Maya Fisher-French was an early trailblazer in the local podcast industry and was among the first to recognise the massive potential of podcasting and how the medium can offer space for brands to share content with their audiences.
She is the founder of Fisher Podcast Productions, a podcast production company. “Media platforms outsource their podcast content to Fisher Podcast Productions and some startup companies are using our studios and producer to create a podcast,” says Fisher-French.
According to Fisher-French, podcasts are a great way to tell a brand’s story.
Research conducted by Matt Brown Media shows that the number of podcast listeners in South Africa went up by 50% in 2018, with the medium being the fastest growing sector of media consumption in South Africa.
Already a well-known South African financial journalist and blogger (Maya on Money) with a focus on educating consumers on financial literacy, she ventured into podcasting with Smart Money on the online radio Cliff Central Show which was in collaboration with Discovery.
She currently co-hosts the My Money, My Lifestyle podcast with a fellow City Press contributor.
“The My Money, My Lifestyle podcast forms part of my partnership with City Press. Every week I chat with my co-host Mapalo Makhu [the founder of Woman & Finance] about the stories we are working on.” They discuss finance topics like investing in the stock market.
Fisher-French told Radio 702 that she went into personal finance because of her upbringing.
“I was 16 when my father died. We were left with so much debt… [we] sold our furniture to buy groceries… there was no will and no life cover… there was nothing in place.”
Before launching a career in financial journalism in 2003, she worked in the financial industry, including a stock broking company.
Fisher-French has won numerous awards for her work, including the Consumer Financial Education award in the 2018 Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year Awards. She is also author of the book, Maya on Money: Implement your Money Plan.
Fisher-French shares her podcasting experience and gives advice to those interested in venturing into the industry.
Initially the idea was to use the podcast as a way to drive followers to read the articles we are discussing. But we soon found that the podcast is a way for readers of both Maya on Money and City Press to engage with the content across multiple channels. Some people prefer to read whilst others prefer to listen.
It also gave us a way to make personal finance a more casual and approachable topic as Mapalo (Makhu) and I bring our personal stories, and personalities, into the conversation. We could also go more in-depth into topics where we would be limited by print.
At this stage podcasts are more about marketing and brand promotion, but we have been approached and already executed several sponsored podcasts series for financial institutions. These are fully sponsored so become an income stream.
Secondly, getting paid subscribers is not really a potential revenue stream as people are used to getting things for free. To get paid you need a sponsor.
The topics people want to hear about and how to format it matters. Initially we would briefly cover around three stories we were working on, but we found people preferred if we focused on one or two and have a more in-depth discussion.
When doing podcasts with sponsors you have to be selective about your guest. Some are just not radio ready.
Not everyone can do voice work. Be realistic as to whether or not you have a “voice for radio”.
Decide what you want to achieve with your podcast. What information are you trying to get across?
Make it easy for your listeners to subscribe – the podcast hosting platform is important. At first, we used SoundCloud but realised it was not well supported in the podcast catchers (where people subscribe to podcasts), for example it was not supported on iTunes. We have now moved to AudioBoom.
1. If it’s only about your ego – a lot of people like to hear themselves on radio, but that doesn’t mean other people do.
2. You think you are going to make all your money from subscribers – it takes a long time to build up a listenership.
3. You are not prepared to do regular podcasts – you can’t build a following on ad hoc releases.
4. You fear technology. We use Zoom which is really easy to use and you can create a basic podcast on the platform but we take it a step further and produce/edit the podcast. It does require some skill and not everyone has time to teach themselves new technologies.