North Holland province: 'More positive image of government through podcast'

Want a more positive image as a public body? Make complicated topics more accessible? More contact with citizens? Start a podcast! Because a podcast helps to increase understanding and trust in a brand, company or institution. The province of North Holland started the podcast Jouw Noord-Holland in the middle of corona time. And that turned out to be a golden move.

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More and more governments are embracing the podcast as a means of communicating with residents. This is because a podcast is the ideal way to let people hear what you are doing as a government. It makes residents understand and feel more connected to the government in question. 

In the fifth episode of Masters Of Podcasting we speak to Pascal van Wessel and Melanie Zierse, both working in the communications editorial department of the province of North Holland. Want to start a podcast as a government? Then get it right, is their advice!

"A podcast brings you closer to your resident "

The province of North Holland began preparations for the podcast in early 2020 Your North Holland. "Our department explored other ways to communicate with the residents of North Holland," Van Wessel explains. "And the podcast was high on the list, so we continued working on that."

"A podcast brings you closer to your resident," adds Zierse. "Indeed, when you spend time and attention on it, it is a great way to make sometimes complicated topics accessible and connect with residents. And that, especially in this day and age, is important for governments."

About 'Your Noord-Holland'

In Jouw Noord-Holland, podcast maker Rolien Magendans seeks answers to the nicest questions about the province. These are questions on the most diverse topics, such as nature, economy, traffic, technology, culture and climate. 

About half of the questions come from residents themselves. The rest are devised by the province's editors. To answer these questions, Rolien interviews employees and residents of the province. An episode lasts about 15 minutes. 

Listen to Your North Holland here!

Podcasting as a government: how do you do it?

Do you want to start podcasting as a government? Then it's smart to get the preparation right. Van Wessel: "In our case, there was nothing in place yet, so we were able to move pretty quickly." 

North Holland tackled the preparation in three phases. 

  • Brainstorming with the whole department

What do we want? What lends itself best to it? Who within the team will set up the podcast?

  • Brainstorm in pairs to come up with podcast scenarios

Coming up with even more ideas. Choosing topics and themes for the podcast. Establish purpose and target audience.

  • Implementation

Approaching podcast creators. Requesting quotes. Discuss requirements. 

Melanie Zierse & Pascal van Wessel

North Holland approached three different parties with whom the editors entered into talks. In the end, one party emerged. And that meant there was work to be done, because some things still had to be worked out. An important starting point was: what would residents want?

Zierse: "We had three scenarios: a historical podcast, a podcast focused on the year 2050 (what does North Holland look like for residents in 2050) and a podcast where we answer questions from residents. We eventually chose the latter form."

The podcast Your North Holland is a combination between two podcast ideas as we presented in our white paper '20 business podcast ideas and formats' present. It involves the 'Explore & philosophise' podcast and the 'Awareness through education' podcast

The 'explore & philosophise' podcast

A podcast where you explore new ideas within a particular domain or where you philosophise about how the latest developments impact the future. In our white paper, we call this the 'explore & philosophise' podcast. You can engage with experts or explain the latest developments. This podcast is a good fit for knowledge organisations, non-profits and governments.

The North Holland province podcast is a great example of this type of podcast. Your North Holland puts a question from a resident at the centre and seeks answers to this question through interviews with experts within the province and residents affected by the question in question.  

Angles of attack:

  • Discuss market developments
  • Philosophise about new innovations
  • Discuss the impact of innovations
  • Debate on new rules and laws
  • Share the latest news and developments

The 'awareness through education' podcast

Do you want to create awareness among a certain target group and make people aware of, for example, a social problem or a major change (movement) that you want to bring about? Or are you looking for a way to put your product or service in the spotlight? The awareness podcast does exactly that. By sharing stories, interviewing experts or debating.

Angles of attack:

  • Interview (experience) experts
  • Educate by sharing stories
  • Debate and explore different perspectives

When choosing a storyline as a government, it is important to think carefully about the form. This is because the form of your podcast is at least as important as the content. Because you can have such a strong message, but if you don't convey it well, your message will not get through.

In our white paper, we present seven different podcast formats. The podcast Your North Holland is a fine example of the report

The report

The report is a report of an event or (news) story. This format uses several relevant sound clips that are linked with a voice-over.

This format is very suitable for a business podcast. Think for example of a report of an event or an analysis of the latest developments in the industry. Conduct interviews with attendees or evaluate with experts. Combine these with excerpts from the relevant event or news story and add a voice-over to provide context.

The report demands a lot from the maker. Before you start recording, make sure you determine what story you want to tell. In this way, you will know exactly which fragments you need. Only write the text for the voice-over after you have selected your audio. This way, you can be sure that your fragments correspond with the story you want to tell.

Should every government podcast?

So the podcast is a great way for a government to connect with residents and make them feel more connected to the government in question. The province of North Holland conducted research into the success of the podcast. "It turns out that over a quarter of residents want to hear more of Jouw Noord-Holland or subscribe. For a government, that's quite high," Zierse concludes. 

The same survey further shows that people listening to the podcast have a more positive image of the province than before they listened. "That's a great result," Van Wessel knows. "And important, especially in this day and age. That alone would be a good reason for governments to start a podcast. In any case, it could be a consideration for other governments."

Do you work for a government agency and are you thinking of starting a podcast? Then be sure to check out these tips from the province of North Holland. 

Podcast tips for governments

  • Hook up professionals
  • Take plenty of time to prepare
  • Think carefully about the purpose and target audience of your podcast
  • Choose a fixed launch day 
  • Choose a fixed frequency (once a week, fortnightly or monthly)
  • Create your own podcast page on your government website*
  • Highlight each episode on your socials on the day of launch
  • Create short snippets of your episode and share them in the days/weeks after launch
  • Ask your listener for input
  • And last but not least: don't stop!

Be sure to read our blog on the key to a successful podcast

*North Holland posted an embedded player (from Springcast) on the Province website and thus attracted an additional 12,000 unique visitors to this website. Research also shows that the podcast is best listened to via this website. Better than via Spotify or Apple, for example.

About Masters Of Podcasting

Masters Of Podcasting is Springcast's brand new podcast. In this show, we engage with experts in the field of podcasting. These can be professionals who guide organisations through the podcasting process, as well as entrepreneurs and organisations who have started successful podcasts themselves in recent years. 

The first season of Masters Of Podcasting is a series of ten episodes. A new episode will be published every Tuesday. You can watch these here find. Want to know more about this podcast? Then keep an eye on our socials or subscribe to the show in your favourite podcast app. 

Femke de Walle

Femke de Walle

Storyteller in sound, word and image, coming from the world of radio. Years of experience as a radio producer/DJ, reporter, newsreader and journalist. Writes blogs and produces podcasts for Springcast.

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