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Alexandra Cohl on Podcasting's Value Being Recognized, and Shifting the Bro Culture Mindset
Episode 1724th February 2023 • Pod Chat • Danny Brown
00:00:00 00:56:14

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Today it's my pleasure to welcome Alexandra Cohl to the show.

Alexandra is the founder and owner of POD.DRALAND, providing PR and marketing services for podcasters, as well as a place centred on amplifying women's voices in podcasting. She's also the host of The Pod Broads, where she interviews women in the podcasting industry about their lives and their work, and curator/editor of Podcasting By the Moon, a newsletter that focuses on women-centric podcast news, wins, and reflections.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • the pervasive bro culture in podcasting
  • how women in podcasting are still vastly under-represented despite creating much of the content
  • the importance of events like the Black Podcasting Awards when it comes to increasing diversity in the industry
  • why we need to change the thinking around the value of the podcast space when compared to movies and music

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Transcripts

Alexandra:

But I think part of the challenge that I think both indies and networks are feeling right now is that there is a certain type of listener that feels very entitled to content that is created for them, that is free, and that takes a lot of work.

Danny:

You're listening to Pod Chat, the show that invites leaders of the podcast space to share their insights on the trends that are driving industry forward. I'm your host, Danny Brown, and today it's my pleasure to welcome Alexandra Cohl to the show. Alexandra is the founder and owner of POD.DRALAND, providing PR and marketing services for podcasters, as well as a place centered on amplifying women's voices in podcasting. She's also the host of the Pod Broads, where she interviews women in the podcasting industry about their lives and their work, and curator/editor of Podcasting by the Moon, a newsletter that focuses on women-centric podcast news, wins and reflections, and is inspired by Alexandra's own spirituality. We'll be chatting about that and more in this episode. So without further ado, Alexandra Cohl, welcome to the show.

Alexandra:

Thank you so much for having me, Danny. I'm stoked to be here and that was such a lovely intro.

Danny:

You are welcome. And first things first, the cat's still awesome. Yeah, he's awesome today.

Alexandra:

Oh, my cat?

Danny:

Yeah.

Alexandra:

Yes, he is. He actually just awoke from a nap and I'm hoping he won't interrupt us, but he is doing wonderfully. Thank you for asking.

Danny:

You're welcome. For the listeners, Alexandra has a daily update, Is the cat awesome? So we're finding out. Now, you've got a very strong and varied background in the industry, which includes writing, editing, producing and more. Have you got a preference or is it all just one happy family?

Alexandra:

I always say that writing is my vocation, so writing is kind of what leads me into a lot of my other interests and serves my work and has served my work in many different ways. I studied English in undergrad and in my master's program, English Lit, specifically for both of those. And so I've always been a very voracious writer and I love to get better at it. And it's one of those things that I don't get bored of in terms of going back and editing it and reworking how I can make things better. So that's definitely my, I think, my number one. And to me it's a very obvious journey then into the work that I'm doing, whether that's working on my podcast and kind of like planning things out on the back end. It almost feels like writing a big research paper sometimes when you're trying to make all those pieces work together. And then also, of course, with my PR work and marketing and just being able to use language in a very thoughtful manner and thinking about who your audience is, it all comes together there.

Danny:

And you mentioned your English Lit Master's degree, obviously, which was back in 2017, if I recall. And that's where you sort of fell into podcasts as well by listening to podcasts that were hosted by women. What was it that attracted you to the medium at the time? Because it was still, even in 2017, it's still a kind of nerdy thing, I guess, compared to the more mainstream approach now.

Alexandra:

Yeah, well, it's interesting because I started listening to podcasts like many people because of Serial back in 2014, and that's when I became like an audience member. So I just enjoyed listening to podcasts. And then you're right, in 2017, around that time is kind of a blur nowadays, but at some point when I was in my program, it kind of started to click that, oh, this is a type of medium that I could actually do work in. I don't think I ever really saw it as a path for myself before. And that was probably in part because I thought I was going to be a professor. I thought I wanted to teach writing, and I did teach writing for a long time. And I loved that part of my life, but realized that I wanted to get back into investing in my own craft and how I wanted to express myself and what kind of mark I wanted to make on the world, if you will. And so when I was in my Master's program, I also was going on a very intense healing journey of my own. So kind of like post 2019, me too movement was when I was able to deal with my own history with sexual abuse and was starting to really be able to heal from that. And that is something I always bring up when I'm talking about kind of my story into getting really impassioned around doing podcasts. And being in that realm is because I started listening to a lot more women led stuff in podcasting and was just hearing more about women's journeys of doing like non linear career path and also listening to the ones that were kind of like personal development related. And it just really helped me reshape how I thought I could move within the world, what I could do with my career, how I could leave a quote unquote, stable career path, which, looking back, wasn't terribly stable anyway. I think that that's a little bit of a myth that we tell ourselves. But being able to listen to women in that space in a way where you have time to just listen without outside judgment from other people hearing it and making commentary and just being able to take in all of these women's experiences, I think is really powerful. And so that was a big healing thing for me. I was like, we need to get people to listen to more women, whether it's about a more personal matter or about sexual assault in specific, as a specific topic, or just about their lives. And we all have such varied experiences so that was kind of two things working in tandem, my healing and also wanting to get out of my career and realizing there was another way and learning from other women how they did it.

