No matter how chatty you are, being “on air” can be nerve wracking; Decide on and create content you are passionate about. I am a very opinionated person, and when I warm up to you, I am 100% a Chatty Kathy. I’m a talker. But I’m also very much an introvert. Speaking on something I’m passionate about though? Speaking on womankind? Pass me the mic. A lot of times, my podcasts turn into trying to stay within an allowed time frame, rather than struggling to fill space. When you love something — Not just when you’re educated on something, not just knowing a topic — When you love something, when you are truly passionate about a topic and share that with the world, you can hear it in your voice. And on a podcast, that’s what you’re given: A voice to listen to.
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 Ariella Sandoval.
Arie is a Metro Detroit podcaster and psychotherapist-in-training whose social awkwardness rivals that of New Girl’s notorious Jessica Day. She is passionate about Detroit and hopes to use her counseling degree to start a women’s wellness center to help girls who struggle with depression and anxiety. When she isn’t working on the podcast or exploring the town with her friends, you will likely find her eating chocolate and hanging out with her cat while crying to Jennifer Lopez’ 1997 master film, Selena, in her favorite yellow overalls.
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?
Iam a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am a psychology buff… And it only took three schools, three career changes, and five years to figure that out (And now I am officially a Wayne State University alum). I am a writer… But deep down I’m scared of what people would think if they ripped open my diary. I am fierce, strong willed… But jeez, I can be as stubborn as a mule. I am concise, organized… And yet, I live and thrive in a state of organized chaos every day. I am a woman of Faith… But you know what, I have my share of doubts. I am a fighter, of social injustices in particular. I am passionate about what I believe in and the people I care about. My passion is for others and is near to the broken hearted, the tired, the confused… Because sometimes — A lot of times — I am that girl too. And that passion originally began in a diary.
For years, my life has been in a constant state of change, unknowns, and truthfully, chaos, and through it all, I have always kept a journal; It was a place for every moment… Big or small. As I got older, as I grew in my beliefs, my accomplishments, my relationships, my life day to day, there was a shift. My diary became, not just a diary, but an ode to my future daughter. I began starting each entry with “Dear Daughter” in effort to give my words, thoughts, plans, and dreams more purpose. Now, had you told me, even just a few years ago, that I’d be taking those thoughts from my bedroom to a platform such as this, I wouldn’t have believed it. But that’s what I’ve done. I turned that diary into a podcast: To bring women together, for the sake of all our future daughters and others out there alike.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
Well, I think the most interesting piece of all of this is that I created this podcast as a space for community among young women, and, actually, a lot of my feedback comes from men! LOL.
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?
Never assume people aren’t listening! Recently, in February, I centered the month around love, which was fitting given Valentine’s Day was around the corner. I had a few of my girlfriends come on, and we did an episode called, “Boyz, Plz Don’t.” I can admit my favorite topic is, in fact, boys. So, we decided to give them some advice on dating Dos and Don’ts, including some fun dating stories we’ve collected over the years. I felt comfortable sharing without hesitation because I assumed none of them would be listening. So, it’d be fine, right? WRONG, LOL. The next day, I received quite a few messages addressing our topsy turvy dates.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
I first aired on my birthday! October 26th, 2019 — To kick off year 23! And I have aired 18 episodes so far.
What are the main takeaways, lessons or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?
I primarily want my listeners to walk away knowing that they are not alone! I want them to know that the ups and downs of womanhood they’re going through aren’t unknown to the rest of us, and even more so, that those moments should be embraced!
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 think that my podcast is binge-listenable, unique from others, and special all for the same reason: It’s relatable and authentically me, authentically woman! But not just in a passive, cliché way — It truly is. The idea behind this podcast is to create a space for the every day ramblings concerning womanhood. A space for understanding and community, but not one that will shy away from the hard and ugly. It’s a place to listen. And listen for the sake of listening, because we don’t really listen anymore. It’s a place to be present. Some days we feel more, some days there’s more to process, and some days it’s necessary to just put it all away and take a breath.
This space is for the girl out there who needs to know she does have value, the girl out there who needs a support system, the girl out there who has been wounded, or the girl out there whose personality is constantly in question; It’s about being a voice for the girl who doesn’t quite know what to say, doesn’t quite know what to ask. We are starting the conversation — And it’s even for myself! I am putting myself way out of my comfort zone, towards a place of growth and in a position where I’m forced to truly, critically think on issues and establish an opinion. And, most importantly, you’ll hear me say this a million times, it is for my future daughter.
Like I said, I have always journaled. And as my life started to evolve and evolve at a very quick pace, my thoughts changed, my perspective changed. Amid confusion or hurt, what I would have wanted to hear was, “I’ve been there.” Beginning each entry of my diary with “Dear Daughter” was a way to give my words and end of the day thoughts more purpose in how I was speaking and working through problems and dissecting topics, issues, feelings, whether that was from what I was hearing from the world and society as a whole or within my own personal life. I wanted those thoughts to be for her, my future daughter (Fingers crossed): For my daughter to read, to listen to one day and have that extra boost to muddle through it and grow in strength and grace as she becomes the young woman she’s meant to be. And if not my own daughter, someone else’s; Because, let’s be real, whether it’s the next big movement or protest or body change we should be embracing, or simply the struggles of how the heck do I match my foundation to my neck and the nerves and butterflies of a first date. It’s a LOT to navigate through, especially with all the fun that comes with puberty and just trying to figure out who you are.
That’s what all of this is for.
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?
My podcasting / recording is not done on a regular basis. I do journal every day, as that is a habit I developed as a young teen. However, when it comes to recording, I like to get girls together to record in a large group and do multiple at a time to have several lined up, waiting to be edited and posted. By doing this, I feel like I can maintain the excitement of creating and able to avoid that burnout.
