To increase listeners you have to promote. Utilizing multiple platforms, word of mouth and get one or two people who will support you no matter what. When you have a solid support base, you will get non-stop promotion.
As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a very successful podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nick Hamilton.
Nick Hamilton is the go-to sports and entertainment journalist and founder of Nitecast Media. Nitecast Media is a black-owned digital media platform that offers sports and pop culture enthusiasts access to exclusive content and interviews. Nick strives to broadcast real stories about rising athletes, entertainers, and global leaders that mainstream media refuses to air.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit of your personal backstory? What is your background and what eventually brought you to this particular career path?
My grandmother raised me in a house she bought in the 60s in a neighborhood where she was the first black person. My parents are hardworking people and have always valued integrity, character, and the ability to make your own opinions. They are the reason for my resilience and my thirst for mass accessible information. But not everyone was supportive. I was told I would never be good enough.
With the support of my family and their lessons, I vetted on myself and went back to school to try again, and I got my degree. I now have over ten years of experience. I’ve worked on significant outlets like NBC and iHeartMedia, covered all major sport and pop culture events, became a member of Pro Football Writers of America and National Association of Black Journalists, and am a founder of multiple successful podcasts.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
The most interesting thing that has happened to me since I started podcasting is people paying attention despite them disagreeing. It’s very encouraging because I know I am creating an impact. When you engage with a person who disagrees, you can make the most changes, and when you are able to convince them, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. But most of all, when I get dms and people coming up to me telling me that I have helped them gain the confidence to do what they want, that is the greatest gift I could receive as a podcast host.
Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaways you learned from that?
The biggest and funnest mistake I made when I first started podcasting, I forgot your mic is always hot. During the commercial I started cussing and every listener heard. It was a blow to my professionalism but it taught me a big lesson. You have to be professional every moment until you leave the building, be it in your podcast or business. From your session to your bathroom breaks, be professional, you never know who is listening.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
I have been podcasting for around 5 years now. I first began in 2017 and branched out to three main shows. TMA with Nick Hamilton has over 300 episodes. It is a weekly Tuesday show where I weigh in on the latest in the world of sports.The Opposite Reaction with Jackie Rae has 50 episodes where we talk about everything in entertainment, sports, and politics. NH Experience has 60 episodes where I give more inside looks in sports, pop culture, and politics.
What are the main takeaways, lessons or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?
The main takeaway I want my listeners to take is that I don’t care if you agree or disagree; I just want them to get the information and use it to form their own opinions about a topic.
In your opinion 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 your content?
I believe my authenticity makes my podcast binge-listenable. I am always truthful but controversial and my main goal is to give information that gets you to think and reevaluate what you previously knew. But most importantly I have fun, it’s almost therapeutic. We laugh, cry, and get upset, all these elements into the air, creating an addicting environment.
Doing something on a consistent basis is not easy. Podcasting every work-day, or even every week can be monotonous. What would you recommend to others about how to maintain discipline and consistency? What would you recommend to others about how to avoid burnout?
You have to march to the beat of your own drum. Don’t copy other people or be intimidated by their number, just do you. That’s how you keep things fresh. When you base your achievement on someone else’s, you’ll never be happy about what you’ve accomplished. Everyone has their own starts and just because it doesn’t pick up now, doesn’t mean it won’t be a success down the line. And take a vacation when you have to, it’s okay. If you refuse to take a break because you’re not satisfied with your numbers, it will only be a disservice to you and your audience. Burnouts won’t help your creativity flow.
What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?
I get my inspiration from TV, life, radio, and movies. You never know what will start a spark.
Ok fantastic. Let’s now shift to the main questions of our discussion. Is there someone in the podcasting world who you think is a great model for how to run a really fantastic podcast?
Yes, there are two podcasts I believe are a great model for a successful podcast. Each focus in different areas: All the Smoke and Watching the Ringer.
What are the ingredients that make that podcast so successful? If you could break that down into a blueprint, what would that blueprint look like?
All the Smoke, it is an in-depth interview style that is easy to listen to and personable. This is great for podcasts that feature guests to tell their stories. Watching the Ringer. This podcast is great for networking and advice. It works best for podcasts that wish to move forward from educational to mentoring.
You are a very successful podcaster yourself. Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast? (Please share a story or example for each, if you can.)
The five things you need to know to create a very successful podcast all revolve around the culture you represent and the culture you aim to create. To start, you have to know your audience. You need to know their interests and struggles. This first step aligns with one of the most crucial points in building a podcast — knowing why you are creating a podcast on these specific topics and why you are passionate about educating others on them. To accomplish this, you have to prepare for never-ending research. You have to know the past and present information on these topics and attempt to guess the future. You also have to understand the streaming landscape and the power of social media. To do so, you have to be fearless and patient to build the best audience. Your first audience will not always be the perfect fit for what you envision your relationship with your audience. But, most importantly, have fun; your fun will travel through your podcast and affect your audience.
Can you share some insight from your experience about the best ways to: 1) book great guests; 2) increase listeners; 3) produce it in a professional way; 4) encourage engagement; and 5) the best way to monetize it? (Please share a story or example for each, if you can.)
- To book great guests, you have to move past guests who are only the most experienced in their field and find guests who have the knowledge and who you know you would have great chemistry with. Not many people listen to podcasts just for the information. The banter and commentary are vital aspects of podcasts.
- To increase listeners you have to promote. Utilizing multiple platforms, word of mouth and get one or two people who will support you no matter what. When you have a solid support base, you will get non-stop promotion.
- To produce your podcast professionally you need to remember your mic is always hot, and you need sound equipment. Equipment can go a long way. Make sure your topic is something you would want to listen or watch, and never forget quality. If you go visual, your clothes and surroundings tell the audience a lot about you. Mold your environment and presence to fit the audience. If you are talking about business tips, suit and tie, but if you’re talking about horror stories, darken the lighting and embrace Halloween in your outfit.
- To encourage engagement, you have to be willing to comment and answer all questions as long as they are respectful. Let your audience know what your next move is and see what they think about. Have polls so that the audience could occasionally decide what they want to listen to, this creates loyal listeners.
- Finally, the best way to monetize your podcast is through social Media channels and local businesses that could be interested in sponsoring you. Even if it’s 50 dollars a month, that is still 50 dollars you didn’t have before. Always be prepared for presentation because your potential sponsors will want to know what you do and how you can help them.
For someone looking to start their own podcast, which equipment would you recommend that they start with?
I would first recommend for them to find a good environment. All equipment works differently depending on their environment, especially if you can’t find a quiet environment. Once you figure out your environment and check out the lighting and echo, you get a soundboard and mic. These are the first and vital equipment you need. If you want to branch out from purely audio, get a camera, stand, and lighting to manipulate what shading and focus you want.
Ok. We are almost done. 🙂 Because of your position and work, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good it would be a Media School for the youth in my community. Media School is a great way to show kids how to utilize what they are good at for career experience and skills. It will teach them how to be multifaceted. This kind of information isn’t really thought of nor how great the youth can benefit from it. If our communities had programs like these, we would be seeing a lot more black professionals, entrepreneurs, and podcasts.
How can our readers follow you online?
They can always check out Nitecast’s official website at nitecast.com. It has all of our streaming platforms, news, and my email if they want to connect. They can also visit my youtube channel @nhexperiencetv to get more content.
Thank you so much for sharing your time and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.