On this episode of Bloomerang TV, Derrick Duplessy, Executive Director of the Duplessy Foundation, stops by to chat about how nonprofits can get into podcasting. You can watch the full episode here:
Steven Shattuck: All right, hey there. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode of Bloomerang TV. I’m Steven Shattuck; I’m the VP of Marketing here at Bloomerang. And today my guest, and I’m really excited to have him, Derrick Duplessy. He is the Executive Director over at the Duplessy Foundation, which is in Boston, Massachusetts. Hey there Derrick; how’s it going?
Derrick Duplessy: I’m doing well, Steven. How are you doing?
Steven Shattuck: I’m doing well. Thanks for being here. For people who don’t know about your foundation, what does your foundation do? Tell us a little bit about it.
Derrick Duplessy: Sure, I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version.
Steven Shattuck: All right.
Derrick Duplessy: I initially grew up in the inner city here in Boston, and somebody really invested a lot of time with me in high school, a lot of folks actually. And I got that book, the Helping People book. And I’ve worked with students of the Upward Bound Program. And what happened then was I thought, wow, this does not pay very much, so I got into executive recruiting.
But I was still seeing some of my students downtown and some of them would say, “Hey, Derrick,” and then they’d cover their face. And I’m like, “Hey, what’s going on with you?” And they told me that they dropped out of school, and that was because they were doing something entrepreneurial, or they were doing something artistic, and they didn’t feel like the desk jobs of nine to five were going to work for them.
So I started informally mentoring those guys, just helping them get to the next step, whether that was an apprenticeship or some type of formal training. And I sort of got addicted to that and was in love with that. And now we formally have programs where we work with 18 to 24 year olds who are from Boston’s inner city, who are creative, artistic entrepreneurs and we help them basically build a brand in a business.
Steven Shattuck: Awesome. Yeah, this is a great organization and I really like talking to young EDs like you because you do really neat modern things. And one of the things that you do that I want to talk about today is you have a podcast, which is not the most popular sort of content outlet I feel among nonprofits, but you guys have one and it’s really awesome. Maybe you could talk a little bit about what you’re doing there on the podcast front.
Derrick Duplessy: Sure. You know, it’s funny; I absolutely love our organization and our mission, but I know that nobody really cares. In the larger scheme of things, no, there might be thousands of people at level we could do, but there are billions of people on this earth. And I’m greedy; I still want people to connect to our mission in a way that makes sense for them and apply it to them.
And essentially our tag line in what we do is we help people pursue their purpose. Right? So even if you can’t connect or understand an artist’s story and help them build a brand, you can understand that I’m not doing something where my skills and what I really care about are aligned. And I hopefully want to be that person where what I’m doing and its impact align very well with my skills.
So we interview people every single day, the week days, and they tell their career stories. And I think people really dig it and enjoy it, like wow; I can really connect to this. And of course I sneak in, “Hey, we’re doing this for inner folks.”
Steven Shattuck: Right.
Derrick Duplessy: Who just happen to be artists, and it’s going really well. And right now as we speak the number one referral source of traffic to Duplessy Foundation site is the podcast site.
Steven Shattuck: I believe it. So this is a really sort of ingenious strategy. This is something that a lot of for-profit marketers do, because they understand what you just said, you can’t just make a bunch of content about yourself, right; because there’s not going to be that many people interested in it. But what you do is you interview a lot of people and it’s really entertaining, and it’s educational, and it’s engaging. So can you talk a little bit about the strategy that went into that? How did you actually conceptualize this podcast?
Derrick Duplessy: Yeah, it’s really interesting. You know, I was listening to a lot of podcasts just for inspiration and just to help myself in terms of having multiple educations. I think the first podcast I listened to was Manager Tools, right; a great podcast. And I was like, why isn’t there a podcast that really fits me, sort of the cause space or the soulful space where I can learn and be inspired by that space?
You know, there are a lot of how-tos; you guys do total management stuff like that, which is awesome. But I also want to get that inspiration, you know, get people’s stories, and really identify with people and feel encouraged, and it just didn’t exist. And I knew that I wasn’t the only person with this problem. In nonprofit you love it, but you just want that daily encouragement. So that’s the genesis of the podcast itself, and I knew that if we are able to get people to this one channel then we would be able to funnel them to our other channels, which would be our website.
