Recoon FM: Anna Grigoryan

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Community Name: Recoon FM

Community Leader: Anna Grigoryan

What is Recoon FM? A community for podcasters.

How she started Recoon FM

So I'm a software engineer and before that, I was community manager in Armenia. This spring, I was working at a startup in the beauty industry, but it failed because of COVID - everything shut down. I remember the date: March 15 - I said why don't I make a list of communities that I'm part of and just share it with everyone? I went home that day and put together a list in airtable, hosted everything on a simple HTML page, and launched it. [Note: this is Community Finder]
I had been working with another person on building an app, and we discovered that our main passion was not just to help people in the beauty industry, it was to help individual creators to optimize their work and manage their processes better. When I was creating my personal podcast I thought, "This is so hard, I don't know what I'm doing." Luckily, my friend had a lot of experience with Anchor before Spotify acquired it, and she said, "Okay, we have experience in analytics and in marketing, why don't we help other podcasters to set up their workflows and manage their podcasts a bit better? Planning, helping them to monetize, be more presentable to sponsors." And that's how we started Recoon FM, our private podcasting community on Discord.

On finding the community's value prop

If you go to our website, you'll see that the main value proposition of the community is that we are listening to the podcasts of our members and we're giving them feedback. We hadn't seen that in any other podcasting community. People are really, really grateful because we're not their friend, we're not their family, and we're not just saying, "Hey, sweetie, you're doing fine." We're saying, "Hey, this is good, but you can improve with these other techniques that we learned in our journey." So we decided to give one free review if someone submits their podcast, and we got ten submissions. As you can imagine listening to a whole episode, taking notes, researching that specific niche and giving advice, it was a lot. We decided that while this was a good way to get the word out about ourselves, it also didn't convert at all.

On choosing a platform

It was a very fast decision. I see a lot of communities that are built on different platforms because of Community Finder. I personally don't like slack as a community management platform - it's for work. Every time I see a notification, it's stressful and distracting. Discord has more of a cozy atmosphere. Another big factor for me is that Discord has video chat, which Slack doesn't.

The challenges of pricing

We actually made it paid from the very beginning, because it's our full-time job. That was quite a journey for us, to be honest. Our first pricing, if I remember correctly, was $15 a month or $150 a year. We launched on Product Hunt with that pricing. Before that, we already had 40 members and we decided to make them our core community, our founding members, and then to start getting other members with the new pricing plan. Right away, we got one new member, which was already good because we were afraid people wouldn't spend money on it. But some people asked us why we didn't have a free plan, so we went back and forth on that idea. And we decided to create a free plan and see what happens.
We also created a special discounted plan for people who signed up for the podcast review - $400 a year - but no one converted. So, we decided to work on our community and changed the plan to $20 a month. We decided to continue to do reviews, but also to audit their workflows, help them to optimize their processes with Airtable and other no-code tools. After that, we had one more sale. Our journey was very hit and miss - I don't think that we've found the sweet spot yet. You need to just try to test with people and see what works and what doesn't. Our community is very, very vibrant in itself, but the pricing may change.

On growth tactics 

Our current idea is to do reviews, not only for members, but also for other podcasts. We do 15 podcasts each month on a live stream on our YouTube channel. We decided that we can just go to Reddit and post that we'll be doing reviews and if you have a podcast you can submit - we have this number of open spots. Our hypothesis is that the free plan didn't work because it didn't feel like a community, but on the live stream there are all these members having fun and interacting in the chat, so people will feel that community spirit and maybe will stay. We're also thinking about taking on sponsors in the podcasting space.

On the future of Recoon FM

We debate about this a lot. We are exploring a lot of ideas, mainly around podcast discovery, which is the main pain point for a lot of podcasters. The other space we're exploring is a CRM for podcasters. My personal struggles as a podcaster kickstarted everything. As a software engineer, I like to automate everything, but podcasting is such a fragmented experience that it really gets on my nerves. Some of the work we're doing now is exploring how much podcasters really need help with that and if they're ready to pay for that kind of product.