Podcasts are usually recorded and edited using home equipment and done for the love of it. There is specialized podcasting software available like Apples Garage Band or QuickTime Pro. These packages make it quite simple to record, mix and format the audio files correctly. Just like bloggers, though, many podcasters are trying to figure out ways of making money from their podcasts and turning listeners into revenue.
A lot of people are producing music podcasts. This has meant a huge move to circumvent traditional rights issues about downloading music from the Internet. There is now a large body of music that is classified podsafe. This has either been composed, especially for podcasts or the artist has specifically decided that they want their music to be available via the net for all who want to hear it.
Radio stations have realized that they have a whole new way of using their content. They began packaging their output so that fans could listen to their favorite shows whenever they wanted to (without the music). NPR was one of the innovators of supplying their shows via podcasts, now almost every radio station around the world does the same thing. Educators and teaching institutions have latched on to podcasting as a way of sharing content and providing tuition for learners who cannot be present at lectures or tutorials.
The corporate world is also realizing that podcasting can add huge value to their communications mix. The term podcast is increasingly being used to cover any audio or video that is embedded in an organizations web site.
Podcasts as a marketing tool
Podcasts offer an incredible opportunity for marketers. The bottom line is that you now have a way of getting content to your target markets without having to persuade a media channel to carry it or to pay huge advertising rates.
- Targetable you can create highly relevant, niched content and then promote it to a specific target market.
- Measurable you can see how exactly many downloads and subscribers you have.
- Controllable its your content.
- Responsive set up a blog alongside your podcast, alter content according to the comments, you are actually having a conversation with your market.
- Boundary free its the Internet.
- Inexpensive Podcasting can be done on a relatively small budget.
However, the content must be:
- Excellent quality like anything on the Internet, it is just as easy to unsubscribe as it is to subscribe. Quality content is what keeps listeners coming back.
- Real while there is value in having product or service information embedded in a web site, there is no point at all in producing an audio version of a company brochure as a regular podcast. Consumers are losing faith in the content of traditional media. Even if editorial is not actually paid for, a lot of the time it has been influenced in some way by advertisers. Although there are podcasts that carry advertisements, people can fast forward straight past them and the chance of real success lies in branded content.
This is not about advertising or even just product information. It is about coming up with ideas for real programs that, through informing or entertaining, enhance your customers experience of your brand.
Here is a list of podcasting resources to help get you started:
- @Podder - A free client designed for the visually impaired. Download files into your MP3 Player or Ipod.
- Doppler - Doppler is a aggregator. Its a tool to subscribe to RSS feeds which supply downloadable files. Download files into your MP3 Player or Ipod.
- iTunes - Apple's heavily commercialized tuner. Works well with iPhone, iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, and regular iPod or iPod Video. iPhone, iTouch, and iPad users can download podcasts directly to the device via Wifi and, if the podcast is less than 10mb, via 3G network.
- gPodder - Basic Features, RSS feads and BitTorrent podcasts
- Happy Fish - Requires iTunes; HappyFish is an RSS reader that can also download RSS enclosures (podcasts, mp3's, videos, pics, apps, etc.) to your computer.
- Juice - (formerly iPodder)Let's users select and download TV shows, music and play whenever they want.
- MadCat - MadCat is a multipurpose application that allows you to browse the web, while enjoying quality video content from around the world. MadCat can download you're favorite RSS feeds, political channels, or sniff media links out the webpages you browse. This is mainly for video podcasts, but audio works fine.
- MediaMonkey - MediaMonkey catalogs CDs, AAC, OGG, WMA, FLAC, MP3 and other audio files such as audiobooks, podcasts, etc. It includes a CD ripper, CD/DVD Burner, and converter for saving music. It syncs tracks, playlists, and podcasts to portable audio devices such as iPhones, iPods, MP3 Phones, and other devices, and supports hundreds of scripts, plug-ins and visualizations to extend its functionality further.
- Miro - Miro recently introduced a multi-platform podcast support to its cool Miro Internet TV Software. The new setup has added an audio podcasts section to the software and a section for audio in the library.
- NewzCrawler - NewzCrawler is a RSS/Atom reader, news aggregator, browser and blog client for Windows which provides access to news content from various sources.
- Wimpy Player - A tool that lets you listen to podcasts directly on your website. (Very cool.)
- Audials - Audials is the only solution that offers podcast listeners a directory containing more than 13,000 podcasts organized into 25 subjects and sorted into over 300 categories, supplemented by software that makes the podcast experience effortless and fun.
- Primetime - Automated download scheduling, integrated media consumption, catch-up ability, sortable media library, bookmarking support, and integrated podcast directory from Podcast Alley.
- RCFeedme - Basic interface, not really designed for use with portable devices. Not an RSS reader.
- Replay AV - Replay AV makes it easy to automatically record your favorite radio shows, so you can listen wherever and whenever you like. Recordings can be automatically transferred to your iPod or other MP3 Player, burned to a CD, or you can just listen on your PC. It's incredibly convenient.
- WinPodder - Aging, but still around. Simple Install. Requires Windows Media Player 9. Does not auto-download podcasts as they come through the feed. For some, this is a feature. Supports Apple's enhanced podcast format, mP3, torrent formats.
- Yamipod - Freeware application to efficiently manage your iPod under Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. Has an RSS/Podcast to iPod feature.
- Ziepod - Ziepod+ is your next-generation media player. It is designed to keep you alive with audio and video content automatically retrieved from all over the Internet.
- HuffDuffer - Have you ever wanted to put together a podcast of audio files that youve discovered on the web? That's what this is about. You just point to the files you want and it does the RSS grunt work.
- MediaTuner - Totally web based method for grouping, listening to podcasts. Requires Flash 10+. MediaTuner aggregates all of the latest Web 3.0 services, such as Twitter, YouTube, FriendFeed, Flickr and many more - and displays text, images, videos, Twitter feeds, all into a single embeddable, viral MediaTuner "player"
- PodShifter - Voice podcasts can be sped up, much like the iPhone/iPod Touch Allow. Nice for news podcasts. A great tool for PC-based listening without hassles.
I hope this gives you a good start on your quest to better understand what podcasting can do for your website marketing efforts.