Ep. 007 | This Media Channel Has Been Desperately Calling For Something Different — Ossa Is Here To Help

Jun 13, 2022

Where you won’t find trendy business tactics, but you will find truthful insights and timeless stories from leaders to look up to.


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Ep. 007 | Curate Conversations With Pia Beck

“We all have a voice, we all have a story to tell. Tell it in a way that’s meaningful to you and in a way that will be meaningful to your listeners…Focus on the relationship you will have with your audience.”  — Marla Isackson

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In Ep 007 of Curate Conversations, I had the privilege of interviewing Marla Isackson, CEO of Ossa — a podcast community, ad booking platform (and now app) on a mission to increase the visibility, influence, and earning power of women and non-binary people  in podcasting.

We talk about the barriers to entry for podcasters — specifically underrepresented podcasters — a few interesting stats on the power of podcasting, how to secure sponsors and create multiple revenue streams with your podcast, and where to start with producing a high-quality podcast (I think you won’t be too surprised by her answer, knowing that she’s a guest on a Curate Well Co. platform.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Special thanks to our sponsors, Parker Clay (code CURATE15) and SeaVees (code CURATE20). Music created by Queentide.



 [00:00:00] This episode is all about Ossa, a podcast, community ad booking platform, and now app on a mission to increase the visibility influence and earning power of women. And non-binary people in podcasting. Also believes that podcasting has the power to elevate underrepresented [00:01:00] voices on a global scale. This podcast network has a reach of 12 million listeners per month and a two-sided marketplace that connects independent podcast, hosts and brands in order to increase the representation and influence of underrepresented voices worldwide. Ossa helps podcasters monetize their podcast and learn more about their listeners. There are no minimum download requirements and the platform is non-exclusive and free to join. Marla Isackson is the founder and CEO of Ossa. Before deciding to leap into entrepreneurship, she spent over 25 years in the corporate world. Working for American Express, Citibank and Barns and Noble. In 2019 Ossa was created in response to Marla’s problem as a podcaster herself. After years of working in competitive environments, as a senior female executive. Marla believes that women’s voices must be heard, amplified and rewarded.

She is passionately committed to advancing women’s initiatives. In a segment of the media market that has been [00:02:00] desperately calling for something different. Like more women and non-binary identifying hosts and technology advancements. Ossa is carving out a space to make podcasting accessible, revenue generating and data driven.

Here we go.

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 This collection is made from responsibly sourced and recycled materials and each purchase of a pair of shoes from the sea change collection restores one foot of kelp forest. Seavees recognizes that we’re all a work in progress and is committed to [00:03:00] constantly decreasing their carbon footprint.. With your support, Seavees will continue to grow these efforts in order to preserve our planet for generations to come. Shop today at seavees.com and use code CURATE20 for 20% off your order.


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Welcome Marla I am so excited to have you here today. Thanks so much for being with us. 

Thank you so much for inviting me to be here today. It’s really an honor, and I appreciate it. Thanks so much.

 So the first question we always like to ask is in your own measure of success, tell us about the growth of your brand, Ossa. So this could be number of advertisers or podcasters on your platform. It could be dollars [00:04:00] that podcasters have generated through being on your platform. It could be a certain voice you’ve amplified, whatever feels meaningful.

So we’re very proud of our success. And I think they’re in two important measures here. One is that we do have over 1400, women and non-binary podcasters on our platform and we are growing every day. And we reach over 12 million listeners a month. It’s almost 13 million listeners now. So that’s pretty significant for us.

And we’re super excited about those stats. In terms of number of podcasters. Uh, people ask me, what’s your goal. I always say world domination. So our goal is to actually put on an incremental 10,000 podcasts in the next 14 months. Because I want to help and serve more women and non-binary podcasters. That’s my goal. 

 That’s amazing, World domination. Love it. Great goal. I am [00:05:00] so proud that I am a new podcaster on the platform as of literally So I put in my application and I even pulled up the app for our conversation. I got to see some insights that I haven’t seen before about my podcast. So we’ll, we’ll talk about that more in a second. Because I have like opinions and questions about that. So you started Ossa to increase the visibility, the influence, and the earning power of women and non-binary people in podcasting. You were solving your own problem, right? You wanted to connect with brands that allowed you to create your podcast without any ties.

one problems that we know exists is that, the ability or inability of women in podcasting to gain traction or to monetize their content is that they know how or where to start seeking ad placement or sponsorship. And we know that women podcasters make great brand ambassadors because a lot of household consumer decisions are made by women.

And so tell [00:06:00] us, what are some of the other ties that you think women and non-binary people face in gaining traction and monetizing their content or from your own experience? What has that looked like for you? 

