People react differently to the challenges life throws at them and for Kala MacDonald, dealing with losing both her younger brothers was heartbreaking, to say the least, but it inspired her to start a nonprofit podcast, Yoga To Cope. She joins Tracy Hazzard to share her story and how yoga helped her deal with her own traumatic experience, which is the inspiration to open Yoga To Cope, a non-profit organization that provides an array of yoga-based resources to help people cope with trauma, grief, depression and the like. She wants to help other people get through their own obstacles through the practice of yoga. Kala also shares how she’s juggling growing the organization, working on the weekly podcasts and privately teaching her clients.
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Make Ripples Of Impact With A Heartfelt Nonprofit Podcast Like Kala MacDonald, Founder Of Yoga To Cope
I’ve got a yoga podcast show for you. Maybe those two things don’t seem like they go hand in hand. Yoga seems like it might be something you might want to do only as a video. You might want to do Instagram TV, a YouTube show, a TikTok if you are doing things about yoga. This topic lends itself well to podcasting. I have Kala MacDonald. Her show is called Yoga To Cope. That’s also the name of her nonprofit.
Kala lost both of her younger brothers, Jordan to homicide in 2013 and Brenton to suicide in 2016. They were 21 and 22. During her times of grief, she dove deeply into a yoga practice that carried her through these unimaginable losses. Vowing to become a teacher so she could share the myriad benefits of foundational purposeful yoga practice. She studied in Bali to learn her 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher status from Zuna Yoga. She specializes in foundational Tantric Hatha Yoga particularly to combat depression, anxiety and stress. Now you see the tie-in to why it’s perfect for podcasting.
In 2020, Kala authored her first book, Grow, Eat, Breathe, Repeat. When Kala isn’t working to grow Yoga to Cope or hosting the organization’s weekly podcast, you can find her teaching privately to her wonderful clients. She’s hosting women’s wellness retreats around the world or cozy at home in LA with her husband and their dog Larry. Kala has taken on a lot. She’s getting her Master’s degree. She’s got a lot going on. She’s built a great show and a show that uniquely focused on coming out of pain.
When we are in people’s ears with our show, we have a great opportunity to influence, help and create a broader reach for not just the people that are following our show but the people beyond that they touched, they become because of following our show. That’s something special. I am excited to have Kala MacDonald on the show and have her talk about the genesis of Yoga to Cope and some of the brilliant things she has been doing with growing the show. It is a fabulous show that you are going to want to check out, both the style of how she does her interviews and these interesting little mini-episodes that she does that you are going to want to model.
Kala, welcome to the show. I’m excited to talk about Yoga To Cope. It’s important what you are doing. I would love for you to tell me why this is important to you and why you had to start the show?
First of all, thank you for having me and taking the time. It’s a long story. I’m not good at summarizing and the people who follow my show know that. It’s what makes podcasting something I enjoy because I can talk. As concisely as I can put it, Yoga to Cope is a nonprofit that I founded at the end of 2018. It came because I lost both of my younger brothers. My brother Jordan to homicide and then my brother Brenton to suicide, almost three years to the day apart. Those are both sudden and traumatic ways to lose a person.
At the time, I’m in the early to mid-twenties. I’m getting out of college and into work. I don’t have health insurance. I can’t afford therapy. I don’t want to be on medication. I was already going to yoga classes. Without doing anything different, going to different teachers, different studios, all of a sudden, yoga turned into this different experience that was profound and healing to me in a way that I didn’t even fully understand. I noticed myself coping somehow differently than the people around me who had also experienced a loss.
I came around to my first yoga teacher training. At some point, I decided, “This is important. I feel strongly that maybe my life is guiding me in this yogic direction.” I did my first teacher training and I’ve got to peek behind the curtain a little bit and was like, “That’s why it works.” All of a sudden, I had not just experiences but tools that I could share. If I had to boil it down to one word and sum up that whole story, Yoga to Cope came down to accessibility. I don’t think that yoga is the most accessible thing in the world and yet, it’s important and powerful that I feel it should be more accessible. Yoga to Cope’s mission is to offer free yoga-based resources to people coping with trauma, grief, depression and the like. Toward the beginning, we quickly started a podcast as an extension of the organization to keep the education going, hear some different voices and not just mine. It’s grown from there.
