Podcast Marketing Gets Social with Podopolo

Podcast Marketing With Podopolo – Melinda Wittstock

Jun 19, 2021

Podopolo: A New Platform for Podcast Marketing

Are you a podcaster, and learning the process of podcast marketing? In this episode, Melinda Wittstock shares her business, podcasting platform Podopolo. Podopolo is the first social media platform for podcasters and with a unique vision for podcast marketing. How can you attract sponsors for your show without knowing the demographics of your audience? The question of how to make money podcasting is closely related. In this interview, professional journalist and host of the Wings of Inspired Business Podcast, shares Podopolo’s difference from all other podcast platforms. Podcasters can now interact with their audiences and learn more about their listeners. Gathering listener data helps with podcast marketing campaigns. This data also helps attract the rights sponsors for the show as one learns how to make money podcasting. 

In this episode, Cheryl and Melinda Wittstock discuss: 

  • Podcast Marketing is changing with the Podopolo platform.
  • Podopolo as the first podcasting platform to create social engagement with listeners
  • Podopolo allows podcasters to learn about their audience and own that data, unlike other podcast marketing platforms
  • To answer the question “how to make money podcasting” one needs to know the audience to attract paid sponsors for your show
  • Plan you podcast interviews based upon themes, not specific questions, so it can flow

Key Takeaways: 

  • Learn to work in your zone of genius and not on tasks that can be delegated. 
  • Don’t make the mistake of hiring too late.
  • Hiring is not an expense. It’s an investment, since it allows you to double down on your own specific unique strengths
  • The best interviewers are great listeners
  • Ask easy questions to make the guest feel really comfortable

“To conduct a great interview, be a good listener and ask open ended questions.” —  Melinda Wittstock

Connect with Melinda Wittstock:  


Website: https://podopolo.com or
https://melindawittstock.com/launch-podcast
Facebook: Melinda Wittstock
Twitter: @MelindaWings   
Instagram: MelindaWittstock2020

Connect with Cheryl Hodgson:   

Website: brandaide.com 
Book: https://registeredtrademarkbook.com 
Twitter:  twitter.com/brandaide 
Facebook:  facebook.com/brandaide 
Email:  cheryl@brandaide.com 
Show: brandrevolution.show 
YouTube: youtube.com/user/BrandaideTV 
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/cherylhodgson 
Instagram:  instagram.com/brandaide
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/brandaide1/

In this episode Cheryl speaks with Melinda Wittstock about her latest venture Popodolo, a podcast marketing platform that will podcasters learn how to make money podcasting.

Narrator: Today on the Brand (R)evolution Show.

Melinda Wittstock: I'm a serial entrepreneur. As you know, and I mean, it got to the point where my kids heard me say that so often, they thought I ran the Cheerio's company. They would complain about like the bad prizes they were getting and that kind of thing.

Narrator: Where we answer the question, what does it take to launch your own brand revolution? Create evolution who are the people that help you? Foster connection, community contribution currency for a brand built to last. You will also meet brands, changing the world. And the lives of those they serve. Here's your host, Sheryl Hodgson.

Cheryl Hodgson: Hi everyone. I'm Cheryl Hodgson. Welcome to today's episode of the Brand Aide Podcast. I'm here with my guest, Melinda Wittstock, who is the founder of Podopolo and Wings of Success.
Hi, Melinda, how are you?

Melinda Wittstock: Hey, Cheryl, it's great to be with you.

Cheryl Hodgson: It's great to have you here. I've been wanting to have you on the show since the day I started it.

Melinda Wittstock: That's so nice. Thank you.

Cheryl Hodgson: Yeah. So, we're going to jump right in, cause there's so much to talk with you about, cause you have such a really amazing background and history of your life and everything you've done professionally and your outlook personally as well.
But let's start with the most, latest incarnation of the latest thing that's happening for you, which is Podopolo being a branding, trademark attorney, I love names. So this is a great name. So why don't you share a little bit about Podopolo, what you're up to.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, thank you so much. I'm a serial entrepreneur, as you know, and I mean, it got to the point where my kids heard me say that so often they thought I ran the Cheerio's company. They would complain about like the bad prizes they were getting and that kind of thing. But anyway, Podopolo is number five and it's the world's first socially interactive podcasting network. And I've always believed that the best content is conversation and community. This is a wonderful way for listeners and viewers to interact with each other, interact with the host and the coolest thing about it is as they do that, share content, put lessons learned into action in their lives and engage in world changing initiatives, they earn prizes, rewards, freebies, discounts, all sorts of things. And that's the other aspect of this platform. It's a mobile app. That's also cool. It's gamified. So every part of the company is incentivized and all the users and listeners, viewers, win all these rewards. For the podcasters were the first actually share revenues. So 20% of our net revenue gets parceled out to all the podcasters. Plus, in addition to that, we place ads that are topically relevant and mission aligned on their podcasts, both on air and actually on the app itself. And this is a big problem for podcasters. Only about 2% of podcasters ever unlock sponsorship or advertising.
Well, yeah, because it's a guesswork game because of the data that's shared with podcasters is so insufficient. Like all you get as the download data. So the difference with Podopolo is that we, as people engage in all these challenges, we get to know a lot about them. So it means that we can actually match, you know, the right audience to the right ads.
And you don't have to have a huge audience to qualify for the advertising because we can prove to the advertiser or the sponsor. That the podcast audience is actually qualified for their offer. So it's changing the game of podcasting in so many ways. I mean, I really think content producers should be making money from their content. And it's crazy to me that 85% of podcasters don't make money. So really want to change that. And that's what we're doing with Podopolo.

