Today we are talking with Danny Ozment, founder and producer at Emerald City Productions. Danny was on a path to becoming a conductor when his daughter’s birth necessitated flexibility and a major change in priorities. Danny spent the first seven years in his new business focusing on a cappella given his 20-year music career as a singer and producer of choral music and contemporary a cappella. Being a fan of many podcasts, Danny started his own show and quickly began editing and producing podcasts for others.
Do you think every nonprofit should have a podcast?
Yes – anyone who has something to say should have a podcast. Most organizations are either developing or have developed content for marketing. Podcasting can be a way of saving time because you can record a podcast as if you were dictating notes to someone who was going to write a blog post or article. And then you transcribe it and then you or your support staff can generate the necessary blog articles or quotes for social media. Podcasts are the one form of new media where you can have a long-form, nuanced conversations and share stories. People who are listening to podcasts right now are lonely and starved for actual conversation. When they’re stuck in their long commutes, their frustrating jobs, they want to connect with someone. Or, maybe they want to learn something while they are running or cleaning their house; podcasts are the way to do that. The podcast host then becomes their friend or the expert/authority on a topic after a few episodes. Nonprofits have an expertise in an area and podcasts are how they can share that content.
Right now, there are more than 50% of Americans who listen to podcasts on a weekly basis and that number continues to steadily increase. 90% of podcast listeners consume at least half or more than half of an episode. These people are giving you much more attention than blogs or videos, even more so than social media posts.
Traditionally, podcasts start out establishing the pillars or core values or the cause they are focusing on. Once you’ve established that evergreen content, it’s a good idea to bring in other experts – from other organizations, other people from within your organization, people from around the world who can support what you’re saying because then the people listening to you realize that you really do know what you are talking about. You also need to think about your audience. I have clients who will interview an audience member and do a live coaching. Or they will do a focus group and ask a lot of questions.
If someone is wanting to start a podcast, what is the first thing they need to know?
You have to have the desire to improve communication between you and your community (your cause). You need a USB microphone – the one I love is the Audio-Technica ATR2100 – since it’s a USB mic, you can plug it right into your computer and start recording. To record, you can use QuickTime, Garage Band, or Audacity for PC and then all you need after that is a hosting solution; companies like Libsyn, Blubrry, or Podbean take your file and spread it to the rest of the world.
What are you seeing nonprofits do well that you think others should replicate?
They stay on mission. They have a reason they exist. Strong nonprofit game right now is hosting events that engage the community and really fit people.
What have you seen that’s not working?
The number one complaint I hear out of the nonprofit world is we never have enough staff; the whole staff is overworked and underpaid. Nonprofits don’t outsource enough. For example, if a nonprofit is wanting to start a podcast, though it’s not hard work, it’s a lot of work because it’s a long play – it could take six months to a year. Consistency is key – if you are going to podcast once a week or once a month, then you have to stick to that schedule. What my company, Emerald City Productions, does is produce podcasts for businesses. On the business’ end, they record into a mic and then we handle everything else from the tech side to show notes to content for blogs and/or social media posts. This is what I see nonprofits not doing well, which is taking advantage of the contract help that’s out there.
Are there any resources you would recommend?
If you’re thinking about a podcast, my podcast is a great place to start it’s called Podcast Strategies and people can find it wherever they get their podcasts. If you are a LinkedIn Learning member, I have an A-Z course called Producing Podcasts and it covers everything from how to choose the audience you’re speaking to, here’s how to choose your title or format, here’s what you do to create the artwork, etc. For more research on podcasting, Edison Research released The Podcast Consumer 2019.
What does freedom mean to you?
Freedom to me means having the time to develop new ideas and concepts in my business and organization without having to worry about managing the machine that is the day to day of running the organization.
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