Welcome back to another episode of the Ink and Impact podcast. I am excited to have Sarah Moffitt with us today, and she is going to be sharing about starting a podcast to promote our author brands and sell more books. Sarah, thank you for joining us.
Thank you for having me. I’m excited.
Dalene: Out of the gate here, I’m curious to know how you and your husband Billy began your podcast business, which is Musical Crime Productions. I feel like there’s a story behind the name.
Sarah: There is, and it’s a wild ride, to be honest. Before I was a podcast manager, I was actually ghostwriting blogs, newsletters, and editing, if it was a manuscript that needed some tweaking and tightening up. So I was doing quite a bit of that.
And my husband Billy, he was a touring musician for 20 years, and that’s where musical crime comes from. He had released an EP in 2016 called A Musical Crime because it’s a crime what artists and creatives get paid for their talents and their skills and their craft.
Dalene: That makes total sense. At first I’m thinking, okay, I know she was a ghostwriter. Did she write mysteries or you know, solve the crimes? But that totally makes sense. I love that.
Starting a Podcast Gives Your Message Longevity
Dalene: You offer so many wonderful things as a podcast manager and I’m really interested in the launch strategy part of it, too. Walk me through it. So I’m a new client of yours. I’m an author with this new book that I’m either writing or have just published. What would you say to me to help me? Why would I start a podcast in the first place?
Sarah: So podcasting is just an amazing avenue. It’s like social media, but instead of being a 24-hour window where people see your post (if they see it at all during that 24 hours), podcasting is evergreen and it stays there forever. It’s just that beautiful structure that they have.
Key Considerations When Starting a Podcast
Dalene: So when you’re working with authors and other creatives along those lines, what kind of a podcast do you recommend that they provide? Just one that talks about their book’s theme, or do an interview or a solo? Do you go into that with them? Do you help them decide what kind of format that they should use?
Sarah: Sometimes they already have an idea of what they want when they come to me. If they don’t, we do walk through it together.
For somebody who’s launching a podcast to promote their book, it doesn’t have to be specifically just, “Let’s promote this book.” It’s very much like creating a content strategy like you would for your social media. You want to know why you’re starting this podcast. What’s your goal? Who you’re talking to?
Just like when you’re writing your book, who’s your ideal reader? Who’s your ideal listener? Likely it’s going to be your ideal reader because you’ll be showing up to talk about the topic that you wrote your book on. You’re the expert in that. Niche that theme, that topic.
The Benefits of Hiring a Podcast Manager
Dalene: In your area of expertise, how do you come in and support an author who is starting a podcast?
Sarah: With a podcast launch, instead of having to go to Google or YouTube and searching all the questions like, “how do you launch a podcast?” or “what equipment do you need to launch a podcast?”, it’s one-on-one with me and Billy for six to eight weeks. If you get hung up on anything, you can just come to us and ask, “Hey Sarah, what does this mean?”
But right from the beginning, we have this whole Trello board that walks you through every single step that we’ll be going through each week. It includes the things that we’ll need from you or what you might need support with such as:
- writing your show description,
- coming up with your episode topics,
- writing your episode descriptions,
- incorporating SEO into your show notes and into your episode titles,
- what looks good for cover art.
How Music Can Make Your Podcast Stand Out
Sarah: Billy, because he has his background in music, he writes custom music for each podcast that we help launch. So instead of having to go to a stock library where you might potentially pick a track that somebody already else has in a podcast or some other sort of media, you’ll have something specific to your podcast that reflects the mood that you want your podcast to portray.
Dalene: That is a unique selling factor right there. Not too many people have access to their own custom music tied in with their podcast manager. Do the authors own the rights to that music for the longevity of their podcast, or is that something that they have to renew annually?
Sarah: No, it’s for as long as their podcast is active. If their podcast goes inactive for a year’s time and they’re not coming back to it, then at that point they would waive their rights to it. But other than that, it’s for the length of time that they have their podcast, and we agree not to lease it to anybody else who has a podcast.
Faith Considerations When Starting a Podcast
Dalene: This podcast, Ink and Impact, is to encourage and embolden Christian writers to finish writing their books and get them published. I know that you’re Christian podcast managers and I’m curious, what needs or what areas are you aware of in the podcast space? What led you to focus on Christian creatives?
Sarah: To be honest, even before podcast management, I was getting approached by a lot of people who either had a manuscript or a company whose values did not align with my own, specifically in Christianity. I was not comfortable putting my name to it or putting out content that didn’t align with my values because what we do is to put out content that builds up the kingdom. To work with a podcaster that’s going to be promoting content weekly and potentially interviewing other people who are putting out content as well that doesn’t align with Christianity and our beliefs, it doesn’t feel right.
I mean, we have worked with unbelievers, but their values and the content that they were putting out, they didn’t butt heads, so to speak. So that’s really important to us, that what we’re putting out into the world is building up the kingdom and not the other way around.
