A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by a website which publishes stories about podcasters. Timber Media mostly focuses on how popular podcasts grew their audiences, and it got me thinking about the early days of Running For Real, and beyond that, my days at RunnersConnect.
As much as I would love to say to podcasters coming into the space that it is easy, and there are five quick tips to grow your show to the level you want it to, it just isn’t that simple, and being a podcaster requires a lot of patience.
I thought when I left RunnersConnect, 100% of my audience….okay, like 95% of my audience would follow me to my new podcast. WRONG. I was starting from scratch, even though I had already made a “name” for myself as a podcaster.
When it comes down to it, I believe successful podcasting comes down to trust. And it is the same with all social media, maybe even all business in general.
Listeners, fans, customers, whatever group you are trying to reach has to believe in YOU. If it is a brand, they have to believe in the story behind the brand, the people behind the brand. And if it is a person, well, we better be seeing the real person behind it. Not just in terms of look at how cool my life is, but also getting to see what that person is like under the surface. I truly believe a lot of that comes down to being vulnerable and honest about things that are hard.
We all like to feel like we can relate to someone. That helps build a strong relationship.
When it comes to monetizing my podcast and my brand, after all, it is my livelihood here, I have been very very selective. As I have mentioned before, I say no to most brands that come my way, because I do not want to do anything to damage the trust my audience has in me, that I will tell the truth and stick to my morals.
I am not going to be sponsored by a CBD product, no matter how many reach out, because I just do not feel comfortable with it, and I do not believe in it.
So you know, the brands I do say yes to, I feel very strongly about, confident that I can attach my reputation to theirs.
None of these partnerships I have been more proud of than my relationship with Tracksmith. I wrote about our “love story” of how we came to be partners here (along with showing you my favorite items), but since I have signed on with Tracksmith, they have only continued to impress me.
At a time when many brands are cutting corners, cutting budgets, and even cutting people to survive, Tracksmith is thriving, and it is easy to see why. THEY CARE. SO MUCH. Tracksmith puts the customer first.
Not just with their products, which are so well thought out. Every little thing a runner could need in that item, taken care of.
Not just because they think about what they want to be. That they want to create products that do not look like typical running clothes, luminous and well, that usual running material that can only be for exercise. Instead using materials like Veloce Blend: an Italian four-way stretch knit with an extremely soft and silky feel that fits the body like a second skin and follows your every move or Bravio Blend: a unique Italian-made micro-mesh that’s silky soft, moisture-wicking and incredibly cool against your skin. I am comfortable wearing their clothes all day every day for a reason. I don’t feel embarrassed to be out and about in my Tracksmith clothes, they look good and feel good.
And then there is beyond the products itself. The initiatives Tracksmith is investing in:
Tracksmith Fellowship Program
The Tracksmith Fellowship is designed to support runners with creative ambitions. This year, we’ll fund projects from 3-5 creators. Whether film or photography, poetry or fiction, podcasts, music, painting or sculpture, we invite runners to submit concepts for a year-long creative grant. These ideas should be grounded in the runner’s experience, with the aim of inspiring and igniting action within the larger running community.
That, is unheard of from a running brand, and something I just think says so much about the brand. They want to help people who have a passion, have a talent, but lack the opportunity to give it the time, energy, and dedication it requires.
In the same vein, Tracksmith is supporting amateur runners on this same journey, through their Amateur Support Program.
Amateur Support Program
This program is a platform to support up-and-coming athletes as they prepare for Eugene and the 2021 season. Accepted athletes will receive a $250 gear stipend per quarter, Hare A.C. Membership, mentorship, competition support and more. Members will have access to mentorship from Nick Willis, their Athlete Experience Manager, another impressive bonus for these athletes who have not quite made it to the level where they can reach full sponsorship, but have potential to. Giving them the opportunity is one way to really rev up the motivation level another notch.
And then there are the ways Tracksmith is standing up for things they believe in, that I believe in.
I have made it pretty clear that doing my part to dismantle systemic racism is important. That speaking up about things I am passionate about educating the rest of my community, like the climate emergency, Tracksmith fully supports me, and encourages me to continue to be myself.
You don’t come across that every day. Most brands are doing the bare minimum to check boxes and keep their customer base purchasing their products. Tracksmith is genuine, thoughtful, and real in their approach to make the running world, the best place it can be.
Finally, Tracksmith gave me the opportunity to take a few months off to be with my family after the birth of my daughter. As you can imagine, being self employed, owning a small business during a pandemic did not exactly lend itself well to thriving. Tracksmith allowed me to have that precious time without fear for my families wellbeing by supporting me.
Podcasts, thoughtful social media posts, blog posts, products and services to help runners all take time, energy, and money to create, and their sponsorship gave me the means to spend the time on those things. Hopefully making the running community a healthier, happier, and more confident group.
If you have not already checked out Tracksmith, you can get $15 off your first order over $75 by clicking here and using code ForReal15, and if you are unsure where to start, here are my personal favorite items.