About 20 years ago some of us had our first experience building websites with Angelfire and Geocities. They gave ordinary untrained people their first chance to be creative on the web. Yes, many of the early websites we built were ugly – well, mine were. They were certainly unplanned and a bit embarrassing.
As people developed their skills, so the websites improved.
I think that is just where we are now with podcasting. People are hearing about podcasts. They are subscribing, downloading and listening to them. And now they are making podcasts. Now, everyone can make their own radio programmes.
You can download or subscribe to the podcast from iTunes
We can all be podcasters now because the production tools have never been so cheap (and free!). You can experiment with podcasting without having to spend any money. Even listing our podcasts on iTunes is simpler than ever before. There are more tools available to us and they are easier to understand.
So, why should community groups and organisations start podcasting?
First – podcasting is mobile. People listen on the go; walking, running, driving. If you want to reach busy people podcasting can be a very direct – and intimate – way of doing it
You can use podcasting to talk directly to people who make things happen.
Who are the people who really need to know what your organisation is up to? Politicians, decision makers, grant making bodies, local businesses who you want to recruit as supporters and funders?
You might want to change government policy. There might be something going on that concerns the community and you want to bring that to the attention of people who can do something about it. You might want to campaign for change. These are all vital community exercises and a podcast – while it’ll not fix a problem alone – is one of the tools you can use to get those people to listen to you, especially people in power and perhaps even the mainstream media.
You might just want to promote your organisation, tell people what you are up to, recruit new members, get talked about in a positive way. Organisations need promotion and publicity. They need people to know about the difference they are making.
A podcast can get directly to your audience without having to ask the support of other media.
So what do you say and how do you say it? Well, you don’ t berate and bark, shout and complain. You don’t want to boast or brag, either. As much as you might want to do all of those things. Your listener is just going to switch off.
You should tell stories, stories about people, their lives and experiences. You need to carefully chose those stories and use words and voices to conjure up images.
Podcasting done well is storytelling. You can use the audio along with your blog or website to tell your story for others to hear and understand.
Be interesting, be amusing, captivate your listener, charm your listener.
In a world where media seems almost entirely video driven, tell stories in your own words to inspire the cinema of the mind.
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