Most people starting a podcast think mainly about building their audience. Exceptional podcasts though, don't begin with an audience count in mind. Most times, it is the message, mission, or social impact that is the reason why they will do what they do. There are a few benefits where podcasting would be a great addition to your nonprofit's media portfolio.
Benefit #1: Podcasts Connect Nonprofits with Niche Groups
Podcasts are an excellent way to micro-target a specific group. The podcast can be leveraged to speak to the specific special interest of the group. Whether medical (e.g. cancer), or social (e.g. unemployment and homelessness) as examples, you can create content specifically meeting the needs of that particular community.
Benefit #2: Podcasts Can Find You More Supporters
People who engage in podcasts love to share great podcasts. They are much easier to incorporate in day-to-day life than most other information mediums. Listening is so much easier when driving or working out, doing chores, etc. The flexibility of podcast content consumption encourages listeners to engage more deeply. The fans are listening because of specific interest in your content and will share with others who share similar interests. They will ultimately be more authentically connected to your cause over time.
Benefit #3: Podcasts Are Great Mediums to Quickly Create High-Quality Content.
High-quality written and graphical content can take a lot of time. Between writing, editing, rewriting, and eventually submitting for approvals, it can take quite a while before your subject (which was meant to be timely) is eventually ready for publishing. Verbal content, on the other hand, can be created quickly and posted within hours.
Benefit #4: Podcasts Are an Excellent Tool for Internal Teams
Large nonprofit organizations or those who may be dispersed geographically can stay informed and feel connected through podcasts. They are great for building culture, when onboarding new team members, informing internal communications or volunteers, as part of a learning and development tool, or generally reaching out to existing donors or beneficiaries. This is a great way, for example, to have everyone tune-in on a weekly or monthly basis and add a positive benefit to your workplace where all are in sync.
Starting A Podcast at Your Nonprofit Organization
Starting a podcast for your nonprofit is not a difficult task. Let's look at what you can do to get going:
Step One: Decide Why You Want to Start A Podcast
Is the plan trying to connect to a specific niche group? Is the need based on acquiring new donors or supporters? Do you want to create high-quality content to share as much as possible, or is it something altogether different?
As an example, if your intent is to create a podcast looking to gather supporters, you would first need to pick topics your supporters would be most interested in listening to. From here, look at podcast topics that your potential supporters will care most about. Map out the content you wish to create and go from there.
Step Two: Pick the Best Format You Want to Use for Your Podcast
While there can be numerous types of formats, the ones below reflect the most common formats. Choose one or try a hybrid if your direction makes a hybrid more useful.
These are podcasts where there is a regular host each time. They will interview one or various guests in each episode. This format is very easy and quick to produce. With a new guest (and subject or experience) each episode, you are guaranteed a variety of content to keep it fresh.
Hosted (Co-Hosted) Podcast
This format will always use the same host (or co-hosts) each episode that will talk about a variety of topics between themselves (or alone if hosted by one person). This podcast type requires significantly more skilled hosts and more preparation prior to recording.
Use this format when the goal is to tell a story. The story can be journalistic or fictional. They are considerably more complex to produce but are highly entertaining and engaging.
Repurposed Media Podcast
Your nonprofit may have quite a bit of content that can be used in another format of media. This format choice is great when taking a blog, for example, from your website and repurposing it as a podcast. You will then be exposing your web blog to a new podcast audience. For nonprofits who have a large amount of existing content, this is an easy way to get started on podcasting.
Step Three: Know Your Podcast Brand
Think about branding your podcast and how best to get there. What will it be called? Does it need your nonprofit's name included, or can you use a reference to a common theme or element? Podcasts generally take on a life of their own, and your podcast must still complement the nonprofit's overall brand.
As one example, Susan G Komen has a podcast called Real Pink. While the podcast name does not mention the nonprofit directly, it uses the word "Pink" as Komen is very well known for using pink ribbons in their campaigns and collateral.
Step Four: Recording and Launching Your Podcast
As you begin to record your first episodes, keep in mind the first two or three will not go over well. Best to get a few recorded first before going live. Most likely, you will look at the first one or two and most likely won't use them but still respect the value they brought as a learning
Once a few are done that you can be satisfied with, it will be time to "open the doors" to the podcast host and publicly announce your podcast. Listeners now have a few to choose from right away.
If you are looking to connect with a new audience in a meaningful way, you should consider podcasting. It is much more accessible than you think, and producing one is betting much easier than ever.