Creating a Story Through Media with Lawrence Francis From the Interpreting Wine Podcast

by Drew Hendricks
Last updated Oct 28, 2021

Legends Behind the Craft Podcast

Creating a Story Through Media with Lawrence Francis From the Interpreting Wine Podcast

Last Updated on October 28, 2021 by

Lawrence Francis

Lawrence Francis is the host of Interpreting Wine, a drinks trade podcast. He has spoken to 171 winemakers, 20 Masters of Wine, 43 international sommeliers, and 43 key importers since beginning his journey in 2017. Lawrence has perfected the craft of communicating key stories and messages from wine brands across borders. He has been a notable speaker at the Wine2Wine Conference in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

He attended the London Metropolitan University for a degree in Psychology and earned his Master’s in Psychology from City University of London.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Lawrence Francis discusses how he merged his passion for Spain with interviewing winemakers
  • How connecting across social platforms helped Lawrence grow
  • Lawrence’s advice for cross-channel development 
  • The evolution of Interpreting Wine
  • Why remaining authentic to yourself makes for a more memorable episode
  • How a podcast can be a gateway to a feature-length experience
  • Lawrence talks about building the credibility of a brand through media
  • How is Lawrence engaging and growing his audience? 
  • The importance of creating a virtual experience 
  • Lawrence shares a memorable story and where Interpreting Wine is headed

In this episode with Lawrence Francis

How can you use media platforms to promote your brand and wine when connecting with your target audience? What steps can you take to create connections and stand out in the wine-making world?

According to Lawrence Francis, by sharing a story that resonates with people, you will attract your target audience. It can be overwhelming as a winemaker, but sharing stories of authenticity on digital media can make the maximum impact. Want to learn more?

Tune in to this episode of Legends Behind the Craft, where Drew Thomas Hendricks sits down with Lawrence Francis, host of the Interpreting Wine podcast. Together, they discuss the evolution of the podcast landscape, the importance of digital storytelling, and how wineries can communicate to consumers and build relationships across media platforms. Plus, Lawrence shares free resources to launch and elevate your social outreach!

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.

Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using a powerful combination of content development, Search Engine Optimization, and paid search.

At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.

Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:03  

Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry, with your host Drew Thomas Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  0:20  

Drew Thomas Hendricks here I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. And the founder of BottleVin whose technology brings a wine story to life. Today’s guest Lawrence Francis, who loves wine brands tell their stories through his podcast Interpreting Wine. Today’s episode is sponsored by Barrels Ahead, at Barrels Ahead, we work with you to implement a one of a kind marketing strategy one that highlights your authenticity, tells your story and connects you with your ideal customers. In short, if you’re a business looking to retain a winery or craft beverage producers, the client Barrels Ahead we’ll figure out a plan to make it happen. Go to today to learn more. I am super excited today to talk with Lawrence Francis host of the podcast Interpreting Wine. And I want to give a big thank you to Laurie Millotte from Outshinery for introducing us, Laurie and her team at Outshinery they’ve revolutionized bottle shots through 3d rendering. Now, Lawrence, our guest today he believes that most wine brands regions and countries are underestimating the podcast opportunity that exists right now an opportunity unseen since the early days of social media and decided to show rather than tell once grew interpreting wine from scratch in September of 2017. to note where it now reaches wine trained professionals in 138 countries. And in 2022, his his statistics are incredible. He was reaching nearly 150,000 listeners and averaging an incredible 22 minutes per play, Interpreting Wine. He collaborates with forward thinking wine brands to seamlessly communicate their key messages and stories via its trademark long format podcast series. Welcome to the show, Lawrence.

Lawrence Francis  2:00  

Hey. Great to be here.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  2:02  

Thank you so much for joining. So Lawrence, tell us how did you get started with the podcasting?

Lawrence Francis  2:06  

Yeah, it’s, it’s a it’s kind of a funny one really, you know, I always hark back to my, my, I guess short term story, which was that in 2017, I was living in Madrid, born and bred Britons you can hear but I also speak Spanish and that was that was probably Yeah, that was another unfulfilled passion that I have is languages and specifically Spanish and visibly Spain and was sort of was living there and managed to score a job as a as a translator. But but that was sort of a shortage term gig. So I was looking to stay in Spain. And I there was, you know, I do speak Spanish for a good level. But I think the holy grail is finding a job where you can still work in your native language. And there are even fewer of those in Spain. But I found what I thought was my dream job to enable me to stay in Spain, which was actually doing social media and some online marketing for a tapper store company. So these are companies that would, you know, take the visiting Americans and Brits all around Madrid and go down the back alleys and find these these tough places. And I had a bit of a gap between sort of first and second interviews. And I thought I need I needed I need something because this is going to be really competitive position. So I need to sort of set myself apart. And I got to work in the in those two weeks. I was like, Okay, I went from I never, you know, thought about releasing a podcast about wine to either traveled from Madrid down to Canada’s wine region, I’d set up meetings with producers and I already had the first episode live by the time I had that second round interview, tell the story short, I ended up I didn’t get the job. And as I said, we’re coming up to nearly four years ago now but that was you know, still one of the one of the most significant decisions ama was to just say, Look, I’m gonna just go ahead and do this, really without much of a plan B on getting the job but didn’t get the job. But the podcasting That’s amazing.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  4:27  

So for I mean, 440 episodes in four years. That’s a that’s, that’s a frenetic pace, what kind of passion I feel that,

