An Introduction to Podcasting With Sandy Connery of Soulful MBA
I’m a podcast junkie. If I’m not blogging or working on theater, you can be pretty sure I’m plugged into one of my favorite history podcasts learning about the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 or an obscure battle during the British Civil War. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how much I am influenced by my favorite podcasters. If they mention a product or service, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I will visit the site, if not try it out myself. This, of course, got me thinking about what we do here at Obviously.
I was fortunate enough to get in touch with Sandy Connery who, along with Jennifer Barcelos, is the host of the Soulful MBA podcast. Both women are tech founders and their podcast is about women in business, tech, and all things feminism. Not only is Sandy uniquely qualified to talk about the power of podcasting from both a personal and business perspective, I happened to catch her at the exact time when she was thinking about this same topic. The 100th episode of Soulful MBA is all about the process of podcasting and what it takes to monetize your podcast. It’s a great listen and I highly recommend it if you’re looking to take a deeper dive into this subject.
I came out of my chat with Sandy with two main takeaways:
Podcasting is incredibly rewarding on both a brand and personal level.
It’s extremely difficult (but not impossible) to make money off your podcast.
As Jennifer puts it in that 100th episode, “podcasting is really a raw and honest collection of conversations about different topics that are meaningful to us… it’s almost like my diary.” I think that really captures what is so special about podcasts. You feel like you know the hosts on a personal level. You share interests with them, and it goes without saying that you consider them experts in whatever the subject may be. Especially with niche interests, it can sometimes feel like you’re the only own who carries this burning fascination with something, so finding your favorite podcast is like making a new friend. Someone even more obsessed than you are.
But the problem, as Sandy explained to me, is that brands have been a bit slow to catch on to the podcasting phenomenon. According to Sandy, there are a few basic ways that influencers can earn an income off their podcasts.
Find sponsorships from brands.
Sell merchandise or branded products.
Ask for donations via a Patreon or similar site.
Some podcasters feel that advertisements detract from the quality of the content, and so prefer to rely on donations to support their work. As a businesswoman, Sandy doesn’t consider this the most viable option.. She argues, “There are a lot of small podcasts that would take sponsorship with a lot of smaller companies, if their values are aligned. And it wouldn’t cost very much.”
There are a few large online companies that seem to advertise on every major podcast, but smaller companies stay away because they either don’t realize how effective podcasts are or don’t know how to get started. Sandy sees this as a major missed opportunity for brands, and I have to say I agree. She confirmed that my behavior, of checking out or acting on the recommendations of my favorite podcasters, was very much reflected in the behavior of her 2k or so regular listeners. “At the end of each week, we have a joy and a hustle and, oh my god do people buy that stuff.” The joy is simply any thing that has brought them joy throughout the week, while the hustle is a work-related product. This would be a great opportunity for brands to jump into their content in a way that is completely organic. Sandy and Jennifer are already making recommendations for products they love on their pod, and those products are already selling. This has got to be a no-brainer for brands.
While brands are waiting to catch up, Sandy says it’s absolutely worth getting started now. The good news is, it doesn’t cost very much to get great equipment. And when brands do start to figure out the power of the podcasting micro influencer- because you know they will- you’ll be ready. What you really need is a sense of curiosity and a willingness to be vulnerable. As influencers, we already know you have that. Her advice?
“Don’t wait until someone else defines you as a success. If you need to find money to fund it, then go find it. Think outside the box, because there’s always a way.”
I 100% agree.
Want tips on some great podcasts to check out? Here are Sandy’s Recommendations:
Call Your Girlfriend- “A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.”
Zig-Zag- “A podcast about changing the course of capitalism, journalism, and women’s lives. For Real.”
… And a personal shoutout to our incredible Product Manager Ashley, who hosts her own podcast, The Showmance, for all you Big Brother fanatics out there. Hit her up for her explanation of how Big Brother is a microcosm for modern society. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Love podcasts? Have a podcast? Jump into the discussion in the comments!