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Center Of Influence: ShePodcasts Live with Jessica Kupferman
On this episode, I have a cool guest for you. You are going to love her. Jessica Kupferman is the Cohost and Cofounder of She Podcasts brand, which I hope you’ve heard of by now because they have been stirring things up for quite some time and they have a great new event that we’re going to talk about, She Podcasts Live and it is coming up in October. We’re super excited to talk to her because she has over 12,000 female podcasters and a digital marketing reach of 50,000 content creators. The She Podcasts community was funded spring of 2019 via Kickstarter Double the Goal, which I love because as you guys may have heard from me in the past, Kickstarter is not a place to raise products and interest in products for women, it just doesn’t normally work.
They broke the mold there and I love that. They sold 200 tickets in 30 days. I think you’ve sold way more by now. Jessica and I are going to talk about that, but she specializes in marketing and monetizing within the podcast industry. That is something we so badly need to talk about here because in order to become the Center of Influence and it’s great to be an influencer, but if it’s not making you money at the end of the day, what’s it worth? She has been featured in magazines such as Entrepreneur, Forbes, Social Media Examiner, Yahoo Finance. She’s been guest on Entrepreneur on Fire, Faster Than Normal, the New Media Show and she’s spoken at the NAB Show blog, her Social Media Marketing World, Podcast Movement and many more. Jessica, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited to be here.
You have how many speakers on the She Podcasts docket right now?
106 women. We had 185 people apply, including some men. I won’t lie, it gave me a little bit of delight to tell them no. It’s not that they weren’t qualified because of course they were, but if there’s a man that can talk to it, there’s definitely a woman that can talk to it. As good as they are as speakers, the point is to give women a chance who may have never had a chance before.
Let’s step back a little bit. When did you decide to podcast?
I decided to podcast in 2013. I started a show called Lady Business Radio. Actually, the reason I started it was because I wanted the publicity myself and I looked at all the other entrepreneurial podcasts and it was Entrepreneur on Fire, Smart Passive Income, School of Greatness, Mixology and they were all white men interviewing other white men. Let’s say Pat Flynn, who’s white-ish but obviously, he’s not white. They were all interviewing white dudes, which I understand because when you start an interview show, you end up interviewing people who you want to emanate. Of course, men want to emanate men because they’re men. It made sense to me but I felt like where are all the women? Why are there no women’s shows? I thought, “I’ll make the women’s show, I’ll be the one to amplify these voices because clearly, no one else has thought of it.” There were a couple that came right after me, Biz Women Rock! and BizChix, which are still going now. I stopped Lady Business Radio to have a baby. After 200 shows, I had a hard time going back to it because it started to become a bit of the same conversation.
First of all, I change what I’m doing for every three years, so there’s that. Also, it started to become a very similar conversation over and over. Also as I was out on maternity, I saw that Lady Business Radio and that community was stagnant. It hadn’t grown without me, but She Podcasts, on the other hand, had tripled in four months. The women who are wanting to start a podcast, it had grown enormously in my absence and it was not a very large amount of time. I was like, “Maybe I should focus my time here because clearly, this is a group that needs support.” I started my first podcast because of that. When we started She Podcasts, Elsie asked me to also do a podcast about it.
I started the women’s group just for the same reason I started to show, because I needed mentors that were women to give me answers about how to say no to interviewees or how to add time into my schedule. I needed mentors that had spouses and children who felt like they didn’t understand what I was saying when I was just like, “No, I can’t do three shows a week though.” I don’t have the time. I was already doing it the way I was doing it. Doubling your shows isn’t the answer how to grow your audience. You don’t just double your shows. It’s crazy but those are the answers I got.
It’s interesting because I have a network here that has over 225 podcasters. Tom asked me the question, “Who are our top women in the group?” It was hard to identify because I have some that have amazing shows which are great, but they’re so inconsistent with what they put out. I was like, “What?” It started me thinking about having this conversation with you. What can we do differently to support them, because the men’s shows are not better? Why isn’t it working and what’s not happening there? It’s also an interesting thing is when I did what I did here, which have I put out a call to most of your speakers because I couldn’t physically fit them all in. I wish I could. I was like, “Here’s one. I haven’t heard that title before.” I almost threw darts at it. I was like, “Let’s see who responds. Whoever responds, they must be the most eager and that’s wonderful.” That’s what I did. I’ve already talked to a couple of them and they’re amazing and I’ve absolutely loved them, but why haven’t I heard about them before? What’s going on there?
Not to blow in frustration, but I think part of it is that there are certain podcasts that get attention over and over again. For me, that exposure comes at podcast conferences and I see speakers being recycled over and over again. One of my speakers who has applied to be at Podcast Movement for four years and she has never been chosen. I saw her speak speaking out on Outlier Festival, which is a podcast festival in Austin and she was hilarious and amazing. I was like, “I think she had already applied,” but I basically will go to her after and I was like, “You’re going to be a speaker because you’re amazing. I can’t believe you’ve never been chosen. It’s crazy.”
This is the same thing for me. I speak all over the world at entrepreneur events and I do keynotes. They don’t call me back and I was like, “What is with that? Are you afraid?”
