When the International Parking and Mobility Institute was looking to launch a podcast, the group realized doing it well would require a large time commitment. A clever partnership is providing the advantages of a podcast without monopolizing staff hours.
Podcasting has become a popular medium for associations to communicate with members and the public. However, creating a quality one can be a time-consuming task, which the International Parking and Mobility Institute realized when it began exploring the idea last year.
“By the time you identify the guest, come up with questions, edit it, upload it, it’s a fairly large investment in time to do the kind of podcast we wanted to do,” said Kim Fernandez, IPMI’s director of publications. “We were going to have to stop doing something else. When we looked at what we were willing to stop doing, the answer was, there wasn’t anything.”
The timing of when IPMI was exploring a podcast was fortuitous, because several new industry podcasts had popped up. One of those programs was hosted by a highly involved IPMI member, and that’s when the group had an epiphany.
“He was our professional of the year last year, and he was on our list as a potential host because he has very good judgment and a very good sense of the industry,” Fernandez said. “We asked if he would be willing to do a mutually beneficial partnership.”
“The way it works is we put a link on our website, we publicize all the episodes, we include them in our newsletter, and we advertise the podcast in our print publications,” Fernandez said. “Our logo is on the podcast, but we don’t produce it.”
Mouw selects the guests, conducts interviews, and edits and produces the podcasts, which airs every two weeks. IPMI gets to promote its programs and member benefits each episode.
“Each show, we have a 30 second pre-roll and a 15 second post-roll that we can change every episode,” Fernandez said. “We use it to publicize our conference, sometimes with a call to action or to say early-bird pricing is ending. We might talk about our keynote speaker or one of our add-on sessions. We have publicized our books.”
The podcast is also low cost. Fernandez estimates IPMI has only spent “a few hundred dollars” for extra headsets and microphones. Previously, the podcast only had one microphone it would ship to guests, which created lag time in episodes as the single microphone got sent to them and back. The extra equipment helps the podcasts stay on schedule.
Advice for Other Associations
For associations considering partnering with an existing podcast, Fernandez has a couple pieces of advice. First, put it in writing. “Ink out your agreement, even if you’re super friendly,” Fernandez said. “Make sure there are clear expectations of what the goals are. What do you hope to get out of it for each of you?”
Second, understand the impact of guest selection. While IPMI does not have guest approval, it does receive advance notice. “There is certainly a fine line to walk when it comes to interviews with supplier members of ours,” Fernandez said. “We want to avoid any favoritism. We very much value all of our supplier members.”
While no supplier members have been guests, Fernandez said IPMI would pull back on publicity for a supplier member episode to avoid the appearance of favoritism. She recommends thinking through issues that could be created by certain guests.
The third piece of advice is, if you choose to go with a member who already has a podcast, find out if there are other member podcasts out there and be upfront. “That can be tricky,” Fernandez said. “There were other podcasts out there, some by our members. We did reach out to the others and say, ‘Here is why we are doing it this way. There are no hard feelings.’”
The one-year strategic partnership agreement between Mouw and IPMI was signed last fall, and Fernandez said everyone is pleased so far.
“He is getting publicity and really able to grow the podcast,” Fernandez said. “From our end, we essentially have a podcast, and it’s not taking a lot of staff time. It’s been a win-win.”
How has your association found creative ways to get into podcasting? Share your thoughts in the comments.