Using Your Podcast to Advocate and Educate

using your podcast to educate and advocate
Photo by Christina Morillo

If you produce a podcast, you have a platform ready for you to educate your community through sharing information and advocacy efforts with your audience. Podcasting isn’t a new phenomenon in our industry; the number of podcast hosts and listeners is growing exponentially every day. Your audience is there because they are ready and willing to hear what you have to say. And if they don’t like what you have to say about racial reconciliation and equity for all marginalized communities, then allow your audience to narrow itself to a community of people who are worth the time and energy in which you’re investing.

So, let’s get to work and talk about how you can use your podcast platform as an avenue for advocacy!

Who is in your podcasting audience?

According to PodcastHosting.org, as of July 2020, there are a million podcasts with a listening audience of 29 million episodes! Just take a look at these US stats pulled from their site:

  • 50% of all US homes are podcast fans
  • 37% (104 million) listen to podcasts at least every month
  • 24% (68 million) listen to podcasts weekly
  • 16 million people in the US are “avid podcast fans”
  • 51% of podcast listeners are male, 49% female
  • Age of listeners:
    • 12-34: 48%
    • 35-54: 32%
    • 55+: 20%
  • 63% of podcast listeners are white
  • 25% of US podcast listeners have a 4-year college degree (vs 19% of US population)
  • 90% of podcast listening is done at home
  • 93% listen to all or most of each episode
  • Comedy, education, and news are the most popular podcasting genres

While the data above shows who’s listening across the country, this snippet of information doesn’t even begin to touch the international listeners who may be a part of your audience.

Use your podcast to educate

What issues matter the most to you? Because people trust and are already listening to you, you have the opportunity to share what issues mean the most to you and why. Your audience may not be aware that you believe police brutality is wrong or that you acknowledge racism is ubiquitous in our societal threads and is, indeed, a public health crisis.

Tips on How to Use Your Podcast to Educate Your Listeners

There are quite a few ways that you can use your podcast to educate your listeners on advocacy and allyship. Remember they are there to hear what you have to say! Be observant about not centering yourself in the conversation and giving a voice to those who most need to be heard.

Here are a few tips:

Invite a Guest Expert

While you are passionate about advocating for an issue, it’s important to acknowledge if/when you’re not an expert on the subject matter at hand. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing everything, but it’s critical that you respect your lack of knowledge on a matter. Attempting to speak on a matter, with no empirical or invested expertise in it, will inevitably do more harm than good; centering yourself can have an adverse effect on your intentions. It can open the door to the dissemination of misleading information and bias. Especially in the time where people are looking to have their voices heard, an expert speaking to your audience is the perfect opportunity to both educate and amplify the voices of the community you’re supporting.

Highlight or Interview Someone Doing the Work

Just as bringing a guest expert onto your podcast is an opportunity to educate and amplify, speaking with someone who is already doing the boots-on-the-ground work will expose your audience to a different perspective. Being an advocate and an ally is not easy work. It will get hard, scary, and can sever relationships. Being in the thick of the work will look differently, and most of it is not pretty. Allow someone to come in and share their experiences on what advocacy looks like when they engage in real life.

Showcase People Who Do Diverse Things

One way to fight back against stereotypes and institutionalized belief systems is to find commonalities. Are you into fitness or extreme sports? Invite someone onto your podcast who does those things and excels at them! When we educate, we’re looking to extend that curiosity and activism beyond our immediate listeners. It’s a good chance that someone listening to your podcast has a child or family member who wants to do something that society tells them they’re not allowed to do. There are Black scuba divers, martial artists, male ballet dancers, digital artists, STEM leaders, and so much more. Introduce your audience to someone who can inspire both your listener and the young ones in their family/community. When you show that there are people who enjoy the same things that they do, it serves to bring people closer together, showing that we have more in common than most would think.

Showcase Your Marginalized Peers

As content creators, we regularly see that there is a stereotypical way that brands look at who best serves their audience; that mentality often extends beyond the office doors. Use your podcast as a platform to show that there are people of color who do what you do! Is your niche about being a Disney blogger? Invite Disney bloggers of color in your niche to be a guest; show that Disney is enjoyed by much more than White families. Do you homeschool your children? Your podcast is an ideal way to share that there are Black and BIPOC families that homeschool their children as well. Body positivity or queer-affirming your thing? There are Black and BIPOC listeners who are struggling with the same insecurities and have navigational questions who would greatly benefit from knowing that a person who looks like them has overcome the same issues and struggles.

By its nature, podcasting could not embody the concept of “using your voice” any more than it already does. When you turn on the mic, you have the literal privilege of speaking up to address whatever cause for which you stand. And as with life, you have a community of people who stand with you and support you. Collect your voices together as an agent for good and for change.

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