Smart Brevity | Content Machine Ep. #26

The internet is changing the way people read communications. Longer messages are less and less popular and likely going unread. So what can we do? And more specifically, what do we do when we have a lot to say but fewer words to say it in?

We can start by thinking about how to refine our communication to make it more friendly to modern readers, because while attention spans have dropped and the amount of information has exponentially increased, we still need to have our communications read and understood.

I noticed this being done well by one of my daily reads, the Nashville email newsletter. Axios, which if you don’t know, is an online publication specializing in the output of breaking news. They started branding their communication style with the term Smart Brevity. Then they released a book and a training on it, both using the title Smart Brevity. So if you’re interested in that, take a look. I think it contains some very helpful information for communicating in a world with modern readers. Being able to get the main point of your message across without cheapening it or leaving a vital detail out is a special skill. Smart Brevity tries to give a framework to make things shorter without making them shallower. Smart Brevity focuses on a few things. Structure of the content, focusing of the messaging, and prioritization of information.

Structuring of content in Smart Brevity has a lot to do with making the text more scannable. Instead of a wall of text like a classic newspaper article, you can break it up into short paragraphs using bold text for key thoughts and bullet points to make the information more accessible. Imagine if you could turn a one page story into 3 short 1-3 sentence paragraphs. This tactic would make it easer for the reader to decide based on those paragraphs whether or not they’re interested in reading the entire piece. That is the power of Smart Brevity.

Focusing on the messaging focuses you to acknowledge that more words are not always better and all the details are not often as relevant to the meaning of the story as others. A big concept here is to take the big idea of the piece and make it very clear. Even saying, “here is why this matters” or “here is the bigger picture” can help focus the attention of the reader.

Prioritizing information forces you to pull out key points. Sure, some thoughts might get left on the cutting room floor, but the important thing to think about is, what if trimming the excess is the difference between your idea being noticed or being forgotten? Smart Brevity allows a much greater opportunity for each person to at least see the idea that you’re trying to communicate. And from there, either move on, or if the topic or idea is relevant to them, to dive deeper and to click through to read the entire article.

I think it’s important to come to grips with the concept that not everyone is going to read your piece, and perhaps more importantly, no one is going to read your full piece. Would you rather the work be unread, or would you rather focus on getting the main idea out there and increasing the number of people who notice the work? Let’s not forget, if more people are noticing the work, more people are going to take time to read the whole thing. And as a marketer in 2023, I pick the second option every time. Smart Brevity, which clocks in according to the book’s front page, 28,002 words or 106 minutes of reading is a must read for anyone who communicates on the internet, whether that be internal communications or marketing communications. The book covers big ideas and gives you constant examples of how to implement its concepts. This is required reading for the writing staff at Adelsberger Marketing, and because of this, we hope it will help us shape our strategies for all of our clients going forward in 2023 and beyond.

Thank you for listening to the Content Machine podcast. If you found it helpful, forward it to a friend and stay tuned for future episodes.

What A Winning Website Contains | Content Machine Ep. #25

Every company needs a website. And no, just a Facebook page will not do. Why? Well, Facebook is not a ubiquitous platform, meaning not everyone is on Facebook. Facebook can be helpful, but access can be limited to those without a Facebook account. A website is accessible to everyone with the Internet, and whether or not they are on a particular social media platform doesn’t matter. So what makes a successful website? A few things to consider. Clear messaging, clear information the customer needs, a clear call to action, a freebie, and testimonials.

Let’s start with clear messaging. Being able to position yourself with what you do for your customers is the first step to a winning website. We love the messaging thoughts in the book Story Brand by Donald Miller. Things like remembering that the customer is the hero in the story and you are there to help them, communicating the how of what you do for them, and setting the customer up for success. Most people care about the result of what you do for them, not necessarily the how. The classic looking for the sizzle, not the stake thought process. If you are not leading with clear messaging, you are wasting most of the effort of your website. Lack of clarity can distract or turn off customers.