Cheryl Hodgson: I think it's phenomenal. The gamify aspect because I am developing courses, I have developed courses and I'm needing to market them. And there are so many people in the online world who are providing fabulous trainings, actually tremendous content.
And now of course with what's happened in, you know, with COVID-19 people are working from home and more and more people are online. But one of the statistics which are shocking to me is if it's something like 95 to 98% of the people who buy an online course, don't actually complete.

Melinda Wittstock: Right?

Cheryl Hodgson: So the whole notion of gamifying and interaction has taken on new meaning and more important.

Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. Well, on Podopolo, I mean, because a lot of podcasters have courses and information products just like you, Cheryl.
There's a paywall on there where podcasters can put bonus content and courses, and those courses are gamified as well. Meaning that as people unlock certain levels of achievement, they qualify to the next module and the next module and the next module, and there's a social reinforcement and high fives and all kinds of different things where they're really tracking their progress, they're seeing the results of their effort. And we're applying that same logic to the podcasting world too, because so many podcasts teach really valuable lessons.
And so, what would it be like to listen to a podcast, but then, have a methodology and a way that's fun that you can actually put what you learned on that podcast into action in your life to see a transformational impact.
[00:05:32] And so not all podcasts are teaching podcasts. Some of them are comedy podcasts. We're going to do things like one liner challenges and like improv challenges and things like that. Right. So, adopting the different ways to just really engage people in community and in conversation it's just so much more dynamic and fun, you know?

Cheryl Hodgson: Well, one of the things that comes up for me, because I talk about branding a lot and how to connect branding to your messaging and what really is a brand. And to me, it is a lot about connection, community, currency, and building currency with your audience. And when I say it's not necessarily just money, it's about building relationship, right?

Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. Like having your community really invested in the podcast is huge. And I think one of the things that, that is fascinating about podcasting. It evolved almost like a broadcast model on an interactive platform and no one thought to figure out how to make it interactive, which didn't make sense. So there were a lot of people podcasting like me to many.
And then just letting it sit there much, like the way television works and it was such a lost opportunity, right? When you can actually use this technology to engage people in interactivity at every step of the way.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well, let's talk about that because you have a unique background and you come from journalism, and broadcasting, yourself. I mean, you had a career with the BBC?

Melinda Wittstock: It's a car crash of acronyms there. I mean, I started out as a, yeah. I started out as a print journalist when I was 22 on the Times of London. And I wrote about business and finance and then the media, and there was this new thing called the internet. And I got to interview all kinds of really cool people, including Steve Jobs.
And nothing scares you by the way, after you've written a story with Rupert Murdoch standing behind your back, watching every word you type, in that case, a 23-year-old. And, but I was the type of journalist that always wanted to know where the story was going next. And I wanted to learn from all the people that I had access to.
I mean, to be able to hang around at Richard Branson's house. And watch him and do a like 24 hours in the life of, I was like a sponge. I learned a lot from that. So I started out in print. I started out in print and I broke a lot of really big stories. And as a result of that, I started getting interviewed on television as a pundit.
And then someone saw me on television and said, well, you should be an anchor. And so I became an anchor. And I initially joined the Financial Times to create their business programs for Europe and Asia on television, which I also fronted. And then I moved to BBC World TV and I was one of the main anchors there through lots of big stories, the death of princess, Diana, the Oklahoma city bombing all these sorts of things. And finally created a show for the BBC, a news magazine out of New York, and grew that to an audience of 20 million. And, then went on to anchor here in New York, for ABC News, with Anderson Cooper, doing the overnight shift for World News Now, which was a lot of fun. We had hilarious times because I like to say we had a good time because management wasn't watching.
So we could, you can do all kinds of fun stuff on the air, but then, you know, I've always been very entrepreneurial and it point where, I needed to create my own businesses. And so they've all revolved around media, social media, technology, crowd sourcing all these sorts of things and now podcasting

Cheryl Hodgson: So how did you make that transition? I mean, what was the first - I know you've been a serial entrepreneurs you said, and it wasn't cereal boxes. That I know.

Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. I kind of went and Monica Lewinsky because if I had to report on that blue dress one more time. I mean, I really thought that that news had sunk to its lowest level and.
Boy was I wrong about that? But I thought

Cheryl Hodgson: Even worse today.
Melinda Wittstock: I know, but the big trigger for me actually was 911 because I was in New York at the time. And when everybody was saying our democracy is so important and we have to defend our democracy and I looked around and saw that hardly anybody voted and political news was being reported like it was a boxing match and you might as well watch the real thing. It wasn't relevant to people in their daily lives. So that was the impetus to say, okay, well I guess no, one's fixing that. So I'm going to go fix political news coverage. And so as my first adult company was Capitol News Connection and it was a news agency that I grew from Capitol Hill and a White House to more than 300 public radio stations, commercial radio stations, major market TV stations.
And what we did was we localized news. So how were national decisions being impacting locally and all across the country and innovated a really quite radical repurposing model where with a team of like eight reporters, we could produce more than 40 or 50 high quality NPR kind of stories that left the Bureau every day.
And we really focused on the issues and we won all sorts of awards. I think it was like 18 Edward R Murrow awards and Joan Barone, public policy award for journalism. We actually beat CNN's Katrina coverage on that year. And so made a big impact in journalism doing that, but also innovated a lot of new ways of organizing a newsroom with repurposing and all these things.
It's funny because I look now at Podopolo and I see all the influences of Capitol News Connection on that. And then all the other things that I went on to do, but around that era, I started to get really interested in technology and particularly crowdsourcing. And so created one of the first ever apps initially through Capitol News Connection where anybody could ask any question of their lawmaker and our, and vote the questions up the order, and our journalists would go and get them answered and then share them.
And this app grew in 2007-2008 to more than 3 million users in just a month. And I just got fascinated by the idea of including people, just regular citizens in conversation around content. You see the theme here. And so the next one was News It, which was the world's first crowdsourcing app where people can create news together.
And our backend technology would sort that for relevance and reliability. That was way ahead of its time because it was solving a fake news problem that didn't exist at the time. Newsday would be like a good one for now, but that was pretty early. And then a lot of other stuff in social media and social media tech and analytics and whatnot, so that all these companies, I'm going to kind of my lab.
I look back now and I proved out different aspects of what I'm doing with Podopolo.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well I'm excited. I mean, I've been invited or I invited myself, I should say to be a beta user in Podopolo,

Melinda Wittstock: I know I'm so excited to have you and Brand Aide as part of it because you know, everybody listening to this podcast right now, I mean, you're going to be able to not only interact directly with Cheryl, but she's going to be able to reward you with all the different ways that you get involved and put everything you're learning on her podcast and to action in your life.
I mean, yeah, it's awesome. I'm so happy. To have you there.

Cheryl Hodgson: It's a great experience for me because I'm new to podcasting and you have the, in addition, you have the Wings of Success Podcast, which is how I first connected with you.

Melinda Wittstock: Wings of Inspired Business and Wings of Inspired Business really started as a passion project for me because I thought that female entrepreneurs were succeeding in silence.
And there were a lot of amazing women creating great seven, eight, nine figure businesses, even unicorns. And yet the image of the entrepreneur was a guy in a hoodie in a garage somewhere, right, in sneakers and eating ramen noodles. Like wait Ramen, no too many carbs. No, I can't do that.
I just really wanted to change the game and affirm and acclaim the entrepreneurial journeys of women and give women the right mentoring in a way in a podcast that I wish I'd had when all those years when I was the only woman in the room.
And I really had sought female mentors and hadn't really, we've been able to find them. And wanted to create a, an abundance ecosystem among women where we truly lift as we climb. Like we. Promote each other and buy from each other and invest in each other and mentor each other. And so, Wings, it just started with that in mind. I didn't even set out to create a business around it.
I was running a totally different business, but it led me on this wonderful path to have retreats and masterminds like Wings of the Empowered Woman. And Wings of Success is actually like an online training program, featuring a lot of the women who had guested it on my podcast, where there particular lessons and it led me to creating the podcasting network.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well, I, I have to say it and this is not, this is true. I have probably told a dozen people; women I've said you've got to listen to Wings of Success podcast. Number one, first of all, I relate to your mission and how you're bringing about the message of the podcast because of my own experience, similar to yours in a different field.
You know, when I started out as an attorney, there were seven, 15% women in law school still, you know? And so it wasn't that I felt like I was discriminated against, but there were not a lot of mentors out there.

Melinda Wittstock: And also there was such a sense of scarcity, this idea that there's only room for a few at the top.
And so women didn't help each other for that reason. And now I think it's really shifting, it's beginning to really shift because we do better when we help each other actually, and there is enough space. but when we help each other up and really collaborate, I think miracles happen. I think that's how we're designed. We're collaborative creatures. And when we're actually in that authentic, feminine, we do so much better.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well, and I don't think it's a, you can't put it just on a sex basis, but I'm jokingly said for years, you know, men have the good old boys network it's time. And I've been saying this for 25 years, when are women going to have the good old girls network?
And you know, they, and I don't think it's conscious because, but I see it. I don't think it's conscious. It's just natural. You know, guys play golf on the golf course together, or they, they shoot hoops on the basketball court, that's how a lot of business comes about. Right. Because they're in that sort of like, well, let's get together and play around a golf and they meet other people.
And I don't know, it's kind of a networking thing as well. So women, I think, are now catching on to that and I think support. So I just applaud you for it because mentoring other women is just, it's one of my passions now because I didn't have it, you know? And I think so,

