How to Create 5 Minute Podcast Episodes that Transforms Lives with Meg Luther Lindholm

Show Notes

Discover how to create short yet beautifully produced podcast episodes. Today’s Podcast Tactics guest brings her experience with radio and broadcasting into the podcasting space. Listen in to find out how she crafts each episode to deliver maximum transformative impact.

Please let me know what you got out of this episode by leaving a review at

Learn More about Meg and Her Podcast, “Uplifted”

Episode recorded on March 24, 2021.

Music by Valence – Infinite [NCS Release]


James: In this episode of Podcast Tactics, you will discover how to create short, yet beautifully produced podcast episodes. Today’s Podcast Tactics guest brings her experience with radio and broadcasting into the podcasting space. Listen in to find out how she crafts each episode to take listeners from adversity to new insights for a better life.

Remember to join the mailing list So you can keep learning, get inspired and stay motivated on your podcasting journey.

Now let’s get into it.

Joining me at the mic is Meg Luther Lindholm in Fargo, North Dakota. Meg, thank you so much for joining me on the show.

Meg: Thank you for having me. This is

James: great. Well, I’m excited to have a conversation with you. I listen to quite a few of your episodes, but I’m going to let you talk, tell us what’s the name of your show and what’s it all

Meg: about?

Okay. Well, the name of the show is “Uplifted” and it’s actually a podcast and a blog. And if I can get myself really together, it will one day also be a YouTube vlog, but really. The whole idea for it came about. There was sort of a confluence of my being at home with COVID and not being able to really, um, do very much, I had been engaged in a job search and I just suddenly was like, well, that’s not happening.

Uh, what can I do? I’m homeschooling my kids, you know? So how can I keep myself afloat here? And. Uplifted was born with the intention of giving people sort of a sense of that shift that happens when you’re in a hard situation. And then you have an insight and apifany and awareness that sparks a change to something better.

I really feel like there are, I’m old enough to have. Had so many experiences where there have been those. So there have been those realizations, there have been those moments of change and I’ve done it all. I’ve been in therapy for years, you know, at certain times in my life, I mean, change comes about in different ways, right?

It can be very slow and gradual, and that’s very natural and fine. And often, you know, kind of what needs to happen, but there also can be those moments where you just say something or you have a thought that’s different from anything you’ve ever thought before, and you can sort of set your life in a different track and it can be a better track.

So, yeah. I didn’t want to be just like, feel good. Oh, if you do these nine things, you’ll have the life you’ve always wanted. I felt like that was a little simple and lots of people are doing that. And, and I mean, I read those things. It’s not like I’m above or put myself in some other higher place. I mean, I love those lists, but.

I also love storytelling, and I felt like my life had enough stories that I could use as a way to help inform others, I guess, would be the way to put it. And then within that, bringing in mindfulness techniques and wisdom teachers and. Voices from other people who ha who can weigh in on how we can shift from one way of thinking and living life to something a little better.

James: I do want to talk about your episodes, but before we do that, I want to keep it a little bit high level right now. And talk about your background in, well, do you have a background in broadcasting?

Meg: Yes. I mean, I, I started in college and that was a few decades ago. Now I went to UC Berkeley and literally saw a flyer up on the wall of a building.

One of the campus buildings. That said come to a radio meeting. And I was like, Oh, that sounds kind of interesting. I’ll go check that out. Well, that really started me on this trajectory that hasn’t been constant, but has been something I have come back to time and again in my life. So, um, I really did cut my teeth in both commercial radio in New York.

And. When the station I was working for kind of started to slide downhill. As many stations did back in the days when radio was kind of like not anything people really wanted to be connected to or listened to was like cable TV, we’ve got 99 channels. Like, wow. So then I made a switch over to public radio.

And, um, produce the Brian Lehrer show for a while in New York. And he’s still on the air. I mean, it’s amazing. I mean, even here in Fargo, he’s doing a national show now one night a week and it’s like, I turn on my radio and it’s like, there’s Brian. Oh my God. I never heard a podcast episode kind of about reliving some of that experience.