Sure. I think it’s a couple of things. In terms of women, deciding to become a podcaster, there have been issues, hopefully that’s diminishing, just in terms of concern about the technology. Not understanding the technology, it may appear to be overwhelming. Um, and it may take a little time. The perception is it may take some time for when, you know, for podcasts to learn the technology.

 As we know that can be overcome, but I think that is definitely a barrier to getting women and non-binary podcasters on any podcasting platform. So I think that’s a big one. additionally, It’s, uh, it’s still a fairly male centric industry. So as we know, less than 30% of [00:07:00] all podcasts are hosted by women and, women don’t do not have the fair share or their fair share of, ad dollars.

That’s a fact. I think honestly, because men started earlier in the game, and they focused more on traditional, uh, you know, sports and automobile, those kinds of topics. And. The other thing I believe is that when some of these men got into the industry, they decided that this was going to be their business.

This is it. So they put everything into it, our experience, and I’m fine with this, but our experience is that our podcasters have amazing businesses, pre podcasting. They have big communities. They make a lot of money. And what they’re doing now is starting a podcast to amplify their brand, trying to get into this very active medium.

[00:08:00] So they’re a little behind. But that’s what we’re here for. We welcome women who are just starting their podcasts. We don’t have any download requirements. Uh, we don’t charge for Ossa. It’s free to join. We don’t have any exclusivity when it comes to advertising. We’re looking to remove all boundaries or all barriers, sorry, in terms of, helping women get on the podcasting platform.

So I think if we can help with. Providing how to information for our podcasters, um, providing monetization opportunities. I think where my feeling is that we’re going to help accelerate progress. The other thing back to women in technology. We just did a two day beta test, a production camp, and we had 20 podcasters come to a very cool studio in California and broke them up into four [00:09:00] teams.

And we took two days to teach them podcast production. So they given. And at the end of the two days, created a marketing strategy and they actually learned uh, skills and abilities to ensure that they were producing very powerful, podcast from an audio and a visual perspective.

So that was really terrific. I’d like to do more of that going forward, because again, I want to move that barrier. The technology should not be a problem.

 So many good takeaways in there. I do think that the technology is, is a barrier. I consider myself a fairly technologically capable person and I felt intimidated by it, right. Just because there’s not a lot of conversation around, you know, what, what, which is better than what or what you need. And, you know, to your point, there’s, less than 30% of the podcast population is women right now.

 Um, in terms of. [00:10:00] people posting and producing podcasts. So, I think that conversation just wasn’t happening in my spheres. And so I had to do a lot of my own research. I also think that what you said about a lot of your podcasts are specifically having businesses before they go into podcasting is totally true.

I mean, I, one percent fit into that category, right where I am three years into my business. And just now getting into podcasting as a way to amplify what I know we’re, we’re really good at. You mentioned. challenge that comes up in the podcasting space is that a lot of other networks will focus on like celebrities, right?

They want people to already have the visibility and already have the, if they’re going to bring them in. that you’re very. And you’re really for what you call the every woman and it’s for micro influencers. People who have a small or midsize niche audience. So tell us about the power of micro influencers. 

 Micro influencers are [00:11:00] incredibly powerful. So they when you, when you thinking about what is a micro influencer, typically the industry defines it as, um, 10 to 40 or 50,000 followers. And we’ve seen research that shows us that 82% of all consumers very likely to buy something that’s, recommended by a micro influencer.

So they may be small, but they’re very mighty. They have spent a lot of time, uh, creating relationships with their followers and building that trust, especially in the world of podcasting 

So on that note, how do you define influence? What does that mean to you? 

It’s to me, it’s causing effect, whatever that effect is, and it’s not forcing it, it’s just causing it. So by way of doing something, [00:12:00] an effect happens and that’s what makes our micro-influencers so important.

Yeah absolutely. And so knowing that your platform wants to hold space and to facilitate a space for people to have more influence. Why is podcasting a particular effective platform for building influence in your opinion? 

So, again, it really goes back to the relationship that an audience has with, their host. So if we think about it, when you decide to listen to a podcast and then you decide to follow it and download. Yeah. Yep. Yeah. Should be liking the host, right. Or you like what she’s saying? So there’s that relationship gets formed then.

And if you continue to listen and continue to download the podcast, it’s, it’s a really interesting effect. [00:13:00] It’s very emotional. So a lot of research has been done about this, which is that you almost feel like the host is talking directly to you. Right. That, that you mean something to them that you’re significant.

We know that podcasts ads drive brand recall of over 71%. That’s incredible. why is that? again, think about the intimate conversations that an audience having or listening to when she’s listening to a podcast.

So for example, a podcaster if I say to you, I have just tried a face cream. It has taken 10 years off of my life. And you’re listening to that. You better believe you’re going to go check out that face cream. That’s the kind of power that podcasting has. And it goes back to the old days of radio, the influence that radio announcers [00:14:00] had as well. It’s that voice connection.

