Podcasting has become a great way to go in-depth on a wide range of subject matters that resonate with both you and your audience. Data shows that approximately 37% of the U.S. population has listened to one or more podcasts in the past month, and that number has grown by over 100% in the last year. It’s also worth noting two-thirds of listeners act on calls-to-action in podcasts and people prefer promotional content in podcasts over any other digital medium. That represents a huge opportunity for your nonprofit, foundation, or educational institution to promote your brand, gain new community members, and engage your existing audience members. Like blogs, emails, and social media content, podcasts are a way to connect and create strong advocacy while sharing your thought leadership on the subject.
Podcast analytics are the foundation of big growth decisions. As with social media content, blog, and website traffic, podcast analytics can help identify and build a following, increase downloads and pinpoint hot topics the audience wants to know more about.
Let’s examine the ways adding a podcast may benefit your organization.
Expand Brand Popularity and Awareness
People enjoy listening to podcasts because they cover a broad range of engaging topics. Finding those engaging topics that relate to both your audience and your company, non-profit, foundation, or educational institution is key. Podcasts are similar to word-of-mouth advertising in that they help build a more organic relationship and establish trust. This is especially true in higher education.
For example, recruiting and retaining students is incredibly challenging for colleges and universities. A podcast allows an educational institution to build community, and community increases accountability. Podcasts give students and staff alike the opportunity to hear what others have to say and to be heard themselves. And people are less likely to leave when they feel a part of something. From a public relation standpoint, podcasts are a great, rarely-tapped resource.
Podcasts allow an organization, be it a university, community college, nonprofit, or foundation, a platform to promote values and culture. Interesting things are happening with your staff, student body, community, and organization every single day, but people outside of the inner circle may not know anything about them because they aren’t there. A podcast can change that!
Think of a podcast as a targeted conversation. Podcasts are where you are the subject matter expert sharing your knowledge, breaking down complex thoughts or processes into bite-size, easy-to-digest information nuggets. A podcast that speaks to the audience instead of at the audience is more likely to build a regular following, with an audience more likely to like, approve and share your content.
As mentioned earlier, two-thirds of listeners respond to calls-to-action included in podcasts. Educating listeners about your nonprofit’s cause and current fundraiser may be just the thing that moves donors to give, helps recruit new volunteers, or moves a listener to seek out services for themselves or people they know. The same holds for educational institutions. Information heard in a podcast may sway a student to choose your school over another that does not speak directly, authentically to them.
Podcast Format, Focus, and Flow
When considering launching a podcast, the format is an important consideration. The majority of podcasts fit into a few popular formats. Each has pros and cons; a mix of formats and topics can help keep the audience engaged and coming back.
For example, an interview format or a monologue podcast, where the subject matter experts can weigh in on the benefits of new programs that will benefit community members, such as free tuition for students entering certain fields of study or legislation that impacts the mission of your nonprofit.
A conversational or panel formatted podcast might work well for a nonprofit or foundation during a fund-raising campaign, where multiple voices can help draw the listener in or an educational institution discussing complex issues like financial aid, campus and faculty diversity, or the highlights of emerging fields of study. Interviews with people your nonprofit or foundation serves is another way to connect with the community and may help inspire listeners during fundraising efforts.
Like blogs, all podcasts include a non-fiction storytelling component. Create podcasts that follow the story of a few of the staff of the nonprofit, how they came to join the organization or highlight areas of student life that may appeal to non-traditional and older students, like night and weekend classes, childcare, tutoring, and mentoring.
Try a few different podcast formats and watch the data and analytics. The numbers will point to what works and what doesn’t, and where to mix things up. Remember, podcasts are a communications tool that functions differently for different segments of the market, be they an educational institution, a community-based nonprofit, or a foundation.
Promoting Your Podcast
Podcasts don’t exist in a vacuum. They should be promoted on social media channels, in newsletters and email blasts, and on websites. Sharing a calendar of upcoming topics and speakers encourages listeners to return and even share the podcast. Build the anticipation before you launch your podcast, make the content something listeners will want to share, and come back for more. Consider the audience you are trying to reach, follow what the data and analytics tell you when making programming decisions.
If you are new to podcasting, Hudson Collective can set up your podcast from both a technical and messaging standpoint. We can craft storylines, find and book guests, record, edit, optimize, and broadcast your podcast. If you already have a podcast, we can help you optimize and market it, ensuring it reaches more of your target audience. Contact us to learn more.