A podcast is a collection of digital media files which is distributed over the Internet, often using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. The term podcast, like “radio”, can refer either to the content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.
Though podcasters’ web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically when new content is added, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.
Now that we’ve covered what a Podcast is… Is a Podcast right for you?
In this age of instant communications you can’t afford to only make direct person-to-person contact with your prospects, customers or employees once a quarter. You need a podcast to get your message, in your own voice, in front of these key audiences on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Podcasting is the easiest and most powerful way to make the connections you need now. Podcasting is a leading edge, cost effective, personalized way of delivering your company’s message.
Podcasting is especially useful for those businesses and individuals that are involved in some type of education, whether that be financial advice, branding, marketing, or any other type of business that includes some kind of training or education as part of the service they offer.
If youÂ offer seminars or speak atÂ conference and other events it would be a good idea to create a podcast of that speech so that others may enjoy it later. If your business involves any type of education a podcast is a good way to reach a broader audience and this way you won’t be limited to only getting your message out to a live audience.
Not all podcasts are free.Â Some business might consider putting out a series of valuable educational podcasts at a cost.
Podcasting is not for everyone.
Dave Taylor, of Intuitive.com, explained in his article, Why podcasts won’t help promote your business, the downside of podcasting:
“…podcasting is just a fad and will shortly vanish from the proverbial radar screen, particularly for savvy businesses and entrepreneurs seeking smart and effective methods of promoting their business or service.
“Allow me to explain…
“But first, quickly, how many of you are reading this because you’ve subscribed to the RSS feed on the weblog? Ah, lots of raised hands. I thought so.
“Those of you that aren’t and are reading this on a standalone Web page, how many of you came across it because of a link from another site or as a search engine result, either from someone like feedburner or technorati or a more traditional search engine like Google or MSN? More hands up, eh? Yeah, I kinda thought so.
“Aggregation, automatic analysis of content and findability are all key concepts that are driving the evolution of the World Wide Web and the Internet itself. Search engine optimization is of interest purely because more findable material is more frequently seen than hidden content.
“Into this growing, surprisingly efficient and effective hurricane of textual information, a veritable tsunami of data that never stops building, surfboard at hand or not, comes new communications media, media that do not enjoy these same efficiencies of consumption. Namely, podcasts.
“And podcasts really just don’t work.
“Until we have high quality automated audio parsing and transcription systems to instantly index new audio content, we’re stuck with the highly inefficient mechanism of actually listening to the material to determine if it’s of value or not.
“That’s the efficiency side of my problems with podcasting. The other side is whether it’s engaging or not.
“In a word, I think that podcasts are boring and are just not useful additions to my data library. I can’t excerpt them, I can’t pull pithy stats out of a transcript, I can’t forward it along to colleagues or clients, and I can’t even store them for later relistening (one 30 minute podcast takes as much disk space as thousands of blog articles).
“But weblogs, well, weblogs are a natural, just made for effective business communication, whether you’re one of a three person firm, solo, or a member of a Fortune 50 corporation. And that’s why I’m taking the first day of the Blog Business Summit to share with everyone exactly how to get the very most out of blogging for their own corporate needs, from competitive intelligence to customer communications. And, no, we won’t be podcasting it.”