 So interesting. I’m finding more and more that everything is cyclical, Right. There was a period of time where radio kind of off and to know that It’s come back in a new form and that the, staying power of that experience, even if it looks and feels and is technically a little bit different, is still, there is something that I just see across, like all areas of media consumption of business, of, of all of the things I always.

I appreciate podcasts because I don’t, sometimes I feel like the host is talking to me, but more often I feel as a listener, like it’s a privilege, right? I’m like, oh, I get be a fly on the wall at this conversation that’s happening. I wouldn’t otherwise have access to this conversation. Right. It feels like privileged.

It feels like you get to like listen in to something that you’re going to benefit from.

It’s pretty incredible. And it’s been, it was, I think also, you know, coming off of the pandemic, hopefully, the [00:15:00] power that relationship was strengthened. Just think about how isolated everyone was. So to be able to download a podcast where you really enjoy the host, you’re really learning something from the conversation. That is truly meaningful.

 Totally. I have a, follow-up question on something that we kind of briefly touched on earlier, which is that your platform is really for, you mentioned this, that your platform is for anyone, right. Especially people who are maybe just starting out in podcasting and, perhaps have like built a successful.

Initiative business platform, whatever like extending into this. And, on the topic of sponsorship, when we started our podcast, I wanted to launch with sponsors. It was challenging. And you know, the only reason I was able to do that is because I’d spent years building relationships with specific brands.

And so I approached them and said, we’re launching a podcast. And I’ve hand selected you to be like the only of however [00:16:00] many advertisers on this platform. And I’m really curious what you say to podcast hosts who are looking for sponsors. What do they need to know to start down that path about building those relationships or presenting themselves in a way that really shows these brands, the power that they have as micro influencers. 

So I’ll give you an example. There are a lot of sewing podcasts out there and they’re very successful. They have a very interesting niche. So if I’m starting a sewing company, a good thing for me to do is start local. Are there big craft stores near me? And especially craft stores that are potentially national chains.

So especially if you’re dealing with a niche type of podcast, think about those brands that really want to connect with your audience based on your niche [00:17:00] and focus in on that. And I always say start local and then expand. Um, it’s going to be a conversation. It’s going to be creating that relationship.

So it has to be a trusted relationship. It’s also really, really, really understanding what does the brand want? What does the brand want? What are they looking for? What are they looking for? And then figuring out a strategy to ensure that, that you can deliver the kind of audience and the kind of, um, message that this brand wants.

So I think it’s very powerful, especially for those in niche businesses or niche audiences. Uh, in fact, that’s what we recommend. We recommend that when you think about monetizing, in the podcasting world, you should have multiple streams of income. That that’s ideal. So it’s finding a sponsor or sponsors that can sponsor your entire series [00:18:00] potentially, or season again, that goes back to, establishing those relationships, which are again, very powerful.

If you’re dealing within a niche, we also, encourage our podcasters to think about their own crowd funding. So for example, Patreon or Super Cast. We have a relationship with Super Cast. We really they’re amazing, but that’s another potential stream of revenue. We do pretty straight CPM based advertising.

So what we tell our advertisers, our podcast is when you get close to around a thousand average downloads per episode, we can put you into a campaign. Are you going to make a ton of money? Yet, but you’ll, you’ll be in the game. You’ll be able to, to be in that experience. And I know we’re going to get to this in a second, which is the introduction of the app that we’ve just launched.

But [00:19:00] one of the reasons why I launched the app. Went back to my desire to understand the cross section of analytics.. So I understand where I can get my podcast downloads from my hosting company, but okay. I just started my podcast. But I have a lot of social media analytics and I have a lot of Google Analytics and I have a lot of people on my email list.

So that’s why, when I started this search about two and a half years ago, I was thinking we really need a mission control platform. So that if podcaster wants to really start seriously monetizing her podcast, she needs to understand her entire business. All of her numbers that, you know, she’s more than her downloads.

So we created the app and what this will enable us to do is to be able to say, yes, she has a thousand average downloads per [00:20:00] episode however she has 50,000 followers on Instagram. She has an email list of 25,000. You that you better believe you want to connect with her because she has that your that you want to connect with.

So it’s about looking at people holistically, their business holistically, versus just looking at one channel.

 Yeah. absolutely and I even, I read a couple of articles about how everyone’s focused on downloads. Right? You have this many downloads when, um, there’s so many other are just as important. Right. What percentage of the episode are your listeners listening to, for example, how long are they listening that organization?

 So on that note, let’s, let’s talk about podcasts insights. Behind the times, you ask me, and I know that you had a testimonial from one of your answers, that called it a frustrating mess. And I just completely agree with like of these platforms, social media, Google, I mean, there’s so much data being [00:21:00] collected about us, right.

