Our First Mobile Podcast
Yes, we’ve been mobile podcasting for a bit, but this episode is actually our first official one. We recorded this back in February as we drove down to Podfest in Orlando. We recorded a bunch, actually, and we’re finally ready to start releasing them.
This one was recorded with Jennifer Crawford, host of the JellyVision Show and organizer of DC Podfest, and her husband Thor, who is an up-and-coming podcaster. We recorded in the lobby of the Hyatt where we were staying, sans script, but when has THAT ever been a problem?
Should It Be Illegal For A Woman To Refuse To Take Her Husband’s Last Name?
Yes, that’s how this episode starts. Jennifer read an article that surveyed women who suggested it should be. And we all think that’s pretty nuts. Jennifer and Thor have a solution: name swapping! A woman takes her husband’s name, and he takes hers. Paperwork all around!
We want to know: what makes Jennifer tick? One day she wasn’t podcasting, and then she was. So, why podcast?
Jennifer says she’s always been a fan of the underdog. In 2008 she opened a coworking space for creatives – artists, writers, performers. But she wanted more people to know about these artists and help them expand their audiences. In an effort help her underdog artists get more exposure, she started a podcast.
She started out live streaming, thinking, “How hard can this be?” And for Jennifer it turned out to not be very hard at all, because she’s no stranger to bootstrapping. She doesn’t need fancy equipment or the best mic or the coolest camera. She just needs an idea and the determination – both of which she has plenty.
She wasn’t thinking five-year plan. She wasn’t thinking of process or editing. She just went with it, then went from live streaming to audio (which turned out to be simpler and more portable). And now, 200-plus episodes later, she’s still going. According to her, she even surprised herself.
So How Much Money Is This Making Her?
Well, technically… none. Jennifer does it for the passion. She hasn’t tried to monetize in the traditional sense, but she has certainly seen benefits. She’s met people who have helped her in various business situations. She’s made friends. She’s used it to help the clients of her social media company generate business. She’s used her podcast to generate business for herself, and even though that’s not usually what “monetizing” means, it certainly brings in the money, and that’s the key.
In fact, Jennifer thinks monetization is overemphasized in the podcasting community. People tend to think they have something of value and then over-value it, thinking that advertisers will be flocking to their show.
People think it’s easy and they’re going to quickly get their 15 minutes of fame. Sadly, this is a myth perpetrated by people who sell the idea that everyone can make money and all it takes is knowing a few simple steps.
Part of the problem is that the “experts” are constantly pushing monetization. Buy my thing, my webinar, my book, and learn how to make a lot of money. Give me money so I can tell you how to make money.
Jennifer shares our view of business, meaning that if you’re running one, you should be selling a product or service. Does that sound obvious? Well, if you’ve been around the internet you know that a lot of what passes for a “product or service” is really someone selling you “inspiration”. They start a Facebook group so they can “inspire you”, throw some motivational quotes at you, then sell you a webinar or book on how to start your own Facebook group based on their success starting a Facebook group.
Jennifer calls it a snake eating its tail. Sounds about right. It’s an old story, but it infiltrates podcasting, too.
But we also think people podcast because they love podcasting. Now if only they could ignore “the experts!”
Should You Be “Vanilla” To Attract A Larger Audience And More Advertising Dollars?
If you use bad language or say controversial things, you’re going to have a smaller audience. You probably aren’t going to command big advertising dollars. Does that matter? Is it better to have a smaller, niche audience who loves you, or a big one that advertisers love?
Jennifer says it comes down to who you are as an individual. As for her, she would rather be homeless than give up her creative freedom. She never wants sponsors because she feels she’d be responsible to them and would lose some of her creative freedom.
Plus ads are really annoying. And with the “skip ahead 30 seconds” button, I tend to push the button whenever one comes on. That breaks the flow of listening and dilutes the experience.
So ads don’t work for Jennifer or for us. But that’s us. We also collectively believe that everyone has to figure out what fits for them.
Not All Value Is Monetary
For Jennifer, her podcast is a bit cathartic. Plus, she gets to meet a lot of great people. And once in a while, the best reward: an email from a listener who says the episode resonated with them and helped them get through a difficult situation
Like Jennifer, we love being able to say we created something. We’re proud of our accomplishments in podcasting, even if they’re not perfect.
Some people believe that you need a plan and a goal and an exit strategy. You need benchmarks and if you don’t hit them, it’s time to rebrand, start over, quit, come up with something new. But we don’t buy it. We think that if you’re doing something that matters to you, if you’re getting what YOU want out of it (and not what someone told you to want) then that’s what important.
Jennifer says something that’s podcast music to our ears: she doesn’t like formulas.
Doors open, she says, because you’re doing something. There are other opportunities to be had. Thanks to podcasting Jennifer has now put on a podcasting conference that she never would have done before, and has a whole new skillset that she brings to her business.
Jennifer Makes It Sound So Easy
So we want to know if starting something new always came easy for her or if she had to learn that. Jennifer tells us that she grew up poor, which means she was unburdened by choices. Her resources were limited so when she wanted to make something happen, she learned to do it any way she could.
When you can’t solve problems by writing a check, you’ve got to get creative. Jennifer actually likes being underfunded. In fact, of all the businesses she’s run, the only one that failed miserably was the one she went into with money. And she lost it all, and then some.
When it comes to podcasting (and business), people get hung up on “things.” The mic, the sound, the time of day. Sometimes you have to just go out there and do your thing.
Be careful about taking opinion as fact. There’s no such thing as “the best mic.” Or the right episode length. Or the best time or day or tone or topic. That’s true in podcasting, and it’s true in business and life. There is only, as Jennifer says, “the best fit.” And what fits for you may not be what fits for someone else.
Now get out there and do your own thing.
Listening To Podcasts
Ralph mentions a podcaster who he listens to, who says that he doesn’t listen to podcasts. And we all think that’s crazy. How can you be part of a community and not support it? Especially one as niche as podcasting.
I usually find people to be supportive, but there are definitely outliers. If you’re a creative person, you have to be supportive in the creative community. If you’re a podcaster, you should absolutely be listening to other podcasts.
How about listening to your own episodes? Should you?
Of course! You should be listening for continuity, for how well you interact with guests, to your own speech patterns so you can improve yourself.
If you hire someone to edit for you, we think that’s smart for saving time and for being consistent about getting content out even if you don’t have time to do it yourself. But it’s a good idea to edit your own episodes for at least a little while. You can learn the nuances of how you speak and communicate, and be more connected to what you’re producing. Then you can be a lot smarter about what you hand off to editors.
Thor edits the JellyVision show and he’s perfectly happy behind the scenes. This is the first time he’s been on mic, in fact! But he does have an idea for his own podcast. Near his home there are woods where homeless people live. And he wants to do profiles on them, find out how they got there and ask them about their lives.
Jennifer says homeless people feel invisible because people don’t make eye contact, don’t talk to them, in fact, try to avoid them. But they deserve to have their voices heard. She’s excited about helping Thor get started.
Sounds like a brilliant idea to us, but Thor is more about thinking than jumping in like Jennifer, so he hasn’t gotten started yet. We throw down the gauntlet and make him put a date on the calendar. As of now, we haven’t heard anything, but we’re still nagging. We’ll let you know if and when it happens.
Show him some encouragement!
Links To Stuff
Find out more about DC Podfest and join us in November for a ton of fun and learning