We’re living through an unprecedented experience. People are staying home and businesses have shifted to remote working as we all do our part to stop the Covid-19 pandemic.
While it might seem like an unusual time to launch a new communication tactic, it’s actually the perfect time to start an association podcast. Podcasting is an amazingly intimate media that is very well-suited for the remote work situation most of us find ourselves in today. From members to influencers and other stakeholders, podcasting can help you reach audiences in a more personal way that people appreciate at times like these. Here’s why:
1. People need to hear human voices
Now more than ever, connecting with people on a personal level is important to our well-being. Your podcast can help. Whether your audience is your members, elected officials, influencers, or any other group your association regularly connects with, communicating with them on a directly personal level is more important than ever.
Social distancing is important, but people still need human contact. A podcast can help.
Your podcast doesn’t need to have a million listeners to be successful. It doesn’t even need to have 10,000 listeners. It just needs to deliver your message effectively to the audiences you care about most. Maybe that’s a few hundred members. Maybe it’s a few dozen influencers. The number doesn’t matter as much as the authenticity and personal touch that only a podcast can provide.
2. A Podcast can involve your whole team
It’s usually best for a conversational podcast to have a host whose voice and personality drive the conversations, but the host needs a guest of course. That’s where your entire team — even members, vendors, and third-party experts — can play a role.
Your business podcast can include members of your team, members, vendors, and more.
If you want influencers to know about a new legislative issue, for example, you can have a member of your government relations team as a guest. If your organization wants to highlight a new campaign, have your advocacy director on the show. If you’re making changes to the services you offer, invite your membership director to tell members about it.
These are all ways you can keep your interactions with your association’s key contacts personal and direct. The possibilities are limitless.
3. Podcasts can be (relatively) easy
Recording a podcast is actually rather simple. Most podcasts are simply conversations between two or more people (particularly podcasts by associations), and most of us are adept at carrying on a conversation.
Technically, all that’s required is a microphone and some easy-to-use software. It’s true that editing requires skill, but there are services that can assist you with that.
Podcast equipment and software are simple and easy-to-use for most technically savvy individuals.
Even with co-hosts or guests working from home, the technology exists to record conversations remotely with very good sound quality. Of course, the more complex you make your show the more difficult it can be to produce. Right now, however, simple is probably best.
With some basic know-how, you can usually get a new podcast published in a day and distributed within 24 hours. After that, publishing new episodes is as easy as publishing a blog post.
4. Podcasts are affordable
Compared to most other forms of media, a podcast is surprisingly affordable.
The economy is in flux and spending on a new project may be a challenge. Podcasts startup costs are actually very low, however, and episodes can cost as little as a few hundred dollars to record, edit, and distribute.
Compared to the time and energy required to launch a new newsletter, blog, or video series, podcasting is a remarkably affordable way to reach audiences. A professional-looking video can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per minute to produce, with hours of review and editing to get it right. A professional-sounding podcast, by comparison, will usually costs tens of dollars per minute and, assuming you outsource engineering, can usually take you less than two hours to record and review (for a 30-minute episode).
Podcasting is a great way to keep your community together, in a highly personal way, while we all practice social distancing.
5. Podcasts don’t interfere with productivity
Audio is one of the few “multitasking” mediums. Both text and video ask the consumer to focus exclusively on the content while they consume it, but not podcasts. You can’t really drive, cook dinner, or plan the agenda for an online meeting while also watching a video or reading a blog post, or at least you probably shouldn’t — but you can do all of those and more while listening to a podcast.
Unlike video or text, people can multitask while listening to a podcast.
Creating a podcast for members and other stakeholders is a great way to communicate with them without asking them to make extra room in their lives for your content. They can listen while they go for a walk after being cooped up working from home all day, or while they are doing the laundry, or working in the yard, or any other activity.
This is one of the greatest values podcasting for associations provides, and audiences appreciate publishers who respect their limited time.