Great Social Media Idea: Stories of Belmont Podcast

In my very best Tami Taylor impersonation... hey ya'll! I survived my first week back to blogging (whew!) and that lovely little folksy greeting is fitting since we're heading on down to Nashville and Belmont University for today's great idea.

I came across the Stories of Belmont podcast a few weeks ago, and I very quickly ripped through the ten episodes that have been posted so far. These stories were done as part of Belmont's 125th anniversary celebration, and they smartly selected a very diverse representation of people connected to the school - older alumni, current students, faculty, administrators, coaches, etc. You definitely get a sense of history and a sense of place listening to these. 

Belmont was lucky enough to partner with StoryCorps (here's some info on hosting them), and - no surprise - the stories that result are quick (10 minutes tops), genuine, and a lot of fun to listen to. I mean, how can you resist these two old roommates talking about home-baked sweet rolls, breaking the school rules to go on dates, and going to church to meet cute boys?

I also really like the way they approached some of the historical moments that have taken place on the campus, like this episode about the college hosting a presidential debate. Rather than have someone talk about why it was so important or interview people who attended the event, they talked to two administrators who did a lot of behind-the-scenes work to pull it off. That's a smart storytelling decision - I'm sure everyone connected with the school knows they hosted the debate, but not many people know how it actually came together.

Belmont has also very smartly made the episodes available in lots of different options. Everyone has their own preferred way to listen to podcasts, and - speaking from my own personal experience as a habitual yet finicky listener - will sometimes simply not tune in to something if it's not available in the format they are comfortable with. Belmont has made them available via social media, iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud... there's something there for even the pickiest of podcast listeners.

We all know that podcasting is super hot right now, and working at a college gives you access to a great reservoir of stories that - if handled smartly and lovingly - can provide some excellent podcast content. If you're at all interested in exploring the idea of podcasting at your school, be sure to give Stories of Belmont a listen - you will definitely come away with some ideas and inspiration.

Props, Belmont! Looking forward to the rest of the episodes.

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You can also follow me on Twitter at @joekuffner

And I'm always in the market for new ideas - feel free to tweet them at me or use the submissions box to the right!

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