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What Higher Ed Gets Wrong About Storytelling — And How to Fix It
[00:00:00] Zach Busekrus: All right, my friend. We are live, John. How are you doing today?
[00:00:22] John Azoni: Doing great. Got, uh, my five shots of espresso in me. So I'm amped up, ready to
[00:00:27] Zach Busekrus: go. Five shots. Is that, is that like hyperbole or is it actually five shots? No, it's
[00:00:32] John Azoni: five. It's an Americano from Starbucks, uh, with an extra shot. So it's five shots and I'm.
[00:00:39] I want, I'm going to be on my, on my
[00:00:41] Zach Busekrus: game today. Well, I'm excited, man. I'm excited. Hey, maybe that's, maybe that's what I need. I have a son at home who's like nine and a half months now. And I feel like, like the story I've been telling myself is that my coffee is just too weak, but it could be that the coffee is exactly the way that it's always been.
[00:00:56] I'm just more. So I've been drinking a lot more [00:01:00] coffee. I need more caffeine with, with like less liquid. Maybe I need to do the John Izzoni and get, uh, five shots in my coffee each day. Yeah. Or
[00:01:08] John Azoni: caffeine pills. Those work good. Okay. Um, I, I just went to, um. I don't know, like a family vacation, Iceland. And I'm like, their coffee is so much different than America.
[00:01:20] And it's just like a regular coffee. I asked the lady, one of the ladies at the coffee place. I was like, what's the difference between every, everything was like, you can either get regular coffee or you get an Americano. They're like, the regular coffee's stronger. Okay. Um, okay. It's like nice and foamy and stuff.
[00:01:36] And I feel like that's the opposite in the States where if like, if you get like some sort of espresso drink, like an Americano that's like way stronger. Like regular coffee is just like watered down anyway.
[00:01:46] Zach Busekrus: Well, fascinating. Well, I'll have to remember that for my, uh, my neck trip, my next trip to insulin.
[00:01:50] Um, well dude, I. Wanted to really like have this conversation with you because I've seen you pop up all over social media over at least my feed in the last few [00:02:00] months and I then found your podcast and I've listened to a couple episodes, but we've never spoken before. We don't know each other at all, but I Wanted to chat with you because you're the whole like framing of your of your show is about storytelling and storytelling.
[00:02:16] I think is one of those those topics that is so overdone in higher ed really and quite frankly overdone on higher ed podcast as well. Um, because because everyone everyone knows that it's important. Everyone has a has an understanding, probably just based off of their own experience that story like moves us right story can change perspectives story can, you know, shift emotions very, very quickly.
[00:02:41] So it's a very powerful, powerful mechanism. But, but it's also like really, really, really hard to do well. And I think higher ed tries to do it. Well, but, but oftentimes we, we just like really, really fail. So I know that you've been spending a lot of time thinking through, Hey, what are, [00:03:00] what are like the mechanics?
[00:03:01] Like, what are the frameworks? What's, what is the true like art of storytelling and ultimately, you know, how do we apply that to our. Our current marketing objectives as a, as a college or university, how do we use this as a recruitment tool, whatever your sort of like hope is for, for communicating your story, how do we do so in a way that is, you know, that works at the end of the day.
[00:03:21] So I want to, I want to have this like broad conversation around what you've learned. Starting this podcast, right? Which in and of itself sort of is, is, is a story. Each episode is a story, a story that you're telling with, with your guests. Talk to us a little bit about just where, where this like love for storytelling originated.
[00:03:41] John Azoni: Yeah. So it's, it's kind of interesting. I went to, so my background's in, in painting, actually. I went to art school, um, studied abstract painting, kind of got into video through just like YouTube. It just come out. Um, 2005 ish, uh, [00:04:00] and I got my first Mac book and started making like time lapses of me making these big paintings and kind of like realized that I liked editing videos and stuff like that.
[00:04:10] And this whole YouTube thing was, was kicking off. So, um, I graduated college and then I actually left, or I actually went into a job in a homeless outreach, which is. Like you do when you leave art school, you know, uh, so my buddy and I had been doing kind of a, a ministry effort here in Detroit, just like meeting people on the street really just for the sake of.
[00:04:34] Knowing them and just kind of meeting where them where they're at, not really trying to, like, solve their life's problems. Um, but we got picked up by, um, a big nonprofit in Detroit started doing homeless outreach, kind of more on a corporate level. Wow. And that's where I realized really the power of storytelling.
[00:04:51] Um, because it's a tough job. Like, when you go from when you go from just. Hanging out with people, you know, just [00:05:00] learning their names, um, you know, and, and, and really not having much of a objective. That's so much different than going. Into an environment to do that, where there's big money involved, you know, there's like hundreds of thousands of dollars from the, the, you know, various big funders, Roger Penske, you know, all these, all these kinds of like that level of, uh, business sponsors sponsoring this program and they want to see outcomes and, um, And trying to kind of beat your head up against the wall, trying to like, now, now we got us now we got to like, almost solve homelessness, which was, which is very different.
[00:05:40] So I realized very quickly. I'm not a great social worker. I'm good at just like. handing out sandwiches and like, you know, getting to know people's stories and stuff like that, but I'm not a great, like formal social worker. Um, but what I realized was like, you know, those times where I would get really, I would get really, um, kind of just, uh, [00:06:00] not frustrated, but just, uh, just kind of start to lose energy.
[00:06:03] Cause you just feel like, man, like it's, this is hard. This is hard. They, they come with like, when you're trying to actually solve the physical problems that come with such a wealth of problems and it would get. Uh, discouraging is the word I'm looking for. Um, but when I would hear their stories... I remember sitting just sitting across from a gentleman and, um, he just started telling me about like he played the trumpet growing up and he has got a fan.
[00:06:32] He's got a sister and, uh, you know, stuff that he liked as a kid and his parents and stuff like that. And when you start to realize that the person sitting in front of you is no longer an issue to solve, but now they're like a real person. Um, I just noticed that would just catapult me into action. Um, yeah.
[00:06:50] And so that's kind of like, and I would just want to do anything I could to help that person because all of a sudden they become human. And so I think that that, that really kind of sparked my love for storytelling and, and [00:07:00] content creation. Um, cause I was really more interested in telling their stories and, um.
[00:07:07] Telling the story of the program that was happening and stuff like that. Uh, so eventually they said, you should go do that. Also known as being fired. Yeah. And that's how I sort of was, uh, stumbled into a video career. But, um, but yeah, I mean, it's just when you, when you realize the humanity in another person, it just connects you emotionally in a way that like just information.
[00:07:30] You know, logical kind of communication.
[00:07:32] Zach Busekrus: Can't. Yeah. Yeah. That's super interesting. My, so, so my uncle actually, he, uh, has, uh, he, he has schizophrenia. And so he's been on the streets for on and off for like most of his life and most of his adult life, I should say. And, um, It's funny, like he, he's, you know, growing up, this was actually in Hawaii.
