Kathy Fettke has been podcasting for the last 13 years and was on the air long before that on radio and television. She knows exactly what it takes to start a successful podcast and, this month, shares it with Think Realty readers.
Donna Behrens: What got you into podcasting?
Kathy Fettke: It happened somewhat by accident. I had a radio show called “The Real Wealth Show” that was broadcast in San Francisco on KNEW and then later on KSFO.
My husband, Rich Fettke, who is an early adopter, found out that iTunes was incorporating a new thing called “podcasts.” He converted my radio show into an mp3 and uploaded it for free, and voila! I had suddenly become one of the first real estate podcasters on iTunes.
I’m sure I didn’t have much of an audience yet because not too many people were listening to podcasts 13 years ago. We were just happy to find a way to repurpose the content that we were already producing regularly.
It took off rapidly after that. Soon I had thousands of listeners in 27 countries. My little San Francisco audience turned into a global audience nearly overnight.
DB: What else motivated you to start your podcast?
KF: I originally started the Real Wealth Show when I found out my husband was diagnosed with melanoma. After many tests, the doctor thought the cancer had spread to his liver. If that were the case, he told Rich, he would have six months to live.
Fortunately, the doctor was wrong and Rich is healthy today, but at the time, we didn’t know. I quickly turned the show’s focus into ways I could create passive income, in order to be home for Rich and the children.
I interviewed self-made millionaires week after week and learned their secrets. We followed their advice and bought 14 rental homes in Dallas, Texas. It turned out that my audience wanted to learn the same information that we did.
The show grew rapidly, so we started to host live events to get to know our audience. That’s when we created the Real Wealth Network, a safe place for people to learn from others who have done what they hope to do. No back-of-the-room sales were allowed. No boot camps. No gurus. Just education from real world investors willing to share their secrets.
We were able to help hundreds of people avoid loss during the 2008 housing crash, thanks to the great guests I interviewed on “The Real Wealth Show.” For example, Robert Kiyosaki was the one who advised us to sell our high-priced California property and trade it for high-cash-flow properties in Texas. When the California markets crashed soon after, those who listened and got out in time were able to quadruple their monthly cash flow and preserve their equity.
As a result, national news stations started to call me for interviews. In order to be prepared for those news interviews, I launched Real Estate News for Investors in January of 2016. This way I could be well informed if I got a last minute call from Fox, ABC News or Bloomberg.
It’s been in the Top 10 List of real estate podcasts since we’ve launched.
DB: How do you launch a show?
KF: It’s fairly easy and inexpensive. Here are some tips on getting started:
1. Get a good mic
You can record on your computer with Audacity or whatever audio recording program you prefer. You can even use your Voice Memos app on your iPhone. The most important thing is to have a high-quality mic, like the Yeti, for optimal sound. Make sure you have rugs, curtains and baffling to avoid a room echo.
2. Get rights to your music
You can get free music for your open and close by searching “free music,” or you can create it yourself. Do not use licensed material without permission or you will pay big fines.
3. Keep your show opening short
If people listen to your podcast regularly, they won’t want to wait through a long intro every single time they tune in.
4. Go light on advertising
You can use ads throughout the show or at the end, but too many podcasters load up at the beginning and lose their audience right away.
5. Let your guests talk
If you are conducting interviews, don’t dominate the conversation. Give your guest the spotlight and be prepared with great questions and an impressive intro.
6. Speak to one person
If you act like you’re talking to a big group, it won’t sound very personal. Think of one person, and speak to them.
7. Be ready before your launch
iTunes will feature your new show in the “New and Noteworthy” section for 8 weeks after launching a new show. Take advantage of this boost and come out of the gate ready with shows prepared. Get your friends and family to subscribe, rate and review the show right away.
DB: How do you keep track of your listeners?
KF: We use Libsyn as a podcast hosting service and that provides stats on listenership. You can also use Blubrry. We also try to incorporate a “call to action” in our podcasts. If people respond, you know they are listening.
It’s important to offer something to your audience. You don’t want to oversell but you don’t want to undersell either. Offer a gift or something of value if they visit your website or landing page, or sign up for a newsletter. I’ve been listening to other podcasts for years and some have never given me a reason to go to their website.
DB: How big is the playing field right now?
KF: I was lucky because I was one of the first podcasters, so there wasn’t much competition. Now there’s a lot of competition. In 2013, Apple announced that podcast subscriptions had surpassed one billion with more than 250,000 unique podcasts in more than one hundred languages! It could be double that now.
DB: How has podcasting helped you grow your business?
KF: The biggest impact that podcasting has had on our business is the ability to reach people globally. We had listeners in Australia at the time the U.S. real estate market crashed. Many Americans were not in a position to buy real estate at that time, but the Australian listeners were in a perfect position to invest.
One listener contacted me at the beginning of 2010 and invited me to come speak to her group of thousands of Australian investors about U.S. real estate. Their dollar had doubled and our real estate had tanked, so they had twice the buying power while everything was on sale. That meant they could buy U.S. property for 10-20 cents on the dollar. They would have never found me and I would have never found them had it not been for the podcast.
DB: What can a podcaster do to get noticed?
KF: There are lots of ways to build a following. Don’t just rely on a podcast. You can use SEO with your website and landing pages. You can promote episodes on social media. You can put on live events to meet your audience. Whatever you decide, you need a good marketing plan of your own. Don’t hope that iTunes will market for you, because they won’t.
Also remember, not everyone is meant to be a podcaster. Know your strengths. Maybe your energy is more suited to writing, networking or finding someone else to do your marketing while you focus on your craft. If you’re not naturally gifted at public speaking, partner with someone who is.
Best advice: Listen to the top 10 most successful podcasts to get an idea of what they are doing right. Most importantly, have fun!