The Sound of Accra Podcast started in 2019 as a way for creator Adrian Daniels to launch a platform featuring talented and expert voices from Ghana. Since launching, Daniels has interviewed a number of entrepreneurs and creatives including TV personality Mz Dru, Yaa Ofori-Ansah, founder of sustainable travel platform Talking Drums Travel, and five times world champion kickboxer and actor Kevin Brewerton.
After producing over 100 episodes, Daniels has learned a lot about taking his podcast to a global audience and using it to both inspire and educate other creatives.
“Whenever you have days where the downloads are not very good, when you're not really monetising, when no one listens, when you don't want to edit, keep going – because a testimonial is going to come through, or you're going to have a piece of news that's just gonna make it all worth it,” says Daniels. “So keep going, know why you're podcasting, trust the process of podcasting and everything's gonna be alright.”
How would you describe your podcast?
The Sound of Accra is a powerful podcast series which features top Ghanaian founders, entrepreneurs and creatives. What we aim to do is to leave the listeners with meaningful takeaways; we want to allow them to extract as much value as possible from each episode that they can go away and apply in their life, in their business or in their career.
What we want to do is really showcase global Ghanaian excellence to the world. That came about through Ghana trending more on the map and people being more curious and interested in the country. Because people had this demand for the country, I thought this would be a great opportunity to tap into that demand and create a podcast, which will help people who want to enter an entrepreneurship or business or the creative arts in Ghana, or all Ghanaians that want to go down that road.
Why did you start your podcast?
My background is actually a music producer and a sound engineer. I had my own radio show called In the Mix back at university, it was an urban radio show – R&B and hip hop music. Radio is all well and good, but it doesn't really bring as much money, so I entered the digital industry. And then I had this random brainwave in 2019 to start this podcast.
What will tend to happen in the Christmas period in Ghana is that you get people flying in from all over the world. It's like a global networking party! Networking was always something I really loved, that I had a passion for doing. This podcast gave me the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs, with other creatives, from around the world. I also realised that on YouTube, there's so much content that already caters for Ghana. But on the podcast platform, I realised there was a huge gap in the market, there wasn't really a dedicated podcast that showcased Ghanaian entrepreneurs and creatives. So that's how the podcast came to be.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started?
One mistake I definitely made was not doing bulk recording of episodes ready to release. When I started season one, I didn't really have a plan. It was me just interviewing one guest. Then I’d put myself under pressure to go find another guest, and then do the interview, edit it, publish it, and I would just rinse and repeat, week after week after week after week. There were some weeks, of course, where I wasn't able to get a guest, so I'd beat myself up. It was very upsetting because I wanted to keep the momentum going. And then at the end of the season I was like, “Nah, this can't work.” So I needed to bulk-record and then release episodes on a weekly basis.
The second lesson was always having a backup – having a team member with me. When I started season two in 2020, I wish I’d had someone to help me to record. For example, there was an episode where I was recording video. I pressed record in the camcorder, but when I finished the episode, I realised that the record button was not pressed. I did actually have a backup on my iPad, but it wasn't quite the same quality. So I could only use that for an Instagram Reel. I was upset about that, and so was my guest! So after that episode, I realised that I actually needed a team. Season three, that's when I started to have a team and it made everything so much better.
How many people does it take to create an episode of your show?
I have a social media manager, a podcast manager, a videographer/editor. And then I have an advisor. That's four people in the team, excluding myself, so a team of five people.
Do you monetise your podcast?
At the moment, I monetise my podcast indirectly through a number of ways. One is through business opportunities. Some people reach out to me or fill in the contact form and then we'll put that person in touch with somebody else. Then we'll take it like a commission. And then two is a podcast course. In lockdown, I created a seven-hour podcast course, and my podcast became a case study. When people are going through the course they're able to see how I've evolved and how I developed the podcast. And they're able to take actual, real-life examples and apply it to their own podcast.
And then the third one is sponsorship. Season three was sponsored by Ice Cream and Ting which is an ice cream brand based in London; they provide premium ice cream brands that are inspired by African and Caribbean continents. Season four, the current season, which is out now, is sponsored by Honam Naturals which is an organic skincare line based in Toronto but the founder is Ghanaian. For season five, we just got sponsored by a FinTech company in Ghana.
How do you promote your podcast?
We have a website, we get some organic traffic from there. We're working on getting it SEO-optimised. And then social media; Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. We're going to be on TikTok this month. What works for us really well is Instagram Reels. We've had some Reels do over 100,000, which is great. We've had some do almost 20,000, 30,000, which is fantastic.
LinkedIn works fantastically for us, because our main target audience is mainly on LinkedIn, because it's more of a professional kind of audience. We get maybe 10,000 impressions a week from LinkedIn, depending on how much we've posted on there, of course. I go on other people's podcasts, I go on other people's YouTube channels as well.
What have you learned about yourself since starting the podcast?
I've learned I can maybe be too quick with the way I speak, react or think. What I've had to do over the seasons is improve my listening skills and discipline myself more in terms of reacting to people: forget that I’m interviewing and give them full opportunity to see what they want to say, and to just step back, and not really have to have a response for every single thing they say, but just let them talk. To sit back and listen to what they have to say and not to have to always worry about what's coming next. So, to trust that process.
Who listens to your podcast?
People from the age from 18 to 51 – they tend to be the age group. You have people that want to relocate to Ghana, or even Africa, per se. They take inspiration from some of the entrepreneurial success stories, or the creative success stories. You also have people who may already have a job, or they have a business and they want a bit of inspiration, or they want some new ideas that they can apply to their existing business life and career.
And then you also have people who purely just want to keep in touch with what's happening in the global diasporic community of Ghana, or Africa. People who want to up-level their business skills, creative skills, et cetera. And then people who want to actually move and make an impact in Africa or represent Africa.
What was the last podcast you listened to?
My favourite is Social Proof by a guy called David Shands, sometimes co hosted by a lady called Donni Wiggins. In terms of the last podcast I listened to, I think it was probably The Think Media podcast, a very good platform for video creatives. They actually interviewed David Shands, telling the story about how he got into podcasting.