Communication, podcasting, Social Media, Tools

Our Cub Nation Station podcast is up and running and it couldn’t have been easier!

(After I composed this post, I realized it became fairly lengthy. EEK! I tried to include lots of HOPEFULLY helpful planning details, but be looking for some follow-up posts with specific info about Anchor, SoundCloud, and Headliner!)

Each week my district hosts two radio shows featuring staff and students talking about the great things happening in Brenham ISD. Last year, I started hosting one of these shows, which provided a perfect opportunity for me to expand our content to a podcast this year. The station manager graciously allows me to bring in my own recorder to grab those weekly interviews for our new Cub Nation station podcast. It has been SO EASY to take the content we are already producing and put it into a podcast format to reach a greater audience. Below are the steps I take and the tools I use to produce the weekly episodes. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, I say DO IT! There’s nothing to fear!

Step 1: Schedule the interview

  • I send a Google Sheet to all of our campus and district administrators at the beginning of each year so they can easily sign up for an interview date/time slot.
  • I encourage them to choose a date that is MEANINGFUL (ex: coincides with a special event, celebration or time of year).
  • They write 5 questions (with short answers … I’ll tell you why later!) and share them with me in a Google Doc.
  • Once all admins have had a chance to sign up, I reach out to student group sponsors and special programs staff to get a variety of voices on the show.

Step 2: Record the interview

  • This year I bought a Zoom H1n Handy Recorder for recording the podcast episodes. It’s super easy to use and has great sound quality.
  • I just set it up on the table in between my guest and me and press the little red record button to start and stop.
  • It came with a micro-SD card and an adapter so I can easily transfer the audio file to my computer.

Step 3: Publish the podcast episode

  • I am using Anchor to publish our district podcast and I highly recommend this for starters! It’s FREE and it’s EASY! Plus, it automatically pushes my podcast to 6 different platforms each time I publish a new episode.
  • The high-level steps in Anchor look like this … 
    • Import my podcast intro from my library (previously recorded)
    • Insert the “slide” transition clip from the Anchor library (personal preference)
    • Upload the episode from my Zoom micro-SD card
    • Split the audio to trim the ends of the episode (gets rid of our chatting before and after)
    • Insert the “slide” transition clip from the Anchor library again at the end
    • Save episode
    • I then use the questions and answers from the Google Doc the guest shared with me for the episode notes and also for a “5 questions with” newsletter on our district website. (work smarter, not harder!)

Step 4: Advertise the new episode

  • My podcasting pals Justin Dearing and Erin McCann shared this AMAZING tool with me called Headliner. It does A LOT of stuff, but I use it to record teasers for my latest episodes. (This tool will likely require a more detailed future blog post!)
  • The high-level steps for Headliner look like this …
    • I use Canva to create a square image with the title and topic of my episode and a picture of the guest. 
    • Then, I drop the file from my Zoom recorder into Soundtrap to trim it into a 15-30 second teaser.
    • Headliner then helps me turn the audio teaser into a cool animated waveform on top of the Canva image that I can share on social media with a link back to the full episode.
  • You can see an example of the headliner teaser here.

I fully accept that there is probably an easier (and more sophisticated) way to do all of this, but it’s working for me now and it’s all FREE! 🙂

“Not-so-pro” tips: 

  • There are NO ambushes on my shows. The guests know exactly what I am going to ask because they wrote the questions! This is why they keep coming back – I don’t scare them away with questions they’re not ready to answer!
  • I use a canned response in Gmail to send guests a reminder the week of their shows. You can turn on canned responses or “templates” in your Gmail settings.
  • I use the RSS feed from Anchor to push episodes to a page on our district website so all of my social media posts lead back to our district site. 🙂

Do you have a podcast? What are your favorite tools, tips, and tricks? I’d love to learn from you!

TSPRA

Day 1 of TSPRA19 did NOT disappoint! Here are my 10 favorite moments, plus all of my day 1 notes!

It was an AWESOME day at TSPRA19 and I am so thankful for the TSPRA organization, all of the event planners, and the sponsors. Amazing content, incredible attention to detail, and all of the little touches really made today’s experience one to remember. Here are my 10 favorite moments from today!

  1. Getting a sweet new pair of Maui Jim sunglasses at the TSPRA President’s Reception for helping with conference planning. (Ok, that was technically from yesterday, but it was AWESOME!)
  2. Lynne Wester (@DonorGuru) sharing her expertise during opening session this morning and telling the story of how Team Rubicon knocked it out of the park with donor follow-up efforts.
    1. P.S. Lynn says you need to thank a donor 7 different times before you ask them for money again!
  3. Hearing the “BOY” method for donor communications … “Because of you…” What a simple way to frame the message to communicate the importance of giving and show the impact it makes!
  4. Being introduced to the “Anatomy of a Podcast” by Christie Goodman with IDRA. They’ve been podcasting since 2006! Check out their Classnotes Podcast.
    1. bumper –> standard podcast intro –> episode intro –> transition music –> body –> transition music –> outro –> standard podcast exit
  5. Learning about using Anchor for easily creating podcasts – definitely see some podcasting in my future!
  6. Learning about Digital Juice subscription service for royalty-free content FOREVER.
    1. P.S. They’re having a 50% off sale right now!!
  7. Eating “tot-chos” and smores for lunch to fuel up for an afternoon of learning!
  8. Getting a great idea from the Riverside Unified School District website – showcasing statistics in a scrolling banner at the bottom of the homepage.
  9. Getting another great idea from Cy-Fair ISD to use consistent hash-tagging (ex: #CFISDsafety or #CFISDfunrun) to help with branding and recognizability.
  10. BY FAR, the best part of today was having Steven Anderson (@web20classroom) give a nice shoutout to Brenham ISD for our communication plan! Couldn’t believe my good fortune to be sitting in that session to see that! Click here to get our plan in Google Docs (just go to File > Make a Copy to create your own version.)

Click here to access all of my notes from today!