Gain: How Adam and Liz launched and promote Games and Groceries

Welcome to Gain, an interview series where we ask podcasters about the backstories of the great work they’re creating.

Today, we’re speaking with Adam and Liz, the co-hosts of Games and Groceries: Talking Games and Being Adults. The podcast launched in June 2018 and is based in the United States.

Adam and Liz, hosts of Games and Groceries

Raven_coop says about their show: “I honestly love the chemistry that Adam and Liz bring to their podcast! Not only do they talk about subjects that I’m interested in, but their nerd relationship is legit #goals! I love their recommendations, their commentary on the gaming industry and they are so funny together!”

Where did your podcast idea come from? What’s the backstory on your podcast’s name?

Being very passionate about gaming, we wanted to serve a purpose in the culture. This led to us trying to design our own video game. Then we remembered that we know nothing about coding or animating. As players ourselves, we’re participants in the gaming culture after all, so why not do something to contribute?

We were sitting in a restaurant one evening when we started having a good conversation about video games. Then it clicked: why don’t we start conversations about video games through a podcast? From there we discussed how it would be structured, which took some time to experiment with. We now have a structure where we open with how our past week went, discuss a movie we watched and if we suggest it or not, give our thoughts on three pieces of recent gaming news, and close out with a conversational piece being discussed in the gaming culture.

The purpose of all of this is get more conversations started on topics that we think deserve more attention or perspective. We don’t only cover “nerd culture” movies, we cover as many genres as we can to broaden more tastes in movies. We don’t only discuss the gaming news that has been talked to death about, but there’s news we see that not many people give their full opinions on. With our conversational pieces, we do our best to give our honest thoughts on the discussion whether or not the masses agree with our opinions or not. That’s what conversations are about – two differing opinions that still end on good terms.

When trying to name the show, we wanted something that could be easily recognizable while also representing what we wanted to talk about. The name, Games and Groceries, represents what we wanted to bring to the podcast as gamers and adults with responsibilities such as buying groceries. With the news stories we cover and the conversations we start, we want it to feel like it’s another conversation you’d have at the dinner table. It’s just about video games rather than the weather.

Who was the first person you told about your podcast?

It was Adam’s best man from our wedding, Kevin, when he came for a weekend visit. That particular weekend had a Pokemon GO Community Day, and as we walked around, we shared with him that we had just recorded our first episode of this new podcast. Of course, his first reactions were similar to if you said you got a new shirt, “Oh, that’s cool,” which was expected.

He’s very supportive of the show now, but when you first tell someone about your podcast it’s a little bit hard for them to react to. It’s hard for a few reasons, but the main two are probably because podcasts aren’t as mainstream as other media platforms yet and the person is left in a difficult position because of that. They want to be supportive of you, but there are so many questions about podcasting. You can get paid to podcast? There’s a future in that? How do you talk about video games for an hour every single week?

We knew that Kevin would be the right first person to tell about the podcast because he’s a close friend and has always been supportive of us. And when he asked those questions, we knew it was out of support and not judgment.

When did you announce your podcast’s existence to the world? How did you do it?

We uploaded our first episode and realized we needed a way for people to listen to it. We made a Twitter account for the show, tweeted a link to the episode, and let the world find us. We knew from episode one, no matter how “loud” you announce your show, it’s really up to the audience to find you.

When we first started, we used hashtags like #GamingPodcast or #LetsTalkGames, trending keywords (at the time, Fallout 76 and Gaming Addiction were trending), and commenting on other tweets just to get the word out that we exist. We even started posting gaming memes of trending topics for people to find our Instagram account, like the “Place Trash Here” meme with the BattleGrounds Event Pass or the Ralph Wiggum chuckling “I’m in Danger” with the caption “When the Rent Bill comes after you devour the Steam Summer sale.”

Why did you want a podcast website for Games and Groceries?

We were in the middle of filling out an application to have a table at the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo. Having a table there would allow us to meet potential new fans of the show and for them to meet us in person rather than reading our tweets. One of the questions on the form asked for our podcast’s website. That’s when we knew a website was important to have.

More than that, we realized a website is a great platform for others to find us as well as a place to learn more about us and what our show offers. Our website now has its own web player to listen to our podcast as well as an Articles section to share further thoughts on other gaming topics.

You publish a new episode of your show. What’s your approach to promoting it?

In terms of promoting episodes, we try to balance letting the public know when it’s live without being an unbearable nuisance in your Twitter feed. Once the episode uploads, we’ll share a promotional image on Instagram with hashtags as well as tweeting it with trending hashtags like #Shazam or #PAXEast and a link to find the episode. From there, we pin it to the podcast’s Twitter page and our own personal Twitter accounts so if anyone sees our profile, they’ll have a link readily available.

We don’t spam Twitter with the episode over and over again. We just interact with other people authentically, and if they’re curious to see who we are then they’ll click our profile where the link will be the first thing they see. Instead of just outright saying, “Please listen to us!” we’ll reply to conversations. When Andy Schrock complained about the AMC app being broken trying to get tickets to see Endgame, we replied with how stressful it was trying to get our own seats too.

What’s your favorite episode of your podcast? Why is it your favorite?

Liz’s favorite episode is episode 5: Gaming is a Hobby Too. This is her favorite because there are so many people who turn their noses up at gamers and the gaming community, especially when you’re an adult gamer. She feels it’s important to normalize the conversation. She really enjoyed being able to contribute to the movement of making gaming more acceptable to the mainstream societal norm.

Adam’s favorite episode is episode 20: Minimalism and Gaming. Some people find joy in collecting, but others find it overwhelming to have all of those things. Either way, there shouldn’t be a mandatory number of things to own to define yourself as a “gamer.” You should own what gives you joy; you shouldn’t try to prove yourself with the items you own.

Describe a recent time you talked about your podcast in person. Who were you talking to? What did you say to help them learn more about your show?

Recently we were at a family party and we were telling Liz’s parents about the podcast. When we told them that we did a video game podcast they were a bit confused on how you make a show about video games every week. In short, we explained that we talk about what it’s like being gamers as adults as well as discussing gaming news. We also gave examples of some of our episodes like, Marriage and Gaming, Do Graphics Matter, and Marketing for Video Games.

They thought it was interesting, but as they aren’t gamers, we don’t expect them to start listening anytime soon. We might even have an episode soon about how to talk about video games to your non-gaming parents.

When you record your podcast, you might think about your imaginary listener who will hear this episode soon. What’s your mental image of this listener, and how do you incorporate their needs into your recording?

The primary thing we do is just to have a conversation with each other while we record. We want the episodes to feel like you’re sitting down with us in a discussion about video games, so we want the conversations to be authentic.

However, we also want entertainment value to be included so we think about what would make ourselves laugh or think about a topic. We actually plan out our show notes all throughout the week while researching and watching the trends. Sometimes we’ll see a piece of gaming news that’s trending but not really something that has conversational value or we’ll come up with a big topic, but we see it can probably be answered in only 10 minutes so we’ll look at other conversation topics. We’ll usually put together the official (in pen) show notes on a Saturday afternoon when the gaming news of the week is generally slower, but there have been times when a big story drops and we scratch out one of the Top 3 Gaming News to put in the new story. We also watch the movie of the week on a Friday or Saturday so we can digest our thoughts by our Monday morning recording day.

Our mental image of our listeners are people like us who want to talk about gaming news without debates or arguments and just want to have a good conversation. We figure that we can’t be the only “grown-up gamers” that want to have sit-down conversations about video games. Each episode we imagine having these same conversations about the latest gaming news and topics with other gamers at a coffee shop.

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