Do you listen to association-focused podcasts? You might know about Leading Learning podcast from Tagoras because it's mentioned frequently on this blog, but there are plenty more.
• Association Strong hosted by Tom Morrison and Dave Will
• Associations Thrive hosted by Joanna Pineda
• Radio Free 501c hosted by Cecilia Sepp
• Reboot IT hosted by Dave Coriale
• The Association Mashup hosted by Maddie Grant and Rick Bawcum
• The Association Podcast hosted by Jake Toohey and Ben Muscolino
These are just the most recent association podcasts in my queue, but several others share good association stories, ideas, and insight too. Many of our TopClass LMS clients host podcasts for their members and markets—your association should consider it too.
How podcasts contribute to the success of your professional development programs
Podcasts keep growing in popularity. The average age of a podcast listener is 34, the demographic you seek. 50% of 12–34-year-olds, 43% of 35-54-year-olds, and 22% of the 55+ crowd listen monthly to a podcast. 26% of adults listen weekly—and these listeners average eight podcast episodes a week.
Increase market awareness
Podcasts increase the reach of your association by putting your content in front of a wider audience than just members. Listeners will see your association as THE authoritative resource in your industry.
You can promote educational content and events in house ads on your podcast and share related content in episode show notes.
Promote your podcast by repurposing episode transcriptions into blog posts, creating brief video clips, and sharing highlights on social media.
Podcasts feel more intimate than other media. Listeners hear familiar voices in their ear week after week. They can’t help but feel connected to the personalities and brand hosting the podcast. Listeners take your association along with them in the car, on a walk, or around the house while doing chores.
Support educational content
Podcasts are the new book tours. Once your podcast has established itself, watch as pitches from authors fly in. If their expertise aligns with your podcast goals, think about the mutual benefits of a relationship. If you give them access to your audience, what can they do for you as an influencer, subject matter expert, guest speaker for an educational event or course, or mentor?
Showcase the expertise of members. A podcast appearance can help younger ones, in particular, practice public speaking and build a reputation.
Add informative podcast snippets to course content. Award CE credit for passing a quiz after listening to podcast content. Some associations bundle the recording with journal activities and/or webinar or session recordings. Accreditation requirements may not allow you to award CE credit for podcasts containing advertising. However, you could create an edited version without advertising—as long as you inform sponsors ahead of time.
Examples of association podcasts
Here’s a quick look at some podcasts from our TopClass LMS clients.
IBBA Insights from the International Business Brokers Association is in its seventh season. Hosted by a member, the podcast covers new regulations and legislation, industry developments, business management practices, and more.
Connected FM from the International Facility Management Association features 15–30-minute episodes. Various hosts discuss workplace and business issues, emerging industry topics, global opportunities, and more.
ASHHRA Podcast from the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration features weekly discussions with industry professionals from around the country. The co-hosts run another podcast on personal and professional growth but co-brand this podcast with ASHRA. The show’s sponsorship page gives you an idea of their revenue and numbers.
Awkward Insurance from The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, which wins for best named podcast, “strives to bridge the thrilling world of insurance with the real-life struggles of those of us in the trenches. For producing and servicing agents, insurance centers around relationships and personal connections but let's face it, building relationships can be awkward.”
The podcast hosts, education directors from the Alliance and a state insurance association, talk about career journeys and issues, business scenarios, and light-hearted topics. It has a Facebook group and recently celebrated 50 episodes with a giveaway.
What to consider before launching a podcast
Don’t just listen to the opinions of committee members—they may not have the first clue about podcast. When doing your research, think beyond a member audience.
How will a podcast help your association achieve its goals? What do you hope to accomplish with a podcast and how will you do that? A podcast mission statement keeps you aligned when staff, members, and potential guests pitch episode ideas.
Show host and format
Listeners like hearing a familiar voice. However, you can lessen the workload by rotating hosts like Tagoras does on their Leading Learning podcast. Jeff and Celisa introduce the episode but only one of them does the interview.
The best hosts are curious. They’re good listeners who talk to the invisible audience as if they were in the same room. Hosts don’t have to have names everyone knows, but they need to know the territory.
Whether a member or staff, choose whoever’s likely to be most reliable and best at representing the association’s interests. You could have one or two staff hosts with rotating guest member hosts.
Most association podcasts use the interview format with guest experts who discuss:
• Hot industry topics, news, and developments
• Market forecasts
• Stories about their professional journey
• Business and career issues
Reach out to industry experts, speakers at upcoming events, and article authors. Develop criteria for guests so you can make fair decisions.
Invite staff to discuss industry trends, conference highlights, and legislative and regulatory news.
Most podcast episodes last 30 to 45 minutes. Start with releasing an episode every two weeks. Many podcasts run for several months and then take a break before the next season.
The International Parking and Mobility Institute (IPMI) decided that hosting a podcast was too much for their small staff. They partnered with a member who already hosted a podcast. IPMI suggests guests and topics, but the host retains creative control. The podcast is “brought to you by IPMI.” The IPMI logo is on the podcast website and their ads are run in every episode.
If you decide to go it alone, figure out where you’ll record episodes. Assign production responsibilities, such as pre-production, recording, editing, show notes, and distribution.
Consider including podcast sponsorship in a year-round package you offer to top sponsors. They can sponsor either the entire season or a specific number of episodes. Typically, two sponsored ads in each episode are read by the host or recorded by the sponsor.
You could also invite top sponsors to appear as guests if they have valuable and interesting information to share.
I’m a podcast listener but not an expert, but, thankfully, you can find lots of resources online. On Collaborate, ASAE members who have already gone down this path shared the names of companies who can help you get your podcast on the air.
A podcast generates educational content and helps your association establish relationships with a wider audience. Get on their phones and into their lives.