I make sure to create posts and content that assists them with understanding how to find and subscribe to my show. Having meet-ups and creating explainer videos have also helped me to get over that hurdle.
As part of my series of interviews about “How to Become the Center of Influence Through Podcasting”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kimberly Sumpter is a Jersey City, NJ native and the host of the Sistahs Connect podcast. She is a Community Business Academy Instructor for Rising Tide Capital, a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming lives and communities through entrepreneurship and the owner of the Wax Kandy Candle Company.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about why or how you got started as a podcaster?
In February 2018, I decided to create a private Facebook group in hopes of finding other women who were also looking for a positive and uplifting community on social media. Most importantly, I wanted to facilitate and encourage the women within the group to connect with one another. In the span of three months, the community grew to over 1,000 members. It then occurred to me not only did I have a community of engaged followers, but these were also women who I might be able to convert into becoming podcast listeners. I then began binge listening to podcasts about podcasting, joined several facebook communities for podcasters and began watching tutorials on how to start a podcast. Eleven months later, I launched my first episode of the Sistahs Connect podcast.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting? Many of my friends have been inspired by my journey and are now launching or have launched their own podcasts. I have also been asked by people that I’m not personally acquainted with if I would be willing to teaching them how to start a podcast. I am a natural born teacher and I love that this is an opportunity that is opening up for me. I must admit that I would never have imagined six months that anything like could happening.
Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? Within the first three months of starting the podcast, I purchased a total of six microphones. Yes, six! As the shipments would come in, I would hide them underneath the bed and away from my wonderful fiancé. It’s so easy to go overboard with purchasing podcasting gear if you’re not careful. Looking back, I realize that none of those purchases were necessary and that a relatively inexpensive hobby almost became costly.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
I’ve been podcasting since January 20, 2019. To date, I’ve released a total of 12 episodes.
What are the main takeaways or lessons you want your listeners to walk away with?
I want the listeners to feel a sense of community and to know that they are not alone on their journey. All my guests drop jewels and bits of encouragement in hopes that someone listening will be compelled enough to begin to take action in her own life and move forward to find her divine purpose. Ok super. Now let’s jump to the core of our discussion.
You are a very successful podcaster. Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast?
Specifically, we would love to hear lessons from your experience about the best ways to:
Podcaster Influencer, Julie Lauren of the Hashtag No Filter Podcast shares the best ways to:
1) Book Great Guests
I created a wish list of the people that I’d like to interview and gave much thought about making sure that they can bring value to my listeners. I like to book guests that are naturally conversational and can articulate their message in a way that the listener can understand and relate to. I also make sure that I communicate with my guest during a discovery call prior to the interview to make them feel more comfortable and to let them know what they can expect.
2) Increase Listeners
Increasing listenership can be a challenge. What I didn’t realize before starting the podcast is that many of the women that I am targeting have never listened to a podcast before. I make sure to create posts and content that assists them with understanding how to find and subscribe to my show. Having meet-ups and creating explainer videos have also helped me to get over that hurdle.
3) Produce it in a Professional Way
Good sound quality is so important, and you don’t need expensive equipment or a professional studio to achieve that! I have an interview-based podcast where 90% of the interviews that I conduct are in person. Starting out, my initial set up was a laptop and a Blue Yeti microphone. I did decide to invest in a ZOOM H6 recorder which produces an amazing sound quality. A simple hack like using a heavy blanket to absorb the sound has done wonders for me. I also take the time to understand how to use my own equipment so that I can get the most out of it. At the end of the day, I owe it to my guests and the listeners to produce a show worth coming back to.
4) Encourage Engagement
As a podcaster it is ultimately up to me to engage my audience but because a large majority of the guests that I interview are personal friends, they not only promote their own episodes but they do help to promote the overall show. Staying connected and engaged within the Sistahs Connect Facebook group has also helped the podcast to grow exponentially.
5) Best Way to Monetize
Because my podcast is niche and fairly new, I’ve decided to focus on finding ways to monetize as a “podcaster” vs monetizing the actual podcast itself. Creating intimate lifestyle events that are podcast focused have been a great way for me to monetize. It also builds a sense of community and it helps me to attract more listeners. By combining my experience as a candle maker, I’ve been able to create customized candle favors for my own brand and have secured orders from other podcasters who want to offer unique merch to their listenersas well. Lastly, I have begun the process of using my website as a form of monetization. I am creating and will be offering business listings in a dedicated directory for women of color who own small business for a nominal fee.
From your vantage point what are some of the reasons why a person should consider creating a podcast series?
The great thing about podcasting is that the platform is allowing me to find and grow my tribe in the United States and abroad. Although many podcasters cover the same or similar topics, we all do it in a uniquely different way. If you have a compelling story that you feel people will be interested in hearing or a message that can add value to people’s lives, creating a podcast series can be a great way to get your voice heard and expand your reach.
Nowadays it seems as if everyone is trying to jump on the podcast bandwagon. Are there people to whom you would advise to avoid podcasting and instead focus on another medium?
Podcasting requires you doing more than just turning on a microphone then pressing record. Many indie podcasters do not have a budget to hire a show producer or editor. Those tasks will be left up to you which can be tedious and at times a little frustrating. If you don’t feel that you will be committed enough to stick to a consistent show schedule, you are uncomfortable with the sound of your own voice, or you’re reason for starting a podcast is to monetize it and monetize it quickly, this is not the right medium for you.
How has your position as a podcast host and a person of high authority, impacted your business, sales, and/or increased your opportunities? Can you share a story with us?
I cannot begin to tell you how many opportunities have opened for me since I began podcasting. I am a big fan of SHE PODCASTS hosted Elsie Escobar and Jessica Kupferman who in October will be hosting their inaugural event which is a conference that will cater to all types of women podcasters. I applied on a whim and was selected to be a panelist. I will have an opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences as a woman of color in the industry. I’ve also been featured in both local and national publications. My story is proof that you don’t need thousands of downloads to make an impact as a podcaster or with your audience.
What makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or the content itself?
My episodes are typically 20–25 minutes in length and that is intentional. I think of the Sistahs Connect podcast as a dose of inspiration on the go. Building a sense of community and inclusion is so very important to me and that is what makes the podcast so unique. Listeners have an opportunity and are encouraged to submit audio feedback which is integrated into the show at the beginning of each episode. Now listeners from anywhere can literally be a part of the conversation. The podcast emphasizes how nurturing and expanding a positive circle of friends can have lifelong benefits. It highlights conversations that I have with the close, personal friends that I genuinely admire. All the women are amazing in their own way and each one of them has inspired me in either my professional or personal life’s journey. As the host, I try to utilize my platform to celebrate them and our friendship with warmth and authenticity.
Is there a specific high-value guest (obviously still living) that you would love to interview on your show, and why? He or she might just see this when we tag them!
I would be honored to interview Michelle Obama because I have so much admiration and respect for her as human being. Her message would inspire so many women, especially women of color. She is and will always be my ultimate dream guest!