Before there was ever the written word, there was a voice that was heard. The human voice carries meaning with which the written word can never fully compete.
The oral tradition of storytelling has a long and ancient pedigree, dating back to the dawn of humanity and continuing to this day. Human beings have invented tools to record and capture our musings, our hopes, our dreams, our poetry, our songs, our defiance and our place.
Now through the visual Internet, humans have created the technology and techniques of podcasting. We are living through a Renaissance of podcasting as the platform for the spoken voice expands exponentially (250,000 podcasts with a total of 1 million downloads per month at last count). The technology for recording the spoken word and transmitting it to hundreds and thousands of people has never been less expensive. With these three factors—the power of the human voice, the inexpensive cost of the technology, and the nature of storytelling—peace builders should be gravitating toward this exploding field.
There are very few peace builders (four at last count found through a Google search) who are stepping into the world of podcasting.
So, what are the areas that hold peace builders back from podcasting?
Expense: Many peace builders view podcasting as more daunting than launching a blogging platform. However, the cost of recording equipment (a microphone, a pair of headphones and Audacity audio editing software) can all be attained at starter prices of around $200.
Distribution Systems: Podcast content—or any other type of audio content—must have a distribution ecosystem arranged beforehand in order gain attention. The following systems work really well to start:
ITunes, Stitcher, The Blubrry Store, Player.FM and Google Play Music Store: These platforms act as places for the podcast listener to listen to find a peace builder’s podcast, listen and subscribe.
The podcast web page, RSS Feed, email list: These peace builder owned platforms are the ones that require the most attention from the podcast creator, but can be grafted onto an already established blog platform.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +, Instagram: These platforms are for marketing audio content visuals, engaging with listeners and drawing attention to the podcast itself. The content has to be marketed and driving the audience toward the content is the purpose of these social platforms.
Guests: For the peace builder interested in podcasting finding interesting guests means considering the demographics of the podcast audience and listener. Making guests interesting does not mean manipulating an interview, the questions, the conversation or the process. Making guests interesting means thinking of the questions to ask that will encourage guest engagement around conversation with the host to retain the interest of the listener.
Engaging with the podcasting process requires the same internal capacity to abandon the fear of performance and perfection that curating, blogging, speaking and presenting require.
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By Jesan Sorrell