We had gone on the crusade specifically with Podcast Movement to get them to increase their amount of diverse voices and they did pretty well in their defense. It was up to 25%, 30%, which is okay. Elsie probably questioned him about it. He said, “We did the best we could, but there are not that many that applied.” I can actually vouch for that. I know for a fact that even if I had said yes to every woman of color, I might have half. I’m at 40%, which is amazing though.
That is completely amazing, but why aren’t they applying? Part of it is that I stopped applying. I just gave up on it. I was like, “Why bother?” I’m not going to bother to do that anymore because first off, all the events that I’m asked to speak at, I don’t apply. That’s not how it works. Part of it is you get beyond that. You’re right, when you put out a call, I put out a call for guests or we put out a call for speakers and they don’t apply as often or as frequently as the men do. Why is that? It’s a fundamental, “I don’t think my show is good enough.”
Part of the reason I wanted to do this conference is that I do think women in general either are afraid of being heard, afraid of putting themselves out or afraid they’ll be told they’re not good enough or they just plain old don’t think are good enough. They wouldn’t even consider applying or putting themselves up because they already assume it’s too hard. It takes too much time. It’s too technical, they can’t do it. All these barriers that some are definitely of value like, “I do not have enough time and I don’t know any tech.” That stuff is legit. It’s just that those aren’t barriers that need to stop you if you want to do this. I don’t think people can necessarily realize that. I do think as far as applying to speak, I think they just assume they will get it.Make sure you know the direction you want to go so you can steer your show in that direction. Click To Tweet
You just don’t want to put yourself out there for them to reject, which is so interesting. It may be not my style. Maybe that’s part of it. I got to speak on a stage to 200 investing women, women in finance. I looked at this audience and I said, “I’m speechless right now, which never happens to me but I have never gotten an opportunity to speak to these many women.” I‘m looking forward to your conference because it just dawned on me that 90% of my audience are mostly men as of the industries I speak in. I was like, “This is a trait. To be able to inspire and to push through and to get this content and heard by them, that was an honor.” I’m looking forward to your event. I can’t wait to hear some of the great speakers. Let’s talk a little bit more about your podcasts and what you’re doing because it affords some things that I think people don’t realize. Some interesting things that may have happened to you, some invites, things that may have occurred for you or maybe even something funny that went on, whatever it might be. I’d love to hear some stories about how it’s moved to forward in your industry and in your business.
The first show that I did, Lady Business Radio, I did that because I wanted to start a speaking career and I knew I was going to try and have a baby. I didn’t think it would be smart to start a career where I’m traveling even locally all the time. I live in Delaware, which is twenty minutes from Philly, an hour from Baltimore, two hours from DC. I have lots of speaking opportunities within a driving distance and I was a little bit afraid that I would get some momentum and then get pregnant and then not want to do any of it. I’ve been pregnant before and I know that it’s exhausting. I was like, “I don’t think it’s a good idea.” I was asked to speak on a podcast and I loved how it worked and I thought I’m going to be the one to start this. I also saw it immediately as an opportunity to get to know some women that I saw as influencers and influential in a more personal way because I’m charming. I felt that being interviewed by me would be fun and then we would get to know each other and then they would like me. It did work out that way.
There are women that I’ve always wanted to have a one–on–one conversation with. I’m not like a let-me-pick-your-brain kind of chick. I don’t like that when people do that to me. I didn’t want to do that. All of a sudden I could call or email Laurie Smith, Leonie Dawson, Pam Slim and Tory Johnson and say, “I would love to have you on my show. It’s a women’s entrepreneurial show and it’s very relaxed and I’ll probably bring up all kinds of weird stuff.” I also did want to be a little bit of like a Howard Stern in that I like to dig for the story. There’s a story with everyone and I didn’t want it to be, “Tell me about your journey, your success.” I wanted to hear Pamela Slim goes on a book tour for six months out of the year. Does her husband approve of this? Do her children remember what she looks like at the end of it? I want to know. It was important to me to know and also to make entrepreneurship feel a little less lonely, because it does feel lonely, don’t you think?
Yeah, it does feel a little bit lonely and there are different questions. I like to up my game all the time. I know that I’m a good speaker on stage, but why shouldn’t I go and get trained and learn how to maybe convert into more sales or do those things? I step up but there are only men to learn from. I go out there and I go to learn and I’m sitting back going, “No one’s ever talked about the jewelry we have to wear, as stupid as that sounds or where to put the microphone when you’ve got a dress on and what’s going to happen and how that big old bulky thing looks behind your neck.” No one ever talks about that.
When you wear spiky heels, it scares the crap out of everybody in the audience, it seriously scares them. I have that feedback before so now I only wear wedges when I’m on stage because I’m too afraid I’m going to fall on my nose. It’s scary but I’m 5’2” and there’s no way I’m going to go flat. You’ve got to have some wedges there. I have my favorite pair of shoes, which I’ve actually picked up and shown off on Facebook Live. It’s my most popular Facebook Live I ever did but you don’t realize how important is. I’m so glad you’re asking those questions.
