Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Six Lessons from Starting a New Podcast

Next installment of "Learning about Social Media from Your Desk."

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve coordinated a new podcast series for my organization. We launched in September and are still very much in the early stages, but it’s coming along quite well. We’ve received positive responses, growth in listenership and even an award.

Naturally, I’ve learned a few things along the way. Since there’s tons more to learn, I’m going to share a list about getting started. And these are coming from the perspective of an organizational podcast.

1. Do your homework. Listening to a variety of other podcasts can help you decide which format and style is best for you. Plus, listening to podcasts about podcasting will help you learn about trends, what to expect, setting realistic goals and new technologies. You don’t have to know all the technical details, but it helps to know what to ask for.

2. Start with a plan. It doesn’t have to be 100 pages long. But the basics are important – purpose, prospective audience, etc. Plus, having the plan on paper can help you get support from higher up and the resources you need. I posted the outline of my plan a few months ago.

3. Getting outside expertise to get you started is priceless. This may sound contradictory to my first point, but do not – I repeat – do not wait until you know everything there is to know. If you wait for that, you’ll never get started. It’s ok to learn as you go. Our first episode doesn’t even have the intro music.

4. “Low barrier to entry” refers to money not time. It’s taking us about 10 hours to produce a 20-25 minute podcast every two weeks. This includes the time for planning and conducting the interview, editing, creating shownotes, writing corresponding web text and posting in online. And I haven’t even started spending real time on promotion.

5. Podcasting requires easy approval processes. It’s one thing to have several levels of supervisors word-smith a printed piece, but you can’t produce a podcast that way. My directors don’t hear our podcast until it’s online.

6. Integrate the podcast into some facet of the organization’s work. Don’t let it be your hobby at work. If you want it to last, it has to relate to the organization’s goals.

Several of these learnings have been advised by other podcasters, but now I can say I’ve experienced them firsthand.

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