A Q&A With Deathcare Podcast Hosts: How to Create Compelling Content

Posted October 10, 2018

6 min read

How exactly can funeral professionals use content to share their stories and insights?

To answer that question we spoke to Brian Waters, a funeral director at Pitman-Richman and Waters Funeral Homes, and Ryan Ballard, a funeral director at Ballard and Sons Funeral Homes.

Brian and Ryan are launching a brand new podcast show called “Undertaking: The Podcast.” Keep reading to learn more about their backgrounds and how that’s influenced their perspectives today. Both Brian and Ryan then share advice for other funeral professionals who are looking to create more informative and compelling content.

Lifelong Learners Unite

Brian and Ryan met several years ago during a tour of a casket factory in Pennsylvania.

They immediately saw how much they had in common. Just one example: they are both the “next generation” in their respective family-owned funeral homes.

Their friendship grew, especially as they recognized they had a similar approach to networking, sharing stories, and the way they go about business. Both also shared a strong commitment to being lifelong learners. “Our friendship blossomed into a bit of a partnership, where we sometimes embalm together,” explains Brian.

The idea: by working together, they can learn from each other.

Both Brian and Ryan see continual learning as a philosophy and as a habit. They embrace consciously getting out of their comfort zones to grow in all areas of their lives.

“We are both firm believers of the value of life-long learning, and the best way we believe we can do that is from talking with others and networking,” says Brian.

Giving a Voice to Deathcare Issues & Topics

Brian explains that’s the core idea and motivation behind their podcast, too: “That’s basically our motivation: learning,” he says.

It was July of this year when Ryan came up with the idea for creating a podcast.

He was listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast and saw the opportunity to bring a voice to so many topics around and related to funeral service.

“I feel sometimes there is a dark cloud around funeral service,” he explains. He knew that a podcast could help better inform and enlighten people in funeral service—and people outside of funeral service, too.

He also hopes it can help more funeral directors share stories and create great relationships with one another.

“Think we could do a podcast?” he said to Brian via text.

Brian agreed, but wasn’t certain how they would do it.

He believed in the idea though, so he was on board.

“We have a shared passion to tell our story and get a positive message about funeral service out to the masses, and that’s what we set out to do,” says Brian.

The podcast, which launches this month, is for all people working in the deathcare space. It’s also for people outside the funeral profession who seek to learn more about all things funeral-related.

Creating & Consuming Content

Today, most of us are consuming content in one form or another. People read, listen, or watch content to learn, to stay informed, to be entertained, to connect with others, to build relationships to relax, to stay inspired…the list goes on and on.

Brian and Ryan say that there are almost endless types of content funeral directors can create, whether the objective is to grow your brand, to educate families, to inform communities, to change perceptions, or to connect with other likeminded professionals.

Potential types of content you can create include:

  • Blog posts
  • Podcasts
  • Social media
  • Image or photo galleries
  • Videos
  • Resources or tools
  • How-to guides or checklists
  • E-books
  • Newsletters or email campaigns
  • Presentations (or conferences and events)
  • Webinars
  • Interactive tests or quizzes
  • Longer-form articles or whitepapers
  • Infographics
  • Lists
  • Success stories

“It’s a really a great opportunity for funeral professionals right now to create digital content,” says Ryan.

Content Builds Trust & Educates People

“There is great value in having a social media presence personally as well as with your business. It’s the most economically sound way to reach people quickly and to reach people that are willing to be engaged,” adds Brian.

Not to be overlooked: digital content is also an effective way to educate people and to build trust with them over time.

So how can you decide what kind of content is going to make sense for you to focus on?

For Brian and Ryan, they knew they personally enjoyed podcasts because they could listen at a time that otherwise would have been “wasted,” such as on a morning commute. (Ryan listens to Matt Smith, Tony Katz, Ben Shapario, and entrepreneurial podcasts including Joe Rogan and Brian Callens. Brian also listens to many podcasts, including Caleb Wilde, Matt Smith, and Joe Rogan, and Dan Carlin, to name a few.)

For them, creating a podcast also seemed practical because they knew other busy funeral professionals might enjoy that format as well.

Second, it’s a medium that allows them to pack in a lot of information, so they can tackle big issues or more complex topics.

Podcasting also allows you to get deeply personal with your audience. Last, it’s a format that can allow them some flexibility in the future so they can evolve their show as they learn and get feedback. “We want to allow ourselves the freedom to let the program change naturally based on what we like and what our listeners want to hear,” explains Brian.

Questions you can ask as you decide what type or format of content to create:

  • “What are my resources for sharing this information and these stories?” For example, do you have a lot of data that could easily be made visual? Or, do you have the right kind of technology that could be required with certain forms of content creation, such as podcasts or video? Depending on what you want to do, you can make an investment to buy equipment.
  • “What kind of content format are my natural skills aligned with?” Are you a great writer and do you enjoy writing? Or are you a designer so you’re able to create great infographics, visuals, or designs? Or, do you tend to tell stories verbally, which might lend itself towards video or audio formats?
  • What kind of content is going to be unique and relevant for my audience? This might take some research.

Brian’s advice for other funeral professionals looking to create more content: have an idea of who your audience may be, and then get out there and experiment. “Break out of your comfort zone and share your story. It’s important that we tell our communities what we do,” he says.

Ryan echoes that sentiment. “Comfort zones kill innovation and proactive learning,” he says. “Social communication and becoming more contemporary within the industry is something we need to accept and run with.”

Listen & Subscribe to ‘Undertaking: The Podcast’

Brian and Ryan’s podcast show, called “The Undertaking”—where they discuss all things funeral—is now available on iTunes and Spotify.

Helping Deathcare Professionals Succeed

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