Making and running a podcast can have several benefits for nonprofit organizations.
Podcasts are a large industry, with over 50% of all consumers in the United States over the age of 12 listening to podcasts. Out of everyone who listens to podcasts, 75% of people do so in order to learn new information or educate themselves. Additionally, the listening rate of podcasts has continued to grow every year, which means that a larger audience will be able to be reached. Podcasts supply a way for many nonprofit organizations to connect with their existing community and audience in a new way.
Having specific themes and interests to talk about may create more engagement and help people relate to one another and the causes associated with your nonprofit. Audio format is more convenient to listeners for a number of reasons, including the ability to multitask while listening to audio recordings. Podcasts are also an excellent opportunity to grow your audience, as they can be uploaded to multiple streaming services and connected to different keywords and tags that will help new listeners find your organization. The starting costs for creating a podcast are relatively inexpensive too, so you won’t have to break your budget to get started.
How to Start a Podcast for your Nonprofit
Once you have decided to start a podcast, the next step is actually to create it. The list below details some of the things you should do when starting your podcast:
1. Plan everything out
One of the first essential measures to take before launching your podcast is to develop a detailed plan. You will first want to determine who your target audience and demographics are, as well as what specific topic your podcast will explore. There is an abundance of already-existing podcasts related to various topics, so it may be useful to check out what already exists and brainstorm how your organization can bring something unique to the space.
Does your nonprofit have specific knowledge that other nonprofit-related podcasts are not talking about? If so, this may be a great area to focus on. Things like Search Engine Optimization research can help you generate better ideas for your podcast and figure out a better general idea of what you want to do. Looking at already-existing podcasts similar to the one you are thinking about starting may allow you to determine other details, such as your podcast’s length, while letting you see what is and isn’t working for others.
2. Finalize the details
Along with more generalized decisions regarding your podcast, it will also be essential to make specific decisions. For example, your podcast format will need to be decided upon, as there are many options to choose from. Would a narrative-driven podcast be best for your nonprofit, or would a hosted or interview-style podcast work better? In addition to formatting, details such as the name of your podcast, your podcast description, your branding or cover art, and possibly even your theme music will need to be picked out.
Another important aspect of creating a podcast is the podcast-hosting provider, or a media server that can store the large quantities of data and files it requires to produce podcasts so that listeners can download them with ease. There are various things to consider when choosing which podcast-hosting provider to use, from price to the website-related features included.
3. Record and launch your podcast
Once you have all of the information you need and are ready to start a podcast, the next step is to do it. Remember all of the potential benefits of podcasts when you feel as though you are not ready to start one, and then put yourself out there and get it started.
Once your podcast is uploaded to multiple streaming platforms, be sure to promote it on your organization’s social media and anyone else that might be useful in spreading the word about it!
Tips to Keep in Mind
1. Choose the right equipment
No matter if you are a larger nonprofit or have a smaller budget, make sure the equipment you choose to record and produce your podcast works for your needs. Since podcasts are all about audio, having a good microphone is necessary, even if it is lower in cost. A microphone that can plug into your computer or phone may improve the audio quality much more dramatically than you would have previously thought possible. When it comes to the editing and producing side of things, there are a number of free or inexpensive programs available for both Mac and PC. If your organization is new to the editing side of things, having someone who can experiment with different software and figure out the best production techniques may be ideal. Remember that even if you don’t have experience, you will eventually get the hang of things with practice and repetition.
2. Stay as organized as possible
There is no doubt that planning and running a podcast can take a lot of hard work. Good organizational skills can make this process less stressful and much more manageable. For example, knowing in advance what topics you want to talk about on your podcast for the next couple of weeks or months will help you avoid planning an episode theme last minute, and also allow you to promote future episodes at the end of your podcast to keep listeners excited for more.
3. Measure your results
In order to improve and grow your podcast, it is essential that you spend the time to measure your results. Metrics that may be important to look at include the number of downloads of your podcast, the reviews, and comments of listeners, total time listened per episode, how people are finding your podcast, etc.
Because podcasting happens across a number of different platforms and services, it can be hard to identify a single way to measure results. The first place you can check is the platforms that your podcast is up on. However, if you have decided to use a professional podcasting host such as PodBean or Lybsyn, you may be able to see all of your results in one place. There are also a variety of free or paid websites that will help you track your podcast results. Make sure to carefully analyze these results and use them to improve your podcast strategies and tactics.
Be Mindful of Potential Mistakes
Along with tips for success, there are also some things you may want to be careful to avoid when making a podcast. The list below details some of the more common mistakes to look out for:
1. Common issues with recording
Since podcasts revolve around technology, it is inevitable that some hurdles may arise. Being prepared and knowing what to do in advance will help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls with podcasts. For example, having background noise or unclear audio is a common mistake made in many new podcasts. To avoid this, find a quiet location away from background noises like air conditioners or fans. You can try to record silence in your potential recording location to test if background noises will be an issue or not. Using an external microphone or microphone with better quality can help with eliminating some background noises if you cannot find a quieter location.
One significant area to be knowledgeable about when creating a podcast is copyright laws. Any music or audio recordings from movies or television may be copyrighted and can result in lawsuits if you use them in your podcast. When in doubt, always do your research and make sure anything you are using is safe to share.
3. Lack of consistency or passion
As with many creative endeavors, consistency and passion are two of the top driving forces that can help your podcast succeed. Without consistency, your listeners may grow impatient, and your podcast may have trouble growing. Without passion, your podcast may come across as insincere or unauthentic, causing listeners to feel bored or fail to retain the information being conveyed. Make sure your podcast has a consistent uploading schedule and talks about interesting and relevant topics to your organization.
Podcasting can be a fantastic way to broaden your audience, increase donations, strengthen your community, and share information. Although creating and running a podcast can be very energy and time-consuming, the benefits may outweigh the challenges. If your nonprofit is thinking about starting a podcast, make sure they are appropriately prepared in all areas, follow their goals, keep track of the outcomes, and attempt to avoid possible mistakes. Knowing about common recording issues, copyright laws, and lack of consistency and passion may help your organization avoid these mistakes. Organization and analysis may be important skills to keep in mind when creating a nonprofit organization’s podcast. Overall, make sure your podcast and the topics discussed on your podcast reflect your nonprofit organization and any interests or causes associated with your nonprofit.
Good luck in all of your podcast endeavors, and happy podcasting! And make sure to check out our own podcast, The Nonprofit Growth Show, where we interview leaders and innovators working for and with nonprofits.