Public Relations Emphasis – Digital/Social Media Project
Ever since my voice dropped in high school, I’ve been told that I should either be on the radio or have a podcast. I’ve since explored the radio but never really dove into a potential podcast.
After explaining my struggle in deciding what to do for my senior project to a friend, she immediately said I should do a bedtime podcast to help people fall asleep with my “soothing voice.” Realizing my opportunity to explore the avenue and potential career path of podcasting, I knew I had to pursue the idea.
Thus, the Sweeter Dreams podcast was born. A podcast with the sole goal of helping people smile before they go to bed by telling personal and family stories that are uplifting and always have a good moral at the end.
I’ve always believed that if something I create can help just one person, it was worth creating. So I would have been satisfied if this podcast only affected one person. However, I did start with the goal in mind of having at least 100 listens by the end.
I began by making my album art (see the image at the top) and finding a platform to host my podcast. Anchor.fm, a podcast hosting website created by Spotify, made the process extremely easy, and I had my podcast ready to publish in less than an hour.
I had the goal of doing two episodes a week, on Friday and Saturday. I was able to stick to that goal, and it got me the majority of the way to my 50 hours. The rest of the time was spent on Instagram, creating snippets and stories to drive people to the podcast.
On average, it would take me a little over an hour to write an episode. Then I would spend about 15 minutes recording it, using a podcasting microphone in my room with a blanket as a backdrop to help prevent echoes. I then edited the episode using a free program called Audacity for 1-1.5 hours before going to publish it.
I wanted to make sure to use free programs and a personal setup so that I could do everything on my own schedule for as little cost as possible. That way I can always release season two down the road, as I anticipate returning to this project having this semester’s work being season one.
For the length of the episodes, I tried a few different lengths and watched the analytics to see what people seemed to prefer. I found that 6-8 minutes was the sweet spot for the stories, as my longer episodes didn’t perform quite as well. The audience retention showed a lower percentage of listeners who made it through the whole episode on episodes of more than 8 minutes.
For promoting the podcast, I tried different methods of posts, reels, and stories to see what combination worked most effectively for my podcast.
I found that Instagram stories on the nights that episodes went live, and reels that had audio snippets of the episodes during the beginning of the week seemed to work the best.
I created my audio snippets using a 3D modeling program called Blender, allowing me to customize my audio visualizer, which is the soundwave that bounces in sync with the audio. As you can see by the screenshot below, I tried a few different styles of audio visualizers before I settled on the more permanent layout.
Reels were by far the most successful medium for me in driving people to my podcast, and in season two, I would put a much bigger emphasis on posting those regularly. Time constraints at the beginning of the semester caused me to get behind on those reels, meaning I didn’t have one for every single episode.
Throughout my project, I had 1,202 impressions on Instagram, with a content reach of 453 on my reels alone, with 409 of those reached being non-followers.
The above graph shows the number of plays my podcast had from the first episode to the twelfth. As of March 15, I have had 190 total plays, beating my goal of 100.
So, by those metrics, my podcast was by definition successful. However, my view of success goes a little deeper than those measurements, I wanted to actually help people to smile, and numbers can’t show that quite as well.
I believe my project was successful because of all the people who personally told me that it made them smile. Here are two examples that come to mind.
One of the ladies in my home ward reached out to my family with this text. “I just listened to one of Braden’s podcasts! Allen and I both have Covid. I am having trouble sleeping at night because I sleep all day. His voice is so smooth and calming… please let him know how much I appreciate his voice!”
The second is from Wesley Zufelt, the son of Cary and Ione Zufelt who were the focus of one of my episodes. He posted this on Facebook after listening to my episode.
Experiences like that were the main reason I wanted to do this project, and I am very satisfied to have brought smiles to their faces and brightened the lives of some who listened to my podcast.
The whole project was a wonderful learning experience for me, as I had little knowledge about podcasting or social media. I feel much more equipped to handle social media and digital media content projects in the future, and I am proud of the work that I have accomplished this semester.