Melinda Wittstock: Likewise, I mean, I think a lot of great businesses and podcasts are created out of a lack of something or a challenge we've had in our own lives or whatever, and that we're in, in walking through that refiner's fire in a way, right. We're, well-placed having solved the problem for ourselves to help other people up. And I think really the, the energy is kind of shifting where women who try to be men.
And that old way. Cause I think we, because the only, the only role models we had were men, so business was, Oh yeah, do this this way. It was inauthentic and, and it didn't really work for us. I know so many women I'm at about episode 500 now in Wings. And there's so many women in their forties and fifties talking about being like that.
I was kind of like that, but then having health kind of our health, exactly just get wrecked or whatever, and not really being authentic. And when we learn to really leverage our feminine power, so our intuition, our collaborative nature. All of these things. That's when miracles really unlocked for us, that's been true in my life and almost every single successful seven figure, eight figure, nine figure, unicorn figure unicorn business owner.
You know, that I interview there's a pattern there to that success. And there's always that epiphany at some point of how to just come about it. Being a woman. It's okay. And I just find, even with raising capital for businesses, it's much easier when I'm just being me. Than trying to be someone that I think I'm supposed to be.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well, and our society conditions us, whether you're male or female, but we're conditioned from an early age , as to what our roles.

Melinda Wittstock: Oh, absolutely. We have to unlearn a lot of things I find. Yeah. You're learning, but you're also unlearning.

Cheryl Hodgson: Yeah, because you get to a point just like you say where, well, you know, I wore the buttoned-up suit and tried to be all stiff, whatever , and in your case, you're talking about Rupert Murdoch looking over your shoulders, for me it was for federal judges. It only took a few years of standing up in front of a federal judge. And in 30 seconds, she'd be chewed up and spit out.
Melinda Wittstock: And English newsroom is great for that as well. Well, Oh my God. You won't believe some of the insults. I remember one of the earliest ones for me, and this is, this is funny when my news editor said, Hey, Melinda, I can't do the English accent, but.
Just because it's news to you, it does not mean it's news. This is how management was there. Right? So you get all these kind of witty put downs and things, you learn pretty fast, you know what to do not to do.

Cheryl Hodgson: Right. And so you play by the game, but then at a certain point, I'm trying to fit into a suit that doesn't fit. It's not who I am. You know? So that's where I think the podcast thing, well, I have a question, but I want to move on, but I, I love this thing talking about your podcast. I think it's your skills as an interviewer, which is what makes Wings of Success.

Melinda Wittstock: It's called Wings of Inspired Business.

Cheryl Hodgson: Oh, I'm sorry. I apologize.

Melinda Wittstock: I do have another, I have a training program called Wings of Success, but the actual podcast is Wings of Inspired Business.

Cheryl Hodgson: Wings was in there.

Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I've got a lot of different wings, things.

Cheryl Hodgson: Okay. So we'll talk about wings of success, so you can share it with that, but you know, in the podcast, what would be one piece of advice you'd have since you're working with podcasters in Podopolo, in terms of, you know, is there a secret to becoming a great interviewer?

Melinda Wittstock: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. So we can break down the interviewing quite a bit.
So back in the day, when I was in the BBC, I had the blessed opportunity to host a program called Hard Talk. Which, if you remember the old Charlie Rose show, the black background, that's what it was. And I got to interview major world leaders and people like Twiggy and sports stars and musicians and all sorts of people.
And the objective in that show was to not only interview someone about their kind of biographical their life story, but to get them to kind of reveal something that, you know, they may, maybe hadn't talked about before. One of the things that I learned very early on is to plan, not questions, but themes of the things that I was going to ask, be very good at listening and being prepared to throw out what I'd prepared and be in the moment.
I think the best interviewers are really good listeners. And I think there's some other tactical things too, like making people feel really comfortable, so asking pretty easy questions that make them feel good. You know, before going into some of the deeper things that maybe you want to ask. Right, right.
That are perhaps, and, you know, my podcast, isn't really a journalist thing. I mean, back in the day, as a journalist, you know, if it was interviewing politicians, I'd be asking pretty tough questions to hold them to account and that kind of thing. So, you know, what I do right now is it's not like that at all, but.
Some of the same rules apply, which is the being a really good listener and asking open ended questions. Like some of the best questions ever are just very simple ones. Like why or what, how did you feel when that was happening? Anything that gets somebody into their right brain is going to make them get off script.
And say something that's a little bit more original and not something that they trot out on. Every other podcast that they're on.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well, I actually appreciate that because I'm a student of learning to be a better interviewer as we speak. And I've been listening to Howard Stern of all people. Not because I've been a huge fan over the years, but because he really is an amazing, he can get people to talk about stuff.

Melinda Wittstock: Anything. Anything at all, right? So it's probably about making your guests feel really comfortable and creating that bond of trust, from the outset. Yeah. And again, listening. And when you come into an interview knowing something about your guests, right, they feel like you've done your homework and that's also something that just leads to trust.
And as a sense of respect, The other thing too, is, you know, trying to keep it conversational. Like you're doing right now, we're having a conversation. I aspire to that always on Wings of Inspired Business as well. So it doesn't seem like, okay, I'm going to ask this question now, and then I'm going to wait for the answer.
And then I'm going to ask another question. Just make it more free flowing. It's a conversation because podcasting is such an intimate medium, I think listeners particularly, for the audio versions of podcasts, it's like being a fly on the wall. They're invited into like, they're almost like eavesdropping and that intimacy, I think is one of the things that makes podcasting so powerful as a medium.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well, it's what has intrigued me to actually launch a podcast is because I've always loved learning from people and about people.

Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. Isn't that nice. I love that too.

Cheryl Hodgson: It's just it's it could, because you learn so much and you're exposed to people and businesses, and I'd say in a business context or any area. That you would otherwise never have a chance to, to actually interact with. So it's exactly, it's, it's really quite wonderful. So I don't want to overlook and give you an opportunity to talk about the Wings of Success and since I messed up the Wings thing.

Melinda Wittstock: Well there's a couple of things, so the other main thing I do around the Wings brand was is Wings of the Empowered Woman.
And that is a mastermind, a year long mastermind and a retreat. Once we get back to having retreats for high performing female entrepreneurs. These are women with high six figure seven, figure, eight figure, nine figure businesses. And one of the things I set out to do with Wings of the Empowered Woman was really connect people and look at the whole woman because to succeed in business.
You really, it's not just about the business. It's vital that you’re on a personal growth trajectory that you're getting rid of all the kind of subconscious blocks or things like that. You're aware of those and letting those go. That you're putting your own self-care first as well, and for women especially struggle to, to really leverage, leverage in their business, if that makes sense.

So, so we often run around chasing our tails, trying to do all things and be all things to all people. And it doesn't work.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well. Yeah. And we as women because we're caretakers, that's the world that we

Melinda Wittstock: That's the thing.

Cheryl Hodgson: We're natural caretakers, but we also have societal things.

Melinda Wittstock: Exactly. But to grow and scale a business, you have to be very choosy about how you spend your time.
So with each thing that you choose to do, do the things that only you can do and do the things that, that offer the highest possible leverage. So you do one thing. It's going to have a multiplicity of outcomes. But if you're fixing the links on your website personally, or you're doing your QuickBooks entries, there's somebody else who can do that at much less cost, than the value of your time in your business.
Because if you're spending your time pulling down a strategic deal, that's going to be worth tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars to your business. What's your hourly rate when you're doing that, as opposed to your hourly rate, when you're putting, fixing links on your website?
And so women often make the mistake of hiring too late and hiring is not an expense. It's an investment. Cause it allows you to double down on your own specific unique strengths, right? These are the sorts of things that we talk about in the masterminds, you know, all year and write about really the whole person that you don't have to do it all to have it all.
And what was fascinating last year's retreat is as a result of it with our whole "lift as we climb" credo is that we did something like $500,000 worth of business between us all. Like we all bought each other's things and we all lifted each other up. We got money circulating between us rather than being in scarcity.
And I regard that as a massive, massive accomplishment. And I'm really excited about that. Wings of Success is, a little bit different. It's a membership site and an online learning. It's got a little bit of a mastermind too, where I brought together all the different women who've been in my pod.
Not all of them, but like about 60 women who had been on my podcast. All do individual trainings about all aspects of business, from mindset to mojo, you know, all the marketing and sales and all of that stuff through to money, everything from personal finance to how to raise capital. And that's really pretty cool.
I mean, the number of like amazing trainings in there, these are all women who have seven, eight, nine figure businesses sharing their best stuff. So one of the things on my agenda is to kind of reformat that and move all of that to Podopolo where people will be able to interact with all that content.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well, and you just, you hit something near and dear to my heart because of my own journey in life. You know, we all have our journey and nobody has a perfect life. Right. But, and it's also, I think the challenges of our stories. That we, once we overcome them that's what is that personal growth component.

Melinda Wittstock: Oh my God.
Yeah, it's true. And like the journey of an entrepreneur. I mean, I make it sound pretty rosy for me, you know, when you think of, okay, building all these five businesses to seven and eight figure success. And what people often forget is all the little kind of, you know, it was a roller coaster to get there.
There were moments, there was one moment in particular where I had like $4 in the bank. So, it's not for the faint hearted. I just tend to thrive on this. I just, can't not be an entrepreneur, but, everything comes down kind of to you and the fact that as an entrepreneur, you can't control everything.
So there's a lot of stuff you just as going to happen, like coronavirus, or you know, the big meltdown of two thousand and eight where I lost everything and had to rebuild, from there. I mean, so there's all kinds of swings and roundabouts, and it's really with each pass at that, with each challenge, it's an opportunity to grow as a person and these things help us.
They don't hinder us sometimes when we're in the middle of it, it's hard to see it that way, but the best lessons often come from those kinds of challenging things.

Cheryl Hodgson: What would you say is the greatest challenge you've had to overcome?