But, um, I, yeah, so I’ve sort of like hitched my wagon to public radio and then it really. Was COVID and the stay at home situation that opened the door to me saying, okay, it’s time. I try my hand at actually doing a podcast because I wasn’t so worried really about the mechanics of writing and narrating and editing, which is something that’s new for a lot of people that wasn’t actually really the.

The challenge for me. Although of course it is a challenge, but the bigger challenge was how do I like put it out to the world? What is this whole, I spent months trying to figure out which podcast post I was going to go with. I mean, I can obsess things to the nth degree and I was like, you know, Buzzsprout Podbean.

I mean, they’re like a zillion and they all sound great. And it’s like, How do I, how do I choose? You know, it felt so monumental which company I was going to go with. And so I chose simple cast based on basically recommendations from people that I. Like and respect, but it’s like, that was the piece that I had never done for anything.

And then I knew I kind of needed to be able to do in order to call myself a podcaster, as opposed to a radio producer, which had always been my title was a radio producer, whether I was producing the Brian Lehrer show in New York or producing my own grant funded project to be the public radio station here.

In North Dakota. I, I couldn’t like, I couldn’t move beyond that. It was, it felt in for years and years, it was great. I’d never questioned it. And then suddenly it became like a small box and I needed to figure a way out of it. And so really it was just by talking to people and reading things and talking to more people and reading more things.

That I kind of came to figuring out how I wanted to do this podcast. And so now I’ve done it, then I feel good. Like I could go back to radio producing or I could go with podcasting. I can, I’ve done some teaching. I mean, I feel more, I guess well-rounded and current in the climate that exists today in 2021.

James: Well, I appreciate you sharing your challenges just because obviously my question about, do you have broadcasting experience? Was it total setup? It is absolutely apparent when you listen to your trailer, when your episodes, I mean, from the trailer, I was like, okay, we’re we’re talking to a pro. It was my ears.

My brain was so delighted. The sound quality, the way you put your episodes together, just so next level. And just from, you know, the geeky kind of cut podcasting perspective that I take, that I have with the show it’s inspiring. And what’s really incredible. You haven’t said this yet is your shows are about five minutes long.

So all of that effusively praise for you. Is contained inside of a five minute episode, which makes it even more extraordinary and more inspiring for me to like, say, wow, okay, how efficient is this? You know, and the content is impactful on top of all of that. So you’ve got the technical prowess, I’m going to call it.

And then you’ve got just wonderful, impactful content that makes a difference in people’s lives. All wrapped up really nicely in five minutes, five, six, seven minute episodes. It’s an accomplishment. Well done. Thank you

Meg: so much. I mean, honestly, it’s so great to hear you say that because I think that, um, and I know I don’t speak for myself when I say that I’m a little bit of an introvert.

I like working on my own, but I think especially when you’re putting your own stuff out there, I’m not working on assignment. Nobody’s like telling me, okay, yes, go and do this. You know, it’s really your own creation and you don’t really know are people liking this? Is it good? Do people want to hear this?

Does it mean anything? I mean, I think these are all questions that creators throughout history have had to wrestle with. We’re all on our own. Like trajectory and having to have confidence and faith in, in what we’re doing in order to do it. And I just so appreciate hearing your words. Cause there are times when I just kind of go, you know, what if I stopped this today?

Like who would care? Like nobody like,

James: well now, now, you know, somebody who would care, I would, I would, I would email you incessantly and say, why.

Meg: You’re so kind. No, really it, it does mean a lot because we hear a lot about burnout and it’s a hazard of this profession is we work on our own. We put it out.

We’re not necessarily making money and we’re kind of like wondering. Should I keep doing this. I mean, it, it it’s, uh, that comes up and I wrestle with it as much as I love. This is a, a passion project, which I guess is why it’s come out pretty well. But it’s, it’s one that I still, even with that I, I questioned and even putting out a five or six piece.

I mean, I rewrite my scripts. I, you know, I, I, I go over it. I, I work with it quite a bit. So, you know, you think what’s the big deal? Like five minutes? I mean, I hear

James: let’s get into that a little bit because I am curious. So I have to ask you, are you able to quantify the amount of time that you put into producing a five minute episode?

Meg: So my goal is to produce one episode a week now, clearly I’m not working on it full time. I have kids. There are other projects I’m doing theirs, but I would say I spend, I write a draft of a script. You know, I get an idea. I go for walks and often walking is kind of the creative ferment, you know, where maybe an idea will come to me.