Lawrence Francis  4:35  

um, I think it was, yeah, well, there were there were a few things. I mean, maybe another missing ingredient of of the origin story is also you know, as somebody who I still admire an entrepreneur called Gary Vaynerchuk, who is basically you know, something of an Oracle you know, he’s this guy who was sort of predicts social media trends and you know, really He really, I think is just, you know, so passionate, you know, it’s just infectious that his his his, the amount of passion that He has for for kind of just getting your truth out there and I just remember at the time he was just so you got to you know, get a get a get a podcast going is like this opportunity is not going to be around forever and I, I was in a sense at the start I think you know and certainly into into 2018 went when really the you know really kind of got going really got motoring because I then came back to London and realized that actually there was there was actually a lot more opportunity for creating content in London, you know, it was it was more of a hassle and in Spain, but in London, there was no language barrier, I was close to the action. And because London is such an important hub for wine, there were people coming from all over the world. So I just I stayed in the same place. And the world came to me and compared to Madrid and compared to, you know, doing things in Spanish and doing things in multiple languages. It was like, I just had my creativity completely unleashed. And it was just that that push from, from Gary, getting the getting the technical bits out of the way in Spain or just sort of see that as Okay, finding the right bits of kit and just getting my confidence getting my get my training wheels. And then it just it just went off because I basically had as many people to interview as I wanted, and I kind of just for fun. I did that I remember releasing an episode a day for two months. And that was basically what got me from 20 episodes early in 2018 through to 80. And then it’s Yeah, as you say, sort of been a little bit more I like to call it a little bit more on Netflix eyes. It’s sort of you know, more moving into series and more sort of bringing things out in in, in sort of discrete series basically altogether. But that’s basically where the where the passion really started. And that was really just yeah, challenging myself, you know, just sort of saying, Okay, can I do one a day for a month and I ended up doing two months and, and that, you know, kind of people took notice to say after that.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  7:22  

Oh, for sure. Now how did you from the initial stages, you have an impressive amount of 150,000 few few podcasts ever get past 250 60 listeners per episode How did you grow that?

Lawrence Francis  7:36  

Yeah, it’s I think it’s maybe maybe even to back up slightly You know, I think I think the because I did I did sort of you know, before I went on when crazy really and really sort of went into it you know, I did I think take every opportunity I could to ask people who are in the wine industry in London you know, what are the podcasts that you’re listening to what are the you know, if you want to learn about wine, because I already knew that that he was becoming a more important medium, you know, that there’s, there’s research that comes out, and it looks at, you know, Have you listened to a podcast in the last month, you know, and ask people Have you listened in the last week and in all of these areas, people’s consumption was going up and it was just Okay, is there enough white space for me to get excited, okay, I could really kind of move on, you know, pretty pretty pretty quickly here, you know, sort of, you know, establish myself and then yeah, that was just as I say just sort of getting my getting my head down and you know, getting getting getting in front of people and that I think gave me the confidence that there was white space which meant that I just really kind of Lent into it. But what I think I’d also done which you know was a was a you know, in hindsight was a really clever move was was was really focusing on growing an Instagram presence primarily at the same time. So pretty much my Instagram started in September 2017 I believe. And what I started doing then because I could see the lit some of the limitations of podcasts and the limitations of our social media. What I started doing was sending people from one to the other. So from very early on, I would I would I would tell people on Instagram that there were episodes coming and this is where you can find them and go and listen to them here. But then on the podcast itself, I would say Oh, if you’re listening and you found me through a podcast player or search go and follow me on Instagram go and follow me on Facebook so that so hopefully, and it has worked out like that there’s there’s sort of two way route almost like a referral process between my own chatbots so I’d say that that’s been that’s that was huge. That was that was like massive I think also, you know, I tried to do some of this as well, and I have, you know, some of my biggest opportunities have just come from another Gary Vaynerchuk piece of advice, which is sending, basically cold Instagram dm, so I used to just write to people who I thought might be interested in the podcast, and I would just send them you know, a nicely worded message just to, you know, try to tailor it to what they might be looking for what they might be interested in. But, but just send them until Instagram blocked me, you know, you get, you get, I think 5050 direct messages to people who you don’t know, per day, and, you know, in certainly in early 2018, I was I was regularly getting blocked, because I, I’d sent my 50 or 60 for the for the day. And I just think that, that, that’s very interesting, you know, because then some of those people have come unfollowed me later on. And then I could see earlier on in the chat, like, I’ll go around to that person back in 2018. And now they’re, you know, they’re an important or they’re a big a big sort of deal, or they’re, you know, influential person, and now they’re coming and following me in 2019. So, I think it’s this Yes, that really just staying busy and but it’s starting it starts with having a passion and believing that you The project has got some legs, you know, just that kind of on the ground asking people you know, are there lots of other podcasts out there? Um, am I better off choosing another niche, but I felt like this is a niche that is underserved. I still feel it’s underserved. And I was Yeah, very, very sort of active. With with getting the word out there.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  11:46  

That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic advice. And that’s what I was gonna ask you about, what advice do you have for people growing their podcast, that cross channel fertilization promotion? Just creates this kind of building? building? ladder?

