I am authentically me all the time — I’m the same person on the podcast as you’ll find on social media or you’ll meet in real life. Because I use the podcast as a chance for people to get to know me. My guests on the other hand are all amazing. I invite people on that I’ve got to know in one way or another. Maybe I’ve read their books or done a course or followed them on social media for a while. I also pride myself in looking beyond the obvious — so to look at experts from other industries who can share something amazing.
Aspart of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a very successful podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rhea Freeman.
Rhea Freeman is small business marketing and social media expert. She does a lot of work in the equestrian and country sector but is also a #SheMeansBusiness accredited trainer, runs three Facebook groups for small businesses and influencers including the free Small & Supercharged group with over 2k members, and has a podcast by the same name. She’s also a 2 x TEDx speaker and guest lectures around the subject of social media at a number of universities.
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?
Ohcrikey- that’s quite a trek so I’ll give you the condensed version! I was a high achiever at school but shunned a more conventional path to follow a passion and work with horses. From this I became a qualified instructor, started writing for magazines about equestrian subjects, and then started copywriting for equestrian businesses. This very naturally led to public relations and over time evolved into social media… and that aspect has grown quite spectcularly over the last five years.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
I’ve been able to speak to a number of female entrepreneurs I didn’t ever dream I’d get the chance to chat to! As an avid reader, I read a lot of books, and my particular love is for business books. Some of my favourites are written by Carrie Green (founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association), Denise Duffield-Thomas (author of Lucky Bitch, Get Rich Lucky Bitch, and Chillpreneur) and Fiona Humberstone (creator of The Brand Stylist). I have interviewed these three amazing ladies and authors on my podcast — actually, I interviewed Denise at about midnight because of the time difference!
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?
I’m not sure whether it was a mistake as such but I remember the first time someone swore on one of my podcasts. I don’t know why, but I’d decided on a subconsious level that having an ‘Explicit’ label would be a bad thing… turns out it really isn’t! I also learnt from this that if you decide to interview people as part of your podcast, you pick them because you want them. Not your own version of them. If you want their fans to love the podcast too, you have to deliver the person they expect. And that might mean you tick the Explicit box.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
I’m just approaching my 103rd show and I’ve been podcasting since the end of September 2018.
What are the main takeaways, lessons or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?
I want them to feel inspired and uplifted but I also want them to learn something and have a little food for thought. I do a lot of ‘teaching’ through the podcast as I’m so passionate about educating people around my subject, but I don’t ever want anyone to listen and feel overwhelmed. I want them to think ‘ok, that doesn’t sound too difficult, I’m going to try it!’ I’ve also realized that it’s important to be me on the podcast, to let my sense of humor make an appearance and have a laugh at myself. It’s what makes my podcast unique.
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?
OK, so bingeable content first — I think you have to make sure that you’re not burying someone in jargon and that you’re helping them to feel empowered, good about themselves, or inspired in some way. If I find that in a podcast, I want more of it! I think that because I don’t take myself too seriously and will lighten the mood even on serious subjects, it’s pretty easy listening. And as for what makes me special, I don’t think I am particularly, but I am authentically me all the time — I’m the same person on the podcast as you’ll find on social media or you’ll meet in real life. Because I use the podcast as a chance for people to get to know me. My guests on the other hand are all amazing. I invite people on that I’ve got to know in one way or another. Maybe I’ve read their books or done a course or followed them on social media for a while. I also pride myself in looking beyond the obvious — so to look at experts from other industries who can share something amazing.
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?
Batch. Plan to batch your content — it’ll save you time, stress and brainache.
What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?
A lot of my solo episodes are themed around issues I see in my groups or people DM or email me about. I also like to talk about new features people can utilize on social media too. Interview wise, I like to speak to people who have something genuinely interesting to share. I love to hear about people’s business journey but whenever I interview anyone I want them to add ‘value’ to the listener in some way, so they learn something or at the very least leave feeling inspired or motivated.
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 love Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger Podcast, Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy, and Jasmine Star’s The Jasmine Star show. They’re all very different but I think they all do an amazing job.
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?
I think the key is knowledge of the subject closely followed by showing up consistently. The sound quality is also so so important — you don’t need expensive kit to create quality audio but you need to be aware of how important it is.
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.)
How important audio quality is. I’ve invested in an external microphone for my computer which helps a lot, but also making little changes like adding more ‘soft’ things in your office helps the quality of the sound.
If you mess it up, pause, and go again. I had a habit of correcting myself the split second I made a mistake and barrelling on and that made editing really tricky. Just breathing and then going again helps!
Encourage people to share. I’ve only recently started doing this, but when I ask people to screenshot, share to Stories and tag I get a lot more people share than when I don’t.
Batch… but not too much! Batching podcasts is a good idea, but when I decided to release a podcast each day between 1–24th December, I did mega batching where I recorded a lot of podcasts on one day and you can hear it in my voice towards the end, just because I was getting tired. Batching is a really good idea as it means you can produce your content faster, but know your limits.
Have a plan. I’ve heard that some people almost script their podcast because that works for them. I don’t, but I do still jot down what I want to say and the main points I want to cover before I press record.
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.)
- This can be time consuming as people lead such hectic lives. Follow the people you want to interview on social media and get to know them better that way. If you can interview them about something that is key to them in that moment and/or they see you’re an actual fan and know them through social media, it’ll help. I’ve interview Carrie Green and Denise Duffield-Thomas and I believe the fact I was a genuine fan and followed them and engaged with their social really helped.
- Ask people to share your podcast. Guests can be brilliant for many reasons but their ability to share is a big one. You can see a jump in followers on the platform they’re sharing on and downloads too.
- It’s got to be audio quality. Record when it’s quiet and there’s no background noise. Test different environments. Invest in a microphone.
- I ask people to screenshot, share to stories and tag me. Not everyone does, obviously, but the fact some people do helps. I also post on my socials with a graphic and then also do a post later in the week with a couple of extracted quotes.
- I haven’t yet monetized mine through ads but it’s definitely helped my personal brand and business.
For someone looking to start their own podcast, which equipment would you recommend that they start with?
I use my MacBook Air and a Yeti Microphone. I find these two work well for me.
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. 🙂
That it’s easy to promote yourself online and that social media is amazing, it’s not a dark art (I know some people make it out to be!), you’re very very capable, and that everyone started at nothing…
How can our readers follow you online?
I can be found at www.rheafreemanpr.co.uk, I’m @rheafreemanpr on Instagram, and /rheafreemanpr on Facebook
Thank you so much for sharing your time and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.