[00:07:52] I was born and raised in Hawaii. And, uh, there's, uh, actually a pretty like thriving, uh, homeless community in Hawaii, uh, way back when the [00:08:00] federal government had a program where they buy people like a one way ticket to. Hawaii, because it's, you know, year, it's warm and, you know, the climate's nice year round.
[00:08:08] So the state, it's been a huge like challenge for the state, quite frankly, but, um, there, there are a lot of homeless people in Hawaii anyways. So he, uh, I remember like at times when we were growing up, my parents, you know, if we saw him at the bus stop or the McDonald's, we could go and like, you know, we'd Buy him like a, uh, a happy meal or whatever from McDonald's.
[00:08:28] And we, you know, chat with him. And he's, I remember talking to some of his friends at, at, at, um, at one point. And just to your point, being so moved by how vulnerable they were and how, and actually quite frankly, just how great they were at telling stories, right. About like their lives and, and just, they just, you know, volunteer a lot of information and obviously there's a lot going on there, but one of the things that, you know, I wonder is.
[00:08:51] Is it is, perhaps it's because you're, you're at a place, you're, you're in a context where you're just so freaking vulnerable that you really have nothing to lose, but be [00:09:00] like radically yourself, right? Yeah. And I feel like that that is the best storytelling, like when you're talking to somebody who is so unapologetically who they are, regardless of.
[00:09:11] What they think and what you think about what they think. It's, it's interesting. It's entertaining. It's, it's, uh, it's thought provoking. Right? So, so I wonder if there's this element of great storytelling that really has to do with, you know, finding a context where people are so unbelievably vulnerable and like vulnerable has all these like layered connotations.
[00:09:31] Some of which aren't, aren't always so great, but, but I wonder if really that is the ideal circumstance that somebody needs to be in to, to truly get. Something remarkable.
[00:09:42] John Azoni: Yeah. Vulnerability is something I talk a lot about on, uh, the podcast. And then we get into sort of like Brene Brown quotes, stuff like that.
[00:09:52] But, uh, it really is, um, uh, it is a key. Tenant of storytelling is, [00:10:00] is, is vulnerability and that vulnerability, um, really unlocks, like it brings guards down. Like when, when that that's the vulnerability that says this person is another human. And now we're connecting human to human rather than business to business or business to customer or whatever that is.
[00:10:16] And, um, you know, I read somewhere that like, I, I mean, I don't know what the statistic is, but like when, you When a customer or whatever, you know, sees you being vulnerable or sees a piece of content where the person is being vulnerable. It's like a dramatic increase in engagement and, um, conversion rates because now they have this emotional bond that they wouldn't have had if you were just pitching services to them.
[00:10:44] Um, and so that's why, that's why storytelling is just something that I really. Um, promote a lot and not in the same way. I think that, I think, I think storytelling gets really confused. It's such a buzzword. And so it gets [00:11:00] confused with just marketing, like with just, uh, saying things like people think that, Oh, I said this thing and then I, uh, and I use some fancy words, so I, so I told a story, it's like.
[00:11:12] Well, not necessarily. There's like actual scientific things that go into storytelling, vulnerability being one of those things that kind of unlock the, that brain chemistry.
[00:11:22] Zach Busekrus: Well, it happened again. Prospect Paul is excited about attending your institution, but is getting consistently confused by all of the information and tasks he needs to complete to enroll, creating friction and even worse, possible melt.
[00:11:37] You knew this would happen again, which is why you've been flagging the need for a come to Jesus meeting with leadership from Marketing Admissions and IT to audit the digital experience for prospective students. Here's the problem. You're not going to convince Mark from Marketing to let go of his marketing automation software.
[00:11:52] Adriana from Admissions just got set up with her new CRM, and Isabelle from IT is still working through ticket requests from last [00:12:00] Christmas. But what if you could come to the table with a solution that didn't require anyone to let go of their software, while at the same time ensuring a frictionless experience for prospects and current students?
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[00:12:34] Their engagement hub elevates the information that matters most and pushes systems like your SIS behind the scenes where they belong, which makes it simpler for students to discover and engage with the opportunities you're interested. Institution provides at every step of their higher ed journey from prospect all the way through to alumni What's even better is that pathify has a mobile experience that provides 100 percent parity with the responsive web app So your campus app is [00:13:00] always in sync Pathify is a platform that every stakeholder on campus from marketing to admissions to student affairs to it, etc Can get equally excited about You can learn more about how Pathify is uniting strategic units across campus and bettering the entire student experience by visiting pathify.
[00:13:18] com and be sure to tell them that Zach from the Enrollify podcast sent you their way. Again, that's pathify. com and be sure to mention that you heard about them on the Enrollify podcast. All right, folks, back to the show. What do you think? Cause. There are folks who are listening to this conversation probably thinking to themselves, of course, like everyone talks about why, you know, vulnerability is important and why it's this kind of key ingredient to to accessing quality story.
[00:13:48] What are what are sort of the circumstances that you think? Like, what is necessary in order to harness this from students in a way that's obviously still sort of, like, respectful [00:14:00] and not exploitive, like, which, which can certainly happen. Like, how, how do you think folks can do a better job at facilitating environments for the purpose of capturing story that promote and inspire vulnerability?
[00:14:15] John Azoni: Yeah, I think it really comes down to just getting to know people. And so when I think, I think when, uh, colleges and universities go, go to do storytelling, most of them that I've talked to don't have a bank of stories, you know, in their back pocket. So, uh, we start working with them, um, and they, they go, okay, now we've got to go find stories.
[00:14:36] And, and so when you do that. And, and you say, um, Hey, I want stories, uh, you know, send us stories. Typically the ones that come back are what people would assume the marketing team wants, you know, which is like, I liked the school five stars, you know, um, had a great experience, always wanted to be an engineer, went to school for engineering, [00:15:00] and now I'm an engineer, you know, that, that kind of thing.
[00:15:02] Um, but when you really listen and when you really start to. Ask deeper questions of students and get into contexts where you're getting to know students, um, in a different way than just a survey or just like, um, some vague kind of like, Hey, send us, send us your story. All of a sudden you start as a storyteller to uncover the stories yourself through just genuine, genuinely connecting with people.
[00:15:29] And so I, I like one of the things that I kind of recommend is market research and go, go hand in hand. And when you're, when you're Actually talking to a student or an alumni and hearing about their experience with the school. Um, and, uh, and getting kind of that quantitative feedback. That's also a great opportunity to be like, Hey, where are you coming from?
[00:15:53] And why does that matter? Why does that matter to you? Or like, what's a challenge that you've overcome, uh, in your life? And so I, so I think it really comes down [00:16:00] to just asking better questions. That's one of the things that I like. I think, I just think is really important is, is, is finding ways to like, get someone's guard to come down and start to be vulnerable with you so that you can start to absorb like, oh, there is a compelling story here that wouldn't have come out if we were just asking them, like, rate the school on a scale of 1 to 10 or like, you know, send us your story.
[00:16:27] They might not even know they have a story. So if you're just like, send us your story, they might just be like, I don't have one, you know, but if you really, if you really start digging, there's stories everywhere and you won't know that unless you're really starting to kind of talk to people, you know, and ask better questions.