Dalene: I agree. You know, once you start following other Christians, especially with the algorithms on social media and things, you realize that there are other people out there. But it’s still not obviously mainstream, the Christian books and the Christian podcast. It’s always such an encouragement to me to find like-minded Christian service providers.
That’s not to say that we can’t use secular service providers, but it all comes down to what Holy Spirit is telling us and where we feel convicted, right? It’s each, person’s individual decision. But I think that it’s wonderful when we’re able to connect with fellow believers and help build the kingdom on the airwaves and on the page.
I know that’s my calling and I gather that’s your calling as well. There’s just such an incredible opportunity to reach others for Christ in this way because even though there are unbelievers out there who might not necessarily be searching specifically for Christian material, if we are faithful in putting that material out there and if God directs them to come across it, that’s our opportunity to witness to them. But if we don’t put it out there, they absolutely can’t find it.
Sarah: Exactly. And the enemy wants nothing more than to stop us from putting it out there.
Dalene: Yes, yes indeed.
Podcasting Gives Your Message Global Reach
Dalene: We were chatting a little bit before I started recording this episode, and you were sharing that you are living in the UK, you and Billy live over there. Is there a different response to podcasting in Europe as opposed to the US? Are you aware of any differences or is it a universal growth factor?
Sarah: Yeah, it’s kind of a universal thing. I was just talking with someone this morning who I guess she didn’t realize I’m from the UK and I can see why when people talk to me in a voice memo. I have an American accent, and then when we try to schedule a call, it’s, “Oh, we’re in the same time zone!”
Well, what’s happening? I was talking to her today and she was just really excited to come across another Christian entrepreneur in the UK. I feel like maybe it’s not as prevalent as it is in the US. I don’t know if that’s true; maybe somebody can correct me if I’m wrong.
Dalene: You are able to work with clients remotely, I’m assuming?
Sarah: I am, actually. Most of my clients are in the States.
7 Practical Tips When Starting a Podcast
Dalene: So if an author is considering starting a podcast and they really feel that they want to do this, what would be a few first steps? What are some tips that you would share with them to get them started?
- Don’t give in to the fear. I know that there’s a lot of fear that comes around starting a podcast because it’s where do I start? What do I do? What equipment do I need?
- Don’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment. You can even just start with the voice memo app, with the mic on your apple earbuds, and start that way.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can grow. It will be messy, messy action. The important thing is to just take the first step, and if you don’t know what that first step is, you can reach out to a podcast manager. A lot of us offer consultations and are able to guide you in the right steps.
- If that’s not something you want to do, just take your social media content plan and apply that to starting a podcast.
- Look into hosting platforms and see what’s in your budget. There are free ones if you don’t have a budget for it. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be a really expensive thing to get started.
- Think about why you’re starting a podcast–the message that you want to put out there and who you’re putting it out there for. It’s almost identical to coming up with your ideal reader.
- There’s no right or wrong answer to frequency. If you think you’re going to feel overwhelmed producing content weekly, don’t commit to weekly. You could release once a month as long as you make it clear to your audience, “Hey, I release one episode a month, or bimonthly if you’re feeling a little excited, which we hope you are, because podcasting, while there is work involved, is very rewarding and there’s a lot of opportunity with it.
Dalene: I know that you help podcasters launch, but do you help podcasters maintain? Do you help them with their brand authority, their marketing, and that kind of thing?
Sarah: Post-launch, Bill and I like to continue taking over those behind the scenes tasks so you don’t have to worry about “how do I edit? My team just edited my entire podcast for this launch. Now what do I do?”
If you don’t move ahead with ongoing management, we can show you how to do it, but we like to take those tasks just so you can focus on the one thing: creating the content and showing up to speak so you don’t have to deal with all that overwhelm of “Now I need to commit time to edit, and now I need to commit time to creating graphics and promoting.” we’ll do it for you.
Dalene: It is time consuming, so having someone do it for you is something that is very beneficial if it’s in your budget, for sure.
Sarah: Yeah, we definitely believe in people being able to operate in their strength. Like me, I’m used to being the person behind, the person behind the scenes, not the the one behind the mic, so this is a little new experience for me. But it’s always important to step outside of our comfort zones periodically. See, I’m taking my own advice. I’m letting go of the fear.
Can Starting a Podcast Can Help You Become a Better Marketer?
Dalene: How could an author use a podcast to convert into book sales? This is something that I have struggled with for myself. Not just for book sales, but for letting people know about my writing community and different things like that. Is it wrong to promote your book on your podcast?
Sarah: Absolutely not. As long as your entire episode is not just solely dedicated to promoting your book. I always bring this back to the social media content.
You would have no issue putting a call to action at the end of your post, right? To let people know you have a new book out and encourage them to read it, and especially if your content on your podcast is around topics related to your book, it’s a very easy to segue into, “by the way, did you know I have a new book about X, Y, Z?”
Dalene: Right. That’s awesome. A podcast is a great way to get word out if you’re going to be doing speaking events or book signings. Or to let people know, “Hey, if you’re in this area, come on over.” I think it’s great for event notification.
