InspirED Podcast on Podcasting with Mike Hatfield

This is InspirED School Marketers’ inaugural podcast, and as such, it’s appropriate that it’s on podcasting. The irony wasn’t lost on Greg Bamford, Head of Watershed School, who tweeted:

And with the first of anything that involves technology, it demanded a learning curve for us that we want you to benefit from — and to forgive us for. It’s not the best-produced podcast you’ll ever hear, but we hope the content helps make your job easier nonetheless.


Download or Listen on iTunes


Podcast on Podcasting with Mike Hatfield
















Mike Hatfield is the well-known independent school triple threat. He’s Director of Admissions at Powhatan School, de facto Director of Marketing Communications, and soccer coach. I’m sure he has more responsibilities as well befitting a position in a small k-8. Powhatan’s size belies Mike capabilities, creativity and drive. When Mike sees an opportunity, his entrepreneurial spirit takes over and he’s at it full-force if he thinks it will benefit his school. Lack of experience doesn’t hold Mike back, learning as he goes and expanding Powhatan’s enrollment and retention marketing.


While listening to a SchneiderB podcast, Mike realized he could create podcasts for Powhatan that would cut through the clutter to reach parents. What he loved about podcasts he thought parents would love as well. Podcasts are a great way to reach parents when it’s convenient for them and to listen to while doing something else like commuting or exercising.


Simultaneously, Head of School Susan Scarborough wanted to increase parent communication and transparency via a monthly letter. So Mike suggested putting the letter on the blog and adding a podcast to go with it. It’s been well-received by parents and has allowed for more in-depth information and dialog than a blog post.


Mike has been using them ever since for numerous topics and he shares his experience with podcasting here on the Sparkcast. We hope it makes your job easier.


Please share your comments on this podcast on Twitter (@inspiredschoolm) or on our Facebook group and spread the sparks by telling your friends and colleagues about it.


What you’ll learn:

  • How to get started in podcasting.
  • How to get faculty engaged.
  • Why podcasts work for current families.
  • Ideas for content and guests.
  • The benefits of podcasting the school and for prospective and current families.
  • How to use podcasts in the admissions funnel and how to drive your audience to the podcast.
  • What the analytics show.
  • How to repurpose podcasts.
  • What Mike’s most popular podcast is and its connection with dystopian literature.
  • The mechanics and time commitment of podcasting.
  • The biggest challenge of podcasting.
  • Where podcasts are hosted and how they are tracked.
  • SEO benefits of podcasting.
  • Hardware and software suggestions to get you going.
  • That I can’t say “show notes” once let alone 3 times real fast.

Examples of Powhatan Podcasts from Mike

Mrs. Scarborough wanted to discuss the progress on a number of initiatives on the Crocker Conservancy, a gift of approximately 47-acres that sit behind our main campus that provide an outdoor laboratory for learning. We wanted to share some of the exciting plans for this wonderful natural resource.


Mrs. Scarborough invited the president of our board of trustees, Dr. Tracy Fitzsimmons, to discuss the role of the board. 


Mike talks about his huge library of classroom experience videos, why he produces them, what the benefits are to admissions and retention and how ice damming and a trip to Lowe’s seeded the idea. Related Reading: Be sure to read InspirED’s By Example feature “Showin Off Your Best Asset: Your Faculty” and blog post “If Parents are Shopping for a School, Make Faculty a Key Feature


Cast (Podcasting website) Free trial. $10 month hobby level (10 hours of podcasts per month). $30 month adds extra features. Read InspirED’s review of Cast.

Audacity (Free audio editing software)

Blurbrry (Podcast tools. Mike uses the WordPress plugin)

Yeti Blue Snowball mic

Yeti Blue mic

Mike’s Process for Podcasting 

Mike uses Recorder App for iPad (recording), then sends the file to Dropbox (storing), then opens in Audacity (editing), then uploads MP3 file to the school’s WordPress website using Blubrry (uploading). Mike has heard good things about Camtasia as a substitute for Audacity.


Not mentioned in the podcast, but this is a great blog post on tools of the podcasting trade from Razor Social.


For more brilliant ideas and brain food to make your school MarCom job easier, visit InspirED.


Liza Fisher Norman

Master Electrician at InspirED School Marketers

As principal of Turnaround Marketing Communications, I have worked with close to 100 schools on branding, marketing and communications. I noticed that many of our clients hit it out of the park when the brand was new, but a year or so later their focus was benched. I wondered what could I do to help. In a light bulb moment, InspirED School Marketers was born. It's a professional development site that provides brilliant ideas and brain food for independent and private school marketers. InspirED is free and accessible to all schools. We want to make your job easier. Join us.