About our content. All of these other platforms have really fairly advanced insight dashboards and podcastsing doesn’t Like, why do you think that it hasn’t like these other platforms are and how are you leading the way and in starting to provide that. 

 So. You know, it’s, it’s really interesting. I’m not sure why. It’s so difficult to get, analytics. I mean, there are a couple of reasons.

Number one is your podcast is connected with your hosting company. There’s not like one global hosting company, like one Google. So everybody has a relationship with their hosting company and they’re going to get different types of data from their hosting company, depending on whatever the analytics that are provided.

And some hosting companies are amazing in terms of providing analytic data and hosting [00:22:00] companies are less than amazing. So I actually think it has to do with the, the architecture. The infrastructure of how a podcast works, that really prevents us from being able to see on a more global basis. people’s analytics.

So for example, if I wanted to check someone’s website numbers, right. A competitor, just to see how I’m tracking, I can go do that. I can find that information, but if you want to see someone’s podcast analytics of a potential competitor, good luck with that. It’s just not available.

 Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s really fascinating to me. Just how different it is than so many other media production platforms that are out there. on that note, tell us, um, you, you, like you mentioned, you just launched the Ossa app. What was that development process like? What were you prioritizing in creating this app to solve this problem? 

Sure. Sure. So when we thought about the development [00:23:00] process, we thought about what would our ideal app look like? How would it serve our podcasters and our advertisers? So we sorta clumped it into a couple of different pieces. One is revenue generation. So we wanted to make sure that, um, the app would facilitate monetization.

So in the next one or two releases coming up there is going to be the ability for a brand to actually book a campaign directly on the app. The they’ll have a, a web based app, but they won’t need us. It could be DIY. It will be very seamless. It will be very quick. I think it’s going to be terrific for those advertisers that are smaller, that just want to get their feet in the water and just get a sense of what this is about. So we’re providing a very streamlined, customer friendly platform for people to be able to do that. And our hope is that it will actually generate more revenue for, [00:24:00] uh, for our podcasters. That’s the whole point. So that was one piece of it.

The analytics piece is huge for me. It’s a more complex, type of, um, development. But the first thing we did, and I know you experienced this today is, when you actually sign up for the Ossa app, you put in your name, the name of your podcast, and then you’re going to claim it because we have a relationship with a company called Podcasher and they are a ginormous database with, I don’t know, millions and millions of podcasts. And, um, so you’re able to immediately see the data that Podchaser is collectIng. which is not download information, is listener information, which I actually think is more valuable. You know, you want, you can have small download numbers, but, but you’re listening to numbers could be huge. So that’s very important information.

And that link from Podcasher is also [00:25:00] providing some basic analyitcs. We are going to be adding the ability to connect your social media, your Google analytics, your MailChimp, pretty much anything that we can think of that will enable you to have this holistic view of your business. The app is patent pending.

We’re going to be adding machine learning to this. Which means that we could send you an email and say or a push notification. Hey, we saw like your Google analytics went down by 5% last week. We have some suggestions for you. Why don’t you do the following? So we’re building that whole infrastructure and that is not easy.

That piece is going to take us a while. The other component, which is so important to me is the whole community piece of it. So we’re creating this two-sided marketplace. And to start, what does that mean? It that if you’re a podcaster on Ossa, and let’s say you’re looking for [00:26:00] a producer and engineer, a marketing person, you can go on the app, like a dating app, put in your criteria.

Swipe, swipe, swipe connect with someone that you want. You think you want to work with, have a chat with him or her. Cause we’ll, it’ll be both. And, um, and then decide if you want to work with that person. So why is that important? Every week, every week, I get many emails. Marla, do you know a producer? Do you know an engineer?

Do you know a podcast marketing person we’re starting with our existing, Ossa base of 1400 podcasters because in addition to podcasting, they’re also engineers. They’re production people, et cetera, et cetera. So this is another opportunity for me to help our podcasters make money. By selling their services to, uh, a podcaster. So it’ll be a curated mini agency. We’re going to be using this capability and functionality [00:27:00] to add a lot more so that podcaster s can access far more than even just production and marketing people. So, so much more development. mind racing in terms of the things that we want to do. So, so much more coming.

And then there also be a component which we call learn. Which is a very important part of Ossa is helping our podcasters grow their show. And we do our best to provide how to information and resources. There’ll be a lot of that information that will be in the learn section of the app. That’s also very consistent with a program that we ran this past summer called Ossa Academy.

Which was a free seven week accelerator program for women in podcasting women and non-binary pod-casters each the module, the content module, was taught by an industry expert. And everybody got homework every [00:28:00] week. So. At the end of the program, you actually had a marketing plan for your podcast.