Lawrence Francis  12:00  

Yeah, yeah, I still think that’s a that’s a great I mean, what what I, as I say, I called out Instagram there specifically. I mean, what I did, and I think, you know, maybe maybe it’s a personal preference, but, you know, I could have also done other platforms as well, you know, in hindsight, I probably should have done more on Twitter earlier, you know, I still, I still do dabble with Twitter, I would say, but but one, one interesting thing is that a lot of the UK wine trade, they’re on Twitter, and they kind of prioritize and spend more time on Twitter than then really the other the other platforms, I think they understand it better, because they’re very much more towards the written word. And in general, you know, the, the way that people do kind of do well on Instagram is very much more to do with the physicality, you know, and it’s why maybe, you know, people who are, you know, aesthetically good looking or are just younger, or just, I’ve just got the eye for it, maybe because they’ve grown up in a digital world, and maybe some of those people who are, you know, a little bit more, maybe studious, a bit more sort of, you know, reading and you know, more into their words, it’s actually they can play and they can actually have more fun with Twitter. So that that’s kind of very important. I also think, personally, you know, the, I think the, the, the, the cadence of release, as well, as been, has been, has been important, you know, that there was obviously the, you know, sort of the mammoth two month spree of sort of just putting out lots of different content and, you know, lots of different angles. And, you know, I wouldn’t necessarily advocate that, but I would certainly say that, again, you know, it’s a much tougher environment to get to get noticed. I mean, there are now I believe, more than 2 million podcasts on iTunes. And when I started it was it was closer to 600,000. So even in the last, not even three years or so, we’ve seen this massive increase. So I would personally say that the, if you want to establish yourself as a podcast in a shorter time, I think you’ve got to put out lots of content. You know, I just think that if people are subscribing to lots of different podcasts, I think you want to be one that’s there in their feeds a lot, you know, excellent time. And I believe that you you do do the sort of one per week

Drew Thomas Hendricks  14:37  

and I’ve been wrestling with that. I want it because right now we’re recording this. We’re recording when it’s July, we’re recording this and it’s going to air, I think in the middle of October. So I’m ahead. I’ve got a nice little padding there. I’ve got a consistency, but I’m also wrestling with the point that we’re recording. And who knows what the world’s gonna be like in October, we’ll be talking about something now. That isn’t boy Oh, I can’t believe we said that that did not age. Well. Exactly, exactly. So that coming out every day is it makes sense or coming out almost in real time. asynchronously, you talk about, like how you mentioned like the next Netflix is zation of the series. Is that planned evergreen? Maybe you can talk a little bit more about how your podcast has evolved over the last four years and kind of what you’ve learned.

Lawrence Francis  15:27  

So do you mean specifically around the release schedule, or the

Drew Thomas Hendricks  15:31  

not so much the release schedule, but like I’m, we’re in the early stages, the Legends Behind the Craft, and I’m interviewing founders, but I see the podcast, even in the last, like, last 10 recordings kind of evolving more towards the founder stories or towards this specific point? How did your podcast How did interpreting wine from the early days to where it is now? How did it evolve?

Lawrence Francis  15:53  

That it evolved? I think the Yeah, I think it has evolved a lot. Yeah, when I when I when I listened back. And I think during this week, I do just want to make one point that I think it’s really important, I think that I think it’s easy, when people are looking at a new medium, I think it’s easy for them to get caught up on equipment. And, and, you know, basically, I personally see it and wasting a lot of money on equipment that they don’t necessarily yet know if they’re going to use or not. And I settled on a, on a on a range of equipment that costs probably about $150. And I use that to record from one to 399. So you know, I would I would really recommend, and I’ve got much more expensive equipment now. But I would just say, you know, what I learned there, that microphone control, listening back to it listening, and it just really kind of opened up, and I’ve just, you know, I was learning as I was releasing as well. And I think a lot of a lot of the, the idea of actually releasing so many was was just to not give me time to, to kind of say, Oh, I don’t know, if I’m going to put that one out, I don’t know, if it sounds good enough, I kind of short circuited that, because I was like, I’m going to put one out tomorrow. So I’ve got, I’ve got like two hours to do edit and get it out there. So I would say probably, you know, my, my skills then evolved very, very quickly, you know, I think I think my, my ability to sort of read the sound in a room and kind of said, okay, we can find a little quiet corner down here and record that I did you know, so I did, I did quite a lot, a few more of those sort of, you know, in the field, literally, you know, at a tasting, a little bit of background noise type recordings and, and

Drew Thomas Hendricks  17:49  

I’m in person. So you’re trying to

Lawrence Francis  17:52  

be authentic. And I personally think that I think that a lot of podcasters miss out on that. Because I think it’s we get in to this idea. And we I think again, if you listen to too many other podcasts, you get into the idea that everything has to sound like it’s in a perfect studio and no noise and take out every arm and arm. And then I realized, you know, I say after spending two months, so putting out one every day, I didn’t have time to go through and perfectly make the sound amazing and take out every hesitation so they’re full of, you know, stutters and false starts and hours and crutch words and and you know what they sound authentic, you know, and when you go back and listen to those, those early recordings and even the later ones I’m like this is just an authentic real conversation between two people. I think that that very quickly during that, that period of just intense learning and production. That kind of became my guiding star. And so I’m never, I’m never ashamed I would say to put out something even if it’s not been sort of polished to the nth degree. And I really, really think that especially in the early days, you can’t get too caught up on it’s got to be perfect. It’s got to be it’s got to sound like we’re in a you know, we’re in a sort of a padded cell. It’s okay to just have a conversation and to put it up without too much editing.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  19:27  

That’s excellent advice. And I can tell you that I fell subject to two of the things he said don’t worry about and see this mic, I have this mic on my desk and this road caster pro mixing board for about three years to the point that my wife would come into my office and laugh at me it’s like when are you going to use it just look fantastic, but it just sat there gathering dust. Until finally this year I ramped up the podcast and then first thing I learned is just do it. Just get out there and do it. Yeah, and I learned a row also roll with the punches. We had one episode where We record these things on zoom. And I also use zoom phone for corporate phones and I forgot to pause it, I got a call and ended up dropping the person that I was interviewing in bring on person. And it was a cold call from a guy in India trying to sell us SEO. We ended up taking that out but in hindsight, I might have kept it in or merge the calls. This is