Danny:

You mentioned that it was like a two pronged approach. It was beneficial to listen to women because of your own experiences and them sharing their experiences and it also helped you change your career path because it was from there that POD.DRALAND was born. Created originally as a website and social media recommending the podcasts you would listen to. You also mentioned there that you felt that the podcasting medium was more of a safe space when it comes to listening because you're not getting that outside commentary, that outside feedback. And I know that you talked about yourself being labeled as a typical missandrist American Feminist because of obviously your work, and by many fans of a certain Mr. R on Spotify. So do you feel like this misogyny was there from day one, from when you launched your company in the podcast? Did you get that immediate feedback because you're sharing women-led and women focused content?

Alexandra:

That's such a funny question. It's funny because I actually didn't for a while and I think in part because probably because my platform was small in the beginning, right? I was starting from scratch and had to spend a lot of time and not blood, but definitely sweat and tears building it up. And I'm curious, I'm pausing because I'm curious if, like, other people experience it when they're on a lower level. And for me, that wasn't my experience, but it was when my platform kind of started to pick up a little bit more and on that fateful day where I decided to critique someone the way that they use their platform and it kind of went viral and that's where all of that started. So a lot of men were finding ways to express their frustration with the fact that I was just critiquing about the way that certain people in our industry use their platforms. Not that they have to use them for good, but not using them thoughtfully, it seems, and not being mindful of the impact that their power has on marginalized groups and groups that are just at more risk for being harmed. And so, yeah, I really was trying to think if there had been like a really notable part of my history in this work where I had that experience, but I want to say it wasn't until just about a year ago when that really started. I definitely had moments on Twitter here and there, but clearly not enough that I recall that were too impactful that I can ignore it a little bit better when it's not coming all at once.

Danny:

Do you think the industry is doing enough when it comes to addressing this? As you mentioned, obviously your experience was because of fans of Joe Rogan's podcast and how you criticize Mr. Rogan. We saw this last year as well at the Podcast Movement event when Ben Shapiro appeared at the event and that caused obviously a lot of distress to people there. Do you think the industry is doing enough to combat this or to understand it, and what kind of message do you think it sometimes sends when you see people like Shapiro appear at a big huge event like that?

Alexandra:

Yeah, I think there's facets of the industry that are doing their damnedest to make sure that they are doing the work needed to ensure that they're educating themselves around certain matters that are frankly not their experience in the world and would do them good to research. Like that's always been a value of mine and something that's been important in my work from day one, honestly, before I started doing this work, that's been something that's been important to me and so I do know there's plenty of companies and individuals who are doing that work and that's also a big value of theirs. And then I think there's also another facet of this industry that clearly doesn't care about that or would prefer to choose profit over a certain value set and I guess in a way that is their value set. And so I don't know, I think in part it's a result too of the industry getting bigger because unfortunately not everyone is going to be on the same page about that. And while I can be as critical about that as I want to be, I also can't control the way that certain people are going to let certain folks into their events and if they do that then I just have control over how I'm going to engage or not engage with those things. I think that it is pointing to the reality that we do need to be careful of who we accept money from. And so when you make the choice of who to accept money from, you're making a choice of who you're making a space open to and safe for or unsafe for. So that's definitely one piece that really came up for me. And I know a lot of other people when events like Podcast Movement happened earlier this year was like, well, let's go back to the initial choice of do we accept money from this person or not? And then the rest is going to follow from there. And that's just one piece of it. But I think that at the end of the day, those values have to be in place with all the choices that you make, not just the choice that you make after you get in trouble for something that's already been decided months before, and foresee what those consequences are going to be. And are those consequences that you're going to be comfortable with, then ultimately that is your choice. But I just would love to see people be more thoughtful and clear on what their values are the more they're going to create spaces for people to meet and come together within this industry.

Danny:

And that ties into something I was curious about that you mentioned. Obviously the pushback you received from Joe Rogan's fans when you critiqued how he was using the platform. Do you feel men in the podcasting space do enough to support women when this happens and you see it happening online? Your smile, I can see your smile there. Your wry smile on the camera. Obviously the listeners ca't see your wry smile, which I think gives me my answer, Alexandra.

