Bringing Podcast Niche Expertise to Create Bingeability, with Annette Hines of the Parenting Impossible — Special Needs Survival Podcast


As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a “bingeable” podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Annette Hines.

Annette Hines has been practicing in the areas of Special Needs, Elder Law and Estate Planning for over twenty years. She brings personal experience with special needs to her law practice, as the mother of two daughters, one of whom passed away from Mitochondrial disease in November 2013. Annette is also the former host of “Legal Line” on BNN-TV, published author, creator and host of the podcast Parenting Impossible, and the founder of Special Needs Companies. 

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Can you tell us the “backstory” about why or how you got started as a podcaster?

Podcasting was a natural progression of two things:

  1. A little about me — I have the neuro challenges of being dyslexic and having ADD, like many high achieving entrepreneurs, so I prefer to reach my audience by talking rather than writing.
  2. More importantly, when I started Special Needs Law Group eight years ago and Special Needs Companies last year, these endeavors began with the idea that all of my family’s life I had been searching for a one-stop-shop for information and a suite of services for special needs families like mine. Many families can’t afford or don’t necessarily need legal services, and if they do, they cannot access legal services from a law group in Massachusetts.

I wanted to find other ways to bring information to families like mine all over the country and even all over the world. Two decades ago, I started booking speaking engagements (I started small of course) and writing articles. This mission didn’t start-up in a big way until after my daughter, Elizabeth passed away and my other daughter, Caroline was older. Then, I wrote the book, “Butterflies and Second Chances” about this new start. I finally created the podcast after that!

My podcast gave me an opportunity to combine my love of talking to people with my goal of making information accessible to families all over the world. It’s the perfect vehicle.

Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?

With technology everything is possible, but then again, everything can go wrong at the same time!

I had an amazing interview with a young author named Ido Kedar and his mother Tracy. He is autistic, and he speaks using augmentative communication that is facilitated by Tracy. I was not familiar with this method, and I had never seen it before. To be able to complete the interview within a certain time, I needed to submit the interview questions to Ido in advance so that they could prepare the interview questions in order on his device. I could not alter the order or ask anything ad hoc.

During the interview, the questions somehow got out of order on the device, and we had quite a bit of trouble. It took my team about two months to edit and release that interview in between other work because Tracy kept talking to me between the questions as we tried to figure out where we were in the order.

It was the most fascinating interview I have done to date and also the most terrifying!

Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

How much time do you have? I have done it all from mispronouncing people’s names, including my own, to cramming preparations for an interview and going blank when sharing people’s credentials! I talk about the lessons I’ve learned in almost every podcast episode and my book: be kind to yourself, and cut yourself a break. Life is full of mistakes, especially as a special needs parent or caregiver. It may seem like there is never enough time to do it all right, but you cannot be perfect, you can only do your best. In this world of social media that we live in, people are constantly posting pictures of their perfectly cooked dinner, the bookshelves that they stained or their perfect vacations. In reality, our lives are messy and bloody, incomplete and imperfect.

And most importantly, I love this messy life!

You have to love yourself through it — that’s the central message of the podcast.

How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?

This is perfect timing because I will celebrate my one-year anniversary this week, and I have 70 episodes.

What are the main takeaways or lessons you want your listeners to walk away with?

  1. Life is messy and imperfect but you have to love yourself through it.
  2. If you have an idea or a creative solution to a problem — go for it! The best programs and products have come from parents and caregivers.
  3. Knowledge is power, and a little goes a long way.
  4. You are the expert in your own family member’s situation.
  5. Build a team around you.

Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast?

Your podcast needs to be focused and on message every week. I love podcasts, and I’ve listened to many that I could not get into because they are too broad and don’t have a focused point. Then, other podcasts have veered off message, and their only goal seems to be finding “big name” guests as you would see on a talk show. A podcast is not a talk show. It is an educational experience for your audience, and there should be a teachable moment in every show.

Remember to stay focused.

I love Gary Vee. He’s my favorite because he is repetitive, but I learn things from him all the time. He continues to keep an educational focus and stays on-message in each episode.

  1. Stay focused and on message
  2. Have a teachable moment each week or each episode
  3. Know and speak to a specific audience and market
  4. Do your homework on your guests
  5. Be prepared and send your guests questions and things to consider in advance


Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine Article about Anette Hines! 

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Podcast Influencer, Annette Hines of the Parenting Impossible — Special Needs Survival Podcast shares the best ways to:

1) Book Great Guests. Booking great guests is not hard if you have a target message and audience or if you are already an expert in your field like I am. When I started the podcast, I had already been in my field for 20 years as a special needs attorney with a national reputation. As I started calling people to ask them to be on the show, it was pretty easy to get guests amongst colleagues. Now, I am expanding beyond my known colleagues and stretching the podcast’s reach.

2) Increase Listeners. Each show is shared by the guest and by my social media fans. After the first year, it is starting to get rolling and is hitting all of the charts now.

3) Produce in a Professional Way. I know that some people handle the production themselves, but I started with a professional producer. I know several people who are putting out great podcasts by producing it themselves, but I knew that I would not have the time to create one to two great episodes per week while also running two successful companies. I’m busy!

4) Encourage Engagement. Social media has been a great way to engage my audience and continue to engage with my guests. I put out blog posts on topics that match my podcasts, and I encourage my guests to be guest bloggers if they would like. I often appear on their podcasts as well.

5) Monetize Your Show. Right now, we are not monetizing our podcast with ads or another platform. The way we monetize our podcast and all of the things we do is through our branding.

What makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or the content itself?   

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine Article about Anette Hines!