It is without a doubt that podcasting has evolved into a preferred medium for relaying niched information to a global audience. In this episode, we talk about how LatinX Podcaster of Café con Pam, Pam Covarrubias, has made her way through fame in their community. Throughout her diverse career, Pam has learned the importance of branding and positioning in an ever-changing market. She shares how she got the Latin community to embrace her show, what drove her to do podcasting, and what kept her going. Establishing core values in delivering her podcasts and sharing these values with listeners made Pam mold her show into something that is sought after. Learn more about her podcasting strategies and why she considers herself as an intuitive brand strategist.
Listen to the podcast here:
FYB COI: LatinX Podcasting
I’ve got another great podcast influencer to talk with you. I have got a Latinx podcaster of Café con Pam, Pam Covarrubias. Pam has been doing her podcast for a few years. She’s got a weekly one that’s a long podcast. She’s got some episodes that are a couple of hours. She features people of color, Latinx, people who break barriers, change lives, and make the world a better place. She is skilled as an intuitive brand strategist, podcast speaker, certified crystal healer, and recovering self-named procrastinator. She primarily spends her time elevating small businesses by helping them develop their brand in intuitive ways and seeing through their unique story. Throughout her diverse career, Pam has learned the importance of branding and positioning in an ever-changing market. She utilizes her natural skills as a highly-intuitive and creative human and as a strategic marketer to develop systems that help individuals accomplish their intentions. She blends creativity and practicality to help her clients achieve success. Her mission is to Spread Ideas, Move People and she is also a speaker at She Podcasts. She’s got a great talk on living and finding your core values.
I have been seeking here on the Center of Influence to find the most diverse and interesting men and women. I have to tell you, the podcast that I have received is a different podcast from She Podcasts live. The events, the ones that they referred me to are the most diverse, most interesting, most passionate podcasters I have yet met. I’m excited to bring you another one. Let’s get talking with Pam from Café con Pam. Pam, welcome to the show. I’m glad you’re here.
I’m glad to be here.
You are the tenth amazing woman that I’ve ever met from She Podcasts speaker list, which is pack-filled with diversity. You are my first Latinx. I’m excited to talk to you a little bit about that. You’ve got a lot of flavor to your podcast and you should because you call it Café con Pam.
One thing that I don’t do is translate. It’s Café con Pam. When people ask me, whatever language we’re speaking, it’s Café con Pam just like my last name. In fact, I met somebody and he was like, “You’re proud because you say things so I don’t understand them.” I don’t say them with a purpose for you not to understand them. I’d say them the way that they’re said.
Which I love because sometimes you don’t translate on your show. Other times, you do. You explain it because it has a deeper meaning than if you would translate it. I love that you trip into both. It reminds me of my great grandparents. They would trip in and out of Italian and other languages like Lebanese. That’s what our heritage is all about.
That makes our culture much richer.
Have you found that podcasting is embraced by the Latinx community? Are you finding a lot of listeners because of that? There’s not a lot serving them.
When I first started a few years ago, there were probably six or seven Latinx podcasters. There were more but the ones who at least had a consistent schedule were six or seven max. At that time, it was hard because people were not listening to podcasts. Latinx folks were barely learning about blogs. You have Latinx people that are born here and they’re American. You have Latinx people that are immigrants. Most Latinx people watch YouTube. When it comes to finding listeners, it was difficult in the beginning. Now, there’s definitely a lot more Latinx podcasters that cover many different topics.
It’s gaining momentum. When you have a culture that’s rich in music, you would think it would be more logical for them to find podcasts. It tends not to be the case. You need to have some heavy hitters joining in and publicizing that this is going on there. I love that you were an early adopter into it. What kept you going when you weren’t getting as many listeners as you expected?
In the beginning, I didn’t focus on the number because my passion was always to share our stories. I started the podcast because I couldn’t find a podcast that was sharing stories of people that look like me, sounded like me and spoke Spanglish as I do. Those stories were not being showcased. Even when I found podcasts that have people of color, they were still not touching the deep issues that I wanted to hear. That’s why I started it.