Alexandra:

Again, something I like about these conversations is that we can have a little more nuance when we talk about it because in like a quick look, my inclination is to say no, because of course there's more that can be done. But then there's also plenty of examples where I'm like, well, yeah, I do think there are moments where I've seen men doing the work and men wanting to help amplify women's voices. But I do feel like there's a long way to go and not even just amplifying women's voices, but also creating safe spaces for women. And not just women, but non binary people and people from marginalized groups in general. And so I think that there can always be improvement. I do think there is a huge bro culture in this industry which plenty of us are very aware of. And so I would love to see men who do want to be supportive and allies to women in the space be more proactive about voicing their support before something happens and they get to jump on the bandwagon, if that makes sense. I don't only want to see support when there's like, a crisis, I want to see it on a day to day. That's just, again, a value that you have. You are like, okay, I know that this is not like my typical type of podcast that I like to listen to, but I'm going to make sure that I spend at least a part of my listening time listening to voices that are very different from mine and making a point to listen to things that are going to challenge me. And in this context, we're talking about in support of women. So, like, listening to episodes or conversation points from women who have different perspectives than them that are going to challenge them, I think that that's something I'd love to see more of. I'd also love to just see better practices from the business end of it. And I think that that's always just like a recognition of even if men are already doing something to combat the fact that we've all grown up in a misogynistic society, making sure that they don't just think like, okay, they've done a few things here, so it's all fixed. That's consistent work that needs to be done on an individual basis and then make sure that they're bringing it in two spaces and calling others on it so that women don't have to.

Danny:

Podcast is sponsored by Podnews. Get a daily email with all the latest news about podcasting. It's free at podnews.net. From jobs across the industry to events and conferences, you'll find the latest podcasting info in the daily newsletter. You can add Podnews.net to your daily briefing on your Smart Speaker too. Just search for it in your Smart Speaker app. And now back to this week's episode. It's interesting you mentioned that about walking there, talking the talk and walking the walk. Sorry, talking the talk. In a previous episode of Pod Chat, I was speaking to Elsie Escobar and she was talking about the work she did in the same space, where she's trying to improve the visibility of minorities at board level. And there's a lot of companies that talk about addressing this and we're supporting, we're donating, et cetera, but they don't show that at the board level. You have large corporations say we've donated X amount to women's rights groups, et cetera. But then you look at the board and it's still old white men, 50+ running the company. So I'm curious, is that something you see as well? Obviously you work with large podcast organizations as well as smaller indie ones. So is that something you continue to see and what are you doing to address that through your work?

Alexandra:

Yeah, it's definitely still a big issue. I think that I paused a minute because I was trying to think about my own experience in terms of who I've worked with. And I work with a lot of women, obviously, because that is my ultimate goal is to push women hosted podcasts. So I try to be very choosy about who I end up working with and I think in part that's what I'm doing about it. I also have lived the reality of like, you can't always work with your dream client when you need to pay your bills. And the deeper you get into working with big companies, the more complications that arise. Because as we know, there's a lot of big companies with people who work there who are really committed to doing this work and doing work in a better way and that have a different value set than other people who might be in power in those particular companies. And so I think that that can be really challenging because at the end of the day, people also need to be able to live and work. And so how do we do that? And I do see that with certain companies in podcasting where it does feel like they have made promises and then not quite kept those promises. And I'm not going to name anything in particular, but I definitely have seen that and I'm very observant online is what I'll say. So I observe a lot. And I also know that there are a lot of companies that have signed the like, equality pact and I don't think they are following through on everything that's been included in there. Like something I'll see a lot, not so much at just a company level, but in terms of when I see panels, like there are certain panels at like conferences or things, like something I am again observing and kind of note is I still do see too many panels that are a lot of white people. So not just white men, but if there is a woman, she's white or have you been seen panels that are supposed to be representative of women in the industry and it's still a lot of white women and very little women of color or black women as a part of those panels. And so I think that, again, those are things that people need to be a little more committed to on the individual level. Like before, I haven't done a lot of those kinds of talks. It hasn't been something I've wanted to do over the other work that I have to do. And as a solopreneur, I can only do so much. But I have been asked to be a part of certain things like that before and I make a point to ask who else is going to be a part of it before I say yes. But that's definitely something that I learned in the Equality and Audio Pact from Brockly Content. And that was like make sure that you are only saying yes to panels where there are panels that represent where that thing is taking place. So if the conference is taking place in a city where there are definitely a great mix of demographic of people from different backgrounds and identities, like don't say yes if the panel does not look like that does not represent that place. So I think that that's like a due diligence that everyone should be doing and sometimes you need to say no to things and put someone else's name into the mix if we really want to start changing that.

