Episode 69: Why You Should NOT Be Sleeping On Starting An Official University Podcast with Kate Young

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Shiro Hatori
Welcome to the higher ed demand gen podcast helping higher education marketing leaders share knowledge about learning strategies and tactics that are relevant today. See what you can learn today by listening to one of our episodes.

Hello, everyone, welcome to the higher ed demand gen podcast hosted by concept 3d. If you like our content, please follow and subscribe to us on Spotify, Apple, Google or wherever you may be listening to us today. My name is Shiro Tory, and I will be your host today. And I’m really looking forward to talking about why you should not be sleeping on starting an official university podcast and for the conversation. I’m super excited to have Kate young join us today. Kate is the host writer and producer of this his Purdue podcast produced official university podcast. Welcome to the podcast. Kate. Thank

Kate Young
you. Thank you so much for having me. I am thrilled to be here and chat more about higher ed podcasting. Okay,

Shiro Hatori
and I do love to ask all my guests this. Tell me what you love about higher ed.

Kate Young
For me, I just love you know, I went to Purdue produce my alma mater. So it’s such a special place for me to go back to campus and see how campus has changed and grown and all of these young people and the excitement and just, you know, the innovative things that that we’re doing on campus and being a part of that community. That’s what I love about being in higher ed personally.

Shiro Hatori
Thank you. Yeah. And I got an opportunity to check out some of the episodes you recommended last time we spoke and, yes, super interesting. I think one was around the telescope you have on campus. And I had not even try and say a lot of things that happened on the podcast. But it was so interesting and amazing what you’ve got going on on campus. I’d love for you to start us off by telling us a little bit about your journey into your role. And I have a quote here out from broadcast to podcast. Can you tell us a little bit about your story and your journey?

Kate Young
Yes, absolutely. So I graduated from Purdue in 2012. And I went into the news rural world. So I was working in a newsroom. I wanted to be a reporter I wanted to eventually become an anchor. And I fulfilled some of those dreams. And I moved up to Indianapolis and worked at a news station there. So I was in two different newsrooms, but a lot of my broadcast journalism skills have really transferred to podcasting. So that has been really fun to see. You know, at the time when I left news, I thought that I was going to be kind of done with that video and that storytelling career. And now here I am, you know, we’re doing a lot of video with the podcast. And of course, my whole role is about storytelling and telling the incredible things that are happening at Purdue. So yeah, my start was in broadcast journalism. I absolutely loved being in the newsroom in the fast paced and the deadline driven environment and every day was different. So again, though, it mirrors a lot of what I do at Purdue every day is different here as a podcaster. Definitely.

Shiro Hatori
And for those of you who are not sure what this is, Purdue is can you tell us a little bit about what is this is Purdue, just just from the beginning? Sure.

Kate Young
So this is Purdue is the official university podcast, we tell stories, you know, between our professors, you know, our president has been on the show, we’ve had athletics coaches, you know, big 10, Purdue, we love our sports. So we’ve had MATT PAINTER on Katie jerrells, our women’s basketball coach, we’re always celebrating the different athletics, that Boilermaker spirit. But we’re also telling stories about what kind of research and innovation is being done on campus, what our students are doing what our alumni, you know, we had, the president of Pizza Hut is a Purdue alumni. So we caught up with him and asked him, you know, how does your Purdue experience translate into you leading this massive pizza chain? So we’ve had some really incredible guests. The podcast was actually started by a grad student, back before right before the pandemic. And then they you know, they really bought into this belief of podcasting to share these stories, and they hired me full time in March of 2021. So, we have really grown the podcast with our video strategy, which I’m sure we’ll talk about, but putting the podcast on YouTube. A lot of people that I run into will say, Oh, I saw your podcast or I saw this interview on YouTube. So we’re meeting our audience, you know where they are when it comes to our YouTube strategy, but really, it’s just a premier place to find in here and watch Boilermaker stories.

