As recent members of the podcast game, we thought we’d share a few tips and tricks we’ve learned so far.
Podcasts are everywhere. Informative, fun and easy to grab on the go, you can listen to a podcast on just about anything. Covering subjects from economics, music, even niche pursuits, there is a podcast out there for you. They are a bit like audio blogs. Each episode focuses on one topic, like a blog post. Although podcasts have been around for a while, podcasting itself is still growing.
As a relatively young and exciting medium, podcasts can seem intimidating. If you feel daunted, remember that you are not alone. Fears about technical skills, money, how you might sound and a shyness about putting yourself out there are shared by most people. If they can do it, you certainly can do it too!
Charities can struggle to make headway in the ‘attention economy’. We want people to hear our message. In order to do that we need a content strategy, and one that relies on more than one kind of content. Podcasts are a great way of creating content that spreads your message, with relatively low overheads.
Charities are always battling to get people to pay attention. We want people to hear our message and to listen to us when we tell them how to fix things. These days, there is a tonne of ways we can do that. One such method has seen a sudden resurgence in the last couple of years. Podcasts. 44% of the UK population has listened to a podcast – that’s a big audience.
They do take time and energy. Pat Flynn, host of the Smart Passive Income podcast, advises ‘Podcasting is extremely fun and exciting, but there is one thing you must do before you start podcasting: Commit. You must internally commit to podcasting, as you must do with anything that is potentially beneficial but takes some time and effort to do’. The various stages of putting together a podcast, polishing and publishing it take time, so assign it to a key team to oversee.
As a newer type of content, podcasting is a much less crowded space than blogging, so you have a great opportunity to get your charity podcast out there and get noticed. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Pick a specific subject and plan how to cover it in a long-running series of episodes (50 or more).
Think about co-hosting with a friend, teammate or collaborator in a similar charity to your own.
Choose an interesting name to entice listeners and hint at the material being covered.
Experiment with duration to find the right one for you, whether 10 minutes, an hour or more.
You could try an interview, a solo in-depth recording, a group discussion or more.
Watch out for scratchy recordings, volume changes, and background noise.
You don’t need to splash out on expensive and complicated gear but you do need a good microphone and editing software. Then, start recording, make a practice podcast or two to familiarise yourself with the medium.
Listen to other podcasts. Find out what people are doing and what people are listening to. Get your charity podcast out there and ensure it can be easily accessed and downloaded.
Think about your unique ‘sound’ when setting out. Consider your brand and how your service users would describe your charity to develop your sound. Are you academic, humourous, quiet and peaceful or dynamic and full of energy? Here is a list of charity podcasts to listen to and learn from.
We have entered the fray, too. Our regular podcast highlights the challenges facing the sector, and the successful organisations that overcome them. We reported on the Safer Social Sector Partnership group’s range of podcast, video and online guides to help charities protect staff, volunteers and service users.
Salesforce’s Gaming for Good podcast illustrates how charities can use gaming to level up your fundraising. It provides useful advice about engaging the enthusiasm of gamers and tapping into their passion for the charity sector to raise donations. The podcast also explains how the charity sector can incorporate gaming elements into their fundraising campaigns and draw in a swathe of potential new supporters.
The podcasts provided by the Nonprofit Hub community focus on giving charities the info they need to expand and amplify their work. Their podcasts cover a range of topics on operations including fundraising, relationships with donors, engaging with your board and more.
The Mental Health Foundation podcasts expand on the mission of the organisation. Their series focuses on self-care through mindfulness and emphasises the significance of a healthy diet, exercise and sleep. Their podcasts helps listeners whether they are facing difficulties or choosing to sustain mental wellbeing. They cover a wide range of mental health issues and of varying duration to help listeners can choose the right podcast for their situation.