Specialised blogs and podcasts

Both the specialised blogs and podcasts are a very effective and efficient way how to better connect with the current and potential target audience of international PhD students, academics, and researchers providing an insight into host HEI's institutional life and culture and welcoming environment. Those media allow you not only to keep the members/followers up-to-date with the latest events, but also promote vital topics and new initiatives, inspiring stories, and express opinions. Both activities should bring less formal but still valuable and entertaining content which should be complementary to the content published on the host HEI institutional website and social media. Both activities help encourage their followers/readers/listeners to become host HEI's ambassadors and raise its visibility and global presence. 

The great benefit of podcast listening opportunities is their mobile nature. Podcast audio content gives listeners the ability to dive into topics without having to set aside time to read or watch a video (e.g.during commuting, jogging, cycling, cooking, etc.). 

Goals

Improved access to information Better communication and cooperation Improved visibility

Basic information

Categories Promotion & Visibility Social Integration & Daily Life Networking
Mobility stages Pre-arrival phase During mobility phase Pre-departure After-leaving Upon arrival
Delivery schedule Continuous
Importance Nice to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)
Types of contracts of researchers Full degree student Permanent employee Visiting scholar Employee in training (interns, research fellows, postdocs) Exchange student
Career stages of researchers Less than 6 months 6-12-months of experience 1-3-years of experience 3-10 years of experience 10-15 years of experience More than 15 years of experience
Lengths of stays of researchers 0-3 months 3-6 months 6-12 months More than 12 months

Practice setup

In the setup phase you may consider:

Planning:


  • define a  goal (s) why you want to start a blog or podcast that would help you design content that’ll match your ambitions and objectives (e.g., get better connected to your current internationals, attract more international talent to your institution, provide an insight into you institutional life and culture, present success stories/ edge-cutting research results/, invite internationals to share their experience and perspective, etc.). Blogs and especially podcasts provide your target audience with informal or less formal but still valuable and entertaining content. 

  • define who should be your target audience (you might think about creating a blog/podcast persona (fictional profile of a typical target group member). It’s a good idea to sketch out exactly who it is that you’d like to read/listen to your content. That persona is something to keep in mind every time you plan a text/episode)

  • if you are not sure whether you will have an audience, during the planning stages, you may opt to survey your target group. You can ask them questions like “what’s your biggest pain point?” and “what are you struggling with right now?”. This could help you shape your content, going forward.

  • appoint blog author and podcast host (s) and their support team

  • design a plan of blog/podcast text/episodes (regarding the podcast, you may try to write 10 potential episodes already in the planning phase). This will help you to motivate listeners to come back for the next episode.

  • pay attention to the description of the blog/podcast. The podcast’s description (show summary) is the most important thing potential new listeners will judge your show on.  

  • Name your blog/podcast

  • define the most suitable placement of the blog on your website. Both blog and podcast can be published in the same dedicated section of the host HEI's website.

Podcasting: Organising your episodes


  • decide on the length of episodes so that you manage to get the message out. Typically, a “short” episode would probably be anything under 15 minutes, and a “long” episode would probably be anything over an hour. You may also consider the time of the average commute (said to be around 20 minutes).

  • decide on the best schedule for releasing podcast episodes. Ideally, if it is on a regular basis (e.g., monthly). It is also possible to release podcasts in seasons (blocks of episodes). The seasons can be themed (e.g. various aspects of preparation of grant/scholarship application, career stories from different academic/research areas, career planning episodes, etc)

  • choose good episode title (s)

  • choose the most suitable podcast format (solo, ho-hosted, interview with a guest, etc)

Podcasting: Recording and Equipment


  • choose a high-quality microphone. (Though the bare minimum to record a podcast is a computer with a USB microphone and access to the internet, the more limited and lower cost your setup and equipment, the more limited the sound quality of your podcast will be).  

  • choose recording & editing software. There are several free or low-cost options for this.

  • script your episode (everything you want to cover put down rather in bullet points than full text - to avoid sounding like you are reading the text)

  • practice first how to talk to the microphone

  • (you might also need to do research on how to record a remote guest or co-host). 

Podcasting: Editing and production 


  • typically, editing should enable the same software that you used to record your podcast, which helps keep things nice and simple. 

