Podcasts are an excellent way to keep alumni engaged and advertise your institution to a broader audience. They hold listeners' attention, increase their affinity for your school, and make your institution useful to them. (See our blog post on what schools can learn from public radio for more on this.)
Here are 4 schools that successfully use podcasts to keep their communities engaged.
1. Longwood University – "Day After Graduation"
Longwood's new podcast is targeted at alumni, particularly young alumni, and students who are looking ahead to their career after graduation. (Hence the name, "Day After Graduation.")
The format of the show is familiar to anyone to listens to podcasts today. The hosts (from Longwood's Office of Alumni and Career Services) interview alumni in different professions about their career paths. Each episode is thematic—one features alumni in financial services, another asks alumni musicians how they turned their passion into a living.
The result is a podcast that's compelling to a variety of audiences. The stories are as compelling as they are useful to students and young alumni looking for career advice. And "Day After Graduation" helps alumni—interviewees and listeners alike—reconnect with their alma mater in a very human way.
2. The University of Texas at Austin – "15 Minute History"
UT Austin's History Department produces "15 Minute History" as a resource for students, teachers, and the casual listener. The episodes are short and informative, and put UT Austin on the map for aspiring history buffs.
"15 Minute History" is an excellent example of how universities can showcase their faculty as a way to advertise to prospective students and reconnect with alumni. And you don't have to be a history major to enjoy the podcast.
Any school can turn faculty expertise into content that's interesting to a broad audience. It's a great way to maintain relationships with alumni from specific departments, too.
3. West Virginia University – "West Virginia Mountaineers"
WVU's decision to capitalize on the sports podcasting trend has paid off. Since 2015, the West Virginia Mountaineers podcast has given alumni and other fans a look into the inner workings of the team, and close access to the team's coaches and staff.
If you're a sports buff who can't get enough of your favorite team, you'll immediately appreciate the value of the Mountaineers podcast. It takes existing fandom into a medium many sports fans are already using to keep up with their favorite teams.
And, because you're following the team rather than producing entirely new content, it doesn't take all that much work to get a podcast like this running.
4. Boston University – "Boston University World of Ideas"
BU's new "World of Ideas" is a partnership with Boston NPR member station WBUR. WBUR broadcasts talks and presentations made on campus for an hour a week and makes them available online.
"World of Ideas" is about as low effort as you can get. Your A/V department probably already records talks by visiting speakers. But that doesn't mean it's low quality—BU hosts world-class speakers.
A podcast like "World of Ideas" is an easy way to reach alumni who live far away from campus, and broader audiences as well.