Danny:

I recall there was a panel here in Canada promoting Indigenous Voices audio and how to get more indigenous Voices into audio and the panel was, to your point, all white. There was three men and one woman on the panel, all white and nobody was indigenous. So it was kind of obviously a huge disconnect about, well, how can you talk about promoting when you don't have someone to talk about the difficulties of getting Indigenous Voices onto the radio at that time or podcast? And now I guess the Equality in Audio Pact is definitely something that, as you mentioned, is super important and needs to be adhered to. That's the more important thing because it's great that you sign up for it. But a signature is easy. It's the action afterwards, right, to ensure that you're consistent with that.

Alexandra:

Right, exactly. Well, and you also reminded me of another thing, especially given the work that I'm doing. So where I'm working with podcaster stories companies with a particular podcast that they're working on marketing and someone in my position. It's also important if a client wants to be featured in a certain place, sometimes you need to say that's not the best choice because they shouldn't be the one featured there. I'm trying to be choosing around the language that I use, but there's definitely been moments where I'm like, I don't really think that that call for pitches is like, for you and that's okay, and let's do a different angle and do a different place that we're going to pitch it for. But I do think if they don't have someone that's realizing that maybe that's not the best choice, then I definitely see that as my responsibility to speak up and maybe disappoint my client a little bit in that moment. But be like, ultimately, I don't think that's the right move for many reasons. And one of those reasons is that it would probably be a better fit for the folks that they're really looking to feature are highlighted, as it should be.

Danny:

Now, we've mentioned we talked about your podcast, The Pod Broads, which launched two years ago this month, actually, February 2021.

Alexandra:

Yeah.

Danny:

Happy second anniversary, second birthday. And obviously this is in its second season, and there's varied topics that are discussed on the podcast. And I'm curious if are there any episodes or topics in particular that have maybe stood out for you or shaped how you approach your business with POD.DRALAND as well?

Alexandra:

Oh, my goodness. It has shaped a lot. I am trying to remember back you know what? Okay, sorry. I know, it's not a great lede. It's been a while since I've listened back to those episodes, so I really take a moment to think about it. I always remember some of the earlier ones I had. I mean, they all are, as I'm sure you know, and feel like every episode is special and impactful in its own way and it's really hard to choose a favorite. So sometimes what I go with is just what's coming up for me the most in that moment when I'm asked. So that's kind of how I'm going to take that question. So I always remember talking to Gabriel Horton, who is one of the co creators and hosts of Nadal, which for anyone who is not familiar with that podcast, it talks about it's like a narrative podcast that talks about birthing while black in America. And it's fantastic. And I learned so much from season one and season two. And Gabriel was actually someone that I'd initially seen speak at work. It and that I had been following her work since 2019 prior to a speaking on The Pod Broads. And I actually remember one piece of that conversation that's also coming up for me is just her talking about the way that she protects her time as someone who isn't working full time at a company and is running some of her own stuff. And I think that was one of those moments that I've really taken into my own work and try to think back on when I get really hung up on like, oh, well, I have to adhere to so many people's different schedules. And I always remember her saying she's like, well, Monday is my planning day, so I don't like to take meetings that day, I don't do that. And she is also the person who taught me about scheduling emails, which seems like a silly, not important thing, but I love scheduling emails. It has afforded me feelings of freedom when I wake up in the morning. And so I always remember that piece. Her conversation was also one that spoke to some of the racism that she experienced at other places in and tangential to the podcasting industry as she was kind of like coming up through her work. And so hearing about that is obviously very important. And just for me to get a better understanding of what her experience has been and what I need to look out for as a white person, as a woman in this industry, and just make sure that those are the kinds of things that I also want to make sure that I'm paying attention to and making sure that I'm not recreating in any form or fashion in the work that I engage in. So that was like one of those conversations that just as like someone who runs like a solo business and freelance work was so great to hear and then also one of those ones where I could never know what her lived experience is. So it's great to hear it and understand what that journey has been for her. So that's one episode that comes to mind for multiple reasons and I mean, there's so many others that come up and I actually have one coming up with Renee Richardson from Broccoli Content Stone. So that one just related to what our conversation is. We touch on via quality and audio packed a little bit on there too. And that definitely relates and it's interesting.

Danny:

To see there seems to be more award shows coming out now and more conferences that speak to underrepresented voices. Obviously you have the Black Podcast Awards, I mentioned Elsie Escobar earlier and her and Jess over at She Podcasts have got a new event, a new award ceremony that's purely for underrepresented minority voices and that's awesome to see and it feels like there's some kind of hopefully shift in mindset where we'll see more of that push to the fore. Do you think this is like one of the ways to go to start address, not to start? Obviously you've been working a long time and have others in trying to address the balance. Do you think this is when you see the validation of award shows, for example? Because I know a lot of podcasters put stock and picking up awards and that's a way to get more recognition? Do you think that's a good starting point for the wider conversation for people like me? I'm a white male, so I would say I'm not that target. I'm not the target audience for the awards, but I should be the target audience for taking stock of what's happening. Do you think this is one of the ways it can help, you know, move that conversation forward?

