Chambers have long claimed to be the voice of business in the community.
Usually this claim is merely a figure of speech to convey the message that the chamber represents the voice of the business community. Sometimes the chamber’s voice is heard at city council or town hall meetings. But how powerful would it be if the chamber was able to raise its voice loud enough to be heard by the entire community?
By now you probably have heard that W.A.C.E. has begun production of a semi-monthly podcast called the Chamber Leadership Podcast. So, I thought I would take the opportunity to share a bit about the process we took to produce the new show and take a bit of the fear out of producing your chamber’s own podcast show.
Start with a Plan
Start with a plan. This might sound like I’m stating the obvious, but it’s a bigger part of the equation than you would think.
I’ll be honest, a podcast might not be for every chamber. You must ask yourself some very important questions. What is the purpose of the podcast? How frequently would you release episodes? How long are the podcasts? Do you have enough content to sustain the podcast beyond a handful of episodes?
From W.A.C.E.’s perspective, we often hear how helpful it would be for executives to be able to share information they receive from us with their board members or other volunteer leaders. So, we set out with a plan of creating content that is valuable for executives and staff members, and something that is worth sharing with your volunteer members.
For a local chamber, this might be a discussion about hot-button issues in your community, or maybe it’s as simple as being a format to introduce champions of business in your community. Whatever it is, be sure you stay true to your purpose to retain listeners.
This one is simple. What is the name of your podcast? What does your podcast logo look like? It might be easy to just go with the name of your chamber, but that might not draw enough attention to your podcast as something more in line with the purpose of your podcast. Whatever you decide on, you will need a logo that will be a visual identifier to your listeners.
Once you have nailed down all the details, it’s time to get down to the actual production of your show. This starts with the equipment. You are going to need a good microphone that can capture good-quality audio. Yes, you can record a podcast on a smartphone, but keep in mind that the quality of sound could have an impact on whether people listen to more than one episode.
I recommend doing some research on microphones and finding one that fits in your budget. One quick rule of thumb: if you are spending less than $100 on a microphone, there is a good chance you may be spending more time in post-production to clean up the audio to eliminate the hum or hiss produced by less expensive mics.
These are straightforward options. If you have an Adobe Creative Suite subscription, take advantage of its Audition software. If you don’t have that option and you need a cheap solution, you can download a free program called Audacity. Mac users also have the option of using GarageBand for free.
Host with the Most
Now that you have your audio recorded and ready to go, it’s time to select a host. There are a wide variety of hosts to choose from. Some of the top industry names are Blubrry, Libsyn, or Buzzsprout, to name a few. Each has its pros and cons. The keys to look for are access to statistics, monthly upload limits, and possibly an embeddable player to add to your chamber’s website.
Once you have created an account with your podcast host, it will give you an RSS feed link that you can upload to places like iTunes, Google Play or other directories where listeners can subscribe to your content.
This is certainly an over-simplified summary of the process I went through in producing W.A.C.E.’s podcast. If you think that a podcast is the right solution for your chamber, feel free to reach out to me and ask any questions along the way.
Happy listening to you—and don’t forget to search for and subscribe to the Chamber Leadership Podcast!
If you have a comment or suggestion for a future Lifesaver article you would like to share, email me at email@example.com.
Russell Lahodny is vice president of W.A.C.E. and vice president of local chamber relations at the California Chamber.