Leveling Up

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist

I had one of those moments a few weeks ago when I became paralyzed by choices. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing, but it did force me into some decision making. I had a potential sponsor for my podcast reach out to me, but they asked for listener demographics, which I did not have. I took a webinar on “finding a sponsor for your podcast” about a year ago and had a wealth of information at my fingertips but still I’d chosen not to do anything. 

The e-mail from the sponsor’s marketing agency spurred me into action. I put together a quick survey and included a call to action in the podcast script I was working on. I shared the survey link with my e-mail subscribers and social media followers. I had already had a call with a website and branding consultant about creating a new website for the podcast, and I got her proposal back. 

Then I had to make some decisions. I thought the new website quote and photography session for new images sounded reasonable. I got excited thinking about listeners finally having a fun place to go to interact with the podcast. But then I got discouraged. I have a full-time editing job, do the podcast in my spare time, and have been trying to revise a suspense/thriller novel I wrote last fall. Something had to give. 

I talked with my husband about it, since he’s worked in marketing and experience design for years. He asked me what I thought was most important. 

“The website,” I said. “If I do this right, it has the potential to attract more listeners and potential sponsors. Plus, I can add a true crime blog right into the platform and people will stay longer when they go to it. Once I finish writing the suspense novel, I can add a tab for it right on the website, because it ties in with the genre.” I knew I could also add an easy way to capture e-mails on the site, something I’ve been struggling with. 

“Then I think you know what you need to do,” he said. “You have to keep the day job to pay the bills right now. Focus on creating the website, and once that is completed and launched, you can get back to the novel revisions.” 

At first, I felt discouraged, because I have a lot of ideas on how to improve the novel, but if I’m ever going to monetize my podcast that I’ve worked so hard on for two years, and put all the content I’ve created to good use, the website has to go up first. I think a lot of us get to the point where it’s time to “level up” on a project or piece of writing, and it can be scary. It might be signing up for a writing course or conference, hiring a professional editor, or taking a research trip. It scares me to invest the money into the website, but I believe in the designer’s work and a colleague I admire connected us. I’ve seen samples of her work in action. I know what a good website can do for a podcast, especially one in the growing niche of true crime. 

I’d love to hear examples of how you’ve invested in your own writing!

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and magazine editor who also hosts the true crime podcast, "Missing in the Carolinas." 


Angela Mackintosh said...

Congratulations on finding a sponsor, Renee! I knew it was only a matter of time. :) Yes, potential advertisers will want to know things like demographics, number of subscribers, reach, engagement, etc. Creating an advertising kit that they can download from a website is a good move, and it's smart to put your efforts into something you've created and are building. I make big hairy leaps all the time - my most recent was the purchase of a property I plan on turning into an artist retreat. Life is short and I don't want any regrets. Purchasing land is almost always a good move, and same thing with creating a website. Websites are not expensive and they work for you 24/7 behind the scenes to build your audience and make sales and connections.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

It really is all about choosing what is most important right now. It can be so tempting to prioritize what is safest over what has the opportunity to bring the most into our lives. Good for you on making a leap!

Cathy C. Hall said...

I'm wore out, just READING about all you do, Renee! In earlier days, I attended writing workshops/retreats/conferences that were expensive and boy, did I sweat spending that money!

They were all worth it, but not necessarily in the ways that I expected or planned. Good luck, Renee!

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