In Episode 21 of the Ministry at Scale podcast, we spoke with Misty Phillip, the Founder of Spark Media and Spark Collective. The Spark Collective is a podcast training community that provides educational resources on how to grow your podcast – with information starting with the fundamentals all the way through advanced topics. However, it is more than just a collection of educational content. It is a community to build connections with other podcasters and get the support you need.
How did COVID impact podcasting?
Misty shared that while some podcasts did slow down or fade during the pandemic, she has seen a lot of growth in the past year, and knows that many others have as well. Podcasting is both about providing great information and (more importantly) creating a community. Those podcasters who have invested in building an engaged community likely saw their audience grow during the pandemic.
Podcasts are the new pulpit
One of Misty’s friends shared the idea with her that “podcasts are the new pulpit.” This has been especially true in 2020, when many in-person services worldwide were going virtual. Those churches with thriving digital ministries didn’t miss a beat, while those who hadn’t invested in digital media were left scrambling. Podcasting for Christians can give you a low-barrier way to reach every corner of the world with the good news of the Gospel – which is what the Great Commission is all about.
Starting is hard, keeping it going can be harder
When Misty was first getting started in podcasting, she recorded her first fifteen episodes as a batch at the She Speaks conference. But when she got home from the conference, those recordings sat waiting to be edited and published for six months. If you are thinking about starting a podcast for your ministry, it can be hard to get started and publish that first episode. Once you hit that publish button, however, it doesn’t end there. Consistency is the key to growth and building a community. One million podcasts launched in the last year, but many started strong and have faded out – so be sure to pick a pace and goals that will allow you to consistently publish new episodes. It also helps to be a part of a community like the Spark Collective to help you learn, get inspiration, and stick with it.
The best way to grow your podcast
Misty shares that many people focus heavily on social media to get traction for their podcast. However, the foundation of growing your podcast should be SEO. Make sure you get your content discovered, and your keywords in place, to start driving traffic from the search engines. From there, word-of-mouth is the best way to grow your listener base. By focusing on organic growth, you’re able to let your biggest fans find you; rather than ads or other outbound techniques that may grow your overall listens, but those listeners don’t always stick around.
Be sure to listen to the full episode for all the great insights that Misty shared. If you are looking to start a podcast for your ministry, be sure to check out the Spark Collective or get a ticket to the Spark Conference (which will sell out) happening in June.