Alexandra:

Well, yeah, I think that podcasting is, as we know, in comparison to other mediums, is still in I like to call a teenage stage right now because I think we're going through a lot of changes, a lot of emotions, but we're not as old as some, like the film industry or music awards and stuff. And so there is this opportunity for us to build it better from the beginning so that there's less to deconstruct and rebuild later on. And like, award shows, for better or worse, are one of those things that give validity to certain shows and cause people to back to talking about amplifying voices. Certain voices get put on a pedestal over others because of awards. That's like kind of the nature of it in a way, one of the natures of it. And so I do think that, yes, with award shows, with anything that we're building within this industry to be markers of success and potential for shows to get invested into absolutely should be a part of it and be paid attention to as a part of it. So even with award shows, there needs to be more opportunities for scholarships. There needs to be just more like access so that people do know about these awards and how to apply for them and if they can't afford it, like, what resources they have to be able to apply, because that is going to be one of the ways that moves the needle in terms of ensuring that there's more representation across the board. So I'm of course, paying attention to the way that other people talk about it. I'm pausing for a moment, but what I'm thinking back to is like, hashtag #OscarSoWhite, right? That was a very important moment brought to our attention, which was plenty of black and brown. People already knew that that was an issue and that's what prompted that hashtag at a certain point. And that's not something we need to repeat. We need to learn from that mode and make sure that we're making sure that that's not going to happen in these award shows for podcasting, because we've ensured that the people behind the scenes are representative of the vast group of people that are a part of this industry and then also the categories that are created and the access to who can be a part of those awards and be up for consideration. Like, all of that needs to be a part of it. And I do think it is. I wouldn't say it's. A starting point but it's definitely one of the avenues for which we can start to improve this.

Danny:

And obviously your company, your business is one of the ways that you're impacting the space as well when it comes to that. And you've had immense success even though the business is new relatively, it's less than five years old, you've had immense success already. You've had podcast launches, have had millions of downloads within the first month or the first three months of release with the Father Wants Us Dead podcast for example, you've had your clients featured on industry publications, ABC, et cetera. What's the secret? And you don't have to share if you don't want to share it because it's a secret. What's the secret to you for effective promotion when it comes to getting your clients success?

Alexandra:

Oh my goodness, I feel like this is a really annoying answer.

Danny:

Don't say it depends.

Alexandra:

I was going to say I think my secret is that there is no secret. But I mean, obviously my brain is a part of that secret because no one can replicate my brain and I'm really good at thinking creatively around how we can be pitching things and what types of marketing stuff we can really think about in just getting a podcast out there. So obviously part of the secret sauce is just my brain itself that can't be replicated. But I think that for people who are listening, who are trying to wish that there was a secret, I think that it is just helpful to remind ourselves that no show is the same. It's good to take kind of what those best practices approaches are to PR and marketing and stuff, but then to not stop yourself from getting really creative around your show and giving yourself that time to brainstorm and have fun about all the ways that you could be getting the word out and then give yourself opportunity to experiment. I think that something that bums me out so much is when I see podcasts or opportunities see podcasts kill an idea for promotion before they even give it a chance to give them information. I think part of that secret is like really being able to give yourself time to experiment, get information, make a better choice based off that information and then get to the point where you can ultimately find what really works for your podcast. Part of the secret is maybe shifting your mindset around it so that you don't feel like something has to immediately happen for it to be working. Like. I think that we do need to give ourselves and our podcast time and continued effort and just make sure that you are doing a mix of a few things so that you can figure out what works best for your podcast because it's not going to be the same as exactly the same as what worked with Father wants, his dad or some of my other clients because they're all also coming from a different level of what kind of owned media they have what kind of owned media they don't have for everyone who's listening. I really wish I could give it to you, but it's a mix of all those things for sure.

Danny:

If you enjoy podcasts about podcasts, then check out the Trailer Park Podcast that focuses on the art of the audio teaser. Hosted by Arielle Nissenblatt and Tim Villegas, season one consists of eight episodes featuring trailers from very different podcasts. Listen to the Trailer Park Podcast to be entertained, to find a new show, or to learn what makes a great trailer. With a chance to win a Vocaster from Focusrite for every episode of season one, tune in and find out how to win. To listen to the show, head on over to podchat.ca/trailerpark or follow on Instagram @trailerpark_podcast. Hi. This is Danny from Pod Chat. Do you enjoy the show but wish you didn't have to listen to ads like this? Well, now you don't have to. Instead, for a small monthly or annual subscription, you can get the ad free version of the show by going to podchat.ca/bonus and choosing your preferred option. You also get early access to every episode before anybody else, as well as some other cool exclusives. So head on over podchat.ca/bonus and get all this good stuff today. Or they could just get in touch with you too.

