The Story Of A Kiwi Original

Sharing uniquely Kiwi stories that are contributing to New Zealand’s future.

Kiwis love to hear what Kiwis get up to.

Stories resonate. Stories get retold.

So of course a podcast that featured A Kiwi Originals made sense.

Now you can copy the playboook for your own membership organisation.

Representing Your Members. Sharing Their Stories

This article is for membership groups who want to go beyond ‘traditional digital’ communication methods. Traditional digital includes:

  • long emails to all members.
  • photo + description social media updates.

Of course traditional digital has a place, but limiting your features to images and texts limits the impact your organisation can have.

Without foundational content released in an episodic format, your social newsfeeds can look a little light and infrequent and sharing updates a daily labour. That can translate into a member disconnect, lost membership fees through membership churn, resignations or calls for ‘deliver more value’. In this article I’ll share a few of the subtle and not so subtle activities that can transform a membership organisation from reactive to proactive communication through stories at scale.

NZ Made Stories — The background

2018 was was the start of high production value story telling with the Making It New Zealand series. In 2019, The Provenance Marketing Show was launched featuring and giving away products. In 2020, A Kiwi Original took what was learnt from the previous two shows and wrapped it up into a new studio format where the guests visited us. Until Covid-19 arrived that is… coinciding with release of episode 005 on natural hand washing products ironically.

The Covid-19 Silver Lining

Covid-19 has been an unexpected blessing for the show as guests didn’t have to travel to the Wellington studio to be interviewed. We decided to keep filming the video episodes too and Kiwis preferred to see the many varied backgrounds of offices, workshops and lounges throughout New Zealand.

Why Episodic Content Is Superior For Membership Organisations

Episodic content means creating a repeatable format that every episode follows. Your organisation gets a number of advantages from this.

  • Reduced audience development costs because a new listener that subscribes gets served the back catalogue thanks to the YouTube algorithm.
  • Reduced production costs because your production team know exactly what the spec is for each episode.
  • Reduced approval time because each interviewee knows how they will be portrayed simply by watching or listening to previous episodes.
  • Increased RSVP invitations because each invited guest can see from previous episodes what’s expected.

A Kiwi Original Is Long Form Content For A Reason

Each episode lasts 30–40 minutes which is about the same time as a Kiwi commutes or spends at the gym. Long form makes for ideal ‘dual activity’ where your audience can listen as a secondary activity alongside wash the dishes, walking the dog, looking after the kids (ok maybe not that one).. you get the picture.

Long form also allows your guest to explore topics with you rather than be pressured into media soundbites. Long form is low pressure and low risk.

Making Digital Breadcrumbs From Long Form Content

There will be moments of genius on the part of the interviewee that can be highlighted at the front of the podcast and in ‘digital breadcrumb’ content such as 2 minute clips on a particular topic like post covid domestic tourism from Ollie Law at Bushman Tours.

Every A Kiwi Original takes key messages from the half hour chat and puts them up front in the first two minutes. If you spent 2 minutes x 33 A Kiwi Original episodes = 66 minutes listening to the intro of every podcast you’d know exactly what the entire series is about.

Thumbnails Matter More Than You Think

Every thumbnail must tell the story without a single second of watch time. Think about it. You’re promoting a member of your organisation and you’ve got 5–6 words and two or three visual elements to play with. Each thumbnail is produced so that you know who will be speaking… you know the business problem the company solves… and if you know the company… you’ll recognise their logo. NZ Made branding truly takes a back seat in our episodic marketing. It’s about the business every time.

Podcast Show Notes Matter More Than You Think

Every A Kiwi Original podcast episode comes with a comprehensive set of Show Notes that timestamps each individual element of the story. Why? Business people are busy and if you’re listening to an episode and it goes onto a topic you’re not in to… Show Notes help you decide whether to skip ahead or skip altogether. The Show Notes also guide new listeners to decide whether to listen or not.

BONUS: Google will pick up on those timestamps and display what’s ‘in this video’ right in your search results like the episode with Michael Greenstein at Florence Health.

