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So you want to start a podcast ... your or boss does


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This session, originally presented at Eduweb 2019, covers the state of the podcast industry, how higher ed can contribute to it, and how to launch a podcast.

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So you want to start a podcast ... your or boss does

  1. 1. So you want to start a podcast … Jenna Spinelle Producer/Host, Democracy Works podcast Penn State McCourtney Institute for Democracy … or your boss does #eduweb19
  2. 2. I started a podcast last spring. I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned along the way.
  3. 3. The potential #eduweb19
  4. 4. The potential #eduweb19
  5. 5. The potential • Listeners are curious and well-educated • 74 percent listen to learn new things • We do a lot of great stuff that people should know about • Higher ed can bring new people to podcasting • Lifelong learning #eduweb19
  6. 6. However … • It’s a crowded marketplace, and getting more crowded every day • Peak podcast or the golden age of audio? • Podcasting is A LOT of work • You need to set realistic expectations #eduweb19
  7. 7. How do you know whether to take the plunge? Spoiler alert: It depends
  8. 8. 5 questions to help you decide • What do you want to say? • Does someone else already do it? • Is it going to sound like a commercial? • How does a podcast fit into your organization’s mission? • How will it enhance your work? #eduweb19
  9. 9. What do you want to say? • All about the niche • Format and tone • What are your strengths and how do they relate to the world at large? • Podcasting is personal; higher ed is not • Democracy Works: Dogs and bananas, Federalist Papers drinking game #eduweb19
  10. 10. Is it going to sound like a commercial? • Remember all the other listening options people have • Listeners from far beyond your campus • Unlike a lot of podcasters, we’re not in it to make money • Democracy Works is about democracy, not about Penn State #eduweb19
  11. 11. Does someone else already do it? • Survey the landscape — thoroughly • Determine what you can bring to the table • Be open to options outside of having your own dedicated podcast • What ideas can you take from other shows and make your own? #eduweb19
  12. 12. How will it fit into your mission? • It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture in the grind of putting out episodes • Can you create other content around the podcast, or vice versa? • Opportunities for outreach and collaboration • Punching above your weight class #eduweb19
  13. 13. How will it enhance your work? • The ROI is not that high, especially at first • Will you and your team benefit from the experience? • Do you have the buy-in you need to get started? • Measuring impact beyond download numbers • Listener feedback, name recognition #eduweb19
  14. 14. How do you make it happen? Going from idea to iTunes (or whatever Apple is calling it these days)
  15. 15. Recording • Studios are best for sound quality, but are limited and expensive • Microphones: AudioTechnica, Rode Procaster, Blue Yeti • Recorders: Zoom H6 – just do it • Recording services: Zencastr, Squadcast, Zoom, Skype • Practice! #eduweb19
  16. 16. Editing • Who will do it? • Audition, Audacity, GarageBand • “From black to black” • Listen critically and ask for feedback #eduweb19
  17. 17. Packaging • Cover art • Categorization • Show description • Show notes • Hosting services: Blubrry, Libsyn, Podbean, Anchor, Soundcloud #eduweb19
  18. 18. Launch! • Create a release plan • Don’t forget a trailer! • Pick a schedule and stick to it • Use your networks, and your guests • Promo swaps/guest exchanges #eduweb19
  19. 19. A note on promotion “If you have time, spend time. If you have money, spend money. If you have neither, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.” - Rob Walch, VP Podcaster Relations at Libsyn, @podcast411 #eduweb19
  20. 20. Metrics • The median is 140 downloads per episode after 45 days • If you have more than 140, you’re doing better than half the shows! • Top 20%: 1,100 downloads per episode • Top 10% 3,200 downloads • Top 5%: 7,700 downloads • Top 2%: 20,000 downloads • Top 1%: 36,000 downloads #eduweb19 Souce: Libsyn The Feed podcast, June 9, 2019
  21. 21. Resources • Edison Research: • Libsyn The Feed podcast: • Democracy Works: • Other higher ed podcasts: • Big Brains (University of Chicago) • No Jargon (Scholars Strategy Network) • Well Said (UNC) • With a Side of Knowledge (Notre Dame) • The Good (Dickinson College) • Sound Education: October 9-12, Harvard #eduweb19
  22. 22. More podcast info at Eduweb! • Pod Locally: How a Podcast Can Celebrate the Richness of Campus, Drive, Key Initiatives, and Strengthen Bonds Within the Community • TODAY at 2:15, Columbus C • Presented by Bill Zimmerman, host of the Happy Valley Hustle podcast #eduweb19
  23. 23. Thank you! Jenna Spinelle @McCourtneyInst #eduweb19