Alexandra:

Well, yes, absolutely. I mean, hey, that's why I'm here and that's why I do the work that I do and why there's people like me who are also doing this work because it's hard work, and it's especially hard if you're doing all the other pieces of your podcast. And so, like, it can be helpful to have someone come in and be able to see what you might be missing because you're too close to it. And that's totally fine and normal. That's why people have teams and because.

Danny:

You've worked, obviously with small podcasters right up to large million download podcasts as well, and clients that move between indies and big networks. I'm curious if you're seeing anything in the industry when you're working to pitch clients and the people you're dealing with as the pitchee. And I think that's the right word, pitchee. In the last three I don't know, two or three years maybe. There's been a huge amount of investments, obviously, in the podcast space, and we're now seeing in the last few months not a lot of these investments are many of these investments, anyway, haven't paid off the way I think a lot of companies expect them to pay off. We're seeing a lot of people getting let go from podcast companies, projects being canceled, exclusives being canceled. And I'm wondering because you straddle the indie and network, small/big, if you're seeing maybe a divergence now between small and large and if that's shaping what's going to be happening in the next twelve months, 18 months or so.

Alexandra:

I think I'm noticing a few things which I think a lot of people are noticing. I'm noticing a lot of fear. I think it's in part there because there's a lot of talk around recession, right? And I think we're also, like I said, in a teenager stage, and I think we're figuring out like, okay, what actual model for Monetization or models for Monetization works for this platform? And I do feel like there are so many subsets of what a podcaster is that it goes beyond even just like, indie and network. Because I think that there's also other branch that sometimes intersects with those other ones, where it's like, this is a podcast I made for my business and I want it to either make money or I wanted to use it as like a marketing funnel to make me money through my consulting business and things like that. So I think that what I hope, at least in the way that things are going, is that people first acknowledge again that we're still in a stage where a lot can change. And I don't think that needs to be scary. I think that can be exciting and we should allow for it to evolve as it needs to based on audience consumption. And also, I think, just like a mindset shift around the way that we engage with audiences and help them know what to expect. And what I mean by that is we have this challenge of it is a medium that has always, not always, but very largely big, free, and that's different than books, that's different than films. Like, yes, there's libraries, you can get a library of card and read books that way, but when a book is launched, it costs money to get it. When a movie comes out, it costs money to get it. When we watch TV, it used to be cable that you paid for, or now it's streaming platforms or a combination of both, if that is something that still excites you. But a lot of it is that's where I think podcasting has differed. I mean, yeah, you need like an internet connection and be able to get on a browser or have a phone where you can have an app where you can listen through to it. But I think part of the challenge that I think both indies and networks are feeling right now is that there is a certain type of listener that feels very entitled to content that is created for them, that is free, and that takes a lot of work. And so that's certain conversations that I'm starting to see more and thoughts that I'm having around where, yes, I'm a part of the industry. So I think that that changes the way I think about it a little bit. But I'm excited for the day that I can financially support more patreons of podcasts that I love, which I can't do that right now, but when I can, I'm again back to value stuff like that's. Something that excites me to be able to contribute to podcasters making money through tip platforms or patreon or whatever. They have kind of set up for these indie ones. I am hoping that there will be a shift in just how like beyond just the industry, but how podcasting is valued in terms of a craft. Because I think it needs to be valued more as a craft for there to be more money put into it, whether that's more money for consumption or more money for people who are investing in their work, like investing in their podcast. Craft as you would being a writer and studying to write and paying for classes or to be an artist or all that stuff. I don't know if that's going to be a trend, but that's something that I'm hoping to see shift in the way that we just think about this medium. Because if you don't value something as like a high craft or like what is it? High low art, my brain is failing me right now. Low brow, high brow and low brow stuff. Obviously there's a mix of that in this medium. But I do think there needs to be a shift in how it's talked about because for a long time it's been talked about. It's so easy, anyone can do it. And I love that from an accessibility standpoint and like encouraging people to try things and come into the industry and give it a go. But I do think there's been so much of that over talking about it as like a really challenging craft for those who are doing it at a really high level and it's kind of hurting them financially. And so I don't know if that answers your question. I kind of went on a tangent, definitely.

Danny:

And it kind of reminds me there's a lot of conversation at the moment about Spotify pays obviously artists for their music on Spotify, right? But apart from the exclusive podcasts that are on Spotify, they don't pay content creators like sorry, they don't pay podcasters like little indie podcasters for having their shows on Spotify. And I'm wondering maybe that's possibly a direction that needs to go, or a bigger discussion around that why certain artists are paid on the same platform that other artists are on, but they don't get paid. And maybe that's where the whole value for value conversation comes into play as well with the apps and the creators of these apps that are trying to address that value and perceived value of what podcasters actually bring into the table.

