Getting Started in Business Podcasting

    January 17, 2007

Podcasting is quickly becoming one of the preferred platforms in which to distribute content to large numbers of individuals in short order. With the ability to reach such a massive audience, podcasting presents a unique and potentially explosive opportunity for businesses to market their products and services to an already plugged-in audience.

So, you have a product that is hot, marketable, and poised to create an explosion across the Internet that will make all the news about the iPhone seem like marginal coverage. The problem, however, is that nobody knows about this marvelous product.

Well, at least they don’t know about it yet.

Your marketing team decided that it’s time to get the word out, and the word “podcast” comes up in conversation several times. It sounds like a great idea, but where would you begin a venture of that magnitude? Won’t this involve some sort of comprehensive plan?

Of course it will. Consider this statement:

Many businesses will absolutely fail when they create their podcast for several reasons. The top reason is typically a failure to have a fully detailed podcast strategy that includes everything from technology to distribution to directory listings, to marketing to incorporation to their existing web property to…. the list goes on and on.

Yes, it’s taken from a Podblaze advertisement for their podcast consultation services. I’m not here to endorse a particular product, but their statement rings true nevertheless; you can’t go into podcasting without some sort of plan.

There’s equipment to buy, technical issues to resolve, and a whole bevy of housekeeping matters that will need to be addressed from the get go. Equally as important, however, is the actual content and distribution of the podcast. How will you deliver your message? What format will you use to disseminate the podcast?

Xavier Gallery has a great piece on determining these essential podcasting elements, two of which I will mention here:

Element 1 – Have a Script. You wouldn’t give a speech without an outline, so why make your podcast audience suffer through your incessant babble. Nothing is more painful to the listener than dead airtime, and this is often the result of poor planning. It is not necessary to write out your entire monologue, but having an outline of your topic flow along with pertinent notes will help immensely.

Element 2 – Use an MP3 Format. While the availability of free podcast directories is invaluable, most of them offer only limited access for your listener. Often times this is in the form of a direct stream from the webpage. This may seem like an adequate form of distribution, but the reality is that most people would prefer to download a podcast to their portable listening device. I am always downloading interesting podcasts for later use in my car or at the gym. Unfortunately, those who opt not to use mp3 format will find their message land-locked to only a certain demographic of the potential market. This eliminates one of the key benefits of podcast marketing.

I have to stress how important the mp3 format is when it comes to podcasting. Digital audiences are mobile, and you don’t want your content limited to the presence of a computer in order to be heard. Give your listeners the flexibility that they want and crave.

Who knows? If you can manage all this, you might have something viral on your hands.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.