What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?
Most of my material is straight from my past and current diaries! As well as questions developed from everyday conversations I have with the young women in my life.
I’m also very inspired by two important young women in my own life — I have a set of spunky 17 year old twin sisters. This is also for them.
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?
I would pick Dax Shepard with his podcast Armchair Expert!
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?
What I love about Dax is that he’s not just an actor, but he also has an Anthropology degree! How cool? His podcast is centered around the messiness of being human and finding people who are vulnerable and honest about their struggles and shortcomings and celebrating that. With his experience in the acting community and his degree in the social sciences, I believe he can listen and relate to his guests and listeners so well — And from a more broad and cultural perspective too!
Steps to creating a successful podcast like Dax would include 1. Being open minded to content and being engaging in conversation, 2. Networking to find guests who share your passion for the content you choose, 3. Working on yourself in order to be vulnerable with your subject matter to produce sheer authenticity and transparency for your listeners, 4. Not putting too much pressure on numbers and ratings and focusing on being excited about your material, your platform, your guests, and your listeners, 5. Be willing to grow — It is a learning process.
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.)
Five things I’d share with others to create an extremely successful podcast? (In no particular order)
1. No matter how chatty you are, being “on air” can be nerve wracking; Decide on and create content you are passionate about.
I am a very opinionated person, and when I warm up to you, I am 100% a Chatty Kathy. I’m a talker. But I’m also very much an introvert. Speaking on something I’m passionate about though? Speaking on womankind? Pass me the mic. A lot of times, my podcasts turn into trying to stay within an allowed time frame, rather than struggling to fill space. When you love something — Not just when you’re educated on something, not just knowing a topic — When you love something, when you are truly passionate about a topic and share that with the world, you can hear it in your voice. And on a podcast, that’s what you’re given: A voice to listen to.
2. Find likeminded guests — Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not saying to find guests who share your same opinions and values. I would actually argue to create conversation with others who DON’T share your same opinions and values. But DO find guests who are likeminded in the content and purpose behind the platform.
By having guests from different backgrounds and mindsets, I have been able to learn a lot and broaden my perspective, as well as better formulate my own opinions.
3. Sound quality is important! No matter how much your listeners love the content, it’s hard to listen to an episode that’s full of noise and fuzz — No fun.
Originally, I was adamant about buying my own equipment and creating my own little studio space for it, and I would still LOVE that. The problem, though, was that I also wanted to make sure I was creating a space that multiple people could jump into. And, again… Sound quality. I wanted it to be easy for my listeners to enjoy. Eventually, I gave in and decided I would look for a studio where everything was already set and just create a budget for the platform, but that was adding up fast, and it was becoming more of a stress than something I was excited about. Thankfully, I was actually blessed with a beautiful studio that I love… In the city that I love — And for FREE! Simply because the hotel that it is in values creators within the city and wants to invest in them and the change being created right there downtown. It never hurts to ask! People believe in you without you even realizing it!
4. Don’t get lost in the details.
On paper, there is so much to creating a podcast… Creating anything. You could write an endless list of all things you need to buy, you need to do, you need think about. Obsessing over perfection and every detail blinds you from the big picture. So, take a step back and look at that bigger picture. I had my podcast waiting and tucked in the back of my head for too long. I even had my logo waiting for me for over a year before I finally produced my first episode. I was so worried over perfecting content, learning to edit (And how to just use a computer, really — I’m actually pretty technologically impaired, LOL), concerned about gaining followers, concerned about what people would think hearing my voice and my words… I was just worried overall that I couldn’t do it. I was overwhelmed by the paper list of what it took, until I decided to just take that jump. And here I am!
5. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Vulnerability sucks. Talk about my feelings? Gross. Putting myself out there on a social media platform with the potential of anyone listening? Are you serious…? The entire project is completely out of my comfort zone. In a crowd of people, I’m the first to speak up, but doing so in the realm of social media is different. Social media carries the endless possibilities of listeners, avenues, and opinions. It’s so daunting! But when you’re able to be fully transparent with your listeners and yourself, you create the best content — Because it’s REAL.
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.)
- I would encourage podcasters to seek out guests with diversity; From different backgrounds and mindsets that can bring a fresh perspective to the conversation each time.
- Before uploading an episode, I would ask yourself “Would I listen to this?” If you wouldn’t even want to sit through the whole thing, someone else won’t either.
- I can’t emphasize sound quality enough! It’s more important than you realize. Either make the investment in good sound / recording equipment or take the leap and find a studio that can help handle that for you. It’s worth it.
- Don’t shy away from putting yourself out there and be completely you during the process! People love someone they feel they can relate to. Be a friend via the internet!
- Monetizing a platform is something I am trying to learn myself! So, I will be reading my other fellow podcasters advice as well 😊
For someone looking to start their own podcast, which equipment would you recommend that they start with?
I personally use the podcast booth in the Detroit Foundation Hotel, and they have been GREAT! For editing, though, I use Adobe Audition, and for my website I use Square Space! They have all been so helpful throughout my process.
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. 🙂
Being able to have a hand in helping young girls find and grow in both confidence and grace during such a turbulent time within society for self-security as a young woman is huge for me. If I could give my time to help inspire true, genuine community and support systems for young women, that would be everything — Whether that’s through my future career field or my podcast platform growing or just being friend within my community.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can check out my website at www.deardaughterpodcast.com, follow along on IG: Podcast — @deardaughterpodcast, Personal — @ellasan1026, and find me on Apple Podcasts under Dear Daughter Podcast.
Thank you so much for sharing your time and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.
Thank YOU for taking an interest in me and my platform!