[00:16:43] Zach Busekrus: Yeah. Yeah. A couple things come to mind there. One is just around. Also this, I think this key ingredient, which I think is layered into what you're saying here is, is time, right? Like, Yeah. You need time to get to know somebody before you're willing to share in a meaningful fashion. [00:17:00] And even if you're like an open book, even if you're maybe more extroverted, you, you, you like talking to people, you like talking about yourself, even if all those things are true, oftentimes, right, there, there is still like this barrier that exists between, you know, the, the face that Zach puts on when he's You know, podcasting or networking versus, you know, Zach after five p.
[00:17:20] m. or whatever it is, right? Like, you know, both are still Zach. There's still aspects of who I am. But if you want more detail on, you know, Zach after five p. m. Like, you're only going to get that with time, right? Meaning, meaning it's going to take some level of like mutual commitment and interest with each other, the interviewer and the interviewee.
[00:17:39] Before I'm willing to go there, which is actually why I think like long form podcasts are super interesting, right? You think about like the Joe Rogan show, for instance, right? And just what, what he's able to do in like three hours with somebody. And you listen to like the first 20 minutes versus like the last 20 minutes of any conversation, regardless of what you think of Joe, like, [00:18:00] and, and.
[00:18:00] You can see this, this total change in how people are and how they're communicating, right? And it's, it's like you've gone from this, you've transitioned from, uh, I'm in the hot seat. I'm, I'm being interrogated to like, okay, we are two buddies, you know, having a beer and talking about what's really going on in life.
[00:18:23] Right. And I feel like. So much of the time when it comes to creating this content in the context of higher ed, it's like, all right, we're going to schedule my interview with John from nine o'clock to nine 30 on this day. And like in 30 minutes, I'm trying to get you to get, be vulnerable with me and share something super interesting that I can use for a three to four minute like program overview video.
[00:18:42] Like, and that is like, that is so like unhuman. Like that is just like, it's impossible to get anything meaningful. In, in 30 minutes. Right. So, you know, I don't, I don't know if you have any specific reactions to, to kind of like the time component and the time element here. Yeah. I
[00:18:58] John Azoni: mean, building a rapport is, [00:19:00] is, is huge.
[00:19:00] And that's something that, cause you know, I found my, my business is a video production company. We work with colleges on their video storytelling. So one of the components of the things that we really pay attention to is when. We're like the, the school will hand off. We try to take a lot of the coordinating, um, and direct, you know, kind of tedious coordinating and stuff with the students to get them to the shoot on the same day, you know, whatever.
[00:19:26] Um, And in that process is building rapport with the student or the alumni. Um, and it's really important for us to do a pre interview. And that's where we like the cameras aren't rolling. Yeah. We're just talking over zoom and we can kind of get to know them. And it's amazing. I, I don't think there's been a time where I ever regretted doing a pre interview.
[00:19:50] Yeah. Like just, um. Getting to know you from what the school will tell us about this particular student is [00:20:00] usually about 40 percent of the meat that's there. And, uh, and, and, you know, because they, because they're, you know, like you said, you know, the. They have no reason really yet to be like, super vulnerable with the school there.
[00:20:15] The school is just kind of like, you got a story like, oh, this person would be a great candidate. Here you go, John. Um, and, and so I think it really comes down to building rapport. And that's, that's a huge part of what we do. We don't go into an interview with us with a student or faculty or anyone without having talked to them first in a, in a really low key setting and just, Just shooting the breeze, um, stuff comes out all the time that that you wouldn't otherwise, um, that you wouldn't otherwise know.
[00:20:41] I used to my background in video production is I kind of cut my teeth and weddings and, um, as most. Videographers, I feel like, um, but one of the things that we started implementing at, because we were very focused on storytelling and not in the typical, like every wedding [00:21:00] videographer, filmmaker says they're a storyteller.
[00:21:03] Um, when, and then you look at their work and it's just like a music video and that's like, okay, maybe it's a visual story, but like, we really wanted to dive deeper into like the emotion of the day and the backstories of the couple. Um, so one of the things we started doing was we would pre interview the Toast givers.
[00:21:20] Um, because they're the ones that are bringing a lot of the dialogue, um, you know, to the day where they're telling stories and they're, they're talking and stuff like that. And we would try to get to know the bride and the groom through their, uh, through their toast givers a little bit. And it was interesting how much.
[00:21:40] Just a simple 10 minute conversation with a maid of honor or something completely, uh, changed the way that we filmed that day we picked up on things that we would have never picked up on and you're able to just get a much more like much more intimate storytelling. So I really think it just does come down to at the very least, you're going to have a [00:22:00] transactional interview with, uh, with someone coming up on video or whatever, at least.
[00:22:04] Take 15 minutes to just build some rapport with them ahead of time and, and call many sort of worries because that person's coming into, and they've built it up a lot in their minds and they're probably, I've. Can't count how many times I've interviewed people who had been practicing in the mirror the night before.
[00:22:25] And that's just a symptom of like, my guard is up. I want to perform like it's, uh, it, it really takes a skill, uh, to get somebody to let their guard down. And that's where you get. That's where you really get into the meat, uh, you know, of a, of a conversation we did, um, we did, uh, this previous production company I worked at.
[00:22:46] We, we were hired by, um, Uh, a, uh, a woman who was a show, horse show jumper. Okay. Um, and she had a lot of money. Okay. Uh, she's an heir of the Hearst [00:23:00] corporation. Oh, wow. Okay. So she flew us out to, to, uh, California where she was competing and she goes. Um, well, I just want to do a story, like four minute story on my horses, you know, so why don't you come out for a week, see, meet the horses, you know, film some stuff and we'll just see what happens.
[00:23:16] So that ended up turning into like a full fledged documentary on the sport of show jumping that's been screened all over the world because of. Primarily one interview with this gold medal, uh, Olympian in, in show jumping. And we were just talking to him about the sport and stuff like that. And then all of a sudden he started, we asked him about just like recount for us.
[00:23:39] The story behind winning the gold medal and he just starts crying and like it becomes this really vulnerable moment and he's like this really macho guy where he's now he's now he's just like he's like crying and it was just like this this huge moment and it was that that moment where like, okay, there's something more.
[00:23:58] There's more of a story here than [00:24:00] just horses, you know, and so it's, it's really in trying to get to those moments of vulnerability that completely transform a piece of content.
[00:24:08] Zach Busekrus: Yeah, that's, that's so well said. And, you know, it reminds me of some of the sort of like the, the greatest storytellers and documentarians and whatnot.
[00:24:15] And, um. Some of the things that you know that I've read, right, is that you think about like Walter Isaacson, for example, right, and how he approaches his, his, his books and his, his biographies. And one of the things that I've heard him quoted in an interview saying is like, I try my best to go in. With like no idea of how the story is going to come together, right?
[00:24:37] Versus like, I feel like most of us approach content with, uh, Like even, we were just talking before we went live with, in this interview, of hey, Most of the time when I'm doing interviews, or you're being interviewed, or you do your interviews, You send your, your interviewee sort of like a, a rough frame for, hey, this is what we're going to talk about, And here are some questions that I'd like you to think about, and, like, we are, we're prepping the individual.
