Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Is the Podcast making a comeback?

Back in 2005, I remember becoming very excited by the concept of the radio program coming to the internet. I'd spent a fair amount of time during my mostly misspent youth in the radio business (prior to finding how poor I was destined to remain should I choose to make that my career) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The idea of being able to produce audio programs that actually served business marketers and, by extension, making enough money to buy food and gas was very attractive to me. I set out to master the new tools of audio production.

Gone were the days of reel-to-reel tape, editing blocks and razor blades. By 2005, everything was electronic, which took some getting used to. Soon, we were producing a regular show and even podcasting with the winners of SourceMedia's Mortgage Technology magazine awards. By 2006, my team and I had won an award for business podcasting from the Society for New Communications Research, which has since grown into a think tank.

But getting CMOs in our industry to look twice at the technology was difficult. We thought technology vendors would love the opportunity to have quality time via the prospect's earbuds on cross country flights. That didn't happen. It turns out that time was better spent working or taking a break from working. Prospects weren't willing to give up precious private time for someone's sales pitch. In 2006, we sold off the podcast production company to another public relations firm and agreed not to compete in the space for three years.

We stayed busy with other things, dabbling in video and social media and other new ways of sharing stories with various target publics. But recently, I'm reading more about podcasting from some of the online marketing gurus I follow.
  • The guys at copyblogger have relaunched their blog. You can subscribe on iTunes or sign up to take a class they're offering on podcast production.
  • John Dumas over at ConversionXL makes a strong case for the business podcast, complete with charts and graphs. Most interesting point to me is that almost a quarter of those who say they listen to podcasts are doing so in their cars. This number will increase as more auto makers include BlueTooth and other technologies to make linking Smartphones to car stereos easier.
  • Nicolette Beard over at the Online Marketing Blog talks about the pros and cons of podcasting. Unless you can't find someone internally who cares about what you're selling, the cons go away with the right technology partner, IMHO.

I think the time is right to start looking deeper into podcasting again. We've been quietly producing our ChangeMaker podcast for a while now and it has been well received. I'm interested in seeing what else we can do with this medium. Have an idea, comment below or call us anytime at 570-497-5850.