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Content, Technology, and Podcasts

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I have been hearing and reading a lot of communicators lately proclaiming that, in podcasting, content is king.

While I agree wholeheartedly, I’d like to respectfully disagree.

If that sounds like an incongruous statement, indeed, it is. So let me explain the incongruity.

Content is king. Nobody is going to listen to a podcast with content that sucks. To put a finer point on it, nobody will listen to a podcast with content that doesn’t appeal to them. So solid content rocks.

The problem is that lousy implementation of the technologies that underlie podcasting will keep many listeners from ever even getting to the content. A couple examples:

I subscribe to several podcasts I never hear. That’s because they do not include an album title in the ID3 tags, which means these podcasts do not get classified into a playlist. I access my podcasts via the iPod playlist feature. If a playlist for that podcast doesn’t exist, I don’t know it’s there. Hence, great content gathers dust in the deep recesses of the iPod’s and iTunes’ file structure.

Then there are those podcasts where audio levels are not adjusted. A simple normalization action before exporting to MP3 would solve this problem, but instead, I’m forced to crank the volume to max in order to hear an audio comment, then when the host comes back, my eardrums are shattered as the volume returns to its previous higher level. I simply give up on many of these shows as being unlistenable, even though the content is terrific.

So in our haste to proclaim content the be-all and end-all of podcasting, let’s not understate the importance of using the technology correctly.

Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.

Content, Technology, and Podcasts
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