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At Aclass: Indigenous Voices — part of Acast’s free series of virtual events for underrepresented voices in podcasting — Indigenous creators spoke about creating audio-first stories, and finding unexpected conversations.
The virtual event featured two sessions where podcasters discussed the importance of storytelling and working in the podcasting industry. Together, the first panel took us through their journey and their inspiration to become podcasters, before the second panel dove into what can be accomplished through podcasting, why it’s an important medium, and how to expand an audience.
Moderated by Pam Palmater — lawyer, professor, and host of Warrior Life — the first panel featured Indigenous podcasters Falen Johnson, co-host of Secret Life of Canada, Ryan McMahon, host of Thunder Bay, and Natalie Welch, host of The Creative Native Podcast.
In the second, Vernon Foster — a Content Development Manager at Acast — sat down with Nick Estes, co-host of Red Nation. They discussed the importance of grassroots audience engagement, and shared insights on gaining visibility and growth.
You can watch the whole event back via our YouTube page, but here’s a round-up of four lessons we learned throughout.
1. Everyone’s journey to podcasting is different.
Whether you’re in it to make money, make a difference, or create your work and self-publish, there’s no limit to podcasting — and there are many reasons to start.
Some create out of sheer coincidence, while others spend years developing their craft. As Ryan McMahon said: “I was an actor that didn’t look like Adam Beach, so I wasn’t very castable. I had to find a way to make creative work — and podcasting was it.”
Podcasting is an intimate medium, and your reason for creating should be your own. Don’t limit your stories. As Falen Johnson put it: “The tools are there to get your own words and story out, and I think anyone can come to [podcasting] in an unconventional way.”
2. Make a plan — but be prepared to fail.
Like anything else in life, starting a podcast requires a plan and established goals. Set small and attainable goals to help you stay on track towards success.
McMahon added: “Getting into the space is important. I encourage people to do so with a bit of a plan, though. Recording takes time. Publishing and distributing take time.”
Don’t chase perfection, and don’t be afraid to fail. Fall in love with the process. People desire an alternative to traditional media and are searching for a place to get authentic, creative, and factual stories.
“Do some demos, do some practice runs, and play around with it,” said Natalie Welch. “Don’t think that the first thing you do has to be perfect, because it doesn’t have to be the final product.”
3. Create your own standards.
Your audience is your value — and, by understanding this, you can invest back into your product to continue to grow.
As Nick Estes said: “We are operating on a scarcity mentality, and we shouldn’t be — we should operate on a mentality of abundance.”
Don’t spend time trying to operate up to the standard of others, but instead create your own. Stories are in abundance, which should work as the basis for your work as a content creator. By diving into these stories, you can develop a community that understands current issues.
4. Use your podcast to further your mission.
Podcasting provides the platform to inform those you engage with, as well as your community. Drawing from your passion is essential, as you can create the perfect ecosystem between your podcast and its audience.
“Social movements themselves are the perfect source of knowledge and stories,” added Estes. “Take the things that they say — and the ideas they present — seriously, to present those to a larger audience.”
Know who you’re catering to, but don’t pigeonhole yourself to a specific subject. Expand your interests and divulge these ideologies to bring in new audiences.
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