- June 23, 2017
Organization. Florida Podcasting Association Industry. Marketing, podcasting Key. Podcasts are an untapped resource to reach customers.
Chris Krimitsos, founder of entrepreneur-focused networking group Tampa Bay Business Owners, got hooked on podcasting in 2013.
So hooked he started the Florida Podcasters Association.
It all started when podcaster and voice actor Steve Cherubino asked Krimitsos for a speaking spot at one of Krimitsos' meetings. Cherubino wanted to talk about podcasting. When Krimitsos asked Cherubino how many listeners he had for his niche electronic dance music producer podcast, Cherubino told him not too many — around 4,000 an episode.
Not too many? Krimitsos thought it was a ton, and was shocked. He thought that was an untapped goldmine. “Most podcasters didn't realize the influence they were able to weld,” Krimitsos says. “He inspired me.”
A former executive producer of two television shows, “The Bleepin Truth” and “The Millionaire Mindset,” Krimitsos was also intrigued by the idea that podcasting provided on-demand content. Similar to Netflix, podcasts let a show build an audience “while you're sleeping,” he says, unlike live television or radio.
Krimitsos and his wife, fellow entrepreneur Katie Krimitsos, decided to try podcasting. They took an Entrepreneur on Fire class from John Lee Dumas, a California-based podcaster who makes between $100,000 to $600,000 a month on his show.
The couple eventually launched two podcasts, Women in Biz and Story Jam Theatre. Next they started the Florida Podcasters Association. It's a monthly meet-up group for active podcasters and those interested in podcasting. The group meets the second Tuesday of every month, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at McAlister's Deli in the Westshore district of Tampa. The association charges attendees $10 a meeting.
Though the group usually has around 35 people attend the monthly meeting, it has more than 400 members in the meet-up group and perhaps more impressively, has launched more than 50 podcast shows. Group member podcasts total more than 5 million downloads. Topics for shows vary wildly, from drones to professional ballet, from women's menstrual cycles to golf clubs, and from Medicare to divorce.
In February the group hosted its second annual Podfest, a national conference with 187 attendees. Next year Krimitsos says they'll probably host the event in Orlando or St. Petersburg, and shoot for more than 500 people.
Podcasting can be a big advantage for business owners who are in a particular niche, Krimitsos says. Not only do they “brand you as an expert,” he says, “it takes the conversation past the initial conversation,” acting as a sales funnel.
Krimitsos says a number of Florida Podcasters Association members have been asked to broadcast live from industry conferences. That allows them to gain a bigger following and interview more potential clients.
At its core, says Krimitsos, for people willing to invest the time to learn how to do it and build an audience, podcasting is a great way to tell your business story and reach a targeted audience that chooses to be there.
Chris Krimitsos, co-founder of the Florida Podcasters Association, offers tips on how to improve podcasting skills:
Keep it short: For business podcasts, you generally want to keep it under 30 minutes, so it can fit into someone's commute time, Krimitsos says. If you get a really good long interview, break it into two episodes.
Be realistic: “Daily is much harder than weekly,” he says. If you are crunched for time, record all of your podcasts in a batch and release a season at once. This provides time to promote the series.
Leverage social media: Be active in promoting the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and your personal blog, he says. “You need a fan base.”
Don't do it alone: Many podcasters, he says, are “stuck behind their computers” and they need to get out. It's important to go out and meet others in the community to find potential guests and to learn from others' successes and failures, he says.
Find a focus: “We preach niche,” Krimitsos says. You have to find an audience and keep it focused. “In the beginning many struggle to find a niche. When you get started, if the topic doesn't sell, you can pivot,” he adds.
The equipment necessary to record a podcast runs the gamut, from an iPhone and an app to a home recording studio. Here's an overview:
Basic: Use an iPhone to record it, then email the recording to yourself. Next, create a recording that translates over iTunes or Android with a recording/editing app such as Garage Band or Audacity. There are royalty-free songs available on multiple websites to augment the podcast, says Niel Guilarte, a founding member of the Florida Podcasters Association and a Tampa-area podcast host and coach.
Semi-advanced: Buy a USB microphone that works with your laptop. USB microphone costs from $50 to $200, depending on size, specs and complexity.
Advanced: This requires a USB Audio Interface, about the size of a shoebox and looks like a mini recording studio control panel. Many of these systems, says Guilarte, allow for interviewing two people at once from different locations. Some companies sell USB Audio Interface and connected products as a podcast in a box. Prices range from $99 to more than $1,000. A USB mixer, for $100 or more, allows a podcaster to double the amount of interviews per show.