[00:24:58] And it's mostly a selfish thing, quite [00:25:00] frankly. It's so that, like, the content that I'm... Producing on my platform is good, right? Like that's ultimately why we want to prepare our, our, our subjects, right? Same thing goes for folks working in higher ed marketing. You want, find the right students that are going to frame the university in the best possible light so that your team looks good.
[00:25:19] So that the president's happy, you know, so the board's happy, et cetera. Right. That, that is very, that's human nature, quite frankly. Right. But. Some of the best creators, right? Like they understand that if you do that too often, or if you're too prescriptive about it, like the content, even if it's high quality, like if it, if it comes out and it's well produced, it's lacking any sort of like meaningful, interesting substance.
[00:25:42] And it quite quickly ends up just sounding like the institution down the street story, right? Because you went in with, with the, this, you know, preconceived notion of how the conversation was. Going to go or how it should go, right? You worked hard on these questions. You, you, you specifically ask these [00:26:00] questions to this particular student, because, you know, in the pre interview that they mentioned something about X, Y, or Z, and, and this isn't to say that no preparation is needed for these things.
[00:26:08] In fact, people like, you know, Walter Isaacson, for example, right. He's spent his entire life preparing for these conversations, right, in just his work. So, so there is something to be said for that, but I often find to in, when I, when I conduct my own interviews. That if I, if I'm too formulaic upfront, even if the content comes out good, it's usually rather boring, right?
[00:26:31] Like it's not, it's not nearly as interesting. Whereas if I'm talking to you, John, and you say something that's sort of off topic, not really relevant to the core topic we had agreed to. But if I was like intrigued. Like if there's like a little light bulb that went off in my head and I chose not to pursue that off ramp, like nine times out of 10, I'm making a huge mistake.
[00:26:52] Um, and yeah, I feel like that just takes practice. So like what from your work? Where have you noticed or like, what are some signals that people [00:27:00] could look for when they're either conducting their own interviews or they're working with a partner like you to interview their students where might be an opportunity to leave the script behind or press in deeper or, you know, ask three more follow up questions because the student reacted this particular way to this topic.
[00:27:18] Like, are there things that we can look for in order to Quite frankly, encourage us to drop the script and just kind of press into the moment. And if so, what are those things?
[00:27:30] John Azoni: Yeah, I dunno if it's so much, uh, what to look for. But, but I would say a few techniques that I employ, um, that I really have gotten a lot of value on out of is, um, uh, starting the interview on a foot that's not about the topic.
[00:27:49] Hmm. Um, so in my podcast, A few months ago, I started implementing asking each guest, tell me like the first, my first question after I introduced them is tell me something that people [00:28:00] would be surprised to know about you. Yeah, and it's been, that's been my favorite question because people have some great answers that just put everyone at ease.
[00:28:09] Um, I had a guest on that that went to high school with. Brad Pitt, he doesn't even remember, but he, Brad Pitt signed his yearbook and he, he, and, and the, for what he wrote in the yearbook, he assumes they were in gym class together. So he, he's like, I like to tell people I've showered with Brad Pitt, you know, um, I think I also heard stuff like that and it's, and then it's, uh, my guests, uh, last week, Liz grows from, uh, campus, campus sonar.
[00:28:39] Talked about how she's, uh, it's just like a serial gardener and her backyard is like a farm and, and I'm like, that's great. Cause like, I love that stuff too. I love, you know, gardening, growing things, making things myself, figuring things out. Um, so that's just always has been a great way for us to get off on, uh, on a different foot and kind of put [00:29:00] everything at ease.
[00:29:01] Um, another thing kind of midway through the interview or sprinkled throughout, I like to ask, um, I like to ask, like, how did you feel about that? Like, how did that make you feel? Um, we, we want to ask questions that get people into their emotions and that draw people towards vulnerability. Cause when you just asked, well, what happened?
[00:29:24] You know, they're giving you the play by play. Um, I do a lot of, uh, I do a lot of, um. Human trafficking survivor stories with the organization. I'm actually wearing their t shirt to the Joseph project. Um, and, uh, they do pro bono legal services for, uh, human trafficking survivors. Because when people are trafficked, they pick up all these charges that they wouldn't have gotten on their record had they not been victimized.
[00:29:48] And so they connect them with pro bono lawyers to get their records of sponge super cool organization. But in those, um, There's so much play by play in those [00:30:00] interviews of like, I met this guy. This is what happens. And this is how he abused me, whatever, blah, blah, blah. And then it's really those moments where I'm like.
[00:30:07] How did that make you feel or that must have been terrifying, you know, where then they go, yeah, it was, and you kind of just see this, like, like this real, this, this point that you see this body language of like the vulnerability start to come out, you know, where it's like, they've told this story a million times.
[00:30:25] Yeah. Um, but it's like, man, someone just validating that that must have been terrifying, you know, all of a sudden it opens up this door to vulnerable. Responses, you know, from that. Um, so I, and, and that's not, you know, so, but, but like, yeah, when you validate someone's feelings and you, uh, and even if we're sitting with a student or alumni, And they're just talking about like an aspiration that they were pursuing, you know, whatever, it might not be as dramatic as [00:31:00] I'm sure it's probably not as dramatic as human trafficking, but you know, they're, they're maybe they had a barrier to overcome.
[00:31:06] Maybe they were a first generation college student or something like that, and they didn't know English wasn't their first language or whatever. It's just, man, that must have been really hard. Yeah. Or like. How'd you feel about that? Like what, like what, what did you think about? Like what kept you up at night?
[00:31:22] You know, and, and then also just kind of validating and, and sort of saying like that must've felt like blank or man, you must've been really proud of yourself or something like that. And, and those responses tend to be the vulnerable ones. Um, the other one is, uh, I mean, I think most videographers. Use and employ this one is that at the end of the interview, some of the best responses have come from just being like, what else?
[00:31:50] Yeah. And just, and just leaving it there. Um, did, uh, I, in my previous production company that I worked for, I was a creative director [00:32:00] there and we, we did a lot of documentary stuff. We, one of our clients was this food service. Um, Uh, company, they, they do like all the food service for like GM and, uh, you know, stuff like that, like all the high end food, um, their CEO, we've filmed him a number of times and every time he doesn't want to be on camera, he said, I'm not the important one.
[00:32:20] I, I don't have anything great to say. You interviewed these other guys and we're like, no, Jim, like you got something to say. And we would do this whole interview and he would, he would be kind of, you know, rehearsed, whatever it would be great, but then we would go. Jim, what else? Like, what else didn't we ask you?
[00:32:36] And you'd be like, ah. I think that's about it, but you know what? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And he would say the most amazing thing that would be the anchor for the entire video right there. Every time, every time it was like we would all the crew and we got, became good friends with the client.
[00:32:53] We would all like ask that question. We would just look at each other, like, yep, there it is.