Then consider what is the most pertinent information a customer might be looking for. That means if you are a church, your service times are not hidden somewhere on the website. They need to be easy to find. If you are a professional services firm, communicating what your specialties are needs to be easy to find. But also figuring out how to work with you or how to attend your event should be clear and easy as well. During the website planning process, we do an exercise that helps think from the position of the website visitors to think about what they need when they visit the website as opposed to what we want to promote. I would encourage the same for you. Take a moment and think about the biggest groups of customers that will be visiting your website and think about what they will be looking for when they come. Make sure that information is within a click or two of arriving.

A clear call to action. We call them CTAs in the business. Call to action. Customers need to know exactly how to start working with you. Is that a form to fill out on the website or do they have to call you? You should also make it easy for someone to do that. Make a clear CTA button relevant at multiple points on the website. Bonus points if you explain the process to getting started while they do that. You want to make it as clear as possible how to start doing business with you and what that looks like.

A freebie is a great way to build relationships with your audience. What is a freebie? Well, maybe it’s a free quote or a free assessment tool or a free guide. It’s a device that allows you to get some permission to communicate with potential customer and position yourself as the expert further in the minds of those who use the freebie. Ideally, this is something that can happen with automation or is something that is not horribly expensive for you to implement. It is a relationship builder, not a deal closer. It is a piece that helps you push people further down the funnel.

And finally, when thinking about a winning website, think about testimonials. Why testimonials? Well, they are what we like to call social proof. Social proof helps convert the skeptical. If someone is looking at your organization and unsure about signing up or contacting you, a testimonial can help silence some of the skepticism they have. Testimonials can be as low key as a featured client on your website, or as complicated as a video from someone who’s worked with you talking about how good it is to work with you. Having testimonials is a little bit of work, but once you have them, implement them on your website and think about including them in your social media and print materials.

Now, of course, this doesn’t cover some of the technical things a website should do. Maybe we’ll cover that in a future episode. But from a content standpoint, if you accomplish the above, you’ll be doing better than most of the people out there. Do you have a winning website? If not, you should think about giving us a call. At Adelsberger Marketing, we build winning websites every day. If you have a friend who needs website help, text them the link to this podcast. Thank you for listening to the Content Machine podcast and we hope to catch you on the next episode.

Interns: Why | Content Machine Ep. #24

A few years ago, we started a very intentional internship program. Our goal was to have two interns a semester, every semester, fall, spring, and summer, even if we didn’t think we needed them at the time. We are going on our fifth consecutive semester of having interns, and I wanted to share some thoughts about it over two episodes. This episode, we will talk about the why of our internship program, and in a future episode, we’ll talk about the what and the how of successful internships. So why do we do internships and why will we continue this largely successful program? The top two reasons are community involvement and talent development. The first reason, and the most important reason is future talent identification and development. There are not many other scenarios in which you will get to see how someone works and fits in with your company culture before you truly commit to them. Internships are commitments for a semester alone. So, if they are a dud culturally or they don’t know how to work hard, you are not committed in the long term. You get to know people not just as a resume, as people. And this is a huge help in understanding whether they are a good fit culturally or not.

A bad hire can set a small business back months or years, and this is a good way to help minimize the risk. But you also get to find out what’s important to them and if you are a good fit for them. Some people will just take a job and then be unhappy because they’re not a good fit for the job. This is a disservice to everyone involved. And you get an idea of their talent. But not just their current talent level, you can really think about their potential and work towards helping them reach that potential in a way more flexibly than you could with someone that is hired as staff. Because of the cost of interns on the balance sheet, you can be way more flexible with their assignments and opportunities than a normal staff member. You are also able to train them in how you do business so that you get to have a hand in developing how they approach their work and their craft. And also importantly, it fulfills our mission. Part of our mission at Adelsberger Marketing is to have a culture that values our community. Internships are a great way to invest in your community. Most of our interns – 99% of them – come from local institutions or live locally. A good internship can help shape the future of a student by giving them real-world work experience that looks good on a resume and real-world skills that helps future employers see their potential. It can also help students think through what they want to do in life. Being able to fulfill our mission in this way is a great way to help our local colleges and universities fulfill their missions, and they have become great mutually beneficial relationships.