That’s one of the things that fascinated me as I was spot listening throughout your shows and I was picking some episodes. Your show is long so you touched on a lot of topics that are hard to know. It’s not like there’s one episode on the little topic that’s twenty minutes long. I’m listening in and you’re touching on all kinds of topics throughout that time.
Yes, because Latin America is huge. There are many countries in Latin America. I personally have a lot of friends from all these countries, from the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic all the way down to Chile and Argentina. Every one of those people, even though we all speak Spanish, we’re very different. I like to explore all the intricacies that they go through and how they live. Even though we could all consider ourselves Latinx, we’re all different within that big word.
It’s a big envelope. That’s what I thought is great about what you’re doing there. You touch on topics of immigration but not like they’re hot buttons. You talk about them in such a personal, storied way that I think is necessary nowadays. We have to put a face to this and a voice to that. I’m starting to understand what’s going on because we forget too quickly where we all came from.
The immigrant story is different for everyone. Like me, I will say that I’m the backward immigrant. I was born in the US and I lived and grew up in Mexico City. People were always like, “What?”People leave with their values if your podcast is meaningful to them. Click To Tweet
When I heard that on your first episode, I was like, “There’s a real story here.” I can’t wait to listen and hear more about why that happened. Your brother lives back outside of that US so you have that going on dynamic on your family as well. There are lots of stories there that personalize and deepen the understanding of how it is. My husband is a double Mayflower descendant, which sounds creepy because there weren’t a lot of people on the Mayflower. He’s descended from two Mayflower passengers. I’m a newbie. Both my grandfathers came over when they were three and five. We’re the second or third generation. It’s different.
It is. However, that’s fascinating to me. Even though you could be the, “White woman,” you’re the second generation. It’s not far from us.
When I first came and joined his family, I went to go meet his grandmother. She’s a serious matriarch. She was in her 90s at that time and I was intimidated by this woman. She has this amazing house in Elizabeth, New Jersey. It was like a, “Big New England family,” thing. I go to visit her and she says, “You’re Italian, aren’t you?” I went, “Do I admit it? Yes, I’m half-Italian.” She says, “I am, too.” I was like, “That’s awesome.” That was it. It’s a deep secret between the two of us. Nobody knew. That’s how I got introduced to his family.
You never know what it’s going to be like until you hear those deep stories. Everyone has a difference. I love what you’re doing and what you’re exposing through that. One of the things that you’re going to talk about at She Podcasts that I think is bingeable because you have a long show. Longer shows are harder to be bingeable but I guarantee you that’s what you’re listeners are looking for every single week. They’re looking to hear that long story that you’re getting deep into it. You’re talking about a lot of core values and that our values are all the same. That’s the similarities between.
Core values to me are important because as I left my corporate job and started my own business, doing collaborations, partnerships and talking to other businesses, I realized that some relationships didn’t work. I had to dig deeper into, “Why.” It wasn’t that they were bad people or I’m bad people. It’s that our values didn’t align. That’s when I was like, “Chemistry is real.” There have been studies that show that chemistry is real and so are your core values. You’re born with them. For me, one of my core values is curiosity. I get along well with people that are curious. That’s why my show is lengthy because I ask a lot of questions.
This is why I can already tell you and I are going to be great friends. That’s probably my number one core value. It defines people. To be curious about people means you can’t make judgments too quickly. That’s something that I value. I don’t like to associate with those that make harsh judgments.
You can tell right away when you meet someone, even if you’re networking. This is why I’m excited about my session because people are going to leave with their values. You’re going to tell right away. When you meet someone, you’re like, “It didn’t rub me the right way.” That’s because your values didn’t align.
You’re right about that being a business issue as well, not just a personal issue. It’s a lot easier to not associate with friends that you don’t want to hang out with anymore because it’s not a fit. In business, you tend to have to do business with others. You have clients that you don’t have values with. It starts to become a harder choice to be making. It’s a core and an important one, especially when you’re in what I call a joint mentor affiliate. You want to talk about sponsors to your show even in the future. Those values have to be aligned or it’s not going to resonate with your audience at the end. Are you finding that?
