WPblab EP83 – Starting an In-Person Community Online w/ Andy Lara

This week on WPblab we speak with Andy Lara on how he build an in-person community online for the Vox Podcast with Mike Erre

Andy Lara – Creative Director – VOX Community

Cohost of Vox Podcast – http://www.voxpodcast.com/

@andy_lara twitter

Mike wanted to create a place where he could talk about and say the kinds of things that aren’t as easy when you are bound by the rules of a church so he thought a podcast might be the way


Started out first online, but grew into an a community

Evangelism / Doctrine / Theology … conferences, meetups, retreats etc … there is a lot of commonality between how churches function and how the WordPress community functions

In marketing nowadays, people don’t want the hard sell – the way you evangelize a product or a community is much the same

Podcasts are one of the best things out there for transparency / reaching your customers & audience that a lot of small businesses aren’t doing. It’s a very low-budget way to create authenticity.

Mike and Andy started a podcast in Mike’s office where they were looking and talking to each other and not at the camera.  He moved away and they had to move to talking directly to the camera and it increased the audience exponentially!  People want to see faces, they want you to be talking to them!

Especially in the tech industry, a lot of people are isolated, working remotely or on their own and are missing out on the human connection which makes it even more important to reach them on a personal level

If you are just listening to a podcast and not doing something with it, you’re wasting it … you need to use the info, interact, give back

Started a church via the podcast … started with 80 church ‘planters’ and was able to launch with over 300 people because they were already engaged via the podcast. They knew the culture and the DNA before they ever showed up in person.

About 50,000 downloads per month for their podcast – people all across the nation tune in

The podcast is largely discussional, two guys hashing out the issues of the day

Their ability to sit down and do a podcast, helps them to take these big philosophical discussions and make them more accessible and conversational … it’s also a resource that they can point people to in the church

When we put our souls into our brands – that has meaning.  When we offer up who we are in our podcasts, that has meaning. It’s like when Matt Mullenweg sits down and does his talks at WCEU or WCUS. It puts a human face on what he does.

Giving integrity back to the audience – they believe their listeners are actually smart, they keep the podcast real and don’t try to hard to make it perfect and glossy

They built in a hefty feedback model where any member of the team can give feedback to Mike, even though he’s the pastor … everyone has something valuable to offer

In a community, it’s important to create a space where people can feel like they belong – you have to allow people to speak and be heard – when they feel safe and they have trust, they will speak up

Conversations and relationship are the things that transform us and make us into better and healthier people

Treat your community volunteers like real people, make them feel that their contribution is meaningful

Give your volunteers roles a real job title to make them feel important. Also limit trials to 6 months to show how people fit. Give them ownership in the process.


Weekly Watercooler Discussions about WordPress and it’s community.

9 responses to “WPblab EP83 – Starting an In-Person Community Online w/ Andy Lara”

  1. Live at 7pm Pacific — Starting an In-Person Community Online w/ @andy_lara of @theVOXPodcast wpwatercooler.com/video/wpblab-e… via @wpwatercooler

  2. This week on the @WPblab – Starting an In-Person Community Online w/ Andy Lara.
    Staring on about 2 hours wpwatercooler.com/video/wpblab-e…

  3. A fantastic chat about creating safe, successful online communities. wpwatercooler.com/video/wpblab-e…