Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Power of Podcasting

Delivering messages directly into a persons ear has to be the most intimate and direct methods of communication. I know I would rather hear someone explain something than read it in a memo or email. I would rather have something technical shown to me than read a complicated instruction manual and, I would rather take a walk through a hotel via a video podcast than wait for the highly 'staged' glossy brochure arrive through the post.

By listening to someone you can hear the emotion and the passion they have for their product or service. Having been in design for over 20 years I can certainly say that it is very difficult to portray the company owners passion on the printed page, podcasting makes it easy.

Having discovered this means of communication I have dug deeper to see what it's being used for. When you do this you quickly realize that the opportunities are limitless and I haven't found a single company in my client portfolio who couldn't take advantage of podcasting.

Here are some of the ways that organisations are using podcasts:

A certain airline company has offered free pre-loaded Mp3 players as an incentive to use their premium services. Passengers received a corporate branded MP3 player preloaded with an audio magazine about other destinations served the airline.

A luxury car manufacturer offered MP3 players to encourage customers to take test drives. The players were preloaded with an audio infomercial with customer testimonials and interviews with engineers and designers.

A financial institution gave away MP3 players to new customers as an incentive. The players were loaded with an audio magazine giving valuable advice on investment and money management strategies.

Perhaps the most significant use I have come across is the move by National Semi Conductor to issue 8500 staff with video iPods. National Semi Conductor has identified podcasting as the most effective way to communicate and train their staff.

Having been 100% convinced about the effectiveness of podcasting I have now set up a podcast production company in Glasgow, Scotland. The site http://www.podcastmatters.co.uk gives more examples of how organisations are using this exciting tool. The site also gives detailed explanations about how it all works and all the different aspects of podcasting.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


The content is the most important part of a podcast.

No amount of editing, clever presentation or catchy music will mask bad content.

If the message is not interesting or valuable, people wont listen.

Podcastmatters will assist you with scripting, ensuring you have the correct content mix to make your podcasting both interesting and informative.

You may wish to provide your own content or, parts of it, if so we can work with you to ensure it is a suitable format, length and style for your podcast.

Whilst each podcast is scripted, it is not necessarily going to be presented in a scripted manner. We work with you to achieve a unique style for your podcast, which may be in the form of a discussion or an interview. The aim is to get your particular message to your target audience in the manner they will best accept it.

There may be people in the organisation that can present your podcast with greater passion than a professional presenter can, if so we can work with them to develop their broadcast presentation skills.


Like any corporate communication, podcasts need proper planning.

If you intend to use podcasting as a means of communication, it is important to develop a strategy that clearly identifies your objectives and truly reflects your brand.

Here are some of the initial considerations:

What is the purpose of the podcast, promotion, information, training or, a mixture of some or all?

What style is most appropriate, serious, humorous, light-hearted, corporate or, a mixture?

Presentation; in-house staff member or external professional.

Who will provide the content, generated internally, sourced externally or, combination of both?

How frequently will you produce podcasts, regular productions or released as required?

What is the target length of the programme?

How do you plan to promote the podcast service to existing and new customers?

Podcastmatters work closely with clients to help establish a strategy that fulfils all the aims and objects and promotes the brand in a professional manner.


Delivering information in an interesting manner makes the learning experience much easier. This applies whether the students are young or mature.

For young students the technology is appealing, most children are able to operate mp3 players and the vast majority already own them. Delivering lessons or revision sessions on podcast is an ideal way to reach the younger generation outside the classroom in a manner they will embrace.

The mature student is very often learning in their spare time. They need to be able to get lessons, information and study at odd times. Podcast delivery opens many more learning opportunities for these people.

It is not only convenient for the students to learn via podcasts, educators can benefit greatly from this new media. By committing lessons and lectures to podcast, they can create the perfect reference and revision tools.

Many individuals from commerce and industry have relevant experiences to share with students but simply don't have the time to offer, podcasting can be the key to releasing a vast wealth of knowledge not currently shared.


Marketing and promotion is a key factor to success of any business. Communicating your message is vital if you are to gain market share.

Podcasting gives you a vital edge. Clear messages delivered directly into your customers’ ear.

It is very affordable. For the cost to produce a 30 second radio commercial, plus a minimal cost to host and serve the podcasts, you can be reaching your target customer in an entirely new way.

Apple estimated 10 million iTunes users in 2005, while some research analysts suggest it may be as many as 200 million today.

Here is an interesting development. Apple has collaborated with Motorola to offer an iTunes ready wireless phone device, the Motorola SLVR. Now you can listen to your music and podcasts right on your wireless phone.

Podcasting will very shortly not be just about viewing or listening on mp3 players. So if you do choose to use this medium as an advertising vehicle, your target will very soon have many different ways to review your message.

You should also note that podcasting is an opt-in service, meaning the receiver has given the podcaster permission to send it to them in an ongoing way.


Training is essential to any business. In a fast moving technological world, there is a constant need to train, update and refresh employees. Unfortunately, training staff means taking them away from their normal role and that is costly.

Podcasting reduces staff downtime.

By developing a podcast based training programme it is possible to deliver strong, effective messages to staff without the need to take them from the workplace. Remember: you don't need to be download a podcast to an mp3 player; you can be view them on a computer.

National Semiconductor has already purchased 8500 iPod Videos to distribute to staff for training and communication. This represents a $3m dollar investment in hardware alone; they obviously believe there is a value in podcast training.

Content doesn't necessarily need to be generated by the company; other relevant podcasts are distributable via the same channels as the in-house training versions.

