Podcasting 1.0.1 Revealed
By Nick Garlow
Podcasting can be an effective new media tool used in conjunction with other outreach efforts. There are more than 40 public facing HHS podcasts, all with different niches. For example, the HHS HealthBeat is a podcast that educates the public on health prevention tips, 5 days a week. NIH Clinical Radio is a bi-weekly podcast whose audience is interested in news on medical research being done at the American’s Clinical Research Hospital.
There are many forms of podcasts, many ways to produce them, and any of them can be equally effective. They can be used to answer health and safety questions, like Ask CDC does using a short and formal format, or target a specific demographic, like Women’s Health by CDC, that uses an extended, less formal, interview format. Podcasts are one new media tool that can be used in different ways to brand your mission. They’re also a tool that can be used to reach different audiences, and specifically to broadcast health information. A recent study by Edison Research and Arbitron found that those who listen to podcasts are all different ages, 12 and up.
The HHS Center for New Media is releasing guidance on podcasting, as it has in the past with new media tools like YouTube and Facebook. When putting guidance together on new media tools like the ones mentioned we make sure to involve new media experts from across HHS. To ensure that we provide you with the best guidance we can, it’s important to bring others into the process for collaboration and feedback. I’ve worked with experienced podcast leaders from HHS, NIH and CDC among others to put together the HHS Podcast Guidance Document; a resource for someone who has never done a podcast before.
Here are some key points that should be taken in consideration during the planning process for a podcast.
- Identify: What is your mission? Who is your audience? What is your timeline? How does podcasting fit into your communication strategy?
- Standards & Policies: The presentation of your podcasts must be 508 compliant, and you must be aware of records keeping policies when archiving your podcast.
- Understand the Medium: If you’ve never podcasted before, become familiar with terms like voice over, sound on tape, RSS feed, and music bed.
- Resources: Do you have the time, budget, and necessary equipment to complete a podcast? Understand your capabilities from the beginning.
- The Step-by-Step Process: How do you go from an original idea to a published podcast? This requires scheduling interviews, editing audio, script consultation, voice tracking, and more.
All of these steps and more are outlined in the Podcast Guidance Document<link>, to help you get started and become a successful podcaster. Consider that nearly 70 million Americans, of all ages, have at one time listened to a podcast before. Good luck, and let the podcasting begin!
Nick Garlow is a Public Affairs Specialist in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. His full office location acronym is HHS/OS/ASPA/WCD.
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