“How to Become the Center of Influence Through Spirited Podcasting” with Ashley Leavy of the Crystal Healing Podcast
As part of my series of interviews about “How to Become the Center of Influence Through Podcasting”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Leavy — a best-selling author, internationally-acclaimed speaker, and award-winning instructor on crystal healing. She’s the Founder & Educational Director of the Love & Light School of Crystal Therapy where her mission is to share crystal healing with people all over the world. She loves teaching others about using crystals to make positive changes for themselves, their friends & family, and their clients (whether they’re new to crystal healing or already an established practitioner). She’s proud to offer a broad range of training programs & free resources to support others in creating a life that’s fully aligned with their soul’s purpose.
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Can you tell us the “backstory” about why or how you got started as a podcaster?
Thank you so much, I’m so happy to be here! I got started with podcasting a few years ago when I realized there was a gaping hole in my industry for any really good, content-rich podcasts. My business is all about crystals, spirituality, and all things energy healing- and it was important for me to try to fill in this gap in the spiritual & metaphysical world – for both professional and personal reasons.
I had been toying with the idea for a while, and one day decided to just go for it. My company already has a pretty rich diversity of offerings — from online classes to digital products to physical products, and obviously stuff like free e-books and a video series. But I wanted some type of continually-released content that was up-to-date and able to evolve. A podcast just fit right into that, and I’ve never looked back. Plus, it gave me a chance to give something back to my community and it felt great! I got to create the very thing I had been looking for myself in the podcast arena.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
Oh wow… there have been so many interesting (and sometimes hilarious!) things. Overall though, it’s just been incredibly interesting to connect with audiences around the world that I wouldn’t have connected with in other avenues of my business. Podcasts hold a really unique place in the hearts of their listeners… podcasts are a totally different way that people consume content. People who avidly listen to podcasts might even be a tiny bit more involved in their interests than people who consume videos or articles.
Podcasts are like faithful friends that people can listen to on their commutes or while they’re doing stuff around their homes. It’s just a nice way to tune into a topic of interest. I get emails all the time where people say things like “I feel like we are best friends!” or “You’re always around while I have my morning coffee, I feel so connected to you!”- so honestly, that’s been the most interesting thing. Just knowing that people all over the world are listening to me chat about the things I love while they go about their days, that’s priceless. It is something that really keeps me motivated to keep creating.
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?
Oh… so so many episodes that I recorded and then ended up deleting! It’s painful to think about how much time I spent getting things “just right”. I mean, I teach online classes, so I’m definitely not new to public speaking. But for some reason, having audio-only podcast episodes felt a little bit intimidating to me. Looking back now, I think I was way too focused on perfection. To be honest I think some of my earliest episodes are too perfect if you know what I mean.
Podcasts should of course be well-produced and professional. But as the host, you should also be yourself and let your true personality shine through in your voice. I’ve definitely gotten more into that rhythm. If you tune into my podcast these days you’ll know that you’re getting the real me! But, I definitely deleted many recordings early on because I thought they were too silly or too personal – when maybe I should have just let those fun, light-hearted episodes air. But there’s always a learning curve, right? That said, there will always be blunders. I recently aired an episode where my post-interview conversation with the guest accidentally got left in the episode…oops! Talk about authenticity. This big moment helped me realize that perfection isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
I’ve been podcasting for just over two years now, and am coming up quickly to 100 episodes now!
What are the main takeaways or lessons you want your listeners to walk away with?
I want my listeners to feel confident and well-versed in their interests in crystals and energy healing. That’s why I try to offer episodes on a variety of topics. Some of my episodes are specific to educating listeners on different crystals. Others are interviews between myself and other people in the metaphysical community about a huge variety of topics from crystals to moon phases, divination, wellness… really all types of holistic health and spirituality. I want them to walk away feeling knowledgeable. I also want them to walk away feeling like they’re having a better day than they were before.
When you listen to a really good podcast, it’s like injecting little bits of sunshine into your day. A good, succinct podcast episode really has the ability to brighten up your mood and turn your whole day around. At least that’s what it does for me as a listener.
Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about Ashley Leavy!
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1) Book Great Guests. Booking great guests is a really fun part of the whole process. I’ve had some of the biggest names in our industry onto the podcast, with more on the way. The most important thing about booking great guests is just to be super-personal. Speak to your potential guests like you would speak to a friend that you’d like to meet for a coffee. Gone are the days of reaching out through ultra-scripted templates where you simply insert a new name with each invitation… you have to get up close and personal, while also staying fun and casual.
2) Increase Listeners. There are lots of ways to actively increase listeners. While it may sound old-fashioned, word of mouth is your best friend here. Of course, your listeners may tell their close friends in person about your podcast, but the real magic these days happens when your faithful listeners share your podcast over their own social media accounts. This is how word of mouth referrals happen for podcasters now… and it’s really powerful.
My best advice is to really capitalize on your niche… because then anyone who has an interest in that niche will see that there’s a podcast that people they trust are recommending on a topic they love, and they’ll go to subscribe right away. Don’t be afraid to ask your listeners to share a post or a story about why they love your podcast. You may even want to share a few of these on your show!
Likewise, you can spread the word about your podcast to your existing audience through your email list and social channels. I get new listeners each and every week when I send email updates about my latest blog post and podcast episode.
3) Produce in a Professional Way. I seriously cannot emphasize enough how important it is to produce your podcast in a professional way right from the beginning. Here’s the thing: Some people who come across your podcast will listen to your most recent episode to check it out. But a huge amount of listeners will actually start with your very first episode (even if you already have hundreds of episodes) to get their first taste of the show that way.
I wish this wasn’t how it is. Let’s face it, the first episode is not usually the best example of your work. But this is just what people do. So if you’re 100 episodes in and have all the fancy equipment and are professionally producing your episodes, that’s great. But if your very first episode was produced with terrible audio and you weren’t feeling super confident — this can have quite a negative impact on your show.
It’s vital to start on the right foot and to make that great first impression. There are always those people who will start with your very first episode. So, before you start — the most important thing to invest in is a good quality microphone. No one wants to listen to a podcast with bad audio quality, it’s just a huge, immediate turn off! Also, offer some good, tempting content in your first episode, even if it’s just for an introduction.
With all the people who will listen to your intro episode over the years, it’s bad practice to just drone on about yourself and your life story and what to expect from the podcast (even though lots of people do this!). Give the listeners something juicy & valuable in that very first episode- and then they’ll be excited to come back for more.
4) Encourage Engagement. I think it’s a great practice to encourage engagement on your podcast by offering some type of small incentive… particularly in exchange for reviews. For example, on my podcast I offer a free mini-class to anyone who leaves me a review on iTunes and then emails a screenshot of the review to my team. You will always get really lovely listeners who want to spread the good news without any prompting… but a free class or other offering is just a great way to sweeten the deal. Good reviews are absolutely vital to having a successful podcast, so why not encourage engagement in this way?
5) Monetize. Although there are tons of ways to casually monetize your podcast, I personally have chosen not to practice any of these – which I know is a little bit controversial. I guess for podcasters who make this their business or side hustle, it’s more important to monetize their podcasts on Patreon and things like that just to have the funds to produce their shows. But if your podcast is an extension of your existing business – I think it’s better to use your podcast as a tool for monetizing your other offerings rather than vice versa. For example, there’s no way for my listeners to directly support my podcast financially. But I often drop news into my show about things that are happening at my online school, new products or classes, etc. to tempt listeners into checking out those offerings, and then hopefully purchasing and becoming lifelong customers.
The customer journey that way is more important to me than making money through my podcast. I’d rather back my own show financially and then channel my listeners into the offerings of my business that have even more value to them. I want to provide enough good content in my podcast that listeners want to learn more from me, so they then sign up for a class or program at my school where they’ll learn even more and get to be a part of our crystal community there. The level of value added in that way never really ends, versus if someone simply supported me on Patreon or elsewhere and then the value stopped there.
But for those that want to monetize their actual podcasts, Patreon, affiliate deals, or paid advertising seem to be quite successful.
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 Ashley Leavy!