So again, that’s way that we want to serve our podcasters to help them grow their show. We’re going to be doing more Ossa academies this coming year, but it’s all very integrated in the way we think about of our podcasters. They are our customers, our advertisers are our customers. So again, this comes from my marketing background, which is what does your customer want and need? Listen to them, ask them, and which is what we do. Which has really us in the development of the app. We’ve been very fortunate. We’re working with an amazing engineering team. are fantastic. They’re based in Uruguay. I’ve done so many development projects and it’s just not fun when you don’t have a good team.

So we really are very fortunate and their work is spectacular. So I would say it’s going to take a good, [00:29:00] probably through the end of third quarter for all the features to be released. At least what’s on the drawing board now. I can’t wait because I have other ideas that I want to include. My team tells me, no you can’t do that yet.

We have to get through our priority list. It’s hard. So, you know, you asked me a question at the start of this. How did I prioritize it’s about revenue. So we just sort of the way we started this whole production process.

Totally. One of the incredible opportunity. mean, just hearing what’s on your roadmap, even through the end of Q3, knowing that your brain is already turning about what’s going to happen after that, I just, can’t think of it. Uh, a lot else that’s happening that level of creativity or momentum in the podcasting space.

And it’s just such a cool opportunity for you to be the leader in a space that in my opinion, really needs, people to catch up. And start taking it [00:30:00] seriously and creating the tools to, to set it up for success. When I think in the past it’s been a really scrappy or, um, kind of celebrity based marker of success.

 We’ll get right back to the episode. And now I want to take a quick break to tell you about our membership, the Curate Community.


If you’re liking this conversation and our approach to. If you’re getting access to new ideas to do things differently, or if you’re wondering how you can get support from me and the Curate Well Co team. I invite you to join our membership, The Curate Community. It’s an annual membership to help you make new connections, engage in meaningful conversations, collaborate often and grow your own community.

Our members hire each other for support in their businesses, offer vetted recommendations and referrals for other providers, tech solutions, and more. C elebrate each other’s wins, generously and genuinely. Ask for and receive advice from a wide variety of [00:31:00] perspectives and share vulnerably about the experiences most entrepreneurs aren’t willing to talk about. We offer trainings from me, Pia. We bring in qualified guests experts to teach on relevant topics. We host social events and facilitate member panels. We also offer a member’s only quarterly spreadsheet drop. And if you’re a member, you’ll get access to the exclusive podcast episodes, which we call The Debrief. Where we share pieces of episodes that don’t make it into the final cut.

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 On [00:32:00] the note of the learn area of the app and with Ossa academy, people walking with a marketing plan. I want to talk about ratings and reviews. This is, from what I’ve gathered so far, really important part podcast success. Can you confirm that for us? And then also tell us about what goes into having a successful campaign around ratings and reviews for a podcast? 

 Well, I think it’s important. It’s the kind of thing that we talk about within our community and our platform is on circle. So I was thrown in Facebook jail too often. So I decided it was time to move to another platform in circle is really a great platform. So ratings and reviews to me, that’s a by-product of discoverability. Helping people, you know, know that you have a show, it’s not field of dreams, as we say. You have to tell people, that you have a show. You also have to ask people [00:33:00] to rate review you. So don’t just assume that they’re going to do this. This has to be a very deliberate call to action it’s marketing.

So if you’re looking to increase your ratings and reviews, Ask your listeners for that. Put it at the end of your podcast. Put it in, if you have a community, put it in your community. Uh, if you send a newsletter outs, include that in your newsletter. You have to ask for it. And you know, if you don’t ask, you’re not going to get, and in terms of facilitating that, you can communicate this ask, as I said on your podcast.

On your website, In your social media, in your newsletter. And we really advocate the importance of making sure that you have an email list that is the best way to connect with people. So I would just remind listeners that do what you can do to generate your email lists, [00:34:00] because that is a direct conversation that you’re able to have with your listener. No, one’s going to interfere with 

Okay. So I have a chicken and egg question about that. Does the podcast grow? The email list? Does the email list grow the podcast? Both. 

Both. So think about process. So you start up a podcast and it’s like a sales funnel. So you put your podcast out there. You want to have a call to action. Well, you want to give someone a reason. To for them to give you your email list. So that’s the funnel. So you may say, Hey everyone, I hope you enjoy this podcast.

Um, love to connect with you further, you know, pump your email list and this link or whatnot, and we will send you a free X. That could be a, tip sheet, uh, whatever is [00:35:00] relevant for your audience. So you want to give them something, it’s give gift get. And, once you do that, you will start to build your podcast list.

Building your podcasts list before you start your podcast, just start your podcast, get it going. You want to make sure you like podcasting. It’s a lot of work. It really is. I mean, we love to podcast. But get it going just start it. And if by after 10 episodes, to me is a big marker. You’re still in love, then start growing your audience, which is super important.

