Amanda Valentine Reveals How She Creates Podcast Content That Resonates, Why You Should Publish Bad Episodes, and How She Monetized Her Podcast

how to create valuable podcast content marketing a podcast monetize a podcast podcast advice podcasting tips Mar 07, 2021
Amanda Valentine Reveals How She Creates Podcast Content That Resonates, Why You Should Publish Bad Episodes, and How She Monetized Her Podcast
 

 

Amanda Valentine is a former Cincinnati radio show host-turned-podcaster.  Her podcast, Pound This, is a health and nutrition podcast that seeks to inform and inspire those who are finding exercise and nutrition a challenge.

While Amanda is accomplished as a radio show host, never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that her podcast would have the positive impact it has had with her listeners--which had given a return on the investment in time and money.

In today's podcast, I sit down with Amanda as we discuss:

  • How and why she started her podcast.
  • The pros and cons of releasing a podcast once a week or 5 days a week.
  • Uncovering the one thing that is holding you and your podcast back from being successful.
  • Lessons from radio that translate to podcasting.
  • Whether or not you should create an unintentionally bad episode and release it.
  • Thoughts on audiograms and whether or not they give your podcast the boost it needs. 
  • Why your podcast is entrepreneurship.

Enjoy the episode today. I hope it inspires you to build upon what you are creating or opens up doors that you thought were always going to be closed. 

Need help and want me to answer a question on a future episode?  Click here to leave me a voicemail.  Your voicemail can be up to 5 minutes.

=====FULL TRANSCRIPT=====

Shannon Hernandez: 

Welcome back. We are going to get to Amanda here real quick, but I want to remind you that today's episode was recorded using StreamYard. Now, what is StreamYard? StreamYard is a video and audio recording platform where you can create seamless recordings of your podcasts. Your podcast interviews, or maybe just stream them live to multiple platforms. You could use LinkedIn, you could use YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Periscope, and you could create live events around your podcast interviews if you're doing video podcasting. In this particular case with Amanda, we just recorded it and what I was able to do is I was able to go into StreamYard, pull down the video and the audio and use it as repurposable content to promote my episode with Amanda. I've done this with previous episodes before, and this comes in really handy if you're trying to create micro content. If you want to learn more about StreamYard through my affiliate link, check out thepodcasttherapist.com/StreamYard. Amanda, thank you so much for joining me today on The Podcast Therapist. 

Amanda Valentine:

Oh, thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to talk to you. 

Shannon Hernandez: 

Yeah. Thank you so much for accepting my invite. You're like the second interview that I have just scheduled out. This is an honor for me. It's huge. 

Amanda Valentine:

Oh, same. I'm excited that I was someone that you even just thought of. I didn't know what I was number two.

Shannon Hernandez:

Yeah, you're like number two, I guess it would be like Clay Aiken. Everyone wanted Clay Aiken to win.

Amanda Valentine:

That’s the first time I've ever been referred to as Clay. [laughter]

Shannon Hernandez:

You're the Clay Aiken to my Ruben Studdard, how about that? [laughter]

Amanda Valentine:

Yeah, what a paul. [laughter]

Shannon Hernandez:

It's very cool to have you on. Like I said, I want to talk to you today, and just so the audience understands and knows, that you are someone who has been podcasting since, I believe, 2017. There was a whole process that went through that. We can go through some of that process, but I really want to break down where this all started from and how you can help a podcaster get that confidence. I want to jump into some of those stories. When we talk about starting the podcast, you started this in 2017, what was the catalyst that got you started with your podcast? It's called Pound This Podcast. It focuses on helping others with a weight loss journey and whatnot. I'm going to let you go from there and take the reins.

Amanda Valentine:

