Be the first on your block to Podcast

A comment attributed to Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple lists the number of podcasts on iTunes at 125,000! The number of video podcasts mentioned was 25,000! These numbers were given by Jobs in a public event in September 2007. Don’t forget there are other podcasts that never make it to iTunes. For instance, the BRASScast is syndicated through five different podcast directories in addition to our feed in iTunes. So how many podcasts are there? Some quick research returned numbers in the millions! These most likely were individual podcast episodes. No matter how you look at it there are lots of podcasts out there. If we take a closer look at podcasts numbers we will see that even with the 125,000 iTunes listings, you can still be effective when using your podcast to market your business.

Consider these factors:

  • Podfade . . .many podcasters stop publishing after less than five episodes. They run out of things to say, they don’t have time, their curiosity leads them onto something else. Whatever the reason, these feeds are not kept up but thanks to the persistence of digital storage they seem to live forever. According to P.Dilly from Podcast Pickle he cleaned up dead and faded podcasts starting with 13,000 and ending up with 7,000 active feeds.
  • Low-cost to produce and publish . . . thanks to the low costs of digital production and distribution (find out more with “The Long Tail“) podcasts are easy to start. Compared to traditional media such as magazines which have high start-up costs and high costs to produce each issue, podcasts are an extremely low cost publishing method. This low cost is a good thing – allowing businesses to get their feet wet with a minimal capital outlay. The down side is that there appears to be a saturation of the market. (key word: appears)
  • Regional vs International . . .many podcasts are from large multi-national enterprises, broadcast companies and news outlets. There are also many regional podcast publishers. Thanks to low cost and easy publishing, even small companies can join in the party. For local markets this can be a positive and successful connection to their local clients. Web pages have proved that you don’t need to be big to leverage the power of the internet. Think global – act local!
  • Niche topics . . . refer to the Long Tail for more information regarding how digital distribution has made unique and small target market publishing financially viable. Do you produce left-handed, chrome plated widgets? No problem, the web and podcasts give you access to a huge market with low costs for publishing and marketing. Many podcasts are very focused in their topic and their producers cater to the unique needs of their audience.

So how does a small company make a podcast an effective marketing and branding tool?

  • Promote your podcast via the web. . . don’t throw it out on the web and hope for the best. There are actions you can take to make your podcast stand out from all the others. Podcast directories, tags, blog links, search engine optimization are just some of the techniques you can use.
  • Combine with other marketing efforts. . . add your podcast url to your business card, brochure, web page, letter head, newspaper advertising, yellow page listings . . . whatever marketing media you use to promote your business. Do you have an email address list of current customers? Send them a message with a link to your podcasts. Do you have a telephone? Launch a campaign to inform your customers of your podcast. Letting them know you have a podcast is one thing, you may also need to teach them how to listen to it and subscribe to it. A little missionary work can go a long way.
  • Promote your podcasts with audio CD’s. . . producing an audio CD with samples of your podcast and then sending it out to select customers and prospects puts your message in their hands in a format they may be more accustomed to. After they have heard what you have to say,  the next step is easy – subscribing to your podcast via RSS or iTunes.

How many podcasts are there in Alberta?

When iTunes Podcasts was searched with ‘alberta’ in the description the result was 61 listings. They covered genres including music, business, comedy, education, religion and technology. Not a lot of podcasts from Alberta a province with over three and half million people, in a country of over thirty million people. If there are 125,000 podcasts on iTunes, reaching millions of listeners but only 61 podcasters from Alberta…what are you waiting for? Now is the time to get your company into podcasting. Be the first on the block with this new marketing tool and get the jump on your competition. Get your customers listening to your podcasts and getting to know you as a knowledge expert and develop an online relationship before your competitors do.

Dean Owen

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