Lawrence Francis  20:23  

this is it, you never know what’s gonna happen. I mean, I know a funny funny funny moment that you just reminded me of was and I know a lot of the episode numbers but Episode 15 was with you know, very well respected sommelier here in London called Honey Spencer. And we actually had a pretty decent recording environment there because we were in her restaurant and that they even that they were finishing the lunch service and we could go down which was like a basement bar and because it was lunch, there was nobody down there. So we had a corner we had, you know, the table for tasting wines. It was it was perfect. It was like, you know, amazing quality background I was like, this is this is brilliant, you know, relaxed environment. But literally, in the last 60 seconds of the of the recording, the the fire alarm went off. Because we knew we were down by the kitchen, and I think somebody and you know, burned something or left something on the stove in the kitchen. And he went up front for just sort of about five or six seconds, but ended up leaving it in because we’re just like, because we were then we were sort of a little bit thrown up after that. And then a few people have told me but they’d been listening to that episode like on the metro and and then they got to that point and we episode the fire alarm went off and they stood up. Like, like they thought there was something going wrong in the metro and everybody we looking at them like what’s what’s what are you? What are you doing with Jeremy? I mean, and they didn’t realize it was actually on the on the podcast, rather than the fantastic show itself. So these these things can can can just can just always happen when you least expect it. And yeah, I think I think there’s, there’s an argument for just leaving them in. But yeah, maybe not the cold call.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  22:11  

I don’t know. It could have been funny, because we ended up laughing about it afterwards. But then that got edited out too, because we couldn’t figure out why we’re laughing at it. Yeah. So you’re completely correct. Keep the storyline going. Because that’s what people are here to listen to our story. What’s another memorable episode that really sticks in your mind?

Lawrence Francis  22:29  

Wow. Yeah, I mean, as I say that that one is was super memorable, Because? Because I think because Honey Spencer, she’s like, so well respected. I think then I didn’t kind of say, Oh, look, I’ve had honey on, you know, do you want to come on sort of thing. But I think people they check you out. They Google you. And they see who you’ve had on? Yeah, maybe one from a little bit further on in in time. I mean, even during this review, even even looking back to a very, very recent one, you know, which, which I did with wines of Washington states. Yeah,

Drew Thomas Hendricks  23:09  

I want to talk to you about that. That’s a fascinating series put together.

Lawrence Francis  23:13  

Thank you, thank you. And I would say that I would talk about the first episode of that. So that was a three part series that we recorded in January of this year, and then published in in February, that’s the month after. And what it ended up being was that essentially, they were looking to and still are looking to influence the UK market and to reach you know, UK trade ears if you like. But but they’re all in, in Washington State. And at that time of the year and earlier on this year, it was it was it was now an impossible to travel or to move around. So what ended up happening was that we had three winemakers who were who were chosen to participate in the series, and they were there so we’re in Washington state with their wines and I was here and the wines, same wines were here with me and we were sort of tasting at the sort of 6000 mile apart, set up which was just crazy. And because of the time difference it was like six 6pm for me and 10am for them, which I guess is normal for a winemaker. But one of the things that you know, I think it is relevant, you know, is that my episodes have been gradually getting longer over time. I think at the start. This is something I was I was scared about I always used to have that was something I did overthink was, if I go over 20 minutes that I’m then somebody who’s got, you know, 20 minute commute, they’re going to just leave they’re going to not finish the whole thing or somebody who’s running for 20 minutes and I would that wouldn’t be something that I would obsess about. And I think it got gradually longer, longer, longer. Until now where I literally do not think that there is a there is a sort of a maximum length that I would go to and the first episode of the of the Washington series was was an hour and a half. So So we’re now into, into feature length podcasts. But I actually I listened I listened back to it earlier this week actually, because I was I was getting it transcribed. And the guest, his name is Juan Munoz aka is the the head winemaker Chateau Saint Michelle in Washington State. You know, they’re their largest producer over there. And he’s absolutely brilliant because of all of what he brings out and the tonality. And the basically the the different stories that he tells around the geology around the winemaking, around his personal story around what they do in the vineyard about the culture around, you know, just the climate. So many of these things come out and it is just, you know, I’m obviously biased, because it’s my episode but I was drawn in again, it’s just absolutely brilliant content. And I just think that goes to show we get how do you get somebody to watch a one and a half hour video about wine? I think it’s I think it’s really, really important. difficult. I think it’s, I think it’s next to impossible because I think by that point, you’re competing with, you know, the Queen’s gambit, and you’re dealing with feature length than Netflix and, you know, DC Comics and all of these different things. But in that in that audio space, I feel like we’re asking a lot less of people we’re just asking people to listen, but they can have their eyes on other things. So I’m genuinely think that if somebody was looking for information on Washington state, that that would be an absolute pleasure to play while they’re driving or while they’re taking a hike or you know, while they’re doing whatever really judges think you know, or even just, you know, chunk it up over over different days and I’ve never been to Washington state but I genuinely feel from spirit you know, really from that intro episode and then from exploring with the other two winemakers I genuinely feel like I’ve got a really deep understanding of Washington State and I really feel as though I can see from the numbers that we’ve we’ve passed that on to lots of people out there as well.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  27:33  

That’s fantastic. What kind of access does the UK market have to the Washington wines?