The Name Of Each Episode Matters More Than You Think

YouTube and Google are great friends as Youtube is owned by Google. Think about your naming for each episode. What will people search for? A Kiwi Original keeps the naming simple because we want episodes to be found by the customers of the business. When you Google someone and find a 30–40 minute interview… it goes a long way to establish trust and credibility particularly for businesses that rely in word of mouth.

Your membership organisation also gets seen by non-member businesses who may be searching for your members.

Distribution Matters More Than You Think

You can’t simply post your episode to Apple Podcasts and YouTube and think you’re done. We all live in our different ‘newsfeed bubbles’. You’ll want to put your story where your members are (or where your next members are likely to be). A Kiwi Original is available in its entirety across Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts all thanks to a little distribution tool called BuzzSprout.

Captions Matter More Than You Think

85% of people scroll their newsfeed with sound off. 2020 is similar to the silent movie era of the 1920’s so you’ve got to add captions if you want your audience to be able to read the words that are being said. Now… captioning an entire 30–40 minute episode is a lot of work so A Kiwi Original episodes only adds captions for the social newsfeed digital breadcrumb content. Each is a couple of minutes long reducing the time investment.

Twitter videos need ‘burnt-in’ captions unlike Facebook and Google who support *.srt files natively. Ok… a little too technical for this article but… if you’re looking for a gamechanger when it comes to accelerating your captioning process, get Sonix. Their AI driven transcription service is the best I’ve found in the last six years and for studio quality recording it’s near as good as you’ll get to 98% perfect. It even will learn from your fancy industry acronyms making future episodic translation even easier. Say Buy NZ Made? Get ‘Buy NZ Made’ transcribed.

Spend time on captions. They matter. Really.

LinkedIn Matters More Than You Think

I joined in 2003. It was a CV and job network. In 2020 LinkedIn has the best organic reach for businesses going. Get your membership page… start posting. Digital breadcrumb videos don’t seem to perform that well for A Kiwi Original so we go back to traditional digital of posting a photo and link to the podcast or youtube channel. Experiment for yourself.

Resourcing Your Membership Team For Episodic Content

Video: You’ll need a person for filming and ideally that person also does the editing. Being responsible for both ensures that filming inefficiencies are learnt from during edit and improved. DSLR runs out after 30 minutes so just having someone to press the button again at 30 mins is a godsend.

Audio: You’ll need a person who can take the audio files, compress them, normalise them, denoise them and add in any member ads then finalise each episode with intro’s and outro’s. You can get fancy here or keep it plain. The higher the production values you go for, the more time it takes to edit each episode.

Pictures: You’ll need a person who can take great photos of your show guests that can also create the youtube and podcast thumbnails.

Words: You’ll need a person who writes the podcast Show Notes and the copy for social posts. This should be the most senior person you’ve got as the copy is everything.

Host: The host does the research on the guest and asks the questions in a way that guides the interview. Sounds easier than it is.

Scheduler: The scheduler plans your filming slots in advance. 4+ weeks highly recommended.

For A Kiwi Original I personally edit each audio episode for the podcast with Hindenburg after recording it because I want to choose what intro cuts are featured. I choose them based on what messages impacted me the most during the interview. It’s hard to outsource that… although it is possible. I have help with someone who does both the video and the pictures. I write all the show notes myself too. For your membership organisation, if you have more resource then I’d recommend splitting into the five roles above

The Maths Of Episode Velocity x Distribution

A Kiwi Original produces 3–4 episodes a week across two half days with 2 people on it. If you adopted the scaled model above with a dedicated shop of four people you could easily get to 12 long form episodes a week. Here’s the math for A Kiwi Original.

4 x episodes per week

8 x digital breadcrumb videos (4 episodes @ 2 per episode)

4 x podcast episodes a week

4 x bio images podcasts link

20 pieces of content per week

Now multiply the pieces of content by the channels you post to and contextualise for the platform.

8 newsfeeds for A Kiwi Original (LinkedIn personal, LinkedIn Business page, Twitter personal @businesskiwi, Twitter @buynzmade, Facebook @buynzmadecampaign, Instagram Stories, member email, website blog)

160 pieces of posted content on 4 members every week.