And I will write a draft and then I will often rewrite it two, three, four, five times. And I don’t mean complete top to bottom rewriting, but I mean, you know, taking out wordiness and trying to, you know, maybe organize it a little better. And then I usually spend I’ll set aside a day, whatever hours I have in a day, maybe three.

To edit. I use story blocks for music because a friend, a podcasting friend told me about story blocks. So you pay a subscription fee, a monthly fee, but it’s reasonable. I think because then you have access to a very large library of music that is completely. Available, you don’t have to contact anybody.

You don’t have to figure out licenses or payment. You just listened to it and then you can download it and then you use it. And it’s, it just makes the whole thing. If you love music as I do, and you want music to be a part of it, you can find a lot to work with. So I use story blocks and then I. So I narrate and edit.

I I’ll usually narrate the script and sort of edit my narration and then I’ll go back and find the music and put the music in and do the editing of my voice to the music. And then that’s pretty much it

James: from end to end. About how much time is that for you?

Meg: Um, maybe 15 hours is kind of a guesstimation.

I’m not exactly sure. And I’m sure with some, it takes a little longer if I’m, I just, um, I just wrote an episode where I’m incorporating Tara Brock. Who’s a Buddhist Buddhist teacher. And so I went and listened to a lot of her stuff to try to find clips that I could download. Yeah. And you know, what I love about this James is I feel like it is an ongoing learning process.

Like I am really learning. I’m learning about marketing. I’m learning about how to incorporate sound. I made a decision at some point that I didn’t really want this to be an interview podcast, partly because I feel like there’s a gazillion of those out there and I enjoy writing and I wanted to give my writing more freedom to be the central feature.

And I, I also find interviewing. If I wanted to do something short and I wanted it to be tight and succinct, I F I S I did a couple of interviews and there were long. And I was like, Oh my God, I could spend a week just trying to figure out what little snippets out of this hour, long interview I’m going to use.

And it just felt overwhelming to me. And then I just thought, you know, and then we’d go off on tangents. And it was like, ah, so I. And I just thought there aren’t that many short podcasts out there, and everybody says that’s a niche that needs filling. And I like, I love good writing. I love, for example, I don’t know if you’re familiar with.

Nate DeMayo and his memory palace podcast is part of it’s one of the Radiotopia, um, it’s in their collection and it’s all him and the episodes aren’t super long. They’re maybe 20 minutes, 25 minutes. And basically he tells stories of people in history. And I don’t know, it’s just beautifully written, beautifully produced, beautifully done.

So he’s one role model for me. Um, I think we all need role models, right? We all need people that we look to and we go. Oh, he’s having, Oh, I want to do that. You

James: know, I get it. I get it. Yeah. I think you’re extremely successful with how you’re putting your show together. I mean, it is beautifully done. And like I said, the sound, the rating.

Top to bottom, beginning to end just a delight to listen to.

Meg: Can I ask which, which ones really stood out because I’m actually gonna enter one and, uh, there’s something called the on-air

James: fast. So the one that really stood out to me and I don’t know why, but maybe it’s because I’m in this mode right now.

But anyway, I’ll just say it, the social media as a practice for letting go. That one, maybe it’s because I’m on a social media, like. Shaft or something, but I was like, Oh, I’m going to listen to it for sure. So that one really stuck out. I love what you said about. It’s an opportunity for letting go, like looking at social media as an opportunity for letting go.

And I even went a little further with that too. And I was thinking about my podcast as an opportunity for letting go of certain things that I get attached to with this show. I mean, I’m very early on as the recording of this app at the recording of this episode, I’ve only published three, um, episodes, but of course, like every obsessive podcaster that’s out there, I’m looking at numbers.

Right. And so. There’s room for me to let go of that.

Meg: Yes. Oh, you know what? It is a lesson. I have to tell myself all the time. Cause I go in and look at my numbers and I’m like, huh. You know, you know, so yeah, we it’s, it is really, it is really something to not get too caught up in the numbers, like to take their kind of.

