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Is Podcasting Right for my Business?

If you identify yourself as one of the 27 million Americans [1] who listened to at least one podcast in the last month, then you have caught on to the joys of streaming, audio knowledge. A silent revolution, overshadowed in part by social media, podcasts have dramatically impacted the way we acquire information on a daily basis. They have enabled us to have virtual conversations with the editors of The Economist [2] on world politics, discuss psychology with the writers of Scientific America [3] and keep up to date on the latest online marketing news with This Week In Google [4]. The best part? We get to have these discussions while brushing our teeth, taking a jog or driving to work. Podcasts have become an ideal form of acquiring information in an age when newspapers seem archaic and the majority of us don’t have the time to sit down to have breakfast. They are efficient, free and informational. As subscribers, podcasts are convenient, but as marketers they present us with the opportunity to speak directly to an engaged, curious audience that has self-identified themselves as interested in what we have to say. What is podcasting exactly and how can it be used for marketing?   Podcasts resulted from the proliferation of social media and the iPod, and the relatively low costs of creating audio content. As Annalee Newitz wrote back in 2005 for Wired magazine, the podcast, “is the bastard offspring of the blog and the Apple MP3 player. It combines the hyperactive talkiness of blogs and the hipness of iPods into something utterly new: the podcast.” [5] Back in 2005 podcasts were primarily used by tech geeks, looking for a cheap means of broadcasting their opinions. Today, several leading corporations, such as American Airlines, Disney, McDonalds and the New York Times, have caught on to the power of the podcast, producing their own original content. Other companies, like Whirlpool and Georgia-Pacific Corps., have begun sponsoring podcasts directed towards their targeted demographics. These marketers have figured out how to leverage podcasting as a marketing tool. Here are a couple of ways they are achieving this:         What do you need to know?   Creating a podcast can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it. The basics are very basic, but there is a whole world of jargon [6] and advice on how to properly produce a podcast. Here’s the foundation of what you need to know in terms of the technology:                   The benefit of producing a podcast is that is can support and help unify your other online marketing efforts. Successful podcasts often work in conjunction with corporate blogs and social media campaigns to discuss relevant topics and current events in your industry, which can help distinguish your organization as an industry thought leader.