= 4,160 piecess of findable high production value content over a 6 month time period.

This figure doesn’t even include any of the sharing and hosting that your interviewee does off their own back.

Pour On AdSpend 🔥To Get Momentum

The maths of episode can get a little heady and we’re not even on to the fire part yet. Add in a little adspend and you’ve got even more momentum. Each business we feature can promote their feature by purchasing adspend. You can also decide simply to promote the ones that are doing well already on your newsfeeds or promote all equally.

Document Don’t Create

Not all episodes will be runaway successes. That doesn’t matter. Document the conversations you’re having, highlight the best conversations using digital breadcrumbs for the social newsfeed. Keep going. Momentum brings a lot of algorithm benefits but you’re going to need stories.

1 Lead Or 1 Million Views?

What’s more valuable to your members? For ours its creating a high production value asset that their audience can find and maybe decide to give them a call for what they manufacture. Chase leads for your members not views for yourself. Of course, look at the trend because if people aren’t listening or watching to your digital breadcrumb content you’ve got one of three common problems:

  • lacks production values expected of your audience.
  • lacks relevance to the audience your’ve cultivated to date.
  • lacks a synopsis so an audience can decide to tune in or not.

194 businesses featured to date.

Making It New Zealand 56 episodes.

Provenance Marketing Series 105 business features (35 episodes).

A Kiwi Original 33 episodes …and counting.

Keep experimenting and keep featuring the businesses that are your members. We have a long way to go to feature every single NZ Made business in this format… so there are other things you can do.

Automate Show Invitations

Every businesses who is approved as an Official NZ Made Licence Holder gets invited to be on A Kiwi Original automatically by email. It’s a simple email that comes straight to me and always starts with…

“Hi Ryan,

My uniquely Kiwi story that is contributing to New Zealand’s future is: “

Never forget what your show is about. Keep the theme. And Keep GOING.

What Else? Equipment.

Ah yes… equipment. Use what you’ve got. My first 100 interviews in 2016 and 2017 for the 100% Kiwi Business book were recorded on an iPhone with a Shure MV88 mic plugged into the bottom. You can use the inbuilt Zoom or Skype recorder for video. Use what you’ve got. Just start.

Fancy Audio Equipment

Rode NT1-A mic sounds really nice. Get two for in person interviews. Plug it in to a Zoom H5 dedicated audio recorder will mean you don’t need to rely on a noisy Mac fan firing up halfway through the episode. I’ve never had a failed recording on the Zoom H5. I’ve had plenty on a computer.

Rode NT1-A mic on boom.

If you’re remote interviewing you can still use the Rode NT1-A mic on your end. You’ll need to plug in your iPhone into the Zoom H5 audio recorder to capture their audio.

Zoom H5 for dedicated audio recording. Zoom H6 has four XLR’s for up 4 x mics.

That requires a 3.5mm speaker cable connected into converter to the lightning plug. It’s a sweet hack that means if your interviewees Internet connection is dicey (which many manufacturers and home workers have been) you only lose the video signal not the audio. It is not acceptable to have a podcast with sketchy audio if you want to retain listeners.

Lightning to 3.5mm headphones to capture audio from phone call

Fancy Video Equipment

Full frame Digital SLR’s look great. We use a Canon 6D Mark II for filming the interviewer (me) side on and then a Canon 80D for filming the interviewee on the screen that shows the room. This was a Covid-19 working from adaptation that has worked although could be improved. Make sure you get a 27 inch screen with a webcam attached so that your guest has the same size head as you. You’re trying to recreate the in person interview experience. Think about lighting too.


Businesses expect far more from value from membership organisations than they did when an invite to face to face lunchs and drinks for networking was sufficient. Now businesses want to be seen by your entire membership and your audience. Belonging is more than a membership fee, it’s raising the voice of your members through a collective investment in telling a collective story.

Scratching the Surface

This article is scratching the surface of what’s possible in marketing. There’s plenty more at



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