In the ministry that I work in, I have helped create and produce over thirty podcasts made up of over 4,000 episodes. Thousands of people all over the globe listen to and download these podcasts each week.
I am writing to show you how your ministry can do the same.
Our ministry began its first podcast in January 2011 with one devotional podcast about prayer. I was tasked with the technical part of setting things up—the part most people don’t want to deal with. Back then, I had no idea what I was getting into. So, I read a Dummies book on podcasting and followed it step-by-step. Since then, I have learned an enormous amount about this popular and growing medium. Now, doing the tasks associated with podcasting are second nature. So, whether you are planning on starting a podcast for your church, ministry, or non-profit organization, you’re reading the right book.
Why should you start a podcast?
Podcasts have many uses. Here are some:
- To educate. Colleges are now publishing lectures from their courses as audio or video podcasts. Many of these are available in iTunes U, an Apple app that makes course content available to people outside the classroom. If you are en expert in a certain field, you can create a podcast to teach others about that subject. Religious issues, theological debate, and charitable causes can all be platforms from which to launch a podcast.
- To inform. Podcasting has become so powerful that many people are using this form of media to receive the news. Most people don’t like to read, but at the same time, they don’t like having their eyes and/or hands occupied when they could be doing other things. The solution? Pop in a pair of earphones and start listening. An increasing number of news organizations are adding podcasts to their publishing output. According to the Pew Research Center, sites such as Slate and Buzzfeed count podcasting as a “strategic” move to capture new audiences. Slate boasts “millions of listeners” and has even started a podcast network. The point is: people want to be informed via digital audio. If your organization holds numerous events or is a source for news in your community, a podcast is a great way to publish that information.
- To motivate. Whatever the medium, motivational podcasts will always be in style. Encouragement, affirmation, inspiration. You can’t go wrong with this as your platform. Some of the most successful podcasts that I have produced actually have the word “motivator” in the title. People are always looking for that extra boost that will move them forward. However, if you set out to give them that boost, don’t fall into the trap of what I call “bottomless motivation.” Your motivational podcast should aim to get listeners to actually do something beyond sitting for fifteen or thirty minutes listening to happy talk. Your goal ought to be to get your listeners to act on something specific. So, get to the bottom line. Instead of naming your podcast “How to Be Successful”, name it “How to be Successful at Raising Your Child.”
- To entertain. Statistics show that out of the top five most popular podcast categories on iTunes, three of them have to do with entertainment—music, comedy, TV and film. Anything that is considered entertainment can be turned into a podcast. Cliff Ravenscraft, a very successful host known as “The Podcast Answerman,” got his start podcasting about the TV show LOST and the books and movies surrounding The Hunger Games and The Twilight Saga. Whatever you like for entertainment, you can rest assured that there are many people out there who would love to share their excitement about it with someone else. A podcast is a great way to connect with those people.
Think about what you or your organization have to offer the world. What type of podcast would you like to create?
This post is a part of the PODCASTING FOR MINISTRY blog series.