By Nancy Marshall, The PR Maven® 

3 Tips for Spreading Your Message and Cultivating a Passion Project

  • Don’t underestimate the value of bringing in an expert to help with launching a big project like a podcast.
  • Look for opportunities to cultivate professional relationships and partnerships by inviting people to collaborate with you on content. This can go a long way for your brand and business.
  • Stretch yourself creatively! Flexing different kinds of intellectual muscles with passion projects may make you more effective on the job.

One of Pete Koch’s primary passions was established early in his life, when he learned to ski with the help of a rope tow in his hometown and began to rack up outdoor experiences.

“I think about skiing as part of my personal brand,” he says on Episode 113 of The PR MavenⓇ Podcast. “[One of my values is] really wanting to be outdoors and [to] participate in activities that are outdoors year-round. Skiing is certainly one of those things. I was able to use that passion that I had in my personal life to a great extent in my professional life.”

Over the years, Pete has established quite the overlap between his personal and professional passions by finding his niche in the world of safety.

He started his career working in the ski industry, bringing his love for skiing to functions from mountain operations and resort services to lodging and food service. After witnessing many unsafe behaviors and traumatic situations on the ski mountain, Pete was inspired to develop an expertise in keeping people safe. He holds certifications from multiple ski safety organizations and is an authorized instructor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administrator (OSHA).

Pete now works full-time for the Maine Employers’ Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC) as a safety management consultant and Manager of Digital Technology for Loss Control.

Pete and his family have followed their other creative passions into various entrepreneurial endeavors, including a bakery and a photography business called 5 Daughters Photography (yes, he also has five daughters).

Recently, though, his love for spreading the message of safety has led him to something completely new: a podcast.

3 Tips for Spreading Your Message and Cultivating a Passion ProjectPick the right medium for your message: Get your expertise to the people who need it

For three years, Pete and his manager at MEMIC brainstormed creative ways to communicate their expertise about safety to a wider audience.

“We settled on podcasts because we both enjoy listening to them,” he says. “I find that the conversation back and forth between two people that have experience in a particular topic is a great way to get the story out.”

Unsure of how to start the process of starting a podcast of their own, Pete turned to our team at Marshall Communications for guidance. We worked with them for three months to develop and execute a launch plan for their show, The Safety Experts. The first episodes went live in November 2019!

Here’s what Pete has learned from years of working on his passion projects — and, most recently, becoming a podcaster.

1. Keep your eye on the details

When it comes to a podcast, “there are a ton of details,” Pete says. “It’s really easy to miss a couple of those really important ones.”

Pete and his colleagues looked to my team at Marshall Communications to pull together the checklists they needed to ensure they wouldn’t miss any details for The Safety Experts. Working with Pete, we created a Marshall Plan to help them leverage the podcast to achieve their marketing and PR goals. This included branding the podcast, naming it, planning all the tactical aspects of production, as well as promoting it to targeted audiences (now you can see where all the details come in!).

But whether you’re running a podcast on your own or bringing in experts like us to help, Pete encourages you to be consistent with the detail work.

“If I could say one thing to them, it’s just stick with it, because you’ll get it,” he says. “It’ll come together well for you if you just put the work in ahead of time.”

2. Use content to cultivate partnerships

On every episode of The Safety Experts, Pete interviews industry experts about emerging trends and techniques in the workplace safety industry. As a result, hosting the show has given him the opportunity to spread important safety messages — but it’s also opened up new doors for MEMIC. The podcast has enabled the company to deepen relationships with clients and add to its expertise. It’s all about networking and partnerships!

“We are able to reach out to not only our own group of safety experts to help communicate the message, but to develop a very personal relationship with some of our policyholders and clients, because we recognize that we don’t have all the answers for a particular solution,” Pete say of reaching out to guests for the podcast.

“Our policyholders are living and breathing their trade on a daily, hourly basis. When we can tap into their expertise and partner with them, it really does help strengthen that bond we have as partners.”

Inviting professional contacts to collaborate with you on content — like podcast interviews, for example — can be a fantastic networking strategy.

3. Find ways to engage different sides of your brain

Pete’s experience running passion-driven family businesses with his loved ones has taught him the value of engaging different skill sets and multiple sides of his brain. Learning about the arts of baking and photography have enabled him to be more creative than he often gets to be in his full-time job.

“As a safety professional, there are certainly a lot of standards and statistics and rules and regulations that I have to be familiar with,” Pete says. “But I’ve found that employing the creative side of me helps me look at the problems a little bit differently, so I can come up with a slightly different solution that I might find if I just read through the regulations.”

If Pete’s wide-ranging professional experiences are any indication, it never hurts to expand into new ventures and passion projects that force you to flex different intellectual muscles than you’re used to. And who knows? Without the Koch family’s entrepreneurial spirit, Pete may never have been inspired to consider the podcast as a medium for sharing about safety!

This is based on episode 113 of The PR Maven® Podcast, a podcast hosted by Nancy Marshall. Weekly interviews feature industry leaders, top executives, media personalities and online influencers to give listeners a peek into the world of public relations, marketing and personal branding. Subscribe through Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.