Podcasting in business?
One of the things I try to do on this blog is put things in a practical context for marketers who are trying to figure how (or whether) to integrate new technologies like RSS, blogs and podcasting into their marketing plans.
Podcasting has been the issue du jour (or semaine I suppose) with (among others) Dave Taylor and John Wagner representing the "podcasting doesn't work for marketing" contingent, and Ben McConnell, Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz coming in on the pro-podcasting side. Not surprisingly, they all make good arguments for their point of view. And John does appear to be softening.
But like so many discussions in the blogosphere (remember character blogs), I think many of the anti-arguments are confusing content with form, and dismissing the form because some examples of the form aren't particularly good. Blogs and podcasts are forms, or channels of communication if you prefer. The opinion, messages, stories, pictures, etc. etc. communicated on blogs and podcasts are the content. Some blogs have good content, others not so. The same is true of podcasts.
From a practical marketing point of view, I think the answer is that podcasting CAN be a useful component in a marketing plan, under the right circumstances. Just because "everybody is doing it" is not a good reason. Every business doesn't need a blog. The same is true of podcasting. The right reason to do a podcast for your business is because it will be an effective tool for communicating your message.
So what makes a podcast special, and more than just web-delivered audio content? Two things: the ability to subscribe to a feed and then easily download the material to a mobile device (MP3 player, iPod). So, if your intended audience for your marketing message does these two things, a podcast might be a very effective way of communicating with it on a regular basis. And as the technology improves, more and more listeners will shift from portable CD players to portable music devices, opening up a larger potential audience.
In particular, I believe podcasts will be an effective addition to the MarCom plan for high stakes messages. There's been research that shows that people RETAIN a message they heard better than a message they read. [Note: if someone has the original reference and research, I would be ever so grateful. I have it somehwere but I just can't surface it.]
So, if you have a very important message or story you want to communicate to your audience, and they are mobile listeners, a regular podcast on the topic that drives home these high stakes messages could be a very nice supplement to your written and visual materials. Doesn't replace the written content; we need both. And it has to be entertaining, which is of course the hard part. A good podcast should be indistinguishable from a good radio show...assuming of course you want people to listen all the way through and more than once.
Now, I am a prime target for a good marketing podcast. I've had an iPod for more than two years, and I take it with me whenever I travel. I listen to it in the car, when I work out and at my desk.
I would be thrilled with a regularly updated podcast from a fitness company that mixed music, health tips, fitness tips and the like, delivered in 15, 30 and 45 minute segments.
Are you listening Gatorade? I might buy your Propel fitness water more often if you were reminding me..subtly... every time I worked out.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
The comments to this entry are closed.