Shiro Hatori
That’s fantastic. And I know I’m sure this a lot of these things have made changed throughout the year. Any since the podcast launch before the pandemic, but what are some of the goals that you’re trying to accomplish now? With with the podcast? Yeah,

Kate Young
so obviously in our, you know, pandemic world, it was a lot of virtual interviews like this, right. And so even when I first started it was, we use Riverside, this platform as well, it was all virtual. And then I remember we interviewed our previous president, who was also the governor of Indiana. And we really wanted that video content. It was special that he was coming on the episode. A lot of people knew him. A lot of people in Indiana obviously knew him from his from his role prior to being the President of Purdue. So that was our first video interview. And from there, it, it just really expanded and grew. Because we realize we can atomize all this video content from the podcast so we can take you know those clips and put them onto YouTube and put them onto social media and what’s the catchiest thing that we can get to entice people to listen to the whole episode? So our video, you know, as video strategy is always evolving anyway, right. But that that video element really took the podcast to another level. So you know, we recently in January of this year, started our own YouTube channel, that was part of our new strategy. So we were originally posting under produce official channel, which, of course has a lot more followers than building your own from scratch. But within nine months, we had 2.5 million views from January, you know, to this fall. So again, taking those trends and making YouTube shorts and taking Instagram reels and repurposing them. Again, taking social clips and repurposing those for you know, longer content to even, you know, a 59 second clip that will tell you a very brief synopsis about what the episodes about so that that YouTube growth we’re really proud of. And that’s one of our goals is to just keep growing those those channel views and also the subscribers on YouTube as well. That’s

Shiro Hatori
fantastic, said zero to two and a half million subscribers in nine months or views in nine months. That’s insane. Do you Yep. And forgive me for not researching before this, but like, what other schools have launched an official podcast?

Kate Young
No. Well, you know, really, from my research, we’re the only big 10 School who has this, you know, storytelling podcast, a lot of other universities I see have, you know, a daily five minute, what’s in the news type of podcast athletics, a lot of schools have athletics podcast, or specific basketball specific football shows. But from what I see, you know, we are backed again, I’m part of the marketing communications core branch at Purdue. So I’m not just representing a certain school or department within Purdue. We’re, it’s all encompassing. So all that’s why we get to range, you know, topics from what our scientists are doing, you know, what engineers are doing, to, again, our athletics and former, you know, professional athletes we’ve had on the show. So it’s a great variety that we’re able to capture being, you know, this official university podcast. But it’s some pressure to write you have to live up to the Purdue brand standards and the incredible brand that that Purdue has built. So yeah, from from my research, I don’t see any other schools doing quite what we’re doing. I’m sure some of them have podcasts, but the the level of our video execution again, and the social media strategy that we have the distribution strategy. I’m really proud that Purdue was one of the few if, if not maybe the only one that’s doing that right now.

Shiro Hatori
That’s fantastic. And I love the word you use earlier, which is atomize. I was like, I think I know what she means by that. But it’s it’s like repurposing content and I love Yeah, have you kind of construct conscripted that word, especially given produced background too, so that’s fantastic. Why do you think it’s so hard to launch like an official podcast? I know. Like, like you mentioned, I’ve talked to schools with athletics podcasts with specific podcasts, maybe the Business School has one as well. Is it because of this pressure? Or is it because it’s hard to create a strategy around content? Why do you think that is?

Kate Young
Yeah, you know, I think it’s a mix of different things. But what we do well with with with this is pretty is that we are working with our campus partners at the business school, you know, at the College of Engineering, the School of Education, right to distribute all of this content, so so they don’t, we’ll interview the people and we’ll do all this work, but if you just share it on your, you know, social media accounts with in your newsletters that you’re sending out to your alarm That’s how we’ve grown the show and grown that brand recognition. So, to me, you know, it’s kind of like, we’ll do the work of this high caliber podcast, but if you just work with us to share it, and so many of them do, and we see such great results from these specific schools and campus partners sharing it. And granted, there are some podcasts within the Purdue sphere. But again, they’ll just focus on on one topic, whereas we have the freedom to, you know, have a little bit more creativity within who we talk to the stories that we get to tell. So that’s been exciting for sure.