Discoverability is critical. We have a relationship with Goodpods, which is an awesome app. Uh, we love. And it discoverability app. So, if you are an awesome member, we allow you, or we help you facilitate getting some traction on Goodpods. Which has a lot of followers. So any ways that we can help [00:36:00] our podcasters get discovered, find new audiences. That’s important. The other thing that we talk about, which will also be facilitated with this two-sided marketplace is, something that we call pod swap internally. So a great way to grow your show is to be a guest on another show. Or do a, like a, an add on another show.

So we facilitate these swaps, on Ossa. So, we try to help podcasters facilitate. That’s also done via, our, uh, circle platform because we’re able to, talk a lot cluster people in terms of their interests.

 Cool. I’m curious why 10 episodes is a major benchmark. 

So some people say five, I say 10. Because 10 means you’ve really put a lot of time it. And I know another reason is I know that my first [00:37:00] five episodes were hideous. They were horrible. I sounded like a robot. I was terrified. I mean, I was just reading off a script, but by the time I got to the 10th episode, I was hitting my stride.

I was feeling much more comfortable and confident. So that’s why I say 10. Okay. So eight to 10. But, something that, enables you to start to feel more comfortable in what you’re doing.

Yeah. it makes so much sense. And I think people don’t realize how much work podcasting is. It’s so much work. And I, I figured it was a decent amount of work and I was still surprised by the amount of work it is. So just echoing what you said, you really have to, to love it. You have to enjoy doing it and you have to.

I think also know, like strategically how it’s getting you closer to the goals that you have otherwise it’s, it’s not worth it. 

Yeah. I mean, people we have, um, hobbyist on our platform. That’s totally cool. We love, all of our podcasters, but if you are looking[00:38:00] for your podcast to help generate revenue, to help you really grow business, you need to think about it differently, much differently. Um, so it is lot of work.

What we also say is in a perfect world, everybody would be able to hire an engineer. Or a marketing person or a production person. And, the, the prices vary, for this type of expertise. But we’ve what we’ve also recommended is if you don’t want to put that money down, see if you can do a swap in terms of skill set.

So that if you do X for that person, they will help you with your engineering or production. I would really advise people doing that. I actually started to try to figure out how to do the production and it was so frustrating for me. It was just taking too much time. 


and it was taking away from some of the other things I want to do. Again, if your goal is to monetize, just. Like return on [00:39:00] investment. Is it worth your time? Are you going to get the return back by slaving away? You know it feels like thousands hours, or can you find colleagues where you can swap capabilities and skill sets? That’s just something for people to consider.

Yeah. It’s a really good thought. And on the note of return on investment, and what would say is a reasonable timeline for someone who does to use a podcast to grow their business. Like for us, I know that us creating our podcasts was it, it was a long-term play. Right. I don’t expect it to give us a return in the first season.

I’m thinking a couple of years ahead of how it’s going to support our business. What would you say about the timeline on that? What’s reasonable? 

So I think it really depends on how much work you want to put into this. And here’s what I mean. I talked a little earlier about creating multiple revenue streams. You really need to do that. You need to think [00:40:00] about it as a business. So yes, you want to, get podcasts advertising, great. That’s wonderful.

That’s one revenue stream, go find a sponsor. That’s an important revenue stream. It’s doable. It really is. Um, you know, definitely join, Supercast or Patreon. That’s another revenue stream. You know, think about what else you can offer. Bring money in, but if you’re thinking, gee, I’m going to start a podcast and like, yeah, my numbers are going to go up really fast and I’m going make Joe Rogan numbers.

No, it doesn’t happen that way. It takes time. I don’t have a specific timeline for you. I mean, it really, it really depends. And also it really depends on your show and people need to think about that. Is your audio good? Are your guests interesting? Do people like your format? Which is focus less on the money, focus more on the quality of your show?

Get [00:41:00] feedback. We also, suggest that doing your own little personal advisory board. Get your friends to give you constructive feedback because you want to improve your show. So you got to get your show to a quality. leveL. that’s really important and, there’s no hard and fast rule other than really pay attention to that.

And once you’ve got your show at a level that you’re really very confident about, it’s going to become easier and easier monetize. And join a network. Like also we do our best to help you grow your show that we can help you get in the game. Which is really important. That’s really why I started Ossa.

Yeah, absolutely. You mentioned discoverability a few times, which is people knowing that you have a show, right? New audiences becoming aware of your show. And you mentioned a couple of ways that we can do that. Whether It’s a pod swap or being on something like Goodpods. Obviously the quality is important [00:42:00] for in the discoverability process, right?

If someone does stumble across your show and they listened to the first five minutes and they’re like, oh, this is terrible. They’re probably not going to keep listening. What else would you recommend to increase discoverability 

It’s just a couple of things. Number one, figure out what other channels, where else can you find your target listeners? So for example, if they’re a much older audience, they may not be on Twitter. They may be on Facebook, so you really need to understand who is your target, their demographics, and where do they hang out and you need to pound it.

