The Why & How of Starting a Podcast
Have you ever considered starting a podcast to support your small business – or simply because you have something to say? In this episode, your host Amanda Benson-Tilch sits down with podcast coach and consultant Jackie MacDougall, host of Forty Thrive, to discuss the why and how of starting a podcast. Amanda and Jackie share the story behind their podcast launches and uncover the most important elements of starting a show. Learn how to identify your ideal listener, nurture an online community, market your content, and monetize your podcast – all in the first episode of The Ask Amanda Show: The Why and How of Starting a Podcast.
Why Start a Podcast?
“First and foremost, start a podcast because you have something to say,” Jackie explained on The Ask Amanda Show. “Whether you’ve had a passion project sitting on the backburner for years, or you’re looking for a unique way to support your business, a podcast is most powerful when you’re sharing your unique voice.”
That’s why, before starting a podcast, it’s crucial to find your why. Tap into the reason you’re doing this and reflect on the purpose of your show – then you can dive into the how.
For a little inspiration, let’s look at why Jackie and Amanda started their podcasts.
After decades working behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Jackie discovered podcasting while working for Warner Brothers in 2008. Enamored by the medium, she launched BROADScast, a pop culture podcast, with Kim Goldman of the SCV Youth Project. However, she eventually started craving discussions about a different topic.
Through her work in broadcast television, Jackie worked with many experts in personal development, health and wellness. She loved learning from them but often noticed their extremely valuable expertise wasn’t being shared with audiences in a consistent, branded way. Yet she knew lots of women who would benefit from being connected to these experts. That’s when she saw an opportunity to share her unique voice in a purposeful way.
“BROADScast was more of a passion project than a business, and I was ready to do something that was more of a business,” Jackie said. “So once Kim and I finished our project together, I decided this is going to be my thing: personal development and creating a community where women can thrive together.”
Amanda’s passion for podcasting started with a powerful why that most people can relate to.
“It really came down to: because I have something to say. Go figure, right?” she laughed. “I just want to make a difference for people in their businesses and in our community.”
As a small business consultant in Santa Clarita, Amanda works with entrepreneurs and executives to assess what’s holding them back and implement a plan to move forward. She’s also connected to some of the brightest minds in the Santa Clarita business community. Together, she knew her platform and their expertise could all provide value to anyone who was interested in growing their small business.
“I wanted to create an extension of what I do that would help people see the possibilities,” Amanda explained. “But my biggest fear was the how of it all. I didn’t know how to put the pieces together – until I went through Jackie’s course.”
How To Start a Podcast
Once you’re clear on the why, the how can feel more daunting.
“Fear is often the thing that holds us back from doing something big like launching a podcast,” Amanda said. “But that’s what I really loved about Jackie’s Start the Right Podcast course. The goal of that course is to get you past the fear.”
Throughout the course, you’ll answer questions that help you identify your ideal listener, marketing strategies, monetization model and more.
“I realized I already had the answers to all those things, but I just hadn’t mapped it all out. Writing it all down gave me confidence,” Amanda shared. “You were that voice in the back of my head that said: ‘Trust me, you can do this!’”
“After you get through the fear,” Jackie replied, “it’s all just tasks.”
Here are the most important tasks when diving into the how of starting a podcast:
1. Find Your Ideal Listener
In the Start the Right Podcast course, you create a character who represents your ideal listener. Like a buyer persona, your ideal listener can be based on a client or listener you already have, or it can be designed from scratch. There are a lot of people who are teaching this, but there are not a lot of people who are doing it. And it’s so important.
When you know who your dream listener is, you’ll keep your conversations, guests, offers – everything – on track with your brand and your purpose.
To identify your ideal listener, think about who she is: her pain points, where she’ll listen to your show, how she’ll tune in, what her goals are, what she needs and wants, how she’s getting stuck, etc.
“My ideal listener is named Carol,” Amanda explained. “She’s between age 25 and 50, and she’s a mom with a passion for her business. She goes to Starbucks too many times a week, but just can’t break the habit. And she’s actually a real client of mine.”
Jackie agreed: “When you start a podcast you’ll have so many people reaching out to you with a potential guest. That’s when you think about Carol. Would this guest bring value to Carol? Because this show was created for her. It keeps you from getting distracted by the bright and shiny.”
2. Market Your Podcast
Before Jackie started Forty Thrive, a podcast for women over 40 and beyond who are ready to kick things up a notch, she spent a year building a Facebook community – without any strategy. But she did have a purpose.
“I’d been working with these television experts for decades. You’d think they go home to their mansions and their millions, but they don’t,” Jackie said. “There are a lot of people out there who have an expertise but are not branding themselves or sharing their information in a consistent way.”
At this point, Jackie had cultivated a community of more than 3,000 women over 40. These women were often looking for the answers Jackie’s experts provided.
“I could help these experts and serve my community in a valuable way – and eventually build a business out of it,” Jackie explained.
Even though Jackie started building the community without a plan, eventually, the community began telling her what they wanted to see from her. By starting a community first, she unknowingly created a loyal audience for her podcast, coaching business, online courses, affiliate relationships and more.
