Chris Brogan, another respected Social Media guru and consultant, mused recently about the current state of Podcasting. He makes some good points, which prompted me to begin thinking about what is working and what isn’t with regard to the way businesses can effectively use podcasting, as ascertained from our own client consultations.
I disputed a college professor once, who said that broadcast media is all about distributing content. It never has been. It has always been about advertising, and the content exists just to get enough eyeballs or eardrums assembled together to justify the high ad rates.
In the broadcast industry there has always been a distinction and separation between content and advertising, between content producers and advertisers. Podcasting, at least insofar as a valid business model goes, is quite different. Podcasting has been able to successfully fuse the two. Content creators are now their own advertisers.
Professionals and brands are regularly creating valuable content aimed specifically at their target markets, and using that content as the “bait” to introduce them to their product or service. The content-as-advertising model is not new, and certainly has existed in broadcast media as well over the years. But podcasting represents the first time that smaller businesses and individuals have been able to access a wide distribution platform to deliver their targeted messaging.
- Tutorials that highlight specific needs and introduce specific solutions
- Interviews with highly regarded industry leaders
- Q&A shows based on frequently asked questions from existing customers
- Idea Casts – Practical inspirations aimed at your customer’s most urgent and felt needs
- Shows that build a like-minded community through a blog or forum
- Shows that link to good information regularly
What’s not working:
- Sponsored shows – Using revenue sharing ad platforms or ad insertion services
- Shows that are too broadly focused, such as news coverage of multiple industries
- Unprofessional production values AND commercially over-produced shows
- Blatant Podcast-as-Commercial tactics
- Shows with little relevant or valuable information
- Shows with little organizational thought or direction
The Most Important Part
If you are thinking about beginning a podcast to promote your product or service, be sure you are able to commit the time to generating regular content. Blogging takes time. Podcasting takes MORE time, even with the help of a creative services or production company.
If you have a lot to say, have a friendly manner, a pleasant voice and aren’t afraid to speak or be recorded, then podcasting represents an excellent way to reach people with your expertise and provide value to them on a regular basis.
Most of the time, having a show that delivers solid information from your area of expertise, coupled with a well-designed and directed blog and/or forum, all linked back to your business site and web presence, is all that is required to benefit from using podcasting as a way to build your brand, qualify better prospects, and cement your place among the experts in your market.