West Cork native Patrick Kiely has over a decade of experience as an instructional designer and project manager. He founded Flux Learning in 2017 focusing on clinical, surgical and communication skills training using the quality assured Proficiency Based Progression methodology founded by Professor Anthony Gallagher. An advocate for accessibility in online learning and development of digital skills throughout life-long learning.
Patrick had an idea….
Geraldine Hennessy joined Flux learning in September 2020 as a project manager. One of her first roles was to turn Patrick’s idea, Cork Creative, into a reality.
Nearly two years on from that inaugural podcast with author Caragh Bell, we have interviewed 26 guests and counting. In this episode, we discuss our experience of creating this podcast: the background of Cork Creative, why we do it, what we learn from it and where we hope to go with it.
This is Cork Creative: the journey so far.
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Duration: 24:00 mins
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Geraldine Hennessy: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Cork Creative Podcast. With this podcast, we hope to promote local creative businesses and people. Cork Creative is approaching its two year anniversary. We’ve had over 25 guests in the podcast from artists to authors, distillers to declutters, and many more interesting characters who have chatted to us about the highs and lows of their journeys to now.
With that in mind, we felt it was important for the two hosts of the show, myself, Geraldine Hennessy and Patrick Kiely, to share our experience of creating this podcast. So, we discuss the background of Cork Creative, why we do it, what we learned from it, and where we hope to go with it.
This is Cork Creative: the journey so far.
So Patrick, how did Cork Creative come about?
Cork Creative started out as, I suppose, a very [00:01:00] nascent idea that rather than Flux Learning, paying for digital marketing, rather than it giving money for Google AdWords or Facebook ads or that, that we would build resources, that we would support the local community, and that we would work at a more grassroots level where we are, and we would support our local community while also developing our own digital skills and let the assets, as in the podcasts for Cork Creative be social proof of what we can do and being social proof of what we can do. They can be used as a recruitment tool or an advertising tool for our bone-fides or our skill set in audio editing and in time video editing.
Geraldine Hennessy: And how did you choose the name?
Patrick Kiely: I’m not sure I can take full credit for choosing the name.
Maybe it’s the fact that I majored in English and I have a fascination with alliteration. I’m not sure. I suppose I wanted, we wanted to look at creative types and that was something certainly when you came on board that you wanted to focus on as well. So we wanted to focus on people who were doing creative things, be it the creative arts or in creative [00:02:00] businesses.
So there was that element for sure. But beyond that, then we’re looking at alliteration and then of course you took the brand. You went all in on the branding and developed a visual identity for it, which was frankly over and above what I was intellectually capable of doing, frankly .
Geraldine Hennessy: Okay. So yeah, I suppose it was a good way for me when I started with working with Flux, I suppose as an introduction to the company.
This became one of my first roles. Trying to get Cork Creative up and running as such. Just coming up with the identity for Cork Creative, we had to come up with the logo and some sort of a color scheme behind it. So sure, we went all out there with the red and white for Cork, but, have to stick to the roots,
Patrick Kiely: And Liverpool
Geraldine Hennessy: Definitely not Liverpool.
I used it as, A way to train myself in various different things. One of the first pieces of software that I used was Canva, which has been touched on actually a [00:03:00] lot by various guests that we have interviewed over the last two years. The use of Canva, that it’s quite a usable design thing for various different social media posts, for paper publications of various descriptions.
I found that quite useful just to kind of help me to kind of get my head around the use of Canva. So that was great from that point of.
Patrick Kiely: When we speak about Canva, it’s a publishing platform, but it’s also a publishing platform that replaces perhaps 90% of the work that you might conceivably do in more complex software like Photoshop and Illustrator . Software, which while fantastic objectively and Fluxes has licenses for those too, and we use those with clients, but for a lot of what we do, we don’t need that level of advanced functionality.
The learning curve for some of those softwares are, is very steep. Whereas the learning curve for Canva is much shallower and it’s a much easier introduction into graphic design. You can realize your vision, I [00:04:00] suppose, of what you’re looking to design a lot faster.. So I like Canva from that point of view.
And then one of the main things I suppose, was designing the website behind Cork Creative, because, well, our viewpoint was you’re nothing really without your website. Well, we’re nothing as a podcast without a website. Everyone needs a home. Exactly. So we had to design the website.