It’s such a powerful and fantastic story in terms of the growth that you took over that time. You do tell it on the show. If anyone wants the longer version, she tells it as one of her episodes, which I’m so glad you did. It wasn’t your first episode. It’s your 2nd or 3rd. I was looking for it because I read your bio and I said, “Now I have to find the story in here. It’s in here somewhere.” It’s important that when we have a powerful story behind our show and the mission that is building our show, we have to tell that. We don’t dive into this idea that we are a host and that has this separation. It is personal for everyone. I’m glad that you bring that forth in every episode you do, especially telling your story.
It’s hard, too. It’s like this roller coaster. It’s a wave that I ride. It isn’t only my story to tell. I’m telling my perspective of these losses and then what’s happened since. There’s guilt that comes up and there’s an awkwardness that I feel sometimes. It’s like, “Should I have shared that? Is it too much detail? Am I too much? Is my story too much?” It’s like clockwork. We will get a DM, @YogaToCope Instagram of someone random reaching out and being like, “I listened to this episode from 1.5 years ago and it changed my whole day. I learned something. Thank you for what you do.” It’s not for everybody but it’s for someone.
It had a purpose and it’s out there. You have tipped over 100 episodes. You have hit that point, which you should be being reached out to regularly. I’m glad to know that you are. Did it surprise you that you would get messages back on those early episodes? You did them and they were therapeutic in their own way. You were done with them and moved on but they are catching up with you.
It’s strange in the best way that it could be. Something that I have always said is it’s in part for me. I interview the guests and do the mini-episodes that I do for myself because I’m interested in these things, too. I also hope that it translates and meets someone else wherever they are at, which isn’t always at the time that I put it out. It’s heartwarming if I reach one person, especially on this suicide trend because we do talk about that quite a bit and self-worth. If we bring one person away from a decision they are about to make, that’s worth it. We hope we reach more than one person. Life is life and we are trying to constantly celebrate it and remind people that they are worthy and they are these beautiful and magical creatures that we forget that we are in the density and the speed of life. Yoga gives us all these tools to dive into that.
Sometimes when we do this show, we do our programs and we have these other things and we don’t count because it’s not as clear cut. It’s not a download, a play, listener or subscriber. There are ripples. Who knows that person that changed their decision who you helped, who knows how many more people they reach and how many more ripples you have created from that? That’s something powerful. We have to keep remembering that we do this show in isolation but the ripples are going out there. We put it out there for a reason, just because we can’t see the results, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening out there. Our measurements have to be a little bit different.We are all traumatized, if not a lot traumatized and that’s just a part of life, especially in this time. Click To Tweet
In isolation, even more in 2020, I record this podcast, edit, get the guests and it all happens right here. You hit upload and all I have done is hit a button and I’m like, “I have no clue who’s digesting that thing that I put into the world. Who’s going to hear it?”
We don’t know who our subscribers are.
We know for every one person who reaches out, 300 don’t. You can see the numbers. I don’t know what that means. I’m the talker and I don’t know anything about the behind-the-scenes.
Kala has some great numbers for a show that’s in a niche. Not only is she a yoga show but she’s a yoga show that’s dealing with more emotional issues at the same time. She’s got both going on. That could be seen as tightly niched. At the same time, she’s got some great average numbers going on. What we don’t always realize is the resonant volume of what we are doing. Over time, it’s compounding in having those ripples. You are on your path, Kala. I can tell it from having reviewed hundreds and hundreds of shows, probably upwards of 1,000.
You’ve got a great show going. You are on a great path. You have hit over 100 episodes. There are some successful things that you have done. What I would love to do is do our five things and get everyone to learn about those things. We can then talk a little bit deeper about the way you structure your show because I would love for people to learn about the difference between your mini-episodes and some of the other things that you do. How do you get great guests? How do you find those guests that can tell such great stories?
It’s a lot of “cold calling.” I don’t use my phone to talk on the phone ever. That’s not literal but it’s a lot of DM-ing, emailing people and hoping that they see it. I always go in with this as an invitation and not an expectation. Sometimes they write back and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they write back and say no. Occasionally, we get someone. As far as choosing people, it’s always this ripple effect in a different sense. I start following this person and they mentioned this person. I click on them and I’m like, “I love what you do.” They are then advertising this book. I read the book, I love it, I reach out to the author and probably the two people that I touched on to get to that author.
