Podcasting is the new medium fad of the moment. But can it be used for marketing and is it inexpensive? The answer to both questions is “Yes. "
First, let me explain for the neophyte what podcasting is. Technology for its use has been around as early as 2000 but its widespread use really made its hey-day in 2003. So it is still new and the power of this new medium has yet to be realized.
Nevertheless, as an audio technology, there are some practical uses.
The name is derived by fusing iPod with broadcasting even though it has nothing to do with the iPod. Simply put, podcasting is taking an audio or video file and placing it on the Internet so that it can be downloaded for personal use by others. By transferring files in this manner, one could listen to a radio program or watch a television show or movie on one's personal MP3 player, iPod or similar personal portable media player.
So how can this technology be used for marketing? If you have a product or service you can place an audio or video file on your web site describing your product or service and even do product demonstrations. Another use of the podcast is to develop an infomercial-type broadcast in which you accept advertising from other companies, somewhat like a television commercial in the middle of a program. While this use may not be necessarily popular, I believe it can be used effectively.
For instance, instead of interrupting your program with a commercial, put your commercials at the beginning or the end of the podcast. Also, you don't want to overdo it. Only include one or two short commercials so that you don't bombard your audience with too much marketeering. In this age, with cable and satellite television and radio, spam blockers and laws and other anti-commercial posturing, too much of a good thing will rub people the wrong way. A good example of this is pop-up advertising; too much is bad but just enough is effective marketing.
The uses for podcasting are endless. They can be short or long, but the key thing is to present them effectively. You want your files to be clear and understandable, so choose a speaker or presenter who looks good on camera and who has a voice that sounds pleasant. Also, treat your podcast like any other media presentation which you would spend hard-earned dollars to produce. Write a script and test it before an audience before you go into production. Do everything you would do for a television commercial you were producing or a radio spot. You want it to be professional and of the highest possible quality.
All you need to produce your own podcast is a personal computer. If you have Microsoft Media Player or RealPlayer by RealNetworks then you can record your own audio file right onto your hard drive. A web cam will do the same for your video file. Another way to capture your presentation is to use a digital tape recorder or a camcorder and download them onto your computer's hard drive later. Then, you can upload them onto your web site the same way you would upload any other file.
Now that you have a basic understanding of podcasting, give it a shot. Make the most of this new technology and have fun.
Allen Taylor is an award-winning journalist, freelance writer and copywriter. He specializes in world-class marketing for small businesses. For more information about how to make your business shine visit http://www.taylor-and-associates.com Be sure to check out Allen's ghostwriting services and sign up for the free e-mail newsletter.