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May 13, 2020 | Tom Ballard

Knoxville-based HumblePod’s client base extends as far as Silicon Valley

Are you one of the estimated 62 million Americans who now listen at least once a week to a podcast? If you are part of that rapidly accelerating group – up from 19 million just six years ago, are there certain features about podcasts that you wish could be improved?

Knoxville Entrepreneur Chris Hill believes that quality in all of its facets truly matters, and he is delivering on that belief with his latest venture named HumblePod. Founded less than a year ago, the start-up works with clients across the country, helping them develop authentic content that increases brand awareness, creates communities, and drives revenue.

“There are a lot of things to consider before you even hit the ‘record’ button for the first time,” Hill declares on the start-up’s webpage. “My goal is to help you work through those things and develop a podcast that is true to your voice and the message you want to convey. We approach this by helping you establish a strategy, develop a structure, and launch your podcast.”

One of the main reasons that podcasts fail is that people don’t have the time to handle all the tedious aspects of podcasting. Hill’s company is focused on taking that burden off of their clients, allowing them to focus on interviews and creating content for their show. To make things as easy on his clients as possible, he handles the recording of all podcasts that are produced locally. In the case of others, he advises the client on the audio equipment to purchase to optimize the quality of the sound.

Whether recorded locally or remotely by the client, the company’s specific services include:

  • Podcast production and engineering that includes providing input on episode direction, content, and technique; editing content to eliminate disfluencies (“umms,” “ahhs,” etc.) and improve show flow; and tracking balancing, equalization, ads, intro/outros, and mastering.
  • Podcast content creation including voiceovers, original music scoring, and scriptwriting.
  • Podcast consulting including show content strategies, new show launches, interview coaching, and marketing and promotional strategies to grow an audience.
  • Content writing to include episode summaries, show notes, and transcripts.

The Bearden High School graduate has worked in the telecommunications, business development, and marketing sectors since graduating from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) in 2008, and it was during those college days that Hill experienced his first podcast.

Jett Loe, an American who was living in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the time, shared his experiences in the region in a podcast series titled “Letter to America.” After moving to Nashville, Jett visited Chattanooga where he further inspired Hill on this new way to communicate.

“I knew it was something I wanted to do myself,” he said at a presentation earlier this year at Ts117 Co-Working in Oak Ridge.

Soon after graduating from UTC, Hill co-founded Symply Social. “It was a social media start-up that was not a success,” he says. Yet, the company did launch a podcast series briefly. From there, Hill went on to earn an MBA from King University and work as an Account Manager for AT&T, but he had already been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.

“I knew at some point that I wanted to start my own business,” he said. Rather than going all-in at the outset, he and a friend launched their first podcast. It was a monthly offering under the brand of “Our Humble Beer Podcast.” It is still going with Episode 53, titled, “Supporting Local at a Distance.

Today, HumblePod’s client base extends as far as Silicon Valley. The names of the podcasts of its clients include AWS Morning Brief, On The Metal, Programming Leadership, Screaming in the Cloud, and several Stay Healthy community initiatives including one in Knoxville that features John-Mark Chesney of Simply Physio.

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