Why Associations should be Podcasting

Published on 30 March 2020

Any tool that can help membership bodies maintain their relevance and usefulness is worth consideration – after all, you live or die by the renewal invoice! Podcasts however cannot be classed as just another tool. They provide a most intimate means of speaking to your membership that no other medium can match.

The advantages are many, but they can be summarised as:

  • Reaching and pulling in new members including younger profile ones 
  • Providing a learning tool to serve your members 
  • Helping to drive sales of courses, webinars, 
  • Drumming up excitement and increasing attendance at events  
  • Generally increasing traffic to your website
  • Amplifying to a wider audience your association’s thought leadership position
  • Providing useful material for repurposing
  • Building an intimate relationship with customers that no other medium can match
Gordon Glenister produces the Influence Podcast in association with the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA).

Gordon set up the first association partnership for influencers, youtubers and bloggers because “there was nothing out there really giving them a voice.” The podcast features interviews with those from influencer platforms, brands and agencies and effectively gives reassurance to people who want to, but don’t know how to, invest in influencer marketing. 

An additional ambition is to support the BCMA’s members and provide them with the tools to work with influencers and access a niche audience.

Gordon believes “podcasting is a really exciting development that all associations should consider because it gives them another way to reach out to members in a marketing space that is by no means overcrowded.”

It can and should be used educationally he says adding “education is the new sell” and projecting it through podcasting allows you to transcend global borders. 

Gordon has found that his podcast guests deliver a diversity of opinion and some really great insights. In December 2019, he hosted a podcast about the impact of influencers on social media during an election and was able to attract two top journalists to take part. For Gordon this was a chance to make invaluable connections.

Podcasting is a trojan horse, he says and he urges associations to wake up and smell the coffee. Associations want to be able to attract more members under the age of 30 but this age group is not used to joining associations. The best way to get them involved is to hook them in through something like a podcast that can act as a feed into the main membership. It’s about finding where your target audience go and joining them there. 

Philip Allen is Head of Learning at PIMFA – the Personal Investment, Management and Financial Advice Association.

As the first to hold that position he determined to initiate the launch of PIMFA Learning podcasts to offer a different value proposition to member organisations.   He wanted to be able to provide a service that is not offered by other member organisations in the field.

PIMFA aims to keep members engaged through continuously updating them on changes in regulations and compliance and on the consequences for their operations of Brexit. 

Philip emphasizes not only the importance of understanding exactly what members and their clients need but also coming up with inspirational ways of communicating this information to them.

The flexibility of podcasting is perfect for providing just in time learning opportunities and is an incredibly accessible medium that can be listened to during commutes or indeed a host of other down-time activities.

The educational value of podcasting is second to none and a very valuable offering in any niche market.

He believes the willingness of members to subscribe to weekly downloads of well-produced and relevant learning podcasts inevitably leads to a more loyal engagement from them with his association.

Charlotte Butler is Membership Engagement Manager with the IPG (Independent Publisher’s Guild) and she has been involved with the guild’s podcast since it began in 2018.   

The original purpose of The IPG Podcast was to whip up interest in advance of the IPG’s 2018 Autumn Conference. A weekly production with additional daily editions in the run up to the event was launched and then promoted through social media accounts.

The interest this created was palpable and the conference went on to be a well-attended event which delighted the IPG team. In fact, as a result, the podcast has kept going ever since as an interview show although now its main aim is to position the guild as a thought leader.

The podcast is run on a conservative budget with staff conducting interviews with the use of a Blue Yeti microphone and a laptop. Blue Yetis are great value – but not the best in terms of quality. They are nevertheless hugely popular with the podcasting world. The production team use Zencastr which is software that makes it possible to record remotely with guests in far flung places. They edit and publish from within house. 

The IPG Podcast tends to be about 10-15 minutes in length but sometimes longer depending on the flow of the conversation.  With every new edition, the team announces it in an e-bulletin which always triggers a gratifying jump in downloads. They also use Twitter and Facebook to promote it and encourage interviewees to do so as well.

Charlotte, like many of her young colleagues, admits to having little time to read blogs and prefers podcasts because they are so much more accessible.  

Podcast listeners are an engaged bunch. According to figures out of the US (and the UK is moving rapidly in the same direction) 75% of podcast listeners take action from commercial messages which means they are far more likely to investigate and sign up for your events, courses and webinars.  

Podcasting is a relatively empty space – there is still plenty of room for Associations to move in and claim their space. Now is the time to do so – don’t delay!


Serena Gay
Serena Gay

CEO and Founder, Made4UPodcasts

Serena Gay is a BBC-trained broadcast journalist with many years’ experience in the industry in the UK and abroad. The company she founded, Made4U Podcasts, produces intelligent, well-crafted podcasts assisting associations target their ideal listeners. She also provides podcast training courses, social media marketing for podcasts expertise, distribution and sponsorship deals advice.