Believe it or not, podcasting has been around for over 10 years and has become one of the most popular mediums online. If you feel a bit behind the times and aren’t too familiar with podcasting, it’s pretty simple. Think of it as a modern day radio show that can take on virtually any format. Newscasts, comedy, talk shows, interviews…you name it! And all you need to do in order to listen is download the audio file.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Iman Oubou, the host of a hugely popular weekly podcast that focuses on female empowerment, Entrepreneurs En Vogue. Her podcast has only been in existence for a little over one year, and already gets roughly 25,000 downloads per episode.
Iman holds the titles of Miss Colorado 2012 and Miss New York United States 2015. Her Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering and passion for science has inspired her to use her public platform to improve healthcare in developing countries around the world and launch a successful skincare line called Moroccan Heritage.
Needless to say, Iman knows a thing or two about successfully connecting with people. She was kind enough to give me an inside look on how she began her podcast, and how YOU can get one started, too.
How did you come up with the idea for your podcast? When was your first one?
Upon winning my title as Miss New York United States, I chose “women empowerment and entrepreneurship” as my platform. What that means is that as a titleholder and a change agent in my community, I wanted to use my status to help bring awareness to the challenges most women, especially millennials, face in the business and entrepreneurial space. So I started reaching out to some of the most successful women I read about to just grab coffee and chat about what it was like building something that’s bigger than themselves and what were the main challenges they faced. After a couple of those coffee sessions, I realized that EVERY woman out there needs to hear these “behind-the-scenes” stories to stay inspired and most importantly to realize that success doesn’t happen overnight, especially not in entrepreneurship.
My first episode was exactly a year ago. I started Entrepreneurs En Vogue from my laptop with a cheap microphone I set up in my room in April 2015. Fast-forward a year later, we have a full-staffed studio in Times Square and are fully booked 3-4 months ahead.
How often do you post, how many have you done so far?
Entrepreneurs En Vogue is a weekly podcast that is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and now officially on Google Play Music. We post every Monday so we can provide our listeners with an inspiring story to kick off the week.
We have done close to 40 interviews. I did take a break from the podcast for a few weeks around end of last year when we were in transition mode. But we are back on and haven’t missed one week!
You’ve worn many hats in your career, what prepared you most for podcasting?
Yes, more hats than I’d like to, ha! I would say it’s a combination of every role and job I’ve had over the past 5 years. I went from oncology research scientist to fashion publicist/blogger, then to healthcare investor and public relations and now to a full time entrepreneur and social change maker. Not to mention competing in pageants while working on my career.
It’s not just one thing that led me to where I am, it’s ALL the hard and soft skills I have learned in each role that made me the passionate, thoughtful and ambitious podcaster and entrepreneur I am today. But the most important and consistent skill I learned throughout my career course is tenacity. Without it, I wouldn’t have achieved much.
Did you make any mistakes in the beginning that you learned from?
I wish I could answer with a “No, everything was perfect and a smooth ride and I knew the answers to everything” but that would be a big fat lie. I made a lot of mistakes…a lot! And I still do. The biggest mistake I made and sometimes still make is not asking for help. I have always been the independent strong woman that thinks she can do it all and wants to prove it to the world. But in business, it’s not always a good thing to take on everything by yourself. In fact, it’s the worst thing you can do for your business growth because it delays progress, and limits productivity and efficient execution. So I learned that I needed a team. Not just any team, but a great one that shares my vision because you’re only as good as your team!
What was your favorite/most popular interview so far?
Ohhh it’s tough to answer this. It’s like asking a mom who her favorite child is. But I will say that I just had an AMAZING conversation and interview with Miki Agrawal, and this young lady is a force of nature with an unbelievable drive to change the world. And she will! She is a big advocate of feminism and is changing the conversation around women’s issues and shining the light on all the topics our society considers taboo when it comes to women. I definitely recommend listening to her show…and every other show on our podcast. Our guests are relatable, accessible and extremely inspiring and there is a story for everyone to relate to.
What advice would you give someone who wants to get started in podcasting?
Get clear about your end goal, target audience, and the type of value you are providing. With a plethora of podcasts available now, you want to make sure that your show has a clear answer to why people should tune in. Definitely spend time sharpening your “purpose” or “why” behind the podcast and the rest will come easily.
If you are not familiar with the broadcasting and podcasting world, I would advise you to hire a mentor for at least a month. Mentorship is absolutely valuable in any business!
Walk me through your basic process from conception to posting.
We record twice a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some guests join us in-studio if they are in town, others call in through Skype. We then do the interview. My co-host Jeremy Hassell and I do the intro and the outro right after the interview is done.
Our producer and editors listen to the show and edit it out. Then we post it on Libsyn (our podcast host server), which distributes it to all channels (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, and our website).
What software do you use?
I personally don’t use any software, except for Libsyn – which is a subscription website that hosts all our audio files. My producer does all the magic when it comes to sound quality and recording – but when I started and I did it all myself I used Pamela (you can download it for free online) which records all your Skype conversations, then I edited the segment on Audacity (I had a PC at the time but Macs have an editing software I believe).
What’s your favorite way of promoting your podcasts? Which social media platform?
I have only used social media and some press placements (organically) and social media is definitely my favorite. I use Twitter and Facebook a lot. They have the right audience for our shows. Also a lot of our guests also promote them through their own channels, which helps amplify the promotional efforts.
What’s your biggest goal in podcasting?
I would LOVE to make Entrepreneurs En Vogue a live-streamed daily podcast in order to include the audience in the conversation and allow them to ask the questions directly to the guest. I am also looking into transitioning to Live Radio (Sirius XM) and have a much bigger show which higher-level guests that are influential in the women empowerment space.
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