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#048 | How Historian, Liz Covart, Quickly Grew the Ben Franklin’s World Podcast from ZERO to 68,000 Monthly Downloads

Date : October 10, 2016 Posted By :James Martell

Podcasting in Education with Liz CovartFrom the secret beach hut studio, Podcasting Veteran, James Martell continues his discussion of how you can use podcasting to work less, earn more and have more time to enjoy family, travel and the things that matter most. Kimberly is away today. but James has historian Liz Covart on the line.

Historian? That’s right. Let’s face it. There are a lot of podcasts out there geared towards coaches and entrepreneurs. We have something completely different in this episode. Liz Covart uses the modern medium of podcasting, the perfect media for an on-the-go generation, to explore the past. In doing so, she has capitalized on the potential podcasting in education.

Liz Covart is a history lover and historian of early America. She has a strong interest in the social and cultural history of the Revolutionary and Early Republic periods. After completing her Ph.D. (straight through from kindergarten), Liz suddenly realized that she didn’t want to become a college professor. But what else does one do with a doctorate in history? Start the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, of course.

Growing Pains

Liz knew that there’s a lot of well-researched history that’s not making it into bookstores any more, so why not do a history podcast? She loved the intimacy of a podcast and the way you can listen to audio while doing other things. In fact, she describes herself as a podcast junky. When she decided she wanted to do her own show, she applied her rigorous academic training and heavily researched podcasting. She just couldn’t believe that it could be as easy as sticking a mic into her computer. After 18 months of investigating, Liz honed in on the key elements of a great podcast.

Then she was visited in the night by the spirit of Ben Franklin and found the name of her show.

Since then, Liz has used the oldest kind of marketing to grow her podcast to over 68,000 downloads. That success brought rewards and challenges. She has the opportunity to interview Pulitzer-winning authors, but also has to turn away some eager potential guests and advertisers in order to maintain the quality of her show and her professional integrity as a historian.

Podcasting in Education

As her podcast grew, Liz needed help with the business side of history. Today she does one sponsored episode per month (they pay her to produce the podcast) on Doing History. This series provides instruction on how historians do their work and serves as an example of the potential of podcasting in education. It also offers another model of how podcasters can monetize.

Listen now as Liz shares:

  • The two things that will make your show a success
  • What Liz asks for from her listeners instead of ratings and reviews
  • The challenges that came from the growth and success of her podcast
  • How podcasting has made her a better historian
  • A few things to consider when determining the frequency of your show
  • Two great pieces of advice for new podcasters
  • Ideas for using podcasting in education


If you’re a history lover, a teacher of thinking using podcasting in the classroom, or just someone who’s curious about Ben Franklin’s World, check out these resources:

James’ Books on Podcasting

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