Yeah. Where it really started is just because I've worked in radio. All of my adult life, that's all I wanted to do. The reason why I fell in love with radio when I was a kid and why I wanted to work in it is based on connections. It's never that I was really into the music or I wanted to be like some quasi celebrity or anything like that, it's just for me growing up, there was a morning show I listened to on the radio in St. Louis called Steve and DC, and I was obsessed with that because I was not a popular kid at all—which we’ll go into my weight loss journey—I was like a fat, funny, awkward kid. My friendship felt like from the radio, I felt like I knew these people, I love them. At the time—this is going to date me—when I left for school in the morning, I put a cassette and I hit record, so I could record the morning show while I was at school for 90 minutes and then come home and listen to the morning show, and fast forward through all the commercials and all that crap, because I just felt this connection with them, which is what I went into radio for is I want to be that connection for someone else, which is also why I really love podcasting. I started listening to podcasts around 2009, 2010. Still my favorite podcast is Keith and The Girl, which is one of the very first podcasts who, actually, Marc Maron stole the idea to start his podcast from far back. I've always just loved the concept of feeling a connection and even though you're technically strangers, feeling close to someone and knowing them. For me, I started this podcast that technically started at the very end of 2017, beginning of 2018. I've been doing it for three years now, because I had been overweight my whole life and yo-yo dieted for a decade, and then finally, around nine years ago, it started as a New Year's resolution to just live a life that felt more like me, which I can get all into that if you really want me to. From there, I lost over a hundred pounds, completely changed my life, went from never even going outside for a walk to summiting mountains, to running marathons, to just completely flipped around my life. I know that a lot of people had mentioned that to me and talked to me about it. It's something that's hard to do on a traditional terrestrial radio, because I was on a country station for a long time. I was on multiple country stations. I've moved all around the country and it's hard to be like, “I binged ate pizza today and I cried, here's Brian.” [laughter] It became a conversation where I started writing a blog about it and it went better than I thought it was going to. The discussion came up at the radio station I was working with at the time when podcasting was becoming more of a thing within the radio company, and I prefer talking to writing, I'm not a writer, and so I was like, “Can I start a podcast that’s just me and not my radio show podcast?” One that's focused on health and fitness and weight loss because that is my life. It's something that I care deeply about and something I really am passionate about helping other people through because it's difficult and people tend to not talk about the really ugly parts of it. They're like, “If you want to do all the extra work, go ahead.” I'm like, “I will.” It originally started where I had the intention of, “Oh, I'm going to do one or two of these a month whatevs.” From there, it ended up being five episodes a week for a couple years, and just through COVID, around May or so, I backed it down into three episodes a week, so now I'm doing three episodes a week. 

Shannon Hernandez:

That's incredible. When you started the podcast and you started ramping up the amount of episodes that you wanted to start releasing, how did you prepare yourself for that onslaught of scheduling out so many podcast interviews? Because you were doing them in person, and I know this is something that a lot of podcasters struggle with, they go, “Wow, I can only do one podcast a week. That's all I can do.” You're a straight up juggernaut when it comes down to that. How do you mentally prepare yourself on the inside to say, “I'm going to do this amount of podcasts”?

Amanda Valentine:

I do want to preface it by saying if you do one a week or one a month, that's fine. I think that you have to have a realistic conversation with yourself about how much you really want to do this and I'd say, give something a shot first before you really commit. You don't want to be like, “Hey, I think I can do five episodes a week and then advertise it,” and then not give what you promise. For me, I just felt like I had so much to say and there was so much content. The turning point to decide to go to five episodes a week was I ended up starting with one or two a week, I wasn't very consistent with it, and I felt that I was missing the mark on that because I was just finding my footing at first, which again, it's not going to be like jumping to know exactly what you want to do right away, knowing what you can do, knowing what you're motivated to do and what you enjoy doing, because the first moment it becomes work and it's not fun, you're going to bail. What the changing moment was for me, I had just been all over the map from January 2018 til July, I think, I went to Podcast Movement. Being at that conference was really helpful. In one of the sessions I sat in, they talked about the importance of having a daily podcast, on becoming a daily routine in someone's life. I knew that because of working in radio, you have your benchmarks and you talk about the same thing, because you have just become a pattern in someone's life and they choose that pattern. I was like, “That makes sense. Can I bounce into five episodes a week? Do I have enough stuff to talk about? Is this a realistic thing without killing myself?” So the choice I made was not all of them were interviews, the thing I started at that point was I started doing the episodes called the Daily Weigh In where I started an Instagram in tandem with my podcast too, so they could promote each other. They're like a machine where they compliment each other very well. I don't think that one would be successful without the other. I would mind my Instagram following of, “What are your health and weight loss questions?” and then I would take those individual questions and answer them one by one in the podcast. Some episodes were 10 minutes long of me just answering one question, some episodes we're deeper dives into interviews. I don't know if this is the correct approach or not, but my approach with doing that was having so many episodes and so many different things in each one, if it is daily or I have more episodes per week, people have something to choose from. Some people just want those 10 minute episodes, great, you have things to choose from. Some people want a deep dive interview, you have that to choose from. It's like almost à la carte of you can pick which own journey you want within my own podcast, do you just want questions answered? Do you want to hear something? Which I always feel like the episodes where I just talk about myself, I'm like, “Who wants to hear crap about me?” Those are my successful episodes. It's a balance between—and I still do that—between the three of them, which again, I don't know if that's correct, but it doesn't matter because I'm making the rules of, I'm sure if you go to a conference or whatever, or you talk to other podcasters, everybody's going to have their idea of what's correct of just, “do interviews and stick to interviews or just do this and stick to this,” and I don't do that. I don't know if I'd be more successful if I did, or if I didn't. 

Shannon Hernandez:

This is why I wanted to bring in my friends who are in radio broadcasting is because you say, “I don't know if there are rules or not,” but we, as radio broadcasters, know the rules enough to know when to break them, really.

