Create Listener Bingeability through Distinctive Dynamics with Zoé Bélisle-Springer of Phorest FM the Salon Owner’s Podcast


Create Listener Bingeability through Distinctive Dynamics with Zoé Bélisle-Springer of Phorest FM the Salon Owner’s Podcast


As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a “bingeable” podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Community & Content Manager, Zoé Bélisle-Springer.

Zoé is a Montreal-based award-winning writer, author of various ebooks, podcaster and speaker known for her contributions to inspiring materials destined for the salon community. She has been featured in Salon TodayThrive GlobalAuthority MagazineFuture Of Everything and has spoken at conferences such as Modern Salon’s Digital Summit, the Thrive SessionsSeattle Interactive and Uppercase. As Phorest Salon Software’s Community & Content Manager, she is responsible for the planning and execution of localised audio and written content as well as driving community engagement leading to collaborative course content, mentorship programs and online/on-demand video content.

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Can you tell us the “backstory” about why or how you got started as a podcaster?

How I got started as a podcaster involves changing careers and moving countries, and so requires a bit of an explanation. I studied sound recording and engineering a couple of years after graduating from high school, and during that time, started volunteering at a local radio station as a broadcast technician. Not long after I graduated from trade school, I started working at Audio Z, a post-production sound studio in Montreal, and to be honest, was one of the very few from my cohort to land a job in the industry. Five years later though, I moved to Dublin, Ireland on a working holiday visa and was given a start in marketing at Phorest Salon Software, where I’m still currently employed.

Six months into the role or so, my colleague and I — we were both recent hires — pitched the idea of starting a podcast. It wasn’t a crowded channel in the hair and beauty industry just yet, and we saw an opportunity to build awareness, authority, community and relationships. Both introverts, we had never intended to host it. However, given the small team we were at the time, our manager told us that if we wanted to give it a try, we’d have to bite the bullet and get behind the mic. This was a huge stretch outside of my comfort zone, but one that paid off.

Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?

Such a good but hard question to answer. With time, I’ve come to realise that podcasting has me living my core values: creativity, personal growth and contribution.

  • Creativity: For things like figuring out how to make an inspiring show, create engaging episodes, build thought leadership for the company or engineer listenership growth.
  • Personal growth: The way I see it, not only am I an industry student of our many guests, but I also learn a lot about myself through each of our interviews.
  • Contribution: Beyond helping the company take strides toward its long-term goals, by sharing an inspirational mix of interviews, salon marketing tips and insights, we support salon owners in growing their businesses and sometimes, even have a direct impact on their life, which is incredibly humbling.

Other than that, and on a more personal basis, podcasting has helped me feel more confident in my public speaking skills. Oh — and also, my voice is now something by which people recognise me. I’m still not used to that!

Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Early on, my co-host and I learned — the hard way, of course — about the merits of having a good and stable recording software platform. In the past, we’ve dealt with corrupted file recordings, forgetting to hit record altogether or even publishing episodes without the audio file wondering why the downloads were still at zero a day later. These are not proud moments, but you live and learn, and thankfully, our guests and listeners have always been very kind and understanding.

How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?

At the time of writing these words, my co-host Killian Vigna and I have aired 180 episodes in a little over 3.5 years. From 2017 to 2018, we grew our year-total downloads by 123%, and from 2018 to 2019, by 89%. It seems like we might reach the 80K all-time download mark this year, which we’re quite proud of, knowing how niche our target audience is.

What are the main takeaways or lessons you want your listeners to walk away with?

With Phorest FM, it depends on the episode itself. We explore and discuss topics that are within our guests’ expertise, so the takeaways or lessons are never the same. However, the underlying common goal of each episode is to provide inspiring content and help salon and spa owners globally get their clients in more often, spending more, and generating referrals — ultimately, growing their business.

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine Article about Zoé Bélisle-Springer! 


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Podcast Influencer, Zoé Bélisle-Springer of Phorest FM the Salon Owner’s Podcast shares the best ways to:

1) Book Great Guests. Booking great guests is much like booking great speakers for a conference or festival lineup: it takes curating skills. You must do your research, find out what their expertise is, and most importantly make sure they’re a good fit for your show. Another thing to consider is why you’re inviting guests on. When they feel compelled by your mission or topic, you get far more engaging recordings than when your guests are disengaged or featuring on the episode out of obligation.

2) Increase Listeners. Make sure you have a clear and appealing branding, speak to your target audience, produce quality audio and always, always bring value. People will show up if you do. Then, get yourself a dedicated SEO-optimised website page for your show (maybe even add full transcripts to better rank in search results) and distribute your podcast on as many podcast apps as possible to increase discovery and make it easy for people to subscribe. The leading apps you’ll want to submit your show’s RSS feed to would be Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music/Audible and TuneIn + Alexa, Pandora.

Use social media to promote your podcast and consider leveraging your guests’ audiences to reach wider networks. Other simple things you could do would be to contribute to online communities that fit your niche (be helpful, not promotional), get listeners to leave reviews and get yourself booked for interviews on other shows.

3) Produce in a Professional Way. I see many people investing thousands of dollars in audio equipment only to record their episodes in an echoey room, or without knowing how to best use their equipment. Start small; you don’t need a $5000 setup to produce quality audio.

If you’re only getting started or have no audio recording background. Get yourself a condenser mic (like the AT2020), a pop filter, good headphones, a small enough room without echo (you can purchase sound-absorbing foam sets or even just a microphone isolation desktop shield) and a reliable software system to record. Finally, once the episode is recorded, make sure you clean, edit and mix your audio for a more polished and professional sounding result.

4) Encourage Engagement. It all comes back to the value you bring to your audience and the industry you’re a part of. If you want more comments, leave more comments. If you want more discussions, create polls and start discussions yourself. Tag your guests in your promotional posts. Encourage people to DM or email you with questions; and last but not least, ask for feedback — a lot of it, and often.

5) Monetize Your Show. Hosting the show has helped build long-lasting relationships with coaches, consultants and salon leaders in each of the markets we operate in.

What makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or the content itself? 

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine Article about Zoé Bélisle-Springer! 

Picture of Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is a former Authority Magazine and Inc. Magazine Columnist on disruptive innovation, and host of 5 top-ranked podcasts including: The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand–one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the co-founder of Podetize, the largest podcast post-production company in the U.S. As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors & experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 Billion worth of innovation around the world. Her marketing methods and AI-integrated platform, provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their authentic voices from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and growing valuable digital authority.
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