I did that for about a year and a half. Through that, I did get a bunch of speaking gigs and people were asking me to talk about branding and marketing, which is what I was doing. I also started noticing people were asking me about how to podcast. I did a little course on that and that went very well. I started being asked to speak about podcasting on entrepreneurial things like BlogHer, that’s more of a blogging conference, but that worked out pretty well. As all that was happening, the She Podcasts group was growing. We weren’t monetizing it very consciously because Elsie has a full–time job. She works for Libsyn and I was doing coaching and consulting and web design. I’ve had to hone in on what I’ve wanted to do over this time period. I had an ad agency for a little while where I was helping podcasters sell ads on their show. I sold the agency because I couldn’t only make money selling ads on big shows and they don’t need my help. It was the smaller shows that needed help.
It’s the 98% that don’t qualify for advertisements.
That’s who I wanted to help, but I couldn’t make money doing that. I was like, “What is this all for?” It’s silly. I sold that and then I was in the process of trying to pick a new project to work on. I thought maybe it would be like a sponsorship course. I was like, “Now’s the perfect time to do an event.” It’s something I’ve always wanted to do is plan an event and a big party and make sure everyone’s having a good time and learning and feeling uplifted and encouraged and all that has led me to this path. It wasn’t a path I always knew I was on, but I do remember when I started She Podcasts, I talked about doing live events because I had just been to one of Tory Johnson’s Spark & Hustle. She had this thing where she would plan six events, one per month in different cities.
In every city, she would choose speakers based on whoever wanted to sponsor. We get a booth and a speaking spot for $3,000 to $5,000. She made money, they made money, tickets were sold, everybody was happy and she got to travel the country. I was like, “She’s a genius,” because I had kids early and I’ve never been anywhere. I was like, “I’ve got to figure out how to do that.” It isn’t exactly working out in the way that she did it, but I’m doing the first show in Atlanta and that’s exciting. I’m planning events, which I love to do. I’ve been encouraging one of my friends who hates her job to be an event planner for three years and now I think I know why. I think it’s because I’m the one that I’m like, “You love this stuff.” I’m like, “You’re great at this,” but I think it was me. I was trying to figure out how to live vicariously, but I love doing it.
I’m super excited about your event because it’s got a fun vibe already. It has this grassroots thing that happened from starting in Kickstarter. What made you guys decide to go Kickstarter? Because as I mentioned, I’d done a ton of research on it. Women‘s products do not succeed.
Years ago, the Podcast Movement started on Kickstarter. They went to the podcast community and said, “We’d like to try this little event.” The tickets were $30, $50 or $100 or you could be a bigger sponsor. My husband and I gave them $500 and I got to speak on the stage for the very first one and it was very small. It was in Dallas for the first three years. They did very well making sure that it was something the community wanted. That’s the lesson I took from. It wasn’t necessarily like I want Podcast Movement cred, but I wanted to make sure even though women here and there have been asking for it for a couple of years that they meant it. In the ways I’m trying to monetize She Podcasts in the past, they tell me they want something and then I give it to them and then they don’t want to pay for it.
That’s not everything, but I wasn’t willing to do that with a $100,000 event. I wanted to know that they would buy tickets, they would show up, they would sponsor it and they would speak at it. I wanted to guarantee or I was just going to work on the other project I had. I asked for $25,000 because I felt like that’s enough of a boost to at least put a down payment on a hotel and then figure it all out the rest of the way. Instead, we doubled it and we sold 200 tickets during the Kickstarter and we got $50,000. I had a good sense of, “This is something that people want.”
The more women I’ve told about it, the more excited they were. They were like, “Finally.” They started giving up on the other events because it didn’t feel like it was for them.
I don’t know that I necessarily feel like it’s not for me. It’s like radio, if the radio is for everyone, is it really for anyone?
I have a confession to make, Jess. I’ve never been to any podcast event.
Are you serious?
No Podfest and no Podcast Movement. My team has, but I’ve not. If you don’t invite me to speak, I don’t come. I don’t have time for that. I’m speaking somewhere else. I’m usually then someplace else because you didn’t book me. I don’t attend them if I don’t have time for that. I try to take the extra time to attend the ones I go to. I would never come to your event and not stay for it as much of it as I could. I try to stay for the absolute whole thing and in your case, I will. I believe that’s the commitment to an event that I make. I have three kids. I can’t do more than two events a month. For me to travel all the way, if they were in my backyard, it would be different. I’d show up for a day or two, but then when they’re not in my backyard, I can’t commit to attending an event. You’re going to be my first podcast event.
I was just at NSA, the National Speakers Association Conference and they are very different than podcasters. Both are a chatty bunch, but speakers are extremely extroverted and I’m just going to say it, glory hogs. They love to be the center of attention. They want to be on stage. The bigger the better. Podcasters are not exactly that way. They want to get their message out but they are really passionate. Sometimes a little shy, sometimes a little introverted, sometimes a little bit of introvert, extrovert. For the most part, they might be a little more socially awkward. When I was at the Speaker Convention, there are a lot of bodycon dresses and a whole lot of hairspray. I was impressed with how made up and glittery everyone was. It’s so different than a podcast conference in that they are ready for action. Podcasters are like, “Is this okay? Am I doing it right?” I almost feel like they need whether it’s mental or physical, a makeover and a push out the door. That’s why I wanted you to be like, “You all are awesome. I don’t know why you don’t think so or who told you otherwise. Get your bodycon dress on and get up on that stage.”