Amanda Valentine:

Totally. I feel like I borrow things that I have learned in radio, but also things that I feel like are anti radio. One of the things that I love so much about podcasting—because I quit my radio job at the end of 2019 to pursue this full-time because I do listen to almost exclusively podcasts. That's just what I listened to and what I enjoy—I feel like one of the things that I do because of my radio background is I do very minimal editing. It doesn't sound like you're listening to The Daily or This American Life or anything like that, or even just a lot of these true crime podcasts. Mine is just very fluid. If people cough, I leave it there. Because of my radio experience being so tight, you got a minute and a half to talk, because I mostly do shows, not like I'm always on the air by myself. But even in those conversations, it's so heavily edited down. If we would interview an artist, we'd have a 15-minute interview and we'd whittle it down to 90 seconds. From that, I'm like, “Oh, this just doesn't have room to breathe,” so I took that into podcasting as my anti radio of if you were just sitting in the room with two people, this is what the experience you'd get, you'd get all the ums, you’d get the, “Oh, I brain farted,” unless it's real bad, thenI'll edit it out. But that's, to me, what feels more realistic than this highly polished thing of radio, which isn't bad, it's just that that's the choice I made in podcasting. But then I also borrow things that I've learned too, of like, “How do people listen? What are their habits like? What's a commute like? Oh, your commute is 10 to 20 minutes long, then I'm going to put in some 10 to 20-minute long episodes, so you don't have to break it up like Joe Rogan, where it's like putting on a second job to listen to so freaking long. It's been a learning experience of what I take from re radio and what I choose to leave out. 

Shannon Hernandez:

Yeah. I think that's a really great point to make, because that is a question that gets asked on my YouTube channel, I'm sure it's going to be asked on this podcast, and I get emails about it, and people say, “What's the appropriate length for a podcast?” On the radio, we just do it. It doesn't matter. There is the editing. I want to focus on this editing part that you brought up, because this is one of the things that I think trips up a lot of podcasters. They say to me, “God, it takes me like six to seven hours to edit a podcast.” I'm like, “No, there's no way you should be spending seven hours on one podcast just to get it out for the next week, if that's what you're planning on doing. There's no way.” Then when I questioned them, “What is it that you're struggling with?” It's the ums, it's the uhs, it's the dead airspace. Then I try to communicate with them that podcasting doesn't have to be that way just because some podcasters do that where there could be storytelling, it doesn't have to be the rule, it doesn't have to be your rule. If that's what you want it to sound like, then yeah, by all means, go through that, but that's going to take so much time. Determining your format and getting over those humps of the technology side of podcasting, did you find yourself frustrated at any point in time during the podcasting process or did it come certainly more natural to you because you were already in radio?

Amanda Valentine:

I feel like it came more naturally to me, again, because of radio but also because of how much podcasts content I consume. I've been listening to podcasts for over a decade now and I just love that everybody has their own flavor. Again, there's not any rule of I listen to plenty of podcasts that leave the ums and I have found that most people don't notice unless you are interviewed and you're listening back. I'm sure if I listen back to this podcast, I'm going to hear myself, I'm like, “God, Amanda, how many crutches do you have?” But no one else is going to notice it, you're just too close to it. Again, it was a personal choice, and if you listen back to it, and again, have someone else listen to it because everybody is just too close to stuff, like I'm too close to listening to my own podcast, I'll be like, “Oh, that's trash. I hate that,” that's my immediate kickback reaction is it's terrible. As long as I had been talking into a microphone since I was 16 years old, I'll still be like, “Blech” [laughter] Have someone else that’ll give you real constructive criticism that's not as close to it as you. Because when you have a podcast, it's your baby, you care about it, so have someone else with different ears, listen, and be like, “This sounded fine to me,” or this, “Uh, you might want to change this. This made me feel awkward or something.” I think everybody just gets hung up on what perfection is or whatever other people are doing. As long as it's you, it doesn't matter. I think, again, that's what's so great about podcasting. If it's your choice and you're willing to be like somebody, dogs, you want it and you're like, “I don't care,” then you're solid in what you're doing and you believe in it, then that's all you need.

Shannon Hernandez:

I want to go a little further into this because there is a self-confidence issue with podcasters who aren't Joe Rogans or whoever else may be, some business owner. There's this issue of confidence and the YouTube channel generates a lot of this type of question, “I hate the sound of my own voice. I hate how it sounds. That is what's keeping me from podcasting,” how do you overcome that hurdle of your voice sounding strange? Just like you, your story is very similar to mine. When I was in junior high, I started listening to the radio station here in Phoenix, and then that was it. That was the thing. But when I recorded myself on the tape recorder, I hated the sound of my voice. When I got into radio, I hated the sound of my voice. How do you overcome that hurdle to build more confidence to create a podcast and take the criticism as constructive and not as raw.

