Tips for Creating a Church Podcast
By: Davida Rochman
One early adopter of church podcasting was David Hopkins, who headed the all-volunteer audio team at the Marlton Assembly of God Church, near Princeton University.
What made him an expert? He was already creating podcasts of Princeton lectures and converting thousands of the university’s Real Network and Windows Media files into podcasts. Armed with that experience, he decided to begin podcasting the church’s weekly sermons.
Today, he is the director of the university’s state-of-the-art broadcast center. He still lends a hand with audio at Marlton’s Sovereign Grace Church.
We asked him for some advice on sermon podcasting, and this is what we learned.
Motivation for Getting Started
You already own most of the equipment.
You’ll reach a wider audience.
You’re in control.
If you’re like most congregations, you’re already uploading sermons to your site. That’s a good start since it’s a great way to give newcomers a preview of your church.
The beauty of taking the extra step to podcast is that sermons (and other digital programming you may develop over time) are automatically delivered to subscribers and available to inspire them whenever and wherever. Downloads are automatic. Your doors are always open to welcome new worshippers.
The initial investment is time, not money.
Podcasting in Three Steps
Tip: Use good quality equipment.
He says, “Good microphones can mean all the difference in the delivery of a sermon or lecture. Studies have shown that people will sit through a badly produced video if the audio sounds good. But it never works in reverse.”
Tip: Record a professional intro and outro.
Along with getting the best possible recording in the first place, editing is where the artistry happens. This takes practice. You may want to add some music or an introduction, or eliminate the howl of a crying baby, the squeal of feedback or a too-long pause.
David’s church allows two days for this step. If your edited audio file is a WAV file, you’ll need to encode it as an MP3. You can either do this in the audio creation software you’re using or by importing it into iTunes.
Tip: Listen to your podcasts the way your audience does and make adjustments.
Create cover art for your podcast and your podcast title/category. Make sure to include the speaker and title of the weekly sermon (“Dinner with Jesus” and “Life is More Than Stuff” are two recent examples from Sovereign Grace Church) in your podcast description.
Have a media host for your podcast files. A popular solution most podcasters use is www.libsyn.com. SoundCloud also offers podcast hosting capabilities.
Now you’re ready to submit your podcast to iTunes and other directories. Once it’s approved, subscribers will automatically receive your weekly podcasts.
To build a subscription base, make sure that you spread the word, starting with your congregants. Let them know that your podcasts are ready to inspire in the car, at the gym or on the run, and that they’re as close as their nearest mobile device.
Those metrics are usually built in to the plug-in being used, whether it’s WordPress or another platform.
Watch music licensing issues.
It’s an issue in live streaming video of sermons and services and also a consideration for podcasts or videocasts that include licensed music. Churches need to abide by copyright laws so that publishers and songwriters are fairly compensated.
There are dozens of helpful online resources that can guide you through the technical details. Listening to church podcasts also may inspire some ideas for your own sermon podcast. However you decide to move forward, it’s time to jump in.
Davida Rochman is a communications manager for Shure Incorporated, lending her skills to a wide spectrum of activities – from public relations and social media to content development and sponsorships. This article is courtesy of Shure Incorporated, and used with permission, www.shure.com.