Melinda Wittstock: Oh my God, probably my marriage. I mean, I really married the wrong guy.
I'm highly empathetic and I don't know what it is about empaths, but we attract like narcissist men, like. I don't know. And he started out nice, you know, like the proverbial lobster in the cold pan, but then the water gets hotter and hotter. And, you know, he was a serious alcoholic narcissistic and basically gas lit me for years, which I didn't really understand the dynamic and my confidence, like, I mean, really to the point of humiliating me in public at like at home, just constant arguments, making me feel bad.
And I am such a positive person that I just prided myself on my resilience. So look, I can handle this. I can tolerate that. I can do, you know, but over time it really broke me down. And then when I found that he had taken a lot of my money, you know, and a whole bunch of things, right. I mean, I literally found myself in like basically a fetal position. And I look back on it now. I mean, it was terrible. I look back on it now as a tremendous gift because it sent me on a personal growth journey where I could heal the thing inside me that even attracted that into my life, to begin with, you know, where you get out of victimhood and you take responsibility for what's happened to you.
And I mean, it's not that I did anything wrong in that situation at all. It's just that it happened because he was sort of a manifestation of the worst aspects of my parents and it was familiar. It wasn't good, it was familiar. But having come through that and really gone on this real consciousness journey, I'm able to help so many other women.
And there are many who find themselves in that position and it particularly hits very strong, successful women who are empathetic. I don't know what it is, but I found for a while after I was recovering from that and really getting myself back and people who hadn't seen for a long time would say, Hey, Melinda, you're back.
I was like, wait, where did I go? I I've always been here. It was not noticeable to other people. And I, I was clueless, you know?

Cheryl Hodgson: I've been there. It's similar.

Melinda Wittstock: I mean, so many women have, and we don't talk about it enough and it's important. I'm going to helping a wonderful woman right now launch her podcast.
It's called Vulnerable to Valuable Rosie Aiello. And you went through very similar experience. Hers was more dramatic than mine, but I mean, she's helping women get through cause there are different phases of recovery of this, but it's more prevalent than you would think, and really successful women who you would never know.
And I know, like I kept it hidden because I felt all the shame about it. I thought, Oh God, if people know they won't like me basically is the feeling of that. So I, instead of telling people what was going on, I like suffered in silence and I don't think we have to do that anymore. but I'm actually grateful for it now because I can help others.
And I, I'm so excited for Rosie's podcast to launch because in my spare time I help people launch their podcast.

Cheryl Hodgson: I know.

Melinda Wittstock: And you asked me a little while ago about interviewing, and the biggest kind of issues that podcasters have. And I think the main one is that people come to me all the time and their singular focus is what kind of equipment should I have?
And I'm like, Oh my God, that's the least of your worries. And what you really need to be thinking about is who is your ideal audience? What's their three o'clock in the morning moment. You know, dreams, nightmares, like what is the thing that they need solving and who are they? Where are they and how can you make your podcast relevant and speak specifically to them?
The other mistake that they make is not having a monetization strategy, not really understanding where the podcast fits in terms of its ability to sustain them or be part of a growth of a business, or where does it fit strategically? So that they don't pod fade. They have something that actually, is either helping them as a marketing channel to grow a business, or it can be self-sustaining and profitable on its own and spin out related products, or it can come on Podopolo and get some nice ad revenue and that kind of thing, right? But seriously, it's a big problem. And I think it's partly a problem because people don't think about it. They go into it without having that kind of business and marketing a plan around their podcast.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well, there's two things that come up that I don't want to forget before we finish today. One is, and I meant to ask this earlier, Podopolo is an alternative to being heard on Apple iTunes

Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. So that's a great, it's a great question. So we advise all the podcasters in the network to be on as many platforms as possible. As long as you don't give away ownership of your content. So the podcaster has to retain ownership of content and some networks you've got to read the fine print really carefully because you sign away your content.
So you don't want to do that. Cheryl, you know, all about this, you're a lawyer. Okay. So, read the fine print, but beyond as many as possible, because they're basically lead gen and you want to be discovered where Podopolo sits in that ecosystem is we're not trying to be a walled garden or a... we're not trying to win on distribution.
We're trying to win on engagement and monetization. So we want you to be everywhere, but we want you to bring your listeners and your viewers onto the app to engage with you there because that's where you get to know them. We are really unusual in that we share all our audience data. With the podcasters, like, obviously I'd be careful here, their own audience data.
So Cheryl for your podcast, when we get there, you're going to see all the demographics and all the behaviors and all the people and their interests and their hobbies and like all that kind of stuff. Right.

Cheryl Hodgson: Fabulous.

Melinda Wittstock: You're going to be able to use that data to be able to take the two, to match yourself with the right sponsors and because you can prove exactly who's listening, but you won't be able to see anyone else's data. You'll be able to compare your data to the rest of the aggregate data, to see how you're doing relative to other people are like, how long is someone listening relative to the group as a whole, those kinds of things.

Cheryl Hodgson: That's phenomenal,

Melinda Wittstock: But that's massive. And it's driven by a very sophisticated artificial intelligence engine and behind that, and a very sophisticated listener. And viewer curation or a recommendation engine, and it's very powerful technology it's like Apple and Google and Spotify and all Stitcher.
They don't share any of that with you. Why? Because they're keeping the money for themselves. So podcasters have gotten really used to not getting paid for their content. Cause they put their stuff all in these places. All those companies have the data, they just don't share it.
I'm very familiar with that because I've spent over 35 years as a music lawyer.