There’s a very big difference between the speakers and the podcasters. What I’ve discovered underneath is they are both completely insecure about how they’re doing. They both are like, “Am I good enough? Who’s doing better than me?” There’s still that underlying because I did a post in a webinar about the twelve things you did wrong when launching your podcast that’s killing your growth. My biggest fear is that a couple of the slides have pictures of what you did wrong on your cover art. Those people are going to show up and be all upset. They’re going to accidentally show up on my thing. I’m like, “Sorry, I’ve been sharing your photos, your cover art for about three years now.”
I find that most people know their cover art’s messed up, because they did it by themselves in a hurry just to get it out there because they were being told, “Get it out there.” I actually did that. My cover was horrible for two months, three months. I fixed it eventually because I didn’t realize it was inverted in apple. It was like black was white. It was scary and creepy but I fixed it. I made it so that it was a little more appealing.
Those are the kinds of things. They show up for that and they don’t say anything though. They won’t say anything until behind the scenes. The only offer that I ever make is, “Let us evaluate your show for you and let me tell you where you are because we have other shows so we can see where you’re fitting in.” They’ll take you up on that but they don’t want anyone to know they’re on there. It’s the funniest thing. They’re competitive too.
I love podcasters. They’re definitely my people and I am an outgoing introvert so I do fit in. Sometimes I hear if I’m sitting somewhere with somebody else well-known, podcasters is the only place I’ve been since high school when people will come up and be like, “Can I sit at the cool kids‘ table?” I’m like, “That does not exist here. You just sit down.” It is the silliest concept to me that as an adult we’re like, “This is the cool kids‘ table.” I’m like, “Don’t ever say that about me.” I don’t like that. I don’t think like that. I know that’s like, “Am I good enough to sit here?” I think that’s so cute. I think it makes them generous, supportive and inclusive. That’s all the things that I love about this group and especially women. As long as we all respect each other, you can be anything from anywhere and we include you and we support you and we encourage you. I love that about this group. I’m excited to have them all in one place.
Let’s talk about some nitty–gritty stuff. How has podcasting moved your authority, gotten you more stages, done more of these things? How has it done that?
What’s funny is that the She Podcasts group started as five people and now it’s 13,000 women. I don’t know that she and I have ever really pushed people to join. I think that because it’s growing on its own, it shows up and a lot of people are like, “You should join this.” I think people appreciate the vibe in there and they encourage other people to join. For whatever reason, I was telling this to my husband like, “I know it’s an accomplishment logically, but I’m not sure what I did though. Could anyone do it?” He was like, “No, I don’t think anyone could do it but it’s okay if you can’t.” I’m not sure. I do know that as it’s grown, my credibility has grown. It has given me the opportunity to talk about the stuff that I am good at, which by the way is not voice or tech or mics or podcasting. I don’t know details about any of that.
I can clearly grow a community. I can clearly market to a community and for a community. I definitely know how to sell advertising and I know how to sell and I know how to market and I know how to make stuff look fun and funny. That’s my forte. Because of podcasting and because of this group, I’ve been invited to talk about the things that I am actually good at, which does apply to podcast but technically that applies to anything. If you have a show, if you have a blog, I can look at your stuff and say, you’re not bragging about yourself enough here or you’re saying too many words and nobody knows what you’re talking about here. I can see where the sales messages are going awry and fix that. I’ve had an opportunity to teach that, which I’m very grateful for. I know that I have a lot of credibility and influence in the podcasting industry. I know people know me a lot because I’m the founder of this group, but when people say I’m a podcasting guru, I do still cringe a little bit. Don’t ask about mics and stuff, I don’t know what mic is the best. I have no idea what my mixer is set on right now.You can build a community of engaged people by getting them to talk to you and themselves and one another. Click To Tweet
I do know that. I wish people wouldn’t ask me about it because it’s not the point.
It’s not always the point but I want them to ask. Elsie is my partner and she knows all that stuff. I’d edited my own show but I didn’t know. There was an, “Um,” I’ll just take it out but I didn’t know how to mix it. I’m a video person and I don’t know why, but it seems so different. For videos, you can clearly see when it’s too green or too purple but audio, I don’t know what to listen for so I don’t know when it’s right or wrong. I don’t know what else to talk about, but we all have our skills. I’m very grateful that people hopefully think of marketing and monetization and they think of me as someone to learn from in that area because I do think I’ve helped a lot of people get sponsors and keep sponsors and reach out to sponsors and know which sponsors to reach out to you. I’m very good at that stuff.
This is something that I think people have a mistake on is thinking about monetization of this show is only sponsors and only advertisers. What other ways have you been able to monetize your She Podcasts and Lady Biz?
