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Why Businesses Should Podcast
Many large companies are only now beginning to take notice of the vast potential for podcasting in business. This new and fast-growing technology offers businesses a unique reach and gives customers the kind of choice and convenience they are coming to expect.
A podcast, in case youíre not entirely sure, is little more than an audio file posted on either a website or a blog. In some ways, itís like a radio program on a topic of your choice, except that itís ready to be listened to whenever you are. In other ways, it may be more comparable to downloading music, except that itís usually free and offers businesses a unique resource. Another comparison still might be a book on tape, except thereís no cassette or trip to the bookstore. However you want to look at it, what a podcast can do for your business is present relative information for customers and employees in any number of audio forms, including lectures, interviews, talk shows, meetings, sermons Ė anything that works for your business. Explore a podcasting directory such as iBizRadio (http://www.ibizradio.com) for a short amount of time and you will find that there are innumerable ways businesses and individuals are already utilizing this young technology. Some companies offer tours, others offer training via podcast. Schools provide news and parenting tips while hospitals showcase health programs.
In addition to the variety of formats possible for your particular niche, podcasting also offers a new dimension of information diffusion that can make it easier for your business to establish a deeper connection to its customers than ever before. Teleconference calls, audio newsletters, and lectures delivered via podcast are only a few of the ways businesses are already managing to use podcasting to strengthen and simplify their relationships with their customers. Because the podcast is available at any time, customers are able to listen as they wish on their computer or MP3 player, or even burn it to a CD to listen to in their car or while on a jog. In this form, your message becomes both portable and time-shifted. Even better, customers can subscribe and get your podcast updates downloaded to their computer automatically, with no additional work from you.
While podcasting is a powerful and fresh tool for business, it is also very easy to understand and use, and the software is almost always free. Many podcasters work with nothing more than their computer and a microphone. Low-cost delivery audio messages can be targeted to and tailored for your audience at little or no cost to your business. With the growth of podcasting technology (keep in mind the more than 50 million ipods sold and counting), the potential pool of customers is already enormous, and expanding.
Though the technology as it applies to business is in its infancy, some businesses are already beginning to share and compare what is and isnít working for business podcasting. If podcasting is something youíre considering for your business, you may want to think about a few things:
Depending on the format, keep the audio length and your customerís attention span in mind. Even as much as 15 minutes might be too long for some podcast formats or topics (or customers). As always in business, being concise and targeted is likely to pay off best.
Advertising over a podcast may or may not work Ė the juryís still out. One thing most in the podcasting industry agree on is that the technology is still new enough that businesses should remain cautious about inserting ads into podcasts. In radio an ad is acceptable, but for a download itís usually not. A re-invention or new form of advertising to suit podcasting may take place at some point, but it hasnít happened yet.
One way to make sure your podcast is easy to find is to make sure youíre using the keywords or categories your customers will use, so give your podcastís tagging some thought.
Make sure your podcasts are easy to subscribe to and listen to by offering customers links to listen right away and to subscribe. Apple itunes 4.9 allows podcast listings in a directory almost tailored for marketers, as well as a customer-friendly subscription service.
Though podcasting has only been around a short time, more than 6 million people have downloaded a podcast. Donít kid yourself: this technology is applicable to much more than leisurely interests and music. Podcasting is just waiting to be discovered and explored by business. But donít let time-shifted radio pass you by, the time to get on board with podcasting is now.
For more topic ideas and tips on podcasting, TMA E-Marketing (http:www.tmaemarketing.com) specializes in helping businesses podcast along with promoting, crafting, and marketing your message.
About the Author: Christian Del Monte- Vice President of Operations for TMA E-Marketing has directed and worked on Internet marketing projects for mid to large-scale businesses, launched the worlds first
Business Blogs Directory, and writes weekly to an
Online Marketing Blog.