I had the pleasure of attending my first Doe-Anderson Holiday Party last week. Â It was a good chance to mingle with some of the folks around the agency that I don’t get a chance to talk to very often. Â Mostly what we talked about was work (because advertising people are functionally incapable ofÂ not thinkingÂ about work.) Â
At any rate, I was taken aback by something a coworker said to me.
“Do people really listen to podcasts?”
Ironically enough, when I first met Jason, he’d already heard about me, and my perspective on social media–from a podcast. Â
Not only do people listen to podcasts, but earlier this year eMarketer predictedÂ podcasting advertising spend to quintuple over the next five years. Â In 2006, $80 million was spent on podcast advertising. Â For an emerging media, that’s a substantial figure. Â According to ReadWriteWeb, Wizzard Media (a podcasting network) reported that they’d reached the 1 billion download mark in 2007. Â I’d have to assume that those numbers are dwarfed by those of iTunes, the dominant podcast client. Â
So for those who are unfamiliar with podcasting, here’s a handy video from Common Craft that explains what podcasting is, in plain English:
Podcasting as a marketing tool can be really powerful. Â Particularly if your brand includes an educational element, podcasts can be a great way to communicate with those who are passionate about learning more. Â A good example is cookware. Â
People who are passionate about food are always looking for new recipes, tips, and for the best way to care for that expensive cookware to make it last. Â If a cookware brand produced a fun, engaging podcast that provided content geared towards feeding that passion, then they’ve created a powerful, direct communication channel to their most enthusiastic brand fans. Â If they opened the podcast up to user questions, they’ve made that communication channel feel deeply personal.Â
Podcasting can be a nice option for companies who want to start experimenting with social media and begin communicating in a more human voice, but who aren’t ready to deal with moderating comments on a blog. Â It’s far more common for a podcast to be delivered in ways that don’t allow for comments than it is for a blog to have comments closed. Â Â
Video podcasting is another element of podcasting that has experienced explosive growth, and which doesn’t require a great deal more equipment or technical proficiency than audio podcasting. Â According to ITwire, more people listen to podcasts from their PC than from an iPod anyway, so if you’re considering a video podcast, market penetration of video-enabled media devices shouldn’t be a deterrant. Â
Promotion and distribution is a more difficult task than production, in most cases. Â For a brand, featuring the podcast prominently on their website is a good idea, and so is utilizing multiple distribution networks. Â
Promoting a podcast is much like promoting a blog–networking with other content producers in your niche is a good way to get noticed. Â But ultimately, the only way to achieve long term success is to keep producing compelling content, reliably and frequently. Â
If you’re interested in finding out more about the nuts and bolts basics of how to do a podcast, you can find that here. Â Ultimately, though, the success or failure of a podcast is going to lie in its content strategy, rather than technological wizardry. Â
As I wrap this post up, I’d love to hear from others in the comments. Â What have your experiences with podcasting been like? Â What was the hardest part? Â What benchmarks do you set for yourself as a podcaster? Â Surprises along the way?