You hit it right on the head. Listeners are attracted to me because we share core values. I understand that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and I’m okay with it. Those may not want to listen to me and that’s fine. I know that I will attract the people that we share values with. Those people will be attracted to the businesses that I bring on to the show. The reason why I’m excited about this topic is that I’ve done it. I’ve brought on relationships, business ventures, partnerships, collaborations, you name it where it sounded good at the time. It was a good relationship or was a good opportunity but we didn’t share values, it didn’t work.
You also call yourself a recovering procrastinator, yet you started a show when it was hard to start a show. How did you manage that?
I procrastinated on starting my show for a few years. I had been listening to podcasts for a few years before I started the show. When you’re a procrastinator, you’re the best excuse finder. I could give you a book of excuses for why shouldn’t I start my show. I believe in vision boards so I’ve always had a vision board. One of my meditation teachers taught me how to do a vision board using feng shui. Since then, I’ve been using that type of vision board and it’s been powerful. One day, I woke up and I was like, “This is the time to switch my vision board.” It was this urge that I had. I went to magazines and I found a microphone.
I don’t know why but I need to put a microphone. I’ve always loved public speaking and I’m an extrovert at heart. I’m 83% extrovert on the intro-extro scale. I was like, “I have to speak somehow, somewhere. I don’t know.” This microphone showed up on my vision board and I put it there. A couple of weeks later, I get this urge of starting the podcast. I came up with a logo and a name. I’m talking to my friend, Henry, and I’m like, “I want to do this show. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I don’t know and I never put two and two together. I’m talking to Henry and I’m like, “I’m ready but the only thing that I’m missing is I don’t know how to edit sound. I have no clue. Zero idea.” If you went on YouTube at that time, there’s nothing. He looks at me and he’s like, “Pam, do you remember what I do? I’m a producer.”
The answers all reveal themselves when you need them the most. When we started our show, there wasn’t a lot that was over-complicated editing. I hired a high school student who’s now my son-in-law. That’s how I got around the whole editing idea because I didn’t want to do that either. Anyway, you’ve done more than 100 episodes or something like that. Is there a big difference between your early episodes and what you do now? What did you learn along the way that changed how you record in what you do?
Every anniversary, I do a recap of the year. I have many lessons every year. The first thing is I’ve learned to listen. When I first started, one of my top values is curiosity. I had a list of questions that I wanted to ask from my guests. I realized that I was listening to respond instead of listening to understand. Number two, I’ve learned the value of relationships and treating humans like humans. It’s been both ways where I get approached and I’m just a number for somebody. That’s one of the things that I promised myself, that nobody is ever going to be just episode 97. They’re going to be the actual human.
We don’t number them anymore. We did our first year and then we stopped doing that. We make it a policy with our clients not to number them anymore. Personally, for that reason. It also gets complicated when you decide to move stuff around. Sometimes, people do and then your numbering is off. It’s a technical nightmare. From the technical side, we don’t like to do it but I love the relationship idea of not doing it for that purpose, too.
I’ve learned many things, but I would say number one is to listen. We don’t listen anymore. We’re in the culture of immediate gratification that we do things to receive that oxytocin release. I think listening is important.
I think that podcast teaches you a little bit more patience because it’s a slower response. You had an even slower response than some of the rest of us with your audience. That probably taught you some of that as well. Because this is a good breaking point for this, I usually ask every single Center of Influence podcaster the same five questions. Hopefully, BuzzFeed is going to pick up some of these great answers that we’ve had because I’ve interviewed over 50 people so far. What are some ways that you found to get great guests?
Clarification. What are some ways to find great guests as far as how or how do I make my guests speak great?
I like it either way. It doesn’t matter how you want to answer that.
I want to answer with my heart and what’s coming is by asking great questions about them.
That also attracts the next great guest. They know you’re going to draw something wonderful and unusual out of them. What about increased listeners? That took a while for you. How have you been able to do that?
I would say setting a clear intention on why I want the listeners to grow. Not for the sake of having more listeners but to change lives and to impact others. Knowing that the ultimate purpose is to do that, then the listeners just come.
Produce it like a pro. Do you still have Henry or you do it differently now? What do you do to make sure you produce as professionally as possible?
I don’t have Henry anymore. I had to let go of Henry because I quit my job.
You don’t have money to pay an editor. That’s a common answer.