One of the three comes on the show and they can all speak to something similar because they are in a little echo chamber there. I then step out of that one and find another one. It’s a lot of reaching out, trying to give an elevator pitch of what I do and what I would love for them to come on and speak about while being specific so they know what they are saying yes or no to, then waiting and hoping. In our first year of the show, I had a guest on every week. We have now switched to a guest every month, which has been a lot more manageable for me. I’m a yoga coach in a one-woman show but the podcast is, that has been a lot better for me to handle.
It serves you well because your mini-episodes are great so you get more of those then. The next thing we want to do besides getting great guests is to increase our readers. How do you do that?
I’m still learning. I don’t feel like I have all the answers to any of these questions.
This is the question that everybody says at the beginning. You are not alone.
It’s trying to use social media as the tool that it is and not taking it too seriously. I want the show to be taken as seriously as it can be. Also, there are some lightness, playfulness and some fun. Yoga to Cope being the nonprofit and us being as new as we are relatively speaking. We are not making money off of the show yet. I don’t feel like my success or failure with the organization depends on how many followers we get yet. I do feel a sense of freedom. I want people to read but I’m not attached to that number.
However, we have a few volunteers who are much better versed in social media than I am who do a lot of sharing and tagging. It’s not just the story but the story and the feed post. We have been trying to get guests who are open to also share it on their end. You are hitting two audiences who both are probably interested in the content. Someone we talked to is Keltie Knight. She’s this Entertainment Tonight correspondent, TV personality and lady boss entrepreneur with upwards of 100,000 followers and she shared on her page. That’s great exposure for us and that is also relevant exposure. We are trying to not get too out of our lane so that we stay consistent.
Authentic, in a way. This is the benefit of having an organization or a business that can help you with the posting as well because they are sharing your show and it doesn’t feel like you are constantly promoting to your friends and family. They are sharing it out to the organization, members and the people that are truly interested in the topic overall. That helps.
My ego-self, I want growth but I want it to be authentic. If that means it’s a little slower, I’m cool with that.
You want it to be the right people who can benefit the most. You are a one-woman show here on the podcast. You are producing it like a pro. You are doing a great job on your own. I feel for you. This is why I have an entire production company because I didn’t want to do that. What do you think that you do that makes it the most professional? What do you spend the most time and energy on?
I appreciate it at the beginning of this if I may peel back this curtain a little bit where you were like, “If you want to say anything a different way, I didn’t like the way that came out.” You edit it and it’s okay for me to self-edit. I offer the same thing to my guests before I hit record so that they feel comfortable speaking and knowing that I’m not going to put anything they don’t want out there. I don’t tend to have a lot of people take me up on that. I don’t do a lot of editing of the actual conversation. It’s from start to finish.
I used to take out all the umms and all the pauses. Now I’m like, “Leave them in. My time is worth more than these umms.” For me, what makes it feel more professional and more like, “I deserve to be on my Apple Podcast list alongside all the other shows I listen to,” is I spend a little time putting together cover art. When I scroll through my podcast, I don’t stop and see mine. It doesn’t stand out. It looks like it belongs there and it’s a photo that someone took of me rolling out a yoga mat and our logo laid over the top of it. It’s simple but just makes it feel packaged. I spent $5 on a royalty-free site for a little jingle. There’s nothing to it. It’s basic and simple. Now I have transition music and intro music. It was easy to figure out. I use GarageBand on my computer. The only thing I have spent money on is a mixer. I have the Road mixing board.
For those of you who don’t know what that is, she’s got a mixing board. It helps her level the sound before she asks to edit it. We edit all of our show’s episodes. We edit over 1,000 a month. When we look at what’s going on there, we say, “The bad audio in makes a whole lot more work afterward.” If you get better audio in, you are saving yourself a lot of time and energy. It’s a worthwhile investment.We are these beautiful, magical creatures that sometimes we forget that we are in the density and speed of life. Click To Tweet
I don’t know if all podcasts would qualify. As a nonprofit, we’ve got some amazing Shure microphones donated. We have good mics. The mixing board was $700 or $800 but it’s well worth it because when I have a guest in person, which hasn’t happened in a while because of COVID, I can record our audio separately and mix it before we start. It’s easy. The last thing I could say about the whole package is it was all me. I have outsourced to some of our volunteers to do the little blurbs about our book club, our Facebook Group and things we have coming up. You hear different voices. It’s almost like what feels like ads at the beginning of the show but they are all for you and for all the things that we have going on. You get to hear from people who it’s not just my voice anymore. For me, the most exciting part of this whole organization growing is having a team.