Lady Business Radio had advertising, but that’s just because it was an entrepreneurial show when there wasn’t a lot. Anybody with a MailChimp course would ask me to put it on there and look while I talk about it and I talked about it for $50, $100, $200. That was mostly sponsorship. She Podcasts, we’ve done live events, live tapings of our shows. We’ve done an online course, we’ve done in–person workshops, VIP days. We now have Patreon. It doesn’t make us alive. It’s like $700 something a month that we split, but it’s not nothing, which is what we used to get.
Elsie does a group coaching workshop every spring and fall and she’s been able to monetize that very well through the group. I don’t think she goes outside of She Podcasts at all to market that because she wants the people that we already work with that know us to teach them more deeply one-on-one. For me, I would love to be able to just pull event resources from the group. Facebook groups are just hard. If I could find a way to pinpoint every single one of those 13,000 people, I don’t think I would have to. Facebook makes it a little like I can’t. I haven’t been gathering email addresses the whole time and I probably have a third of email addresses of the people that are in there.
I do have to mark it outside of it a little bit. For me, I was very clear that I wanted to do a speaking gig. I was very clear that I wanted to do live events somewhere at the beginning. Subconsciously or not, I’ve driven my career in that way. I knew I wanted to speak, I started speaking at everybody’s podcast. It wasn’t exactly what I put out into the universe, but for me I’ve yet to be paid properly for a speaking gig or keynote. My first keynote will probably be for my own event, but it’s a keynote.
What you’re doing is harder than speaking a keynote at somebody else’s event.
I think I’d be more nervous. At least I know these women like me. For me, it’s about being liked. I’m like, “Are they going to hate me if I say something silly?” Elsie was very clear. For speaking, when it comes to her, she just wants to be the talent. She does not want to create an event. She does not want to plan a wedding. That’s what it’s like. She wants to show up, be paid a speaking fee and go back to her room. That’s it. She has manifested that in our relationship and us talking about it. She works the exact way she wants to work. She gets everything out of this podcast that she wants. She wanted a small group to coach, she has that. She wants to show up and do the speaker, she has that. If you’re a podcaster just starting and you know you want a membership or you want to evoke social change or you want to eventually teach people a course on the topic that you have a podcast on, you just make sure you know that at least you know the direction you want to go and ahead of time and then you can steer your show in that direction. It can be monetized all kinds of different ways. There are so many speakers that are going to show that at the event, every which way to monetize.
Let’s touch on some of our five things that I do with everyone here. Share some lessons, some experiences on the best ways to book great guests.
I think you have to do research. There was a little while there where I was picking all the people and then they started pitching me. At first, I started saying yes to everyone because I’m a people pleaser and it’s such a bad thing to be. I was getting guests. They were not good guests, they just wanted the audience and the attention and I wasn’t doing enough research so I started researching. You don’t want to be the source of someone else’s audience. You want to make sure that their audience listens to the show. I find this to be a lot like dating as well. You don’t want to be the one giving in the relation. You want it to be a give and take in the relationship. You have to research your guests to find out, “Are they bringing something of value to your show? Will your listeners be grateful that you’ve interviewed them?” If you are being pitched, you have to do your homework to find out how interesting they are. Even if they’re fascinating, if you can’t see that in their web copy, this is the sales person in me and the marketer in me, if I couldn’t tell they had a decent website or decent marketing copy, no way because what are they going to say in person? This is your sales tool. If you can’t make that sparkly and shiny, forget it. You’re not coming up.
What you are alluding to is actually going to be a core part of my talk that I’m going to give at the event. It’s about what you look for when you research it, because I learned this by being a columnist. I didn’t learn it from interviewing guests myself. Like you, we got burned a few times and said, “This isn’t going well.” Lucky for me, my first podcast was in a tech industry so it didn’t matter. Nobody was anybody. There wasn’t a lot of that audience share thing. It was a content share. Unless it was just bad content and they weren’t interesting and if they were that bad, we did kill the show. We’d say, “I’m so sorry the audio was bad and we never rescheduled.”
That’s subtle, but it gets the job done.
I’ll be talking about that. I think you’re right on. Doing that research is essential and those that do it and spend that time to prep, I see better shows because of it.
There are twenty women who will say that they now help women step into their greatness and be their authentic selves. Only one of them has slept in a van for two years. That’s the girl I want. I want the one that’s done something crazy or gone out of the box. I learned to pick that out as something I’ve never heard before. They always make great guests.
How about increasing listeners? What are some of the best ways to increase listeners?
Increasing listeners I think is a little bit more mathy than people like to hear. I’m all about the math. When you’re on the show, you talk about going to Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Instagram, wherever you are. When you’re on there, you drive people to the show. Then when you have an email, you drive people to the show and the social. It’s this concept of being everywhere, which I don’t necessarily agree with. I do think everyone is somewhere and if you have people that just use Facebook, you’ve got to make sure that they see that you have a new episode out. If you have people that just listen, you have to make sure that they follow you on Facebook or Twitter so they can know when the next episode is out. You want them to come back and they’re not going to be listening to podcast 24/7. Some psychos do. For the most part, we have things to do. I know that people aren’t just like, “When’s Jessica going to do another episode?” I’m assuming they’re on Facebook. They’re looking at a feed somewhere and if they don’t see that I have a new episode, they’re going to miss it.