And while those are the two main whys that we do internships here at Adelsberger Marketing, here are a few more. Three times a year, Adelsberger Marketing gets to practice onboarding. In a firm our size, we might hire every year or every other year, which does not give us a lot of chances to perfect our onboarding practices. And without interns, every time we practice onboarding, it would be on a staff hire, which is a much more costly endeavor if we mess it up. With interns, we get to practice onboarding at least two people three times a year. This has given us a huge opportunity to dial in and constantly improve our onboarding process. When your onboarding process is good, it allows new folks to get a fast start to work and quickly align with company culture. Internships also allow us to grow our network of influence. Assuming all goes well, we just created six new advocates for our company every year. People whose lives we have had a positive impact on and will fondly think of us as they continue their career journeys. This added network can help us in a few ways. Referral for potential internships, so especially in the years surrounding their internship, they might point friends to us, which will help us grow our pool of potential candidates. But also, as they grow and are more successful, they might land a job that requires some outside contractors to complete some work. And we hope that means they’ll think about us.

Internships also help our staff develop leadership skills. Each of our interns spend time with all of our staff members, and this puts us in a position to help educate these students. And teaching is a form of leadership. Having to explain why and how you do your work helps you consider and internalize those ideas, which I think will make you more effective in those tasks. And depending on the intern, they may be largely assigned to a specific staff member for oversight. This gives the staff member a chance to work on things like instruction, direction giving, and delegation, things that in an organization of our size, they might not always get to work on.

And finally, it helps us deal with failure. We had one intern that was a failure, and there was co-fault there, and it gave us a chance to learn from it. And hopefully that intern was able to learn from it as well. But it’s helped us better select interns and better prepare future interns for success. I would encourage you to look at interns as an opportunity to better position your organization for success. There’s a good chance it will reveal your culture for what it really is, good or bad. And it can be a strain at moments, but the results are special. We plan to continue to do our internship program for as long as I’m running the company. An internship program is a test of your culture. It will help reveal some weak spots and push you to make your environment better for all the people that work in it. In the growing competition for talent, it is going to help you develop more and more opportunities to build relationships and secure talent. What is not to like?

If you need help thinking through an internship program or you have other questions, feel free to reach out. If you found this episode helpful, text it to a friend. Thank you for listening to the Content Machine Podcast.

Special Guest: Brittany Crockett | Content Machine Ep. #23

Welcome to the Content Machine Podcast. This week, we are joined by Brittany Crockett, a member of the team at Adelsberger Marketing. She does a lot of our writing, and so we’re going to talk about a few things, trends in the writing space. Brittany, thanks for joining us.

Thanks for having me.

So, why is writing concisely or succinctly, depending on which synonym that you use there, why is that important?

Well, as humans, we tend to scan things. When we’re online, we just go as quickly as we can to find the information we want. The shorter it is, the better. Also with humans that are reading things, the vast majority of people are going to be at about a sixth to an eighth grade level reading. You have to write to that generality. You have to use… Don’t use a $10 word when you have a $1 word that works just fine. The shorter we can get things and the more simple we can get things, the better. Aside from that, before it ever gets to a human’s eye and to their mind, we’re writing to AI at this point because we have to get through the machines, through the SEO for it to ever make it to the person that we want to read what we’re writing. And so, for that AI to read that, it needs to be simple. It needs to be easy to read. And the more complex it is, the harder it is for the machines to read it.

