More and more nonprofits are getting into podcasting at some level. It can be a powerful medium to reach people, but to get the most out of it, you need to approach podcasting like it is its own distinct channel. Podcasting is not a digital expression of radio; it really is its own unique medium. Where this newer tool excels is depth of content and relationship.
Here are 7 tips to help your nonprofit get the most out of it.
- Do not repurpose. Many churches and ministries take their regular sermons or radio shows and distribute them via RSS feed. That will make it easier for people who follow you to get your content and listen to it. You need to do that, so do it, but recognize that is not a podcast, it is a convenience for your existing audience. If you want a podcast, that is a different project. A podcast is produced for the medium. It is designed to be found and appreciated by a specific group of people who will become sharing raving fans. It fills a gap, meets a need, or scratches an itch.
- Relationship, Relationship, Relationship. Podcasting is one of the most intimate forms of communication. It is personal, in-depth, and candid. People are predisposed to trust you and feel connected to you. Recognize that, nurture it, and be open and honest with your listeners. You may not reach as many people on podcasting as other channels, but you will likely reach them much more deeply.
- Focus on your content. When it comes to podcasting, content is everything. And everything about the content matters. People listen to what engages them the most, specific subjects, specific messages, and sometimes specific speakers. They want in-depth content that is tailored to their interests. They want something specific, maybe answers, teaching, entertainment, mystery, inside perspective, etc. Match your mission to what your ideal audience is thirsty for and focus in.
- Only have guests on purpose. Do not have guests just to have guests; people are not drawn to shallow banter. A guest should bring something rich and engaging that aligns with what your audience craves. If that is not the case, then it is better not to have that guest or as many guests. It is easy to get stuck on the guest mill and it can wear you out trying to find people. When that happens, your guests probably are not bringing enough to the table. Back down your frequency, focus on your content.
- Go longer. A blog post is limited to a few hundred words before attention drops off. Even an online video is limited to so many minutes. But a podcast can be 30, 60, 90+ minutes. It is one of the only media where shorter episodes are generally outperformed by longer ones. People are hungry for rich content in the areas that most appeal to them. And because content is generally consumed while the user is doing something else like walking, running, driving, flying, or working, they are willing to give more time and listen more often.
- Do not ask for money often or mechanically. If people think you are always pitching, selling, or asking for something, then you will not build as strong a relationship with them. You will appear less personal, less credible, and less interesting over time. But every once in a while, you can cash in on your bank of personal relationship and trust and ask for a special gift to do a very specific and special thing. Keep in mind, someone driving to work listening to your show really has no great way to give at that moment. You can seed giving but there needs to be another mechanism to make it happen.
- Cultivate Indirect Giving. Podcasting is how you build relationship equity with people. Your content, your cause, your heart all work to build relationship. This should be a safe space for listeners. But you can use that relationship to engage people in other areas of your organization like your magazine, TV show, digital content, etc., where you can talk about giving and money more openly and regularly. Podcasting is a great way to cultivate indirect giving. You are not asking on your podcast, but by maintaining the strong connection with the donor here, you can ask via other channels.
Podcasting should draw and keep donors close to the heart of your organization so you can easily rally them to engage with other aspects of what you do.