A look at the potential for wetlands podcasts to reach the public in different settings, less directly didactic about wetlands.
In 2020 and 2021, people in many countries are seeking ways to relax, and often ways to sleep. Apps and podcasts of relaxation techniques are using meditative music and soothing nature sounds. You may be able to provide such sounds from your wetland, and even to use them in novel podcasts.
There are two broad approaches for a wetland centre creating relaxing podcasts:
- Relaxing nature sounds, with little speech or direct messaging
- Education with relaxation techniques
Around the world, people are struggling to sleep. Could you help them, at 4 AM, with a podcast of sounds from your wetland?
This involves a gentle and slightly repetitive wetland sound playing continuously. Perhaps water at the shore, wind in rushes, distant birdsong. You could add a brief spoken introduction and closing.
Another approach is soothing sounds, with some educational content, delivered in a relaxing manner, with visualisation techniques.
You could achieve this by adding to the relaxing soundscape, mentioned above: a person speaking slowly and soothingly, asking the listener to take deep breaths, close their eyes, and visualise a situation. For language learners this can mean imagining a screen where vocabulary is typed up as the announcer spells it; for wetlands it could be a habitat that gradually appears in the mind's eye as the announcer describes the different elements. In 2006, a Scottish educational initiative called the Partners in Excellence VerbCast piloted these techniques for teaching French verbs! These podcasts may reach new audiences, who want a distraction from COVID anxiety, and would like to feel they were gaining some self-improvement in the process. 'I might not have slept perfectly, but at least I relaxed and learned something!'.
Interested in giving it a go? Download this sample script as a starting point!
By nature, this type of podcast would be soothing, and listeners would not be able to immediately go online to show support to your wetland centre or organisation. There are still opportunities for raising brand awareness, with a host identifying your wetland centre and the beginning and end. The artwork also carries your visual branding.
Most podcast apps for smartphone or tablet allow the user receive notifications that a new episode is available. This is an opportunity for you to reach the listener during daylight hours, when they are available to take action such as subscribe to your email newsletter.
The marketing opportunity is more of brand awareness than calls-to-action: a podcast on relaxation, or teaching a wide-appeal topic such as languages, can spread far beyond your regular audience of people interested in wildlife.
Podcasts are audio files that you make available for listeners to receive automatically on their smartphones or computers. To make the files available online, you can use a third-party service or, if you already have a website with sufficient storage and bandwidth, a free plugin. You need to make graphical artwork to accompany the podcast before you can submit it to the main podcast directories, such as Apple or Google Podcasts, Spotify, and others. The most popular platforms vary according to country and region.
To create the audio files you will need high-quality recordings of your wetland, editing software, and a place to record some speech to identify the podcast. You may be able to record adequate audio from the cameras you already have. Detailed instructions on each of these are beyond the scope of this article but there are many free guides already available.