To wrap up the year, the team at Practice with Clara sat down to reflect on all that we’ve learned and achieved in 2020. We spent a day examining how Practice with Clara evolved and how we might refine our focus. We wrote down all the initiatives we tried and our community members’ responses in our recap session. This practice is one we plan to do at the end of each year to mark our progress, enhance productivity, and observe the areas to dedicate more time and effort than the places we might let go to create space.
In our final podcast episode of 2020, Clara and I shared some of our insights and reflections on the past year working together as we shifted to online yoga due to COVID. We discussed our key learnings around launching a podcast, some of our favorite interviews with guests, how we responded to a year of online yoga, and why Practice with Clara’s focus for 2021 is content that resonates with our community.
This blog post contains the highlights from our discussion. You can watch the full episode or listen to it online.
Listen to a Podcast Interview to Gain Insight
Key Learnings from Starting a Podcast
- Invest in the equipment.
The podcast was initially a 30-minute conversation on Instagram Stories two times a week. When COVID erupted in March 2020, we wanted a way to stay connected to the community and decided to host a series of philosophical talks on Instagram where people could join us to engage, ask questions, and participate in Clara’s live meditations. As we encountered technical issues (such as IG kicking us off the platform due to so many people using Instagram Stories to create and share content), we shifted over to Zoom and Riverside to host the podcast. Riverside is a great platform to use if you want to host a podcast as it takes care of many technicalities.
- Create boundaries around time.
We kept the podcast discussions under 60-minutes for several reasons. First and foremost, we wanted to keep the conversations short and sweet to maintain interest. Secondly, we wanted to post the full episode to Instagram Live, and sixty minutes is the maximum amount of time for each video to post. Finally, we capped the hours we allotted to pre-production, post-production, prepping, and editing each podcast.
- Leave space for spontaneity.
As we started bringing guests on the podcast and creating more of a formal container around the theme and how we wanted to present each guest, we discovered the value in leaving space for spontaneity and the element of surprise in the conversation. Often, the conversation would veer off into unplanned, albeit engaging themes that helped our guests shine as they expressed their passions.
- Always have a backup plan.
As a backup, we recorded every podcast on an app on our iPhones and asked that guests do the same. No matter how advanced, technology still has its hiccups, and we lost audio several times while recording due to slight technical issues we didn’t pick-up on while in the heat of conversation. Having a backup audio file saved us in several discussions that we would have lost.
- Invest in quality over quantity.
We selected simple themes to anchor the podcast discussions that aligned with the yoga classes released each week. Keeping the content strategy simple helped us learn a new skill, respond to mistakes, and keep moving forward as we produced an episode each week.
Responding to a Year of Online Yoga
- Keep moving and roll with the mistakes.
Agility is an asset of any small business to keep trying new things and pivot swiftly as you learn and adapt from mistakes. Whenever we hit a roadblock, such as getting kicked off of Instagram, we shifted our plans to reframe the focus around our initial intention.
- Listen to your community.
Let your community tell you where to focus. We sent out a survey in November that received hundreds of responses. We very quickly saw where our efforts were valued and what content resonated most with our members from this survey.
- Honor ritual and process.
Thinking about the process around the task is much more valuable than focusing on the task itself. We created simple processes that kept our day-to-day tasks in-check to help synchronize each individual and the team’s work efforts. The PWC team works remotely, and having procedures in-place allows us to coordinate and communicate where we are at week over week.
- Move in the direction that the data points.
Numbers do not lie. One thing we observed through analyzing data was how our numbers in the PWC FB Community Group were growing, whereas the PWC Instagram account was not. To keep refine and create more time to advance our efforts in other areas, we stopped posting on the branded IG account and moved everything over to Clara’s account and Facebook.
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Practice with Clara’s Focus for 2021
- Live yoga classes.
On December 25th, we hosted the inaugural live yoga class on Practice with Clara and had 81-participants. 2021 aims to host weekly live classes available to all those who cannot make it in the New Releases category of the apps.
- 30-Day Yoga Challenges.
The most useful feedback we received from the community this year is that the 30-day challenges are the preferred way to receive yoga classes and content. We plan to host several yoga challenges each year that focus on unique themes and yoga styles available to the community-at-large for free during the challenge and afterward in the PWC Apps.
- Make yoga accessible.
At Practice with Clara, we feel that yoga should be accessible to everyone, no matter the financial circumstances. We currently have a Karma Yoga Program and offer the 30-day challenges to all non-members for free. Finding creative, sustainable methods to provide yoga to anyone who seeks a daily practice and cannot afford it is one of our goals for 2021.