“Also, our sales and marketing directors

are using it as a resource to provide to them. So, a lot of our listeners are customers or potential customers of our services.”

Keys to success Smith says among the keys to Off Your Rock- er’s success are persistence, quality guests, relevant topics, and the use of social media. Smith, who hosts the podcast, also has 25

years of experience in broadcast journalism. She says she’s comfortable “in front of the mic,” as are other members of the team who have occasionally hosted. A podcast can easily be hamstrung by a host unsuited for the role. “Being comfortable and having a per-

sonality is really the key,” Smith says. “No matter how great the topic, no one wants to listen to someone who feels awkward on air.” “I believe a great podcast host is a true

listener, is curious, stays focused on the topic and who elevates their guest. A good host al- ways finds room for humility and self-depre- cation when needed. A little humor doesn’t hurt either. I believe an open, genuine, and relaxed conversation makes it much more pleasant for everyone. And if the conversation jumps off topic

briefly on occasion, that’s spontaneous and fun. If it jumps off topic and doesn’t come back, that’s not.” Howell says podcast producers can’t risk a boring start to an episode or a meander- ing pace. “Grabbing the listener’s attention im-

mediately and keeping them engaged [is important],” Howell says. “We intention- ally keep most podcast episodes to around

20 minutes, which we’ve found is a sweet spot between providing detailed, valuable information and allowing the listener to stay focused on the message.”

Know your audience For those considering starting a podcast, Howell recommends an intentional, strate- gic approach. “If you launch a podcast just to hear

yourself talk, it won’t be very successful,” Howell says. “You must add value for your listeners or to the industry to keep the attention of your audience. Consider who you’re trying to reach with your podcast: Is it baby boomers, on-site care staff, or executive leadership? Then, put yourself in their shoes to decide what will provide the most value to their life or their career.” “’Senior Housing Unfiltered’ seeks to in-

spire senior living leaders by presenting new and unconventional ideas about health care, technology, marketing, and how to motivate a winning team.”

Getting better with age With each episode, podcast producers have the opportunity to refine their format or style to better reach their audiences and to fully take advantage of the medium. That represents a natural evolution, Stern says. For instance, the “When I’m 64” team

will take a new step in the fall and pro- duce its first “mini-season,” focusing a three-episode series on the challenges of finance and caregiving in partnership with Next Avenue, the PBS website focused on older Americans. The success of the caregiving podcast

Lloyd Jones Senior Living keeps its “Senior Housing Unfiltered” podcast episodes to about 20 minutes, says Robert Howell, vice president of operations, “which we’ve found is a sweet spot between providing detailed, valuable information and allowing the listener to stay focused on the message.”



“Voices on Aging” juniper-village-videos/

“When I’m 64”

“Off Your Rocker” podcast-off-your-rocker/

“Senior Housing Unfiltered”

also has led the Stanford Center to develop a second podcast, “Century Lives,” which it will launch this fall, and which will aim to tell the broader story of longevity in society. “It will be about how we reorganize so-

ciety to accommodate the 100-year life,” Stern says. Longfellow says Juniper’s podcast has

evolved through its initial episodes, as has its understanding of its value. “We often talk about the ‛octopus princi-

ple’ with respect to our messaging at Juniper and thinking about if we have a key mes- sage, what are the eight ways that we can get that information to those who want it and need it?” Longfellow says. “And I think using the podcast in differ-

ent ways is something that we really hadn’t thought about. Initially, we just thought of it as a podcast, but we can take snippets of those podcasts and use them in other ways, like for a quick little video on Face- book. We’ve learned to not think of it as this standalone podcast, but how we can use some of those important sound bites in other ways and across other platforms.” Podcast’s relatively new stature as a me- dium means part of starting one involves trial and error, but that’s simply part of the process. “We’re still learning,” Stern says. “And

I think that’s true for a lot of podcasters out there.”

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