Podcasting Church 101113

I’ve had an idea for a book in my head for a few years now. Since there is a challenge afoot, I started, November 2, 2010, to write that book. This blog will contain the very rough draft and I hope I’ll get a chunk of it out this month. No guarantee I’ll write everyday, but I hope this won’t be the last entry.


Podcasting and blogging are different disciplines, but they’re related. It’s no accident that podcasting first showed up only a couple of years after blogs and blogging tools first became available. This parrots the evolution of mass communication before internet. Newspapers came first and years later radio and television. Blogs, then audio podcasts, then video, now streaming and interactive content. It was inevitable that low-cost tools and ease would bring about a new broadcast revolution just as it did with publishing.

The relationship between blogs and podcasts doesn’t end with proximity of invention time or democratized tools. Nearly every podcast is attached to a blog. There are several reasons for this. First, creative people tend to create in multiple mediums. Creating with the written word is similar to creating with the spoken word.

I think the main reason that these two seem inextricably linked is necessity. The spoken word and video are somewhat searchable with the right tools, but the science of searching written words is established. A blog linked to a podcast makes it linkable, searchable, and easy to share.

As I created “Tech, No Babel”, I realized this. Each episode included a link, the ability to play the audio, and a bullet-point list of what I talked about. We might call this format a tease. This isn’t the only format, though.

If I were doing a hardware hacking podcast, I might make a step by step how-to. It might be helpful to have a list of parts and links to where your could get all the parts, tools, and links to sources of similar projects. This could be thought of as a list of related resources.

In our context of church, a worship podcast might include, on it’s blog, links to the Artist’s websites or links where you could buy their music. It could include background about the music or what the artist was going through at the time it was written. It could include notes about what it means to the worship leader and stories that didn’t make the podcast.

When I podcast, I refer to an outline of topics, speaking off the cuff. That’s not the only way to do it, though you can write out your script verbatim. One of my favorite podcasts does just this. The host writes out the entire podcast and then reads it (with feeling) during the recording. What does he do with the script when he’s done? He posts it on his blog. You can read the whole thing or you can listen or both. It’s up to you. This is a “verbatim text” blog.

Finally, another idea is to introduce ideas on your podcast and create more exhaustive articles on the blog. If you lean toward writing more often than speaking, you could certainly introduce certain ideas on a podcast and create a longer post that really fills out the ideas you introduced there. I’ve already told you that I loved TechTV when it was on cable a few years ago. The hosts on the shows would often do this. Their reason was that each segment was limited to just a couple of minutes. They’d research a topic for several hours and then only have a couple of minutes to talk about it. They’d take the surplus information and write it so that people could use it and it wouldn’t go to waste.

A simple sermon podcast could be this type. Imagine that your pastor took the associated blog entry as a time to share what he didn’t have time for during the sermon. Maybe it’s a great personal story. Maybe it’s a group of scriptures that were just too long. Maybe it’s an area of application that’s too risky for people to hear on Sunday, but the core of the church needs to hear. No matter what, this type of blog can really add to what the pastor was hearing from God.

There’s one other idea that I’ve heard of that won’t work in all circumstances. What if instead of creating associated content, you let the listeners do it. Instead of normal blogging software, you could create a wiki. The difference here is that all authors have equal weight. In a blog, there’s an author and commenters. In a wiki, I could start; you could edit, and a third person could finish. If you have people who take good notes, they could add those to a wiki and have better show notes than you could have done yourself.

No matter what shape it takes, it’s great to provide a connect point for people to interface with you and your content. Blogs and wiki’s provide a place where they can form a community around your podcast and learn together.

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