For the Flux website, we used Squarespace. And we were deciding, I suppose, whether or not to use that again or to go somewhere else. And we actually decided to go with the WordPress site because there are some limitations with Squarespace for sure. And WordPress with Elementor Pro as a plugin and with the two of them combined are quite a powerful tool and you can do a lot very easily in WordPress and I felt, and I still feel it’s [00:05:00] a lot easier to use WordPress as opposed to Squarespace. Hopefully, we’ll at some point get our Flux website over to Square from Squarespace onto WordPress as well, just to make life a little bit easier.
Patrick Kiely: I mean, I still like Squarespace. It’s not, we’re not gonna beat up on Squarespace, but Squarespace provides a much more structured approach to how you build a website
And they have their templates, and their templates are fantastic. It is more restrictive by the nature of the fact that it’s template driven than something like WordPress, which basically opens up the world of plugins and much greater extensibility in functionality. Given what we’re doing now with podcasts, given what we’re doing with Online Learning Bootcamp – our LMS, and various other elements, it stands to reason that we will move to WordPress because our functionality has, to an extent, outgrown Squarespace.
But if we needed a simple portfolio, for a client needed a simple portfolio site, we’d still probably recommend Squarespace, because it’s easier to maintain for those who aren’t initiated into web design.
Geraldine Hennessy: But it’s still good to be able to have [00:06:00] the skills to, to deal with both, I suppose. Again, that was another training for me was to try and learn how to build a website in WordPress and I found that very good.
I learned an awful lot just about accessibility and, and various things just by building the website and then I was trying to come up with how we were gonna structure the website and all. And then the next thing was to decide on the hosting site actually for Cork Creative. So we looked at a few options, both the free options in terms of Anchor and then also paid versions.
And we actually went for Podbean in the end. So Patrick, you might discuss a little bit about, about Podbean
Patrick Kiely: I mean with Podbean,it gave us was more granular control over our podcast and better analytics. So we know where we’re getting our listens. We know whether listens are coming from Apple Podcasts, whether they’re coming from Spotify.
We’re not locked into the Spotify [00:07:00] ecosystem. Which to an extent you are with Anchor as Anchor is owned by Spotify. So we have more control over our brand, I suppose, or how we present our brand, and we can upload higher resolution files, whereas Anchor is limited to MP3 uploads at the entry level.
So we have used Anchor. And with some of our clients we have used Anchor and it’s very user friendly. But definitely for Cork Creative and for any future podcast, we would use Podbean or we’d use an equivalent service because of the granularity and the more advanced controls it offers us effectively.
Geraldine Hennessy: And you do like analytics Patrick .
Patrick Kiely: It’s a quantitative world. But you need to show that something is working, you need to know how many eyeballs around the table, or in this case, ear drums around the thing. You need that. Otherwise you have no evidence of impact or reach, and you need that.
Otherwise you’re flying blind.
Geraldine Hennessy: Okay. I suppose then the next thing we did after coming up with or deciding on using Pod Beam, we had to come up [00:08:00] with our very important guests. So Patrick lined up our first guest /guinea pig /victim in the line of Caragh Bell,an author and a good friend of us here in Flux.
And to be fair, she was very good with her time and we learned a lot through the recording of that first podcast and also the editing and publication of it. It was the starting point for the rest of the podcast going forward. And then we kind of stuck to people initially that we kind of knew or knew of in our local area, because we’re both from Clon , so
Patrick Kiely: I’m more of a blow-in to be fair.
Geraldine Hennessy: Well, yeah. But you’re Clonakilty now, so , you’ve lived here for long enough.
So we stuck to Clonakitly for the initial few people. My brother was the second guest, so we really kept it close to the family. Since then, we’ve really have tried to go further afield and that’s is one of the future plans, I suppose, is to try and get more areas.[00:09:00] Not just down in West Cork, but more up in the city, more in East Cork and North Cork and the various different parts of Cork. To be fair, it’s a massive county, biggest county , the best county. The best county. And there’s so many creative people and people doing creative businesses in the county.So, we really want to exploit that because there’s a lot of people out there that we can interview.
In terms of coming up with the guest idea, it could be quite random as, and I could just see something in a shop window. I was actually doing another podcast out in Dunmanway in Brookpark, and I saw a few artists had displayed their work.So I literally took pictures on my phone and they went on to my little spreadsheet. And we followed up like that and we got a few guests like that. It’s sometimes people contact us to ask to appear on the show and sometimes we approach them and it’s always been, to be fair, very positive. I suppose, it doesn’t cost people anything in terms of money other than [00:10:00] costing them their time.
