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Harness the power of podcasting

17 November 2022

by Rachel Green

at Fat Beehive & Charity Chat.

Article

Article

Rachel Green, Client Strategy Executive at Fat Beehive and Producer and Trustee at Charity Chat explores how charities can make the most of the podcasting boom to market their programmes, services and fundraising.

Podcasts aren’t just for celebrity gossip or narrating true crime series, they are an untapped marketing resource for charities. According to Cybercrew, over 19.1 million Britons listen to podcasts, with 48% of them listening to learn something new (1).

Many charities have just begun their podcast journey, either by setting up their own podcast or by having a representive from their charity as a guest on a show. For example, Children’s University recorded five live episodes at their annual conference, before recording several episodes with third sector professionals in a more ‘traditional’ interview-style.

How to start your own podcast

Before starting your podcast, you should reflect on who your audience is and what they would gain from listening to your show. As with any other form of communication, consider what motivates your audience and use this as a driving force for your content.

Next consider what your budget restrictions are. There are ways to cut costs such as using the free version of Zoom to record episodes. Equally, you can promote your podcast with no or at low cost by utilising your pre-existing communication channels you have developed, such as social media channels and newsletters. There’s also lots of free video or audio editing software out there that you can use to edit the episodes – Windows and Apple computers already have built-in software.

To host your podcast, you may need to cover some costs for subscription fees to popular podcast platforms such as Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Could you reach out to funders or sponsors to fund this?

Don’t forget team capacity – how many people should work on the show? How much time can you dedicate and how does the podcast fit into your current comms strategy? Similarly to social media, consistency is key to keep your audience engaged. At Charity Chat, a volunteer-led charity podcast, we have found releasing one episode per week is a good balance between regularity and team capacity. However, if you have a small team or you’re creating this solo, perhaps a monthly or quarterly schedule would work best. You could align the episodes with campaigns or events (as Children’s University did), generating content in this way saves time for a small comms team. Consider reaching out to colleagues, other teams or similar organisations to create content – one thing we’ve learned is people are happy to share their knowledge and ideas.

Once you have a plan in place, you can use an inexpensive microphone and wired earphones to record the episode. I would advise setting up two meetings to record, especially if the episode includes an external guest – the first should be a short introductory call to introduce yourself and your organisation and to share ideas for the episode. It’s also a great way to check that their mic and audio is working!

Finally, when you have recorded the episodes it’s good practice to follow up with a survey (to improve future episodes and guests’ experiences) and plan when the episode will go live in advance to help with any comms scheduling (social media, newsletters etc).

Pitching to guest-feature on other podcasts

An easy way for your charity to harness the popularity of podcasts is by pitching to join an already existing one. Before researching to find out what show to pitch to, you should consider what your aim is and what you want to discuss. For example, is there a current topic in the news that your charity has a stance on? This is a great opportunity to identify your organisation as thought leaders.

Once your aim is defined, you can tailor your podcast search accordingly. Your initial research could include reaching out to peer groups for suggestions and searching for key terms on your favourite podcast platform. It’s useful to have a brief document which includes an introduction to your organisation (or your professional profile), the topic you would like to focus on, as well as contact details, social media handles and a headshot.

And on that note – Charity Chat welcomes proactive podcast pitches, so if you have an idea for a podcast episode, please email us at [email protected].

Listening and sharing relevant podcasts with your audience

Curating a list of your favourite podcasts is easy – simply create a playlist on your favourite platform. Share your thoughts, quotes and key actions from an episode in a blog or on social media. It’s a great way to find relevant and evergreen content to share with your audience.

Podcasts are a fantastic way to connect with your audience, share insights and create relatable long-form content. As we adapt to hybrid and remote working, what better way to recreate ‘water cooler’ conversations than by listening in on a good podcast!

(1) https://cybercrew.uk/blog/podcast-statistics-uk/#:~:text=1.3%20million%20podcasts%20are%20recorded,to%20podcasts%20on%20their%20smartphones.

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