We’re finding some really good luck with Twitter lately. It’s just been really a good place for podcasters and podcasting. There’s a lot going on Twitter. But we are also on Instagram and Facebook. That’s really important. So essentially, if you want to be discoverd, you got to tell people and you have to tell people every possible way that you can.

So [00:43:00] it’s on social media, it’s on your newsletter. It’s telling a friend it’s doing swaps it’s going Facebook groups. She podcasts has a wonderful Facebook group. I mean, they’re, they’re really great friends of ours. She podcasts.

are wonderful Facebook group, very supportive. G et on start the conversation. There are a lot, I mean, even though you may not be on Facebook, you may want to see if there are some decent Facebook groups that talk about podcasting. But the same thing, with Instagram as well, 


a really, a lot of podcasters are on Instagram and have Instagram pages.

So my recommendation is to find podcasters with podcasts that are similar to yours and start creating a relationship with them. Just because you talk about the same thing. That’s not a problem. You’re going to approach it very differently. You want to understand, your [00:44:00] competition and you also want to figure out how are they connecting with their audiences.

So you want to study them, but also you want to connect with them and create a relationship with them. I mean, we’re all about collaboration. So collaborating may be a really great way to, increase discoverability doing swaps. If you’re product-based podcast, by doing giveaways together. There are a whole many a lot of different ways that you can help facilitate. More people finding out about who you are and tell everyone, tell your cleaner, tell your tailor, tell your, know, any clerk. Just tell everybody that you have a podcast, tell your family.


Ask them to push it out for you.

Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So if you were going to give o ne piece of advice to business owners who were looking to start a podcast. They don’t have one yet. They’re considering it. Maybe it’s on the timeline for some time in the future. What would your piece of advice to them be? 

[00:45:00] Start at the beginning. Really understand who is your target? Consumer? Who do talk to? Women 25 to 44, living in the suburbs. That’s not good enough. You need to go much deeper and really understand your audience. So that’s number one. You need a nd what we like to do is we like to suggest that our podcasters create avatars. Like made up theoretical target consumers.

So. Jane Jane is your target. What does Jane look like? What does she wear? What is she interested in? What does she listen to? What other podcasts? Where does she live? Does she like Starbucks? So you can really start to create a really 


interesting scenario for Jane AKA, your target audience.

 Why is that important? Then you will get a better handle on where to find Jane, all the Janes. And how to talk to them. So to me, knowing your [00:46:00] target audience is critical, and we just talked about different ways of doing that. Also do some competitive research. Again, because there may be 10,000 podcasts about, I don’t know.

 It doesn’t mean that you can’t start one about hand cream. We’re all different. We all have unique voices, but you want to figure out what will your spin be? So to me, those are two very important components is understand your audience and understand your competition and use that as a platform to start building out what you want your podcast to look like.

 Yeah, that’s fantastic advice. I know that when we were conceptualizing our podcasts, we also ask questions like.

How do we want people to feel when they’re listening to it? What do we want them to walk away with? What do we want them to do, after they listened to an episode and I don’t mean like rate and review it.

I mean, like with the information that they 


to then go [00:47:00] do and take action on. Why is it worth 45 minutes of someone’s time? 

Right. So you just said something that’s also very important, which is, let’s say you have a very successful business, do a poll. Ask your customers, what do they want, what would get them to listen to a podcast? Don’t make the, don’t make the survey very long. Just ask a couple of questions. That’s also super helpful.

You, you want to have a group of trusted people, you value their advice, you tap into them and that will help you form, or create, I think even a more, like a superior podcast, something that’s more impact 

 yeah, So interesting. I didn’t even know how vast the podcast world was until I got into it. You keep mentioning, making something that’s really quality and something that, stands out and is kind of a leg above the rest. And I don’t think I realized, how important that was until I really got into this space.

There are so many [00:48:00] podcasts. It goes back to our conversation on like the technology and the analytics and that there’s not necessarily a spotlight shined on this corner of the media And so you don’t realize how many podcasts there actually are. But there’s so many in the size varies and the quality varies and, um, it’s a, it’s a pretty big sea to wave through.

So finding ways to differentiate yours is, is important.

So the, the thing to keep in mind is that there’s something called podfade, which is why I go back to what I said earlier, which is record 10 episodes. Podfade is really people who maybe record five episodes and decide this is just too hard. That’s something to keep in mind as well. It is a lot of work, which is why you need to pay attention to it.

But yes there are s o many podcasts out there. But it doesn’t mean that you should not start a podcast. [00:49:00] You know, as I said, we all have a voice, we all have a story to tell, tell it in a way that’s meaningful to you and that you feel will be meaningful to your listeners. You’re creating that emotional connection. Just focus on that.

