expected to continue into the future as well.

We’re, we’re expecting to see it go up again. I think one of the main shifts that is very noticeable is that only about. I think it’s only about 70 percent of podcasts at the moment, like 70 percent audio only. So we’ve only got 30 percent of podcasts that are actually providing video. And that video content is something that consumers are really starting to want to see a bit more, whether that be on short clips on LinkedIn or YouTube presence.

And I think if we’re going to see any shift in industry in the next year, it’s definitely going to be Those numbers changing. So I think we’ll start to see the number of podcasts which are [00:37:00] audio only actually start to drop and seeing those video numbers start to increase there as well because the industry.

Seems to be very steady. It seems to be growing rapidly, but so is the consumer hunger for actually a little bit of video content on the side there. 

Jewels: And do you find that the shorter versions, longer versions, is there a sweet spot when it comes to podcasting? I’m, you know, I’m asking for a friend. 

Rachel: For a friend, for a friend.

Well, you can tell the friend that the sweet spot is generally sitting still between about 20 and 40 minutes for episodes. That’s like the prime spot for engagement rates. Yeah. I think you got, you’re nailing it. But. Ultimately, I think the hooks, so the little hooks that you can share on LinkedIn, on social, so all over the place, 20 second clips that make people want to actually watch the episode, those are the bits that podcasts really need to even get people to engage.

Because as you said, there’s a lot of shows to choose from out there now. So those little clips are big. Beautiful to get people hooked in. 

Jewels: Rachel, thank you so much. I really do appreciate your time and the [00:38:00] joy on your face has made it worthwhile for you to get up early and for me to stay on late to connect.

Where can the audience possibly find out a little bit more about you? 

Rachel: About me, LinkedIn is a good place to start. So you can find me on LinkedIn with obviously my name, Rachel Franklin Hayes. And if you want to find out any more about podcast guesting, obviously Pickle and Co is the place to go for that.

Jewels: Fabulous. Thank you so much. 

Rachel: Thank you so much for your time, Jewels. 

Jewels: Cheers.

Rachel is a breath of fresh air with her fascination of what makes people tick. It was a particular line Rachel shared which was easy to miss and it was this, Put humanity first. Much love. Chat soon.

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