Cast Your Fate to the iPod
It can be tough and costly to win sympathetic ears for your life-changing service. But the Net—and a wildfire proliferation of iPods—have conceived a powerful ally for you: the podcast. A full 18.5 million US users listened to podcasts last year—a figure that might hit 65 million by 2012, says eMarketer. And Podtrac and TNS claim podcast advertising is three times as effective as "traditional" online ads.
There's no mystique to using podcasting to benefit your brand. You'll need patience, well-planned material (try scripts out on your apathetic spouse!)—and a bit of time. The trick is doing it effectively. Don't start a podcast series before realizing what commitment it requires. Leaving it to die on the vine might do more harm than good. Some tips:
- Plan a schedule. Will you broadcast monthly, weekly? Canvas topics beforehand; don't scramble for material the night before. Thankfully, podcasts don't have to be long (3-4 minutes).
- Spend on-air time wisely. Avoid hard-sells. Entertaining and informing are the priority, but consistently mention your brand at the end. You can also try incorporating it in a randomly playful way. (Retro fun: bring back the jingle!)
- Launch a microsite where fans can commune, contact you and read transcripts or blogs. (Think of the SEO benefits!) Don't forget to analyze progress: Feedburner's good for measuring unique subscribers per show; Podtrac and Volomedia lend demographic insight.
Ready to start? Try these services: Garageband (great for Mac-heads), Gcast, ClickCaster or Audacity.
The Po!nt: Cast off! Podcasting reaps major brand recognition for minor effort. Try it—but plan for the long-term!
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