The term podcasting is often incorrectly used when referring to any audio file available on a website. In this short Webmaster Class we reviewed some of the terminology, discussed examples of audio content you might want to feature and hopefully offered some clarity on what types of audio might benefit from a podcast format.
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The term podcasting is often incorrectly used when referring to any audio file available on a website. During our time together I’m going to review some of the terminology, discuss examples of audio content you might want to consider featuring on your website and offer some clarity of what types of audio might benefit from podcast distribution.
Just to be clear in today’s class I’m not going to be offering a step by step training on how to embed audio on a page or how to setup a podcast. We have some other videos available in our Learning Center that offer those instructions and I’ll highlight those at the end of my presentation. Today the focus is on highlighting the different ways audio could be used on your website and depending on your goals which approach is going to be the best route.
I think we’ve all been in meetings where the goal is to come up with creative ways to promote an event or resource and someone has that eureka moment of, “We should create a podcast! Don’t we need to create a podcast? Wouldn’t that help?” Not everyone knows exactly what a podcast really is. It’s a wonderful and creative idea to find ways to use recorded audio, paired with some type of resource or a story. Unfortunately, that creative idea might just get squashed if it’s presented using the word podcast.
In the introduction I mentioned that the term podcasting is frequently used incorrectly as a term for just any audio on the Internet or specifically your website. You do have the ability to upload audio files and embed an audio player for users to listen to that audio on a particular page of your website.
Podcasts are not just those individual audio files on web sites.
Podcasts are a series of audio files available by subscription.
Listeners have the ability to subscribe to podcasts from a number of different platforms. Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify are just a few examples of podcast aggregators.
I wanted to make a note that podcasts are not just available to those with smartphones. There are a number of podcast applications that run on desktops, laptops and tablets.
After subscribing to a podcast these types of applications or podcast aggregators will automatically check those feeds and will download the latest audio file as soon as it’s available to a subscribers device. Depending on the applications it can also notify a subscriber when something new is available.
In a number of situations just embedding individual audio files on a page, paired with a particular resource makes complete sense. Depending on the type of content setting up a podcast might strategically make more sense.
Podcasts can give that audio another life.
Podcasts empower users to receive the content you’re offering when and where they want it.
If you’re already recording worship services and other special events then you’re already creating enough content to maintain a podcast to be completely honest. Let’s start with your weekly sermon. This is a thoughtful and well-researched piece of content you’re already creating each week. The next opportunity is your children’s sermon. You could pull just that portion of the service and start a children’s sermon podcast. Our church has a weekly class called Faith Forum. It often includes featured guest speakers presenting on a variety of theological, cultural, and other types of interesting topics. You might have something similar in your congregation and these presentations could also make great podcast content.
For those of you still not quite sure what in the world Andrew is talking about I’m going to take a few minutes to show you some examples. I hope these spark some creativity and also offer some clarity for those that might still be a little confused.
In this first example, University Presbyterian Church is using both methods. As you can see they have the most recent sermon audio embedded on their homepage where you can play it. If you click on the Sermon Archive button you’re taken to a dedicated page that features previous sermons and the option to subscribe to their Podcast. It gives you the ability to subscribe directly through Apple Podcasts or you can choose another application of your choosing. University is using Sermon.net which is a podcast hosting provider that we encourage Worship Times partners to consider. It’s one of many companies available that provide not only the hosting of your audio content but also assist you in getting registered with the variety of podcast networks available.
https://upcaustin.org/ and also available to subscribe to podcast https://upcaustin.org/sermon-archive/
The next site I’m going to feature is the Presbytery of Philadelphia. They’ve created a podcast that features a variety of content from mission impact stories, interviews with key leaders on a variety of relevant and timely topics, audio of workshops and keynote presentations that have been offered. The community of leaders are invited to either subscribe through their preferred podcast network or they can visit the website where they create a blog post for each new episode. The post offers more information about the presentation or interview and in this case if video is available they feature that as well. This is an excellent example of how this type of content could be organized.
I’d like to offer some of my own suggestions.
We all have those amazing longtime members that share stories from when they were a child in the church 50+ years ago. Often after these stories are shared someone always says , “hey someone should write that down, someone should interview so and so.” A video interview would be great but for a variety of valid reasons some folks don’t want to be on camera but they wouldn’t mind an audio recording. The average church’s history page is filled with a TON of Words and maybe 1-2 images. Each of us has members of our community that actually have memories and stories to tell about some of those historical milestones referenced on the history page. Take the time to interview some of these folks and then you can embed a short audio clip of that interview with a photo of them right next to the event they’re reflecting on.
Church websites feature the community ministries they support. Often these pages include a logo and a few sentences about the church’s commitment. These could be taken to the next level with some mission impact stories. Interviews with volunteers or individuals whose lives have been changed because of that outreach or service. Throughout the year you likely offer a few minutes for someone representing that organization to share a minute for mission in the midst of the worship service. Pull that audio and embed it on your website along with the mission partner profile.
We’re approaching the summer and some church educators create Sunday school materials that can be used at home with children. I know of many that have already been creating similar tools for families to use over the last year. You could record supplemental audio or video that could be used along with the summer curriculum. Instead of just emailing out these tools create a dedicated page on your website for summer 2021 children’s ministry resources. You could organize the page with each of the .PDF files and right alongside them you could include links to audio or video files that should be used with that lessen.
Those are just a few creative suggestions that I hope were helpful!
If you’re interested in taking the next step and want to learn more I recommend checking out the following videos available in the learning center. As you review those and have any other questions you can always submit a help ticket and a member of our team will respond. I’ll be sending out a follow-up email to all registered participants with a recording of todays presentation and links to those learning center videos I referenced.
I hope this presentation helped provide a better understanding of how individual audio files can be used and how a series of audio content regularly being produced can and should be set up as a podcast.
Thanks to all of our Worship Times partners and friends that joined today. A video of this presentation will be available in our Facebook Group, the Worship Times website and for our partners you’ll be able to find recordings of these webmaster classes in the learning center section of your dashboard. I’ll also be sending that follow-up email early next week.
Worship Times offers web, communications and design support for congregations, ministry organizations and others types of non-profits. If you would like to learn more about how we can support your ministry visit us at worshiptimes.org. Have a nice day!
Learning Center videos:
How to Create a Podcast
Use Amazon S3 to Store Audio Files
Publications Tool – Overview & Display