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Podcasting As A Modern Marketing Tool

Nov 11, 2007
Podcasting is among the modes of information distribution that help to stimulate consumer action by generation of awareness, through the Internet. Emails, websites and podcast directories help propagate marketing messages in a digital format that is easily accessible, through podcasts. Many of the thousands of Internet users who receive these messages end up buying the services or products promoted therein.

Some of the money that was earlier being spent by companies on television and radio advertisements is now being channeled into alternatives available online. The World Wide Web is fast developing into a huge platform for the communication media. The significance of the Internet as a means for reaching out to potential consumers is, therefore, expected to continue to increase.

Podcasting has become an integral part of any plan for marketing online. It can convey a message effectively to thousands of potential consumers, at a cost that is almost negligible, when it is used efficiently. Thus, it can help to develop a huge client or customer base, as numerous online channels can be used for its distribution to prospects. It leverages the Internet's popularity in a very effective way. Since early 2005, the use of podcasting as a marketing tool has increased manifold.

The popularity of podcasting is partly on account of the fact that it is a channel for direct communication. Upon publication, subscribers receive podcasts automatically, through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. They then proceed to review these. So, a business can benefit immensely, if it can draw up its podcasting strategy well.

New episodes of podcasts can be downloaded to a user's computer, using software like Juice Receiver, or to an iPod, using the iTunes software from Apple. Updates can, thus, be received automatically, through the podcatchers, merely by pointing these towards the podcast feeds. Generally, the subscription feeds are produced using RSS. So, the users can simply subscribe to the feeds and these will automatically get downloaded, as and when these are broadcast. The RSS feeds can even be downloaded directly to the digital audio players, using appropriate software.

Podcasts may be distributed through online advertisements, as well, besides directories, websites, etc., after these have been created and recorded. The focus of a podcast, obviously, should be oriented towards the potential consumers and their needs, besides outlining how a service or a product can meet those needs. For this, obviously, the marketers have to identify the needs, so that they can clearly specify the ways in which these are likely to be met by the service or product that they seek to promote. This can be done after the target markets have been looked at carefully and a plan for marketing has been drafted.

More than forty million users could, potentially, listen to a podcast, if it gets listed in the iTunes directory. Targeted traffic can be also be secured for a podcast, if its feed can get indexed by leading search engines. The feeds are likely to be picked up from there by podcast and blog directories. Therefore, the online visibility of a business can increase dramatically, if its podcasts are professionally done and are of good quality.

Presently, podcasting is firmly entrenched as a tool for marketing online, as is evident from several Fortune 500 firms utilizing it as a medium for direct communication with existing as well as prospective clients or customers.

The increasing sales of mp3 players and continuous Internet usage growth are contributing factors, in this regard, and point towards the likeliness of increase in popularity of podcasts, in the future.

Podcasting is expected to be a part of the mainstream soon, as, in addition to the sales of iPods in millions, inexpensive capacity for storage and tools for distribution that are fairly simple to use, are now available with greater ease than ever before. So, the possibilities that audio downloads can offer are continuously being expanded.

There are some advantages that podcasting has over other means for getting the marketing messages across to the potential consumers. For instance, spam filters can often stop emails from reaching the intended recipients. Then, people may not wish to take the time to read newsletters or ezines or to visit a marketer's website and browse through its contents. However, they can actually listen to podcasts while being engaged in other tasks and, therefore, be able to make more efficient use of their time. Content that is related to people's interests can further enhance their experience, thus delivering more value to the target audience.
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