Shiro Hatori
One, one key theme that comes up a lot in the guest I interview is around, you know, siloed departments and the need to communicate more with different departments and collaborate, do you think this podcast has been a tool that wasn’t anticipated? But to connect better with departments from a marketing communication standpoint?

Kate Young
Yeah, I think I think so. I mean, we’ve really just elevated our marketing and our branding, like I’ve said, in the past couple of years. And they, they trust us, they see the content that we’re putting out into the world and know that it’s good, and they get great feedback. So again, it’s kind of like, here’s this silver platter of the exact social coffee, you can use the graphics that are so well branded, and fit within that Purdue brand standards. And, you know, here’s this copy for your newsletter, it’s all you know, written and done and, and there for them to use. So I think it’s, it’s a really nice touch, too, you know, and, and over the years, we’ve gotten to know the different communicators within all of these campus partners, too. So that’s been fun. And just giving them a heads up, like, hey, we have this great, you know, Business School alum coming on, and we’re going to tell their story, and can you please share it? And here’s the date. And here’s all the details. So it’s been really nice to work with our campus partners and collaboration, for sure.

Shiro Hatori
Definitely, I think this kind of goes, Is this perfect segue to my next question, which is around distribution, right? I struggle personally to like distribute this podcast, I try my best to get it on LinkedIn, get whoever’s on the on the guests to reshare, and repost, really try and get the word out in the value as much as they can, and try to work with maybe some other higher ed marketers that, you know, may have newsletters or something. But it’s a tough job, right? How have you really been able to double down on distribution? Because I think this is the hardest part about creating content is distribution. Can you tell us a little bit more?

Kate Young
I agree, it is, it’s tough. You know, a lot of times, you’re left wondering why the guests never shared it. So I have a I have a few tips there as well. But really, the team comes together. And what we do is we create this distribution plan. And so while I’m listening back to the interview and writing the scripts, I’m paying attention to who the guest is referencing? Are they referencing certain people? Are they referencing certain companies, businesses? Where do they currently work? If they’re an alumni, you know, you mentioned the James Webb Space Telescope, a professor of ours is working on that with NASA. So of course, we’re sending this episode and all the assets to NASA, tagging NASA and our social posts, you know, hoping that they’ll reshare and spread the word too. So just listing out anyone any thing that the guest, you know, mentions, if they’re an alumni from, you know, College of Engineering, we’re sending it to our campus partners within engineering, right. And so again, having them share it on their channels, their newsletters, we work really closely with our alumni association, Purdue for life, they are putting things and linking things in their newsletter, which goes out to hundreds of 1000s of alums, their social channels. So again, having that that communication and that great relationship with our campus partners. Another tip that I found is if you you know, the guests works at pizza, or a made a major company, send it to that company’s social team. Because while the guests might be too humble or not have time to share it. That company’s social team might take it and run with it and nine times out of 10 they do. So again, tagging people on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, kind of finding them where they are, you know, Pizza Hut, shared it on LinkedIn, they were sharing it a lot favoriting things on Twitter, because they’re on there a lot. So kind of researching to where these companies or these guests share when it comes to their social channels is definitely a big tip too.

Shiro Hatori
That’s fantastic. Yeah, I those are some really good tips and I think sharing with the social team especially, is awesome. cuz yeah, I can see some, you know? I don’t know, I don’t know if I’ll share that on my profile. But if you send it to the social team, like that’s literally their job and what they do, and I think they would love it extra content to share, especially if it’s third party but also like, positive promotion.

Kate Young
It’s a great idea. Absolutely.

Shiro Hatori
And, you know, this kind of all of these conversations kind of go back to my main question is, do you think an institution should start an official university podcast? And I know, there’s a huge range of schools, right? There’s small schools, bigger schools like yours, what are your thoughts on this?

