Did you know that 37% of the United States population—104 million people—listened to at least one podcast in the last month? The format is more popular than ever, with more than 700,000 podcasts available online.

So what does this mean for your nonprofit organization or association? In short, it means that you could be missing out on a lot more audience to receive your message.

The term podcast, in case you didn’t know, refers to a series of on-demand audio content that users can listen to. People subscribe to podcasts they like, and either listen online or download them to their computer or smartphone.

There are tons of how-to blogs out there on creating a podcast. A great one from Podcast Insights goes through each step with detailed information. What we’re tackling today is WHY your association needs a podcast.

Establish Your Nonprofit as an Industry Thought Leader

What better authority is there in your industry than your association? By creating a podcast, you can position your brand as the literal voice of your cause. Aim to answer questions your members, constituents, or the media have about industry practices and address timely and interesting topics.

You don’t need to completely reinvent the wheel to provide thought leadership. Blogs, whitepapers, and even video content can be repurposed to provide insight for a new audience.

Bolster Relationships With Your Key Stakeholders

Your board of directors likely meets regularly to guide the mission and strategic planning of your nonprofit. Recognize them for the experts they are and ask for topic ideas that will resonate with your members. Don’t stop at the highest level, either; chapter leaders make great resources, too!

Depending on the format you decide on, you might want to interview key players on the podcast. Fortunately, you have built-in connections within your organization who you can invite on the podcast. I guarantee they will be flattered at being asked, and you’ll capitalize on their involvement with your association. The beauty of this format is that each interviewee will market the podcast to their connections, exposing you to new potential followers.

Connect With Another Segment of Your Audience

Despite the 700,000 podcasts out already out there, you’ll actually encounter less competition with this format. There are approximately 2 million blog posts published daily and 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. In comparison, the chances of reaching your audience via podcast are good.

You’ll also connect with people who are already aware of your organization but prefer to listen rather than read. Remember, we all learn and absorb information in different ways! This audience often multitasks while they listen, using your podcast to enhance what they are already doing—whether it’s their daily commute, working out at the gym, or doing house or yard work.

Develop Authentic Relationships Between Your Audience and Your Brand

You know how it’s so easy to misunderstand the tone or meaning behind a text message or email? The podcast format allows so much personality to shine through and creates familiarity with your listeners. While it’s important to maintain your brand’s voice and tone, the more casual and comfortable vibe of a podcast will resonate with your audience. You can even invite them to contribute by providing a form on your website. You can ask for topic ideas and other feedback to incorporate into future shows.

Generate Non-Dues Revenue for Your Association

It’s not always easy to raise money for a nonprofit organization, and many end up relying on membership dues to stay afloat. The problem with this comes when too much revenue is dependent on each member gained or lost. The more non-dues revenue streams an association can maintain, the easier it is to weather membership ebbs and flows.

Your association likely already has a media kit for sponsorship opportunities, so it’s easy to add your podcast. It could be difficult to sell at first without listener data, but creative pricing strategies might help a company get in at the ground level. Given the inexpensive startup cost of a podcast, even a minor sponsorship will create revenue in no time.

Boost Your SEO With Keywords and Links

According to Apple’s Podcast Best Practices, the title, author, and description tags are critical for growing your audience. (We need to listen to Apple; as much as 70% of a podcast’s listens and downloads are from iTunes.) While these tags apply to your listing within Apple itself, all roads should lead back to a landing page on your website. Make sure you have Google Analytics tied to your landing page so that you can track searches and referrals!

Creating a transcript for each podcast can help boost SEO, but in reality you don’t even have to create a full transcript. You can write a summary for each show full of long form keywords and featuring quotes from the audio. You’ll also benefit when your interviewees or other guests link back to your landing page to promote their appearance. High-quality links contribute to and raise your domain authority on Google.

Provide Growth For Your Marketing Team

Starting a podcast is simple, inexpensive, and effective. Behind the scenes, however, someone needs to organize topic ideas, edit the audio, promote each show, and track metrics. Because it’s so easy—and since 87% of millennials believe learning and development in the workplace is important—this is a perfect opportunity to help a junior-level marketing team member level up. Someone with initiative, good organization skills, and attention to detail can make the podcast their own and prove themselves.

Create Consistent Content For Other Marketing Channels

Ever wonder what you’re going to post on social media? Marketing your podcast is an easy way to continue repurposing content. Take quotes from each show, make YouTube videos with the audio, create graphics to promote the podcast. There are endless ways for your content to keep pointing back to each other. You’ll also want to submit your podcast to “podcatchers” and podcast aggregators—lists where it can be discovered by a wider audience.

Final Note: Persistence and Consistency Are Key

Launching a podcast can be an impactful strategic marketing move for your association. But like any inbound marketing tactics, it’s a long game of consistently producing quality content. You should build up at least 3-5 shows before you start marketing the launch of your podcast. Maintain promotion efforts and expect several months for your numbers to rise, even with a built-in audience of members. Trust in the engaging content you are creating and distributing, and have patience for the payoff.

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