I want to capture that every single time, which means I want to make sure that I’m posting when I have new stuff happening, wherever they are. I want to make sure they’re following me on the thing that they use and then they can see me to listen. It’s a constant re-bringing back of people over and over. That’s not enough. If you only have a hundred followers, you’ll keep having the same hundred people, but then you have to start growing those channels because you cannot control listeners of podcasts. They are either going to find your show and listen or not but you can control your community growth and how many people you follow on Facebook and how many people follow you and who you’re talking to on Twitter and how many people you follow there in LinkedIn and advertising. That’s all stuff that you have full control over. I’m all about having control and being a control freak. That’s my MO. I would love to be able to tell people that if they don’t listen to my show, all things, bad things will happen to them. I don’t think they believe me. Instead, I’m going to spend money to control what I can. I think that’s the best way. It’s like keep sending people back to the show and the social and then grow the social as much as you can so that you can put them in that rotating cycle.
If they listened enough, then they come to love you and then they come to trust you and then they come to want more from you. Then you get them into whatever it is that’s working for you monetary-wise.
I think now the growth for social is also around advertising. It used to be Twitter had these auto follow and unfollowing tools, but they don’t have those anymore. Just doing a cheap ad to try and get a thousand people in your direction like a week or a month is perfect.
I’m hearing that more and more paid ads for listeners are becoming more and more common. Do you like to talk tech?
I don’t mind. I just don’t know a lot about it.
You do think that a show needs to be produced in a professional way and what does that involve for you? What makes it more professional?
It used to involve nothing. My first show was like, I didn’t even edit it because I couldn’t be bothered. I felt like I was obsessing and so I stopped obsessing and I’m like, “Whatever happens on the show, it’s just going to happen. Hopefully, it sounds good. The end.” We got an editor for She Podcasts that I guess loved the show but hated listening to it. He tricked us and he was like, “Let me do an experiment with your audio. We’ll record you some of the audio and I’ll send it back. You tell me what you think.” I don’t listen to my own shows. I have no idea of the difference. He was like, “I’d love to keep doing it for you if you’d like.” Just so he could listen because he couldn’t stand the way it sounded. The few times I listened, since then I was like, “This is genius.” It sounds great. I upgraded my microphone from a snowball, which is embarrassing to an ATR 2100. It’s under $100 but it makes you sound really good. Since then I’ve gotten a couple gift mics from people who wanted me to review them on the show. Right now, I’m using a Heil PR 30, which actually enhances the tones and women’s voices to be a little bit richer and deeper, which is nice.
I count on my editors to do that part, to make me sound deep and rich. I have a deeper voice than most women, so that works on my favor.
If you’re not going to take the time to understand how to edit your own show, my editor will do a one–stop shop where for an hour he’ll listen to your show live with you, make adjustments, show you what to do on his screen and then you’re set. You can go edit your own show. At least have someone listen. I don’t want to do it either. I’m saying if you can’t afford that someone to do it for you, which you and I are very lucky. We’ve had people do it for us. John was doing it for free until we could afford to pay him. I know that he will at least listen and be like, “If you make these adjustments, you’ll be all set and then you’ll be all set. You don’t have to worry if it sounds like this or that.” I think that’s important, at least to know what the levels are and then just never touch them again.
That’s so important because of how people experience it, you should at least listen to your show once and make sure that it’s not bad.
To me, I sound like a maniac. I’m very enthusiastic and I felt like I sounded like a psycho. It made me crawl to my skin listening to myself.
I have to tell you. That occurred to me that I have not listened to my show in a few years.
I listen when we first do it, make sure it’s the quality that I want, the setups the way that I want and then that’s it. I let it go because I trust my team to do it, but I don’t listen to it. I don’t have time to listen to it. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just don’t have time.
I work from home. I never drive anywhere. Where am I going to listen to it? I can’t listen while I’m working because I can’t think listening to myself. I can hear myself right now thinking, “Why are you talking so much? Shut up and let her talk.”
It’s my job to let you talk. You are not the host this time, I am.
I’m one of the few people. I know you’re supposed to listen to yourself and I don’t do it and I always get made fun of for it, but it inhibits me.
You guys have a great community. How do you encourage engagement in that community?
I actually have tricks for this that I think will work in any community. As long as you remember that people love to talk about themselves. There are two parts to this. Number one, ask for advice. You don’t even have to need advice, just ask for it. Just say, “I’m buying a new mic. Which one should I get?” You could have already purchased it. It doesn’t matter. People will talk all day about what they think. Besides letting them talk about themselves, they love to help. People are inherently in need of feeling smart and accepted and helping other people as part of this. If you ask her advice about literally anything, you will get the longest amount of comments on a post in your life. That is number one.
