January 19, 2007
What if you gathered five podcasting experts in the same room and let them loose to talk about everything you need to know to create a podcast program.
That’s what happened at this month’s 2007 CES International in Las Vegas. We’ve done the hard work of listening to the hour+ podcast and gleaned their tips and tactics down to 10 steps.
Includes: startup costs and time involved; what content is most effective; how to use podcasts to influence target audiences that other mainstream media outlets can’t reach; and hints on selling sponsorships
What: On the Record … Online with Podcasters at CES 2007, Las Vegas
Who: Tim Bourquin, TNC New Media & “The Podcast Brothers,” moderator; Michael Geoghegan, author of ‘Podcast Solutions,’ CEO of GigaVox Media and creator of some of the first corporate podcasts; Jason Van Orden, author of ‘Promoting Your Podcast,’ podcast consultant and host of the Web site http://www.howtocreateapodcast.com ; Eric Schwartzman, host of the PRSA PRism podcast On the Record ... Online and Founder and President of iPressroom Corp.; and Wing Yu, Editor-In-Chief of StreetIQ.com and CEO of FinancialContent.
10 Steps to Creating a Podcast
Starting a podcast program (usually an audio program available for download over the Internet) takes time, money and effort. But once you have the basics set up, adding more programs gets easier.
Audio costs range from $1,000 to $2,000, while video ranges from $5,000 to $10,000. A program takes about eight hours of time to create: CEO, 2 hours; advertising, 3 hours; typing, 1 hour; editing, 2 hours.
Step #1. Start a podcast
- First, decide why you want to do a podcast. Begin the initiative to author quality content that your clients can’t live without -- subject matter that keeps them coming back. (Hint: Avoid regurgitating press releases.)
- Figure out what is going on inside your organization that has not been heard. Ask your experts to share the news. (Hint: What matters is not what you say, but what you do.)
- Avoid negative attention by not following a script. The panel discussed a now-infamous Starbucks podcast that didn’t resonate with their audience because they presented the message in a corporate way.
- Offer the information your listener wants to hear; otherwise, they won’t listen to it. (Hint: the listener, not your marketing person, controls the subscription.) Provide solutions with your message. For example: Give instructions on how to assemble a product.
Step #2. Make sure your podcast doesn’t get lost on the home page
- You need to figure out who the listener is and spread the word. Decide what message to put in the feed so that it’s recognized by the portals, such as iTunes, and results in maximum exposure. (Hint: iTunes is becoming as much of a search engine as Google.)
- Include the podcast on your company blog.
- Make it easy for your audience to download the content. (Hint: more people will sneak it to del.icio.us, a social bookmarks manager.)
- Look at the number of hits to the file. Technology to find out whether people actually listened to the podcast may not be available, but you can track down the number of complete downloads.
- Look at the amount of bandwidth transferred and divide it by the average amount downloaded. Find out how many people are accessing the feed on a regular basis.
Step #3. Convince your CEO that podcasts are successful
- Tell your boss how many leads the podcasts are generating. House your podcast in a unique URL. (Hint: you can see if you are generating sales leads by tracking the actual path that the user took once they landed on that page.)
- Producing a podcast will cost the same as writing a marketing piece. Podcasting is more compelling than magazine advertising because only a fraction of those who see the print ad are interested. Why pay a lot of money for a fraction if you can go directly to them? This way, you will build a niche relationship.
- Media coverage can be measured in addition to sales -- you are driving traffic over to the client side rather than just having your story be thrown away along with the newspaper.
Step #4. Find an enthusiast to work on production
- After gathering the audio and completing the editing, figure out whether you want to assign the task in-house or hire a professional writer. (Hint: it’s a good idea to bring in an experienced podcaster at the beginning. Later, there can be a handoff.)
- Make sure that the person is passionate about podcasting; the zeal will transpire.
Step #5. Integrate podcasting with an existing mail campaign
- Don’t send out podcasts with your press releases.
- Include the information on your podcast that is not getting out by other means, such as blogs, radio and trade shows. (Example: an executive’s speech from a conference.) Use the medium to build excitement for upcoming events.
Step #6. Don’t discard the email list of a past series’ subscribers
- Gradually reduce the frequency of podcasts. (Example: if you were doing weekly podcasts, send out monthly ones.)
- Provide content to those subscribers to keep them engaged.
Step #7. Take advantage of already available podcasts
- Examine popular podcasts reaching your community and emulate successful ones.
- Send your information to other podcasters before your show’s release. (Hint: combine a short introduction with an interesting sound bite from a show you want to release and a URL where people can access it in entirety.)
- Offer an exclusive to a podcaster who has a popular show that matches your product. Make sure he or she believes in your product; allow the podcaster to shape your message.
- Produce a segment to be embedded in someone else’s podcast with a large audience.
- Make sure that whoever represents your brand is truly likable. (Hint: think Katie Couric.)
Step #8. Decide on audio vs video
- A monthly audio podcast is easy to consume -- your audience can listen while driving. A video podcast has the benefit of a viral effect; i.e., a water cooler topic.
- Audio is much less expensive to produce. Audio makes the listeners feel like they are part of the conversation.
Step #9. Involve the marketing department
- Promotion insight is necessary.
- Marketers can learn tricks of the trade from outside consultants. Marketers can read up and become experts themselves.
Step #10. Sell sponsorships successfully
- Emphasize great ROI. Let the numbers speak for themselves.
- $1,300 for inclusion on an audio podcast is worth the investment because of the unique treatment podcasters offer advertisers who receive genuine attention.
Useful links related to this article
Special Report: MarketingSherpa’s Practical Podcasting Guide for Marketers
Special Episode: On the Record ... Online with Podcasters at CES 2007
The Podcast Brothers
Jason Van Orden