And people seem very eager and happy to participate, which is great.
Patrick Kiely: I suppose though it’s, particularly with the pandemic, not to mention that particular keyword, but it did alter the participation somewhat. Yeah. And we have good relationships with local hotels and with the local hubs like the Ludgate or Brook Park, where we could do interviews.
But with the pandemic, of course, all the interviews are online, which presents its own technical challenges, and we used tools to try and maximize the audio quality. But ultimately you have less control over the guest space. You have less control over your own space sometimes when you’re recording in less than optimal circumstances.
I suppose we learned an awful lot more about audio editing than we probably wanted to , but we’re now much better at dealing with the challenges and recognizing the challenges early. So it helped us make us more resilient as a podcast, I suppose. But now, thankfully, as we are emerging from the pandemic, there’s more face-to-face podcast returning, and we’re going to guest premises or we’re going back to the likes of the Fernhill House Hotel, or we’re going back to the [00:11:00] hubs to record podcasts, and it’s better to see the guest face to face. Yeah, definitely. And face to face and in person. And it makes for a more, I suppose, dynamic and engaging podcast interview.
Geraldine Hennessy: Yeah. The problem is I’m a bit of a chatter and I need to do other work and sometimes the chat can go on a bit.
So , that’s where the editing comes in. Yeah. Edit.Edit.Edit. So that’s how we kind of came up with the guests. And then in terms of editing, we decided to use Audition to edit our podcast. It’s always a learning curve. At the moment we’re actually trying to use a new tool- Descript to try and speed up the process because it’s all about making the process as efficient as possible, but without reducing the quality on the audio.
Patrick Kiely: For sure. I suppose the other advantage with Descript is that it gives us maybe a more streamlined audio workflow cause you’re effectively editing from within the audio transcript. But it also gives you the audio transcript. Which means from a podcast point of view, we are now, will be that much more accessible in that we will have [00:12:00] the transcript available on our website and that will be there for each of the podcasts.
It’ll make the podcast that much more searchable. Yeah. Because the text will be there for the web crawlers from Google to go through as well as just the audio recording Yeah. Which isn’t necessarily indexed by Google to the same extent. So it’s, it’s a virtuous circle, but, it’s certainly, it’s a tool that we’re using and we’re quite excited about the advanced functionality it offers.
Yeah. Yeah. Very good. Watch this space .
Geraldine Hennessy: So, Patrick, we don’t get paid for doing this, so why do we do it?
Patrick Kiely: Because I’m shockingly naïve. Because it’s, it’s a good thing to do. From the point of view of local business, I suppose. We are a virtual company in that we exist online. We are both remote working. I’m working from home.You’re working from home. The subcontractors and the other folk who work with us are geographically distributed, shall we say. They’re in Scotland, they’re in Canada. They’re further afield. So this gives us an opportunity to meet with local business people. It gives us an opportunity to [00:13:00] meet with local creative types. It gives us an opportunity to network. So from our standpoint, that’s positive. It also gives our guests an opportunity to put their businesses forward in the best possible light. It gives us an opportunity to hone our skills. So just as you built Cork Creative and built the SOPs for Cork Creative, your SOPs have now informed the training of two other audio editors in how they approach the editing of the podcasts.
And we’re not just editing podcasts, we are a digital learning company. So we’re editing audio for voiceover for online learning. We’re editing audio for video recording for complex medical and clinical scenarios. So we’ve taken that skill that we’ve learned from podcasting and we’ve deployed it in multiple settings.
We’ve also helped with the launch of an additional podcast with SHSS podcasts in Clonakilty run out of the Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty with Caragh Bell. So it’s given us an extended skill.. So, and it’s also given us that social proof I mentioned earlier. People ask what we do or people ask what we’ve done.[00:14:00] We can point to the podcasts, people can listen to the podcast. They’re there as evidence of our skills and our growing familiarity with podcasts. And our experience in the field.
Geraldine Hennessy: It’s actually a question that a lot of people ask me, and they seem quite obsessed with it in terms of like, where’d you get your money? You know, where’d you make your money on it? We don’t make money outta the podcast directly. It’s very indirectly, but the learning that you can get from something, doing something like this is invaluable. For say, like the online learning courses that we’ve built it’s been essential and it makes that part of my work a lot easier because I’m doing a lot of editing for the podcast. Everything is so fresh. And I have the, um, SOPs in place that I can refer back to when I need them. And it just keeps everything fresh and up to date in my own brain. And I need that.
