When it comes to podcasting, many organisations are still unsure how or where to begin with conceptualising their own series.
With more than 19.1 million podcast listeners just in the UK, there’s definitely appetite for the medium and there are plenty of opportunities for housing providers in particular to add their own insightful and entertaining conversations to the mix.
From sitting down with residents to spotlighting frontline colleagues, there are a range of approaches that housing associations can explore and plenty of good practice to learn from to ensure your content is as authentic and engaging to your audience as possible.
To illustrate my point, I asked each member of the See Media team to share their favourite podcast and tips on how housing associations can incorporate some of those ideas into their own series.
Naomi: The Down Low is a bi-weekly discussion of music, politics and celebrity news hosted by two black bisexual millennials who live in London. The podcast takes a traditional radio structure by mixing emerging music with conversation for an inclusive ‘lounge room’ experience, but I most enjoy the humour and the way the hosts speak their minds.
It’s good to share in a conversation from an intersectional perspective underrepresented in the media. The familiarity of the hosts replicates conversations we in the audience will have with our own friends and peers.
One great thing about the show is that the creators make visual edits to repackage clips from their conversation. The imagery incorporates emojis, stock images, viral video and images for comic embellishment. This approach has gained them 23,100 followers on Tik Tok, where the topical commentary can be easily digested and shared amongst an ever-increasing audience. Tik Tok is actually how I discovered the show and as the fastest growing and third largest social media platform, housing associations will likely find residents from a mix of demographics awaiting their appearance. So why not get started by repurposing snippets from a podcast?
Stuart: When it comes to podcasts, I really enjoy BBC’s ‘More or Less’. Presenter Tim Harford and his team try to make sense of the everyday stats that surround us. The informative, topical and irreverent style makes often dry topics incredibly accessible. I listened to it before the pandemic, but it has become essential listening in the past two years keeping me informed and also entertained.
Housing stories about people and the support housing professionals provide can be very powerful, while often being straightforward to tell in podcasts or other formats. However, what underpins this positive impact on people can frequently be drier and less immediately appealing. The lesson from More or Less, however, is how clarity and humour can bring topics such as finance, ESG, asset management, HR, development and more to life.
Lydia: ‘Where Should We Begin?’ (WSWB) is a podcast I’ll listen to as long as it’s being made. Hosted by therapist Esther Perel, the listener gets to sit in on counselling sessions with real couples. It’s perhaps not immediately obvious how housing providers can take inspiration from WSWB when developing their own podcast series, but what I love most about Esther Perel is her humanity, and the way she carefully handles her guests and their stories. And there’s a lot the sector and its comms people can learn from that.
Esther Perel says, “I enjoy explaining the mysteries of the human condition in simple words”. I’m not suggesting that anyone in housing launches a podcast that digs around in residents’ relationships – but one that demonstrated an appreciation of each of them as a complex human would be big step forward, especially in terms of dispelling the pervasive stereotypes of the people who live in social and affordable housing.
When housing providers talk about tenants, residents, customers and service users, it can often feel as though they’re referring to a homogenous group, but all these people sometimes have in common is their landlord or service provider. A podcast that told residents’ individual stories would be interesting and inspiring.
Sarah: One of my go-to series is ‘You Me and the Big C’. What I like most about this podcast and what is perhaps most relevant to housing associations, is the fact that it tackles the really difficult conversations we are often too scared or embarrassed to have face to face.
The conversations work because as an audience we get to be involved in the lives of the three presenters – who’ve each had very different experiences of living with cancer. In addition to being invested in their journey and lives (or maybe that’s just me?) listeners also get to hear from guest experts who the hosts direct difficult questions to, based on their own experiences and knowledge.
For me, and I imagine many other people, this particular podcast has changed the conversations I have around cancer, dying and grief. Especially as despite the very serious topic, it is a somewhat uplifting and downright entertaining listen.
Eve: Unpopular opinion but I find it quite difficult to sit and listen to podcasts. I engage more with visual media so the increasingly popular vodcast (video podcast) like Happy Hour is what I tend to tune into. For me, being able to see the hosts and their guests enables me to build a far better image of what’s going on through expressions and mannerisms.
As well as capturing a wider audience, vodcasts are great for creating additional content, especially for social media. Videos are known for having higher engagement across most social channels so it makes sense to use a vodcast to create smaller visual clips and these can be used across channels as a preview in the build-up to an episode or as part of a wider campaign to further the longevity of an episode.
In addition to getting some great podcast recommendations, we hope this blog has inspired some potential ideas or direction for your own series. If you want to chat through a concept or are interested in finding out more about our podcast services offering, then get in touch by e-mailing Sara.Mills@See-Media.co.uk.
Did you know we created and launched Stonewater’s award-winning series On the Air? Or Stop Loan Sharks’ series to promote its Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) grants? Check out our latest podcast case studies to find out more.