Jackie’s purpose organically became her strategy.
Like Jackie demonstrates, marketing a podcast doesn’t have to feel like self-promotion – because that doesn’t really work, anyway! If you act as the facilitator who’s connecting listeners to the answers they seek, then marketing a podcast can actually feel authentic.
Other great podcast marketing tips and tricks from Jackie include:
- Ask your audience questions, take polls and learn what they’re looking for. Then find the answers and share them with your audience.
- Email is a great way to share information because email subscribers have committed to you on a deeper level than just following you on Instagram.
- A podcast audiogram is a social media visual that depicts a moving sound wave while an audio clip from your podcast plays in the background. They are super powerful little tools for capturing your audience’s attention on social media. Make sure to include captions, too!
3. Monetize Your Podcast
“When it comes to monetizing your podcast, I suggest creating multiple revenue streams,” Jackie explained, “because each monetization model has its own advantages.” Here are a few of Jackie’s favorites:
Products & Services
One way to monetize your podcast is to create products and services in alignment with your show and your audience’s needs. You can offer a course like Jackie, or create a coaching program that provides next-level support to your community.
Sponsorships are great when you have a targeted audience that you can pair with appropriate advertisers. If your podcast talks about home design ideas, for example, then home decor companies would make great sponsorships, which become more lucrative with the more listeners you gain.
What’s an affiliate relationship? The affiliate brand provides you with a unique, trackable link that you give to your listeners. Then you make a cut from every purchase through that link. These relationships are excellent for brands you love and truly stand behind. You can also get an affiliate link from guests on your show, especially if you really believe in what they do.
Crowdfuning sites like Patreon allow show hosts to give their audiences added value for a small membership price, such as $5, $10 or $25. As the host, you decide how to add value for your members. You can offer a monthly coaching call, exclusive affiliate discounts, downloads, etc.
Why & How I Started A Video Podcast: The Bottom Line
Starting a podcast or video podcast could be a smart move for your business or your audience, depending on how it fits into your overall strategy. (Not sure how it would fit in? Ask Amanda!) But it’s also an extremely rewarding endeavor if you feel like you have something to say. Regardless of why you want to start a podcast, you should at least explore the how. Someone out there might really need to hear your unique perspective and style. Plus, the how isn’t hard to figure out if you’ve got the right team on your side.
Meet the Experts
As a broadcast professional for over two decades, Jackie MacDougall has been the driving creative force on major projects for NBC, Warner Brothers and Disney. She has served as the go-to person to help A-list talent, experts and other personal development thought leaders establish a unique voice and build community.
As a podcast coach and consultant, Jackie has been guiding experts, entrepreneurs and influencers through the launch and growth of their popular podcasts. She provides one-on-one coaching, in addition to small group coaching sessions, that gives you the support, accountability and expertise you need to accelerate your success and grow your audience.
If you’re interested in starting your own podcast, Amanda highly recommends Jackie’s online education programs. Her online podcast course, the Find Your Voice Academy, provides a step-by-step program custom-designed to help you get super clear on your message and reach that special audience waiting to hear what only you can provide.
Are you ready to launch your own podcast? Start here with Jackie’s free guide: 4 Steps to Start the Right Podcast.
While you may notice her first by her wit and second by her infectious sense of humor, the next thing you’ll learn about Amanda Benson-Tilch is: She’s a problem-solver. Owner and Growth Strategist of Ask Amanda Consulting, she offers the skills, tools and network it takes to get the job done — no matter the task.
Working with each client differently, she helps identify blocks, present solutions, implement them, and execute. And if she can’t execute, she’ll connect you to someone who can. She’s helped past clients improve their branding, operations, customer service, marketing, company culture, and more. She’s organized a company-wide rebranding and restructuring after it was bought out. And she’s helped local small businesses increase their growth without increasing the headache. From consulting to full-scale project management, Amanda steps in to help your business level up with ease.
In addition to her work with Ask Amanda, she’s also the Director of Business Development for Thomas Realty Co., a property management company in Burbank, where she oversees the growth of select tenants. Currently, she’s serving as the Managing Director of both Burbank Fitness Club and Burbank Center Apartments. Over the last year, she helped completely rebrand, renovate and rebuild the gym, and she recently started the same process with their luxury apartments.
About The Ask Amanda Show
On any given day, small business owners and entrepreneurs spend most of their time putting out fires, solving problems and asking themselves questions like: “How do I brand this? How do I reach more people online? Why can’t I break through my revenue ceiling and reach the next level of business?” They often feel like an island – holding it all together without support, clarity or feedback they need to finally achieve their vision. That’s exactly why Amanda Benson-Tilch created The Ask Amanda Show. As a small business consultant, not only does she have the answers to the questions you keep asking, but she’s also created a podcast community that reminds you: You’re not alone in this journey.
Tune in once a month to get access to small business experts, nuggets of inspiration and answers to those burning questions preventing you from growth. Enjoy powerful guest interviews as Santa Clarita small business experts share their stories and provide actionable steps to help you grow your business. Whether you’re a business owner, aspiring entrepreneur, or someone looking to get more involved in your community, this is your show!