The Power of Podcasts” is the title of a useful article, authored by Mark Athitakis and published by Associations Now (November/December 2016 issue), that explores the question “Do podcasts have a place in your content strategy?” Based on the high level of interest expressed by VMAE members in offering podcasts, VMAE formed the Podcast Task Force to identify potential uses of podcasts by VMAs, review best practices in offering podcasts, and identify existing podcast content in the veterinary space that may be useful for VMAs to link to. Click here to read the full report from the task force.

The task force put together the following resources to help you and your VMA deliver podcasts to your members.

"How To" Resources

The task force reviewed many articles about podcasts and identified the following resources as especially useful. While there is overlap between several of the primers, there are also useful differences that the task force believes will be instructive to a VMA that is considering podcast delivery.

  • Indiana VMA Vet Chat – Lisa Perius and Lourdes Syndram talk about the Indiana VMA experience with podcasts and provide an example of how VMAs can use the podcast medium in communicating with members.
  • Through the Noise – A podcast interview of Dr. Lisa Greenhill (of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges) “about the podcast she got off the ground” for AAVMC on diversity and inclusion in the veterinary profession.
  • Podcast Basics – A primer from Will Carlson at Willpower Consulting; shared by permission. The task force found this resource especially useful, and it can be found on the VMAE website by following this link.
  •  Be Heard: A Podcasting Primer – By Craig Sorrell, published by the American Society of Association Executives.
  • 7 Podcasting Best Practices – A blog post from Cision, a communications company helping customers reach, target and engage their audience.
  • 15 Things to Consider Before Starting an Association Podcast – An article by Tony Veroeven, published by AMPED Association Management, discusses both strategic and implementation aspects of podcasting. Note the sample equipment list contained in item 9 in the article.
  • How to Start a Podcast – One of an array of free, A-Z podcasting resources from The Podcast Host.
  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Start Your Own Podcast – A podcast on starting your own podcast from online marketing expert (and Instagram sensation) Jenna Kutcher.

A VMA seeking to deliver podcasts will need a mixer with USB cable, good quality microphone(s) with cable(s) and table stand(s), microphone pop filter(s), a headphone amplifier, and headphones – plus a computer for capturing podcast audio. Quality equipment can be obtained on a modest budget. Equipment recommended by VMAE users can be found here:

 Editing Software

Hosting / Recording Services

Resources for VMA Websites

The following is a curated list of existing podcasts relevant to veterinary professionals that you can make available – at no charge – to your members.

For veterinary professionals

  • Blunt Dissection – Dr. Dave Nicol, veterinarian, author and speaker presents the Blunt Dissection podcasts “where the best minds in veterinary medicine, business, academia, not-for-profit and politics are profiled/deconstructed so you can learn the habits, routines, though processes and anything else that makes these individuals so good at what they do.”
  • Diversity & Inclusion On Air – A growing library of conversations about diversity, inclusion and veterinary medicine. Published by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) as part of its Diversity Initiative, the show is hosted by Dr. Lisa Greenhill, Senior Director for Institutional Research and Diversity at the AAVMC.
  • Healthy Practice Podcast – Randy Hall, leadership consultant and CEO of Aspire, shares tools and strategies for building the kind of culture “you’ve always wanted for your practice.” Many episodes include interviews of veterinarians, practice managers, and subject matter experts sharing their ideas and expertise on topics such as change management, leading with vision, and taking the guesswork out of practice finances.
  • My Veterinary Life – This AVMA podcast, hosted by Drs. Anna Reddish and Marci Kirk, shares stories that explore the amazing world of veterinary medicine.  Tune in for inspiring stories from colleagues across the profession. Hear from guest veterinarians about the journeys, challenges and often hilarious anecdotes that got them to where they are today. Come away with a fresh look at the veterinary community and a renewed excitement to embrace your veterinary journey.
  • Off Label Veterinary News – Veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward’s podcast series dedicated to breaking news, practice and personal life tips, and covering the most controversial and provocative pet, animal and veterinary topics.
  • Podcast A Vet – “Sharing the stories of all of the awesome people who make up the vet profession,” Dr. Jon Arnold conducts interviews that “take us on a journey with leaders in the veterinary community, with a focus on personal, passionate and practical conversation.”
  • Purr Podcast – A podcast series for veterinary healthcare providers about everything feline. Susan Little and Dr. Jolle Kirpensteijn discuss medical and surgical issues of cats highlighting simple and practical solutions. They say “If you like cats, you will love this podcast!”
  • Southern California Veterinary Medical Association – A monthly teleseminar series hosted by Dr. Peter Weinstein, executive director of the SCVMA. The teleseminars are presented to a live audience and recorded as approximately 30-minute podcasts on professional issues, small business matters, social media, veterinary clinical subjects, and more.
  • Voices of Veterinary Medicine – This podcast series “gives future veterinarians a broader perspective on the field of veterinary medicine so they can more proactively steer their own careers. Listeners get to hear personal stories, struggles and triumphs of a variety of people working in veterinary medicine so they can learn from, and be inspired by, the experiences of others.”
  • VetFolio – Focused on continuing education in clinical topics, VetFolio includes a growing podcast library that includes personal finance and career development as well as clinical topics.
  • VetGirl – VetGirl is a subscription-based podcastand webinar service focused on clinical topics and offering RACE-approved veterinary education through a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

