Associations have a leg up when starting a podcast because they already have an audience and potential sponsors who want those members earbuds.


Mike Mcallen


Association communications

What is a Podcast?

Since their inception in the early 2000s, podcasts have become more and more popular because listeners can subscribe to them and receive a new show automatically. A podcast is an audio file that can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device.

There are companies and associations that host podcasts such as American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), which Podcasting for Associations produces, as well as, podcasts based on topics such as Business, Science or History.

Niche Podcasts

Niche podcasts seem to do particularly well as the subject already has a following.

Associations Audiences Ready

Associations have a leg up when starting a podcast because they already have an audience and potential sponsors who want those members earbuds.

The Research is In!

The on-the-go nature and ease of use has made many companies consider podcasts as a future selling point.

According to Edison Research, 26 percent of Americans listen to podcasts monthly, and 44 percent of Americans have ever listened to a podcast.

That comes out to roughly 124 million people, up 12 million from last year (2018). Podcasts can be listened to anytime, anywhere, which is one of the reasons they’re so popular.

Listening in Cars

Edison Research states 23 percent of Americans listen to podcasts in the car…

On Mobile Devices

and 69 percent of Americans listen to podcasts on a mobile device,

At Home

while 49 percent of podcasts are listened to at home (2018).

Even Smart Speakers

They attribute this to the spike in at-home smart speakers, which allows listeners to choose a podcast by verbal command.

In the last year, the percentage of Americans who own a smart speaker jumped 11 points (2018).

When to Know If You Should Podcast

There are many factors to consider when creating a podcast.


Compelling Topic - Niche Worthy

Clear Goal

Timing & Money

Resources available to meet Schedule

A Compelling Topic

The first and foremost, is the topic compelling, niche-worthy, and does it lend to the auditory format? For instance, if you want to create a podcast on dancing or painting, it will prove even more challenging because they are visual skills.

A Clear Goal

Next, is there a clear goal?

Goals come in many forms: to educate, entertain, to motivate, and to gain more members or revenue are just a few.

AAPD, for example, started creating the Pedo Teeth Talk podcast with a singular goal of educating their members (personal communication). Their clear goal allowed them to cater their topics to their audience. A goal may change and grow as the project grows, but it must remain clear.

Time & Money

Another factor is time and money.

Resources Available

Are resources available to keep to a podcast schedule?

Consistency is key. If the podcast can’t be on a consistent schedule with a consistent host, it’s not worth the time. A consistent schedule allows listeners to look forward to the podcast, mark it on their calendars, and listen to it when it airs.

Solution -> Seasons!

Podcasts recently have started producing “seasons,” so listeners know when the podcast is on break, similar to a TV series. They leave the previous podcast episodes in their podcast subscription app for new members to find and allow current members to relisten.  

Keeping the same host is also an important factor because it helps build a brand. The host gives the podcast, and therefore the company, a voice.


Weighing the Costs vs Benefit

There are many benefits to creating a podcast, but it can be costly. A benefit to a podcast is that people can take it on-the-go. Everyone is so fast-paced nowadays that having information easily accessible while they’re commuting, doing dishes, cleaning house, or waiting at the doctor’s office is a major plus. AAPD liked having an online education feature, so they created webinars; however, they found their members rarely watched them because they wanted something free and easily accessible from their mobile device, so they switched to podcasts (personal communication).

The numbers

Each show averages 2,173 downloads. Combined, their podcasts have reached 26,076 downloads.

AAPD’s only goal was to educate, but because of the popularity of their first six podcasts, they created a secondary, monetary goal (personal communication).

Because of their free nature, many podcasts don’t make money, but popular ones are able to acquire advertisers to monetize their efforts.

Average downloads per show

Total Podcast Downloads

Wrapping it Up!

Podcasting, however, comes with a lot of costs as well. Time, energy, and money must be invested into it. The set-up costs will include microphones, recorder, memory card, editing equipment, and a platform to post on.  A host and guest speakers must be found and hired. Many podcasts fade out because companies don’t think about the amount of time a podcast takes. Not just the time it takes to record it, but the time researching and contacting guest speakers, researching topics and what resonates best with their target audience, editing the podcast, uploading it to multiple mobile applications and writing a blurb about the content, and cross posting on social media and websites to make sure it reaches the largest amount of people (Hy, 2018).

Sponsorship, advertising, affiliate marketing, listener-support, grants and foundations, and selling physical and digital products are all great ways to cut down on costs and make revenue.  Many sponsors pay per view, which means money only comes if the episode is downloaded. AAPD takes a different approach and allows sponsors to pay per episode or per year. Out of 12 shows, six were sponsored. Now, with the number of episodes they’ve made and stats those episodes acquired, they’re able to add sponsoring a podcast as an option in their Sponsorship Prospectus, finding potential sponsors for the year (personal communication). AAPD found their largest sponsor at their annual conference. Associations have the ability to add sponsoring the podcast as an option for vendors at their annual conference, where they already have potential sponsors paying for tradeshows booths, banners, and lanyards. These go away when the conference ends, but a podcast lives on. The best way to find sponsors are through people interested in the brand and content that have an online presence.  

To cut down on time, some people hire a podcast company like The Podcasting 4 Associations to setup, produce, record, edit, master and distribute their podcasts. This cuts out some of the set up and editing costs because Podcasting 4 Associations is doing what takes the most amount of time. The association can concentrate on content and just sit down virtually or onsite with guests and create.



(2018).  The infinite dial. Edison Research. Received from http://www.edisonresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Infinite-Dial-2018.pdf

Hy, K. (2018). DIY podcasting isn’t as cheap as you think. Quartz at Work. Received from https://qz.com/work/1152960/podcasting-is-the-new-blogging-if-youre-rich/



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