Lawrence Francis  27:39  

Well, interestingly, I was I was at a Washington wine tasting on Tuesday so you know that that sort of part is part of the same I guess year’s worth of activities so engaged me to do the podcast they’ve done a lot of things with trade publications over here you know, big a big one is called the buyer which which I learned that they did some promotion of the podcast through that they had they had 13 producers wines being shown at the tasting on Tuesday. And there were a mixture of ones who were represented and those who want to kind of 50 50 if I remember correctly, so they all get they are getting known I would say and I think that they’re excellent as well I mean, I genuinely think that they they put their put their you know, foot forward as somewhere where you can you can get excellent wine at a at a very good price and this sort of meeting point of the old world and the new world and I feel as though that’s that’s drawing in a lot of people who will then go on to I guess hand sell some of those wines and kind of you know, because to to the your your everyday wine drinker, Washington is still probably quite unknown. And the wines still probably do need that as a that sort of hand sell and that that following wind given to them by by the Sommelier or or by the person who’s selling them in the specialty or independent wine shop.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  29:16  

It’s interesting that you mentioned that it was part of a larger marketing initiative, brought out by Washington to bring it in, in podcast, your podcast was one of those channels. And it’s a great tool when it can you talk for a minute about how wineries can use this kind of long form podcast in in conjunction with their tastings and written publications to promote their regions and brands.

Lawrence Francis  29:38  

Yeah, sure, sure. Yeah. I mean, I just as I’ll just sort of put this in there as if people want to sort of look at something and listen along but I’ve got, I’ve got a presentation that I actually did with a with it with it in conjunction with it with a friend of mine who was was working at a large Spanish winery and it’s it’s online. Now at interpreting wine slash media kit. And I think

Drew Thomas Hendricks  30:04  

the words work, I saw that you have a fantastic audio kit. It’s worth visiting that just to see the media.

Lawrence Francis  30:13  

And I think what what was really, I think that kind of the game changer in terms of putting that together. But the thing Yeah, in in different stages was was firstly, sort of building the the credibility of the channel, because I think, I think a lot of people, I think, because maybe they don’t listen to podcasts, then they’re not sure that it’s got merit, and they’re not so sure that anybody’s listening basic. But I, you know, honestly, I had no idea before, but I’ve had now 20 masters of wine on the podcast, so and so I think building that credibility. First and, and this is this is again, another great trick that I’m sure are great tip even that I’m sure you’ve you’ve come across as well is that just because of where we are now, and people are a little bit more curious about it, you can get I think better people to come on to a podcast and more influential people and more famous people to come onto a podcast versus, you know, do you want to write and be in my blog, you know, you want to you want to do an Instagram live together, I genuinely feel as a podcast has got that got that sweet spot right there. So even if, say a winery wanted to maybe not go down the master wine route, but maybe they wanted to get some, you know, some more famous people, sports people, or TV personalities or local personalities. Anyone, I think it’s not about getting masses of wine on there, at any cost. It’s, it’s about getting people on there who are going to resonate with your audience. And so if the winery knows the audience and know what type of people like their wines, they don’t necessarily need to have only wine content on there. And they might say, they might discover that there’s a, there’s a local sports star or local TV person or a news anchor, or whoever it is that somebody who will resonate with the audience, that also happens to like why and they can have them, you know, coming on and talking about why in there. So I think that’s, that’s, that’s kind of a, you know, sort of a bit of a bit of an easy win as well, I think, I think also the, the, the other chart that was just Yeah, really kind of put it all on the line for me really was was really the way that I started describing how people interact with with my episodes, because I hadn’t really taken the time to do the analysis until COVID came along, and it kind of forced me to really grow the left side of my brain and go in and just crunch some numbers and just sort of see, okay, this is this is what happens when, when, when a when something is posted. And as you say, you know, twice the average listen in 20 in 2020 was was 22 minutes.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  33:23  

That’s fantastic, considering you’re going for 20 minute episodes.

Lawrence Francis  33:28  

Yeah, that was that was as you as you as you can see, then they’ve gotten even longer since then. Because I’m like, people are saying, you know, people people will people will hang around. But what but what I then and I think that’s I think that’s relevant because I’m not sure that I’m not sure that wineries who, for example, are focusing on plays and follows and I personally, I call those vanity metrics because a play in Instagram, it comes after three seconds. So you can you might sort of, you know, be scrolling through your feeds. And then you know, something something, car backfires outside, you look around and you’re on the you’re on the video for three seconds, and then you keep blinking. But they’re like wow, though, you know, some of the another one, you know, and that that happens a lot people who are just aimlessly in the feed. And I think to have the ability to communicate with somebody who is interested in your brand, for 20 minutes, you know, albeit this is you know, at the end of sort of, you know, 334 years of growing the podcast, but I think you know, hopefully that gives somebody listening, just the kind of the North Star you know that that actually Okay, we might not be reaching millions of people. As you know, you can get very intimidated by sort of made millions and millions of views on YouTube, but we might not be reaching millions of people via a podcast, but the ones that we are reaching, they’re going to be hanging around for five minutes or 10 minutes. And I think it’s, it’s building that deeper relationship. And, and I, I don’t think I’m fairly, you know, I actually have benchmarked in that same presentation, like how much actual engagement you get with your audience. For example, when you go to a wine fair, and I and I, I basically inflated the figure and I said, Look, if you’ve got pure one winemaker at a table, talking to five people, for eight hours, if my math is correct, and then that’s 40 hours, you know, it’s eight, eight hours times five people, I mean, and that’s never going to happen is it really you’re never going to be in that conversation where you’re talking constantly. And, and the the average of, of my channel really now and the podcast in the first couple of months. Now it’s, it’s very common to get over 500 hours of engagement. From a from an episode, Andy in the Washington ones are doing almost double that really, you know, after after, you know, a longer period of time, but but you know, that they’re all well over 800 hours now. And I just think, you know, it’s it’s worth asking about, and thinking about the depth to which you’re communicating with, with your target audience, versus getting too caught up in this number of plays, and oh, that person’s got this much followers. So we should, you should send them some wine. And it’s, I think, I think, I think I think, then podcasting. It’s a it’s a different type of medium. And I think people are kind of there for for the long haul. And I really think that wineries have just got so much to say, and they’ve got a big enough story to tell that I think they need to think about, you know, kind of making feature length content rather than these sort of snippets and short form content that i think i think the majority are making at the moment,

Drew Thomas Hendricks  37:18  

that makes a lot of sense is that where you see you mentioned are going to is more of a serialization and more of like an evergreen type of content. How do you see that your, your podcast growing or where it is now?

