Podcasting for Fun While Promoting in the Process

By Tee Morris, Chuck Tomasi

When it comes to promotion, no one does a better job in promoting your podcast business than your most passionate fans. They work for free, set their own hours, and sing the praises (if you are lucky) of whatever it is you happen to be producing. Many times, these podcasts are nicknamed fancasts but these are podcasts where consumers independently sit down around mics and talk about your business, be it an entertainment property, a product, or some sort of service.

But what, you may ask, is the line between a fancast and a podcast about your business?

Well, The Expanse has The Churn, produced by SyFy Wire. The Churn is hosted by SyFy and features as co-hosts authors Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham, who write collectively as James S.A. Corey, author of The Expanse novels. This makes the podcast an official production, and upon listening to it, you know without question that anything appearing on this show is firsthand knowledge of what is happening on the set, coming from the creators of the world, and shared from the actors bringing these characters to life.

That does not mean The Churn is the only podcast about this popular SyFy offering.

While SyFy hosts its own podcast about The Expanse, Solo Talk Media produces The Expanse Podcast: Tales from the Rocinante.

The Expanse Podcast
The Expanse Podcast: Tales from the Rocinante is a podcast by the fans for the fans.

The Expanse Podcast: Tales from the Rocinante is hosted by Mark, a graphic designer from Ontario, Canada. Mark is not affiliated with SyFy or Universal Studios, but he is a fan of The Expanse and launched this podcast to share his love for the series. Along with show recaps, he reports news on The Expanse cast and crew and offers his own speculation on how things will unfold over upcoming episodes.

Other shows like Solo Talk’s include The Expanse: The Unofficial Podcast and The Expanse After Show, two podcasts independently produced from SyFy’s own official podcasts. These are examples of fans who are sharing their appreciation for this science fiction series, serving as an unofficial street team for the production.

When it comes to fans podcasting, be it about a specific property or a generic theme, don’t expect all the opinions coming from the podcast to be positive. If fans don’t like a direction or a decision taken in a series, they will share it on their podcast. A fan’s podcast could be considered the highest form of feedback, but it should not be regarded as such. You might like the podcasts supporting your favorite sports team, show, or organization. You also might hear some opinions radically different from your own.

Between fancasts hosted by experienced journalists like Yahoo! Sports’ Greg Wyshynski and Vice Sports’ Dave Lozo (of Puck Soup, part of the Nerdist Network) or two fans passionate for the sport as in Shut Yer Five Hole with Meg and Piper, the National Hockey League receives regular promotion and attention free of charge. Irish culture is also given plenty of attention through podcasts like historian Fin Dwyer’s Irish History Podcast and celebrated musician Marc Gunn’s Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. What’s terrific about these podcasts is they can work to not only promote your passion but promote your own brand.

Marc Gunn, for example, in showcasing Irish and Celtic music, culture, and lore on his podcast, also spreads awareness of his own brand as an accomplished musician. The podcast, blog, and companion app all offer listeners a chance to find his music alongside the music of other independent musicians featured on his podcast.

Irish & Celtic Music Podcast,
Marc Gunn, in offering a platform to musicians everywhere with his Irish & Celtic Music Podcast, also promotes his own music brand.

Community-driven podcasts cover a wide range of audiences. However, all communities share a similar mindset, and you can apply these “sound” production principles:

  • You are the host, but it’s not all about you. Community podcasts should be about the community. Yes, there is room for personal thoughts and commentary, but in small doses.

The podcast is about the community and how it interacts with the world around you; that is what the content should focus on. Your podcast can feature other members of the community who share the same opinions as yours or even take opposing viewpoints (a spirited debate can up your show). Just remember that the community-based podcast is not about you personally, but about how you see the world, how that connects with the people around you in the community, and how all that comes together in the pursuit of a common interest.

  • Avoid the negative. It would be easy to turn a podcast into a gossip column or a personal rant against the very concept that brought the community into being. While there is no law or ethic barring you from speaking out or voicing concerns, a community is based on support. Whether you consider yourself a fan of Harry Potter, Apple Computers, or your local county, your goal in a community podcast is to remain positive and celebrate the benefits of being part of the cooperative spirit. If there is a matter of concern in your community, then there’s room for debate and action, as with a political podcast — offer some possible solutions to these issues.

Regardless of the kind of community you’re chronicling, your podcast should work much like glue — helping to keep supporters together in the face of problems (instead of just crying in your collective beer) and celebrating what gives them joy. Reinforce that sense of community and keep your podcast strong.