Amanda Valentine:

I would say it's just a lot of practice, because I was the same way. Actually, my first part-time radio job, I was told, I just sound too young, I sound too green, which was fair as a teenager. My first full-time job, my boss told me I also sounded too young and made me start smoking with him outside. That's a real story.

Shannon Hernandez:

You're talking cigarettes, right? 

Amanda Valentine:

Smoke some Camels outside the radio station with him because he thought I sounded too young. I think that everybody hates the sound of their own voice at first. It’s just the more you do it, the more you get over it. I think that it's not just me and it's not just your voice. Look at somebody like Howard Stern, it's not like he has this like big, booming radio “I got the pipe's voice”, and I feel like that is so old school anyway. It absolutely does not matter what your voice sounds like, it's the content. Everything falls back to what the content of what you have to say is. People will look past an annoying laugh, they’ll look past your voice as long as they appreciate and enjoy what you're saying. You just have to know that in your heart anyway, and you're just going to have to listen to your voice so much until you just get over it. I got to the point, I've been at the radio station, I was peeing in the bathroom and hearing my own voice, you just don't even care anymore. You just have to do that. Also, just know that nobody's voice is perfect. If Howard Stern can make it and he doesn't have that voice, then oh, my god, why can't anybody? 

Shannon Hernandez:

It comes with the territory. If this is what you want to do, you're going to have to hear your voice constantly. That's the thing. I think trying to position yourself out of that “I hate the sound of my own voice” versus “how much impact do I want to make with my podcast? Do I want to entertain them? Do I want to educate them?” what is that trade off for you? Are you going to worry more about your voice or are you going to worry more about creating content that people want to hear just like how yours is? A podcast like yours, like Pound This, inspires, I don't know how many people around the nation, around the world, I don't look at download numbers as the metric, sometimes, that determines the impact. It's more about the message that you are delivering with the podcast. Would you agree with that? 

Amanda Valentine:

Oh, totally. I think that's where people get really hung up on podcasts downloads. First off, I think that if you're starting a podcast and you're doing it with the intention of making money, you're doing the wrong move, because it's so much freaking work and you never know if there's going to be money behind it, especially at the current time of recording this, monetization of podcasting is so weird. It's not the easiest thing to do. I know that if you have a hosting platform like Libsyn, they have to require that you get 10,000 downloads or something like per episode before they'll even consider putting you into their monetization program or whatever. Even then, it's just going to be like Blue Apron or something.  Again, if you're doing great content and you're doing something that's useful, people will pay you. I have a sponsorship for my podcast and I know that there's other people that have way less download numbers than me that also have sponsorships because they're so niche, that even if they have 50 listeners to that podcast, if it's something that a company finds value in, that those are 50 very diehard fans, and they will buy whatever you recommend or you're talking about, let's say it's fly fishing or something like that, that's 50 people that are going to buy a product if they are involved in a podcast. That has nothing to do with downloads. It's just about you having a passionate group of people. I hear this all the time about podcasting, where people are so bummed about the numbers of, “Oh, my god, I only got a thousand downloads this month or whatever,”-- 

Shannon Hernandez:

Geez, I would wish for a thousand downloads a month. 

Amanda Valentine:

If I went into a room and a thousand people showed up to listen to me speak, that is something, that is freaking hard. If you've ever done any live event, trying to get a thousand people to show up, good luck. To know that a thousand people made the choice to download your podcast is a win, not, “Oh, my god, it's not 2 million like Joe Rogan,” or whatever his numbers are. I don't know what his numbers are, but first, don't get hung up on monetization. Just worry about having fun, doing what you do, whatever your mission is, whatever your idea is and make sure you're following through, and you're consistent with that first. Then if you're worried about something like getting money, then I don't think it has anything to do with your podcast downloads. 

Shannon Hernandez:

What you're saying is that for this thing to work later down the line—if you decide to go down a monetization route, and let me just say that monetization does not have to be in the area of a traditional sponsorship like you're hearing on podcasts. It can come in many different forms—what you're saying is that focus on the content to make it good to set yourself up later?

Amanda Valentine:

Yeah, totally. If you do those, things will come to you. That's no guarantee, but out of anything, as long as you're having fun and you're proud of what you're doing, that is the win. That needs to be the win. This is a lesson I learned in radio as far as content goes is if you do the good content and you're not focused on the ratings or the money—as a personality, not as a salesperson, a GM or whatever—but if you're just focused on doing things that people will enjoy listening to, the rest of the stuff will fall into place. I think that's very true of podcasting. Also, I just think such a big piece of that too, is consistency because if you're not consistent, you're training people to bail on you. If you say you're going to do it once a week, do once a week, or don't do it at all. Make sure you commit because those followers or listeners that you do have, even if it's five, if you tell them you're going to do one thing and you don't, and you do that two or more times, you're gone, you're out of rotation.