And the easier it is for that machine to read it; the quicker Google is going to be able to see that that’s what people are looking for. So that’s a great point. A lot of people don’t think about… A lot of people think about the customers that are reading things, maybe not the machines that are reading things. Now, a lot of times when we have a website project, which is a lot of the writing that you do, you get tons of information from customers. So how do you turn that into something that’s usable?

Well, most people are writing a topic of their own, and so they have something they decide to write on, and it can be decently easy to keep that on track. With a lot of the things that I’m doing and that we’re doing is we have a lot of information that we’re distilling down. So, one of the things that I’ve learned to do is take all of that information and first thing I do is scan all of it and see what stands out immediately. What are the big points that like, this is interesting. I liked reading this. Somebody else might like it, too. Then I always start with more than I need. If I think I have enough information, I typically go back and say, I think I need a little bit more because you’re not going to use everything that you have. So, I go ahead and have more than I need so that I can cut out the things they might think are important but that aren’t or that I didn’t know were going to be important and needed. And then also, you have to learn to distill information, which is writing and rewriting and rewriting again, taking it down and realizing that when you have this big long paragraph, do you really need all of it? Are these five sentences, can you really say it in two? Usually, I take that and keep going down and down until I can get it as small as possible because it can almost always be said in a much simpler way. You hear less is more, and it really is true with writing because everybody’s busy. You don’t want to make people dig for information. You want to make it so simple that when they got through that website, they say, I wish everything was as easy to find as what I just read. Because when people are coming to a website or a social media page, anything, they’re trying to find something, and you want to make it as easy as possible for people to find that information they’re looking for. You don’t want to make them dig because you’ll lose them.

And you said something earlier about something that they’re wanting to tell versus what people are looking for. And I think that’s an important part to think about is, and you do this all the time for websites, is thinking about who is the person reading the website? Not just what the customer wants to say, what the website wants to say, but what are people actually looking for and then making sure that’s in the writing.

Right. Because sometimes those match up, but sometimes they don’t.

And sometimes we have to argue with clients about that, too. And so now, most people write from their perspective. So, when I’m writing these shows or I’m writing something, I’m writing usually from my own perspective because it’s my name on the door. So, the company’s voice is very similar to my voice. But you write for different companies, different accounts all the time. How do you manage switching that voice in and out?

Yeah. So, every company, person, client that we have is different, and we have a different relationship with each one of those clients. Each of those clients has a different relationship with their client. That’s going to show up in how we write for them and how their voice comes out because some of them are going to be super professional and formal. Some are going to be super casual. Some are going to be focused on being funny. It’s just how it reads. Sometimes there isn’t really even a word for exactly how they want to come across online in a written word, but you think about how you want to write for them as how you would be having a conversation with them in real life. I have to figure out how to translate that into a written format. For me, that involves looking at things that they’ve looked at in the past, so things they’ve liked and disliked, like websites, other social media accounts, and also participating in in person meetings and just hearing how they talk, hearing how they talk to us, hearing how they talk about their customers, and getting feedback early as well, because in those first weeks of a relationship with a client, those first weeks and months, we’re getting feedback on almost everything and making sure that what we’re saying is how they want it to be said. The longer that we have with a relationship with a client, we really learn how they like things said and how they want it to be said, depending on the situation, whether it’s talking about an event or just information or about a story, because even those things within a certain client looks different. We learn and relearn and add on to what we’re starting to say for that client and learn how to say it for them, the more we work with them.

So, if someone’s thinking about building their copy writing skill set or doing some copy writing, and I also think there is a difference between maybe technical writing or informational writing and copy writing, because copy writing is usually headlines and stuff like that, but they cross over. You’re going to end up doing both if you’re doing writing somewhere. Are there any resources that you can recommend for people?