Number two is icebreakers. We don’t do this in She Podcasts anymore, but sometimes just for funsies, I’ll throw it in there, “If you are an ice cream flavor, what ice cream flavor would you be?” The answers don’t matter. People love to pontificate, “I’m vanilla because I’m super boring or I’m Rocky Road because my life’s all drama,” whatever. That’s a terrible example because that’s probably the worst icebreaker known to man. Another one would be like, “What was your first car? Where was your first kiss?” People can’t resist questions like that. It’s irresistible. Plus, if you do it on a Monday or a Friday, that’s prime procrastination time because nobody wants to be working on Fridays or Mondays. They will take all the time in the world to answer those questions. Then what you have is a post with lots of engagement, which then rises to the top and then your other posts will be ripe with engagement as well.
It’s not just how you build engagement, but it’s how you build a community of engaged people is to get them to talk to you and themselves and one another. Before you know it, every post is at the top of their feed because you have so much. Also, I think that my promotion, if you have one post that you allow people to promote one time a week, that’s another post that rises right to the top, because it’s got 200 comments, which I actually hate that post in my group. I hate that we allow people to do it because it’s the one post everyone posts on. Do you think you’re getting your listeners by telling podcasters your podcast? That’s silly. They do it and I think that the post rises to the top and then I think the other stuff comes in right after it.Be smart about who you pitch to and how you pitch yourself. Click To Tweet
We talked a little bit about monetization. This is the last of our best ways, but you have a bit of experience in the sponsorship side to it. I’d love for you to comment on what are some of the best ways to make your show monetization–worthy for sponsors and advertisers?
The one thing sponsors and advertisers are looking for is literally one thing, your audience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on your podcast. If you have an audience anywhere, a healthy audience or even the exact right audience, that’s what they want. If it’s 200 lawyers and they have some lawyer product, it does not matter how many lawyers or it doesn’t have to be 10,000 lawyers. That would be a miracle, but most likely it’s going to be 400 but if that’s the exact right thing, they’ll go right after it. If you sell Chicago Cubs hats, you’ve got to find those Cubs podcasts. Even if there are 300 people, it’s worth advertising that $100 a month, it’s going to be cheap. You’ll get in front of the exact people that want your thing.
I think as a podcaster, just growing your community as much as possible everywhere that you can. Elsie and I have 750 to 1,000 listeners a week. We have 13,000 people in that Facebook group. We have a Twitter following of combined 50,000. It’s because we’re engaged on all these places, because I can sell advertising in the group and on the show. People want to buy $250 a spot on the show. What they want is a tweet or a post somewhere else and we add it all together. You can do that too as long as you have an audience. People who start a show thinking they have a brilliant idea, “Where are my sponsors?” They don’t care about your idea. No offense, they want the people to listen to it. You could be Einstein, it won’t matter. If Einstein was standing alone with no lecture, who would know he’s brilliant? Who cares?
Do you think that from a sponsorship and advertisers’ standpoint, it’s underestimated the podcast advertising?
Yes and I think they are missing the boat on so many levels because they are looking for the broadest reach. Home Depot can have the broadest reach, that’s fine. I also think that podcasters are waiting for those big sponsors. They want Casper mattress and HelloFresh and they’re missing the boat too because the guy who does a fishing podcast, he doesn’t need those sponsors. He needs the guy who’s selling tackle boxes. That’s the guy. I think we want what the networks have and that’s not a similar product even.
That’s why we built the Podetize platform the way that we did so that we could help that 98% monetize their show through their own stuff. We built it that way because we saw upwards of 30% to 37% conversion rates on the shows that we were already managing for other people who were like, “This is ridiculous. Why aren’t you doing more of this?” We didn’t just make a few hundred bucks, we used to make thousands on our 3D print show because the audience was so valuable. You can do that deep in a niche.
In fact, that’s the best place to be. You just have to be smart about who you pitch and how you pitch yourself.
What are some things that people shouldn’t podcast? Maybe an advice like, “How do I know if I should podcast or I shouldn’t? Am I not right for this?”
You’re not right for it if the whole point of doing it is because you think it’s going to either make you famous or make you money in the next couple of months. You’re not really into the topic, but you know that business podcasts are popular or True Crime is popular. If you don’t give a crap about either business or True Crime, that is going to go south in the worst way possible. I think anytime you’re chasing money or fame, it’s never a good way to make either one of those things. You can’t want fame and have it. You have to be great at what you’re doing and love what you’re doing. I think those are the people that are successful and it’s any genre, but it’s never truer than in podcasting.
The Law of Attraction is strong with this field because if you are after money and you are desperate, your listeners will smell it and they will run. It’s only when you care about your topic and you’re interested or you’re having a good time that makes the best audio. It makes advertisers flock to you, that makes listeners flock to you and then you’re successful. If you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, you just might as well give up now. Go do something else that makes you happy as a hobby or a career because this is not a career. It’s something fun that turns into a career when you’re good.
The last thing I want to know is, you mentioned your kids. Have they listened to the show? Do they like that you’re a podcaster? Are they proud of you for that? Are they like, “I don’t want to know anything about it, what my mom does is weird?”