  • find music for your podcast. There’s no rule that each podcast must have music, but many podcasters choose some at the beginning and end of the show (playing for max 10 seconds) – to add that extra layer of professionalism. There are many websites that have music that can be legally used for your podcast.

Podcasting: Publishing and promotion


  • Design podcast cover art. Having attractive cover art that stands out is vital when your show lines up against thousands of others in podcast hosting platform apps.

  • Choose the most appropriate podcast hosting platform that store your audio and allow your listeners to listen, download, and subscribe to your podcast.

  • Publish your podcast either submitting to directories (the places where listeners can discover, subscribe to, and download it) or your institutional website.

  • Promote the podcast and each episode via various communication channels (social media, newsletter, website, dedicated mailing list)



Challenges (factors to consider):


  • The blog and podcast service should be provided continuously without any major breaks. This service requires fluent English-speaking authors, hosts, and editor(s) in charge of managing the delivery of podcasting.

  • When choosing the podcast hosting platform be aware of GDPR compliance requirements.

Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • IT support department
  • IRO/welcome centre
Partners involved in practice setup
  • Other HEI/research organisation in city/region
  • Municipality
  • Language centre
  • EURAXESS centre
  • Job platform
  • Museum
  • Career advisor
  • Local expat centre
  • Local/national funding agencies
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup
  • User procedure and manual designed
  • Process organization developed
  • A visibility/promotion plan designed
Description of collaboration

@ Other HEI:  In the setup phase it would be beneficial to find another HEI (in the region/country or outside the country) that has already experience with similar services that could serve as an inspiration.

@ All other external partners- their representatives can be invited as guests to present services or any other interesting topic for international PhD students, academics, and researchers

Practice delivery

Delivery activities are mainly connected with:


  • regular posts and podcasts publishing,

  • regular survey/feedback from the target audience

  • needs and satisfaction analysis among the blog readers/podcast audience,

  • regular dissemination activities e.g. e-mail alerts, newsletter, leaflets, social media, etc. 

  • operational maintenance of the webpage.

Tip: In order to promote your podcast release at least 3 episodes on launch day and ask your listeners to leave a review.

 

Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • IT support department
  • IRO/welcome centre
Partners involved in practice delivery
  • Other HEI/research organisation in city/region
  • Other HEI (not national)
  • Municipality
  • Language centre
  • Real estate agent
  • Medical centre
  • Tourist information centre/board
  • Employers association
  • Career advisor
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Average satisfaction rate
  • Number of subscribers among international researchers
  • Number of page visitors
Description of collaboration

@ All - representatives of all external partners can be invited as guests to the podcast:


  • Municipality: the posts and podcasts can include basic information about the city/region to build a positive image of the city/region.

  • Other HEI: posts and podcasts presenting the information on its activities, especially those available to international students and staff.

  • Tourist information centre: posts and podcasts promoting the country/region and encouraging touristic free time activities.

  • Employers association: posts and podcasts promoting the association’s activities, showing the country/ regional labour market realities/specificities and opportunities for international students and researchers to be active in the labour market.

  • Career advisor: career-focused posts and podcasts which may include topics like personal branding, writing effective resumes, developing and modifying a career plan, effective job searching and networking.

  • Medical centre: posts and podcasts on healthy lifestyle and promoting the institution’s services.

  • Language centre: posts and podcasts on learning languages including tips and promoting the institution’s services.

  • Real estate agent: posts and podcasts on living conditions and rental issues in the city and region; promoting the institution’s services.

 

Examples of practice

Podcasts for incoming staff

This series of podcasts is addressed to international staff and visitors at Linköping University. These episodes give information and inspiration on living and working in Sweden and Linköping University.

Find out more

EURAXESS Slovakia podcasts - cultural orientation, career development

The editiion of podcasts shall help understand researchers and academics important aspects of living in the country and eventually also contribute to their career development. The podcasts are produced irregularly.

Find out more

Podcast by the University of Vienna

 

"Let's talk about it" is a series of podcasts on ongoing research projects, networking in the internationalization of science, and examples of how to raise funds for research. Podcasts present scientists number of opportunities to obtain various types of grants. The presented activity is coordinated by Research Services and Career Development of the University of Vienna.

Find out more