Lawrence Francis  37:32  

Yeah, I mean, I think, yeah, I think serious serialization, you know, I again, you know, I’m, you know, maybe it’s, it’s a bit of, you know, just just thinking about what else is happening, you know, I genuinely I don’t listen to too many other mind podcasts, you know, no, no, no offense. But, you know, I like to get out there and just see what else is happening in, in society. And I think, you know, it we would be foolish to not to not see that the effect that Netflix has as had on our behaviors, and our and our entertainment habits is colossal, it is so huge. And you know, I’m a Netflix subscriber, and you can hardly get a decent movie on there anymore, you know, that this, everything is series, everything is around, drawing out the experience, everything is is about really putting, I think putting the the viewer in control, where if they want to, as I say, just binge Queen’s gambit over one night or one weekend, then they can, you know, and that’s up to them, they don’t have to just come back every Thursday night at nine o’clock, you know, they so I basically just really looked at that phenomenon in our wider society and said, I shouldn’t be doing that. I’m not creating series, but for for streaming channel, but I’ve got, I’ve got an audio streaming channel, so so so why shouldn’t I put out series like that? Why shouldn’t I put out 10 episodes in 10 days? So this is, you know, it’s not it’s not as sort of scattergun as before where it was lots of different topics. It’s it’s one topic, but it comes out in the space of a week or it comes out, you know, in the case of Washington, one episode every Wednesday for over two weeks, just so that we had a little bit longer because they were longer episodes as well let people catch up. So I, you know, I don’t see myself changing that approach anytime soon. I think. I think that that works, I think. I mean, I’ve even shown that with a series of three episodes. They get 35% more listening than then just to think Episode, and as a series of five episode gets 45% more listening. So it’s like, I liken it to making the target bigger. So that if maybe Oh, you might catch the last episode on Washington of the three, but then you realize, Oh, hold on, there’s actually another two here, I really enjoyed that last one, let me go back to the, to the first and the second ones and kind of catch up almost. And I just think that’s it, it’s just, you know, making the target bigger, making more content out there. And, you know, my, my ambition and it’s an it’s, it’s coming as well now is this just to be better on the, on the other end of the spectrum, which is, which is actually then creating more micro content out of that larger, you know, hour and a half? episode because that’s, that’s obviously that that’s a, that’s like a main course,

Drew Thomas Hendricks  40:57  


Lawrence Francis  40:58  

that is no I can, I can shave little bits off that and make make the make the make the sort of, yeah, make make the intro and make the make the taster and make the top pass out of that out of that main course. And I think that’s, that’s something that I need to do more of, and I want to do more. So

Drew Thomas Hendricks  41:17  

I love that you mentioned micro content, he’s you could go through all those 440 episodes, and there’s a ton of little little segments that can be pulled out into Instagram, using headliner app or any of those. Yeah, that’s a big note to wineries or anybody looking for a podcast that you get was he said the main course, but you get that fodder to dice it up 100 different ways, having a one hour show? Absolutely. And

Lawrence Francis  41:43  

I think, you know, what, where I think that they really can be used as well. Because I, I’ve had so many ideas over the almost like to too many ideas, really, but I think you know, one one thing that that can definitely go in and and kind of inform is like or, you know, marketing material, you know, that that those stories that maybe they only come out when you’re talking and when you’re comfortable and when you’re relaxed and you kind of made me blown through all the other, you know, the usual stories and then there and then the real stories come out, and maybe there’s some wine on the table. Yeah, those those are great to capture just to have in audio format, but then also, you know, that that could be can be turned into quotes, they can go into company presentations, that they can they can sort of, you know, go into, into what you talk about in the tasting room. This is so so many they can you know, that could be the audio that that accompanies just a shot of your, of your, your winery and what you do at your winery, and it just, you know, a way to bring what you do to life and engage the people who want the engaging who are the who are the wine fans, or, you know, they’ve been locked down and they’ve been, you know, in in isolation for so long and they’d love nothing more, I’m sure that they’re just to be able to, to come out to wine country, but maybe if they can’t, then they can kind of have that and that experience through your wine. And I think the more that they that the winery share stories, I think that’s how they then, you know, still give people that kind of virtual experience.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  43:30  

Fantastic. So um, the wine the Washington wine series, you were engaged by the Washington wine Bureau, or who is the person that’s led off this? Yeah.

Lawrence Francis  43:43  

I’m sorry, you just broke up just slow.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  43:45  

Sorry, the what the Washington wine series that we’ve been talking about when they who came to you to start this series up, like who engaged you?

Lawrence Francis  43:54  

So that that was actually through their PR agency? In the UK? Okay, a company called sub AXA, so they work you know, they’re very, very well known. I think originally French company, they work with many different wine regions. And they’re they’re really wine events, specialists, I would say so so even the the tasting I was at on Monday on Tuesday that was run by them. So you know, I got to sort of see see in person, some of the some of the some of the people that I was working with on that on that series.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  44:30  

I was getting there because there’s so many other regions here that you can uncover with. I’d love to see do Oregon next. You got to talk to some facts about that.

