“How to Become a Hyperlocal Center of InfluenceThrough Podcasting” with Audrey Bell-Kearney of the Good Morning Gwinnett Podcast
Audrey Bell-Kearney is a born entrepreneur. In business, she’s dabbled in everything from product design and launches to marketing, tv, radio, books, and now podcasting. Her bio alone will make you question your own productivity, and her resume is even more impressive. When it comes to influence and building up a community, Bell-Kearney is an expert. Her hyperlocal approach to her latest endeavor of podcasting, what we’re going to talk about today, is not only incredibly smart- it’s working.
“I really wanted my community to get to know me. So going hyperlocal ended up being a really good decision for me and my platform and it opened up a lot of doors for me.”
The Modern Podcaster
From my own very first podcast launch until now- so much has changed and the potential in this industry is incredibly exciting. In the past, you might get lucky with an advertiser or sponsor, but today there are so many paths to monetization and building up a community of listeners. The sky’s the limit. But also, given that there are lower barriers to both entry and monetization, you have to niche down and be really clear and very specific about who you are, the purpose of your show, and who exactly you’re talking to.
“At the time that I was building my show, before I launched, I didn’t really realize that I was niching down, I just knew I didn’t want to have a regular show like everyone else’s. That approach ended up taking me down this path of niching and bringing my show to the point it is right now, which is Good Morning Gwinnett — a show focused on the events, people, and community of Gwinnett County, Georgia. My show is definitely hyperlocal, and allows me to really engage and educate my own community, which is so surreal to me and I love it.”
Local Influence Over Globalization
Before the digital explosion, everything was hyperlocal, because we worked, communicated, and engaged in close proximity to where we lived. Now, in business and even community (through social networks online) we are shifting more and more towards globalization because we aren’t restricted by location. But is that what people really want or need? “I think it feels good for people, for my listeners, to be able to tap into something local and really focused on their hometown or their community. There’s a lot of power in that for influence and engagement, and plenty of room for growth in this space. The more I do this, the more pathways I see to connect this community.”
Podcasting As A Form of Service
In this case, it seems that becoming the center of influence falls second in line to Bell-Kearney’s commitment to serving her community. It’s no surprise that the born entrepreneur- who created the first line of plus size fashion dolls, served as a consultant with the Rutgers & Kean University Small Business Development Center in New Jersey, sat on the advisory board for the Rutgers University Small Business Development Center, launched several other businesses, and has even authored multiple books- would end up creating a platform designed to serve her community.
4 Keys to Solid Hyperlocal Podcasting
There’s always so much to learn when you start something new. Bell-Kearney recalled a time when she had the most amazing interview, and didn’t get the recording. Now, she uses backup methods to make sure she covers for those potential mishaps. Here, we put together a few more lessons learned along the way and why they are so important to high-quality hyperlocal podcasting.
- Be yourself. A Podfest speaker inspired me to really go for the show I wanted to build and I’ve realized how important it is to be connected to, passionate about, and excited for the show you pursue. It has to be yours and you have to be able to really be yourself. It’s easy to get beat up or to feel like you have to do the things everyone else is doing, but you have to be true to yourself.
- Be consistent. If you are going to be yourself, you have to be yourself always. Listeners need to know who and what to expect. It’s easier to engage that way, because it creates a level of comfort for the listener around how they can interact with and fit in with your content.
- Create high-quality content. If your show isn’t good, forget the rest. You have to really align with what you can offer your listeners, how you can engage them, how they can get to know you, and how you can get to know them. Content is the bridge between their home and yours, and whether or not that bridge is of high quality is going to determine whether or not the listener will cross it.
- Get online in the right places. I drive all traffic to my website and my app. When I’m out and about in my community, I encourage people to download my app for access and exclusive content. This has really worked well for me because it’s a low barrier solution to the listener, for how they can connect with me once our conversation is over. And then, of course, it makes the most sense to really push and drive traffic to my website. For monetization and long-term engagement and success, this is really the best option. Even if an app isn’t right for you- figure out what is. Get a plan together that works for your show and your goals.
“Becoming an authority and influence in your community is obviously at the center of everything I do, for myself and for my clients. I love this idea of integrating, building up, supporting, and highlighting communities. I talk with politicians, I shout-out nonprofits, I feature local entrepreneurs, I even go onsite and broadcast live as a service for local events.”
Bringing the community together, bridging gaps, starting conversations- we need more of this- in my community and in your community. When you know your neighbors, your local politicians, your local startups; when you’re connected, “they” become people you know by name, and not just a hollow representation of a one-sided opinion. We misunderstand or judge one another because we don’t know one another, and Bell-Kearney is on a mission to change this, one episode at a time.
5 Things You Need to Know to Create A Successful Podcast
Top 5 best ways to… right here, right from this center of “hyperlocal podcasting” influencer, on what it takes to become the center of influence in your startup or podcast.
- The best way to book guests: Choose people that you really want to meet or that you’re inspired by what they’re doing. Your interviews will be better too.
- The best way to increase listeners: Getting out in my community and encouraging people to download my app and connect with me is working well.
- The best way to produce a professional podcast: Be smart about your mic and your environment. When I record, I’m secluded, it’s early in the morning so outside noise is minimal, and my room is soundproof.
- The best way to encourage engagement: Use your content to its full extent to give different listeners different options to listen.
- The best way to monetize: Advertising and offering broadcasting live on location, especially for a hyperlocal podcast.