Cheryl Hodgson: And, that is the biggest challenge. The music industry has faced as things went online 15 years ago, you know, you have still to this day, YouTube and they monetize beyond belief for billions of dollars each year in ad revenues based upon content that's posted for free, but then they're very reluctant to share any data.

Melinda Wittstock: Exactly, exactly. And this is the problem that New York times had when, one day, a few years ago woke up and realized that the Huffington post and like, Gawker and Buzzfeed and all these other publications were profiting from New York times content when New York the times was, was losing money, right?
This has been an issue through all of media, kind of for all of time. And if you own your own audience, you can make money. If you don't, you can't. And so this is why what Podopolo is doing, is so disruptive. Because it's really changing the power relationship. Right. We say to you, so say your podcast is on iTunes and Stitcher and all of that.
You will have a call to action to incentivize people to come download the free Podopolo app, right. Where they can engage with you. They get the benefit of that because there are, you know, they get to know you, they get to know other people who share interests with all the other people who are listening to your podcast and watching it and they get all kinds of, they unlocked benefits, rewards, products, all of it.
It's great for them. It's great for the podcaster, and moreover, it's better for the advertiser too, because, they're not wasting their money. We take the guesswork out of that. So if they come...

Cheryl Hodgson: That's huge because people pay an awful lot of money sometime for some of these ad networks and
Melinda Wittstock: Right.

Cheryl Hodgson: The data is somewhat questionable.

Melinda Wittstock: Well, exactly. So like if all you have to go on is download data, it doesn't really tell you enough. And so most, you know, advertisers require a podcast to have as many as 10,000 downloads per episode. That's 2% of the podcasting world. And if you need 10,000 episodes, it's only because they have no idea who's listening or even if they did listen, how many times have you downloaded a podcast and not listen to it?

Cheryl Hodgson: Quite a few.

Melinda Wittstock: Right! And then moreover, it's not tracking streaming data, so we're tracking the streaming as well as the downloads.

Cheryl Hodgson: That's a very important distinction.

Melinda Wittstock: So because you can stream, right. And then, and also we're tracking how long someone's listening and exactly who is listening. And so that way, if someone comes to us and says, right, we'd really like to reach women in their early thirties who have babies and want clean household products. We can say, right these 37 podcasts, right.

Cheryl Hodgson: That's terrific.

Melinda Wittstock: It's a completely different, just completely different equation.

Cheryl Hodgson: Cool. We covered that topic. So I'm glad.

Melinda Wittstock: It's so top of mind for me, I can't not talk about them.

Cheryl Hodgson: I want you to, and I'm sorry to jump around, but I got to go back because I got to go this to my, where my heart is. And what resonates for me is this personal growth thing we were talking about.
And you were talking about feeling a sense of shame.
You mentioned shame when you felt that. And I, I think it took me years to get over mine. When my partners with my ex-husband is many years ago and I didn't just lose my marriage. When I left, I lost my law practice. I lost everything, you know, and it was a good 10 years before I rebuilt my life.And here I am an attorney.

Melinda Wittstock: And that happens so often Cheryl and same thing with me because by the time I really woke up and understood what was happening to me, my business at the time was failing. I had like no money in the bank. I had two young children to support. I mean, I was a wreck and in my path.
One day I was walking around a Barnes and noble, I don't know if they even exist anyway anymore, but anyway, I was walking around and yeah, and I saw a book that just popped out at me and it was called Gratitude and I just picked it up and I started reading it. It was actually written by the woman who wrote the secret Rhonda Burn and it had this whole really elaborate plan for how you practice gratitude. And seriously, like for two hours every day for about six weeks I did this really elaborate gratitude practice. Like, you know, to the point of she'd make you go through all these different exercises like, write down 10 people. Write an essay for each 10 about what they did for you in your life. Remember old people, people you hadn't thought about for a long time, your kindergarten teacher, I don’t know, whatever, like an everyday.
And it really was a rewiring of the brain exercise, when I look back on it now because within a few days, even despite being broke and having a failed business and marriage. In fact, I felt great because I actually realized that there was so much to be grateful for. And that's really where it began to change and my whole consciousness journey.
And I'd always been a big yoga fan, but I went on, I started yoga in the early nineties. but I really developed and honed that practice a lot more to be a much more of a deep meditation. I spent a lot of time now really doing my business. Really not so much as a, to do list, but really asking for divine inspiration and acting on that through my meditation and things have changed so much.
And I know that, I know that if you hear my dog whining in the background, cause it's like led me outside. I want to go play. So when you I'm sorry about that. That's. That's Augie, the golden retriever puppy who,

Cheryl Hodgson: Oh, where is Augie? We want to say to Augie.

Melinda Wittstock: has strong opinions. I don't know. He's just hanging out and the door looking at me.