Shannon Hernandez:

When it comes down to consistency, do you think there are outside activities to help you jump into that consistent schedule for podcasting? Let's say for instance, I think maybe, where I'm going with this, would you say that taking up something that is a consistent activity outside of podcasting can really start carrying over into the consistency of your podcasts? For you, I would imagine it would be fitness and nutrition. 

Amanda Valentine:

Yeah. What goes into podcasting is because I care about it so much. A lot of people would have, I don't know if you've ever gone into the phrase podfading, but podfading, by this point, to be three years into this, I think is a win in itself. It's just because I chose a topic that I'm very passionate about and I care about, because I do live that in my everyday life. I do care about the food that I eat, I care about the exercise that I have, I care about helping other people, so that keeps the podcast fun and fresh for me. Other times where I'm like, “Oh god, I can't think of anything, and this sucks,” yeah, it's just anything else. But there's never been a point in the past three years where I'm like, “I'm going to stop doing this.” Because I chose something that is deeply ingrained in my life that I could talk about forever and that I could talk about all day long, and it has a lot of different topics and a lot of different people that I can talk to, and a lot of different areas. You talk about health, wellness, fitness, weight loss, sleep hygiene, all of these, I did not pigeonhole myself to just say weight loss, so I would be able to be consistent with something and always have something to talk about. This is my specific podcast, I know a lot of people are creating stories and they're not everybody's like talking about their life, but I just feel—and I lost my point. 

Shannon Hernandez:

I'll just pick up from right there. Everyone who creates a podcast has a purpose for their podcast. If you want to create seasonal podcasts, you do 12 episodes, wait a season just like you would see with, I don't know, Game of Thrones or something like that, and then go onto the next one. Versus someone who is creating a daily podcast or a three time a week podcast like you where it's still some form of entertainment or education, it could be that one podcast that you create that you think, “God, it sucks. This is horrible. I have no idea what I'm going to talk about,” and you just go off the rails and talk about the thing that you thought was not going to make an impact and that happens to be the one podcast that people resonate with.

Amanda Valentine:

That happens every time. A rule of my life is if it makes me feel like I'm going to throw up, that means I'm supposed to do it. That's what I live by. The episodes where I'm like, “This is trash. I want to delete it. I hate this,” I make myself post it anyway, and those are always the ones that I get feedback on. Because having a podcast, you don't always get feedback. You don't know who's listening, really. You don't know what they think, unless you give them a reason to reach out to you, which, that being said, the podcasts that I love and I've paid for their VIP, I have bought their crap, as Keith and The Girl, I've listened to them for over a decade, and I never sent them an email. I've never given them any feedback—I don't even know if I've written a review on iTunes. Oops—But as a mega fan, I don't reach out to them. The fact that you do something that people would contact you over, that's such a huge win. Is it like a thousand people or people like falling at your knees over it? No, but it's that you evoked enough emotion, whether good or bad in somebody to make them contact you and go out of it, it's huge. 

Shannon Hernandez:

It's like when I was a teacher, I was a high school teacher, and you go into every day and you teach students whatever lesson it is for that day, and you wonder, “Am I even making an impact with these kids? Am I helping them do whatever it is that will help them become a better human being in the next five years?” or whatever. Little did I know back then that there was some form of an impact. It did not necessarily come in education. It came in the relationship that I was building with those students, because I have run into students now, since I've been in radio full time, that they come back to me and they say, “You were one of my favorite teachers, not because you were my favorite because you were the human being that I could relate to, and you're still that human being that I can relate to.” Trying to become someone else other than who you are on your podcast, it doesn't resonate as well just like how you do with your favorite podcasts, you clearly are a fan of that podcast and yet you haven't communicated with them, you haven't sent them a note or anything like that. I think that is the lesson that we have to learn here for other podcasts is that, that one episode that you don't want to put up should be the one that you're actually putting up, it should be the one that you're pushing yourself to the next limit. I think you get that probably from your nutrition and exercise and all that, right? 

Amanda Valentine:

Yeah. Then for me, I just share so much personal stuff. That's the stuff that's, “Oh my god, am I going to be judged for this?” Which is really why anybody is afraid to put anything up, whether it's about you or not, it's still coming from your brain. It's coming from your heart. It's something that you created. It's really scary to put your little baby into the world and you're just afraid people are going to crap on it. Sometimes people do, and that's just part of the game. Because again, if they do—this is a lesson from radio—you still evoked an emotion. Even if they trash you and they write a bad review—which sucks in like you hold onto that, you can't help it—but also, they still went out of their way to listen to it and they went out of their way to crap on it. You sparked something in them, and that's ultimately a win even though it doesn't feel good. But anytime in radio, you get haters, complainers, or anything like that, at least, the good bosses I had are like, “You're doing it right because they cared.”