My five-year-old doesn’t. He doesn’t even know anything exists other than himself. I have a five-year–old and a 21-year old. My 21–year–old I know has never listened to. I have two shows, almost three. He’s never listened to any of them, but he did come with me to the NSA Conference. He hung out with not just me but other podcasters too. They were talking about it and first of all he’s a good public speaker and he’s very passionate about certain things. I think he would make a very good podcaster. He’s been humming and hawing about college and traveling and he doesn’t know what he wants to do with himself. I was like, “You never shut up about Pokémon. I don’t see a lot of Pokémon podcasts. Maybe you should talk about that and see where it takes you. At the very least, you’ll have somewhat of a built–in audience in the sense that a lot of podcasters know me and they’ll support them or tell people about it if I say so, which is lucky enough.” Anybody with a podcast, if you have a kid who’s doing something, you can just tell them on, “Check this out. My kid’s doing it.” I think he might be getting into it, but it’s certainly not from listening to me. I doubt he will ever listen to my show.
I have daughters. My 24-year–old runs our business. Most of our clients know her better than they know me. Obviously, she does listen. She does know what goes on there. My ten and my five-year-old, they all want to get on the mic. It’s fascinating to them that we have microphones in the office and they want to get on and hear their own voice. I think I can’t be prouder. That’s the idea that those girls will never know what it’s like to not vocalize. To me I was like, “I’m done. I did a great job as a mom. I could slack off for the rest of the years.”
Pretty much for him as well and I do love when he loves to talk on the microphone. He loves the sound of his own voice. He sings a lot. I do love that. I don’t know that I could instill that in him. He’s a little goofy anyway. I do love that. He likes to play with the mic and he likes hearing himself and I think he’s a natural podcaster. I can’t always capture when he’s being hilarious. It’s so spontaneous.
It’s like, “If I sat you down to speak, you wouldn’t do it.” I’m like, “We’ll attach a microphone with you and we’ll follow you around.” It will be a different model.
Your ten-year–old can do her own show already.
She’s still trying to figure out what she wants to do, but she wants to be on video. She wants to be a YouTuber, that’s her goal. I was like, “You just got to figure this out. We’re here to support you. We got lots of tech.” My son-in-law is a video guy. I’m like, “You’ve got support here, you can do this but you’ve got to figure out what you’re going to talk about because I’m not going to let you just go into it and go like, “I’m going to talk unicorns,” and then you talk three shows and you’ve got nothing else to talk about.”
You do have to put some thought into that.
That’s the part that’s hung her up and I’m so glad because I wish more podcasters would have that kind of processing. Can we talk about this for a long time? Do people want to hear this?
She’s lucky she has you.
Thank you. I appreciate that and yours are too. I am so excited about our community. Tell everyone about when the event is, all the details about it.You have to love what you’re doing to be great at what you’re doing. Click To Tweet
You can find out about the event at ShePodcastsLive.com. It’s going to be in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis, which is a gorgeous hotel. It’s on October 11th through the 13th and the kickoff party is on the 10th. There are going to have amazing podcasters and speakers, 107 beautiful women to teach you every aspect of podcasts including how to start if you’ve never started before. If you want to learn more about She Podcasts the free group, you can go to ShePodcasts.com. All of our handles are She Podcasts, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @ShePodcasts. Our group is Facebook.com/groups/shepodcasts. Please join if you want to find out what it’s all about. It’s going to be an in-person version of the online version and it’s encouraging and supportive and loving. I can’t wait to meet you in person. I hope you’d live up to the hype.
I am absolutely sure you will.
Thank you so much for having me. It’s been fun.
It’s my pleasure. All of you out there, I’m doing Center of Influence interviews with top podcasters all over and I’m bringing you many more from the event. The She Podcasts live event, I’ve gotten more speakers coming up in probably the next three weeks. We’re all leading up to the event. I’ve got probably at least one a week will be coming out. We’re doing a whole bunch of highlights for the next couple of months.
Send me those so I can help put them out there.
We’ll be sure to tag you when we post them. Erica Courdae went ahead of Jessica here. Erica Courdae’s went live. She’s going to be a speaker at the event and we’re super excited about her. Don’t miss that episode. We’d be sure to make a throwback to that. Jessica Kupferman, thank you so much for being on the show. I really appreciate it. She Podcasts Live is coming up. Thank you all. I’m Tracy Hazzard and we’ll be back next time with a top influencer.
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About Jessica Kupferman
Jessica Kupferman is the co-host and co-founder of the She Podcasts brand, which currently supports over 12,000 female podcasters and has a digital marketing reach of over 50,000 content creators. She Podcasts LIVE, the live event created for the She Podcasts community, was funded spring 2019 via Kickstarter for double the goal and sold 200 tickets with 30 days. Jessica specializes in marketing and monetizing within the podcasting industry, and has been featured in magazines and websites such as Entrepreneur, Forbes, Business Insider, Social Media Examiner, and Yahoo Finance. She has also been a featured guest on podcasts such as Entrepreneur On Fire, Peter Shankman’s Faster Than Normal and the New Media Show. She has been honored to speak at The NAB Show, blogHer, Social Media Marketing World, Podcast Movement, and many other blog and podcasting conferences.
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