In Headliner Highlight 003, we talk with Thomas Neeson. Thomas is the host, producer, creator, and fearless leader of the Circle of Nerds podcast.
What is Circle of Nerds about?
I really don’t know. I never have a good answer for this. The answer changes every time. Essentially, it’s community. We’re a bunch of socially awkward nerds talking about socially awkward nerd stuff.
I don’t know. It’s so hard to explain exactly what we are and what we do. Well, I guess there’s a lot of podcasts out there that do nerdy stuff. What we do that’s a little bit different is we try to focus on the people within the nerdy community, not necessarily the stars, but the people you haven’t heard of. These are the people who kind of help the nerdy world go round. The collectors, the unknown cosplayers, you know, things like that people like that.
It’s very much about the community.
How long have you been podcasting?
We are on season two episode 17 at the time of this recording, so I believe not quite a year—about 7 months. We do have our one year anniversary coming up. So soon-ish.
Why did you start podcasting?
I started podcasting because I have a love of nerd culture. I am a nerd. I’m a cosplayer myself, comic collector, toy collector, but I’m also a professional broadcaster, and I am a broadcasting instructor.
It just seemed like a really nice marriage of the two worlds. It’s hard to produce a nerdy radio show because not a lot of people want to pay for the advertising on that. You know, that might change because nerd culture is a lot more mainstream now than it used to be. It’s just two things that I really love. I love broadcasting and I love nerdy stuff. So I thought I’d put the two together and start doing the the Cosmic Disaster show.
What do you do to share & promote your podcast?
Not much, unfortunately. Ironically, one of the things I teach, you know, to my students is the importance of social media, the absolute importance of social media. And I hate social media, that’s such a bad thing to say. I don’t hate social media. It is incredibly important. I see the value on the importance of social media. I just don’t like doing it, you know what I mean,
I just don’t like, you know having to post at certain times. There’s strategies. There’s SEO, there’s you know, there’s algorithms and analytics and it just drives me ****in’ nuts. But, without social media, nobody would really take off. YouTubers, you know, yes, you can get big on YouTube, but if you don’t push your YouTube channel via social media, you’re probably not going to get the kind of heat that you normally would.
So maybe a better question would be, what are our plans and strategies to promote our episodes, and that’s to push social media for the most part. We do a lot with Instagram. Instagram is our primary social media platform at the moment, but we also are on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. We don’t really do a lot on YouTube, which is very bad. And I know this is really bad, but for the most part, what we do to share is social media. We just have to do it a lot more.
Consistency is key and I know it, I just need to practice what I preach. So, consistent quality social media content, and of course we are using the badass Headliner app that we love.
What has been most effective? Least effective?
The most effective promotion I think is, again, got to be social media. We do, you know, some word of mouth, we talk to friends and family, we’ve been to a couple conventions, you know, handing out flyers and things like that, but those things aren’t necessarily quantifiable. We can’t get data back from that.
Mailing list, I’ve got to do a mailing list. I know this, that is really really important as well, you know for promotion, sending out a, you know, a monthly newsletter, getting that mail list rolling, adding people to it, so on and so forth.
What’s been least effective form of promotion? Not promoting. That’s been the least effective. I find that when I am consistent with my social media marketing, then I do notice growth in my numbers. And obviously, if I don’t do anything, if I take a few days off, or if don’t post for a week, which happens, then I will notice my numbers decline.
So, absolutely most effective, having a promotion and marketing strategy.
Least effective, not doing ****. That will absolutely kill you.
Why do you make Headliners?
Audiograms, for us, was just a no-brainer choice. Using the audiograms via Headliner app—it’s an amazing tool. It literally takes me like five minutes.
That’s why I use audiograms primarily. I can post a static picture obviously, but by having that animated graphic on there, and especially through Instagram, by having that animated waveform graphic attached to your image, and then having audio with it. Having the option to have text on there as well, against something else that would take forever, doing that in After Effects or Adobe Premiere, or whatever you’re editing software is. It’ll take hours. I mean, it really would. I mean, unless you’re like, you have a super workflow, even with a super workflow going, you know translating speech to text, transcribing, that takes time.
I’ve created a template, I’ve created a graphic template for it. I use Photoshop for that, Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Every week I have a brand new graphic that I can, you know, it’s a base graphic, and then I add a relevant picture to it. So, whatever we’re talking about in that clip, I’ll have a picture that kind of goes along with that audio clip. And it just plays well.
It’s nice. When you’ve got to post on Instagram and there’s that little video icon in the top-right corner of it, people are more likely to click on that.
The power of video on social media is undeniable. Yes, you can post a static picture and it can be very very powerful, but having video content, that is huge.
And although I don’t always have time to produce video content by posting an audiogram, it’s kind of like the next best thing.
Current podcasting setup?
- Yamaha MG12XU mixer
- 4 Shure SM58 microphones
- A really really old Samsung condenser mic
- MacBook Pro
- I edit everything in Adobe Audition
How has it changed since you started?
I had been using a digital audio interface from Behringer. It was the euphoria. I’ve also got a headphone adapter to 4-channel headphone adapter that way everybody who is on the show can hear everybody else on the show.
What is something you think is overrated or underrated in podcasting?
I think podcasting itself is underrated personally. As popular as it is, it is still not as popular as it could be or should be in my opinion.
I think the ease of creating a podcast is incredibly underrated.
It is so easy. It is. So so easy to make a podcast. You need your phone and you can get an app called Anchor. That’s it, you’ve got a podcast with two things. You don’t need a bunch of expensive gear.
What is overrated? Thinking.
I know it’s weird, but I thinking is overrated.
Stop thinking about your fucking podcast and just make it. You have a story to tell; your friends have stories to tell. You have content, you absolutely have content, sit down and talk about shit and people will flock to you.
But, you have to promote it, because if you don’t promote your show you’re creating content in a vacuum. It could be the best podcast ever. No one will hear it because you’re not promoting it.
If someone was to only listen to one episode of yours, which one would you recommend?
Episode 0. Ground Zero. It’s so bad. It is so so bad because we didn’t know what we were doing at the time. We still don’t, not really.
We were just not prepared. We were not ready at all to do this thing, but I really think that that’s the point. One thing that we do at Circle Of Nerds is educate, entertain, and empower.
Do you have a favorite podcast?
Love them. These gals are amazing.
Not only are they hilarious. They are highly, highly intelligent. We had the distinct honor and privilege of having them on our show, and, man, did they spank us intellectually. We like to think that we know our shit, we are thought leaders, we are nerds and we know our stuff.
These ladies, however…
If you ever decide to have the Biracial Unicorns on your show as guests, you better have your shit together. I’m just saying.
Biracial Unicorns by far my favorite podcast. They’re amazing.