It makes it feel more professional. It does sound professional. You want to listen to those promo spots. They are nice and short. They are heartfelt. You can feel the energy of the people who love Yoga to Cope in the promos. That’s important. When you are building a community as heart-centered and valuable as the community that you are building because it’s centered around an organization with such a good and important mission, we don’t want to have promos in there that feel salesy. It wouldn’t fit.
The only ad that we have ever done for a small donation to our organization was with a life insurance policy. It started because we did a life insurance episode. It sounds boring in theory. In the context of losing two of my younger brothers when they were 21 and 22 and none of them had life insurance policies, it makes a lot of sense. It’s an important personal topic to discuss. It was authentic and it made sense. I loved that. We are hoping to do some in the future. Authenticity always and I’m going to let that build naturally and not forcing it.
Encouraging engagement, that’s the fourth thing that we usually talk about. You have been posting out more social media posts about the episodes and information How are you encouraging engagement from the community? Are you getting them to ask you questions, suggest topics?
Yes. I love the feature on Instagram where you can put the little question box and people can type whatever they want. We will ask, “What do you want to hear many episodes about this month? Give us some topic ideas. What have we talked about before that needs a little more, a follow-up episode or a part two? What guests do you want me to speak to?” That’s always nice when I’m like, “I don’t have any roads to go down. I’m busy. Give me an idea. Who do you want to hear from?” More often than not, we get an idea that plays out and we have them on.
We do a lot of follow-up on the episode posts and then we are like, “Have you read it yet?” It’s a little poll of like, “Yes. It’s in my queue. Not yet but I’m reading tonight.” It’s cool that we don’t have to give them the option to say, “No. I’m not listening.” It’s cool to see people be like, “I haven’t read it yet but thanks for the reminder. I’m going to read now.” We will get the screenshot of the thing people post, “This episode was great. I loved it. Go follow this show.” I love it when people have the swipe-up feature because we don’t yet. Can we please all as businesses and organizations have the swipe-up option? Would it be helpful? If anyone wants to go follow us, we are looking for that 10,000 so we can swipe up.
We are all actively seeking that. That is frustrating where you are like, “I want that feature because I could be using it right now.” We are testing out something that we have tried. You mentioned asking about who you would like to have featured as a guest and the poll idea. My social media team gave me a full recap of what we did in 2020, some strategies and tactics they like to try. I like to let my team experiment. One of the things they said was that, “The open-ended questions didn’t do as well as our polls did.” It occurred to me as you were saying that some of those guests who haven’t maybe answered you yet could end up in your poll. There’s an ego boost if they get upvoted. They are going to want to come on the show if you can tag them. You could push them into getting on your show. That might be a great strategy.
That’s a good idea, build a little pressure. We have a book club and it’s great because there’s a Facebook community. We do weekly discussions and then a digest. We did a live event with the book Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss. It’s the tiniest, skinniest little book ever. It’s 80-something pages. It was such a quick read but we still took the whole month to digest it because it’s so much amazing information. At the live event, we’ve got the author to come because one of our social media wizards tagged his son. The author isn’t on social media. His son got in touch, made a donation to the organization and got his dad to come to speak at the event. He stayed an hour, overtime being with us and answering people’s questions. It was amazing.
Monetization is our next thing. Your book club doesn’t make you money. Where are you able to send people from the podcast into your organization that helps with donations and funding?
A podcast ad is a place I want to explore but we are not there yet. We are not making any money directly from the book club. We haven’t partnered with an audiobook company or anything like that. The bulk of our money that we get coming in is all in the form of donations. Everything is relative, small “donation” less than $50. It’s from two streams. We encourage people who are in our community to go into AmazonSmile settings and you can choose a charity. It doesn’t have to be Yoga to Cope but would love for it to be. You can choose a charity. Every time you shop on Amazon, which we all do, it doesn’t cost you any extra. Amazon gives 5% of your purchase to your chosen organization. That adds up over time.
