1. Decide on the topic you want to cover
Initially this was very spontaneous because Foundation for Change was responding to real-time circumstances. At the beginning of the pandemic there was so much change that it felt natural to produce a first episode centred around grief and loss. This trend continued and topics arose from the team responding to what was happening in the world. For instance, a discussion about mask wearing within the team led to a podcast discussing individualism. A lot of the people that Foundation for Change works with are often socially excluded, and the charity wanted to help them deal with any anger or fear they were feeling, and to help them understand what those feelings were about.
As time went on, the charity wanted to start building up a bank of podcasts for people to refer to and the recordings became a useful promotional tool to educate people about what Foundation for Change do, as well.
2. Set up a broad structure and handout for your podcast
It is useful for listeners to have a handout or similar document to follow along with the podcast. This can include summaries, definitions of terms and links to other resources. The handout will usually also help you structure your podcast, figuring out where to start, what to cover, how much to critique the topic or theory under discussion and where to end.
Foundation for Change generally started the day by considering the definition of the topic under discussion. Then the team would go through a process of defining, deconstructing, applying and critiquing the topic. The accompanying handouts generally follow this structure and determine the flow of the podcast. Do the research and write the handout at the same time to save doing the work twice!
3. Train your staff
As Foundation for Change had never done anything like this before, the team googled and found a local podcast trainer (for a fee). She delivered training which was good at covering essentials like the length of the podcast, how to structure it and how to break it up. There were some gaps when it came to inclusivity and accessibility issues as the training course was aimed at commercial users and did not consider our users, so this is something to consider.
The best piece of advice was the importance of ‘layering’ your content design to draw people in, i.e. have a title to serve as the hook, then a slightly more detailed but concise description, then the full handout and podcast link. Without the hook/lure, the information would be too much to take in all at once and you would lose people before they even knew what you were offering.
4. Record the podcast
Once your team members are all on board with what the topic is, you are ready to record. Start a Zoom meeting as normal, and the person leading the discussion (in Foundation for Change this was the person who either was the specialist in that particular field, or for whom the topic held particular personal interest) will host. Make sure everyone is aware and happy that the session will be recorded before pressing record!
The host will introduce the topic, and open the discussion.
Practical tips for recording are to ensure that you are in a place with as little background noise as possible, and to maintain a constant distance from your laptop-mic input to ensure audio levels are consistent throughout the recording session.
Normally, Zoom recordings are saved as mp4 files (video & audio).
You can use this functionality and convert the mp4 file to mp3 after the fact by following these steps:
- Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
- Click the Meetings tab.
- Click the Recorded tab.
- Select the meeting topic with the local recording.
- Click Convert.
To record audio only, you need to go into your Zoom settings.
When recording locally, the host can record all participants' audio streams as separate audio files, one file for each participant. To enable this option:
- Open the Zoom client and click Settings.
- Click the Recording tab.
- Enable Record a separate audio file for each participant.
- Record and save the meeting to your computer.
- Once the meeting is over and the recording has processed, open the recording folder.
- Within the folder, open Audio Record.
- Once in the Audio Record folder, each participant's audio track will be listed as its own file, with the file name beginning with the participant's name.
5. Edit the podcast
If you want to edit any of the audio, you can do so by opening your mp3 file in GarageBand. This allows you to cut out any preamble you may not want on the podcast, edit out interruptions and background noise, or edit the length down to the number of minutes you’d like it to run for.
Step 1: Open GarageBand
Step 2: Open the media browser
Step 3: Drag the track onto the screen
Step 4: Now you can split portions of the track, cut part of a track, etc.
6. Publish the podcast
Anchor use is very straightforward - from their website, take the following steps:
- Log in to your Anchor account
- Click new episode
- Click upload a pre-recorded audio file (or record a new one right there in the app/ web browser)
- Save episode.
- Next, you'll want to give your episode a title and description
- Click publish.
Once the podcast is published here it is distributed to Spotify (among others - see above). From Spotify, you can copy the ‘embed’ code which will allow you to embed the podcast on a website.
To upload the podcast to YouTube, Foundation for Change used iMovie to merge the audio track and the organisational logo into mp4 (basically this means it shows the logo for the duration of the podcast) - this is necessary because YouTube is a video platform and therefore needs a video format to publish.
7. Gather feedback from staff & listeners
Foundation for Change looked at the analytics available from Anchor to get an idea of the number of listeners and how long people would listen for.
Additional feedback gathering didn’t start until after the team started running interactive seminars to go with the podcasts – a service recipe has been created for these as well
8. Publicise your podcast
Once the podcast was available, Foundation for Change linked to it from their social media channels, added the link into email signatures, created promotional pdfs and distributed these to the services that the charity partners with.
Many thanks to Foundation for Change for contributing this recipe.
This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.
That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Foundation for Change and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.
Do you have thoughts on this recipe? We would love to hear from you.