Alexandra:

Yeah, I definitely think that should be a part of the conversation. And just like I hate to continue to say like, experimentation, but I do think it is worth experimenting with different forms for, I guess, how podcasts can make money because this is a business for most people, we're a part of it. And if not, then it's a hobby that costs money that people want to be able to invest in. It doesn't seem that we are able to replicate exactly how other mediums make money. And again, I don't know if that needs to be a problem. I just think that because something isn't working doesn't mean we need to cut money from the whole medium, maybe just figure out a better way. And also as someone who's on the marketing and PR side of it, we are in a new age of podcasting where you can't just there's more competition now and that's like okay, and natural as a medium grows. I never remembered the exact number, but I always love the graphic. I know Eric Jones has a great visual graphic that he drew of the number of podcasts versus the number of blogs and number of movies and number of books and stuff like that. And it's like we're so tiny in comparison to that. Just a baby, just tiny. And those are industries that have figured out and really invest in marketing and getting the word out. And I think one of the most disappointing things is knowing you can do so much more for a show, but they just don't want to put that budget into it. And you're like, well, I hope it still does as good as it could be, but it could probably be doing so much more and then at the end of the day, making you more money if you're willing to put a little bit more money into the side that's going to help you get there. So I think that it's a challenge we're having in the industry now. And like, I know there are other people, my peers that we've been talking about this and it's something that we're hoping to see more of, more of an investment in the marketing and PR side of it so that there can be more industry standards around it. And I think that also helps the people on the receiving end of those pitches. Pod Chat it's a little more clear for production companies to know, like, okay, we need to have this many episodes set so that the person doing the pitching can really be the most effective that they need to be or having certain assets in order. So I think it's just we're in a period where we just need to get more clarity and clarity around what kind of needs to be set in place and what we need to prioritize to kind of take things to the next level and be able to make the money that they want to make. So it's kind of all these things working together and giving them room to evolve in the way that they need to evolve to make this industry work.

Danny:

And speaking of evolving, at the top of the episode, we'd mentioned that your newsletter, Podcasting by the Moon, it kind of follows the path of your business and podcast, obviously focuses on women in podcasting and it celebrates wins and recommendations, but it also has a feature about things that you're banishing that month. So tell me about that. What are you banishing? Those kind of things that you like to go get out.

Alexandra:

Oh my goodness. That part is kind of like the final little fun part of this. I mean, the whole newsletter is fun, don't get me wrong, but I like to add a little gift for the end and then have three things we're banishing that month. And it often comes from sometimes my personal experience. And I found that people have connected to my personal experience of things that I want to banish, whether it's something as simple as like spring allergies or something bigger. Like, I know that I'm trying to think there was conversations that I'm seeing on Twitter or something that I know a bunch of people are like engaged in. There was one issue where one of the banishing things was like SCOTUS during the abortion and news around Roe v. Wade. It was definitely banishing the people who chose to get rid of that. So it's a mix of kind of more serious and like more fun stuff. And the next issue is I don't know when this will be out, but March 7 I'll have three new things that we're banishing, so I'll have to start thinking about those now.

Danny:

And is it all your stuff or do you take things from your subscribers and what they want to banish too?

Alexandra:

No, it's stuff that I'm putting together, whether from personal experience or things that I'm noticing a lot of people talking about or feeling strongly about or also experiencing during that last month. But I do love when my subscribers respond to my emails and let me know what they're either celebrating or banishing that month. So I definitely get those from responses, and I always love reading them. And I hope it encourages other people to have moments where they're like, okay, I'm going to get rid of this or spend less energy on this thing in this next month.

Danny:

And maybe they can do it with your newsletter, where the newsletter comes out on March 7, you mentioned. So it's like, obviously it comes each month. Maybe they can just set a day aside and say, okay, this is my time with Alexandra. We're going to get rid of this. And what else I found interesting about the newsletter, or the genesis of the newsletter as well, it's inspired by your own spirituality and your connection to witchcraft. And that's not something you'll see on many newsletter sign up pages or landing pages about how the newsletter came about. So how long have you been practicing? How did that come about?

Alexandra:

