So You Want to Start a Podcast...

Podcasts are one of the last frontiers of great communication on the internet.  Emails get lost in the shuffle of our inboxes.  Tweets and Instagram posts can feel either way too random, overly shared or too perfectly designed to be personal.  

The advantages of podcasts are many.  Some in particular include:

  • The sound of a person's voice. This is very personal, leading to greater connection and a deeper method for learning.
  • Niche-specific.  A great podcast drills down on one topic and covers it from all of its angles.
  • Mobile.  Many podcast listeners enjoy casts while they are working out, cooking or commuting.  

I hear from many campus ministry programs that are interested in podcasts and might like to launch a podcast of their own.  But... as is often the case, they aren't quite sure how to launch one.

Why Might a Podcast Benefit a Campus Ministry Program?

  1. Bite-sized communication.  Podcasts allow you to push out small bits of communication in an attractive way.  
  2. A more personalized means of communication.  Since podcasts allow you to listen to a person's voice in your ear, there is a natural bond that can form.  I've had people meet me for the first time in person and say, "I feel like I already know you because of the podcast!"
  3. A way to interview stake-holders.  If you're looking to share leadership and involve more people in your ministry, a podcast is a great way to accomplish this.
  4. A way to drive traffic to your website.  By embedding links within your shownotes, you will push more traffic to your website which is always an important thing.
  5. A way to expand your brand.  A podcast is an extension of your brand.  It can become a valuable way to bring people into the fold of your ministry.  

How Can I Get Started?

Step One: Make a decision to launch a podcast.  Either do it or don't.  A poorly done cast or one that isn't updated regularly isn't worth your time.  

Step Two: Identify the person who will do the talking and the person who will do the editing.  If you're lucky, this will be the same person but it's more likely that you'll have an "on air" person and another that is the techie behind the scenes.  

Step Three: Pick a name and a central topic for your podcast.  Keep it simple and keep it short.  Run it by a few people in order to get some feedback.  You may want to talk about the Sunday Mass readings, riff on what's happening on campus or drill down on various ministry-related themes.

Step Four: Identify your gear.  A good microphone plugged into a computer is all you'll need.  

Step Five: Pick your upload location.  We recommend SoundCloud as it's the easiest to use.  This will be your "bucket" for storing podcasts.

Step Six: Go ahead and record a show!  When you have a few recorded, it will be time to release them to the world.  Don't aim for perfection right out of the gate.

Step Seven: Let others know about the podcast.  You'll want to submit your show to iTunes, include it on your website and generally tell others far and wide about your show.  The more that know about it, the more will listen to it.  Encourage people to share it online.

Bonus Tip: Listen to your own show.  This will help you get better, learning how your voice sounds and where you can improve.  I've learned to ask short questions and also to do some humming vocal work before a show to make my voice sound lower.  

Some Related Resources:

SoundCloud for show hosting

LibSyn for show hosting

Smart Passive Income Podcast Player for advanced users who use WordPress

Podcast Answer Man for tutorials on podcasts

Podcast Movement conference for those who want to go deeper into podcasting

Ready for the Next Step?

Let us at CCMA help you with your podcast!  Email me at stpierre@ccmanet.org and I'll walk you through the steps mentioned above and a whole lot more.  In no time, you'll be helping other campuses launch their own show:)