At the Intersection of Music and Marketing with Paige McCauley


We’d like to introduce you to Paige McCauley, our Digital Marketing Specialist. Here’s a touch of backstory to give you a partial window into how much we adore Paige. Our CEO, Michelle Khouri, worked in marketing and communications for over a decade before founding and single-handedly bootstrapping FRQNCY. In startup terms, this means that Michelle was our entire marketing department for a time – she created just about every graphic, every post, and every digital anything while simultaneously building the business. Then, one fine day, along came Paige. Not only did she enthusiastically jump into the challenge of growing our marketing efforts, but she did so with a deeply kind spirit, a wellspring of fresh ideas, and a passion that can only come from having an intimate relationship with the power of sound. You see, Paige is also an award-winning recording artist and songwriter. Seriously, this woman can belt it out. OK, backstory down – let’s bring this superstar in.

You have performed at venues like The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, House of Blues in West Hollywood, and the Superdome in New Orleans. Can you draw any parallels between writing songs and developing visual brand identities for clients’ podcasts?

Absolutely. The incredible ability to tell a story is at the intersection of art and marketing. When I write a song, I tell a story. When I create the brand identity for a podcast, I tell a story. Even when I am building out the social media strategy for FRQNCY, I am figuring out a way to tell our story as a company. There is something so beautiful and so human about that.

You have extensive experience working in the music industry, interning for the Recording Academy, and working with artists like Billie Eilish and Brandi Carlile during your time at the University of Georgia. What are some tools you use to keep calm under pressure, whether it’s moderating a celebrity Q&A or leading consulting calls for podcast promotion?

I think it all comes down to finding that perfect balance between being prepared and being over-prepared. During my first Q&A session with Brandi Carlile, I wrote and rewrote the questions I would be asking. I practiced over and over and over until it felt like I was reading lines instead of just having a conversation. When the actual Q&A started, I was so nervous that I would mess up that I came across as way too stiff. I quickly learned from my mistake. For the following Q&A that I moderated with Billie Eilish, I put lots of thought into thought-provoking questions for her and practiced just until I felt comfortable. Then I stopped. During that Q&A, I let the energy of the room guide me. I felt like I came prepared, but I put more confidence in myself to have a conversation instead of just reading words off of a piece of paper. The same has been true for consulting calls at FRQNCY. There’s only so much you can prepare; there’s only so much you can memorize. When you focus on how “perfect” things have to be, you are doing yourself and the person you are working with a disservice. The conversation flows way more smoothly by getting out of my own head and making these calls not about me but about how best I can help the client.

Part of your role entails strategizing new ways to create resources to help guide marketing teams and podcasters. Why do you think it is important to create these kinds of resources?

If you Google “how to start a podcast” right now, you will get 6,320,000 results. There are tons of resources for podcasters to get started already, and I don’t want to just recreate the wheel and slap FRQNCY’s name on it. What I really want to relay to brands considering starting a podcast is the actual value of podcasting, the true ROI. It’s not about monetization and ad spend. If that’s why you want to start a podcast, you are missing the point and missing out on all of what this medium can offer you. So, when I create these resources, I hope to shift the paradigm of this industry.

In April 2020, you and your significant other created Hope in May, a song about the day quarantine will be over. How did you first discover sound can help you process heavy emotions?

Very early on. I’ve been singing on stage since I was five years old. So, singing, writing, and performing music have been integral parts of my life and naturally became a way to cope with hard things or process heavy emotions. I remember writing down little song lyrics in a school notebook in first grade when I would get picked on. And, you know, as people grow up, their problems do too. For me, music has been the way I express what I’m going through, from getting picked on in first grade to now navigating my 20s amidst a global pandemic.

What is one thing you think is essential for people to keep in mind when it comes to digital marketing for podcasts?

One of the pieces of advice I give most regularly is that social media is great for cultivating the audience you already have, but it does not necessarily lead to significantly more listens. A lot of people ask how much they should spend on social media ads for their podcast, and my answer is… none. The conversation rates are not great. Here is an article if you want proof. Don’t get me wrong, social media for podcasts is still SUPER important. Social media fosters community, starts conversations, and builds brand authority. When you view social media through this lens, your content becomes a lot less self-promotional and way more about providing value to your audience. 

If you were stranded on an island with access to only one podcast or album, what would it be?

I really can’t think of only one. I love stumbling across something new. My latest sound obsessions have been Eleanor Rigby, arranged by Cody Fry, and To Live and Die in LA. 

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