My name is TK Dennis. I am a motivational speaker, encourager, musician, and all around creative type.
My podcast is named "TK Talks." See what I did there? TK Talks is a daily motivational five minute 'flash briefing' style podcast created to help start people's day the right way. I give people a thought to ponder for the day, and try to pump them up about going through everyday life. Every month I also create an anthem, which is basically my show mixed with a song I created. Then I throw that song up on Apple Music and Spotify etc. so everyone can get pumped to the anthem all month long.
My listeners are thousands of global folks from everywhere. Women, men, teens, adults, and seniors. Everyone needs encouragement, right?
Well, I have done multiple podcasts over the years with varying success. All of which ended up in the top 50 of my category at one point or another before they ended. So, when I found myself looking for the right medium to make people's days better, it just made sense to me to do a podcast. I listen to podcasts myself of course, and I really love them. It's like the old days of talk radio, but in a new fresh format.
I started TK Talks in December of last year because I got pretty sick a few months prior. I was in the hospital laid up with an auto-immune illness, unable to work, and feeling pretty alone altogether. My ex-wife had just run off with her yoga instructor, and I was just trying to piece my life back together with a limp and a little hope. I was stuck in the house for SO long, and I realized I can't let myself go through all this pain for nothing. I need to tell my story to people, every single day, and help people appreciate where they're at in life.
I couldn't do much, but I had the energy and ability to get to my desk and sit in front of a microphone every day. So that's what I did. I fought through my physical recovery through healthy living, but I fought through my emotional recovery by trying to help others.
I recorded my first episode called "Last Year Sucked." I released it the following morning. I didn't even think anyone would listen. I made an Alexa Skill, put it up on iTunes (now I even have an app actually), but at the time I had no idea how it was going to go. Then I realized, I'm doing this because I believe it's right, not because I need a lot of listeners. So I kept doing it, and before I knew it thousands of people were listening to me daily. People were starting their day with TK Talks, and I was genuinely starting to help people as they incorporated me into their day.
I release an episode every single day, and even though they're only five minutes or so, it still takes a bit of time. I always tell people recording the episode is the easy part; everything after that is the complicated stuff that consumes all your time. Recording takes about ten minutes or so, and I do them in a single take so editing isn't bad. I have an intro and and outro chime, so that's pretty simple stuff. The hard part is uploading the file and adding meta-data, keywords, and descriptions along with scheduling the episode for multiple release channels. I spend about 30 minutes on an episode every single day, which means I spend between 3 and 4 hours doing this every week.
When I create my monthly anthems though, things are way more complicated. I work on a song and idea for days, then I record and mix the song with a fresh new talk designed to go with it. Those babies are like a seven day labor of love, but I feel like it's always worth it in the end to me. I just make what I would like to hear. :)
I do all this in the evenings, so my day job doesn't interfere too much. Being sick helped somewhat too....how's that for a silver lining?
I fund this podcast myself, and I probably spend about $75/month for everything including my apps and website. I go high end with it because it's really my passion, and I love doing it so much.
I would be open to sponsorship opportunities in the future, but the problem with daily podcasts is there really isn't time. Part of the reason people love TK Talks is the fact that it is bite sized. Everyone can fit it into their day. Cluttering it with ads may not sit well with my crowd.
I get all sorts of emails and messages (reviews too) from people who tell me their day is better because of what I do. That's the ultimate win for me, and that's what I really take away in the end.
I do voiceovers professionally, so some of this may sound inaccessible or unfair to a lot of folks. Keep in mind, ANYONE can get into podcasting without spending much at all.
That being said, I use a bluebird mic, a midi box, and a sound proofed closet in my home. I also use Logic Pro X, and a shiny space grey MacBook Pro.
I keep my setup ready to go at all times. I find that if I can prerecord an episode or two because inspiration strikes, it is best for me to quickly sit down and start recording. Right now as you're reading this, that setup is ready to be activated and recorded on at the push of a button.
I market my show through word of mouth for the most part. However, my biggest audience listens on Amazon Alexa. That was where I sort of got my big push into the world. I had a bite sized show and that was perfect for an Alexa Flash Briefing.
I find giveaways to be a HUGE way to get listeners. I give away a prize every month, and people can get additional entries for telling their friends about TK Talks. You can see an example at my website.
If I could tell aspiring podcasters on single thing, it would be this. Just make it happen already. Who cares if it's perfect? Who cares if it's 'can't miss?' Just go out there and do you. Don't manufacture any energy, just be yourself and have a good time doing it. You'd be surprised just how much people crave genuine podcasts and story telling.