Steven Shattuck: That makes sense. I think every nonprofit should do this, honestly. I’m giving a presentation on content marketing in a couple of days for nonprofits, and I’m definitely going to be talking about this, because I think what you’re doing is really awesome.
So you know it’s driving traffic.
Derrick Duplessy: Yes.
Steven Shattuck: Do you know what happens once they get there? Have you been able to measure the success of it once they hit your website? You know, what’s the actual ROI of that traffic?
Derrick Duplessy: Wow! That’s a good question. Basically the podcast started in February, and it’s an experiment and I want to see what would happen if we just started the podcast and created a website for the podcast that really focused on the individuals coming to the page and not us, you know.
Steven Shattuck: Yes.
Derrick Duplessy: So what has happened is that we get 2,000 visitors per month, or a little bit over that.
Steven Shattuck: Wow!
Derrick Duplessy: To the podcast page. And our Duplessy Foundation site regularly gets 500, 600 visitors per month, and it’s sort of like standard nonprofit site. It’s like a brochure; you go in there and you learn a little bit and you never come back.
Steven Shattuck: Right.
Derrick Duplessy: But what I found is that the time on site is a little bit higher on the podcast site.
Steven Shattuck: Great.
Derrick Duplessy: The podcast site has really served as a guinea pig for how we want Duplessy Foundation’s site to be. So we are actually in the process of doing over the Duplessy Foundation site, having it be a place that you want to come to each and every day. And so what we want to do just like the podcast page is make it a place not just for us to tell our story, but to use our story to help other people.
For example, you are an artist out there and you don’t know how to create a content calendar, you don’t know how to break down your brand. I’m going to use the story of [inaudible: 00:07:29] we’re mentoring and say, here are the things that you can do to help yourself out. I think ultimately that’s the play that is going to really make social as big as the for-profit space.
Steven Shattuck: Yeah. I completely agree. I think when a nonprofit makes their website an actual resource rather than a brochure, to use your words, that’s when magic really starts happening. I think what you’re doing is right on.
Okay, so a nonprofit that wants to get into this, maybe they want to start their own podcast, what tips, what advice do you have for them, you know, from topics, concepts, to even equipment. What should people do who want to get into this?
Derrick Duplessy: Well it’s pretty simple. You don’t have to have super-duper fancy equipment. Right now I have a Logitech HD camera that I got for I think $40; it might even be $30 from a local electronic shop. And hopefully it’s getting the job done. You can see me very clearly and you can hear me. And the camera has an onboard microphone which I’m using. I actually have a podcast mic, which is not working right now, and that’s what I’m using; just $30 and your computer and you’re ready to go.
In terms of content, every organization has an unfair advantage. So my good friends over here in Boston who I’m encouraging to do this, Zoomix [SP]; they are sort of an organization that basically is a place for folks 7 to 19 to do music and learn music and just hang out. They can teach people about the basics of fundamental music and they can sort of go, any physical pianos, they can go guitar. There are all kinds of places that they can do. And they are still pushing their mission forward by helping all these people, getting a lot of people to notice what they’re doing.
I interviewed for the podcast Top Cow Productions’ CEO. His name is Matt Hawkins. I ask him what was the biggest challenge for him and he said the biggest challenge is getting noticed in a noisy world. And I think if you’re a nonprofit the way you can get noticed is by figuring out how we can use what we know to help other people. What’s our unfair advantage?
Steven Shattuck: You do have an unfair advantage. Every nonprofit should have no shortage of things to talk about, anything relating to their mission, their cause, you know, what they’re doing, no problem.
Well cool, man; this is great, Derrick. You know, you talk about inspiring people, and I think you’re hopefully going to inspire people watching this to get into this. I think you really get concept marketing and nonprofits to really start doing this kind of thing. So I’ll give you the last word before we go. Where can people find out about you? Where can they listen to the podcast?
Derrick Duplessy: PurposeRockstar.com. We have some awesome interviews, folks from every walk of life; everyone from people in video games, to people in comics, to writers, to everything you could imagine. And it’s a great place to get inspired and just listen to other people’s stories.
Steven Shattuck: All right, we’re going to link to it. Derrick, thanks for hanging out with us. Man, this is really awesome.
Derrick Duplessy: My absolute pleasure. Thanks so much and looking forward to more and new awesome episodes from Bloomerang.
Steven Shattuck: All right, we’ll do it. And thanks to everyone for watching. We will catch you next week, so we’ll see you then. Bye now.