|If you've used the Internet at all this year, you've probably heard of podcasting. It's the one word that's almost guaranteed to come up in discussions of small business marketing, and with good reason too: podcasting has become more and more popular over the past 12 months, and is set to become the most powerful marketing tool of the future. But what exactly is it?
What are marketing podcasts?
In simple terms, podcasts are like radio transmissions which are broadcast over the Internet and subscribed to by listeners who subscribe to an RSS or Atom feed and listen either over their computer or via hand-held devices such as iPods. They're a little like a blog and a little like radio - and they're starting to take off in a big way.
In marketing terms, podcasting presents a new and very powerful method of communicating directly with your clients, both current and prospective.
What are marketing podcasts about?
The simple answer to this question is that a marketing podcast can be about anything and everything you think will be of interest to your listeners. You may want to talk about a new innovation you're using in your business, interview some of your industry leaders or discuss some of the big issues in your area of the business world. The choices are endless, and it's up to you to use your imagination to come up with something people will be interested in hearing.
Why use marketing podcasts?
There are many different ways in which marketing podcasts can help benefit your business . Here are just a few of them.
Marketing Podcasts Help Build Tangibility
By creating a podcast you let your listeners/customers see the real you- the people behind the business. This helps give your business some kind of tangibility and personality: rather than just being a faceless corporation, your business becomes something your customers/listeners can relate to and understand.
Marketing Podcasts Increase Your Credibility
By offering a podcast on a particular subject, you're establishing yourself as an expert in that subject . People like to buy from experts - podcasting helps build trust and, by extension, grows sales.
Marketing Podcasts Add Value to Your Business
By offering a podcast, you're giving visitors to your website something free- and something which they'll hopefully enjoy enough to want to hear more of. This means that they'll become repeat visitors, and may even turn into customers.
Podcasts Build Loyalty
In the same way that email newsletters build loyalty towards your business by providing free information to subscribers, marketing podcasts work in much the same way. As you start to build up a listener base for your podcasts, you'll be creating your own form of word-of-mouth advertising as your listeners tell other people about your podcasts and your business.
Getting Started in Marketing Podcasting
Creating a podcast is surprising simple. In terms of hardware, all you'll need is a computer, mic and broadband connection. Simple, free pieces of software such as audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) allow you to record it, then it's a matter of saving the file as .MP 3 and uploading it to your server.
Once uploaded, your podcast is ready to be distributed, and this can be done through aggregators such as iPodder (http://www.ipodder.org ) and FeedDemon (http://www.feeddemon.com ) or via web-based directories such as Podcast Alley (http://www.podcastalley.com) and BlastPodcast (http://www.blastpodcast.com) .
Some podcasts for you to start off with:
"The Marketing Moment" - www.digitalpodcast.com/detail.php?id=3024
"Win Federal Contracts" - http://www.podfeed.net/category_item.asp?id=2515
According to a recent survey by Pew Internet and American Life poll, around 22 million Americans own MP3 players or iPods. Those figures perhaps help to explain the growing popularity of podcasts: audio "blogs" or radio shows distributed by RSS and used as a new, and highly effective , form of marketing. This article explains the benefits of marketing podcasts, and gives a brief guide on how to get started.
About the author:
Robert Moment is a business strategist and author of "It Only Takes a Moment to Score" found on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Robert shows entrepreneurs how to turn ideas into wealth, how to avoid becoming a statistic and have FUN ! Download the FREE Special Report , "17 Profitable Ways to Turn Your Ideas into Money" at http://www.sellintegrity.com
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