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This week on WPblab we speak with Andy Lara on how he build an in-person community online for the Vox Podcast with Mike Erre
Andy Lara – Creative Director – VOX Community
Cohost of Vox Podcast – http://www.voxpodcast.com/
Mike wanted to create a place where he could talk about and say the kinds of things that aren’t as easy when you are bound by the rules of a church so he thought a podcast might be the way
Started out first online, but grew into an a community
Evangelism / Doctrine / Theology … conferences, meetups, retreats etc … there is a lot of commonality between how churches function and how the WordPress community functions
In marketing nowadays, people don’t want the hard sell – the way you evangelize a product or a community is much the same
Podcasts are one of the best things out there for transparency / reaching your customers & audience that a lot of small businesses aren’t doing. It’s a very low-budget way to create authenticity.
Mike and Andy started a podcast in Mike’s office where they were looking and talking to each other and not at the camera. He moved away and they had to move to talking directly to the camera and it increased the audience exponentially! People want to see faces, they want you to be talking to them!
Especially in the tech industry, a lot of people are isolated, working remotely or on their own and are missing out on the human connection which makes it even more important to reach them on a personal level
If you are just listening to a podcast and not doing something with it, you’re wasting it … you need to use the info, interact, give back
Started a church via the podcast … started with 80 church ‘planters’ and was able to launch with over 300 people because they were already engaged via the podcast. They knew the culture and the DNA before they ever showed up in person.
About 50,000 downloads per month for their podcast – people all across the nation tune in
The podcast is largely discussional, two guys hashing out the issues of the day
Their ability to sit down and do a podcast, helps them to take these big philosophical discussions and make them more accessible and conversational … it’s also a resource that they can point people to in the church
When we put our souls into our brands – that has meaning. When we offer up who we are in our podcasts, that has meaning. It’s like when Matt Mullenweg sits down and does his talks at WCEU or WCUS. It puts a human face on what he does.
Giving integrity back to the audience – they believe their listeners are actually smart, they keep the podcast real and don’t try to hard to make it perfect and glossy
They built in a hefty feedback model where any member of the team can give feedback to Mike, even though he’s the pastor … everyone has something valuable to offer
In a community, it’s important to create a space where people can feel like they belong – you have to allow people to speak and be heard – when they feel safe and they have trust, they will speak up
Conversations and relationship are the things that transform us and make us into better and healthier people
Treat your community volunteers like real people, make them feel that their contribution is meaningful
Give your volunteers roles a real job title to make them feel important. Also limit trials to 6 months to show how people fit. Give them ownership in the process.