Suzy Chase has a passion for lifestyle podcasting, and across almost two decades of experience in the space, she has made a habit of carving out interesting new niches for herself. So far, Chase has launched three successful lifestyle shows: soul music podcast The Groove Radio in 2005, recipe podcast Cookery by the Book in 2015, and her latest project, Decorating by the Book in 2021.
The latter two shows are based on dissecting and discussing recipe and design books respectively, including interviews with the authors, and this innovative idea has garnered Chase a loyal following. She has also recently taken the technology of her newest podcast to the next level by collaborating with interactive podcasting platform Vizzy. The result is the introduction of visuals throughout each episode of the podcast, making it easier for the audience to follow along.
We asked Chase what she learned from her experience in the podcasting world:
How would you describe your podcast?
Decorating by the Book is the only design-book podcast. I’ve just launched this thing where you can listen and look on your smartphone and Apple podcasts – you can follow along with images, chapters and clickable links. It's powered by Vizzy, which is a super-cool, brand-new tool for podcasters. I'm one of the first to start using it. So, so cool!
The images and clickable links and chapters is something in podcasting that I've never seen before and it's mind-blowing. So if you're listening along in Apple Podcasts, you can see a picture of what we're talking about. It’s on Vizzy.fm and it's available for all podcasters and if you want to put images to your episodes, I highly recommend it.
Why did you start your podcast?
I wanted to do a lifestyle trifecta. So I started in 2005 with The Groove Radio, a soul music podcast, like a mixtape. In 2015 I launched the very first cookbook podcast in the food category, Cookery by the Book. In 2021 I launched Decorating by the Book podcast and that's the only design book podcast. So I wanted to do this lifestyle thing with music, decorating and cooking.
What advice do you wish you've been given when you first started?
I wish I would have tooted my own horn earlier. I started right when podcasting started, in 2005, and I was so into the content, so into creating, that I completely forgot about the marketing component of it. So it took me years to start doing marketing, because I was all-consumed with creating.
How many people does it take to create an episode of your show?
One. I host, I produce, I book my guests, I edit and publish and I do the social media, because I am the most crystal-clear on my brand; how I want my outward-facing brand to be, and my audio brand to sound. [But] I'm shopping around for both my cookbook podcast and my decorating podcast right now. So I’ll definitely [get help] in the future.
Do you monetise your podcast?
For years I deliberately did not monetise because my podcasts are a vehicle for me, not a money making venture. As an independent podcaster I’ve intentionally created a lifestyle audio brand that includes music, cooking and decorating. From my dining room table in New York City’s West Village, in each episode I use food and design as a lens to examine people and cultures, where the books are archeological artefacts.
My goal is to launch a cookbook and/or decorating book audio series with the biggest names in the game on a large platform. That said, a few years ago I was approached by a brand called Bloomist to buy ads on my cookbook podcast. It was a deal I couldn’t turn down but in the end it wasn’t a great fit for my show.
How do you promote your podcast?
It's heavily, heavily word of mouth. There's very little crossover between Instagram and podcasts. It's hard to get someone out of the Instagram app into a podcast. I don't really promote there; it's really word of mouth. I get out, here in New York City; I go to book signings, I meet people, I meet people who know people, and I also have a “call to action” on my show: “If you like this podcast, tell a friend!” It's been so fruitful.
What have you learned about yourself since starting the podcast?
I’ve been in podcasting since 2005 with my first show called The Groove Radio, my love letter to the soul music mixtape. I also connected with one of the founders of Libsyn, Dave Mansueto, to become a first adopter and host my show on that platform. When I say I’m a life-long learner it really translates to the learning curve of podcasting since day one. It feels like I’ve been learning about podcasting for a lifetime! My second podcast Cookery by the Book was born out of my curiosity to learn how to cook. For nearly 10 years I was on adult contemporary radio in Kansas City but I had never interviewed people, so for this podcast I had to learn the skills of interviewing.
I’ve interviewed Nigella Lawson, Jacques Pépin, Melissa Clark, Alison Roman to name a few, so in order to chat with big names like that I had to be a very effective and engaging interviewer. And then my third podcast, Decorating by the Book was created as the companion podcast to Cookery by the Book to complete my trilogy of lifestyle podcasts. I’m putting all the skills I’ve learned in 18 years of podcasting into this show and still learning new things every day!
Who listens to your podcast?
People who love interior design, want to learn more about it and are of any sort of economic level. I'm not highbrow! I am for anyone who loves decorating and who wants to get tips and tricks.
What was the last podcast you listened to?
Archetypes by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. I love this because she explores labels that hold women back. And she sounds great. I think the key to that podcast is that she's a really great listener. She didn't interject a lot. I got so much value from that podcast.