What is Podcasting and Should My Business Do It?

Podcasting, as defined by Wikipedia:

A podcast (or non-streamed webcast) is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication. The word replaced webcast in common vernacular due to the fame of the iPod and its role in the rising popularity and innovation of web feeds.

In plain english – you download a MP3 from a website or the iTunes podcast directory and listen to it. You can listen on your computer, iPod or any other MP3 player. You can listen to it whenever and wherever you want. Some aren’t just for listening – some podcasts have a video version so you can watch as well as listen.

How Does Podcasting Help My Business?

I believe that podcasting can really help a business – particularly on a local level. As with everything else we’ve covered lately (Twitter, blogging, etc.), it’s not for every business and you need to evaluate whether it’s worth your time. But it is a vastly under-used tool in Saskatoon and area – perhaps it’s something that could be right for your business to use to reach a whole new audience of customers.

Establish Yourself as an Expert In Your Field

Imagine you’re in the process of choosing a new landscaping company for your yard. You visit a couple of websites of local landscapers. Some have nice websites with decent content, others obviously look like they haven’t been updated since 1998, one has a decent bit of information that’s fairly static but still useful.

But one website you visit has a “Click here to hear our opinion on how often you should water your lawn!” button. When you click it, you can hear the actual owners talking about, you guessed it, how often you should water your lawn and other thoughts related to lawn care. Maybe they have a video version that you can see the lawns they are talking about. And they offer you the ability to subscribe to future episodes.

I don’t know about you, but whatever extra amount of information I can learn about a company who’s services or products I am considering will help sway me in their direction.

Answer Frequently Asked Questions

Going back to our uses for a static website post, you could consider answering frequently asked questions in audio form. Again, it’s great to hear it in your own words and voice. Plus, over time you’ll build up a library of answers that you can refer people to when they ask you for your opinions on your industry.

“Wondering why we don’t use 2 H’s in our H2O? Click here to listen to episode 12 of our Lawn and Garden podcast for the answer.”

Interview Current Customers

Another great use for a podcast is to interview past successes and post them to your website. It’s one thing to have quotes posted in text form on your website – how much better to hear it from the actual customer’s mouth?

Podcasting Sounds Hard and I Don’t Know Anything About Recording

These days it’s remarkably easy to start a basic podcast, particularly if you’re just going to do audio. Most computers come with everything you need to get started. Software like Garageband on the Mac is included with every computer, and most computers already have a microphone built in to the computer. Hit record and you’re off!

Getting the audio on your website and added to the iTunes podcast store is a bit trickier, but we can help you get it setup and once it’s all setup you can keep adding to it without our help.

Examples

There isn’t any businesses in Saskatoon I could find that are using podcasting – at least nothing that pops up in Google searches. Here are a few interesting ones I found elsewhere:

  • Dentist Podcast – a dental podcast focused on Q&A for clients.
  • Greenhouse Gardener Podcast – an example of our fictional example above.
  • CulcherMag.com – a local women’s lifestyle website with a podcast.
  • SSKTN – a podcast that I (Chris) do interviewing people involved in technology and business.

Next Steps

There’s plenty more that can be done with podcasting and you can buy more expensive hardware/software to improve the quality of your recordings – but for now I’d recommend starting simple and see where it goes. With minimal start up costs, it’s easy to try out podcasting and see if it works for your business. Be sure to leave a link in the comments or let us know about your podcasting efforts!

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