Amanda Cupido is the Founder of Lead Podcasting, a business that helps clients with every aspect of starting, launching and running a podcast. Amanda talks to The Industry Leaders about what it's like to work in an industry that's receiving lots of attention and tells us about her journey so far.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
My background is in journalism. After graduating with a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University, I worked as a radio producer, reporter and news anchor. I then shifted to corporate communications while pursuing my masters in the Psychology of Leadership from Penn State University. I spent several years working with C-suite executives doing media training, social media strategy and speech writing. Now, I've combined the two paths in my role as the founder of Lead Podcasting. We work with organizations and thought leaders to create podcasts that build their leadership profile.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I'm an end-to-end podcast producer, which means I can do everything from recording to voicing to audio editing. But as the founder of Lead Podcasting, I act as the executive producer on all the shows we create. This means I'm working with clients to develop a podcast strategy (which usually fits into a larger communications/marketing strategy) that will resonate with target audiences. Then, after the tone and direction for the show are set, I oversee a team that creates the graphics, composes music and puts the show together. I also spend time hosting podcasting workshops, lunch and learns and instructing at Ryerson University and Seneca College.
What gets you excited about your industry?
It's an exciting time for podcasting! I've been creating podcasts for more than 10 years, so it's great to see this medium finally having its moment. Right now, we're seeing a lot of creative boundaries being pushed with emerging formats and tech. We're also in the midst of an acquisition frenzy where production companies, shows and networks are being created and sold as big players (like Apple, Spotify and Amazon) vie for the top spot in the industry.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
There's no "right" way to grow a business. I was getting caught up in all the things I felt I "should" do in the early days, but I had to recognize there are thousands of approaches that could work. There isn't one specific path I needed to follow.
In audio storytelling:
Break the rules. Some of my best work has come from deviating from the traditional approaches to putting together a story.
What's the best way to support aspiring leaders in your field?
I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had to teach up and coming podcast producers through my role as a college/university instructor. I get to work closely with these aspiring leaders and encourage them to create stories they're proud of.
Lead podcasting also offers paid internship positions, which helps students who are about to graduate get some hands-on industry experience.
I also participate in formal mentorship programs where I've been paired with women passionate about communications/journalism/podcasting. It's been a really rewarding experience, and I feel the learning goes both ways.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
Podcast conferences are definitely my favourite way to keep up with what's happening in the industry. Not only do I find the presentations informative, but I love meeting people there. Sometimes the biggest learnings come from chats that happen in the lobby during the breaks. Even when I attend conferences as a presenter, I always find that I leave feeling inspired.
I'm also a big fan of industry newsletters. I've signed up for several that help me stay up to date with what's happening in the podcasting landscape around the world.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
One of the most challenging projects was writing my book, Let's Talk Podcasting: The Essential Guide to Doing it Right. Even though I love to write, as a trained journalist, I'm used to writing tight stories, usually no more than 1000 words.
Writing 25,000 words seemed insurmountable.
Every time I sat down to write, I would tap out after my typical 1000 words. I got through the homestretch by booking off entire weekends to sit and write, with no distractions. I worked on the book for two years and then updated all the stats right before publishing.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Donate half to charity. Full disclosure: I used to work in communications with World Vision.
Even though I'm no longer employed by them, I can vouch for the amazing work they do around the world. I've seen it firsthand in many places, including Afghanistan. I would want to fund their women empowerment projects there.
The other half I would spend on personal things: expanding my business, travel, and family and friends.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I love painting. I went to an arts high school and am formally trained in visual arts. I used to mostly paint landscapes, but I've recently shifted to painting handmade greeting cards with cute images and puns. I've also come to appreciate paint-by-numbers. I find them very meditative! This is one of my hobbies that has gotten me through the lockdown.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
Podcasting is commonly compared to radio (and sometimes seen as the evolution of radio). Although I don't always like to compare the two (there are so many differences!), one element that is fair to compare is what kind of voices are elevated on the medium. There is a traditional "radio voice" that many people are accustomed to hearing. Already, we see more diversity with podcasting, but I hope the trajectory of diversity continues. I hope there is never a "podcast voice" that is seen as superior to others.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
It's too hard for me to pick one podcast! So I will choose a book I recently read, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. It was exactly what I needed. A great read for any leader who feels they are stretched too thin.
How should people connect with you?
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