I use AmazonSmile all the time in my app. I only used to use it on the computer when I was doing it because it was harder to use. I didn’t realize how simple they had made it. It tallies up and says, “You donated this much this month. This sale made this much for your charity.” It’s awesome. It has this positive reinforcement. I’m consuming things but I’m also giving back.
For any connotation that might be leaning negative that we feel about Amazon, this is the silver lining. I don’t feel as guilty when I know some of that purchase is going to my organization. That’s not to me but our collective efforts. AmazonSmile adds up and that’s good for us. The other avenue is we have a donate button on our Instagram and our website. People go in and set up either a one-time or a monthly donation. Those monthly ones, especially, are helpful. They are “small amounts.”
If a few people add a monthly donation to us like they would pay for a Netflix subscription, that all adds up. That all helps us keep the lights on and expand into new ventures. We are getting into video content. It all takes money and effort. We have done an in-person training. We want to do more that involves travel, lodging and the cost of putting on an event. It all adds up. I’m both proud to say we are all community-sourced in those ways and also wish that our community could let go and we could be funded by some amazing grant or something. One day, maybe.
We will put it out there. You never know. Krista Karpowich from the show Wag Out Loud podcast came to one of our Clubhouses to talk further about sponsorship. I had suggested that she should try to be the core podcaster or a podcaster at an event. I’ve got a phone call asking if I had any pet podcasters for a podcasting event. You never know. We say it right here, it may manifest. We will seek more sponsorship from a higher source. You were talking a little bit about the video. I would love to talk about mini-episodes and your video. What are the new strategies of things that you are putting in place? You have had these minisodes for quite some time but you have expanded them and been doing more of them.
Mini-episodes used to be the seat filler when we couldn’t get a guest or someone canceled last minute. It’s like, “I have all the equipment. I could go on and talk.” Yoga to Cope is an educational organization. Our goal is education. That’s something I’m passionate about too on the for-profit side of my work and what I do. I wanted the guest and it’s a bummer when someone cancels, day out or they were sick or their kid is home.
I would get excited, like, “I have a free 30 minutes. I can talk about whatever I want and teach on a topic or subjects about yoga, mental health or grief that I want to talk about right now.” It’s fed my ego a little bit but also, they were always well received. I’ve started a Master’s degree program in Yoga Studies in 2020 which has severely cut down on my free time. We flipped it. Now we do a guest on our last Monday of every month and mini-episodes all of the other Monday of the month. It’s been nice because some of them will match up with the video content we have coming out.
For example, we talked about meditation seats on an episode, “Why is it important?” Maybe you have tried meditating and you are like, “I’m not good at this. It’s not for me. My foot asleep.” Maybe the one puzzle piece that you are missing, and then you could take off in your meditation journey is that your meditation seat, you are trying to sit on the ground cross-legged and that doesn’t work for your body. Here’s that package into a mini-episode. Here’s a video that goes with it of me showing you different props, using different furniture and seat types. Some of your legs are cross, are not, sitting or lying. To give people a visual side of all of this. Hopefully, that expands more. We are going with the flow as it happens. That’s where we are at. I selfishly love the mini-episodes.
This is what I like about what you are doing there. It’s a great strategy. When you are giving somebody not the same thing on YouTube or your video channel that you are giving them on your podcast, you are giving them something special and different. We used to have a 3D print show. We would do these videos that were like, “You want to see this piece being printed. We will share that with you. You can go see it.” We couldn’t say it on air. This wasn’t something you could talk through. It’s like, “You want to go see it. Here it is.” We used to have these bonuses that were the videos and we could drive more people to our website to see those videos embedded right there in the blog post. If we had given the same talk, save that video to an audio file, it’s not quite the same. They are listening to it and they don’t feel that compelling need that they are missing out on something visual.If we want things to take off in this way, we just have to put some energy there. Click To Tweet
I speak about meditation seats, meditation in general, the benefits, the common shortfalls and then it’s like, “Go watch this video and I will show you what I’m talking about.” The only other thing I could add to that is something we haven’t advertised yet. “Here’s a scoop for you.” We have started recording Zoom video interviews that we have done and put those up so people can watch our interview if they would rather and then listen to it. We haven’t advertised them yet but the content exists.