Patrick Kiely: Everyone needs that. I mean, I’ve been an instructional designer for a decade or more now, unfortunately, and I’m aging myself as I speak
But with that though, we’ve all undertaken training courses and [00:15:00] we’ve walked out of the training course and we’ve been almost high with the possibilities of what we could do with this particular piece of software. But we don’t have a project or a tool. Yeah. We don’t have a task to do with that software or with that particular practice for a while.
And if we do come back to it a month, six weeks later, it’s stale. Yeah. We need to almost go back and revisit the recording Yeah. Of the training, or we need to go back to our notes and everything becomes more of a struggle with this. Our auto editing skills have been front and center and have been honed and used repeatedly.And as I said, we’ve trained other people in the SOPs now, so the SOPs are almost a living document that are being refined and honed as new pieces of software come. We use audition now we use a combination of audition and descript. Who knows what’ll come next. Yeah. We’re receptive, I suppose, to the next tool or the next thing that can help us refine or gain efficiency in the process.
Geraldine Hennessy: And as you say as well, like with networking, meeting other business people, that’s very kind of important. You learn as well a lot. Well, I’ve learned a lot from talking to other business people about the businesses that they’ve set [00:16:00] up and their approach and, and their mistakes that they’ve made.
People have been very honest about what they’ve learned from making mistakes, and I’ve learned a lot from just talking to them. And I hope other people have learned as well from listening to our podcast, you know.
Patrick Kiely: The definition of expertise is the person that’s made all the mistakes there are to make in a narrow field.
So I’m still searching for expertise.
Geraldine Hennessy: I know me, me too. Patrick .
Patrick, what are the plans for Cork Creative?
Patrick Kiely: You’ve outlined some of them already, Ger. So the one plan would be to expand, I suppose, the geographical reach to the rest of Cork. So to broaden the scope a little bit beyond West Cork and to bring in a more, uh, diverse panel of guests.
From the point of view of the podcast itself, I suppose we’re looking to gain additional listenership. And to refine our own learnings. And part of this episode, which self-serving though may be, is a kind of an opportunity for us to reflect on what we’ve done, what has been done, and to kind of give us a kind [00:17:00] of a reference point of what we’re planning for the future.
But more interviews, more networking, more guests, but also as we spoke about that refined process and refining that process. And when Flux Learning refines that process, we’re refining it not just for Cork Creative, but we’re refining it for any client that we have whose going to be engaging in medical training or education, or anyone who’s doing anything in digital education, the learnings that we have there will translate into that area as well.
It filters down through all of Flux, ultimately. And that’s what we’re looking to maintain, and that’s what we hope to maintain over the next year and more..
Geraldine Hennessy: Well, we need to try and make it more sustainable, I suppose. It’s been a challenge in trying to make the time for it, because obviously the paid work has to take precedence.
So I suppose it’s about trying to make it more sustainable in terms of, that we can do it more consistently.
Patrick Kiely: Podcast publishing, a little bit like YouTube publishing or anything, it rewards kind of frequency and persistence. [00:18:00] So if you can keep to a regular schedule and if you can publish a podcast every couple of weeks, or if you can publish a podcast weekly, then that would be rewarded more by the algorithms, the powers that be, the new gods in our digital lives. The algorithm. I suppose we are looking to technology to help us with this as well. We have used Rodecasters or equivalent of that.Shout out to Rode and Rodecasters. We’ve had the Rodecaster I and we’ve used that to good effect.
Although we have been, I suppose maybe we’ve been excessively possessive over the editing process and we haven’t really used the onboard processing capabilities of those devices. So now we’re lucky enough to have a Rodecaster II. And that has a great deal of onboard editing capabilities. So I think what we will have, in time, is more of a streamlined workflow whereby all of the processing, all of the editing will largely be done on the device, and we’ll be able to almost publish what comes from the Rodecaster. The output or the mixed down track will be what will go to , what will go to Cork Creative. We’re not going to be involved in a complex edit afterwards ourselves. Yeah. [00:19:00] Again, as you said previously, without compromising on quality. Yeah. But just gaining that efficiency.
There are obviously lessons that we have learned and not all of them are positive.