Shannon Hernandez:

Yeah. The answer that I give to people who hate my program on the radio, or whether it be this podcast or my YouTube channel, is like, “You have every opportunity to not watch, listen to anything that I do, but thank you for listening, because it means so much to me.”

Amanda Valentine:

It's easy to turn everything off, unsubscribe, delete, or change the station, so yea, they care.

Shannon Hernandez:

Yeah. “Keep listening. If you want to keep hating, keep listening because you're just helping me out. I really appreciate that.” I want to talk to you about this area—I want to go back into downloads and revenue, but I don't want to talk about downloads and revenue—I want to talk about the opportunities that you have opened up for yourself in terms of merchandise. You and I, just as a reference for the audience, met about, I think a year and a half ago, and it was as a result of an email that your program director had reached out to someone in my market in Phoenix, looking for someone who was going to be talking about podcasting and needed some help with possibly a YouTube channel you just were exploring. 

Amanda Valentine:

Yeah, I was asking it because I had seen that your station was doing stuff on Twitch. I was wondering, because I do on my Instagram, every Sunday I show my meal prep process, and I was wondering if that was worth going on Twitch or doing a YouTube thing, or I'm like, “I'm not going to put all this extra work into something.” Because this podcast and everything, for years was my side hustle. I'm like, “Do I want to invest in this? I don't know how this works.” So we reached out to you.

Shannon Hernandez:

Yeah, that was it. You reached out to me and we started the conversation. We started the communication process. This is when I started learning all about you. You're wildly inspirational for a lot of people, but one of the things that you started doing—that I noticed that you had already been doing—was this process of meal prepping. Can you explain to the audience what that is and how it has opened up opportunities for you down the line?

Amanda Valentine:

I've learned through my own weight loss journey that meal prepping helps me. Basically, what I do is take a Sunday and make everything for the week—which they're not for everybody, a lot of people don't like making the same things everyday. Don't worry, I have all the facts for that. I'm not going to go all into that stuff—but just a couple of years into my own weight loss journey, I just learned that that's helpful to me. If the food's already made, I open the fridge, not digging around and making bad choices. I ultimately do it because I'm lazy. It's not everybody's, “Oh, my god, you have so much motivation and you're such a hard worker.” I'm like, “I do it because I don't want to do that stuff. Turn my brain off.” Something that I did before I started doing it on Instagram, I just did a couple of Facebook lives of showing my meal prep process. It was just beyond successful where I was like, “Man, that many people just want to watch me cook chicken on a Sunday, that’s interesting.” When I started being consistent about it on Instagram, which is also my advice for social media—this is already after I started this podcast, this started as a New Year's resolution in 2019 to make it more consistent—was I try to use my social media as how is it helping somebody? There are so many influencers and stuff like that, and they don't give you a damn thing. They're like, “Buy my thing or whatever. Look at my hot ass.” [laughter] I'm like, “Okay, but how is that helping me? You look great, but how is this helping me at all? It's not. You're not giving me anything.” So I'm like, “What can I give to people?” And people are interested in “How do you meal prep? What recipes are you making up?” They're going to keep coming back to me because I'm giving you something. Every Sunday, since New Year’s of 2019, I show my meal prep process on Sundays and I try to make it really fun also because meal prepping doesn't have to be a snooze fest, I mess around with tiny hands and scream at my animals, dance around the kitchen and shutting off smoke alarms. It's just like real life stuff. I would guess in a world right now, you think that people aren't appointment setting because everything is so on demand, that I can listen to his podcast whenever I want, I can watch this TV show on Netflix whenever I want, but for this it only lives on my stories for 24 hours from Sunday to Monday. It is an appointment setting, once, it's gone. You've got to be there. The analytics that follow that, definitely reflect that. The numbers that I have of people viewing my stories on a Sunday sometimes quadruple. Because of that, I haven't created a very highly engaged segment that can be sold. I can sell sponsorships or, “Hey, do you want to be a part of this, and put a swipe up in the middle of this?” That's not what I started it for, but it might've become that because it's so useful to people. That's also the time that I promote my podcast the most. If you ever watch my meal preps only on Instagram, you will notice “Here are links to my podcasts that came out this week. I have a podcast. Don't forget I have a podcast.” It can be a tool to make money from other potential clients, which I have, but it's also just to promote me, and when I'm promoting my podcast, and more people listen to my podcasts, that also gives me another opportunity for revenue of not only do people watch me on this Instagram page, which Instagram could get shut down tomorrow and it's gone, and that's what's scary about social media, but the podcast is mine. As long as I'm dragging some of those people over to know I have a podcast, I still have people here. Or I will—I haven't done this in a while—engage people to sign up for my newsletter. I have an email list and everything like that. That's where I talked about how, having social media and the podcast help each other out. Some people find the podcast first, will follow me on Instagram, or they'll find me on Instagram and listen to the podcast. That, I have found, is the best way to use social media for it and not just to be like, “Here's my podcast episode,” because that doesn't really do anything for people. I am not a fan of the audiograms or whatever they're called. I personally never listened to them all. All it looks like is waveforms and I scroll right past it. I've never heard anything that made me want to listen to the episode. This is my own personal take. At a Podcast Movement last year, someone from TED Talks and NPR talked about how those also were unsuccessful for them. The only thing that was successful for them was if it was a video that, again, helps somebody. If you're giving somebody a moment of help, that will intrigue them to listen to more. Again, if you're going to use social media—which I think a lot of podcasters do—as your main driver to let people know here's a podcast to listen to, make that social media valuable within itself. Once you're giving people value, then you know that they can find even more value on a podcast other than pimping out.