Consumer product training via podcast reduces the burden on customer support departments. Clear audio or video instructions are much more effective than written manuals.


The real beauty of podcasting is that it's a global communication; your message can go all round the world within minutes of you publishing it.

When you have recorded the content, encoded the files and, uploaded to the server, you are ready to tell the world about your podcast.

Podcast Directories publish categorised lists of podcasts and it is important to have your podcast listed on the main directories. Currently the most popular directories are iTunes Music Store and Yahoo Music Store. Many other directories exist and many more will emerge in the future.

It is important to list your podcast in the proper categories and use good descriptions and strong graphics. Podcast Directories are similar to Search Engines in that your podcast will be competing for attention alongside many other podcast of a similar nature.

Popular Podcast Directories include:

• iTunes Music Store http://www.apple.com/itunes/

• Yahoo Music Store http://podcasts.yahoo.com/

• odeo.com http://odeo.com

• ipodder.org http://www.ipodder.org/

• Podcast Alley http://www.podcastalley.com/

• Podcast Central http://www.podcastcentral.com/

• Pod Nova http://www.podnova.com/

The list is extensive.

Directory submissions will get your podcast noticed however, like any other business activity, ultimate success is down to marketing; both on and off line.


Video podcasting is a powerful way to deliver a message; the ability to see and hear the presenter is a strong combination. Video podcasts tend to be more polished and 'staged' productions than audio podcasts.

Seeing is believing.

Video podcasts are ideal for product demonstrations and for training purposes when visual demonstration is required. Practical demonstrations of complex procedures are much easier to consume and understand than any training manual. It is safe to assume that such video presentations will reduce the burden on customer support departments.

Retailers are already using video podcasts; what better way to communicate your new range than to distribute a video podcast to your customers?

Hotels offer the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the power of video podcasting. Imagine you want to see what a hotel is like before you book a stay, or an event. Simply download the podcast and take the walk through tour.


Audio podcsats are like mini radio programmes. They are relatively simple to produce and can be downloaded very quickly.

CEO's have been quick to embrace podcasting, they realise the intimacy of delivering a message directly into a staff members ear has far more impact than a memo or email.

70% of cars sold now have some kind of mp3 connection.

Ideal uses for audio podcasts include:

Corporate training and communication

News and events based content - business or leisure

Corporate newsletter in magazine chat show format

Conference content distribution - speaker presentations and conference round up

Whatever the use, it is an unquestionably effective way to communicate your message. Large corporations are already distributing pre-loaded, corporate branded iPod Nano's with their audio messages already installed.


National Semiconductor has just issued 8500 video iPods to their staff because they have identified Podcasting as the best method of communication and training.

Amazon has recently announced it is to start selling pre-loaded mp3 players. They will offer these devices with content of your choice already loaded.

70% of cars sold now have some kind of mp3 connection.

Business podcasts are amongst the most popular, this is evident when you consider that Business Week, In Business, City PM, Financial Times, The Guardian, Today, The Chartered Financial Analyst and The Wall Street Journal all feature regularly in the top 50 podcast downloads on iTunes.

Other notable business podcasts available on iTunes by organisations such as UBS Bank, Deloittes, McKinsey, Accountancy Age, MBA, Bank of Scotland and Venture Week.

Liveoffice.com, the leading Internet provider of Internet and video conferencing facilities, now offers to provide same day podcasts from your conference calls.

Further proof of the growing popularity of this communication channel is evident when you see companies like Cisco, IBM, BMW and Johnson and Johnson publishing public consumption podcasts. Even The White House and the Scottish Executive have realised the enormous benefits and use Podcasting as a method of communication.

Concerning training, organisations are becoming aware of the benefits of audio and video Podcasting. The message is easy to consume but, more importantly, it drastically reduces the downtime normally set aside for training.


Podcasts are audio or video* messages delivered via computers onto hand held devices, normally mp3 players. Files are stored on a server and accessed via podcast delivery channels. The most popular channels are currently iTunes and Yahoo Music Store although hundreds of new channels are emerging. Many of these channels, or directories, are dedicated to business content.

The delivery channel will display details of the name, content and graphics for the podcasts on a directory. When the viewer clicks on the name they see details of all the published episodes, they can then choose to download a specific episode or subscribe to the podcast (subscriptions are free of charge). When the viewer 'subscribes', they will automatically receive all future podcasts whenever they refresh on iTunes.

A customer who consumes your message on their terms is a satisfied customer.

Podcasting success can be attributed to the corporate belief, you should do unto customers as they want done unto them.

Currently mp3 files need to be downloaded from a computer, technology is under development to enable wireless downloads directly from the Internet onto the player. Sonos, the mp3 manufacturer, has announced their new wireless model will be available by the end of the year. This emphasises the growing demand for portability.

*It is also possible to deliver PDF files via podcast channels.


The Internet has created a source for information that is not only enjoyable to consume but easy to use. Gathering information has never been easier, quicker or more enjoyable.

However, consumers have become increasingly sophisticated about how they receive their information. Advances in technology have enabled new methods of content delivery. Consumers now want content that is able to be time and space shifted.

'"Time" shifted media is information recorded for consumption later. "Space" shifted media is information that is downloaded and transferred to a portable device allowing the user to watch or listen to it where and when they want.

Provision of time and space shifted media is the key to successful communication.

Already communication experts are saying if your message is not portable, it is dead.

Podcasting provides portability and has become thee major method of effective communication.

This blog will explain the various aspects of podcasting as well as peoviding useful facts and figures from the inductry. We also bring you all the latest industry information.