[00:32:58] Zach Busekrus: But then like, and I think that [00:33:00] that speaks to like the whole like timing and space. Right. And, and really quite frankly, like the patience of, Hey, you know, if you want something like Great. It's very rare that you can get anything great quickly, right?
[00:33:13] It usually takes a little bit of time. And the same thing goes for storytelling. And I think that oftentimes we're so rushed or we're so especially higher ed marketers who have a lot on their plate. This is just the next project right to kind of like get through one of like 17 things that they're juggling right now.
[00:33:30] And I think as video as It's just a medium becomes increasingly more important, quite frankly, becomes like the primary medium. It already is in which storytelling takes place. It's only going to be amplified even more in the years to come. All the more need, quite frankly, to make sure that you have systems and processes and structure in place that allow for space and allow, allow for time.
[00:33:54] And you know, one of, one of the things that I'd be curious if you've seen some good examples of this, John, [00:34:00] or not, but I keep waiting for like the almost like the reality TV show sort of approach for for student stories, right? Of like, Hey, what does it actually look like? To follow a few students throughout their entire four years at your respective college or university.
[00:34:17] And then how do you package that into fantastic? You have to wait four years, right? But then like, how do you, how do you take that? You don't even have to wait four years. You could release content like, uh, you know, as they're, as they're living out their experience. But then on the back end, how do you take all of that and package it and release it?
[00:34:33] And like, Hey, meet John. This is who John was. These are literally John's words. These are the things that he's thinking about and working through. In his freshman year of college versus meeting sophomore, sophomore, John versus junior, John, etc. Are there examples out there that come to mind of schools that are doing this sort of work well?
[00:34:52] And if not, why do you think that that's the case?
[00:34:56] John Azoni: Well Zach, you just gave me an incredible idea. [00:35:00] I'm like, what if we, what if a school had a YouTube channel just for one student, you know, and then, you know, they had several of these and you could follow a student that was in the program that you're interested in and you could subscribe to their journey.
[00:35:16] That's a freaking amazing idea. Yeah.
[00:35:19] Zach Busekrus: I mean, that needs to happen. Like there's, there's no reason that that. Shouldn't happen except for, except for fear of like, Oh, well, what, what if the, what if the program's not, what if their experience with the program isn't so great, but Hey, people like authentic content.
[00:35:31] And if that's actually true, then maybe there's something wrong with your program and not necessarily something wrong with the student's experience of it. For
[00:35:38] John Azoni: sure. If, if, if, um, I'm actually very skeptical of. Any product that has 100 percent positive reviews, cause it's just not realistic. Like somebody has to have hit, hit a hiccup there.
[00:35:52] It's just not, you know, like, and I, and I just assume that you're. I don't trust you. Yeah. I just assume you're feeding me what I want to [00:36:00] hear. Um, you
[00:36:03] know, how do you package that? That's one, that's one idea, you know, have a whole account dedicated to someone's journey and how you incentivize that person to document their journey or let a video crew follow them around. That might be kind of intense for four years to have, you know, Videographer following them around, but you know, Gary Vee does it.
[00:36:21] Zach Busekrus: exactly. And Gary Vee, you know, might have a budget that's a little bit different than most of our listeners, but, but that said, but that said, right. Like schools do spend a lot of money on, on marketing stuff. It's like, what does it, what does it look like to find, you know, To basically say, Hey, this is, uh, we're going to commit, you know, some amount of significant dollars to this over the next four years, and we're just going to see what happens.
[00:36:43] Like I guarantee, right. Especially if you can, if you can make, I mean, think about like all the reality. Think about love it. Like love is blind. Right. Have you watched love is blind? You know, I
[00:36:51] John Azoni: am obsessed with that show. I'm glad you asked. Great. Great. Other podcast episode on that and I'm ready to go right now.
[00:36:59] Zach Busekrus: [00:37:00] Wonderful. Wonderful. Okay. Well, I, I am like a, my, my wife's a big fan of it. And I, I like watch episodes. I probably watched, like I've watched a couple seasons with her. I am watching the, the, the most recent season with her, but I'm behind. So don't, don't tell me if I won't tell you this season, but, but the point being like.
[00:37:17] Um, and this is this is not new. Their formula is not new at all. But what's different about reality tv today than a decade ago, right? Is that you can kind of follow the story in real time on instagram, right? Like, like my wife like goes and she like, you know, follows all these accounts like she knows what people are saying about, you know, so and so in real time as the shows like playing out.
[00:37:38] So like you take one series on netflix, right? And and you know, it's eight There are 10, 12 episodes, whatever, however long the actual like season is, but and that's 12, you know, long form pieces of content. But then the amount of like secondary tertiary and just like bite sized piece piece of content that get created about the show and about like, whose team are you on?
[00:37:57] And, and all of this is in real time. I mean, it's [00:38:00] incredible. It's why it's one of Netflix is like highest grossing products is because of that, right? And You think this is not a heart, like from a production standpoint, like this is, it doesn't look that hard. Right? Um, it's, it's not, it's not a well polished documentary.
[00:38:15] Uh, and, and you just, you just leave, I always leave wondering like, wow, like why isn't this in hot? Like if this was just higher ed, like if somebody did stuff like this, you know, hopefully in a little bit more of a tasteful fashion, it's less, you know, romantic focused and more just student experience focus.
[00:38:31] That's like a billion dollar idea. Like, why, why aren't people doing that anyways? Sorry, I'll
[00:38:35] John Azoni: get off. I bet that would be if you had a romantic component to that account, that would seriously amplify the content. I think I would say. Any school, uh, please hire me to do this because this sounds amazing. And if, but like people get so invested in who's dating who, and I think that that could be such a good side story, like underpinning [00:39:00] story of like people are like finding themselves and finding these important relationships in their life in college, and it's really just addressing this idea of.
[00:39:08] You know, belonging and, um, I don't know, you know, just, but, but just that stage of life and, and people get so invested. It's, it's amazing what people get invested in. Um, but the, yeah, the, the, the T you're like, if you're watching love is blind, you're like on one team or another. And everyone's trying to figure out who's the villain and what's going to happen.
[00:39:31] And. I posted on my Instagram stories yesterday. I was like, it's, it's love is blind reels season and I'm here for it because it's like all the parody stuff comes out. And it's so funny. Yeah. Um, but like people just, but like people eat that stuff up because they're Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The parodies are exactly communicating what you're thinking, watching this crashy show, but you're, you, you get so opinionated and, uh, like my [00:40:00] wife and I have like all these strong opinions about people that we, we know only from the edited version of them.
[00:40:07] But yeah, I mean, the, like, that's a, that's a thing. You know, I saw, uh, I think it was NYU, maybe, um, it was this girl that I didn't watch any of her other stuff, but she had like this 12 minute video of her documenting her first day of school at, I think it was NYU, um, and it was just selfie stuff of like, Hey, I'm walking to class or, Hey, I'm in class and doing this lecture.
[00:40:34] I'm taking notes, whatever. Um, and it was actually really interesting. To watch her journey and just see the normal stuff that she was doing, but then she actually connected that to like her brand, which she was linking affiliate links to every outfit that she was wearing in the YouTube description. And I just thought that is brilliant.
