How can you grow your faith-based podcast? What is some advice to get sponsors for your podcast? How should you balance your podcast with your family life?
In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens talks to Laura Dugger about her journey with faith and her faith-based podcast, The Savvy Sauce.
Meet Laura Dugger
Laura married her best friend, Mark, 10 years ago and they have 4 beloved daughters. Laura is a marriage and family therapist and her graduate school specialization was Christian sex therapy. She is a podcast host for The Savvy Sauce: Practical Chats for Intentional Living.
Laura’s favorite shared activity with her kiddos is reading aloud, which they try to do one hour a day. She can’t get enough community: her parents instilled traditions she and Mark continue to uphold which include hosting and gathering people together as much as possible!
Get in touch with Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org
In This Podcast
- The Savvy Sauce podcast
- Grow your podcast and create a following
- Getting sponsors
- Balancing the podcast with family life
The Savvy Sauce podcast
Looking back at her journals from the last 5 or 6 years, Laura noticed a foreshadowing about her podcast. It started with small verses or ideas about interviewing others and using her degree to help as many people as possible, particularly supporting marriages, until she realized that God was calling her to be a podcast host. After about a year, she made the decision to wait until her youngest went to kindergarten and then start the podcast. Mark’s advice to her was to honor this calling, as it was a command from God, so he sat with her while she researched how to start a podcast.
Their friend Chris suggested that she use Evernote to jot down some dreams, goals, values, and the vision for the podcast, as well as initial ideas regarding guests and content. The ideas started overflowing, and she realized that her hope for the podcast was to encourage people, brighten their day, and lighten their load. As a self-proclaimed podcast junkie, she also wanted to create the kind of podcast that she would enjoy listening to, specifically where the guest has the spotlight and is not interrupted by the host. The ideal podcast for Laura to create was one with prizes and giveaways, bonus episodes, and creative, fresh content to keep it fun and entertaining, which she has achieved with The Savvy Sauce. Most of their content is offered for free, and they also do bonus episodes and giveaways on their social media.
During the time she and her husband were moving around the country, she noticed that many people were hesitant about going to counselors who weren’t the so-called “biblical counselors”. This was unsettling for Laura, as she feels that those people were potentially missing out on a lot of incredible aspects of counseling by not going to licensed, professional counselors because they feel that it is not necessarily “God-honoring”. So, with her background in marriage and family therapy and Christian sex therapy, she started a faith-based podcast with the intention of normalizing counseling, showing people the value of professional, Christian counseling, and providing resources to learn about God-honoring sexuality.
Grow your podcast and create a following
Ultimately, it’s not really about the following or having a bunch of people, necessarily. It’s about getting The Word out more on things that are going to be helpful for people, right? And helpful for people in their faith and in their marriages and in their families. And that’s the whole reason you want to gain a following, so that more people can hear the good stuff.
Laura mentions a verse in Zechariah 4:10, “Do not despise these small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin”, and which helped her to maintain a positive attitude from their humble beginnings with a small following. Some things that worked really well for Laura and The Savvy Sauce podcast:
- Recording 60 episodes before launching – Pre-recording the first batch of podcasts helped Laura to practice, to learn her style of speaking/interviewing, and to edit the episodes properly.
- Releasing more than one episode per week – The Savvy Sauce made a splash right in the beginning, with 26 episodes in the first 8 weeks. They also went live on iTunes for their launch party and had conversations with local friends and family, enjoyed food and fellowship, and had the opportunity to show people how to download and share the podcast. The editor and social media manager both played a huge role in making the content available and promoting the podcast through their social media, too.
- Being a New & Noteworthy Podcast – The podcast ended up on a few lists, one being the New & Noteworthy Podcasts list with Apple Podcasts. This list increased visibility for the podcast and they gained a large following.
It’s important to understand why you want a following, rather than focus on just getting that following.
- Reach out to 5 potential sponsors every week – Laura researches different brands that she likes, looking for ones whose purpose and values align with those of you and your podcast, and she sends them an email to establish if it could be a mutually beneficial partnership.
- Praying for sponsors – Laura prays for her current and prospective sponsors, praying that it will be a worthwhile financial partnership for her and the podcast, but also that they will experience blessing from being involved with The Savvy Sauce.
- Finding sponsors that are relevant to the content of different episodes/series – Laura tries to align the sponsors she reaches out to with topics they plan on covering. For example, an upcoming episode/series on health and wellness could work well with a water filter company as a sponsor. That way, they’re reaching their target market. Because the podcast audience are most likely those who are interested in health and wellness, and potentially their water filters.
Balancing the podcast with family life
When we’re praying to God and asking him how we can please him, he will certainly surprise us, and I think he will definitely answer us. So, when I surrender all of my fears and inadequacies to him, then I’m free to fully trust and obey Him and witness his goodness.
Laura explains that the basis of everything, and what she considers her “life verse”, is Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Five years before starting the podcast, while enjoying being a new mom but also being less productive, God sent Laura on a journey to cut back on the unnecessary time-consuming things and to declutter her life. Focusing on that verse, she came to realize that her priority needed to be relationships, and time spent with her family.
When she started working on The Savvy Sauce, she feared that it would somehow jeopardize her family relationships by taking up too much. But she manages her time now by trusting that God will continue to expand her time and allow her to keep her life in order, maintaining the balance between her family life and the podcast.
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Meet Whitney Owens
Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.
Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.
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