Lawrence Francis  44:38  

Well, I mean, I did I think, I don’t know if I mentioned before, I did get over to the Willamette Valley in January of 2020. Have you ever been through and then in hindsight, there was just it was just the most brilliant time to get over there. But I was I was so impressed. I got to say, I mean, you know how This is the thing when you ask you ask you know about which episode sort of stand out I mean, I would I would certainly say again that a lot of those Oregon episodes a lot those Willamette Valley episodes, they were just it was an absolute pleasure to edit because one one thing that the audio gives you it just gives you a record of of what you’ve spoken about and you know some of these some of these winemakers are so articulate I would say and just so charismatic and just draw you in that you know, it’s nice to not have to sort of try to write everything down I’m trying to remember everything it’s like okay, it’s being recorded I’m going to hear this again it’s getting you know it’s going in the cloud and as much as anything to have all of those phenomenal voices and personalities that kind of whenever I want to go and revisit them if I ever have the time is is just brilliant. It’s just it’s absolutely brilliant to have

Drew Thomas Hendricks  46:04  

what was one of the things highlights of your Oregon trip Do you have a specific story in mind

Lawrence Francis  46:09  

the it was it was it was it was very intense so I so actually I visited 20 producers and interviewed 20 producers Holy Moly You did

Drew Thomas Hendricks  46:23  

say I stand corrected

Lawrence Francis  46:27  

so and that and that is actually my most popular series and I think I think that was really when it really kind of came home to me of this thing of the of the longer format because he’s you see almost all of them are 15 minutes 45 minutes there’s there’s there’s so many that kind of come out I would say but but I think probably the one that I think they had the most feedback on as as as a guest was actually when I interviewed Claire Carver who is the wife of the winemaker at a producer called big table farm and she she’s actually a very accomplished artist and I ended up going not to the farm which I had done most other visits there but but the two what will they call that a tele a which is like their that is like her is her studio and also where they do private tastings in the center of Colton so it’s right there it’s you know it’s sort of renovated building it’s you know I think used to be a dairy and then it used to be a taste and other tasting room and that you know we literally just sat there at the at the back of of this of this utterly a you know in this in this space which kind of kind of seated around 20 was and was literally as his huge table which which is Tommy is a replica of the big table which which the farm and the wine brand is named after but you know I felt so privileged because it was literally it was just the two of us there but again, you know, I think you know, really feeling as though I’ve always treated the microphone as the as the third person at the table you know, I never just sort of let it sit there and forget about it I like I like to make it a part of the conversation and I really think that that’s important. It’s like you can’t just have in there and people people notice it’s like when you’re on the phone and you holding the phone to your ear or you’re on loudspeaker it’s never it’s never the same as when you’re holding it close to your area like that so we’re gonna do we were doing that with the mic. And Claire you know, I I’ve got a reputation I think for asking big questions and I always just asking her the biggest questions and you know, very much like a weapon artists, she was just, you know, painting in these absolutely phenomenal descriptions of the farm. She She gave me and of course then the listener that this sort of virtual farm tour and we know, we were we were taken up the hillside and in the in the four by four and you know, we could sort of we could see all the animals we could see the plantings, you know, we really just have this such a crystal clear sense of being on the farm on what it would be like to be on the farm at different times of the year. Just like just from from from a from a conversation and I just think that audio for me, you know, it really is like it’s a difference between watching a book and watching the movie, or reading Sorry, I’m watching the movie and just that when you read a book, it’s a lot more personal to you. You make the image yourself in your mind you you fill in the gaps. You know that I guess that that’s the part of the skill of writing you just you give enough blank canvas there for somebody to project onto that whereas with a film you know, there’s obviously other devices at play but you’ve got to show somebody something you know, you you you have to be a lot more this is what that person looks like this is the actor This is what they’re wearing. This is the the chair they’re sitting and you can’t necessarily hint at those things. And I think it’s the same with the with the audio of somebody who’s really skilled as, as Claire is and really you know, really I could pick anybody out from from the Oregon series, but when you’re that skilled, it’s just an absolute pleasure and you just get a master and I think that’s why going longer with him is actually better because like you just get taken into this world that you kind of don’t want to leave.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  50:49  

That’s fantastic. Man is we’re wrapping down this episode speaking about long ones. What podcasts Do you listen to the wine podcast? What’s your what’s your non wine podcast? Go to these days?

Lawrence Francis  51:02  

Um, what is it better to buy? And I was listening to something Yeah, so So what am I just mentioned so I so and it kind of ties ties back in and maybe maybe maybe it’s a good a good place to start to close out as well but I’m so I’m evolving Interpreting Wine as a business as well. Yeah, I I’ve been doing doing lots of work so on the beyond the business and not just in the business. So that’s why the output is sort of slowed down a bit. But I like to feel as though Okay, you’ve got you’ve got plenty to plenty to catch up on, I’m not sure anybody has sort of looked at all of these. And so as I say, I, I know that, that that interpreting wise is already bringing a lot of value to to wineries and to, to wine regions, and kind of, you know, putting putting that out there. But I I feel like there’s more to be done. And so I’ve actually recently joined what’s called a startup accelerator to really kind of unpack more about what I could be doing really, and kind of Where, where, where this could all be heading and and i’m, i’m really convinced now that you know, but I’ll tell you that the name of the the accelerator is called the dent accelerator, it’s it’s a company that runs these accelerators for companies at different phases of their, of their of their life in principally in three, three time zones Australia, UK and US. And their tenant that I just think really resonated with me is that, you know, everybody who starts a business is already sitting on this huge mountain of knowledge. And I genuinely believe that sitting on metaphorically 440 episodes and over 160 winemaker interviews I genuinely feel as though I’m, you know, one of the most tuned in people out there, of what makes a good story and what what are the ways that wine makers should be telling their stories to really engage people and to do it as good and as well as those Oregon winemakers that I was talking about, and I think that that is something that can be taught I think it’s something that can be repeated and i think it’s it’s something that it’s it takes time and it’s difficult but you know, I what I’m doing now is putting together essentially my own accelerator really which is which I’m calling the wine impact accelerator, which is really kind of bringing out from those winemakers what I call the six wine stories they should be telling kind of concurrently for maximum impact so the story really gets out there and really resonates and and I genuinely feel as though you’re telling it telling a story on on a podcast is a fantastic place to start but it’s also got to be through all the other channels including in person and including video and social media but I understand that that can be very overwhelming for for for a winemaker but I think I you know genuinely feel as though there’s there’s so much that that if winemakers and wineries could add some of that to to what they’re doing then I think it would make a lot of the other parts of their business a lot easier and would make them a lot more fun as well. I think