Semi-professional: A small recording studio in a home office can cost from $750 to more than $2,000. Guilarte has one in his house for his podcast, “All Things Post,” focusing on post-production topics for video and film. It makes the podcasts, says Guilarte, “really sound polished.”
On the air
The following are examples are successful podcasters:
Steven Silverman and Eric Odum
Invest Florida, Tampa
Independent Tampa area commercial real estate agents Steven Silverman and Eric Odum started a podcast to stop spending time answering the same questions. A podcast would allow them to “build an encyclopedia of information,” Silverman says.
The weekly podcast, which launched in November 2014 and now has 50,000 listeners, also helped them compete against larger commercial real estate brokerages with more resources to put together advanced marketing materials. Silverman and Odum have four brokers working for them. The podcast allows them to interview “the best in the field” to educate their audience on the market, says Odum, “and it's packaged a little more interesting than a whitepaper.”
The duo's most popular episodes are when they recap Florida's major markets such as Orlando and Miami. “It's a very niche podcast, because it is specifically attached to Florida,” Odum says. “If we don't have the listenership it's fine because we have a niche specific market.”
Silverman's best advice for a business owner interested in podcasting is to embrace the amount of time and effort it requires. Most people's podcasts fade away after a few months.
Silverman and Odum spend the most time searching for a good guest, someone who doesn't just want to sell something. “For every six people we invite, we get one” good one, Silverman says.
Biz Women Rock, Tampa
With marketing help from her husband, Chris Krimitsos, Katie Krimitsos launched the Biz Women Rock podcast in February 2014. The focus was obvious: women business owners.
The podcast now has 173,000 downloads in 132 countries. Katie Krimitsos also has more than 25,000 likes on her Facebook page and another 3,100 members in a private Facebook group that provides additional resources such as courses and webinars. It's also given her access to customers around the world, where she provides coaching calls via Skype.
Krimitsos makes sure to secure a lot of reviews on her podcast, which helps it stay at the top of New & Noteworthy on iTunes. She's made money from the podcast via affiliates, sponsors, mentoring and online programs.
She's also creative: In summer 2014, her podcast featured women who had been on “Shark Tank” during Shark Week. She and her team sent out hand drawn pictures of sharks with funny captions to advertise the show, asked people to take a “#SharkSelfie” and post on Twitter and Facebook, tagging Krimitsos, Biz Women Rock, Shark Tank and Shark Week.
Hundreds participated. Real “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran from retweeted it.
Glenn the Geek (Glenn Hebert)
Horse Radio Network, Ocala
Glenn Hebert, who goes by “Glenn the Geek,” started Horse Radio Network in August 2008 as a one-show, part-time gig, gaining just 12 listeners in the first three months for a single podcast show. Since, that gig has grown to 10 (soon to be 12) podcast shows, become the No. 1 equine radio network, competing among the top podcast networks in the world in shows and sponsors.
The Horse Radio Network has produced at least 5,000 episodes with interviews of more than 6,200 guests. The network boasts more than 135,000 listeners in 92 countries, and it has millions of downloads. The network currently has more than 30 sponsors, with a 70% sponsor retention rate, Hebert says. “I get paid to talk and goof around,” Hebert quips.
He attributes his success to treating the podcasting as a business from day one. Hebert and his wife each put in about 80 hours a week to the podcasts, he says. They also have 20 part-time hosts, most of them paid.
Starting before podcasting was popular, in an industry that lags in technology, Hebert says he gained a following by partnering with bloggers, TV shows and magazines, asking people to share a link to shows in exchange for being a guest on the podcast. He also named the network with the word “radio” because it was easier to explain the term “online radio” than “podcasting.”
Women in Rodeo, Sarasota
Heather Cannon is one of Horse Radio Network's budding stars with two podcasts a month. The former country girl fashion consultant runs a podcast where she interviews rodeo queens and provides fashion advice. She says it grew out of her “little girl passion” for rodeo.
Through a Florida Podcasters Association event, Cannon met Glenn the Geek Herbert, a podcasting industry leader behind Horse Radio Network. She set up an agreement to pay the network $250 a month to produce her show.
The show debuted last August, and it quickly built a following of 16,000 listeners. Then, in January, she secured her first sponsor, the RAM National Circuits Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee. Cannon now makes around $1,000 a month in sponsorships. “The possibilities because of the radio show are endless — all because I found a niche,” she says.