Within the IABC/Toronto chapter, we have a subgroup called Professional Independent Communicators (PIC). Our little band of indies has been producing event podcasts for a few years. We started by doing interviews with our guest speakers on the evening of their presentations as a way to share content with members, but then switched to a pre-event podcast to encourage members and guests to come to our meetings.
These short audio interviews, mostly around 10 to 15 minutes, serve to:
- promote the meeting to IABC/Toronto members and others; and
- provide an added benefit to our speakers, who are volunteering their time.
At each of our events, a handful of people tell me they came out because they heard the interview and were convinced the speaker was worthwhile. Of course people who don’t come to our meetings (because of geography or other reasons) also listen, which gives both the speakers and IABC/Toronto greater exposure. Looking at the most recent stats for the PIC podcast, I see the interview with speaker Donna Messer was downloaded more than 400 times, and the downloads continue, even though Donna’s presentation is over. This is likely because Donna promoted the podcast herself, and didn’t rely solely on PIC to spread the word. (Check out the podcast with Donna Messer here.)
Have I convinced you that a pre-event podcast is a good idea? Great. Then here are a few suggestions for producing them.
Using a portable digital recorder, you can conduct a conversation in person, which will yield the best audio quality. However, this is usually not practical. Second best: an interview over Skype. Along with Skype, you need to use recording software such as Call Recorder to capture the conversation. You can edit the recording in Audacity, which is free software.
When you are interviewing over Skype or recording your intro, I recommend using a Blue Yeti USB microphone; you won’t regret this purchase.
Set up your podcast with a brief introduction about the speaker and about your chapter. Be sure to introduce yourself too.
Share genuinely useful content, but don’t let the speaker “give it all away.” After all, you want people to come out to the meeting.
At the end of the podcast, remind listeners of the date and time of the meeting, the URL of the speaker’s website, and where they can register to attend.
Be sure to promote the meeting and the podcast using all your social media channels. Encourage members (and the speaker) to share info about the meeting with their own fans and friends.
Yes, you have to deal with a little technology.
You need to host your MP3 (audio) files somewhere. I suggest an account at Libsyn, which will set you back a whopping $7 per month.
You can publish blog posts about the meetings on your chapter’s blog, and then share the audio files within these posts. PIC uses a blog on Xchange.
This is an over-simplified overview of podcasting, but I think you get the gist.
Of course you don’t have to be an IABC chapter to promote events with podcasts. These tactics could be useful to any association.
If you want to learn more about podcasting, contact me. And if you’re currently using podcasts to promote your events, please describe your technique in the comments below.