How to build and engage a podcast community with Jo Milmine

How to build and engage a podcast community with Jo Milmine

Our Podcast Diva for episode 11 is Jo Milmine. Jo went from being a military officer in the Royal Air force to becoming an award winning podcaster. Since August 2012 Jo has hosted the Shiny Bees podcast, a show about knitting and yarn mixed with snippets of Jo’s life sprinkled with comedy.

“Don’t mess with the knitters!”

The Shiny bees podcast won the award for the Most Engaged Audience at the UK Podcasters’ Awards of 2015. The main criteria for this award is community engagement, so it’s great to get a chance to find out from Jo how to build and engage a podcast community and how she keeps them coming back for more.

And you don’t need to know about knitting to pick up some useful hints and tips from Jo. I know very little about knitting – as will become apparent in this episode – and it gave me a fascinating insight into a whole new world. Who knew there was such a thing as a knit along!

“There’s something from audio podcasts that you don’t get from video – it feels like a more intimate medium because you can’t see the person, so you’re engaging your imagination as to what they look like… It’s like reading a book versus watching a film.”

In episode 11 of Podcast Divas you find out about:

  • How Jo went from life as a military officer in the Royal Air force to podcasting
  • Where the name Shiny Bees came from
  • The challenges of podcasting in rural South Africa
  • How talking to fighter pilots and other military skills come in handy for podcasting
  • Educating, enabling and entertaining your audience
  • Which came first – the podcast or the business
  • Why Jo was a wantrepreneur for a while
  • Wine tasting for yarns
  • The power of a niche podcast
  • Building a business off the back of a podcast
  • Building a community around your podcast
  • Why podcasts are perfect for knitters
  • How to engage with your audience
  • Getting to know your audience in person
  • Why it’s good to be a bit of a geek
  • How to use meet-ups to grow your community
  • Three ways to monetise your podcast
  • How to turn listeners to members and keep them there
  • Jo’s plans for future monetisation
  • Knitting while you podcast

“For people to love things the way you love them, and to hang around with those people, it’s something really special.”


“Our internet was beamed from on top of a mountain…to a little aerial on our house”

Links mentioned in episode 11

  • Ravelry – a social media site for knitters (5 and a half million of them!)
  • Patreon – crowd funding site for donations for podcasters

“Caring for people and having time for them is the key to engagement.”

An episode of the Shiny Bees podcast

If you want to listen to an episode of Jo’s show, Jo suggests episode 55 about Susan Crawford’s 4-year heritage knitting project. This is a fascinating inspiring story of social history, fashion, design, ethnography and Shetland archives.

“I think ‘If I was them what would I want?’”

Other Podcast Divas to listen to

“If they’re sitting, they’re knitting.”

Where to find Jo

  • Shiny Bees – Website
  • The Golden Skein – Jo’s membership site for high quality, limited edition yarns from around the world.

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