Entrepreneur: Heather Brooker
Tilt: Family and entertainment
Time to First Dollar: Six months after Motherhood in Hollywood launched ($12 an episode for pre- and mid-roll ads). It was a big mistake, she says.
Rev Streams: Sponsorships on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube; ad revenue from Motherhood in Hollywood
Our Favorite Actionable Advice:
- Don’t be afraid: Say yes to trying something new and don’t stress about failures. “There’s nothing you can’t course correct,” Heather says.
- Do gut checks: People want to see the authentic you when you are the brand. That requires regular self-check-ins to ensure you’re still true to yourself.
- Take a break: Heather took a hiatus after burning out creating the Motherhood in Hollywood podcast. While you may not take a full pause, you can plan ahead to take a break.
The Story of Heather Brooker
Heather Brooker was no stranger to content creation when she launched Brooker Family POPcast with her husband Chris and daughter Channing earlier this year. She already learned the content business – through trial and error – with the Webby Award-winning Motherhood in Hollywood, which she started nearly eight years ago.
When Motherhood in Hollywood launched, it took time to build an audience. This time around, she has a strong social media following, which contributed to download increases by as much as 1.7K% in one week during the POPcast’s first season. The second season debuts this week.
She never expected to be a content entrepreneur. The Emmy Award-winning journalist worked as an entertainment reporter for nine years at KNBC in Los Angeles. She also is an actor and comedian who has appeared on shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and The Mindy Project. But, it turns out, content creation has been a way to stretch her love of storytelling and build her visibility (helpful for securing those acting roles).
“If I hadn’t gone down this road of content creation, self-starting, if I was just still waiting for Hollywood to call and give me an acting role or an opportunity, I think I would be very sad,” she says. “To be honest, I would be very unfulfilled.”#ContentEntrepreneur @HeatherBrooker says a video podcast gives her instant clips for @YouTube and @TikTok. #BrookerFamilyPodcast #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet
Content crash course
Being an actor can be isolating, often spending time at home between auditions. So Heather, then a mom of a toddler, wanted to connect with other moms who are actors when she started the podcast Motherhood in Hollywood.
As a trained journalist, Heather knew how to ask questions. But she would embark on a crash course on building a content business and using social media as a marketing tool.
No early viral moment brought an audience to her. It also took time for the podcast to earn money. Heather calls her first sponsorship deal, which came about six months after launching, a “big mistake.” The three-month contract paid her $12 an episode for running pre-roll (before the podcast started) and mid-roll (during the podcast) ads.
“For less than $100, I sold them ads in what are now some of my biggest and most-listened-to episodes,” she says. “I knew nothing about podcast advertising.”
Still, Heather kept at it. Messages of appreciation from fellow actors and others who enjoyed getting a peek into Hollywood encouraged her.
She grew her social media followers by hosting contests. She also posted consistently. Invitations to family press events with Hollywood studios for new releases rolled in and stars agreed to interviews. Her audience and brand deals also grew.
Podcast episodes feature a range of guests and topics – from intuitive eating for kids to an interview with actress Courtney Thorne-Smith of Melrose Place and According to Jim fame and other industry professionals. “It was a perfect alignment for my skills, my passion, and for what I was trying to do,” she says.
But Heather had a lot on her plate. Two years ago, burned out from the constant demands of content creation, she put Motherhood in Hollywood on hiatus after more than 250 episodes. Then, a year ago, she left her job at KNBC.
Growing her brand and adding a new one
Heather continued to grow her social media presence. Today, most of her revenue comes from social media sponsorships on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube from brands as big as Disney, Amazon Prime, Target, Mattel, Walmart, and Cold Stone Creamery.
She recently signed a deal for a YouTube Shorts sponsorship. “I never would have thought YouTube Shorts would pay off,” she says. “But I’ve started constantly posting and I’m getting great traction there. I personally think that’s sort of the way a lot of the content is going to be going.”@HeatherBrooker didn't expect #YouTube Shorts to pay off, but she now thinks it's the way a lot of content will go. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet
Heather also had more time for her stand-up comedy and to produce her next creation – POPcast, inspired by the pop-culture conversations with her husband and daughter. Episodes during the first season covered everything from reboots and remakes to The Mandalorian. “My 10-year-old daughter is such a goofball,” she says. “It makes us laugh so hard.”
Advice for content entrepreneurs
For newbie creators, Heather shares these tips:
“If I wasn’t open to these opportunities, whether it be job-related or in the content creation space, I don’t know that I would be in the same position,” Heather says. “Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t be afraid to say yes.”
Embrace the failures
“Embrace failures, learn what you can, and lean into that a little more,” she says. “There’s nothing that you can’t course correct and change and fix.”Embrace failures, learn what you can, and lean into that a little more, says @HeatherBrooker. #ContentEntrepreneur #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet
Check in with yourself
People want to see the authentic you. And, in the all-consuming world of content creation, that requires regular check-ins to ensure you’re being true to yourself. “It’s OK to share the great, wonderful things that happen,” she says. “But just make sure it’s in an authentic way.”
About the author
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall is a longtime journalist, freelance writer, and founding editor of two popular parenting websites in North Carolina. She frequently writes about parenting, aging, education, business management, and interesting people doing remarkable things.