Jacob Bozarth, Co-Founder & CEO of Resound and Co-Founder of Resonate Recordings, tells us about podcast editing.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Resound and Resonate Recordings.
Jacob Bozarth: I graduated from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) with a degree in Audio Engineering. I didn’t want to take the traditional path of working internships in Nashville studios for years, making little money and fighting for every win. I took a different path. In 2014 I started to edit podcasts with a friend in Louisville, KY, and over the next few years, I slowly began to realize that we were on the verge of something really big.
I knew there was a problem: People were uploading podcasts with great content and terrible audio quality. So we got to work editing, mixing, and mastering podcasts. In 2017 I went full time. Five years later, Resonate Recordings is a thriving bootstrapped business that has helped over 3,000 podcasters and worked with over 13 podcasts that hit #1 in Apple Podcasts.
Through all these years of editing podcasts, I’ve seen how taxing the process is for creators. It takes our professional Audio Engineers at Resonate three hours to edit a one-hour podcast. It can take inexperienced creators even more time than that. That’s why I’m starting my second company: Resound.
Resound exists to empower creators through AI. We’re building an AI-powered, mobile-first, end-to-end podcast editing tool for creators of every background. We believe creators should focus on their message, not their mess-ups.
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
Jacob Bozarth: I think there are three things: Showing up consistently, resting consistently, and hiring people with specific skillsets. Resonate was not built overnight, and Resound won’t be either. But I show up consistently and plant seeds at work every day.
The second piece is resting consistently. I’m a big believer that taking a break and stepping back for the weekend and longer vacations are critical for me as a leader to maintain my health, get clarity on big problems, and stay focused on the long-term mission and vision of the company.
The third thing is getting a team of people around you that are great at specific things you are good at and empowering them to do what they do well. This started by hiring our first audio engineer at Resonate, Dayton Cole. He is a better audio engineer than me. Knowing this and speaking into and making this area better made our business better and empowered me to do what I am passionate and great at, leading and growing a business. This is something that I live by and believe has allowed me to create and build a better business.
How do Resound and Resonate Recordings market its product/services online?
Jacob Bozarth: Resound is in its early stages, so we’re not doing a ton of advertising yet. But we’ll be using podcast ads, Google ads, SEO, and some other channels we have in the works.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Jacob Bozarth: We’re using a lot of different tools. And we’re constantly evolving and improving things. Some of our tools currently are Ahrefs (keyword Research for SEO), Customer.io (email marketing), Webflow (marketing site), and Fathom Analytics (privacy-focused Google Analytics alternative).
Being a founder requires wearing a lot of hats, so I’m constantly sharpening a lot of different skills week to week. Managing people and building relationships is the most critical aspect that touches all areas of my work.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
Jacob Bozarth: At Resonate, our process is pretty straightforward: We try to find as many candidates as possible for a specific role from diverse backgrounds around the US. Since we’ve gone fully remote now, it’s opened up the pool of candidates we can choose from to grow our team, which has been great.
Our hiring process consists of two main things: Several interviews to see if they are a good fit for our team culture and doing a practical exercise so we can see the quality of their work. The practical exercises have been a very critical part of our process to see their punctuality, skillset, attention to detail, and ability to take constructive feedback.
We retain employees by striving to provide competitive benefits, building a strong culture where each person feels empowered to do their work and fostering relationships. We’re constantly looking to innovate how we do things as a company so that our employees enjoy clocking in each day, are working on the kinds of things they enjoy and are getting competitive benefits that encourage them to stay.
How are you funding your growth?
Jacob Bozarth: Resonate has been fully bootstrapped, aside from a growth loan we took on in 2021.
Resound is a venture-backed startup, and we’re in the final stages of securing our seed funding right now.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jacob Bozarth: At Resonate, our competitors are the other Production Companies in the space like We Edit Podcasts and Castos.
We pride ourselves on putting high-quality audio production first. We plan to stay in the game by constantly working to deliver the highest quality audio production, sound design, and mixing in the industry. We also have worked with some top-performing podcasts and brands. We try to lean into these relationships to build long-term working relationships.
At Resound, our main competitors are Descript, Anchor, and Podcastle. We plan to stay in the game by making a great product that solves the problems our target audience is facing and by constantly innovating. We’re striving to build something that will be a fresh approach to podcast editing that is easier than Descript but with more control for the audio production than Anchor and Podcastle.
Tell us a customer success story of yours.
Jacob Bozarth: Resonate’s first breakout success was the Up & Vanished podcast hosted by Payne Lindsey from Tenderfoot TV. Back in 2017, I sent cold emails to the top 50 podcasts that I listened to at the time. At the time, Up & Vanished was just starting to take off, but I knew that I could help them improve their audio quality. I offered to provide free podcast editing in exchange for an ad at the end of the podcast. Payne got back to me and said he wanted to work with me, so I dove straight in.
At the time, I was doing a bit of everything: Cold emails and cold calls, working on the website, editing the shows, all of it. Payne would sometimes get me the audio on a Sunday evening, just hours before the show was going to be released. It was a whirlwind time in my life when I was working like crazy, and everything happened incredibly fast. The day after the first ad for Resonate ran at the end of his podcast, I immediately had people calling in and visiting our website. It was incredible, and that was the first big booster for growth that we had.
Fast forward, and Up & Vanished has hit #1 in Apple Podcasts, been downloaded over 300M times, and helped bring attention to the case, leading to multiple arrests and real social change in the cold cases they investigate.
Recently, Tenderfoot TV has partnered with Resonate Recordings to produce 5 original podcasts. Our partnership continues to grow, and it’s been an incredible privilege to work with them over these past years.
Your final thoughts?
Jacob Bozarth: The number of podcasts has grown from 525,000 shows in 2018 to over 4M in 2022. That’s over 780% growth in the number of podcasts (Resound). Stats like that make me so excited for the future of podcasting. I’m grateful to be here, working in this space, and I really believe in the future of podcasting.
If you haven’t started a podcast for your business or personal message, it’s not too late!
Resonate (Podcast Production Company): resonaterecordings.com
Resound (AI Podcast Creator App): resound.fm