Kate Young
I really think anyone at at any company, any institution can benefit from a podcast, it’s, it’s such a different way to tell a story, you’re not staring at a screen, you can do it when you’re walking your dog, when you’re doing chores, when you’re commuting. On a road trip on a plane, you can download episodes. So it’s just such a great way to hear stories, it’s different from reading a three minute article, it’s different from watching a 62nd, social clip, you can hear the nostalgia in their voices, the excitement, maybe some sadness, happiness, you can hear all of that, in these stories. And with the video strategy, of course, you can watch it as well. But you know, and I want people to know, too, you don’t have to start with this big grand production, you can start with a team of a few people. Maybe one of your writers is interested in podcasting. And instead of writing an article that month, they try a podcast interview. And you don’t have to have, you know, a weekly podcast, right, you can start started monthly, you can start, you know, maybe you have a season of five episodes, and they drop all at once, and then you wait a couple months, and then you drop some more. But don’t be scared of the time commitment and the team members, you don’t need to start off with a huge video strategy on YouTube, or this huge social strategy, you know, start off small, and you can always grow from there. And if you see the metrics and KPIs and success, then that might be more of a chance to grow that team or grow into a full time role of being a podcaster. So there’s a lot of different things that you can do. But again, if you start small, try it out and why not? Right? Absolutely.

Shiro Hatori
I mean, isn’t that kind of the roots of how you said that grad students started? This is pretty right, early 2020. Like, you weren’t making these full studio lighting YouTube videos back then. Right? It was, you said start off from Riverside and doing these virtually at the start. Right.

Kate Young
Right. And our initial goals, I mean, the first year we grew 388%, but that was just focusing on listens on Apple podcasts, and Spotify. And we had a small team. But you know, as it grew, like, we have a full time dedicated designer, that does all of our graphics, we have an incredible video team of multiple people who are setting, you know, setting up for these fantastic interviews with three different camera angles and editing the video after the fact, you know, atomizing that video into a two minute clip, and then a 32nd clip. So we have a lot of pieces and parts, we have a social team, but it didn’t. It didn’t necessarily start, you know, with all of this manpower and all of these team members it, it really grew. And now it’s its own team within our core department. So it’s it’s been really exciting to see the growth, but it also didn’t happen overnight. Right?

Shiro Hatori
Right. I mean, it’s three years, literally three years. So yes, that’s fantastic. Do you share like video? So I know there’s a big video strategy now do those video like shorts also gets shared on like Instagram handles for the official school? Or is there a separate Instagram handle for this Purdue?

Kate Young
No, that’s a great question. We we facilitate all of our social media goes out on our life at Purdue channels, which has combined, you know, over a million people following so you have, you know, the backing of our official Purdue accounts. And so we’ve just, you know, put our social strategy into that into there. But we will kind of like I said, repurpose, if we have an Instagram reel, we’ll put that onto as a YouTube short, and switch up the copy and switch up how you know how we’re posting it. But really, if you’re there and you have this video content, and you have we have a social team member comes to our interviews and shoot things on her phone. And we have like a whole strategy before the interview of WoW, here’s a trend that we’re going to do. Here’s what we’re going to ask. We have the Mitch Daniels School of Business. We just did an interview with the dean of Our Business School is new. And we had a whole plan of what we’re going to ask him. So we’re going to ask him three questions. And we want him to answer these high complexity topics within 30 seconds. And so we asked him about inflation. We asked him about gas prices, we asked him about, like the, you know, the debt deficit? And what’s, what’s going on in the business world when it comes to all three of those things. And then we’ll do some fun post production, like, add a timer to it to see how fast he could answer, you know, so we had a whole strategy going into the interview, which of course, makes you feel a lot more comfortable if you go in with a plan, right? So yeah, we always go in with a plan. And that’s thanks to our social and our YouTube team, who are scouting out the trends and trying to see, you know, what we can do before heading into that interview to set us up for success later?