So there have been some errors, rudimentary or otherwise that we’ve made or things we’d like to improve and have improved upon since. So the need for consistency is really key. And with a podcast, there’s an expectation from your listenership that you’re going to be publishing at a schedule, and we haven’t always met that schedule.
And that’s down the fact that other paid work and client work has intruded upon our corporate social responsibility project. So on that basis, we’ve put in place workflows to make sure that we always have a couple of podcasts done in advance so that we have the opportunity to overcome those blips with a little bit more grace than we have done heretofore. So we’ve learned in terms of our scheduling to overcome that. From a technical standpoint, the pandemic, again, when we speak about the challenges, it’s the challenges of [00:20:00] recording remotely, of not being able to give the in person advice to someone in terms of how they set up their own podcast, how they set up their own room, how they set themselves up for the podcast.
That has been a challenge. And even just the standard, I know broadband provision is improving in Ireland, but as evidenced by some of our podcasts, it’s not improving fast enough. Yeah. And broadband provision is still, particularly in rural Ireland and particularly in West Cork, it’s still not what it should be.
And that has obviously impacted on the quality of some of our podcasts as well.
Geraldine Hennessy:. It’s quite frustrating, as someone who is subjected to poor Broadand. Let’s just have like a basic, like decent, consistent broadband at least.
Patrick Kiely: Well, decent is too subjective. I would prefer to define it in terms of, uh, a precise figure. And I think gigabit broadband for everybody should be a minimum requirement at this point.
Geraldine Hennessy: That would be, that would be nice.
Patrick Kiely: When I think about it from my perspective, the fact that I’m living in Clon town and we are fortunate enough to just, before the pandemic that was installed. I mean, that was a game changer [00:21:00] in terms of what the capabilities of Flux were.
Prior to gigabit fiber arriving, Netflix being turned on by the kids downstairs would be enough to impede my Zoom calls. Whereas, then we were running large events with 200, 220 attendees, and we were running those from an upstairs office knowing that the broadband was going to be secure enough to work throughout.
And during home school and everything else during the pandemic, it just drove home the fact that broadband provision is absolutely critical. Yeah. And it’s something that needs to be improved. For sure.
And what are you most excited about?
Patrick Kiely: I suppose the potential for it. The potential for Cork Creative is what excites me.
Because ultimately there’s a lot of untapped potential with it. I think there’s an awful lot, as you mentioned, an awful lot of creative folk in Cork. There’s an awful lot more people we can reach and it doesn’t always have to be kind of a one-on-one interview style podcast. Potentially, in time, we could have more round table discussions where people can pool their knowledge and share from their common mistakes or their common experiences. There’s a great deal of potential and potential is what excites me. And also I suppose the potential downstream [00:22:00] benefits for Flux learning in terms of our workflows, in terms of audio and everything in future. So that obviously helps because it makes our organization, it makes Flux the company more efficient.
That’s good too.
Geraldine Hennessy: I suppose from my point of view that what excites me most is about meeting more people because I really have enjoyed that part of the podcast, meeting the various different people and we’ve had some craic over the episodes, and sometimes I have to just calm myself down a little bit because I generally get really excited talking to these people because you can learn a lot.
They’re quite remarkable. Their businesses are like their babies and the work that they put in, you know, it’s relentless and they’re really passionate about what they do. It’s great to see and it’s great to be able to talk to them about it.
Patrick Kiely: It’s great to be able to give them a platform to speak about what they have done because I think we’re sometimes we’re too slow to speak about what we have done.
Definitely at the end of the day, we can roll our eyes to heaven and say “ I wasn’t efficient enough today or do enough today”, but it’s important to look at what you did do that day, what you did do that week, or look at it in a kind of a broader [00:23:00] arc. And our podcasts have given people that, I suppose, lens to look at what they’ve done previously and the questions have uncovered that for people, and I hope that’s been of benefit to then.
You know, we’re just giving hopefully them a platform to maybe do other interviews, other podcasts, and get themselves out there.
Patrick Kiely: Just to say to all of our listeners, thanks for tuning in, or whatever the podcast equivalent is – subscribing. That’s it. And we commit to having more podcasts at a more regular schedule, hopefully publishing fortnightly into 2023 and beyond.
Geraldine Hennessy: For anyone who would like to come on and be part of our podcast, you can find more details on our Contact us page on corkcreative.ie [00:24:00]