Mike Hatfield is the well-known independent school triple threat. He’s Director of Admissions at Powhatan School, de facto Director of Marketing Communications, and soccer coach. I’m sure he has more responsibilities as well befitting a position in a small k-8. Powhatan’s size belies Mike capabilities, creativity and drive. When Mike sees an opportunity, his entrepreneurial spirit takes over and he’s at it full-force if he thinks it will benefit his school. Lack of experience doesn’t hold Mike back, learning as he goes and expanding Powhatan’s enrollment and retention marketing.
While listening to a SchneiderB podcast, Mike realized he could create podcasts for Powhatan that would cut through the clutter to reach parents. What he loved about podcasts he thought parents would love as well. Podcasts are a great way to reach parents when it’s convenient for them and to listen to while doing something else like commuting or exercising.
Simultaneously, Head of School Susan Scarborough wanted to increase parent communication and transparency via a monthly letter. So Mike suggested putting the letter on the blog and adding a podcast to go with it. It’s been well-received by parents and has allowed for more in-depth information and dialog than a blog post.
Mike has been using them ever since for numerous topics and he shares his experience with podcasting here on the Sparkcast. We hope it makes your job easier.
"How do we communicate with parents and cut through the clutter? Podcasts seem to be a good idea because it’s convenient, and they can listen when they have time."
"My head of school wanted to increase communication and transparency by creating a monthly letter. I said why not do that and create a podcast to go along with each letter?"
"Podcasts can provide deeper content than a blog or even a video could."
"7 of our top 10 blog posts that had the most traffic also had podcasts attached to them."
"A lot of the podcasts are evergreen content, so I can re-use them every couple of months."
"Podcasts are easier. I don’t have to worry about spellcheck."
What you’ll learn:
- How to get started in podcasting.
- How to get faculty engaged.
- Why podcasts work for current families.
- Ideas for content and guests.
- The benefits of podcasting the school and for prospective and current families.
- How to use podcasts in the admissions funnel and how to drive your audience to the podcast.
- What the analytics show.
- How to repurpose podcasts.
- What Mike’s most popular podcast is and its connection with dystopian literature.
- The mechanics and time commitment of podcasting.
- The biggest challenge of podcasting.
- Where podcasts are hosted and how they are tracked.
- SEO benefits of podcasting.
- Hardware and software suggestions to get you going.
- That I can’t say “show notes” once let alone 3 times real fast.
Examples of Powhatan Podcasts
Cast (Podcasting website) Free trial. $10 month hobby level (10 hours of podcasts per month). $30 month adds extra features.
Audacity (Free audio editing software)
Blurbrry (Podcast tools. Mike uses the Wordpress plugin)
Mike's Process for Podcasting
Mike uses Recorder App for iPad (recording), then sends the file to Dropbox (storing), then opens in Audacity (editing), then uploads MP3 file to the school’s Wordpress website using Blubrry (uploading). Mike has heard good things about Camtasia as a substitute for Audacity.
If you like this podcast, please rate it in iTunes so that more listeners will find it. Thank you.
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Master Electrician, InspirED School Marketers
Master Electrician isn’t just a fun title for me. It’s how I feel about sparking school marketers to do their best work, connecting them to one another, and helping to make their jobs easier. In 1991, I founded Turnaround Marketing Communications, a branding and marketing firm that serves independent schools exclusively. After working with close to 100 schools, I realized that school marketers needed a marketing and communications community to call their own — a place where they can find brilliant ideas and brain food to take their school marketing to the next level and feel supported in their jobs. InspirED School Marketers was born in 2014 to fill that void and with the help of my fabulous Best Boy, Rob, we are on a quest to make InspirED a resource you can't live without.
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