Nonprofit Software

How To Start An Effective Church Podcast

Podcasts. Seems like everyone has one these days, and for good reason. Podcasting has taken off in the past couple of years and remains a strong way to increase brand recognition, communicate organization messaging, and best of all, tell incredible stories.

Always start with why

You may think that you can just “build it and they will come,” but that’s not how to succeed at podcasting (or really anything else).  You need a reason that is specific to you and your organization. In many cases, you’ll be able to take your mission, along with your vision, and translate them into a reason to start a podcast. However, some cases require you to dig a little deeper and ask some questions of yourself. Why are YOU creating THIS podcast? Who does it reach? Why does it reach that group as opposed to another? What are they going to get out of it? Why do they need to hear this now as opposed to months or years from now?

Asking these questions can be very illuminating and I encourage you to take time to write down your answers. Having a clearly defined reason for podcasting keeps your church from wasting resources and it keeps you from diving into topics, content, and platforms that might not be bad but aren’t truly successful means for accomplishing your goals.

Make a plan

Planning a podcast is a great way to set your ministry up for success. It can grow your membership, connect you with your community, breathe life into small groups, communicate healing on issues, and, most importantly, present the Gospel. But none of that happens effectively without planning. Simply showing up and talking does not usually go well. It presents you and your ministry as inexperienced, naive, and not worth listening to. Here are a few planning steps you can take to help realize success in podcasting.

Plan for who

One of the best things you can do after defining why you want to create a podcast is to determine who you want to create it for. Create a persona that you will talk directly to when recording. How old are they? What do they like? Do they have a spouse? Kids? What do they do for a living? Questions like these and the answers they provide allow you to write content that helps the right person, rather than not helping anyone.

Plan for what

So now you know who you are speaking to and why. The next step is to start planning the content. Are you doing a simple recording of your Sunday sermon? Or do you want to create a record of easy to consume stances on different issues? How about a podcast supporting families? Or young people? What about a dramatic, radio drama-like retelling of biblical stories?

Your content is the reason for this entire venture, right? Therefore, it is vital to spend time creating content that is engaging, helpful, and provides value to your listeners. If you aren’t doing those three things, most people would rather you not add your voice to the plethora of content that is available online.

Plan for when

When you release your content is important. This matters whether it is a podcast, blog post, sermon series, or anything else. Choosing the right time of year, the day of the week, and the time of day to release matters. Planning what time of year to release your podcast, whether to do multiple seasons, every week of the year, a short, one-time run, or weekly sermon podcasting makes a large difference. Since you’ve already determined who your audience is and what your content covers, you can make a strategic plan for releasing your content at a time when it will be most likely to be consumed by your audience.

Pay close attention to your audience’s habits, work schedules, and lifestyle as this will give you clues about when they need help with certain topics and are most likely to consume audio content. People are interested in content for their kids all year but may look for wholesome entertainment for them more during the Summer. Some professionals may not be able to listen to podcasts at work but may load them onto their phone the night before in order to listen throughout their commute. Taking time to think through this and testing your assumptions throughout helps you discover better ways to increase consumption and provide better content for your audience.

Deciding to release a podcast is not a simple undertaking, however, the payoff can be immense. With some careful planning, you can help ensure that your efforts will not go to waste. Be sure to have a plan – know your reasons for the podcast, know your audience, and create meaningful content.

By Matt Pritchett

Matt is a Christian, a husband, a father to four, and a software engineer at Saturday Drive, the makers of products like Ninja Forms, Caldera Forms, and SendWP. He also helps clients solve complex problems with code, consulting, and more. He occasionally blogs.

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