Finding a New Way to Connect with Your Audience During a Pandemic: A Case Study

July 7, 2020

By Kara Gormley Meador
NP Strategy


When COVID-19 hit in full force, the NPS+ team started brainstorming on our weekly call. As schools, businesses and people became paralyzed by the coronavirus, like so many others, we started to ask ourselves, what can we do to help?  How can we encourage others? How do we use our communications skills to move our community forward during a time of so much uncertainty?

We had been considering launching an economic development podcast for months, but when COVID-19 left the business community searching for immediate answers, suddenly the timing was right.

Enter The Buzz with Burnie, an economic development podcast.

NP Strategy CEO Heather Hoopes Matthews is an innovator and she’s not afraid to try new things.  Keep in mind, NPS+ had never produced a podcast, but Matthews knew that Burnie Maybank, a two-time former Director of the South Carolina Department of Revenue and Nexsen Pruet attorney, had the instincts, expertise, and personality to host an informative show with the right amount of flair. As a former broadcast journalist, I was brought in to co-host.

During a time that has everything in flux, The Buzz has served as a way to disseminate the latest economic development insights to our state. We’ve talked with statewide leaders, from company owners to local developers, and we’ve gained valuable industry information. Most importantly, we’ve learned a new skill- that a podcast is another valuable way to connect with audiences and tell your story.

A couple of tips to consider when launching a podcast:

  • Invest in the production of your show. Don’t use a shoddy mic and broadcast from your mother’s basement, unless she’s got a stylish basement. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
  • Make sure your host knows his or her stuff. Even the experts need to put in the homework time before recording a show.
  • Choose a topic that you’re truly interested in. It sounds like a given, but if you care, it will help you produce engaging content. It’s also important to have enough content to maintain a consistent production schedule.
  • A positive on the business side, a podcast allows you to deeply engage with existing stakeholders and turn them into brand advocates. It also gives you the opportunity to reach new potential customers.
  • Most importantly, be authentic and have some fun! Some of the best parts of the show are when Burnie talks about his honey harvests, his brief cameo on the Bravo series Southern Charm, or the fact that he has finally perfected his fresh mojito recipe (don’t ask about the recipe, trust me, I’ve tried).

Know someone who we should invite onto The Buzz? Let us know, and tune in when you get a chance.


Kara Gormley Meador is an award-winning broadcast journalist, with extensive experience hosting, anchoring and reporting the news. Her expertise gleaned from years in the media positioned Kara as a choice partner to find and tell great stories in ways desirable for optimal media coverage. From multimedia and marketing management, to crisis communication, public speaking, and video and audio production, the years Kara spent running her own business and in a television newsroom make her a master of multiple daily deadlines in fast-paced environments.