Sarah: Yeah. And even if you’re new to it and you’re looking to use your book to get into speaking events, starting a podcast is a really great way to practice getting comfortable speaking. And when speakers and event planners are looking for new speakers to come on, you will now have audio clips or potentially video clips or interviews on other podcasts showcasing you’re speaking abilities. It’s just getting you comfortable walking in that space and creating new opportunities and speaking about your book.
The Benefits of Launching and Promoting Your Podcast
Dalene: You have worked with a variety of different clients and I just wanted to let listeners know that you and Billy do know what you’re talking about because you’ve had a client who reached number one on Apple Podcast in Germany, in the Christianity category. You’ve had a client that’s reached number four on Apple podcast in the Religion and Spirituality podcasts category. And then you had one client who had 28,000 downloads in their first week, which is incredible. We were talking a little bit about that before we started recording. Do you mind sharing a little bit about that with our listeners?
Sarah: So that client is actually a social media influencer, so she already had spent time building up her audience. But what’s important to note is, she took the time to promote her podcast before it launched. She was getting her audience excited about it before it came to fruition.
So she was sharing behind the scenes teaser, she was polling her audience to find out what topics they’d want to hear about, maybe some guests they’d like to have on. She was already building up that buzz before it even launched. So granted, she already had a very big audience behind her, but she wasn’t just letting her audience hang out and then one day suddenly was like, “oh, I have a podcast” and reached that number of downloads.
She was doing the work behind the scenes to build up the excitement for it, to let people know, “Hey, this is coming. Be on the lookout” just like we authors need to do before our book launch.
Use the Gifts God Has Given You as You Trust Him to Provide and Guide
Dalene: It all comes down to, like you said, not allowing fear to stop us or the what ifs. Or what if I can’t do this? Or what if it takes too long? Or what if, … we can’t live in the what ifs and we can’t live in fear? God has not given us a spirit of fear. So if we believe that God has given us a calling to write a book, He will equip us to write it and publish it and market it. He’s not going to leave us stranded after we’ve written it and say, “okay, now you’re on your own.”
I think he’s given us these fantastic mediums: podcasting and speaking and social media in general . While anything can be used to the extreme , to our detriment, there’s always a good side to it, too. And we as Christian authors, I believe, should take advantage of those gifts that He has given us and to promote our work. And a podcast just might be the right step for you, whoever’s listening to this right now.
Sarah: I agree. And one thing I thought of as you were speaking just there, God, if that’s His plan for you, He will give you the tools that you need to make it happen.
There was a podcast that I launched and it was completely divinely orchestrated, no questions asked. This person had been praying about maybe she should start a podcast or not, for about two years. Finally, she felt this conviction that it’s time.
She had no idea where to start and she literally cried out loud and said, “God, if You want me to start this podcast, You are going to have to send me somebody who knows what they’re doing, because I have no idea what to do.” One week later, we were connected.
Dalene: Oh my goodness; I love that story. If God wants it to happen, it will happen and He’ll put the right people in your path to make that happen. Thank you for sharing that. I’m excited; if I didn’t already have this podcast going, I’d be like, “Oh, let’s start another one!”
Engage with Your Podcast Audience
Dalene: If an author already has a podcast, what are some things that they can do to maybe reignite their excitement if it’s kind of gone dry? Or what other ways can they use it to expand their brand?
Sarah: I would definitely consider getting their audience involved. They’re following already, like I was talking about with that launch: ask them what they want to hear, ask them what they’re struggling with right now, and how can you help them with that? Maybe the book that you have out speaks to that, or maybe a thought just came into my head. As you were writing your book, there were probably a lot of stories that you wanted to put in but they didn’t quite make it. Maybe you can talk about those on your podcast.
Dalene: Good point. And so whenever we are reaching out to our audience, what I do is I just provide an email address and ask them to respond that way. I recently was listening to another podcast host who is recommending that podcasters create a newsletter. Are you a proponent of that as well?
Sarah: Actually, I partner with a company called Southern Savvy Creative, and Brittany is a content repurposer. So with the podcast episodes, she will repurpose those into a newsletter to promote your podcast, and you can embed your player right into your newsletter and send it out to your mailing list that way.
Dalene: That’s awesome. And so as a podcast host, you should let people know that you have a newsletter and how they can subscribe to it so that they don’t miss any episodes. I know there are different times that we’re busy and we can’t actually listen, but if we check our inbox we can see, “Oh, hey, I missed that episode. This looks great!” They can just click on it right then and there.
Sarah: Absolutely. If they have a newsletter already, they should definitely mention that in their podcast episodes for sure.
Dalene: It’s all about different touchpoints, isn’t it?
Sarah: Absolutely. Yes.
Connect with Sarah Moffat
If you’re interested in starting a podcast and would like to get Sarah’s feedback or learn more about what she and Billy have to offer, reach out to her at musicalcrimeproductions.com or on Instagram @MusicalCrimeProductions.
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