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"What better way to impact the world than to allow all the other women who can impact the world to take a big step forward?" That’s Jessica Kupferman in a speech that kicked off the inaugural She Podcasts Live conference last Friday. The event, which attracted 600-700 female-identifying podcasters, offered three jam-packed days of programming. A whopping 40 percent of the event's speakers were women of color, LGBTQ, or both (woot woot). In today’s newsletter, I bring you a selection of comments overheard in the conference sessions, meetups and hallways of the event. 


Pictured: ShePodcasts' founders Elsie Escobar (L) and Jessica Kupferman (R).


On getting started

Podcasting was a weekends, nights and lunch hour thing for me at first. My peers were people who were outside audio, trying to figure out. We didn’t start with access. I was burning out at a startup job so we set out a plan to get serious about making money. I was writing articles about how to do podcasting. A radio station called and said "Hey, we have audio but we need help promoting our shows." That turned into an eight-month project. I quit my other job. — Amanda McLoughlin, Multitude Productions

At first, we controlled costs by just doing all of the things, all of the work. We tried to keep costs as low as possible, we put our own savings into it. We bootstrapped our first show. When we thought about doing our second show, we believed we could find corporate sponsors to support it. Instead of asking sponsors if they were interested, we started telling them why they should be. We had more success with this approach. — Jenny Kaplan, Wonder Media Network 

When I first started, it really bummed me out when I got negative comments. Sometimes it still breaks my heart. But over the years I’ve gotten better at knowing which criticisms to take seriously. — Kristen Meinzer, By the Book (and myriad other projects


On underrepresented voices in podcasting

I love that in podcasting there are no rules. You don’t need a whole lot to get going and the playing field is leveled for once. With keynoting and all that, it’s still the same old, same old. But I feel like things are changing. — Summer Martin, The Unconventional Woman

I don’t know about you but at work, I bet a lot of us have to code-switch. It can be very draining at times. We want to be there for those people. You get home, you open a bottle of wine and listen to your friends. — Tan Ijoma, Here Ye Podcast

We have the natural ability as women of color to connect. And we have intention. But we have to do some work to make sure our voices are amplified. Our mission is bigger — not just get behind the mic, but inspire and empower other women of color in this industry. We are proud to be standing in front of you at an inaugural event as women of color, here to share with you and learn from you and connect with you. — Kim Sumpter, Sistahs Connect

Someone asked me what my symbolic tool for creating a community for podcasting would be. I’d have to say that for me, it’s a magnifying glass because it symbolizes looking for – or searching for - the gaps and how I can be of service. I saw the hole when it came to an official group for Asian American Podcasters. And soon after, I wanted to be more than just another Facebook group, more than just a meetup. So now we’re an official organization. I want anyone who wants to build a community around her podcast to know this: Don’t be afraid! Just hit that “create” button because wonderful things can happen if you do. — Lee Uehara, Asian American Podcasters

I talk about things that everyone can identify with — whether it’s sharing about my miscarriage or talking about how I’m often the only woman of color in a room. We are validating our voices. — Summer Martin, The Unconventional Woman

No one was talking about cancer who looked like us. I was talking about having sex on chemo — that’s real stuff. People responded. — Michelle "MJ" James, Cocktails & Cancer

We did focus groups with black people who listen to our station [NPR member WABE in Atlanta]. People felt we weren’t talking to them, even though they were listeners. And so we decided to be intentional for an audience that was with us but felt unappreciated. We heard [Dr. Regina Bradley and Christina Lee] on a newscast and they sounded engaged. We reached out and worked on [developing the podcast Bottom of the Map] together. — Je Anne Berry, Bottom of the Map


On marketing your podcast and finding new audiences

There was a time when the digital tools you had access to were only available to McDonald’s and Toyota. You have a significant amount of power to make change. — Jinja Birkenbeuel, Birk Creative

I am on my Facebook group every single day. I’m there responding to comments, providing value. If you’re not showing up in your community, why should they show up for you? Practice helps. Before I started my own group I moderated others. — Danielle Desir, WOC Podcasters

Even if your show is local, think about it globally. Not doing this is a missed opportunity because you’re already being listened to around the world. If it’s a story worth telling, share it with the world. — Lory Martinez, Studio Ochenta

Everybody should be on YouTube. But I’m betting that those of you who are on the platform are doing it wrong. If you reprise your show on YouTube you may get 20-30 more listens. But it’s not going to help you. People don’t discover you from your podcast. People discover you on YouTube and then they find your podcast. — Jessica Stansberry, The Grit Podcast

Think about what you can give sponsors, in addition to what they can give you. Help each other out. — Amanda McLoughlan, Multitude Productions

It’s been pretty great working with Cadence. We don’t have to handle the paperwork or track the ads and the team there already has relationships with agencies. They know who to talk to. The other benefit is that they have a network of other shows. We just started doing a network-wide ad campaign. — Carly Migliori, Pushkin Industries

Creating an event outside of online is a lot of work. It’s a lot of energy and once you start, you have to do it regularly. Also, it means you’ll probably have to start going to other people’s events so that they keep coming to yours. — Chrisella Herzog, Utah Podcast Summit


On getting it done

We struggle with work/life balance. We have full-time jobs. It’s a lot — but this is for us, it’s our brand. We’re both very passionate about it. — Danielle "Dani" Brown, Cocktails & Cancer

I had this wonderful idea but I work and I’m a graduate student. To create a narrative show was crazy pants! It didn’t hit me until I got to the [Google/PRX] bootcamp. I realized I needed more hands. I got connected with [producer Nichole Hill]. I couldn’t have done this without her. But making a narrative podcast with just two people is still crazy.  — Aseloka Smith, Colored Girl Beautiful

I’ve been a full-time blogger and podcasting is so much harder. Birthing is only slightly harder than publishing a podcast. — Bonnie Frank, Business Fabulous


On craft and style

The best thing you can do is to be curious and listen well. If you are curious, that will bring energy to your show. If you listen, your guest will tell you everything you need to know. — Lisa Orkin, Project Woo Woo 

I think my openness is good. I talk about how my kids are ***holes, I talk about how I cried in the closet for two hours. I don’t sugarcoat it. — Be Peete, Hear Ye Podcast

Having to jump between being a professor and being able to communicate in a way that resonates with people has been a challenge. But the chemistry on our team is unbelievable. I’ve had to work through my imposter syndrome. — Dr. Regina Bradley, Bottom of the Map


Final thoughts

You don’t have to make your show a business. Podcasting on its own is magic. — Elsie Escobar, She Podcasts

As women, we do not do a good job of bragging. When I lead with the fact that I’m a podcaster, people think it's cool. So claim it! — Summer Martin, The Unconventional Woman

We felt loved here, we felt free, we felt like we could be ourselves. — Suzanne Graham Anderson, Sit Down with Suzanne 


This newsletter was written and curated by podcast junkie and recovered publicist, Skye Pillsbury. Skye also hosts Inside Podcasting, a show in which podcasters discuss their craft. Over the years, Skye has crafted digital media strategies for brands like Yahoo! and Microsoft and worked regularly with media outlets such as the New York Times, Rolling Stone and NPR. Skye was famous for 49 minutes when she and her son were featured in an episode of Gimlet Media’s Heavyweight podcast. Follow her on Twitter @SkyePillsbury.

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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