The term podcast is used to describe a series of online audio or video files that audiences can subscribe to and download regularly. As part of our effort to promote the use of new media and emerging technologies to extend the reach of HIV messaging, we have been producing audio podcasts since 2006. In 2008, we began adapting and recording our new media blog posts for syndication, and added posts on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to our audio recordings in 2010. Since then, we have produced over 200 audio podcasts, many of which you can find on our blog beneath the title of its corresponding post.
AIDS.gov has been rethinking how we schedule and market our posts for 2012. It’s given us a chance to revisit our process and identify what has worked and the challenges we experienced. So what have we learned from our years of audio podcasting?
Promote. Audio podcasts are ideal for busy people with busy lives. They can be listened to during a commute, while multitasking, or on-the-go. For 2012, AIDS.gov is developing a new landing page for our audio podcasts, updating our iTunes feed, and planning bi-weekly promotion of the podcasts to let our busy audiences know when the week’s audio is up and where to find them. Letting your audience know where to look and how to subscribe quickly, easily, and regularly is key to extending the range of your message.
Schedule content regularly. We launched our blog over four years ago with a new media post every Tuesday (and haven’t missed a Tuesday since). When you begin to build an audience, your audience expects updated content, stories, and information regularly. For AIDS.gov, 2012 will be the year of the Thursday audio podcast. A workplan that will help adhere to that schedule and maintain that continuity will help add to our current regular listeners.
Be timely, but take your time. When we started recording adaptations of our new media posts, our initial goal was to have the audio up the same day as its corresponding post. What we learned was that it’s okay to allow time for the things that matter, (i.e. quality assurance for the post, time for the web team to upload the audio to iTunes and the podcast gallery, thinking through promotion for each post, gathering audio from guest posters, etc.). Allowing two days between a post and an accompanying audio podcast will keep the information timely, while not rushing the process.
Listen to the people. Before you start podcasting, or using any new media tool for that matter, check in with your audience and continue to listen along the way. Podcasting takes time– make sure this is the tool your users want, need, and use.
In the weeks to come, we’ll be highlighting our new podcast releases for both new media and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. We’re also looking into creating more topic-specific podcast series featuring interviews and more in-depth information. So stay tuned!
Do you listen to any podcasts regularly? What sort of topics would you find interesting for our upcoming series? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.