It’s funny because my excuse was, I don’t know how to edit. He had to teach me how to edit. I had to edit my show for a year and then I was like, “I’m done.” I would say delegating what you’re not good at is number one. Number two is committing to yourself and to your listeners. Once you get 100,000, 200,000 or 300,000 of whatever people that are listening to you, there’s an expectation. They’re waiting. Self-integrity is important.
Do you encourage engagement in your community? How do you engage with them?
I hang out on Instagram. It’s my favorite platform. It’s interesting because I don’t think a lot of my listeners are on Instagram. I have older listeners. The ones that are on Instagram, we talk all the time. I ask them questions. What’s important is that they know that I care about what they say.
You’re there. It’s not like an outsourcing platform. You’re there engaging with them.
They know that when I post, ask them questions, and use the stickers where they give me their answers, I respond. It’s important to me to hear what they have to say because I do what I do for them.Podcasting helps you value relationships and treat humans like humans. Click To Tweet
You’ve taken some sponsors, you monetize your show. Has it worked for you? What’s worked for you? How have you been able to monetize?
I opened a Patreon account because my show is tiny. Listeners have supported me. They believe in the show and they believe in the stories. They’re awesome. Another one is through small business sponsorships. This is to assume that the big corporations are still booking Latinx podcasters with the general media. They don’t understand yet. There are studies for this. The Latinas, specifically women, are the biggest minority that spends money and they’re loyal. I can guarantee it. I can show you that when I tell my listeners, “This is something that I use.” I promise that I use it and they know that I do. They’re probably going to go buy it. They’re loyal.
The general brands have not gotten up on the loyalty of podcast listeners and the action that they take. You’re right about the female community in general. I design and develop products that you buy every day at mass-market retailers. You probably bought some of my products and you don’t even know it. What we always go by is that 86% or more of retail is bought or influenced by women of all ages, races and all cultural backgrounds. When you look at that, you have to start taking that seriously. How do I reach them where it matters? They are overlooking podcasting as being so action-oriented and conversions are high. It’s such a shame. They’re going to start to get wise to that or start to see it happen.
The reality is when people like you are doing it yourself. You’re going on without them and say, “You’re not going to catch up. I’m going to establish my own core value-based affiliate relationships and my own products, my own things that I represent to my community. Sorry if you don’t want to come along.” There’s something that I like to call the, “It factor,” to everyone, the bingeableness of each of your podcasts and all of those things. What do you think has been the thread that most of your listeners are telling you? Why do they keep coming back for more?
Everyone mentions that there’s always something that they connect with. Whether it is a Spanish phrase that their mom always used to say. In the Latinx culture, there’s always like, “Where’s the boyfriend?” The commonalities, regardless of the ethnic origin of a person, are something that people connect with that story. That’s what keeps people coming. I don’t have a theme other than coffee. They know that they’re going to learn something from them. They know that they’re going to be able to identify and say, “This person did it. I can do it, too.”
How has podcasting changed your influence authority, gotten you speaking engagements, and helped your business grow?
Number one, I’m much more comfortable speaking. My first language is Spanish. Creating a show where I speak 80% English has completely given me confidence in speaking, messing up my speech, not being super eloquent, and speaking Spanglish and owning it. Number two, it gives you credibility. Having this thing on your website that says, “This is where I’ve been featured.” It’s a credibility factor that humans like. The relationships, meeting a ton of these guests. I have over 100 people that I’ve had true deep conversations with. A lot of my guests have gotten me gigs and recommendations. It’s reciprocal. One that comes to mind that I always share is Quetzal Mama. She teaches kids how to get into college, into Ivy League schools. A lot of my listeners are moms, they always ask me about college. I say, “Go talk to her because she’s your person.”
I have such a large referral base. There isn’t a single interview I do with someone where I say, “You should also be on this show and you should be this person.” They flood my mind because everyone’s stories are present because you got deep and personal. The one thing I wanted to ask you because we both have this as part of our titles, we share this, brand strategist. You call yourself an intuitive brand strategist. I want to know what that is.
