Podcasting Luminary: Polyamory Weekly

polyamory podcast

This series is all about showcasing Libsyn podcasters. Its sole purpose is to introduce these awesome podcasts to the world as well as share their podcasting insight to empower the community!


Q & A with Minx from Polyamory Weekly


Fun, Fame or Profit? Why are you doing the show?

My primary driver is to be a resource for my community. So many polyamorists don’t know there is a word for the way they prefer to love, and often end up isolated, marginalized or shamed for their orientation.

Knowing that the podcast is a sympathetic voice for those who are wired for multiple, loving, long-term relationships with the full knowledge and consent of all parties involved is what keeps me going.

That being said, it is kind of fun to be internet famous, especially at conferences and events! I love talking to listeners and hearing their stories.

What is your most memorable feedback from a listener?

Every day, listeners write in and tell me that they didn’t know that it was OK to be poly or that their family didn’t understand or shamed them for being “greedy” or promiscuous and assured them they would “change when they met the right guy/gal.”

When I hear that knowing that there are others like them makes their lives better, I could podcast for another 10 years!

What has changed the most in your recording setup since you started?

I’m rather embarrassed to admit that not a lot has changed, save the microphone.

I started with an analog mic, moved to a digital and then to a Blue Snowball and now, a Blue Yeti. Everything else has stayed pretty much the same. I’m sure the audio quality could be better, but I choose to focus more on the content.

I have honed my process over the years, by adding a live episode map spreadsheet so I can easily schedule content in advance and by standardizing my show notes outline.

Any notable names of listeners you have heard from over the years?

My dream is to have Dan Savage listen to my podcast!

What tools on libsyn have you found most helpful in building your brand/podcast?

While I appreciate all the features Libsyn rolls out, the reason I’ve stayed with Libsyn since 2005 is because of the people: you’re always just an email away, and no matter how many silly mistakes I made over the years, you never acted like my questions were dumb!

Have you found that social media has expanded your listener base/reach? (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, etc)

While I engage regularly on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn, by far the best social network for engagement with our fans is Facebook.

If I’m short on content for the week, all I have to do is to post a question on Facebook (such as “what do you wish you’d know about poly before you got into it?” or “would you date someone in a couple whose partner self-identifies as monogamous?” or “what is your pet peeve on dating websites?”), and dozens of funny, interesting and sometimes heartbreaking responses will appear, many of them lengthy and quite personal. I’ve used that method more than once to get direction for relevant content for the podcast!
###What is your workflow: include hardware, software, text editing, and services as necessary

Producing a weekly podcast without a regular co-host is not for the faint of heart! I use a number of tools to manage the workflow.

Hardware

First, the easy part: the hardware. I plug a Blue Yeti with a pop filter into my MacBook Air and capture the audio using Audio HiJack Pro.

I’m lucky to have a volunteer editor, but when he’s busy, I edit the episodes myself using Audacity and export as a wav file.

Thanks to Rob’s advice on a recent episode of The Feed, I import the wav file into iTunes and convert it to mp3 there, and then add the album art and ID3 tags before posting to Libsyn.

I purchased a Google Voice number for the listener comment line.

Workflow

This is the hard part! I keep a running Google Spreadsheet episode map to track episode dates, topics, cohost or guest and where each sits in the production process, including:

  • Intro recorded
  • Topic recorded
  • In editing
  • Tagged
  • Show notes created
  • Posted to Libsyn
  • WordPress blog post created

I try to keep at least three weeks ahead in terms of the topic segment, which is the bulk of the show. But currently, I’m only two weeks ahead due to a heavy workload at my day job.

Each episode has a folder in Drive, which includes the show notes document (Google Doc) and any relevant audio files such as listener comments or questions. The show notes outline is populated during the week, as I respond to emails and check feeds:

  • Episode number, title and date
  • Promo (either paid or for my own products, such as the book and online classes)
  • Host chat and announcements
  • Poly in the News
  • Topic/Interview
  • Feedback
  • Happy Poly Moment
  • Thank you (recognizing donors)
  • Outro

Google Voice audio files from listener feedback are downloaded, renamed and then uploaded to the appropriate episode folder with a summary and annotation in that episode’s show notes.

Posting

Once the audio file is completed, the posting and promotion begins. These posting steps are also reflected in the PW Episode Map spreadsheet:

  • Posted to Libsyn
  • Posted to WordPress blog (show notes content and links)

Promotion

I thankfully use HootSuite Pro for most of the social promotion, which saves buckets of time. However, it still takes about an hour per episode for the full cross-posting regimen:

  • Post to Facebook Page with a feature photo
  • Share to personal timeline (via Facebook directly)
  • Scheduled reposts to Facebook Page in 1, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months as [PW Archive episode ###]
  • Schedule three Tweets over four days (morning, afternoon and evening) with link and photo from @polyweekly
  • Repeat above with @cunningminx, being careful not to cluster Tweets
  • Schedule [PW Archive episode ###] Tweets for 1, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months from @polyweekly
  • Repeat above from @cunningminx, being careful not to cluster Tweets
  • Post to Google+, LinkedIn and Tumblr
  • If relevant, post to FetLife (not using HootSuite)
  • Create and send episode email with call to action button to mailing list (using MailChimp)

I use the Boxcar app on my iPhone to track mentions, re-tweets and new followers and favorites so I can respond promptly.

Do download numbers matter matter to you? or is audience engagement key?

Like any good podcaster, I pretend numbers don’t matter. Then I check them religiously and do a Download Happy Dance every month.

That being said, I’ve said many times that the minute that the listeners stop emailing me with questions and topic suggestions, I’ll happily hang up my microphone and enjoy the extra 10 hours of sleep a week. It’s the listener engagement that keeps me going year after year.