Sure. So, one of the things that we’ve really implemented recently is Smart Brevity by Axios. In this book, it basically talks about the importance of being concise and brief, and it has a layout of how to write things. We’ve implemented some of that, but I think the concepts of it are really great. It’s a really good resource for how to think about writing those headlines and those short attention-grabbing lines. Another book that I know some of us have read was How to Write Copy That Sells. It’s by Ray Edwards. And though it does have a lot of typos in it, the actual information in the book is great. And it does have some good information about writing good informational copy. Another thing that we’ve really used at Adelsberger Marketing in the past few years is Story Brand by Donald Miller. We walk through that with most of our clients. And walking through that with clients, we have to do that internally and not just walk them through it. And by doing that, it helps us think about what story are we trying to tell for them. And so that is a great one to get you thinking about how to say things in a good way.

And a practical thing for me is having the Grammarly extension in Chrome. I’m a pretty good speller and I’m pretty good with grammar, but it keeps me making sure that everything’s done. It makes me think about, am I saying this the best way? Am I writing this in the very best way possible? And sometimes I overrule what it tells me to do, but it makes me question it and decide if I’m making the right decisions. And I think it’s a great thing for anybody, even if you’re not writing day to day, it’s still a great thing to have.

Well, Brittany, thank you so much for sharing your insight. And thank you all for checking out the Content Machine Podcast. Every week we try to provide you an episode that will add value to your business or to your leadership style. And so, subscribe to us. And if this episode is helpful, text it to a friend. Thank you for listening.

Scott Williams of Discovery Park of America Part 2 | Content Machine Ep. #22

Welcome to the Content Machine Podcast. We are listening to the second part of our interview with Scott Williams today. If you haven’t heard the first half, go back in your podcast feed and listen to the first half.

We do a lot of marketing here, and that’s the main focus of this channel. When you think about your general philosophy of marketing for a museum, which you’ve had the opportunity to be involved in at a couple of different locations now, what is that? You had students come and be like, “How do we sell a museum?” Where are you going to start?

Yeah, you know what? It’s really no different than selling anything else. You have to have everybody who’s working on the project and or the product know who is the target audience, number one. What is your objective? What strategies are you going to use? And then what tactics are you going to agree to use? And then how are you going to measure those so you can evaluate through time? You and I have both been associated with organizations or with individual campaigns where it’s just all over the place, where you start off, maybe everybody starts off, but so easy to veer off target and end up just checking off boxes and doing things, posting on Facebook because you’re supposed to. But are you measuring the effectiveness of that? Now more than ever, we can’t afford to have people just randomly out there flailing posting things. We got to be targeted on all the things that we do during the day. Is this contributing to the plan we’ve agreed on? Now, you got to be flexible and be willing to change the plan, but verbally change the plan or in writing change the plan. That’s probably the biggest challenge for me, especially. If you throw a stick, I am excited to go chase it for you. And I get that constantly. People will throw sticks and say, Oh, look, here’s another fun, shiny, pretty stick. And so I have to really watch myself and keep myself real then because I’m leading a whole team. So it’s easy for me to say, “Hey, everybody, let’s all go get the stick.” Now, a lot of my direct reports will tell you that I still struggle with that very mightily. So anyways, it’s pretty much just like the other aspect of this that’s probably different than other projects or other products is that we have to be very much aligned in tourism with our state tourism departments. If there’s a local convention and visitors bureau, it’s very smart to take advantage of every opportunity to partner with those folks who are also trying to do the same thing you’re trying to do, but oftentimes with bigger budgets. They’re trying to get visitors into the state or into the city. And so it’s really important to support them, buy the ads if they need you to do whatever you got to do to support them and help them be successful at what they’re doing because it’ll just pay off for you.

All right. So that’s like a 50,000 foot view. What do you specifically do to get people in the door at Discovery Park? What has worked for you guys?

