How Community Media Can Use Podcasts to Improve Community Engagement
According to a 2017 joint study by Edison Research and Triton Digital, 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast.
A recent Pew Research found that ”[a]s of 2016, 21% of Americans age 12 or older say they have listened to a podcast in the past month, reflecting steady incremental growth since 2013 – when this share was 12%.”
While Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media cautions community radio to avoid stereotyping Millennials as the demographic that prefers new media to old-school radio, he says “[o]ur Techsurveys – especially the public radio edition – clearly shows just how popular podcasts are to Millennials.”
Your community media content already has an audience. If you’re developing a blog and social media content for your community media content, your outreach and community engagement already exists on some level. Here are few tips to help you add podcasting to your outreach and engagement strategy.
1. Schedule “What Can We Help You With?’ Shows
Community media centers provide services to their community; that’s why media centers exist. The communities your center serve often feel neglected – by local politicians, the school system, and local organizations. Regularly scheduled – and well organized – episodes designed to discuss community issues, possible solutions, and the roles all parties can play is a step toward improving your center’s outreach and engagement with the community.
2. Interview Engaged Community Members Often
Take great notes and ask a lot of questions during your “What Can We Help You With” episodes. One of the questions you want to ask is “do you know someone in the community who does advocacy work related to this issue?” Write these names down because you’ll want to try to interview these people later.
These interviews help your community media center continue the dialogue about community issues, potential partnerships, and possible solutions.
I produced, hosted, and marketed a podcast several years ago. I realized one of the most effective outreach and engagement tools is interviewing others. Why? People you interview will promote their interviews on their social media pages; they make the best marketing partners.
3. Ask Listeners to Check Your Media Center’s Site for More Content
Always use a call-to-action at the end of every episode that directs your listeners to visit your media center’s website and social media to find more content. I created an outro that included my reminder so I wouldn’t forget to always use it. My outro went something like this:
Thanks for listening to ________. Don’t forget to check our website at website.com. You can find us on Facebook.com/website, Twitter.com/website, and Instagram.com/website. Download our mobile app on the App Store and Google Play. We broadcast live every Wednesday at 7 pm central. Good night!
Once listeners visit your website, make sure there’s an obvious link to your podcasts. You might want to consider asking listeners to suggest ideas for future episodes.
4. Develop a Mobile App for Your Community Media Center
While marketers debate whether a mobile website is more important than a mobile app, Ajay Kapur argues “both serve a useful purpose, and both have limitations in terms of meeting the needs of users in any given context.”
Business 2 Community contributor Rahis Saifi says 52% of the time individuals spend on digital media is on mobile apps. A 2017 eMarketer study found “the average US adult will spend 2 hours, 25 minutes per day using mobile apps, a jump of 10.3% over last year.” In 2015, a Clammr report found that 82% of people who listened to podcasts did so on an iPhone using Apple’s podcast app.
This data suggests that community media centers would benefit from developing a mobile app for their media center.
Podcasting can help community media centers improve community outreach and community engagement.
Schedule episodes designed to discuss community issues and possible solutions. Interview engaged community members to continue the conversation addressing community issues. Direct your center’s podcast audience to your website to find more content. And, develop a mobile to capture additional podcast listeners.
Genia Stevens is a digital marketer and Forbes columnist. She is owner and managing partner of Belwah Media, an award-winning integrated digital marketing agency with offices in Madison, WI and Chicago, IL. Genia Stevens is passionate about community media, tech tools, podcasting, and everything digital. Connect with Genia on LinkedIn and Twitter.