Career Capsule: Misty Phillip dreamed of being a model and went to fashion college where she earned a degree in Merchandising and Design. After holding various positions in finance and recruiting she finally landed her dream job working at Enron, but walked away from a lucrative consulting career at Enron to raise and homeschool her three boys. When her youngest son entered high school Misty began writing, speaking, and dreaming of what the next season of life entailed. She became a sought-after inspirational speaker and the author of the award-winning #1 Amazon New Release Bible Study, The Struggle is Real: But so is God, and the Spark Podcast Planner.
As Founder and CEO of Spark Media, Misty equips Christian Communicators and podcasters through the Spark Media Conference and Awards, Spark Media Podcast Network, Spark Media Magazine, and the Spark Collective a thriving membership community. She is the host of the By His Grace Podcast ranked in the top 1.5 percent of podcasts globally, and the co-host of Spark Influence. Misty manages the Spark Radio Initiative and the Spark Media Radio Hour on KHCB’s Upliftd Radio Stream.
You can learn more about Misty at MistyPhillip.com and SparkMedia.Ventures
Misty, tell us what’s new at Spark Media.. any news, changes etc… and what’s new with YOU?
At Spark Media, we believe in the power of collaboration to make a Kingdom impact. Earlier this year, we launched the Spark Radio Initiative to curate a collection of faith-based audio & video content to be distributed across on-demand audio and live streams in partnership and collaboration with radio. This initiative led to the Spark Media Hour on the KHCB Upliftd Stream featuring 17 podcasts from the Spark Media community. We celebrate this successful radio/podcast collaboration in the latest edition of Spark Media magazine.
Most recently, Spark Media joined forces with BeeBold Collective to host events for female entrepreneurs and content creators to transform their approach to their business, ministry, and brand. Our Spark Bold Business event was so successful we are now hosting an exclusive retreat in Florida in February 2023.
I’ve also had a lot of fun traveling with my husband, speaking at conferences, and working on a couple of book projects.
How do you balance work & Family, how important is it for someone in Christian Podcasting to ‘have a life”?
Spark Media is a family affair. My husband and boys are very involved in all aspects of Spark Media, so we get to spend a lot of time together. My husband is my business partner, and together we co-host the Spark Influence podcast. His technical genius and fingerprints are all over Spark Media. My youngest son has a podcast production company and he produces several Spark Media community member podcasts. He also edits my shows, and runs my YouTube channel for the Spark Collective.I always have a family member travel with me when I speak as well. So we have a lot of time together as a family.
As an entrepreneur and high-achiever, sometimes striking this balance is challenging because I love what I do. However, I strive to be intentional, especially regarding my family, because they are my first ministry. This year I’m taking the month of December off for a sabbatical to spend special time with family through the holidays and to refuel before the new year. We definitely need to have a life beyond podcasting because this makes us more interesting and, I believe, actually makes us better podcast hosts. Our life experiences influence our story, and our messages.
What is the best advice you’re received before launching your first podcast… the worst?
My Family encouraged me to podcast. My oldest son had a pop culture podcast with his friends in the Honors College at HBU in 2017. He and my husband both inspired me to take the plunge and get started. Many people talk about launching a podcast but are held back by fear or feelings of imposter syndrome. Some of the best advice I received was just to start, but this can also be the worst advice too. The podcast space has become more crowded and competitive. So although we shouldn’t be held back by fear, I firmly believe we need to do our research ahead of time and have a good understanding of our message, target audience, and unique angle. Before we pick up the mic.
What’s something you’ve learned about podcasting that you didn’t know before? Something you would do different?
I batch-created my first 15 episodes at a conference in the summer of 2018 and launched By His Grace on January 1, 2019. I initially did more things wrong than right, but I learned a lot in the process. I focused a lot on social media because I thought that was how I’d grow my audience. Social media is helpful, but there are better ways to grow your audience by creating targeted content that addresses felt needs and using SEO Keywords to drive podcast and website traffic. Fast forward to the summer of 2022, when my husband and I launched Spark Influence. Before the launch, I focused on getting reviews as soon as the podcast was available on Apple, and as a result, our show charted when it launched.
I am still a big fan of batch-creating content. I’m active on social media, but I’ve learned there are better ways to grow the show by creating good content that inspires, entertains, educates, and utilizes SEO keywords. Reviews are essential when you launch for social proof, but they can also inform your content creation as your show grows.
Whats your thoughts on podcasting for Christian Radio personalities, should they have one?
If a radio personality wants a podcast, go for it. I’m a huge fan of repurposing content, but repurposing a radio show into a podcast is not a good idea. Instead, I urge the radio personality to create something unique and geared specifically to a targeted podcast audience.
What would you tell someone who’s struggling to build an audience with a podcast… Aside from the obvious, how is it different from radio?
Podcast growth is slow, especially if you are not famous or have a huge marketing budget. To grow an audience, you need to create great content and show up consistently for your audience. For anyone who is always making great content but is still struggling to build an audience with a podcast, there is probably something off with their brand, messaging or promotions.
There are nuanced differences between podcasting and radio. Radio tends to reach a broader audience, so every minute on the radio counts. Podcasts are more intimate, personal, and created around niche topics for more targeted audiences.
I’d love to see more podcast and radio collaborations since we are both in the audio space. I truly believe we all have a lot to offer one another, and can learn a lot from each other.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to monetize their podcast…?
Have you heard the expression, there is more than one way to skin a cat? Well, there are many ways to monetize a podcast too. In my consulting practice, I work with clients to create a monetization strategy that best fits their goals.
Choosing a monetization strategy that best works for your show depends on your goals for your podcast. I always teach my people to begin with the end in mind.
There are a couple of ways to monetize, direct or indirect. In direct monetization, the product you’re selling is the podcast itself, and you generate revenue through ads, sponsorships, and offering premium content. Your listeners want to pay for it if they want to get more of it. With indirect monetization, you are using your podcast to sell different products to your listeners, for example, books, courses, or coaching programs.
Who are your podcast/radio heroes and influences? and why?
My podcast heroes are independent podcasters like the ones in the Spark Media community, who show up week after week to selflessly encourage others and spread messages of hope. Many of these podcasters don’t have a huge audience or marketing budget and aren’t even making money with their podcasts. Yet they continue to show up and create great content because they are passionate about the message, and transforming lives with the gospel.
Many people have influenced me in both the radio and podcast industries, and for different reasons. My local radio stations, KSBJ and KHCB, have greatly impacted my life. I’m grateful for the partnerships I have KHCB, the NRB, Access More, Pray.com, the Edifi Network, Glorystone App and others. Along with Spark Media Board members and industry leaders like Rob Kirkpatrick from Focus on the Family who have believed in the mission and vision of Spark Media from its inception. They have provided me with wise counsel to guide and direct the course for Spark Media. I’m truly grateful for these people, and organizations for their alliances to make an impact for the Kingdom.