Australia’s OG podcasters, Stacey June and Kristie Mercer, have had millions of downloads since they launched The Thinkergirls in 2012, covering everything from pop culture to anxiety. Here are their top tips for standing out.
MAKE IT AUTHENTIC
SJ: Before you start a podcast, ask yourself one question: is it authentically you? The word authentic is a bit of a buzzword at the moment, much like the word “journey” in the past. Podcasting has a very particular, intelligent audience [and] they will sniff you out if you are doing something for the sake of doing it. Authenticity and a genuine interest is key when thinking about what your content focus is. Podcasts are the new black, but while it is a fairly easy set up and platform [from which] to have your thoughts heard, don’t take advantage of it. It’s a real honour to have people listen to you and, depending on how many, a responsibility as well. Don’t waste people’s time, instead, try to give them something to take away.
KM: The secret to success is being a doer. You can have the most amazing idea to change the world, but if you don’t action it, it doesn’t count. There’s a certain safety from never daring to try, so you never technically fail...but where’s the fun in that? We have an astounding amount of information at our fingertips, so if you have an idea the only person standing in the way is yourself.
BUILD A LOYAL AUDIENCE
SJ: We listen to our audience and we are active content creators. This means we are constantly working on being aware of what interests our listener or, as we call them, our “posse member”. We ensure we’re honest at all times about who we are, and we involve them in our lives – just as we would a friend. Not all shows will share to the level that The Thinkergirls do, but it’s important that your audience doesn’t feel like there are walls between you and them. Try to take advantage of the fact the podcast medium provides an intimate and inclusive environment.
TRUST YOUR GUT
KM: When we started out we were told that commercial success was impossible, and we started questioning what we stood for. That was the biggest mistake we made. When you work so closely with one other person, it can be a positive to have additional sources of feedback and varying points of view outside of your bubble. There was a point where we found ourselves feeling lost and unsure about where we had evolved to. This lesson reminded us to always trust our gut moving forward.
INVEST IN TECH
SJ: Have a rough idea of how to do everything back-end. Even if you employ a sound engineer or post producer, it’s important to be able to work the tech when something goes wrong. Good microphones are a worthwhile investment and will help with background noise and set-ups that aren’t proper studios. The content, however, is key. At the beginning of our podcast we were hooked up like an old-school three-way – [we could hear] trucks driving past on someone’s phone in the background – but people kept coming back for our content.
A version of this article originally appeared in the January issue of marie claire, on sale now.