Should Your Nonprofit Start a Podcast?

Podcasting for Nonprofits


We talk a lot about the power of blog posts. Still, podcasts are more convenient for your followers because they can listen while driving, working out, or just doing chores around the house. Podcasts are a great way to build a genuine connection with your audience, position your agency, build awareness, and create prospect leads.


There is also a lot of unexplored space in the podcasting world. According to Google, in 2021, there were at least 600 million blogs, 37 million YouTube channels, but only 850,000 active podcasts.


In this video, we will walk you through conceptualizing, equipment, recording, postproduction, and promotion so that your organization can take full advantage of this incredible promotional and positioning opportunity.



STEP 1: CONCEPTUALIZING

Ideally, your podcast should reflect something your agency is passionate about and will assist others by hearing. Perhaps you have experts or professionals in a subject with valuable information. Maybe you have amazing stories and can entertain and inspire people. Some podcasts have a single host, multiple hosts, scripted stories, or in-depth feature interviews.


Podcasts are as varied as the people that create them. There are many other concepts… and obviously, you are watching this video because you have an idea for one.


You can search your show's topic in Apple or Google Podcasts to see if podcasts are already in that genre. If there are, listen to a handful of episodes to see what they're doing well and think of ways you could be better and different.


Name your podcast

When picking a podcast name, try to pick something catchy and memorable and will rank for your podcast's relevant keywords.


Most podcast platforms use title, author, and description fields for search results. Much like everything else that is SEO-related, you want to use highly searched terms. The metadata for your podcast and your podcast artwork is your product packaging. It can affect whether your podcast shows up in relevant searches and how likely users subscribe to it.


TIP: Use keywords in your name, but without stuffing. You don't want to stuff your title with keywords, but you want to make it easy for people to find your podcast. If you have a one or two-word podcast name, add a brief description in the title tag to help search results.

Optimal podcast length

Don't let people tell you there is an optimal length for a podcast episode. You'll find shows that are 10 minutes to 2 hours per episode. Your podcast should be as long as it needs to be, without being any longer.


Publishing schedule

Podcasting can be a full-time job or something you do on the side. You can have a more relaxed publishing schedule if it's the latter.


You might decide to publish every day or publish a podcast series every year. Ideally, you want to publish at least 3 times a week for the first two months, but once a week will work just fine. It just means slower growth.


TIP: iTunes will allow a new podcast 8 weeks to sit on their New and Noteworthy section, making it important that your content is consistent and have enough volume to attract new listeners. Once you have some new episodes uploaded, make sure to get support from friends and supporters by asking them to download your new episodes.


SET 2: SETTING UP YOUR CHANNEL

Channel artwork

Every podcast is listed with an ‘album cover.’ Many shows use their channel artwork for their podcast episode artwork as well. If using separate artwork for episodes, here are some additional tips.


Technical specifications

Here are our recommendations, based on Apple’s Podcast Artwork Requirements:

• Square Image

• 3000 x 3000 pixels

• Resolution of 72 dpi

• PNG or JPEG file types

• Colorspace RGB


5 Tips to make your podcast artwork stand out

1. Podcast artwork should visually communicate the subject of the podcast.

2. You should also design a variety of sizes for social media posts, website banners, etc.

3. Don’t use too many words in your artwork.

4. Avoid microphones, headsets, and other overused images.

5. Be consistent.


Tip: Your podcast artwork is a part of your overall branding. It should be high-quality and consistent; the imagery you use for your podcast should be the same across all your brand.

If you have a design background, we always recommend CANVA. In fact, you can try a free trial of their pro version, and I will link in the description.


Write a description for your podcast

A podcast channel description and episode description are considered metadata. This should contain your keywords, so it is important to have a basic understanding of keyword research and SEO.



STEP 3: EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE

Podcasts have a low barrier to entry; if you want to start a podcast, it's relatively easy to begin the process with little overhead or experience.


Condenser mics pick up more background sound and are best suited for quieter environments. Dynamic mics will sound better in a less than perfect recording area or if you have multiple people speaking into separate mics. Do your research and pick what is right for you.


