Say you’re a Director of Member Engagement or Chief of Marketing at a trade or professional association, and you want to start a podcast. It makes sense. Tens of millions of people are avid podcast listeners, including many of your members. Plus, like most people, they already get too many emails and don’t have time to read newsletters. Listening to a podcast, though, is convenient (you can listen while doing other things), uniquely engaging, and a great way to establish thought leadership. So, starting a podcast seems like a no-brainer.
But first, you have to persuade your Board of Directors that it’s worth spending time and money on a podcast. The following guidelines offer insights on how to best articulate the value of podcasting for your association.
“How much does it cost to produce a podcast?” This is going to be the first question you’re asked, right? The cost depends on several factors, such as whether you’re going to work with a professional podcast producer, how frequently you plan on producing episodes, the type of podcast you’re going to create, and so on. But generally, assuming you will work with a podcast producer, most charge around $1500-2000 for everything that goes into creating a podcast from scratch, including full production of the first few episodes. Then, once the podcast is up and running, the typical cost for editing and production is $150-250 per episode.
To put those numbers in context, consider that producing a 5-minute marketing video can cost as much as $10,000, if done professionally. And that’s for only 5 minutes of content! A single podcast episode costing $200 can give you anywhere from 10 minutes to a full hour of highly engaging content. Plus, you can transcribe an audio interview and repurpose it as a blog post, newsletter content, or social media post. That’s a lot of bang for the buck.
Not only is podcasting relatively cost effective, but you can offset the cost of production by offering sponsorship opportunities for companies that want to reach your membership. And unlike podcasts meant for public consumption, you don’t need millions of downloads to attract sponsors.
Becoming a thought leader involves more than just having good ideas and insights. True thought leadership also means being adept at reaching and engaging your audience. In other words, being a thought leader means getting your voice out there, and podcasting is a powerful way to make that happen. Literally. Having your CEO author blog posts or give talks at meetings are also smart strategies, but podcasting enables your association to share industry knowledge and insights not just once or twice a year but every month or week, or however often you publish episodes.
Member Engagement, Retention, and Recruitment
Podcast consumption is exploding largely because more and more people find podcasts to be uniquely engaging. Why? Because a well-produced podcast featuring real conversations about things that listeners care about has a sense of authenticity that’s hard to come by in an email, blog post, or scripted video. And if your podcast involves interviewing and showcasing your members, then you’re literally engaging them, forging a strong bond between members and the association.
This type of podcast can also be a powerful recruitment tool because it gives prospective members an intimate sense of the people who lead and belong to the association. Plus, it presents your association as one that value the experience, knowledge, and insights of its members.
An Alternative to Inbox Overload
One the best things about podcasting is that it’s not email. Because everyone, including your members, get too much email and are likely to skim (or even ignore) the carefully crafted emails and newsletters you rely on to engage your membership. And so, important updates and information get lost in overcrowded inboxes.
But where email is a time suck, podcasting is a time saver because your members can listen while doing other things: driving, traveling, walking the dog, making dinner, etc. In other words, podcasting is a way to engage members without making more demands on their time. In fact, producing an association podcast helps members save time.
A core value of podcasting as a content marketing and member engagement tool is that you can track how many people are listening, how long they listen, which devices they use to listen, and more valuable data points. You may be able to track email open rates, but there’s no way of knowing how much of your email or newsletter is being read. Podcast analytics provide more than enough detail to help you keep improving the content and attracting more listeners.
Not a Silver Bullet
When pitching your Board on devoting resources to starting a podcast, it’s important to not overpromise. No one communication or member engagement channel can meet all of your needs. A podcast is meant to help diversify your channels and complement and enhance your existing communication and engagement initiatives, not necessarily replace them. But as more and more people, including your members, become avid podcast listeners, adding a podcast to your communications and engagement toolkit is fast becoming not just a forward-thinking strategy but a necessity.
If podcasting seems like a good fit for your association, contact Tribal Knowledge Podcasting for a free consultation.