I have loved psychology for a long time. I was close to switching my major to psych when I was in college because I like it so much. I learned about Carl Jung and his archetypes. When I worked with clients and their branding, we start by finding what their archetypes are, number one before anything. Two, we find their core values. I’m a certified crystal healer too so I have a woo side. I bring in my crystals and we do it in a holistic type of way where I allow the environment, not necessarily influence, but let things flow without them being so left-brained. I make their process more right-brained than linear and logical. It’s more like, “What are you feeling? How are you feeling? What’s coming from your heart?” I’m heart-centered, if you haven’t noticed.
I think that’s what’s going on in brands. We have to have our brands. When we’re talking brand here, everyone that’s reading there, Pam and I know the language already so we’re not talking, “This is what your logo is like.” It’s about how everything you put out there feels. One of the things that I talk most about a brand is it isn’t what you think it is, but it’s what everybody thinks it is.
When it feels right for you, it’s being expressed right, it feels like it’s in your blood, it’s in your everything that you are as a business and as a person, then it makes a big difference. The perception is clearer. It always works that way. You’ve done it on a little more, I’m going to call it, “Woo way,” because I think that it’s hard to think your way to that. Wishing is not a thinking process. It’s a visionary process. Cutting that part of your mind that second-guesses it and overthinks it is beneficial for you.
When I worked with the clients, they have to tell them to shush it. They’re like, “What if people don’t like it?” I’m like, “It doesn’t matter. If it’s not you, why do you want to be a pear when you’re an apple? If people like pears and you’re not a pear, people can go find a pear. The apples will find the apples.”
There’s so little, I’m going to call it, “Technical rule,” that at the end of the day you probably don’t want to have the word, “Conscious,” in your title. People can’t spell it. There are a few of these technical things that you should override and think. Normally, what you’re going to come up with is simpler than you would think. Simpler is always better.
Less is more.
How is your business going? You’ve been traveling a lot. It’s going well for you.
The business is going well. I’m excited. I am more called to help people with their procrastination so I’m working on that. I couldn’t ask for a better job than to help people succeed and it’s awesome.
Everyone should check out your show. It’s absolutely amazing, even when I don’t understand the Spanish, which is okay. I get the gist of it. It does remind me of being mixed in with my great aunts and my great grandmother where I do not understand anything. They’d be talking and I’d be in the room like, “I get a sense of what they’re saying but I don’t know what they just said.” There’s emotion in there and I love that about your show. It’s passionate and full of brilliance. Thank you for sharing all that with the world. Is there a great guest that if we can refer you to them, we will?
There are so many great guests. Gina Rodriguez would be awesome. She is a Latina that owns her story and I’m all about that. She showed up in Jane the Virgin. She was unapologetically her and I love it. I laughed at this show because it’s cheesy but it’s amazing. Look at the success that she’s had for being herself. That’s what we all need to be, that’s branding. Her personal branding is incredible because she owns it. It couldn’t be more her.
All you press agents, Pam’s ready. Thank you so much for joining me. I cannot wait to hang out with you, hear your talk, and get some core value training from you. I’m looking forward to She Podcasts with you.
Thank you. I’m excited to meet you, too. Thank you for the opportunity. This was great.
We’ve been doing many interviews with Center of Influence podcasters here on Feed Your Brand. I have been writing them up in Authority Magazine as well. This has opened up my eyes to the diversity of podcasts. I don’t just mean it in terms of cultural diversity because Pam is my first Latinx interview. I mean it in terms of diversity of topic, viewpoint, and perspective. It’s getting a wonderful blending and understanding of what’s going on in people’s minds that they’re sharing as hosts and what’s resonating with audiences that are listening everywhere.
I hope that this interview and this series of interviews on the Center of Influence is inspiring you to go create your own podcast, to go and start a show, to go share your voice and perspective with the world. It’s so obvious that the world needs this, that there are people seeking this. The listeners are asking for this kind of diversity. I hope you were as inspired as I was by Pam. Go listen to her show at Café con Pam.
We are @Feed_Your_Brand on Instagram as well. I look forward to hearing from you and look forward to you suggesting a new host that you’ve been listening to or new people that inspire you. If you’re a podcaster and reading this, why don’t you ask to join my show and become a Center of Influence influencer as well? I’m looking forward to talking with you all in the future. Thanks. This is Tracy Hazzard of Feed Your Brand Center of Influence.