Podcasts are a great way to reach a large audience — if you use them properly

About 20 years ago, I probably would have opened this column with a question like, “Have you thought about podcasting?” Around that time, having business leaders create or appear on podcasts was still a relatively novel idea.

But now, you have almost certainly thought about podcasting. Maybe your marketing and communications team has approached you about starting one. Or podcasters in your space might have approached you about appearing on one.

Podcasts have become ubiquitous, serving as companions in your car, at the gym or while walking your dog. They are a relatively low-cost, portable and efficient way to communicate. They can help you amplify your message in a big way, spreading awareness about specific topics to a targeted audience — something very difficult to do in this era of background noise and information overload.

You know why you should consider podcasting as a communication medium. But it’s not as simple as sitting down behind a microphone, pressing “record” and talking — not if you want to podcast in an effective and professional manner.

There are a few things to remember when creating a podcast or deciding whether to appear on someone else’s.

*  Who is your audience? If you’re creating your own podcast, who are you trying to target? If you’re appearing on someone else’s podcast, who does it reach? How will engaging those listeners help you achieve your goals?

*  What topics do you want to cover? Before investing in equipment and expertise, identify topics and how they’re relevant to your audience. Then, you use those broad topics to produce a script — or at least talking points — for each episode.

*  How will you distribute the podcast? One of podcasting’s biggest advantages is its portability. While you can upload your podcasts to your personal or company website, they are best leveraged as a mobile medium, which means uploading them to platforms like Spotify, iTunes and Google Play.

*  Do you have the necessary equipment? Creating a professional podcast requires a professional podcasting studio.

*  Do you have in-house podcasting expertise? Creating a professional podcast also requires an experienced host and technical experts.

At Cuyahoga Community College, our Corporate College® division has recognized the emerging importance of podcasting and launched the new Podcast Studio, located at Corporate College East in Warrensville Heights. The Podcast Studio features professional equipment and recording experts who can help plan, record and distribute podcasts on-site. It also offers a podcast training curriculum that teaches the essentials of podcasting to people looking to amplify their voices. Our studio is designed to serve as a podcasting partner, helping to create podcasts that attract listeners with compelling content.

Anyone can create a podcast. Anyone can appear on a podcast. But developing and vetting these opportunities for maximum reach and impact is a team effort that requires thought, research and expertise.

Amplify your voice. Spread your message. Embrace this medium. I have done this myself and will continue to do so as I appear on dozens of podcasts each year. But no matter how you choose to pursue podcasting, the final product and how it connects with listeners should be the central focus of your efforts.

Michael A. Baston is President of Cuyahoga Community College.

Michael A. Baston



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