When Hannah Andrews and her team started thinking about creating their first podcast, they weren’t actually thinking in those terms. Instead, they considered their strategic plan goals around consumer outreach for the Association for Professionals in Infection Control.
What’s a great way to build the audience they already had for their website, with info about infection prevention and hygiene?
The answer to that question, as it turned out, was a podcast. And for other associations, content producers should consider their own goals around consumer outreach and audience building, especially because podcasts can be listed on sites and apps beyond the walls of where members and stakeholders typically look. Creating a podcast might also be a great way to diversify your content and — maybe — find a new revenue source.
“It was a nice challenge of advocating for our members but also educating newer members, the healthcare industry and the general public around myths that float around about healthcare,” said Andrews, APIC’s director of eLearning and Content Manager. She also serves as co-host for the association’s brand new, wittily-titled podcast, “5 Second Rule.”
But how did they actually make it happen?
For APIC, which has a medium-sized staff of about 44 people, didn’t have the luxury of having a staff dedicated to creating the podcast, so they decided to pilot the project by launching a new episode just once a month, and they lined up all their interviews to take place over just one long day in a recording studio.
“We didn’t want to over-commit because it was important for us to keep in mind certain standards for the podcast,” Andrews said.
Producing something of high quality was important to the team, so they ended up outsourcing the technical production of “5 Second Rule,” which helped cut down borrowing too many hours of time from other staffers. The company APIC worked with for final production did help them move through some processes around getting started — like deciding on a name and target audience for the podcast — but deciding on talking points, fact-checking the content and identifying interviewees is all done by APIC. There were a lot of choices and factors to consider, even with the additional help.
“We did all the fun stuff, like picking images for the website, the opening and closing music. That especially was a fun activity for us because we wanted it to be not too serious sounding, but not too juvenile,” Andrews recalled. “We get to be creative.”
“5 Second Rule” runs about 20-29 minutes per episode and each new one debuts on the second Tuesday of every month. But they may increase that, Andrews said. Their first episode picked up about 2,500 downloads in the first month.
”We’re still working out some kinks in the communication plan,” she noted, but the team is “already getting some interest in potential financial support.”
While developing a full podcast isn’t for every association, especially if outsourcing some of the production isn’t in the budget, for those who can tackle a project like this, Andrews recommended to first justify its purpose. That way, everyone is on board with the direction and goals.
“In our case, it was a unique opportunity,” Andrews said. “We didn’t have anything that met that need.”