[00:40:57] That's marrying what [00:41:00] somebody cares about. That would be an incentive for them to create content for you. Yeah. With what the school cares about. Yeah. But yeah, I, you know, that's, that's like finding ways to be unscripted, to be vulnerable, to talk about things that might not the communications. It might make the communications PR team squirm a little bit, you know, I think that's all very smart marketing.
[00:41:26] Yeah. Um, is if you can get, if you can get people invested in other people, that's going to reflect on your brand. And I think that's, I think that's really the, the, the linchpin here or whatever with storytelling is, is how we get it wrong is we think about storytelling as. Um, telling the story of our brand, which nobody cares about to be quite honest, you know, because people aren't connecting to a brand, you know, and it's, um, like if [00:42:00] you look on, uh, I always like to look at packaging on, uh, you know, like a water bottle packaging or coconut water, whatever, whatever it is and have where it says like, Oh, here's our story.
[00:42:11] Yeah. You know, and then you read and it's like water from a glacier and it was filtered through whatever, whatever. And it's just, it's just flowery information and you get done reading that. I'm like, if I said. Hey, Zach, I want to tell you a story. Um, it's, it's water from a glacier. It's blah, blah, blah.
[00:42:31] It's blah, blah, blah. Like, here's all the features. You'd be like, where's the story? Yeah. Yeah. Where's the student or where's the, where's the human elephant element in that? So it's like. That is really storytelling is a very basic thing. I think we overcomplicate it, but it's sort of like, you know, when you're telling a story, if you could, if you could take what you said and say to someone at a party, let me tell you a story.
[00:42:57] And if it would be awkward for you to tell that story, [00:43:00] then, then you're probably focusing too much on the brand. Um, you know, so
[00:43:07] Zach Busekrus: that's, yeah, that's incredibly well set. And I think that that that framing actually really, really helps, right? Like if you're trying to discern whether or not you're collecting information.
[00:43:19] Right. And or harnessing like a real story. I think asking yourself that very question is, is super helpful. Like if you were to articulate this to somebody that you had just met at a party after saying, let me tell you a story, would it sound like a feature set? Or would it sound like something actually compelling?
[00:43:36] And I think that that's a wonderful like litmus test, right? Of like what, whether or not you are doing Okay. work. Um, I do, I do want to ask, uh, as you, as you think about like storytelling and you think specifically about. The vehicles, right? The mediums in which stories are most often told today, which is, you know, through, through Instagram, through [00:44:00] YouTube, right?
[00:44:00] As, as, as, as creators leverage these platforms and in really kind of cool, interesting, amazing ways right now. Where do you see the opportunity for schools to latch on to or partner with creators? Because one of the things I've talked about several times on this podcast is like higher ed has access to them.
[00:44:20] Yeah. A plethora of like people that are living the experience of their brand on a day to day basis, right? And many of those people have, and a growing number of them have Instagram accounts and YouTube accounts, and they care about content. They care about creating content. They might have a niche following that has, you know, at face value, nothing to really do with your institution, but they do have an audience, right?
[00:44:42] Like how, how do. Institutions do a better job at partnering with their students to not just tell their stories on their platforms, but to help empower students to tell the institutions, you know, story on on their respective platforms. Like what? What does that [00:45:00] look like? And Over the next few years from, from your vantage point.
[00:45:04] John Azoni: Yeah, it's a great question. It's, it's a code that I've been trying to crack probably for, for the last year. Cause, cause you know what my company does is very, you know, more like the high end sort of kind of commercial level documentary type stuff. Um, but there's so, so much value in this user generated content.
[00:45:25] And I've talked to so many schools. Who have done varying levels of incentives, uh, and, and ways of, you know, getting people to talk about the school on their channels. Uh, there's all kinds of, you know, brand ambassador programs, um, you know, incentive hiring student interns to create content, um, paying, you know, monetarily incentivizing students, you know, to create content.
[00:45:51] And I don't know that anyone's really. Uh, cracked that code yet, but there is there is such an opportunity, you know, [00:46:00] what goes through my mind as we were just talking about this, um, you know, following somebody on a channel through their journey at college. Like, what if you created a scholarship around that, a content creation scholarship, and it's like, let's just say you were just going to go full throttle and like, we're going to give you a.
[00:46:18] A full ride. If you're an influencer already, and you're already creating great content, we're going to give you a full ride to the school to come document your journey here. Yeah. I mean, that might, you know, that's a lever that you can pull. Um, but it really comes down to, I think it's a tough road to just.
[00:46:35] To just constantly be pestering the whole student body to be like, Oh, please create content and tag us like, yeah, they don't care. Like they, they, they'll do what they want to, you know, but like, if you can rope somebody into an agreement and ideally that's someone that's already. Having influence and already, um, experimenting with new ways of creating and things because people, because your student [00:47:00] creators are going to, are going to have spins on things and, and create pieces of content that you would never think to do it that way.
[00:47:08] And the way that they would do it is going to be so much more effective than what the marketing team assumes people want to, want to see. Um, so I think it's just, it's a, you know, it's something that I think about a lot is like, how, how do we. You know, from a video company perspective, you know, how do I help my clients not only harness the power of this high quality video content, but also how do we, how do we get that working in tandem with user generated content?
[00:47:35] I think there's a definite like opportunity for like what I see a lot of on, on Tik TOK. Or reels, you know, if you're a millennial, you're just watching tiktok reruns on on reels for the most part. I saw a meme that was like, I watched tiktok on reels, like a real adult or something like that, you know, um, [00:48:00] but it's like.
[00:48:01] What I gravitate towards is following somebody's journey. And I get fed a lot. Cause I, I, uh, you know, I do a lot of, I I'm interested in like passive income streams and side hustle types type stuff. So I get fed a lot of that entrepreneurial side hustle stuff. And some people that show up in my feet are like, um, Follow me on my journey to, to hit my first like six figure month or whatever it is.
[00:48:26] And I'm like, that is so interesting. Yeah. Like, yeah. Like it's, it's like, I would love to do what she's doing. And I'm so curious to see what she's trying. Um, you know, and, and, and, and, and, and there's so, so much of that where it's just like, follow me on this, this journey. Um, and that's kind of where I've been.
[00:48:48] With my podcast. And then with the subsequent newsletter that comes out, I kind of try to take that approach of like, uh, I'm, you know, I'm with you in the higher end marketing, you know, [00:49:00] thing, but I'm also a business owner. That's also trying to market my business in a similar way. So come with me on this journey of like.
[00:49:06] Using AI to create a blog post from a podcast episode or like whatever it is. Um, and I just think that that tends to be the most popular content that I put out is in the newsletter, the most clicked on stuff where it's just like, Hey, learn this thing. Follow me as I'm trying to do this, and maybe you can put it to use in your, uh, in your higher ed context.
[00:49:27] But I think that that's that's an opportunity for. A school is to, um, I think when you think about like, Oh, how do we get a student creator to, uh, to, to just, if you just say like create content, like that's overwhelming, we can really simplify it to be like. A tiktok very successful tiktok channel can be, you, you just do this one simple thing every day.