Long view in know that you’re doing something it’s going to take time. I mean, that all expression Rome wasn’t built in a day. I mean, we just have to let go of that, you know, kind of frantic need to get this sense of, you know, huge listenership. I mean, if it, it just doesn’t happen that way for most people.


James: So yeah, I having done almost. I think I’m at 50 or over 50 now interviews, but consistency, I hear a lot is, is critical with that. Um, but also, you know, you nailed it, looking at it like a marathon, looking at the long view and, and really holding, holding dear to that passion that you have for what is it that made me want to start this show?

Right? Like holding that close because. A number isn’t going to reflect that it’s really just that desire to have conversations and talk to people about their origin stories, about what they’re putting their shows. And for you, it’s transforming your life in five minutes, right? Like literally I feel like your show functions in that way.

I wish it was every day that you could put one out, but you know, I don’t want you spending 15 hours a day to put a five minute episode out, you know, like that’s, that’s just not fair. I mean, I know it’s a big ask.

Meg: I had somebody else asked me that she said, could you do this like every day? And I was like, uh, no, as much as I would love to.

I mean, for my own sake too, I think that’s something where if you’re in it and you’re doing it for a passionate reason, you’re getting something out of it yourself. And for you, it’s maybe learning about how different people do their craft and how people think about what they do. And I. Yeah, I think what you say and what I was saying too about the long haul and not getting too caught up in the day to day.

But yeah, I am learning as I go as to how to reach people and, and I will tell you something that as, as hard as it is, you know, this whole effort to build audience, which is what everybody’s wanting to do. So being in broadcasting and creating something and putting it out there through the radio, you very often don’t get any feedback at all.

It’s like gone and you just like, well, I don’t know. I liked it. So hopefully somebody else out there did, you know, And with this, I feel like I get more actual feedback. Like I have fewer listeners, but I get more feedback. I get people writing me or connecting with me in some way to just say, Oh, I listened.

I really liked it. Or so there’s that too. That’s that’s the nice thing. It just feels like I’m more connected. To certain people in my audience that I wouldn’t get really with the broadcast thing out there.

James: How have you been promoting your show if at all?

Meg: Yeah. Well, there’s the, there’s the tough nut that has been really my learning process.

So I have Facebook and Instagram and. I actually have an intern helping me with posting to those two feeds. We were doing like four times a week with either quotes from episodes and photos and the link to the podcast that honestly hasn’t done very well. I think partly Facebook’s algorithms are making it so that my, the uplifted Facebook page, just isn’t showing up very much for people.

I am going to look into doing more targeted advertising on Facebook. I talked to one guy who actually has a blog and he’s had quite a lot of success. Just doing Facebook ads. He says the capacity, the capability of reach is infinite. Like you will never run out of potential audience that way. Again, you put in your filters and you try to reach the people that you think would relate or respond.

I haven’t actually done that yet, but I am thinking to do that. Otherwise, it’s been pretty much like just sending out Facebook posts in messages to pages and groups that I think would be interested in saying, Hey, you might want it. Like, I, I really pushed out this episode. I did about seeing myself through my son.

And, um, so I just shared the Facebook post with that particular episode. With, I just typed in parenting into the search box and all these different pages and groups came up and I just sent little notes saying, Hey, your audience might want to listen to this episode where I talk about trying to relate better to my son.

And I did get a little bit of response that way, but I. You know, I don’t do interviews, so I can’t like bring people on because I’m not doing that. I’ll tell you. One thing I am thinking to do is actually incorporate bits of podcasts as sound bites that I can then tag those podcasts in social media posts.

I’m trying to think, give an example like Sam Sanders on it’s been a minute, was talking about code switching and I, and I thought it was really, really interesting and how he, um, he actually thinks code switching is, is great. Like it’s great to be able to talk to different people in different ways. Now I actually don’t think I’m going to use that, but that was the first time.

The thought popped in my head that I could actually take some sound bites that would relate to something I’m interested in and incorporate them and then tag and try to reach the, the huge much huger audience for those blogs has that way.

James: That is an interesting

Meg: idea. Yeah. So, cause it’s like all free and it’s all public domain and it’s all out there.

Like I, I don’t have to pay anybody. For an NPR news show and I can promote them and promote myself in the process. So I don’t have to do it all through interviewing people. I can, I can do it through taking sound bites. So that’s, that’s something that, again, I’m kind of working towards, but I haven’t really done yet.