Shiro Hatori
I’m learning a lot right now. I certainly I’ll be very honest, I don’t do this much planning. So what couple of things I’ve learned content planning for types of different platforms, right, that’s what you just talked about? Yep. The example he gave is great for shorts, or like Instagram reels. But also like the distribution planning, like who, how are we going to distribute this? Who can we contact? These are all great ideas that I just literally learning right now. So this is fantastic. How do you come up with the content that you want to talk about? Right? Like, you have all these stories going on on campus? Like, where do you start? In terms of like, you know, I’m just trying to launch my first podcast for the school? Like, where do you start? And how have you learned over time about what to cover?

Kate Young
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think, you know, if you look back, it is fun to look back at the episodes that we were doing, you know, two years ago, episodes we’re doing now. A great example of that is we launched like a mini series under our this is pretty umbrella. It’s called our research series. And so we’re highlighting Purdue faculty, professors who are, you know, doing this innovative, world changing research within within Purdue. And so we’re taking that really heavy focus that Purdue has on stem, and kind of bringing that to life through these episodes. So whereas two years ago, you know, we were maybe interviewing maybe some student organizations or some different alumni and things like that, which we still do. But But we’ve really taken that, like, why is Purdue world class and education and in STEM and taking that to the podcast to tell those stories through that. A lot of times the content comes from our campus partners, again, having that great relationship, having them come to us and say, Hey, this alumni just got, you know, nominated for this award, or this alumni just got a promotion with a NASA and trying to reach out to those people and get that conversation going to feature them on the podcast. And sometimes it just trickles down from the top and what our leadership wants to hear and see more of. So again, we also try to distribute evenly amongst, you know, engineering, education, our College of Liberal Arts has some incredible alumni that we featured athletics, because people love athletics episodes, those are always some of our most popular, so we want to give the listeners what they want to. So it’s a variety of different different ways that we find these stories. But the great part is there’s no shortage of stories at Purdue, and there never will be. So that’s good for job security.

Shiro Hatori
That’s fantastic. That’s great, though. But yeah, it sounds like what I’m hearing is, you know, make friends make campus partners. And you know, don’t be scared to cover story because you never know what’s going to pick up being a marketer myself, like, I hypothesize what’s going to happen, but I’ve never always right about what story is going to really take off. I think we talked about this before about like, maybe your episode on. So I think silicon chip making and it really took off. And that was our expected result.

Kate Young
That was our first episode of our research series was about semiconductors. And so to someone like me, who is a liberal arts grad, you know, I’m like, Oh, this is like, really complex. This is uh, you know, I knew it was a big deal. And I knew Purdue was leading the innovation in the way for some of the semiconductor Education and Research etc. But the fact that the episode took off and like people are reaching out, Hey, I heard that Purdue is doing this in semiconductors through this podcast. That was that was an incredible highlight. And again, showing that that research series that we branched out with, really was a success. If

Shiro Hatori
that’s fantastic, yeah, I need to listen to that episode. So that’s next on my list from this Purdue. I’m excited to listen to that one. We’re just about at time here today. And you know, it’s been amazing talking to you from one podcaster to another. It’s been great learning about everything that you do, and also the crazy amount of production that you have to go into. It’s, I’m happy, I can just do this on my own. But yeah, this has been awesome. I’m wondering where our listeners could reach out to you and learn more about what you’re up to as well.

Kate Young
Yes, so you can find me find the podcast more importantly@purdue.edu slash podcast. And so just take a listen, take you know, check out one of our research series episodes and check out one of our normal episodes and kind of see the difference that we’ve built into that series. And there’s different music, there’s different graphics, there’s different sound effects. There’s a little bit different production work that goes into those. So check that out. Again, you don’t have to start at that level. But it’s good to compare. Like I said, maybe maybe listen to an athletics episode. That’s more kind of hype and a little bit more fun and spirited and then a more serious one, like our research series, but you can find me I’m on Twitter or x now I suppose. Kate’s M young. And you can email me you can find me on Purdue’s website, if you have any questions, and I’m very active on LinkedIn as well, so feel free to shoot me in an invitation to connect or a message.

Shiro Hatori
Thank you so much, Kate, thanks again for joining.

Kate Young
Thank you. It was a blast. Thank you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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