The growth of podcasting speaks to the desire people have to listen to inspiring and entertaining content on their own time. And this puts the power in the hands of producers. Anyone can create a podcast, and they don’t have to struggle to find an outlet to carry and broadcast it.
This levels out the playing field, but it makes podcasters responsible for marketing their own content and cutting through the glut of producers trying to find an audience.
The great thing for churches about podcasts is that they’re relatively cheap to start, it’s a fantastic way to inspire members (and others) outside of a weekly service, and it helps promote what’s unique about your church and staff. And as a church, you already have a built-in audience: your congregation. Unlike someone starting from scratch, churches are able to distribute their podcast to a group of people who already care what they have to say.
Thinking about starting a podcast for your church? Here is a brief walkthrough of the essential steps:
1. Plan your content
What’s your podcast going to be? A host/co-host discussion format? A broadcast of last week’s sermon? Interviews with prominent community members? Talks about biblical leadership? The more unique your idea, the more likely it will get traction inside (and outside!) of your congregation, helping to engage and grow your church.
How long will your episodes be? They don’t have to be 30–60 minutes long. There are plenty of prominent podcasts that are only about six-minutes long. If you want each episode to be a daily devotional, a short length makes sense! In-depth episodes that require research and interviews will need to be longer. Find a consistent length that makes sense for your format, and then stick with it.
2. Put together your presentation
What will you title your podcast? You want something unique. Do your due diligence to make sure it’s not taken. You don’t want to have to change it later.
You’ll need some cover art for your own website and places like Spotify or Apple Podcasts. A lot of churches have a designer on staff, so this one is pretty easy. If you don’t have a designer, you can find a lot of agencies online to get one done at a reasonable price.
Then you’ll need a good intro. This is what people are going to hear when your podcast starts. This can be created in-house, or you can find royalty-free options for music online.
3. Record and edit your podcasts
Another thing that gives churches an advantage in the podcasting world is that they tend to have high-quality sound systems and equipment, and most of them are used to recording their sermons. So you might not need to buy any gear to get a good recording.
For the new podcaster, editing is probably the area with the steepest learning curve. There are plenty of tutorials online to help you learn how to do it with your editing software of choice. You can also find services that will edit your podcasts for a nominal fee. This is an expense, but it can save you tons of time.
4. Find a podcast host and submit podcasts
A podcast host is a place to store and distribute your audio files. There are many options available, and because it’s a reasonably competitive area, you can find one in your price range.
Once you’ve uploaded your first podcast, you can submit it to Spotify and Apple Podcasts. (Many podcasting platforms even handle distribution for you!)
5. Market your podcast
This isn’t an “if we build it, they will come” situation. A lot of the heavy lifting is going to come in the marketing part of the endeavor. This means things like:
- Telling your congregation about it
- Promoting it on your social media
- Having people in your church promote it
- Leveraging the reach of people you interview
- Transcribing the audio and putting in your website along with each episode
- Being a guest on other people’s podcasts
It might seem like you’re doing a lot of work for very little return in the marketing department, but think of it as a flywheel. Once you get the wheel to start spinning, it requires less of the church’s energy.
That should get you started
Plan on investing a year or two into this process, even if your podcast doesn’t take off outside of your church overnight, it can still be a hugely enriching way to reach your congregants outside of Sunday morning. And remember, if you get hung up, there are wonderful resources online to help with each step of the process.
And if you’re looking for a church app you can use to promote and share your podcast with your members, Sharefaith has you covered. It’s the perfect communication tool for 21st-century churches. Get it as part of your Sharefaith Suite membership.
Thinking about updating your church website? We can help! Download the free eBook, “10 Signs It’s Time to Redesign Your Church Website: Transforming Your Website Into a Visitor Magnet” now.