[00:49:51] Yeah, yeah.
[00:49:52] Zach Busekrus: You know,
[00:49:53] John Azoni: and, and it's, it, it might just be like, what did I do today to gain, to earn passive income and how much did I earn? Yeah, [00:50:00] that, that might be it. It's, um, I'm blanking on, you know, it might just be dancing. You're, you're, you're just, you know, your boyfriend, girlfriend get together. Just dance.
[00:50:11] Do you do the latest dance trend in your pajamas? That's there's one couple that does that, you know? Yeah. It's just like, come up with something that you can repeat. And that gives students a very, um, easy structure that can be replicated. That's not overwhelming. And then, you know, you can apply that across the board on like TikTok shorts, reels,
[00:50:32] Zach Busekrus: stuff like that.
[00:50:33] Yeah, I mean, great, great, great ideas and just to piggyback off it with a couple things. One, to your point about folks liking to follow people along a journey. I think what's really interesting about that is It's everyone's skeptical of like the talking head. That's like, here's how I made, you know, 5 million last year at we're working, you know, five hours a week or something like that.
[00:50:54] Like there, there are all these like gurus that have quote unquote made it. And, you know, half the time you're like, are you really like as [00:51:00] successful as you say you are? Because if you are, why are you creating this content? It's, it's dumb, right? Good. Go enjoy your money. Right. So, so that's one, one, one perspective.
[00:51:08] And then another perspective is just like, okay, you know, maybe they, they have done it, but. If they have done it and you know, it just doesn't make sense. Like it seems too crazy for me to believe, but right. If I'm, if somebody is inviting me to follow them on a journey to make, you know, 10, 000 or a hundred thousand dollars in a month and they haven't done it yet, that, that is what's intriguing.
[00:51:29] Right. Because it's like, Hey, like you, you are, you are putting yourself out there. You're like jumping into the arena, right? You are exposing yourself to be, to, to, to fail quite frankly. Um, so I either. Maybe it's the sick part of me. That's like wondering if you will fail. Right. But, but the, you know, the better part of me, I think is like wanting you to win and wanting to learn from you along the way, but that is so much more interesting than listening to somebody who's already done it.
[00:51:55] Right. So I think that, that, that, that there's a certain element there. And the second thing that I [00:52:00] would say is like, we're talking a lot about like, Hey, how do you help your students? How do you help inspire your student body to create content for you? Uh, whether whether through paid means through, you know, just inspiring them, making it super simple.
[00:52:12] Hey, follow this particular format post on tick tock. Well, we'll select one person every day to get 50 lunch credit to the dining hall or whatever it is. Like you could do something like that, but you could also just to make this a hell of a lot easier for folks. You could just decide like, Hey, we want to create an insane amount of Instagrammable moments at our college or university, right?
[00:52:33] Like our goal for as a marketing team over the next year, we just want to create moments on campus that are so cool and so different and so unique that everyone just wants to post about it on Instagram and TikTok. Like that, that, that, that could be a strategy that saves you from having to, you know, spend a lot of time worrying about or trying to get.
[00:52:51] students to become creators for you. Instead, just give them something so exceptional or such a ridiculous experience that they [00:53:00] can't help but create content about that experience, right? So like, that's another thing to think about. Like, what if you and your marketing team walked around campus and everyone had to come up with 10 ideas of things that we could do over the next semester to make something Instagrammable.
[00:53:15] Like What? That would be such a fun creative exercise. And I don't know, like Allison Tursio from from Siena College has done something like this, and it's worked really, really well for her team. And it's just something that is seemingly easy. Um, I should say it's simple. Um, and, and, and, and maybe, maybe not easy, but, but, but these are simple things, um, that, you know, if you're not in a position to go hire a bunch of creators overnight.
[00:53:39] Think about how do you, why, how do I create a ton of Instagram mobile moments?
[00:53:44] John Azoni: Yeah. Alison does a great job of, um, uh, building community offline as well, you know, as well as online. And I think that's, that's a really important thing where like social media content is exists online, but it's. [00:54:00] Seated. It's the, the catalyst for the content is offline.
[00:54:03] So, so you, you need, it's, it's, it's very important to, yeah, kind of bridge the gap between this digital, um, relationship that you have with someone, uh, and, and like seeing them in real life and experiencing something together. So, yeah, creating, uh, creating fun events that are worth, um, you know, you know, Instagramming or whatever, but like also, Oh.
[00:54:28] There's something really powerful in, um, people being able to follow a character through an experience. So like, one of the things, so we're getting ready. There's a business school here in, in, um, in Michigan that we work with called Cleary University and we're getting ready to do, uh, like a subscription of like hype videos where over the course of the next year, we're doing hype videos of all 17 of their sports.
[00:54:55] Um, Uh, because the big athletics component, um, and then I'm [00:55:00] working through this creative direction yesterday and I'm like, We need to focus in on a few athletes per team because it just gives someone to like anchor themselves to, um, to watch them warming up, seeing, seeing, you know, hearing from them, hearing their voice, seeing if, do they win, do they lose, what, what failures did they, you know, run into things like that.
[00:55:22] And that's such a good, um, just thing to remember with content creation is give somebody a human to latch onto because that's the beauty of anything that's binge worthy. That's the only reason people keep coming back to love is blind to watch that is because they are hooked on certain people. They, they love to hate the person that they, that the, that's the villain.
[00:55:44] They, they are rooting for the person that's like just very sweet and innocent and you want the best for them. And you can, and, and if you look at, um, there's this whole tick tock phenomenon of, um, [00:56:00] sororities and the, the new process of recruiting sorority members, this rush, it's like called rush talk hashtag rush talk.
[00:56:07] If you, if you search that hashtag. And it's sorority girls doing these elaborate dances and this dog and pony show of content and building a following, uh, in order to be accepted into a sorority. But not only is it about that, it's brands are making major deals with these, uh, with these sorority hopefuls.
[00:56:29] And these girls are launching, um, Major career, like influencer careers based on this. And people are actually watching and rooting for their favorites and like following this journey as they would a reality TV show. Um, and that's so interesting to me cause I just don't care. I don't know why people would care about that, but people do care.
[00:56:50] Um, and, and, and the beauty and the science of that is you're giving people a character to latch onto. So what would it look like to create an event, but [00:57:00] then. Take a core group of three or four individuals to commit to creating content and, and bringing people on a, on a journey. That's more than just like, oh, here's a, here's a picture of this.
[00:57:14] Yeah. Um, fun, social, you know, dance that we did, but, but maybe it's like, Yeah. Hey, let's, uh, let's take people, you know, a month ahead of time and, uh, they got to find a date to this dance, you know, make it interesting. It's like, how are they going to navigate that? You know, and then, and then it paints the dance in a much stronger light.
[00:57:37] Cause it's like, now you're seeing the event, but you've got such an emotional attachment to what it took to get there for certain people. And everyone can relate to that. Like, I want to date people, but I don't know where to meet people at anymore, you know, except for online, you know, and the online dating I hear.