It’s coming out there. I love multimedia. That’s why we love video to audio, to blog, to social share. You get it all in and you are touching on everyone. I have been a podcaster for five years before my mom listened to our first episode and it was because it was on YouTube. It was an episode with no video. It was an audiogram but that was how she heard her first episode. She didn’t feel comfortable with the app but fine with YouTube. You never know where your listeners are going to be. Your goal is to reach as many of them as possible.
You are getting done with your Master’s program. Congratulations on taking that on. When I heard that on your episode, I can’t believe that you stayed consistent keeping your episodes going even when you couldn’t get the guest, you did your mini-episodes. You kept it going, which is such a credit to you. If you didn’t show up as a Yoga teacher week after week, your students would get upset and they would be leaving you. Your organization requires you to show up, especially people who need and require you to show up. You have managed to do that amid an extremely busy life. Great job on that. Now that things might start freeing up a little bit, what’s next for the organization and the podcast?
I’m still learning how much it depends on this but it all depends on financing. However, I am consistently in awe of how much we can do with exactly what we have. In an ideal world, we did our first in-person training. It was a weekend-long continuing education course with another organization we partnered with. It was about yoga and trauma. It was this weekend-long conversation about the two things How do they cross paths? What do we do in class? How can we be better yoga professionals with trauma in mind? We are all a little traumatized, if not a lot traumatized. That’s a part of life, especially at this time. I would love to do more of that. This could be said about anything and not just podcasting and nonprofits.
I’m looking for human connection to grow as the world seems to feel like it’s opening up a little bit. We loved the experience of that in-person training. We’re looking forward to doing more of those workshops and courses and taking them out into the world and getting to shake hands and hug people. Video content is at the top of our list in terms of expanding there and continuing the podcast. This is me dreaming a little bit but I would love to do some live podcast, a little tour with the workshop built-in somehow, see an audience and have a guest come on and speak live. I see that with a lot of the podcasts I love, which are understandably bigger and well-funded. They are businesses and they are not nonprofit. It’s different.
I see it and I can picture it. If I can imagine it, it’s possible. I am the dreamer who reaches for the highest star in the sky and figures, “I will land somewhere beautiful if not there.” I do retreats in my for-profit. I would love to do Yoga to Cope retreats focused on different mental health things like PTSD and bring in experts around that. Also, have a population of people who applied because they are experiencing anxiety, depression, loss of a child. I want to meet people where they are at. I would love to do that continually on social media and the podcast but I would love to get in person, too.
You being on my show and being on other shows, how does that fit into your strategy? Are you using that enough? Are you getting on the right shows?
We are trying, for sure. The person who set this up between the two of us is a radio person. She knows the ins and the outs of the audio show world. I have tasked her with focusing on that and running with her strengths. Between her and I, we are putting our name out there, my story, our show, our organization and see who bites. One of the mantras of my yoga teacher training program that we heard over and over, “Where the mind goes, energy flows. Where the mind goes, energy follows.” You can’t get that bug out of your ear once you hear it every day for three weeks.
As soon as I joined forces with her, we were like, “This is our task. We are going to put some energy into this.” All of a sudden, here I am. There will be a next one and a next one. Before, it wasn’t a focus and so it wasn’t happening. It’s cool to think like, “If I want this to take off in these ways, I have to put some energy there.” I haven’t had a lot of it because of the schooling, which came honestly at the perfect time. I wouldn’t have had time to do it before the pandemic. I feel excited about having a little time again. I’m not done with the program yet. I do have one more semester and a thesis. I don’t know anything about that, except that it’s intense and a longer presentation than I have given so far. I’m glad because I will come to it when I get to it.
This podcasting is probably a perfect training ground for that. You can take anything that’s thrown at you. You modeled Yoga to Cope after some shows that you like and I would love for you to tell us what are some podcast shows. Often, I get hosts who aren’t true followers. They aren’t podcast followers from the beginning but it sounds like you are. What are some shows that you admire?
I can tell you that some of the podcasts that I listen to regularly are escapes for me. I also love an audiobook. I’m taking in audio content between podcasts and audiobooks. I like Keltie, one of our guests. She is one of the hosts of The Lady Gang podcast. It’s like pop culture, women and friendship but it goes a lot deeper than you might think in hearing a blurb about them. They have built a whole business. They have written a book, also something I love to do. They have a clothing line, done live shows, tours and have all these great sponsorship and partnerships that do feel authentic to this brand of a female power trio. If I could narrow it down to one show that I admire and would freak out to ever be invited on or vice versa, it’s Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert.
