While eye-catching social media mediums such as Facebook and Twitter have taken off, there is value in audio that companies are bringing back to the forefront of social media through a new phenomenon known as podcasting. Podcasting has even taken off in schools, and is used by teachers to help get their students engaged. When it comes to advertising, podcasts allow your potential customers to listen to the content you provide for free either online or on their IPods. This can be a great way to engage someone with a busy schedule who would rather listen to your companies ideas than try and read the tiny print on a phone system or lug around a big laptop on the train.
The main difference between a podcast an another audio snippet or video online is the idea that a podcast can be directly uploaded onto a person’s hard drive as opposed to being streamed from another media server. In other words, think portable. In a world that never stops moving, even walking from place to place need not be time wasted. According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, more than 22 million US adults own an iPod or other MP3 player, and 29 percent of these people have downloaded a podcast. In other words, 6 million US adults have downloaded podcasts.
Due to this high number of users, many businesses have jumped on the podcasting bandwagon. A few businesses utilizing podcast include:
- BusinessWeek magazine
- National Public Radio (NPR)
- Toyota – who has launched a podcast campaign in order to promote the Lexus IS
The great thing about podcasting is that is it easy to do and fairly inexpensive. If you are new to podcasting, there are a few key questions you should ask yourself before you begin:
1. How long should my Podcast last?
Most podcasts run for about 15 to 25 minutes, although they can last as long or as short and you feel necessary. The length usually depends on what kind of information you are trying to get across to your listeners. If you are going to podcast a speakers speech at a seminar, your podcast will be longer, however if you just want to pitch a funny idea out to your listeners, 15 minutes should do the trick.
2. Should I have regular segments or be sporadic?
If you have regular podcasts your listeners are more likely to listen because they will know what to expect. If you have a regular Monday morning segment, then listeners will know they can count on something to do during that early morning commute. If you put out a podcast whenever you want, you run the risk of your listeners not checking your website that particular day.
3. What kind of equipment will I need to create a podcast?
Creating a podcast does not have to be expensive. You will need a microphone for each person who is speaking, but a top of the line microphone is not usually necessary. If your audio quality is not that great, but what you are saying is interesting and informative, you should have no problem creating a following of listeners. Aside from a microphone, it would be beneficial to purchase an audio editing program. The programs are usually simple to use and install and come with instructions so that your podcast can be free of awkward pauses and all of those “uhmm”s.
4. What kind of content should a podcast include?
A general rule of thumb when it comes to podcasting is the shorter the better. Podcasts should be entertaining, yet informative and to the point. Remember: a podcast is not a commercial. You should not sound like a salesman when you create your podcast. You can explain why someone may need a product or service, but do not spend all 20 minutes talking about the features of your specific product.
5. How will I get people to listen to my podcast? How will I know who is listening?
People will actually need to subscribe to your podcast, which is why the initial start of a podcast can be tricky. A great idea to get more subscribers is to give them a choice. If you can record a few podcasts a week, then you will be more appealing to more audiences. For example, some like to hear interviews, while others like to hear the latest news on your company, while others may be more interested in the future ideas that your company is considering. Do not limit yourself to one type of podcast, and your subscribers will follow.
Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to voip phone service. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including phone systems to small businesses and entrepreneurs at Business.com.