For the public

  • American Veterinary Medical Association – The AVMA Animal Tracks podcast series for pet owners features pet health and safety tips from some of the leading veterinary experts in the United States.
Task Force Findings and Recommendations

The VMAE Board of Directors accepted the task force report, with thanks to the task force for its excellent work. The board also approved the three task force recommendations, which appear beginning on page 7 of the report.

  1. VMAE generated podcasts – In its charge, the task force was asked to “Formulate a recommendation for board consideration about VMAE generating podcast content for use by VMAE members in their organizations, including whether VMAE should seek RACE approval for such content and what resources would be required to produce an ongoing series of such podcasts.”The task force recommends that VMAE not engage in generating podcast content, for several reasons:
    • A significant number of podcast producers are already using this medium to deliver an array of useful and relevant information to veterinary professionals. Many producers are identified in this document so that VMAs interested in linking to this existing content may do so. Given this richness of existing podcast content there is little need or incentive for VMAE to dedicate resources for redundant effort.
    • In considering what niche content opportunity might exist should VMAE undertake podcast creation, task force members were particularly attracted to the concept of using podcasts for storytelling. For example, the VMA could tell stories about its programs, services, vision, members, etc. through podcasts. Or the VMA could tell the stories of association members whose interesting experiences and lives are of interest to colleagues. These stories are of highest interest locally and should be created locally for the highest resonance, authenticity and value. The task force believes such stories may be highly useful for member engagement, community connection, and organizational loyalty (rather than being generated for continuing education credit).
  2. VMAE curated podcasts – The task force discussed the concept of VMAE serving as a curator of podcast content. While reviewing the current landscape of podcast content specific to the veterinary community, the task force identified several podcasts (see Resources for VMA Executives, above) of potential interest to VMAs that wish to publish podcast links on the VMA website. The resources identified were selected for a combination of qualities including content appeal, production quality, producer reputation, and ease of access. The task force envisions that VMAE can, through an informal and ongoing effort, be watchful for and advise members of additional appropriate podcast content resources as they are identified. The task force recognizes that VMAs have the wisdom and the freedom to identify additional podcast sources that they think may resonate or have value with their members.
  3. VMAE education – The task force recommends that, following distribution of this report to members, the VMAE Board of Directors ask the Professional Development Committee to develop educational programming on the “how to” of podcasting. One suggestion is to engage Will Carlson (of Willpower Consulting, whose primer is referenced above) to deliver an archivable webinar for VMAE members. Additionally, it would be useful to engage him for an in-person, hands-on workshop at a VMAE conference where he could demonstrate podcast production from start to finish and help members understand how to think about return on investment for podcasting. The Podcast Task Force respectfully requests that the VMAE Professional Development Committee (PDC) implement this recommendation, and task force members stand ready to assist the PDC in this endeavor.