Cheryl Hodgson: Want to go back to what you just said and just zero in on this aspect, because you know, I went through my own journey and that's not the purpose of this discussion, but there's an aspect of the journey after you go through in life experience like that, and also dealing with your past stories. Is that what was the missing element for me in my healing journey from some of those kinds of experiences has been, recognizing that I was holding judgments against myself. And, you know, I, I went to a program here called the university of Santa Monica, spiritual psychology about seven years ago.
And it's a two years master's program and it's over 800 hours of like you're in the trenches actually doing the work with your fellow classmates and trios. But it's that suffering we experience is it's an extension of shame, but it's usually, I think that we're holding a judgment against ourself. Like how could I have not

Melinda Wittstock: Oh, absolutely.

Cheryl Hodgson: Seen this happening. So I agree. Yeah. Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock: So angry with myself. I mean, cause it took a while to actually get to a point of forgiveness.
I mean, not just. Forgiveness for him, but like forgiving myself.

Cheryl Hodgson: That's the key. And once you can truly do that, then you can start to let go.

Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, absolutely. I feel truly liberated from it now. So as I talk about it feels like God, who was that woman? I don't even know who she is? I understand that it seems like such a long time ago, even though it wasn't really that long ago, 2013.
So like seven years ago.

Cheryl Hodgson: You've come a long way, baby.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Cheryl Hodgson: Well, listen, I don't want to keep you all day. We could go on because I just know speaking with you, but I do have a couple of final questions. One is, is there anything I haven't asked you that you would love to share?

Melinda Wittstock: Oh, gosh. I don't know. I think we've been pretty comprehensive. I mean, I'm just, you know, like I, in my life, I've just always just sought to, I don't know, I guess avoid boredom, but I just really believe in just, you know, for anybody listening, just dream big. And use this moment of Corona virus that is sparking so much fear and anxiety and uncertainty and people to just look within and get really close to who you are and what you truly want.
Let the slowdown be an opportunity, like find the good, find the gratitude in it because it's really, all of us have a really big choice. I think to make, I think this is the message from the virus. we have a choice of whether or not we're going to fall into old habits and old things and just sit there and like kind of do nothing or be frozen and uncertainty or fear.
Or we can really take our are back and understand, get close to what it is that is really. The reason that you right now are here in an earth suit, we all have a special mission. We all have something that's really important that we need to do. And, and it's an important time. I mean, the virus is all showing us all the things that are wrong with the way our society is currently organized.
I think that's an amazing opportunity for entrepreneurs. We run in search of problems we can fix, and there are plenty of problems to go fix. And I also think that women are uniquely, Augie agrees with me, that women are uniquely placed to leverage. We were talking about our feminine power, that we're unique.

Cheryl Hodgson: You just like mom get off, get off.

Melinda Wittstock: But I also believe that women are uniquely placed at this time. To use our feminine power, our unique ability to collaborate, our empathy, our intuition, to really change the game, change how we operate business, how we treat each other and find different and innovative solutions to a lot of things that plague our education system, our healthcare system, our government, all of it.
I think these are interesting times, but they're also the inspirational, you know, so it's just a matter of making the choice of how you're going to use the time. Are you going to create new habits that are helpful or fall into old ones? And so, and I just, so say a recovering journalist says to everybody, Try and avoid dwelling too much on the news because it will just lower your vibration, make you feel terrible.
And the news will find you if it's something important, you know, you'll hear it.

Cheryl Hodgson: You'll hear about it. Okay. Well, there are other topics we could discuss, but that is such a great conclusion. And so I want to thank you. And last but not least, if our listeners would like to connect with you, is our, do you have something you'd like to share with our audience?

Melinda Wittstock: Well, there's so many different ways that you can come play with me. First of all, download the Podopolo app. It's in the Google and the Apple app stores.
And check that out. You can hit our website at podopolo.com. And then, for me, I'm sort of everywhere on social media. So you can find me on Facebook as Melinda Woodstock or public figure pages. I am Melinda Woodstock, and we also have Podopolo Network and I'm on Twitter as @MelindaWings and @podopolo1.
And you can find me on LinkedIn, Melinda Wittstock and Instagram MelindaWitstock2020, or Podopolo. And also if you're thinking of launching a podcast, I have a group forming right now where we take you through an intensive, you get to work with me, in a small group and you get your podcast launched in 12 weeks.
You can check that out. Just go to Melindawoodstock.com/launch-podcast, Melinda woodstock.com/launch-podcast. If you want to do that. so there's loads of ways. I mean, you can just track me down.

Cheryl Hodgson: I know I found you, so thank you so much, Melinda. It's been wonderful. And I look forward to talking to you soon. Well I hope to have you back again.

Melinda Wittstock: Thank you, Cheryl. Oh, well, I'd love that. That would be great. And you have to come on my podcast too! We'll get that sorted out. We'll geek into all things, branding and law, and business, and all kinds of stuff. We do on Wings of Inspired Business we spend a lot of time at the intersection of personal growth and business growth.
So I always find that really fascinating.

Cheryl Hodgson: And I, so do I, that's where my heart lies, you know? Cause otherwise you can't do business if you don't get the personal growth.

Melinda Wittstock: No. Yeah. If you, if you want therapy, just become an entrepreneur is what I always say.

Cheryl Hodgson: Okay. Well you be well and we'll see you soon!
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