IN TALK WITH IDHA UMAMAH FROM "I THINK I WANNA DATE YOU" PODCAST
How she was able to find her own niche and monetizing her podcast.
Don't you know that many young people would love to be content creators? Being a content creator is not as simple as people might think. First, you need to think about your concept. Secondly, you need to have many connections to participate and help you to share your content. Thirdly, you need to have many ideas so that you could pitch these ideas to your content every month, week, or even every day.
Last but not least, you need to think about how your content could be your living, right? Therefore, we have Idha Umamah to discuss her podcast 'I Think I Wanna Date You'. She shared how she monetizes her podcast and looking for ideas.
Hi Idha Umamah, could you please tell us about the 'I Think I Wanna Date You' podcast? In your opinion, how is the pandemic changed the concept of dating?
My podcast mostly talks about dating, sex, and relationships. In my podcast, there are several segments: (1) 'heart to heart chat', which usually talks about various love stories from the audience, I re-read them on the podcast, then I respond; (2) 'monologue/opinion', can be in the form of discussing a book on the above topic, or personal opinion on an issue; (3) 'soulmate section', where Yunita and I (podcaster @abjadtersirat) talk about popular things like movies/series, etc., then we discuss the insights; (4) 'interviews', where I interviewed some experts or people who I think are special—both from stories and their love journeys.
The pandemic changes a lot of things. Of course, dating today is much different than it used to be. Maybe at the beginning of the pandemic, we were still quite excited to try virtual dating, like video calls, watching movies together, even reading books together, all done virtually. After more than a year, some people feel bored, especially if their love language is physical touch; they need face-to-face contact. Some people who need direct interaction with their partners must follow the health protocol to see each other.
Despite that, online dating users in several countries have increased, including in Indonesia. I think people have started to come to terms with the pandemic condition. They realize that finding a partner in the pandemic situation is not as easy as before. So, yes, for me, online dating in this condition could really help.
How long have you created the podcast, and who inspired you to create a platform that talks about dating?
'I Think I Wanna Date You' released its first episode on May 11, 2019, so it's been more than 2 years. When it comes to inspiration, there was one abroad podcast called 'Dateable Podcast', which was one of my role models at the beginning of my podcast. But the initiation to make a podcast about dating came from me as an online dating user since 2014. When I see this phenomenon around, I feel that at that time, online dating was considered to have a negative impact—which it depending on how selective you were—and there was no Indonesian podcast that focused on discussing this issue, so I ventured to voice it.
After all, as a graduate of Cultural Studies, I was invited by Maria Cherry and Patresia Kirnandita (a classmate) to participate in writing scientific journals, doing in-depth research on online dating users from various sexual orientations (now, our writings have been published in the Jurnal Fakultas Sastra UKI. It motivates me for making this podcast.
What's the most brought-up topic in your podcast? How are you maximizing the platform to reach a young audience or any other audience in general?
In the first season, mid-2019 to mid-2020, my podcast talks more about dating apps. So I invited friends from various sexual orientations to share their stories, how their love journeys were, what made them strong in the midst of the bad stigma they often got, and also invited people who found their spouses from dating apps.
Moving on to the second season, I tried a new formula. Because you already know the age of your target audience, so there are content adjustments. That is why the segments were born, as a way to expand the audience's reach.
I then discussed with my friends on the 'Podluck Podcast Network', Patricia Wulandari and Raymond Malvin, in creating lighter, denser, and thoughtful content for listeners. Besides, I was invited to collaborate with campus podcasts and doing several talk shows/webinars for 18 to 25-year-old audiences or collaborate with other younger content creators. I also try to maintain good communication and relationships with several platforms, media, fellow podcasters, as well as the podcast community in Indonesia.
How important is it to know a certain niche audience for your podcast?
Knowing who the audience is and the needs of the audience are also important. It is related to how you engage with the audience. If you already know the audience, you can make clearer, more focused, and on-target content so that your podcast can be a funnel for telling stories, sharing, and listening to each other—at least creating a safe space for people who share the same fate.
Do 'I Think I Wanna Date You' bring financial benefits to you? If yes, how? How to develop a monetization strategy? How did you generate the listeners so they would earn the right monetization?
There are material advantages, of course. In the first season, my podcast got an exclusive contract for 10 episodes from an audio platform called Penyu FM. At that time, I was not yet on a podcast network, so I share this opportunity with my friends who helped produce my episodes. There was Derick Adeboi, who edited the audio, also Maria Cherry, who helped design the podcast logo, as well as the cover design for each episode. Then, in the second season, my podcast was also invited by Catchplay to collaborate.
There is definitely a lot to talk about strategies for how to make money from podcasts. But the main key is consistency. For example, if you continue to produce content consistently, brands/ads will certainly consider your 'presence' in the field that you are good at. Or, you can also be invited to fill out webinars, both about podcasting or other fields, according to our expertise.
Then, you can also target a certain brand, which you think is in line with the topic of your podcast, and propose it yourself—don't always expect someone to offer it. Besides that, you can also produce exclusive content on platforms such as Karyakarsa, Saweria, etc. There are many ways, depending on your efforts and how big you want it to be.
In your opinion, how has the digital world changed the storytelling platform?
Technological developments are unavoidable. For example, in the context of books or print media, no matter how much we love physical products, we must accept changes and adjustments to digital products. It is undeniable that the role of the industry is currently influencing the trend as well.
Well, I'm sure, in every change, there must be something we can take on the positive side. We talk about storytelling platforms like digital reading, audiobooks, as well as other digital products, which we can still enjoy. And from the content creators' perspective, each platform can be used to spread our works.
Could you describe how to be the best storyteller or podcaster?
Good storytellers are good listeners. Being a podcaster actually forces us to listen more, observe, and read the situation. And to be a good storyteller, you also need to be a good reader.
Before telling a story, you must have a lot of provisions. Therefore you need to do a lot of reading and listening. Most importantly, dare to start. If we don't start, we don't know what went wrong, what we can fix, etc. The key is, keep practicing, be patient, and do it. You do not need to be worried if your voice doesn't sound good because every voice matters.
Where would you see 'I Think I Wanna Date You' ten years from now?
Honestly, I still have no idea what 'I Think I Wanna Date You' could be in 10 years from now. There is no picture yet, but it doesn't mean I don't have a dream or a vision/goal. I have a lot of dreams.
At this time, I continue to make short-term targets that I can do in the midst of a pandemic. Of course, it will not stop only with podcasts. In fact, earlier this year, my 'Podluck Podcast Network' friends and I were able to have another project. We wrote a book called 'Buku Pintar Podcast', which contains podcasting from A to Z, such as 'podcasting for dummies', etc.
For me, podcasts are just a medium. But the ideas to be creative can come at any time in any way, and sometimes, from the most unexpected way.
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