I think the challenge of Discovery Park is the value proposition is a little different for everybody. So it’s making sure that people understand the value proposition. We had an incident Friday night where somebody was here. I happened to be here for an event that we were having here, but somebody just came into the front door and she said, “We’re staying at the hotel next door. What is this place?” And so I was able to explain it. She was from Chicago and her and her mom and dad were here for UT Martin’s graduation. And so I thought, Well, this is an interesting experience. I need to be able to do this exact thing on a broad scale every day. And so seeing who she was and I gage, where are you from? And found out who she was, where she was from, figured out about how old she was. And I was able to tell her about how much fun Discovery Park is and focus on some of the areas she was interested in history. I was able to say, here are some of the things that we have here. So we really have to be able to be very flexible in how we present Discovery Park because you are going to want to bring your kids here because you want to give them an incredible experience that will help further their education and help further their impression of the world. But if you and your wife were in your mid 60s and your kids have moved away, you want a different experience. You want to know that you can come here and it’s not a children’s museum. So we have to be very careful that we don’t over emphasize some of the things we have for younger people. We want you to be able to come here. And then by the time you get in your 80s, you might not want to have to walk around a lot. So you want to know that there’s enough in just the building that we wouldn’t focus on the 50 acres to you. We want to focus just on the building. With teachers, we promote the fact, well, first of all, there’s the Kirkland Scholarship Fund. So if you’re a teacher and you want to bring your class here, but you know you can’t afford it, your school can’t afford field trips, Discovery Park of America pays the tickets of schools who 50 % or more are on the free or reduced lunch program. So you would probably fall into that category if you were worried about expenses. And so we would promote that. First of all, it’s free. And second of all, it’s legitimately changing lives. And so we would make sure you understand that as a teacher who cares about these students, bringing them here could literally put them on a different course. And we have lots of research at this point that we share of students who have written us back and said, Hey, that discovery part changed my life, and here’s how. And so each of those different target audiences, we know what the value proposition is, what they’re looking for, what are the hot points, and we make sure we focus on that when we promote. One size does not fit all.

And then same thing with our development initiative. So we have to raise money. As a 501 nonprofit, we do make money off of ticket sales and restaurant sales and merchandise. But that only covers about half of our expenses. And so we have to fundraise. And so you, as a person who’s a philanthropist who’s looking for places where you might want to support, if you’re from California, you’re probably not super passionate about supporting West Tennessee, Kentucky. But there are a lot of philanthropists who are. And so we try to get in front of them and show them, look, we’re making a huge difference. If you join us and come alongside us, we can make an even bigger difference. So we have people who love to support educational facilities, and they come to us and say, here’s what I’m passionate about. Here’s what I want to try to do at your facility. And we work with them to develop a program where their funds can also be applied to do things like what we do here.

That multifaceted approach, is that a lot different than maybe the Museum or Graceland? Or is it the nature of the Discovery Park that it is so diverse that it’s a different animal?

It’s very similar to the Museum, but it’s very different than Graceland because Graceland was not a 501 nonprofit. So the difference between working for a nonprofit Museum and a for profit Museum is in a for profit Museum, if it doesn’t work on the Excel spreadsheet, you probably aren’t going to keep doing it. You need to make a profit. You need to pay for things and then make a profit. In the nonprofit world, things, of course, need to return on the investment, but oftentimes at a deficit. And that’s okay because people want to fund initiatives. And for example, our exhibit on innovation in agriculture, it would not be as fantastic as it is without the contribution of our partners like Simmons Bank, Nutri and Ag Solutions. There’s a lot of folks that contributed. Same thing with our Waterfall exhibit. We have many, many financial supporters who are, because they’re giving us the money, we’re able to do this incredible exhibit. We would do an exhibit, but it would not be as mind blowing as this one’s going to be. And so that’s a very different model between the two.

What are some of the challenges? I particularly think about the rural nature of Union City. How does that affect what the Discovery Park is doing?

