Here on SPARK!, we’ve spent a lot of time to date showing rescuers how they can utilize the latest social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to promote their rescue. But have you ever thought about reverting back to the good ol’ days by simply talking about your rescue and having people listen in? If not, we invite you to reconsider the podcast.
Podcasts have always been popular tools for people to listen to their favorite books, radio episodes (who can forget the Serial Saga last year?) and even history lessons but they can also, under the right circumstances, lend your adoptable animals a new, fresh voice.
To make sure your inspiring stories and messages transcend beyond the screen and directly into people’s hearts, here's a step by step guide on how to create your own podcasts on Soundcloud (a great podcast station) and even set up your own channel so your followers never miss a beat.
So, what exactly is a podcast? Podcasts are digital media files made specifically for the internet which people can simply download onto their computer or portable device (like ipods or iphones) for easy listening. Podcasts can be found on a variety of platforms but the one we light best for discovery and creation is Soundcloud.
Think of Soundcloud as the Youtube of audio. Users can share, collaborate, and promote their favorite sound clips (whether they’re podcasts, songs , or episodes) so up-loaders can gain more popularity. In this case, you (the rescuers) are the uploaders. You are the voices behind the podcasts and you are the owner behind your Soundcloud channel. The users are your audience members. They will listen to your stories and perhaps even be inspired to share and promote your rescue. This is what a typical Soundcloud "feed" looks like:
To get started, you need to get a few admin tasks out of the way, but afterwards, it's smooth sailing:
First, create a Soundcloud account
Soundcloud accounts come with both free and paid memberships but just stick to the free since it allows up to 3 hours worth of podcasts (plus since this is the default setting you won't have to worry about updating any info in the future). Considering that the average length of podcasts is 35 minutes, this gives you about 6 free podcasts to try
Then, make your profile
Creating a profile is crucial since, like other platforms out there, it allows users to ID who you are. Likely you'll already have assets like a logo and photos from setting up your other social media pages, so just use those. Don't forget to include important links to your website so users can get to know you and follow you on other social media platforms.
Update your content settings
Here you can choose the category and language for your podcasts and also enable an RSS feed for your podcasts so audience members can subscribe and stay informed of your new podcasts through multiple platforms like iTunes.
Set up your recording software
This may seem complex but it's pretty simple. First, when just starting out, use your computers built-in mic for sound (if you want to later on invest in microphones and headsets, you can, but for starts just use what you have).
Then, pick your recording software. The easiest one to use is what SoundCloud provides - on the 'tracks' page you can simply hit the 'record' button and use their built-in software. Recordings won't be as well edited and professional as a recording software, but it gets the job done.
If you have a little more time, use a recording software:
- If you have a Mac, you can use Garage Band to easily record, edit, save, and upload onto Soundcloud (you can search for the software by hitting the CMND + Space Bar on your keyboard and typing in 'Garage Band' - all Macs come with the software for free).
- If you don’t have a Mac, just download Audacity which is a free and user-friendly software for people to record and edit MP3 and other audio files.
Now, start recording and upload onto Soundcloud!
Once everything is set-up and you have both your microphone and recording software in check, you can start recording your podcast! Once you’re done recording, you can easily upload your podcast onto the Soundcloud website and it will be on your profile. Once it’s on your Soundcloud profile, you can embed and share the podcast on your website or blog by just putting the link to the podcast on whatever site you want. (Remember to enable the RSS feed so audience members can keep up with your content on a daily basis.)
What kinds of topics should you address on your podcast?
For rescue organizations, we think 2 types of topics lend themselves really well to the podcast format:
1. Podcasts that feature an interview with an adoptable animal, for example, having someone speak as if they are the animal in need of a home, like, "Hi Friends, I'm Buddy, an awesome chocolate lab looking for a family that loves to go on hikes" etc etc
2. Podcasts that describe the way the rescue operates - like the people involved in the rescue, what goes on behind the scenes, etc. We've met a lot of people who are curious to understand more about how rescues work and who runs them, so give yourself a little PR and talk about why and HOW you do it all! For instance you can do a podcast about what it takes to transport an animal across state lines or all the work that goes into your annual fundraiser.
Here is an example of an amazing podcast that is active and thoroughly engaged with the animal rescue community. Pawprint is always busy recording new stories and interviews with rescue groups and individual rescuers. Having your own channel that focuses on your rescues is a great way to get the word out there about your adoptables and promote your brand.
Want to create a podcast but getting stuck on how to set it up? Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get you up and "casting" in no time!