Typically, you will need:

  • Microphone(s) with a foam ball

  • Noise-canceling headphones

  • Pop filter

  • Computer or laptop

  • Noise-reducing panels


You will also require recording and editing software. Audacity is free and easy to use. GarageBand is great and comes pre-installed on most Apple computers. Zoom has become one of the go-to online interview platforms for podcasting, primarily because of its above-average audio quality and ease of use for remote podcast interviews



STEP 4: RECORDING YOUR PODCAST

We always recommend creating an outline. Rambling is one of the most common mistakes new podcasters make, and the best way to fight this tendency is by writing a podcast outline. You don't have to write out your podcast verbatim, but even taking 15 minutes to jot down a list of bullet points will dramatically improve the flow of your episode. If you're working with a cohost, share the outline with them so you can work on it together. Now you'll be on the same page and prevent your conversation from going down a rabbit hole.


Here are some essential tips:

  • Record in a small, quiet room TIP: Record under a blanket or invest in some sound panels

  • Record with headphones (your guest too)

  • Stay hydrated

  • Watch your volume levels (red is bad)

  • Watch your breath

  • Keep your body still

  • Leave audio cues for mistakes

  • Mute when you aren’t speaking


Microphone techniques

We've all heard distracting plosives or "P-Pops" before, and cringy "S" sounds. Excessive bursts of air hitting the microphone capsule cause both issues, and in both cases, it is a symptom of poor mic technique.


First, place your microphone at the same height as your mouth. Then sit a few inches back and have the pop filter between your mouth and the mic. Next, focus on your mouth’s distance from the microphone setup and adjust your body for the desired volume level. Remember, the closer you are to the mic, the louder your voice will sound. While you can alter your voice's volume level during postproduction, keeping it consistent during recording reduces your editing time.



STEP 5: EDITING

Editing is where things get real. It's easy to get caught up in the idea of recording a podcast and quickly lose steam when things get technical or just plain difficult.


The editing process is where you remove audible distractions and insert your extras like pre-recorded ads, voiceovers, intros, and outros. With the help of the right software and a few pointers, even the not-so-technically inclined can create a quality, well-edited podcast.


TIP: even the best podcasts had to start with a few bad episodes. Watch my YouTube videos, and you will see that it has been a work in progress.

Choose your podcast theme song

If you decide to do an intro, you'll probably want to get some intro music. When looking for music, search for royalty-free music that you can use in your podcast. Otherwise, you'll have to purchase your show's music.


We use Artlist because you pay annually and keep your music rights even after canceling. Just be sure to read the fine print because some monthly services transfer the rights back to them after you cancel.


Tip: Use production elements sparingly - Sound effects have their place


STEP 6: SAVE, EXPORT & POST!

Once you've finished editing your podcast, export it from your editing software. Most podcasters export their episodes as MP3s to ensure compatibility with most podcast apps. Set the bitrate to 96 kbps mono for spoken word podcasts and 192 kbps stereo for podcasts that feature music.


There are benefits to tagging your audio files with ID3 tags. These tags ensure your media player has the correct information about the episode. Currently, most podcast apps get this information from the RSS Feed. Still, it might be lost if somebody shares the audio file itself.


Posting your podcast

Publishing a podcast is easy once you know the process. You can publish directly to Google, Apple, Spotify, etc., or use a podcast hosting service, like Buzzsprout or PodBean, which will give you integration those directories, meaning you can do it all from the dashboard of your host.


Each individual directory or directory host has a slightly different process, but some basics include:


Picking a category for your podcast

It's important to optimize how your podcast appears. One way of doing that is to pick the proper podcast categories for your show.


Choosing a title

Think about it, every single article, book, news headline, and Facebook status begins with a short phrase intended to captivate our attention. This is the first trick to getting listens in the Podcast world and a skill you’ll need to strengthen.


Writing your show notes

Filling out these fields helps make your show visible on Apple, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever podcast listeners search for your show's genre.


A good episode description is essential for success. It's the space where you explain what your show is about in one paragraph.


Make sure you're telling readers what's in it for them and make it entertaining so it will encourage people to subscribe.


You can always go back and change the wording, so don't let finding the perfect description take up too much time.



STEP 7: PROMOTE IT

You probably don't have a community that's waiting for your podcast when you first launch, so it's essential to leverage existing communities.


Share, share, share. Share your podcast with friends and family. Your podcast will thrive on downloads and so take the ball into your court and share with as many people as humanly possible.


Post on social media, send out email blasts, post on your website. You can also find groups of people interested in your podcast and then tell them about your podcast, such as relevant Facebook Group admins, Reddit, etc.


Good luck with your podcasting journey and be sure to post a comment so we can listen, download, and share!