Yeah. Obviously, a town of 10,000 is not going to support 100,000 square foot museum on a 50 acre heritage park. So it’s really crucial. A lot of museums will look at their community, their town. If we were in Chicago, we would be looking at Chicago as the community we serve. For us, the community we serve has to be has to be much, much broader. So we’re serving Nashville, Memphis, Jackson, Paducah, in some cases, St. Louis, and even Louisville. So our backyard is much bigger and much broader. So we have to really focus much differently on those areas. And then I would say probably our number one biggest challenge is we don’t have a gigantic employment pool to draw from in the first place. And then when you’re in an era like we’re in now, where everybody’s struggling to fill positions, we struggle even more. So filling positions, I think, is one of our big challenges now. We’re very fortunate that we have UT Martin. It’s 20 minutes away and we really position ourselves. And it is true that we are a place where people who are either students or just graduated can see what work is like. And so my direct reports and myself, we really try to make this be a place where young people can see what work is like, where we can model good leadership and we can model what they can expect. I give a little speech at every one of our orientations where I say, look, if you’re a young person and this is your first job, it is sometimes difficult to know what is normal because you don’t have a bar. And so we work really hard to set that bar high and teach young people this is what’s acceptable, this is what’s not acceptable. And we say if you don’t know, ask us. If you want to ask me or you want to ask our HR director, or you want to ask your manager, that made me feel uncomfortable. Is that normal? And also there are situations where I or one of the managers will ask somebody to do something and the person pushes back a little bit. They didn’t understand the difference between college and work. And they don’t understand the difference between us as professionals and hopefully mentors and professors. We’re not professors. We’re wanting engagement. We’re wanting them to give us their opinion. We’re wanting them to almost be peers and to approach it that way. So while it’s challenging trying to find positions, trying to find people to fill positions, it’s also created a great opportunity for us to really be almost like College 2.0 for a lot of people. And then also we have some incredible retirees who say, you know what? I have worked now. I just want a place to come every day and be fulfilled. We have a lot of retirees who come and work here and they love working with the young people. So it’s created an opportunity where there’s also a bit of a challenge.

How is more abundant web experiences like YouTube and VR going to affect museums in the future, you think?

So of course, I am curious with AI and how all that all of the technology. For us in the museum business, I think we’re going to look at how technology can help us solve problems, which is how can we better tell stories or communicate information? Just a few minutes ago before I got on this phone with you, I was looking at a technological experience that one of the museum companies is offering for rent or for sale. And while it looked compelling and it looked interesting, it’s only something that could be done one at a time. And so it was one piece of equipment and one individual could do it. But I thought that’s not going to solve any… That’s just going to create problems for us because the museum business is always feast or famine. You’ll have 600 people one day and 60 people the next day and 6 the next. So we have to be able to accommodate any of those. And I’m afraid too many people would be extremely disappointed if they came and stood in line and never got a chance to actually do the thing. And then they spent all their time here. So technology and both online and in person, it’s just another tool. There’s a tendency for me to want to be in every single thing all at once and to do everything and to be great at everything as an organization. But I do think we’re entering an era where I think I would rather be good, really great at less and so maybe not be everywhere. So I don’t know exactly yet which areas we might shave off, but in some cases, we’re just going through the motions. And that’s what I think we want to shave that off. And we want to be really excellent. We have a great opportunity because I’ve got a building full of people who are experts in a variety of sectors. And so whether it’s biology or history, I’ve got people that are passionate and they love to talk about those things. So I have content that no one else has. And so it’s how do we best use that, that then results in somebody buying a ticket to Discovery Park of America. At the end of the day, that is my objective is to get people through that turnstile. Now, if I inspire children and adults to see Beyond online and they never have to visit Discovery Park, that’s great. But I really need to get them through that turnstile.

Yeah, for sure. Well, speaking of content, the Real Footforward podcast is a podcast that you guys produce there at the Discovery Park. Can you talk about the what and the why behind that?

