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Higher Education should get a podcast

June 4, 2018

About a quarter of America listens to a podcast each month. The vast majority probably listens on their commute to work. From RadioLab, to This American Life, some people might even know when their favorite new podcast drops. We’re approaching peak podcast – wherein people say, this is where the audience is, and you should do this.

Imagine if billboards didn’t exist. Then one day someone had the idea to put up a billboard. The news would be: “millions of people drive past this every single day, brands have to be here.” So brands, or higher education brands, would go about making a Billboard – which isn’t easy. Distilling the essence of higher education down to 7 words is an exercise in sheer impossibility.

Here are the reasons to say no, and the reasons to say yes. 

Look, I’m not saying higher education shouldn’t get a podcast. The plus side is that more and more students will begin using Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google assistants to aid them in the school search. Having a podcast called “Getting into (school)” or “life at school” could begin to win those particular digital assistant searches.

that said, before going down the complicated road of making a podcast, consider using business.google.com to ensure that the content on your search engine results page (SERP) is 100% perfect. Getting that right takes continued care and a detailed, calendar-specific content plan.

This is like a football game. There are certain things one must do to win a football game. A team must block and tackle to win. That is called doing the fundamentals. When the fundamentals are right, and there is a content plan for Twitter, Notes for Facebook, posts for Google, all fitting the time of the year in the admissions or development cycle, and the Wikipedia page is updated with a notable alumni section, then start a podcast.

The podcast will be the trick play of your offense. An “in vogue” play that gets the school the championship, or a play from a digital assistant. Just don’t ignore the blocking an tackling.

It is also worth noting that making a podcast is hard. One of the hardest things to do on the Internet is build an audience. It has taken me years to get to 3K followers on Twitter. Maybe a hit podcast would increase my reach. Maybe not.

Finally, the podcast has to live alongside Serial, RadioLab, and 99% Invisible, and other professionally created  podcasts. At the end of the day, the podcast by a brand is an ad. Their podcasts aren’t an ad. So tread carefully.

What do you think?

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