We will be talking with Meghan Enriquez today from True Conversations. We’re going to hear how she started a podcast to grow her movement, how she grew the podcast into a network, and how she fosters engagement with her target audience. She also is hosting an event at the end of September 2017, so listen for that later.
Today’s podcast MetaMoment is…The School of Podcasting with Dave Jackson. This is always one of my top podcasts to listen to every week. I started listening in late 2012 and haven’t missed an episode since. In episode 582, Dave opens it up to his listeners as they share some “Um, Yeah, No” moments. This is when someone reaches out to you as a podcaster, pitching themselves – but it is clearly not a good fit. In fact, some of them are hilariously off target. You definitely want to check this episode out, and subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes either.
This MetaMoment has been brought to your by Libsyn. They are the media host I use and the number 1 place I recommend as I work with new podcasters. I’ve been recommending them for several years now. They are not a sponsor, but I have recently become an affiliate for them, so if you sign up with Libsyn and use the coupon code ‘JOSH’ you can receive a free month of hosting. In fact it’s more than a month because you’ll get the rest of this month and next month free – just make sure you don’t change your hosting level before the free month ends. Again, go to Libsyn.com and sign up using the code ‘JOSH.’
How Meghan got into podcasting
Meghan was not looking to become a podcasters. She started her company, True Conversations, back in January 2016 after shifting career goals and being home with 2 young children. She felt there was a need to change the culture in how we communicate and lead. True Conversations started out being events and training, but one day at a lunch, the broadcaster for the Baltimore minor league team suggested podcasting as a useful platform for her to explore. Although Meghan at the time didn’t know what a podcast was, she soon saw the value of it as a medium for spreading the mission of True Conversations—to promote understanding around stigmatized issues—into the world. Although she didn’t know how to do it, she knew she could learn, and so that’s what she did. It has been the biggest blessing and best decision she made around True Conversations.
From one podcast to a whole network
In order to cover the breadth of issues and all the life and human experiences that deserve to be talked about, Meghan realized she’d need to open up the podcast network. That way, a variety of people can have it as a platform and a safe space to respectfully bring to the table stories, networks and topics that Meghan personally didn’t have experience with. People were invited to have their own show as long as they were willing to maintain the same sort of vibe of having true conversations that are real, transparent, uplifting and empowering, being respectful of all sides of an issue and promoting the culture of spreading understanding.
So much of what overwhelms our social media dialogue right now is arguing, pettiness and taking sides, and that’s part of the reason all the shows on the network are on the same podcasting channel: it means listeners bump into and naturally come across topics, conversations and perspectives that they might have otherwise have avoided due to the personalization in how news is consumed these days. The diversity aspect is really important and what pushed Meghan to create the network.
Before the podcast, there were live events
True Conversations began by hosting small coffee shop events with a panel of people from as many sides of an issue as possible and having a true conversation around it. The first event was about redefining the health journey and featured four people living a health journey and going about it very differently, with different beliefs. The goal was to normalize that whatever you choose is good for you. Other topics have included world peace, faith and body image. True Conversations also has a contributor-fed blog, which was a way to allow people from different walks of life to have their space on the platform before the podcast came about.
This year, the vision is for the events to culminate into an annual larger event on a central topic, which will happen with the first annual True Conversations Live Event on September 30th in Baltimore. The topic this year is entrepreneurship, and the event will feature a screening of the She Started It documentary as well as the true conversations panel discussion with local female entrepreneurs. Being that September 30th is International Podcast day, Meghan is inviting local podcasters to come to the event for free, interview people and cover the event.
Live interactions and conversations online
A few months ago Meghan began to do weekly Facebook lives every Thursday at 7pm Eastern as another way to connect with the community, get to know each other and give them space to share their feelings about some of the current issues that affect our lives privately and professionally. Meghan finds there’s a different exchange that can happen when it is live instead of just having it in comments where the tone of voice can be misconstrued or intentions misunderstood. It’s a meeting point for people of different ethnicities, socio-economic status and career paths asking each other questions, while Meghan just facilitates.
For now, it’s on Facebook Live. Meghan said when she first started doing Facebook lives she made all the mistakes, but the lesson for her is that when faced with something new and uncomfortable, see yourself as a student and just do it. One mistake she did make is to randomly just pop on, instead of letting people know ahead of time when she’d be live. That’s why they set up the consistent expectation of the regular Thursday 7 o’clock schedule. She says that picking a consistent schedule is not only healthy for you as a person with a busy life, but it’s more helpful for your audience so they can plug in much more frequently.
The Power of the Podcast
Meghan’s hope and why she chose podcasting as one of their platforms is because it’s a wonderfully powerful tool to have and promote social change. If you’re in this space, just like with any other media, you can use it for entertainment, and people do need places to escape and zone out for a little while. But Meghan’s advice is to be conscious of how you’re influencing and perpetuating social norms and culture, and use that power responsibly. Even if you’re not talking about deep, heavy topics but are more in the education or entertainment space, use the power for good so that you are spreading a happier, healthier message. If people are listening, you have the opportunity to influence them in a good way.
Find more from Meghan:
The best place to find more information or reach out to Meghan is www.true-conversations.com and social media links are on the bottom of that website too.