James: Mike, tell me, what is it that you want people to get out of your show? Why should they listen to your podcast?

Meg: Well, I think that it’s really, for people that are interested in learning how to live life better and how sometimes simple things can make just a huge difference in how we connect with others or.

Think about ourselves and our own life. I have one episode that’s just called. I hear you. And it’s about how sometimes just saying, I hear you without committing to what they’re saying or having to say what I think, but it allows for connection to happen and then sort of tensions can diffuse. And I find myself doing that more and more as as times.

And. Issues are so heated sometimes just saying, I hear you is, is all it takes. It’s not me saying I agree with you or that’s what I’m going to do, or that’s how I think it’s simply an acknowledgement of the other person’s humanity. And in that we can forge a connection. And so sometimes it’s really that simple.

I do an episode. It hasn’t aired yet called change the channel. And this was something that came up in a lunch that I had with my father one day, where he was just going on and on and on and ranting at her. , you know, everything’s miserable. I hate my life for her. And I said, dad, change the channel. And he looked at me like, why did it, like it broke the trends.

It broke this kind of spell of negativity that he was in. And he just stopped and it was like, I kind of looked, Oh my God. Like,

James: that sounds like it’s going to be a great episode.

Meg: Yeah. So it’s just like trying to give people ideas, trying to give people hope, trying to give people like stories. I love story. And I feel like the stories either from my life or someone else’s life. Can help others. Let’s get

James: into a time machine Meg it’s time, machine time on this show.

Okay. Let’s look a year or two down the road. What are your hopes for your podcast?

Meg: I hope it still exists. I mean, to be honest, I didn’t just start this for my own benefit. I started it as with a hope of earning some income. And to date that hasn’t happened. And honestly, if it just doesn’t, I don’t know that it will continue.

And that’s just me being very honest that, you know, at a certain point I need to make income and I have a blog and the podcast and to date, you know, there’s, there’s been no income to speak of. So I, I don’t know, a year or two down the road. I would love to think. Here’s what I think that at a certain point, I may need to just take a break and say, you know what, it’s just going to go on hiatus.

And that’s that. I mean, there’s some changes afoot in our lives. And I think that those are gonna kind of command my attention, but that at some point I might resume it and yes, I might have to go back. And rebuild that audience. And, but I feel like if it’s something I really love, I will continue in some way or form.


James: well, I have to say, I hope you do continue it. And I hope it grows in such a way that it does prove to you that you should continue it. Meg, please tell us where people can learn more about you and your

Meg: podcast. Okay. So, uh, anyone can go to uplifted That’s just one word uplifted podcast.

It’s on Apple, Stitcher, Google, Amazon. It’s on all the major podcast players, but the website will give you all those different options to subscribe. And there is the blog that one can subscribe to in the blog. I get to use my photography love and incorporate a lot of images into the blog that I don’t obviously have the podcast and hyperlinks to different things that I talk about.

I don’t want to neglect mentioning that. And then there’s the Facebook page. Anybody can go on Facebook or Instagram and find uplifted pod. Uplifted pod on Instagram and uplifted podcast on Facebook.

James: Well, I’ll be sure to get all that in the show notes so that people can connect with you on social media and get over to your website and your Facebook page.

Meg, thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate all of your wisdom and just your advice. It’s so valuable. I’d love to keep in touch and maybe catch up six months down the road. Hopefully you’re still doing what you’re doing, but we can chat about, you know, how the progress has been. Let’s make that happen.

If you became,

Meg: I would love to James. And again, you’ve given me such a wonderful boost to my day, my week, my mom, my year, like, I’m not just doing this, you know, in a vacuum, but that it is. I appreciated. And I mean, I know that it is, but it’s really nice to have your affirmation as well. It’s very meaningful to me.

So thank you.

James: The name of the show is uplifted Meg. Thanks again. I wish you continued

Meg: success. Thank you, James. I’ve really enjoyed this very much.

James: Thanks again to Meg Luther Lyndon. Check the show notes for links to learn more about Meg and her beautiful podcast. Uplifted. Please, let me know what you got out of this episode by leaving a review on

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