[00:57:54] I don't know. It's been a long time since I, I, I completely surpassed the online. I got [00:58:00] married before that. That whole thing took off. But I hear it's just very volatile. Um. You know, so the idea of, you know, watching someone go through that, trying to find, I don't know, a date or something like that. I, to me, that's interesting.
[00:58:14] Maybe I'm just really in like love is blind mode and I'm just like, everything should be a dating show. I think all colleges should have their own version of a dating show.
[00:58:25] Zach Busekrus: Oh, dude, this has been, um, uh, A super awesome conversation, John. I really appreciate your time. And it's been fun to riff on these ideas.
[00:58:33] I really do hope, you know, folks listening in, take these ideas and, and, uh, run with a couple of them. And then if you do, like, let us know, like, we want to see, we want to see you create your own love is blind at your college or university, right? We want, we want to think we want you to think Critically about how to create Instagramable moments and tell us about them.
[00:58:52] So, uh, John, if folks do want some help and if they're, they're listening to these ideas, they love these ideas, but they don't, they know that they don't have the internal staffing to, to [00:59:00] make this happen. What's the best way for them to get in touch with you and to learn a little bit more about your team and your respective services?
[00:59:06] John Azoni: Yeah. My company is called unveiled. It's spelled U N V E I L D. And we're at unveiled. tv. Um. Our biggest thing that we work with schools on is a subscription offering a storytelling subscription. So it's a, it's a monthly, you know, we batch shoot a year's worth of content and then we drip out storytelling content each month.
[00:59:23] So it kind of automates the process of this content creation and creating meaningful, vulnerable content. Um, so you can learn about that on the website. Um, also my podcast is called higher ed storytelling university. And then I have a month or a weekly newsletter that comes out. So you can sign up at unveiled.
[00:59:40] tv slash newsletter. Uh, I'm also on LinkedIn.
[00:59:44] Zach Busekrus: If you want And we will have links to John's website, his LinkedIn profile, um, and his podcast, which I highly recommend that you guys listen to as well. Several of the folks we've found on this show have been on that show, but they also have, uh, just a plethora of, of great stories.
[00:59:56] One of the things I learned actually in your, your interview with Eric Stoller [01:00:00] is that he. Had a dinner with Taylor Swift unexpectedly. That was like his like fun fact, uh, which was, which was a real fun fact. So, um, so yeah, I can't recommend the show enough. Uh, John, thank you so much for your time. And it's been a real pleasure.
[01:00:14] John Azoni: Yeah. Thanks for having me. It's been great to be here.
[01:00:24] Zach Busekrus: Hey, all Zach here from enrollify. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the enrollify podcast. If you liked this episode, do us a huge favor and hit that follow and subscribe button below. Furthermore, if you've got just two minutes to spare, we would greatly appreciate you leaving a rating and a review of this show on Apple podcasts.
[01:00:42] Our podcast network is growing by the month. We've got a plethora of marketing admissions and higher ed technology shows. That are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks that are all designed to empower you to become a better higher ed professional. But enrollify is far more than just a podcast network.
[01:00:59] Enrollify [01:01:00] is where higher ed comes to learn new marketing skills, discover new products and services, and find their next job. We're a growing learning community of 4, 000 members. And we'd love to welcome you into the fold. You can access our free blog articles, newsletters, e courses, and more, or purchase our master course on how to market a university with Terry Flannery at enrollify.
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About the Episode
The what's what...
In this episode conversation, Zach chats with John Azoni, Founder and CEO of Unvelid — a video production agency serving higher education — and host of Higher Ed Storytelling University — about what marketers get wrong when it comes to storytelling.
Zach and John discuss:
- Why marketing and storytelling are not necessarily two sides of the same coin
- How to set up an interview environment that is conducive to capturing great content
- Things you should never ask in an interview
- Why higher ed marketers should care about creating Instagrammable moments
- What higher ed marketers can learn from Love is Blind
- And so much more!
This Episode is Sponsored by Pathify
Meet Pathify — an innovative higher ed engagement hub that puts students at the center of their college journey. Pathify sits at the center of your school’s digital ecosystem, becoming the single, user experience interface tying together all systems, content, and communications. Their engagement hub elevates the information that matters most and pushes systems like the SIS behind the scenes where they belong, making it simpler for students to discover and engage with the opportunities your institution provides at every step of their higher ed journey, from prospect to alumni. What’s even better, Pathify has a mobile experience that provides 100% parity with the responsive web app, so your campus app is always in sync. Pathify is a platform that EVERY stakeholder on campus — from marketing, to admissions, to student affairs, to IT, etc., — can get equally excited about. Learn more about how Pathify is uniting strategic units across campus and bettering the entire student experience by visiting Pathify.com
About the Enrollify Podcast Network
The Enrollify Podcast is a part of the Enrollify Podcast Network. If you like this podcast, chances are you’ll like other Enrollify shows too!
Our podcast network is growing by the month and we’ve got a plethora of marketing, admissions, and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks all designed to empower you to be a better higher ed professional.
Our shows feature a selection of the industry’s best as your hosts. Learn from Jaime Hunt, Allison Turcio, Corynn Myers, Dustin Ramsdell, Terry Flannery, Jaime Gleason and many more.
Learn more about The Enrollify Podcast Network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea — come and find yours!
About the Podcast
Zach is the Founder of Enrollify. He thoroughly enjoys building new brands, developing and executing content marketing strategies, and hosting podcasts. When he's not working on Enrollify, he enjoys discussing life's quandaries over coffee (or a good bourbon) with friends, building Sponstayneous (his travel brand side hustle), trying out new HIIT workouts, and adventuring across the globe with his wife!
John Azoni is a content creator and video producer working specifically with colleges, universities, and nonprofits to automate their video storytelling. He believes that staying in front of your audience regularly, if not daily, is crucial to getting results from your digital marketing efforts. And yet, it’s something that so few colleges and nonprofits do well because they’re short on time, short on staff, and short on resources to create a steady flow of engaging video content. His company, UNVEILD, has stepped in to solve this problem and help marketing leaders get more of what they want by filling their marketing calendars with better stories and more engaging content - every month, all on autopilot, for a flat monthly fee.
We partner with the best, to provide the best information.
Meet Pathify — an innovative higher ed engagement hub that puts students at the center of their college journey. Pathify sits at the center of your school’s digital ecosystem, becoming the single, user experience interface tying together all systems, content, and communications. Their engagement hub elevates the information that matters most and pushes systems like the SIS behind the scenes where they belong, making it simpler for students to discover and engage with the opportunities your institution provides at every step of their higher ed journey, from prospect to alumni. What’s even better, Pathify has a mobile experience that provides 100% parity with the responsive web app, so your campus app is always in sync. Pathify is a platform that EVERY stakeholder on campus — from marketing, to admissions, to student affairs, to IT, etc., — can get equally excited about. Learn more about how Pathify is uniting strategic units across campus and bettering the entire student experience by visiting Pathify.comlearn more
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