Oh my goodness. I got really into witchcraft when I was in high school. So a friend of mine, we read this, I don't remember what the book was called. It might have just been called The Witch, I don't remember. But I don't want to have someone Google that and be reading the wrong book, so take that lightly. But that was when I kind of first discovered like, oh, this is like something that I practice because I always loved witches and fantasy stories since I was in elementary school. But it wasn't until that period in high school where I started to learn about it as a spiritual practice. And I grew up going to Catholic Sunday school and also part Jewish. So I've had kind of like a mix of faith in my life and I just never really felt connected to Christianity and knew that that wasn't really what I wanted to practice. I think that there's a lot of value in it, of course, for certain people who practice that, it really works for them. I also have a lot of critique around Christianity and the history of Christianity and when it is used for terrible things. So that's a very complicated thing. But all in all, it was for me and so in high school I just got really into it. I loved at the time when I was learning about it, it was very much through the lens of Wicca, which I think now as I learn more about that, it's not really what I respond to as much. And one of the podcasts that I learn a lot about witchcraft from is The Witch Wave with Pam Grossman. And so that was one of the ones that kind of reignited my passion for it because I think I was really into it in high school and during a period of my early twenty s and mid 20s kind of fell off from any spirituality in general and any type of connection there. And not that I wasn't always kind of like, oh, well, if I did practice something it would be that. But a couple of years ago I got back into being like, I want to spend more time with this and keep learning about it. And even though it's been over ten years since I initially started learning about it and started practicing, in a way, I think that I'm in this period of refining that and relearning and now also learning during a period where there are a lot more conversations around Appropriation and wanting to make sure that that's out of any type of practice that I do. Because I think looking back in high school I'm like, oh, the things that I was learning, there were definitely some appropriate elements that I didn't realize were a part of that or knew to look out for. And so I am grateful that I'm now coming back into it with a more educated look and experience. So, yeah, that started and part of why I started Podcasting By the Moon was because it was an episode of The Witch Wave with oh, my goodness. I don't know how to pronounce the guest's last name, but her first name is Sarah Faith and her last name starts with a G. Yeah, I don't want to butcher it. She was talking specifically about practices around the moon and I just was really connecting to it and really enjoying it and wanted to create something that felt very reminiscent of the work that I'm already doing. And as I was learning from her and from her moon book. The Moon is very connected to femininity and feminism, and I obviously connected with that and wanted to just have a time each month to give myself space and time to reflect, think about the coming month, celebrate certain things from the past month and as we talked about Danish, other things and just, like, have, like, a day where we're, like, re centering conversations around women and podcasting. Because that obviously intersects with my work. So that's obviously going to be in there. But but yeah. So I think in the and it's been just over a year since I kind of revamped the newsletter and named a podcasting by the Moon. And it comes out every full moon. And so it's been great having that every month, even when things get busy. And I can't always do like, other practices that's always there. And so it's been a great way to bring that back into my life and start to make more time for it and just like get away from the normal work schedule. That was also another thing I was like, I want to stop thinking about my month is like Monday to Friday work. And then I was like, let me have another way to kind of think about the way we're cycling through each month. And I'm excited to see where it progresses because I keep getting deeper into it. So I appreciate the question.

Danny:

And that can be one of the things to be banished, is like the typical work day start. No, I'm not doing that exactly.

Alexandra:

I think the one from last month was the nine to five work week because I'm starting to learn about how that especially why it doesn't work well for like, CIS women for like, hormone schedules. Like, the nine to five work week was created based on like, a guy's hormonal schedule. So like men's hormonal schedule. So I was like, whoa, mind blown. Now I ordered a book about it and I'm going to learn more about it.

Danny:

So Alexandra, this has been a complete education and I know our listeners will get a lot of value from this week's episode. For people that want to find out more about PR and marketing in podcasting and what you offer, for your podcast The Pod Broads, for Podcasting by the Moon, where's the best place for people to connect with you online and learn more and sign up and hear more about that.

Alexandra:

Yeah, so I guess I'll give like three main places. So I'd say connect with me on Twitter. I'm at @poddraland, so P-O-D-D-R-A-L-A-N-D. I'm most active on there in terms of social media and then my website www.podgerland.com. You can find my one on one services there. So if you're looking for kind of like specified more in depth consulting services or someone to really bring on and be your ride or die during a launch or just during your regular publishing sketch, well, that's where you can find my PR and marketing services. And then also there you can find memberships that I recently launched for women podcasters called Broads in Progress. And so that's an accountability membership for women who have podcasts and are looking to grow them and keep accountable to the practices that are going to lead to that growth. Because as we know, we are all very busy working on our podcast and production, but sometimes it's hard to carve out time for that. So that's a lovely group and I'm there to guide you and just be that person that you can reach out to when you have a question and have a bunch of resources in there as well. And podcasting by the moon. You can also find it on my website or you could search it on Google it'll pop right up and sign up there. I'd love for you to be a part of my newsletter community and to also let me know what you're celebrating every month when I send out the newest issue.

Danny:

And I'll be sure to leave all these links in the show notes as normal. So no matter what podcast app you're listening on, just check the show notes and the links will take you straight there. So again, Alexandra, thank you so much for coming on today.

Alexandra:

Thanks you so much for having me. This was super fun and I really appreciate you having me on.

Danny:

Did you know every time Pod Chat gets a new review, a baby podcaster takes their first steps? Help a baby podcaster walk today by leaving a five star rating and review on the likes of Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more. Just head on over to podchat.ca/review and do your magic. These little feet are counting on you.

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