Access to Inspiration now one of the top 10% most popular shows globally

We are delighted that the Access to Inspiration podcast is one of the top 10% most popular shows out of 2,116,741 podcasts globally, ranked by Listen Score (the estimated popularity score).

Find out more about the podcast series below and why it was started…..


About Sue Stockdale, co-founder and podcast host

I’m Sue Stockdale, and I’m host of the Access to Inspiration podcast, where you can be inspired by the experiences of people who may be ‘unalike you’.

In 1996, I became the first UK woman to ski to the Magnetic North Pole, something I never imagined was possible. I was inspired to do this after reading a newspaper advert looking for novices to join the expedition. It made me realise that we can all achieve amazing things, but we often just need some inspiration to get started. My co-founder Clive Steeper had a successful career as a Tyre Engineer in motorsport (F2 and Le Mans), which was also kickstarted when his father gave him a newspaper cutting looking for an engineer to join the motorsports division of GoodYear.

Our listeners come from over 16 countries and represent a broad age demographic.

Why & how did you start this podcast?

Today, the world faces many challenges, and people need inspiration to believe they can have a positive impact. The glorification of celebrities portrays a narrow, and often unrealistic, view of what people should aspire to. Discoveries and breakthroughs come from fresh thinking and broader perspectives. Inspiration plays a role in this. Access to Inspiration podcast aims to improve people’s lives by helping them to transcend day to day challenges, and reflect on what they are capable of achieving. We founded this non-profit podcast to amplify the voices of inspiring people from around the world. Whilst they may be from different countries, cultures, backgrounds, generations, jobs, and have other hobbies and interests to you, they share many things in common with all of us.

They are individuals with energy, enthusiasm and passion. They have discovered ways to achieve more than they imagined was possible. The first episode was published in January 2020, and we have now published over 4o episodes with guests from 14 countries. One of our goals is to offer diversity to listeners, in the guests that are interviewed. They range from an astronaut, and brain scientist, to a farmer and an ultra marathon runner. They are different genders, age, geographies, industries, etc.

We chose podcasting because it is a captivating medium. Our favourite is Desert Island Discs, a BBC podcast where a person is interviewed about their life, and they share the 8 discs they would take to listen to on a desert island, and why they are meaningful to them.

How did you find the time and funding to do this podcast?

We created the podcast in a series format.  Each series has up to eight episodes carefully curated to provide diversity within each series. It takes quite a few hours to go from identifying a guest to publishing the podcast, but its a team effort. Our sound editor, and social media team are based in countries facing difficult economic situations, and our support contributes in a small way to improving their lives, which is an important part of our ethos – in that everybody wins. Both Clive Steeper and I have invested our own money and time to making this happen, because we want to give back to others, and help them gain new insight and inspiration too.

What do you gain from podcasting?

Our longer term aim is to make a greater positive impact on the world, and for more people to value, and be inspired by, the ideas and insights of others who are unalike them. In order to do this, we also plan to seek sponsorship to help support the costs of production and marketing, by working with partners who share our mission.

There are a lot of benefits that have been gained to date:

  • over 50% of our guests are first time podcasters, and many of them have enjoyed the experience so much that they have been inspired to do more themselves
  • by choosing our team of skilled workers from countries in difficult economic circumstances, our support goes a small way towards helping them improve their lives
  • we have had a lot of positive feedback from listeners who have shared with us the impact that the stories have had on them and their families, encouraging them to try new things, take on different challenges etc.
  • we have used the podcasts as a tool for those interested in coaching to practice their listening skills, with an opportunity to reflect on what they are hearing
  • we have learned a lot about the podcasting process and keep improving the quality of our episodes
  • we are getting to know more people in the podcasting community, and often as a guest on other podcasts – hopefully providing a positive contribution for their listeners too.

What is your podcasting process?

Our process is rigorous in the preparation – and engagement of guests, to build rapport and trust, so that when they show up to record the conversation, they feel comfortable and relaxed, and know that their story will be listened to and valued. The greater the preparation ahead of the interview, the better quality of output it achieves. We use Squadcast to record the interviews remotely which works really well. Its backup facility means that you never have to worry about losing a recording.

How do you market your show?

By using the distribution platform Spreaker we can connect to many of the other platforms like Pandora, Stitcher, Spotify etc. and it enables lots of people to find us.

We also promote our podcast via this website and find that almost 50% of our listeners use that route, perhaps because we also offer a transcription of each episode there so its easier to follow along and read the notes at the same time.

We also use social media (Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram) to promote the episodes, and being a guest on other people’s shows which gives a chance to talk about the podcast.

What advice would you share with aspiring podcasters?

  • My most important tip is – focus on your guests, not yourself. If you give them the floor, allow them to shine, you will gain listeners that want to come back to listen again, because the podcast provides useful content and it’s not all about you.
  • Prepare some questions, but be ready to throw them away and just listen and respond in the moment.
  • I also joined The Podcast Academy and as part of the membership fee I got mentoring support which was invaluable.

How can we learn more?