Shannon Hernandez:

Right. That's where I think I liked the idea of the meal prep that you were doing, because I try to give this example with podcasters and anyone who's looking to go into that realm of, “Yeah. If I want to monetize, you're going to monetize, but will you make a million dollars out of it?” Maybe not. Unless you're selling a training course and you really got a highly engaged email list. Even then, I have found that the training courses that I have bought into where it has been someone teaching me how to do video editing, start a business, or whatever it may have been, fell short with the questions that I had. When it came down to watching you doing your meal preps, I thought, “This is like going to Costco and getting the sample. Tasting the sample and going, ‘Oh, I like that little Totino's pizza roll. That was good. I'm going to go back and get another couple of samples,’” get another couple samples, and then pretty soon it's, “I like these enough to where I'm just going to go get the whole box.” When I saw your meal prep, I was like, “This is just a version of what Costco does. She gives them a sample of what she's doing,” but you go far more in depth. Sometimes your stories run deep, and you learn the exact process. Then you do say those things like, “By the way, I have a podcast.” What better way than to peak someone's interest than to say, “Hey, I'm showing you how to cook something, but I have also talked about the reasons why maybe I have cooked this, and I talked to this person who's a nutritionist on my podcast,” which is so great. It’s brilliant. 

Amanda Valentine:

And you just get a vibe of who I am, of my personality. If you like this, if you enjoy this, then listen to me talk in deep dive stuff. Something that's gone on for me in the past couple months, because 2020 is a trash fire, is that I have been really struggling with depression. I've never really struggled with this before, like where the color feels grained out of life and I'm having a hard time dealing. It's one of those things where everything's going great like, “How come this sucks so much and how come I can't stop crying today?” That’s something that I could, but I don't want to go into on Instagram. That's something that I am going into on my podcast, because that affects my healthy lifestyle. A month ago, I just balled on a podcast and I'm like, “Should I delete this?” I didn't, and I'm glad I didn't, because the people that have reached out to me from that have just been insane. Again, of being those vulnerable moments, but it's also where I've touched about that a little bit on Instagram, of, “Hey, things are changing for me right now. I'm shifting around what I'm doing and that's because I am dealing with some depression or I'm dealing with something right now, please listen to my podcast so you can hear me explain this.” Because no one wants to hear that on Instagram Stories or whatever. What am I going to do? Post a picture of me holding a pill bottle like, “Here’s me and my antidepressant.”? [laughter]

Shannon Hernandez:

It's not a laughing matter, but I get what you're saying.

Amanda Valentine:

Yeah. But it's also one of those things where that is deeply affecting a lot of people this year. That's a very important topic. If people that generally wouldn't listen to my podcast are happy to see this meal prep or whatever, they care about you, again, the connection. They develop a relationship with you, and I'm like, “Hey guys, I want you to know what's going on with me right now. Here's an episode about this if you want to know more about what's going on with me right now.” Then they'll go listen to that podcast, and then that deepens that relationship with them on a podcast to listen to more. That’s where it works really well, sometimes you can express yourself and be on social media more, and sometimes it's in the podcast more, at least for me, and how you can balance them out and have them use each other.

Shannon Hernandez:

Sure. Now let's move into this area of we talked about the meal prep, but now this has opened up some different areas of your life, which are not necessarily depressing, but they are also more about branding for yourself. This was something that I was so happy that this was existing for you. You have come out with your own coffee. You've partnered, I believe, with someone. Tell me a little bit about this partnership and tell me a little bit about the products that you have done that help you.

Amanda Valentine:

It started with me leaving the radio station and then having a plan of like, “How do I launch into an entrepreneur?” which I've never done before. I don't know anything about business. This has been very much a growth year. [laughs]

Shannon Hernandez:

A big tip for you, most entrepreneurs don't know what the hell they're doing. [laughter]

Amanda Valentine:

Oh, I know. That's what everybody tells me. That's what I've really learned too, is entrepreneurs are so my people. The most passionate, caring people that are also, “Oh, my god, I'm going to lay in the road today.” [laughter]

Shannon Hernandez:

So true. 