Drew Thomas Hendricks  54:50  

absolutely. There’s such a there’s such a need for that I love the six line stories that you should be able to tell if you’ve got a winery and helping them categorize that is brilliant because too often When we go in and we’re like telling me your story or marketing, we’re like, we’ll help you create your story. But the person doesn’t even know what the framework is, by giving them this accelerator framework. It’s, I love the phrasing that you did there. It’s very timely.

Lawrence Francis  55:13  

Thank you. Yeah. And and, you know, I’m, I’m kind of, you know, get putting in putting, putting it out there and putting, putting it in front of, of producers, you know, my, my, my main target, and I think the people who need it the most right now are ones who are looking to export. So, you know, wineries who are in New Zealand, who, you know, there’s not that many New Zealand people, they have to export their wine. And, you know, when you’ve had, for example, you know, absolute phenomenon, like Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, you know, how do you how do you then now as a new entrant into the market, how do you stand out as a as a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc? You know, how do you how do you? How do you sort of not just get caught up in the literally the wave of Sauvignon Blanc that’s cut that’s coming over and it’s true for it’s true for many regions? You know, it’s like, how do you stand out as a Malbec from Argentina? You know, how do you even how do you stand out as a Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley? You know, it there, there’s, I think there’s a lot to be done there. Because what I think a lot of wine regions have done so well is like, Okay, this is what you get from our region. This is the grape style. This is, this is how we do it here. And that’s a story that has resonated with people. But it also means that then, you know, that there’s a risk of commoditization, I think that, you know, story kills commoditization. That’s another, another new quote. So that, I think is, is is is the secret, I think, I really think that the secret is the people who really got a sort of a clear view and a clear route to telling their story, I think that they really then do have the unfair advantage. But the beauty of it is, is that every winemaker that I’ve met, has had their own mountain of knowledge that they’re sitting on is their story and their knowledge, and it’s just about packaging that up in the right way.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  57:15  

That’s fascinating, man. It’s Thank you. So you’ve been so generous with your time here. I have to ask one question, though, before we go. It has to do with stories. Do you see a regionalization, the story will play as well in the US as it is in the UK? Or does winery need to kind of modify their story for the country that they’re trying to enter into?

Lawrence Francis  57:34  

Yeah, it’s good, good question. I mean, that, that, that I think is a very important, so I, I’ve got the got that. So that’s it essentially. So then the, the six stories is essentially, step two of the process. And step one is what I call survey, or survey. So it’s actually again, thinking about where you’re trying to, to get to who you’re trying to reach, where are they, and trying to understand the culture. And it’s something that can be repeated. And then maybe, you know, you might want to zoom out and look at Western Europe or you might want to look at USA but but I think there’s there is certainly there’s there’s differentiation that there needs to be made, you know, as to as to how people are responding. I mean, my, my podcast, I think, is a great example of that, because I’m in the UK, I’ve obviously got a British accent and you know, was it wasn’t necessarily focusing on American wineries in the beginning, but at the start, it was it was 40% audience from the UK 25% from from America, and it’s now changed to where it’s now 35% us and 32%. uk. So, US has now come up and, and it’s sort of overtaken I just think again, that’s that’s it’s a lot to do with going to Oregon and go into New York and now Washington, but I think it’s also just looking at, you know, the underlying appreciation of podcasts. You know, I think if, if any, any wineries are looking to reach the US, and I’m looking to influence the US consumer, podcasting is a phenomenal way and you will probably over index in terms of reaching consumers or professionals or whoever your target is in the US versus other countries. Also then UK, Ireland, Canada, they’re also you know, really getting into the podcast, but you know, you view us will, will will come it’s not it’s not a field of dreams, analogy, but almost

Drew Thomas Hendricks  59:59  

that’s great. Well, Lawrence, where can people find out more about you? You mentioned your companies.

Lawrence Francis  1:00:05  

Yeah. So yeah, I’m I’m in the process of redoing my website, which if this goes out in October, and it should certainly be done by then, which is, which is,

Drew Thomas Hendricks  1:00:19  

I got a deadline.

Lawrence Francis  1:00:21  

Totally, totally. And by all means, you know, what I’d also recommend, and it’s going to, I think, stay there forever. But I put together a list of all of the equipment that I used, as I say in those first sort of 400 episodes and put it on line at K I T. And that is there as a PDF for you to just go in and just look at what I was using in the early days and just to just to see what I use and what got me so far. It was not anything too fancy. It really isn’t. It’s just, it’s just good. Basic can’t. And of course, yeah, I’ve mentioned Instagram a few times, so my ad Interpreting Wine on Instagram. Use them a little bit less, but and Interpreting Wine on Facebook, and of course at winepodcast on Twitter.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  1:01:16  

Awesome. Well, Lawrence, thank you so much for joining us today.

Lawrence Francis  1:01:20  

My pleasure. Thank you.

Outro  1:01:27  

Thanks for listening to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.