Who doesn’t love that show?
I’m sure that’s not surprising to know. What I liked about his show is he’s unapologetic about the long format. There are no games. The Lady Gang, for example, does Good week/Bad week. They have the guest and then they do questions from people. Dax talks. He and Monica have a long conversation with the guests. They dive into whatever they want. I know that their structured but it listens as unstructured and productive. They do the fact check at the end. I feel like listening to his show and loving it so much and seeing how popular it was, gave me the confidence to not feel like I had to come up with a gimmick that I didn’t feel I wanted to do and I could talk. I know that that’s probably the most common.
It’s not as common as you think. The majority of podcast hosts are not followers, which is interesting. I can tell the difference in the production of a show that they are a follower, to begin with, because they make some different choices about how they structure their show. A show that has a hostess has a long intro. You don’t. You have a nice concise intro with music that sets the tone. You get it. You want to get to the stuff.
I use the mini-episodes to do any personal catching up and still try to get to the topic. The general episode with a guest is our royalty-free music intro or blurbs from our Yoga to Cope people about our book club and what we have coming up. It’s a 3 to 5-minute intro about the guests and then right into the conversation. I close with our socials and that’s it.
Your structure is super simple. That flow shows that that’s the kind of listener you are and listeners that you want to attract, which makes a lot of sense. These are people in need or looking for you to provide them guidance, direction, ideas, help. You’ve got that understanding there. I’m impressed by your show. I’m impressed by all you created for yourself and the organization, Yoga to Cope. This is a fantastic organization. You are doing a great job on the website. All the pieces seem to be coming together for you. I see big things for Yoga to Cope in the future.
Thank you for saying that. I hope so. If I’m being totally honest, I have had my moments since 2018, especially with it being personal where I’m like, “What am I doing? Why am I putting myself through this?” They come, they go and I know that they do. It’s interesting to step back. If you don’t feel like you have done enough, and then you step back, you are like, “I have a podcast with cover art, listeners, people coming on who are on TV and authors.” You have to give yourself perspective and sometimes if that’s hard, surround yourself with people who can and remember how far you have come. There are ways to go. Remembering that keeps me in check sometimes. I’m excited about what could come because I know there are so much I can envision.
I saved this for the end here, which normally, I would have done before now. I’m going to give you your psychoanalysis of the show. I’m going to give you your binge factor. You know that you have reads who read all stages of that and probably read all your episodes. You understand the concept of a binge listener and you know you have some. Do you have any concept as to what you think your bingeable feature is?Yoga can turn into a different experience that is profound and healing in a way that we couldn’t fully understand. Click To Tweet
I negated what I’m about to say but I am peppered into all of the shows and the mini-episodes with the guests and without. What I like about the podcasts I listen to is I get to catch up with these friends. Have you seen the meme where it’s like, “Is it a friend or a podcast friend?” I have never met Dax and Monica but I feel like we know each other. If I ever saw them at a party, they would be like, “I don’t even know your name. Get away from me.”
You hear a story like mine and I even forget sometimes how unbelievable it is. To lose a sibling is something hard and horrible enough. To lose two, it’s like, “That doesn’t happen.” If I went through something and continue to go through it, my grief doesn’t end and I don’t know that it ever will. People get to be on that journey with me and hop on hop off whenever they need to depend on where they are in their grief of whatever they might be going through in life. Whether that’s the loss of a loved one, a relationship ending, job going away, friendship crumbling, pet dying or whatever it may be, the show is there. I’m there to be in it with them. The cool thing about podcasting is there is this list of episodes you can go back in time and be at a different place with me that I’m not at anymore but I can still meet you where you are at.
That’s your bingeability feature right there. When I look at a binge factor, I’m looking for something that isn’t going to make me go through all your episodes. What is that one thing that’s going to make me keep going and listening to all your episodes? That is you are steps ahead of me if I have experienced a loss and in your yoga practice. I’m never going to catch up to you but it’s going to make me flow through the whole show so that I can keep up with the little pieces that I need at this stage and time. I can go through it.