Amanda Valentine:

Through that, I started an LLC the end of last year. I started that as Amanda Valentine Bites. One of them is bites has multiple reasons just like Pound This kind of sounds like porn, and so does bites can mean multiple things. [laughter] Plus, it was just a wink to myself that working in radio, I've never owned myself. I've never owned my own name. It was always owned by someone else. Now I own my own name, which is fun. Starting some of those products were things that came up during the process of me doing all of this and things that I couldn't do on my own. I’m really such a big believer in small business and I'm all about helping these small businesses. Again, I just love entrepreneurs. One of them I had worked with was a seasoning company. We had talked about making stuff together, doing stuff together, and I'm like, “Oh, I just really can't.” Then when it came out to me being my own business, I'm like, “Hey, let's do something together.” We originally talked about, because I say on my meal prep all the time, chicken titty, chicken titty seasoning, but that wasn't where they were at the time so we came out with a bagel seasoning, which was super cool, and I still think is one of the coolest experiences. What they did is they came up with multiple formulations, would send them to me in packets that were like one, two, three. Then I would tell them which one was my favorite. We did that multiple times until we honed down the one that I really liked, which was cool. It's like a collaboration, that's what the whole thing was. That's been really successful. Those guys are freaking great. I just love that they are willing to work with me and how we've sold a lot of bagel seasoning this year. I know from people that listened to my podcast and followed me on Instagram, again, the secret for me is healthy eating doesn't have to be this plain ass chicken, broccoli, rice—even though I actually like that—it's all in how you season things or how you make them. I think, everything bagel seasoning, I eat an insane amount of it. To have my own that I actually prefer than any other one that I've had is super cool. There's that then that's available now. The coffee was another thing too with a local coffee shop here. It was interesting too, we came up with the concept, because I'm always in a bad zone with coffee.

Shannon Hernandez:

Oh, I understand. [laughter]

Amanda Valentine:

We talked about having my favorite blend there and selling that too, because I'm a believer of using coffee versus a pre-workout that's a bunch of chemicals and crap. Here's another option of not only just promoting other people's products, which I will only do, and I've done this my entire career that I actually really believe in and I use, I won't pimp out something just for a buck and I love this coffee shop. I think you should use coffee as a pre-workout versus using just a powder mix from some company that, who knows what the hell is in there. Here's a handcrafted bagel seasoning where you're supporting a local business, or a small business if you don't live here in Cincinnati, then you’re both super successful. Something I'm really proud of too is that as soon as the pandemic hit, I came up with the idea and pitched it to the hospital who's a sponsor of my podcast and the coffee company. Let's really help the health care workers. How can we help the health care workers? How about “can people buy bags of the coffee?” We donate it to people on the frontline so they can stay caffeinated and motivated. That was really successful for a month until people stopped caring about healthcare workers again, unfortunately.. [laughter] But when people really cared about health care workers, during the pandemic, we had hundreds of pounds of coffee that went to the hospital to help frontline workers. It was a way of not only supporting small business and the things that I believe in, but it's also helping the community.  It's just been really cool and those things wouldn't have happened, I couldn't create those things on my own. Again, it's just through the people I've met through my podcast.  Every connection that I've made that’s very meaningful to me right now is all from my podcasts. I've interviewed people that have recommended me to people or reached out. Again, the networking you can find from just doing your own podcasting is amazing too. Through that networking, I was able to create these products that I would have never dreamed of or could ever possibly really do on my own.

Shannon Hernandez:

The main lesson here is to say do your podcast regardless of what other people think. Just push at it every single day, work at it every single day. Am I wrong or right, or what?

Amanda Valentine:

Oh, totally. Yeah, I would say that do it as long as you have passion for it. I even do this too, even with three episodes a week, and I try to be fiercely consistent with that, if there is a time that I just don't feel it and I don't have a podcast for that day, I'm like, “I'm not going to put out crap just so I can stick to it. I'm going to choose to take a break that day because I would rather skip a day and be a little inconsistent than to put out something that I'm just putting to put out there.” I think it's important that you just do it to the point where you're like, “This is good. This is what I want to put out there. I'm not doing this because I said I was going to do a podcast and just crank it out.”

Shannon Hernandez:

Amanda Valentine, part of the Pound This podcast. Amanda, how can people get in touch with you if they want to check out your podcast and your Instagram?

Amanda Valentine:

I have a couple of websites. It's poundthis.com, amandavalentinebites.com. The podcast is wherever you listen to podcasts, it's everywhere. My Instagram is @youcanpoundthis

Shannon Hernandez:

It's very catchy and people like to look at it. I know I’ll check it out. Thank you so much for being on today's podcast. I really appreciate it.

Amanda Valentine:

Thank you so much for having me.