Focus on the relationship that you will have with your audience. It’s incredibly important.

 I think that’s a great place to end. My last prompt was going to be tell us what we need to hear and you did it. That was beautiful. Thank you so much. Marla I know that there are a couple of big things happening for the Ossa team right now. You have a really exciting campaign that actually just launched today on the day that we’re recording this, you’ve got production camp.

You’ve got Ossa academy. Um, and obviously you have this app that, I’m now on. us about all of those things and how people can get involved in your community. 

 Sure. So, as you mentioned today is the launch of our crowdfunding campaign, [00:50:00] which is incredibly excited. And what does that mean? Crowdfunding is a new form of investing, that was made available around 2015 where investors could get into the game without having to deal with brokerage companies.

 And what we’re saying to people is you’re going to own a piece of Ossa. Like own a piece of a woman’s podcast network, which I think is a very, very strong message. So we’re doing the campaign with the, nation’s leading crowdfunding company called Start Engine and, the campaign page went live . Invite people to, check out the page, and the link you’re you’re posting the link.

And it’ll take you directly to the page. There’s also a place where you can ask questions. If you scroll down, if you have any other questions. For the, at least the first weeks of the campaign, we’ll be, creating, AMA’s, ask me anything webinars. So [00:51:00] that we can get into more specifics. If people have questions about the campaign.

So that’s incredibly important for people to know. And we’re excited. Um, why am I doing this? Because I go down the traditional path venture capital. I felt it wasn’t for me. That was not the right thing for me to do. When I found out about crowdfunding, I figured, you know what? This is great.

And why do I want the funding? To continue to invest in features and benefits that will better serve my audience. And that’s really important to me. We’re here. We’re mission driven. We’re here to elevate underrepresented voices. So that is where the investment dollars will go to actually, make that happen.

So that’s a biggie. And then, because we like to do things all in the same month, you meant we discussed the app. The app is huge. The app is essentially going to be Ossa. And so much of what we do on [00:52:00] Ossa will be pushed through the app. And we, I mentioned, we spent a lot of time on the user experience.

 We value input and feedback, but we think it’s going to be terrific. And our goal is to continue to make it interesting and exciting. And as I said, it’s patent pending. So we’ve got some really cool technology that we’re building. So that’s a biggie production camp. We held at the end of March.

That was awesome. We will do another production camp later in the year. Details TBD. We’re just trying to figure out what would be the best way to do it and you know, do we move locations. So that’s pretty important. And we’ll be, we’ll definitely be doing two Ossa academies. I think we may structure it differently.

One session may be for real newbie podcasters who are just starting to podcasts in the other session will probably be for more experienced podcasters, details, TBD. So would really invite people to join Ossa. Uh, [00:53:00] you’ll find out more about the really cool things that we do we’re genuine. 

Yeah. And we’re here to help. We really are. I mean, we all share this ethos that we’re in it together. And we feel very strongly that all women need to have a chance to voice their thoughts, their feelings, their stories. 

Thank you so much for being here. I agree that there are so many underrepresented voices out there that need to be heard and that we all deserve a platform to share our story and to add value to our communities. And if we can do that through audio, which we know is a super connective and powerful, medium, all the better.

Thank you so much for sharing with us about what you’re up to. And I’m so excited to watch also grow over the next couple of months, the next year. And even beyond that, 

And thank you for joining first of all today. That’s very cool. We really appreciate it. And thank you for this opportunity to this conversation with you. It’s very cool. You can see, [00:54:00] I love talking about what we do and I love podcasts. So again, really appreciate you reaching out.

Thank you.

In interviewing Marla, I was struck with how imaginative she is about the opportunity that she and Ossa are faced with. In my short career, as a podcaster so far, I’ve been incredibly surprised by how few resources there are for what I think is a pretty demanding form of content creation. Talking with Marla only made me more excited to see what she and Ossa do to close the resource disparity for women and non-binary podcast hosts and for podcasters with targeted influence.

Marla feels it’s the right time to ensure that women can earn their fair share of the rapid growth of the podcast industry. She believes in the power of podcasting as a communication platform with the reach and impact to elevate underrepresented voices globally. As Marla told me, before we started recording the interview, her platform is named after a Greek goddess of communication gossip and overall awesome.

And I think that’s fitting for what Ossa is up to. With over 1400 [00:55:00] podcasters on Ossa currently in a hopeful 10,000 podcasters in this community in the next four months. Ossa and Marla are absolutely on their way to achieving world domination. You can find Ossa on Instagram at Ossa Collective, and you can learn more about how to apply to join the Ossa community at ossacollective.com.

If you liked the episode, consider participating in Ossa’s crowdfunding campaign at startengine.com/ossa.


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