I will never skip an episode because I’m going to get all those little pieces of you, pieces of the person who’s a few steps ahead of me. There are a lot of doctors and authors as you put it who could be hosting a show like yours, hosting a show about grief. That’s not what this is about. This is the fact that I might want to know someone who’s coming through it ahead of me and not someone who’s up on a pedestal way above me. That’s the guide that you care for everyone that’s coming through the show.
I never would have gotten there on my own but that’s a beautiful way to put it. Thank you for saying that.
Kala, you have put your heart into the show. I feel it in every episode. I want all of our readers out there to come and check out your show. Yoga to Cope is a fabulous show. Every Monday, you are out there. The mini-episodes are a great model. If you are looking for modeling another person’s show, the long-form is hard to master. You have to be good at it and have almost a celebrity for it. The mini-episodes are a great model for some things that you might want to mix in. Give yourself a break. Not all of us can do interviews every single week and stay ahead of it. It’s not the easiest. Kala has done a great job of blending that in beautifully. I’m sure her audience is happy to come along for the ride and get whatever they can get each week.
Thank you for having me and giving us the platform. We love to make new friends in the industry, get new followers who want to be there. I appreciate you even having us on and wanting to learn more.
One of the reasons that we do that is because I want to make sure that all of the podcasters who follow the show and we have a lot of successful podcasters who follow the show, know Kala’s a great guest. She’s got lots of great information and backgrounds. If you are hosting a health and wellness show, any kind of show where there might be people in need in your community, Kala MacDonald is a great guest to have on your show. Maybe you are going to get a guesting opportunity out of being on The Binge Factor.
I would love that. I can always make time to come and chat with someone. Thank you.
Everyone, Yoga to Cope, Mondays, on your favorite podcast app, Kala MacDonald.
I told you that was going to be a special episode. Kala has done some beautifully heartfelt things. She has done it in service of both her community and herself for what she wanted and needed. It’s because there are a lot of therapeutic benefits to us to be podcast hosts, we are exercising some of the things that we want to model better in our lives. It’s creating accountability for us to show up to our communities. There are a lot of benefits to doing the podcast as a part of our community, programs, companies and nonprofits in Kala’s case.
Keeping those in mind, that’s one of the critical reasons why being consistent, constant and dialing deep down into what you believe that it truly needs, especially when you don’t have a lot of feedback and a lot of advice in the early days, can serve you so well. This is what has served Kala’s show so well as she’s grown Yoga to Cope into a good show. She’s doing about 300 times better than the average podcaster. There are some significant things that she’s doing well. You have to keep in mind that when we have a show that’s in pain, sometimes people aren’t sharing that with others.
On our platform at Podetize, we have a lot of addiction podcasts. Sex addiction, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, we have multiple shows in those areas. They tend to find that they have trouble with that follower growth thing happening because someone reads, they are in pain, it’s personal and they don’t necessarily share it out on social media to hundreds of people. They might share it with 1 or 2 people, which is great. You are reaching 1 or 2 people who need you and that’s important. That growth is happening. It doesn’t happen at that faster rate most of us podcasters seek.
Kala got an organization around and supporting underneath the structure of it, that in and of itself has a membership-seeking model. With that, the listenership, the podcast is a bonus. It’s extra free stuff for those already interested in the community. Keeping in mind that you can create that dynamic relationship between our organizations and our podcast shows without having to name them the same thing. In her case, it made a lot of sense to name them the same thing but it doesn’t always. It doesn’t matter as long as the two things go hand in hand and can support each other. Bringing more content to your community that already exists and that community sharing that content out with other people in need or other people interested in your mission and your topic. Those things can go together.
As always, TheBingeFactor.com has all the information on how to reach Kala MacDonald and how to check out her podcast. You guys already know how to go to your favorite podcast player and select Yoga to Cope. Subscribe, leave a review and ask her to be on your show, too. Don’t forget about all those things of, which you can serve all the podcasters who come here to our show. Thank you for reading. I will be back next time with another podcaster on The Binge Factor.
- Yoga To Cope
- Grow, Eat, Breathe, Repeat
- @YogaToCope – Instagram
- Book Club – Facebook
- Facebook Group – Yoga To Cope
- Zen and the Art of Happiness
- Wag Out Loud
- Keltie Knight – Yoga To Cope Past Episode
- The Lady Gang
- Armchair Expert
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