Since I’m not contributing to the gene pool, I feel an extra drive to make a difference in this world. There is a huge need for a safe space for people to share their experiences with both monogamy and polyamory in a fully-inclusive, non-judgmental and welcoming space.

While there are many poly mailing lists, forums and online groups, an unpleasant aspect of alternative communities is that they can tend to be exclusive and judgmental, what I call the “poly police.”

This can have the effect of shaming or shunning people that are perceived as “doing poly wrong,” which can be devastating to the unwitting people that came to an online community looking for help.

On our blog and Facebook page, civil discourse rules the day. Commenters that name call or make snap judgments are quickly reminded to be respectful and thoughtful; “that’s just stupid” doesn’t fly here. I am really proud to provide such a space for the poly and poly-curious.

How has or has podcasting helped create opportunities for you?

Podcasting has really changed my life in that it has made me an activist, something I’ve never been before! I spend a good chunk of my time blogging, speaking and teaching classes both online and in real life about how to have healthy poly relationships and how to interact compassionately both inside and outside the poly community.

Last year, I was honored to give the keynote at the national Poly Living conference, which I entitled: “How Polyamory Became More Mainstream Than Peanut Butter: From Scandalous to Swank in 10 Years Flat.”

Because I know people will ask, yes, I do generate a modest income from the podcast and its related content. About a quarter of the monthly income comes from donors; another quarter from book and ebook sales, another from live classes and the final quarter is from online courses. All in all, it generates about enough revenue to pay a modest mortgage.

What advise would you give a new podcaster so that they keep going!

Only start podcasting if the topic is something you are extremely passionate about. Like, you can’t shut up about it.

If it’s not something you’re willing to focus on every week, you’ll likely podfade when you get sick or have a fight with your spouse or change jobs or take a vacation.

Oh, and never put the word “weekly” in your podcast title. That was the dumbest thing I ever did!

How important is podcasting to the success of other revenue generating opportunities you currently have?

Think of the podcast as the marketing and PR mechanism for the other things. It’s like your business card, resume or weekly ad.

I cannot stress enough that the great content and the relationship with your fans have to come first.

They are the ones that will make you famous, not you. Once they know, like and trust you, then and only then should you develop products that they might be willing to purchase.

I’ll tell a little story about my first online course, which I just began offering last year. It came about not because I sat around saying “how can I make money from my podcast?” but rather because listeners were complaining that I kept talking about this great class I love teaching at events that they couldn’t afford to travel to.

Every time we taught the live course at a conference, the room was packed, and we got a lot of positive feedback. So we already knew there was a market for it; it was just a matter of choosing the right delivery software, customizing the content for online delivery and choosing the right price point.

That’s the basic marketing process: what do your fans want and would be willing to pay for?

Did you start off podcasting and that lead into a business or did you see podcasting as a necessary support for an existing business?

I saw it originally as a form of self-expression and public service. I only started the podcast because I was curious about audio RSS delivery, and my boyfriend, his wife and I had had such a rocky first year of trying out polyamory.

I figured that I could talk about what we did wrong, what we did right and the lessons we learned—throw myself on the grenade, as it were, in the hopes that others wouldn’t make the same mistakes.

Has podcasting helped you grow your business.

I know I keep saying my podcast is a public service, but it really did develop into a small business, even though that wasn’t my original intent. I just wanted to share my story, and I would much rather speak than write, so podcasting made more sense to me than blogging.

I do believe that going in with the genuine intent to share my own experience and to help others are the reasons for the podcast’s success, however. If I had seen it as a business opportunity from the beginning, I doubt the show would be as popular as it is today.

There is the danger that monetizing might have driven my decisions rather than listener engagement—and that focus on listener engagement is what made the show so popular!

What piece of advice would give others looking to generate revenue from podcasting whether directly or indirectly?

Podcasting is more personal than other media. There is something uniquely intimate about listening to a person’s voice in your ears; it’s easy to feel like you know the host intimately after listening to a few episodes, even if you’ve never met.

You don’t get that same affinity from reading blog posts or Tweets or seeing filtered photos on Instagram. Audio is just different; it’s more personal.

So be yourself, and keep your podcast free. Think of the podcast as free marketing for your awesome personal brand, your direct line to your audience and your best chance to prove the true value of your authentic brand.

You can charge for everything else, but that audio connection is your lifeline to an engaged fan base, so keep it real. And keep it free.

If you charge for access to your podcasts or premium, how did your audience react when you started doing this? How did you handle this?

I have promised my listeners that “the podcast is and always will be free.” When we came out with the podcast app (thanks, Libsyn!), some listeners wrote in, upset that they were missing out on app-only content just because they either didn’t have a smart phone or couldn’t afford $1.99 for the app.

So I decided then and there that all the audio content would be free and searchable through the blog. It made more sense to write and sell an ebook or an online course than to charge for podcast content. Again, the podcast acts as free marketing and PR to drive Poly Weekly’s brand discoverability and engagement; the books and courses are for income.


You know if this is the podcast for you! And if you know this is the podcast for you don’t delay! Get involved with the community and subscribe!

Minx mentions her online courses and stuff and here they are!

  • Ebook: Eight Things I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory (Before I Tried It and Frakked It Up): save yourself the heartache and headache with this quick and easy read with Minx’s own narrative of the biggest land mines she discovered in her first few years of polyamory
  • The eCourse: Kicking Poly Drama on it’s Ass: save yourself the petty rules and bitter arguments with three hours of the best lessons from our most popular class, complete with worksheets, a peer community and weekly tip emails

If you have had experience like no one else has, and are feeling that there must be others like you out there, how about starting a podcast? We would love to host your media

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