Yeah, sure. As we mentioned, Discovery Park is in a town of 10,000, and so our backyard was very small. We saw Real Footforward, a West Tennessee podcast, as an opportunity to broaden that to get people in Jackson, Memphis, not quite as far as Nashville, but we stay focused on West Tennessee. There are people out there that are doing incredible things that line up with our mission to inspire children and adults to see beyond. So it was an opportunity to get those individuals, spend a little bit of time, get to know them, have our listeners get to know them. And we’re getting in the neighborhood of 3,000 listeners to each podcast, which is solid for us. I’d love it if it was 30,000. But I’m happy with that. It also helps introduce us to people that don’t know about Discovery Park, and I still get that. People from Memphis or Nashville or Jackson, I still get now, Who are you? Now, what are you? Are you a water park? There are still people who don’t get what we’re about. But if I invite you to be on our podcast, which I did, you’re going to, first of all, even if it’s at the last minute, you’re going to Google it real quick and make sure you understand now who am I going to be with here? You’re going to make sure you know who we are. And then once you’ve been on the podcast and had a positive experience and you’ve listened to it, you made sure it sounds good, you’re going to then share it on social media. You’re going to let all your friends know about it. And then that way we can take advantage of your social network and just get it one more circle out in circulation. Now, the hardest thing, as you know, is to stay consistent. It is so easy to run out of guests and be too focused on other things to get some more in the can. We really have had to make sure it’s a priority. A while back, we said, Well, let’s just do it every other week. And we did that. And then we said, No, let’s just re commit. Let’s do it every week. And it’s given us a return on the investment of my time and of our financial resources to put it together. And once we get it down, it’s easy to produce and it’s fun to listen to. And I’ve had a lot of people who have said to me, I listen every week. I love the guests you have. Because sometimes I’m in the middle of one and I’m like thinking, Is anybody going to think this is interesting? I hope so. I will because I think everything’s interesting. And so I think, Oh, my gosh, I hope people are into this. And so far, they always seem to be. And we seem to have a good listenership. And we have a lot of people who email us and ask questions about the guest or whatever. So it’s become a little promotional tool that we started off not knowing if it was going to work or not. And so now, I think we’re like three years going strong.

It’s a Lot of time to produce podcast. Most don’t make it that far. Well, speaking of longevity, if you were to paint a picture of the future of the Discovery Park, what would you be looking at?

I think that it’s time for me to do a new three year strategic plan for Discovery Park. And so we’re looking at that. Obviously, with… Well, not obviously. If you haven’t been here, you wouldn’t realize that we have 50 acres. And so we have enough here for people to literally spend three days doing. So we don’t want to necessarily expand outwards and add a thousand different things. We want to vary with a lot of strategy, enhance and improve the experience and make it… We have traveling exhibits that come every year. And so we want to make sure the quality of those stays significant. During COVID, a lot of companies that developed traveling exhibits put everything on hold. So the American Association of Museums conference is coming up in a couple of weeks. And so we’re going to go to that and try to find some really fantastic bodies and Titanic level exhibits that we can bring in in 2025. So I think it’s just continuing what we’ve learned and building upon that, making sure that we’re here for the people of this region to bring their kids. And we have a joke the other day, we have had a lot of people who met here, and then they had their wedding here, and then they have their kids’ first birthday parties here. And so I joke that maybe we need to have a cemetery so that we could literally be creolous grave here at Discovery Park. So we want to continue this great relationship we have with the people of this region and continue to serve.

Well, Halloween would be a lot easier than two play off each other really nicely. Well, Scott, I want to say thank you for your time. Appreciate you coming on and appreciate what you’re doing at the Discovery Park. It should be an anchor of West Tennessee for years to come, and leadership is going to be required for it to do that. Appreciate what you’re doing up there. If you guys are interested in the Discovery Park, where should they go to find out more? And then go buy a ticket.

Absolutely. And you know what? I’m up there all the time. I’d love to say hello. So ask for Scott Williams and I’ll give you the little welcome spiel.

All right. Well, thank you, Scott, and we’ll talk to you later.