[PODCASTS] and [VODCASTS] HULT MASTER OF DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE B
Project Management Professor Daniel Vidal
Digital Channel Research Report IOANNA KOLIOU
1. OVERVIEW OF PODCAST
1.1. What is a podcast? 1.1.a. MP3 + RSS = PODCAST 1.1.b. What is not a podcast? 1.2. Types of podcasts 1.2.a. Vodcast 1.2.b. Enhanced podcast 1.2.c. Podcast novel 1.3. History 1.4. Why is it so good?
2. CURRENT STATE & LATEST TRENDS 2.1. DEMOGRAPHICS: Who is the podcast consumer? 2.2. CONTENT: What do people podcast and what do podcast consumers listen to? 2.3. SOURCES: Where do people find them? 2.3.a. Websites and directories 2.3.b. Podcatcher software 2.3.c. Smartphone Applications 2.4. USAGES: How do people use them? 2.5. LATEST TRENDS 2.5.a. General podcast listenership growing 2.5.b. Smartphones 2.5.c. Social media integration 2.5.d. Long-tail effect 2.5.e. Moblogging 2.5.f. Niche to mass media 2.5.g. Corporate podcasting
3. CREATIVE POSSIBILITIES 3.1. INDUSTRIES 3.1.a. Education 3.1.b. The creative industries: Radio, TV & Film and Music 3.1.c. Literature 3.1.d. Health 3.1.e. Travel and Tourism 3.2. OTHER CREATIVE WAYS TO USE PODCASTS 3.2.a. B2C 3.2.b. B2B 3.2.c. Taking podcasts to the next level 3.3. MONETIZE YOUR PODCASTS 3.4. PODCASTING JOB OPPORTUNITIES
4. PODCASTS AS PART OF DIGITAL MARKETING 4.1. WHY INCLUDE PODCASTS IN A MARKETING CAMPAIGN? 4.2. HOW TO CREATE A PODCAST? 4.2.a. Planning 4.2.b. Recording 4.2.c. Editing and mastering 4.2.d. Encoding for distribution 4.2.e. Uploading 4.2.f. Updating your feed 4.2.g. Sizzling your content 4.3. LEGAL 4.4. MARKETING YOUR PODCAST 4.5. MEASURING THE SUCCESS OF THE PODCAST 4.6. CASE STUDY 1: The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show 4.7. CASE STUDY 2: Outsourcing the podcast project to vocative.co.uk
5. CONCLUSION 5.1. OPINIONS AND CRITICISM
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report presents a wide overview of podcasts and vodcasts and aspires to become a concise guide for organizations to understand and utilise the creative possibilities and potential of this digital medium. When referring to podcasts in the report, it is considered that the same apply for vodcasts, unless necessary and specified otherwise. Podcasting is the revolutionary way of distributing audio and video files over the Internet through an RSS feed to which users subscribe for free or with a small fee. It takes the format of a podcast (MP3+RSS), vodcast (MP4+RSS), enhanced podcast (multimedia+RSS) or podcast novel, a series of episodic narrations, which form an audiobook. The trend of podcasting arose in 2004 and followed the success of the iPod, which was initially the most used media player device to consume this kind of content. The report examines the current state of podcasting, by identifying the demographics and behaviour of podcast consumers, what kind of content they consume, where do they find the audio-video content and how they use and consume podcasts. While there patterns in podcast consumption, the topics addressed through this medium are so wide that it can be argued that there is an audience and a behavioural pattern distinct for every different podcast. The report further examines latest trends, like podcasting integration in smartphones, moblogging and corporate podcasting. Having shaped the landscape of podcasts, this paper explores the impact podcasting has in industries like education, music, film & TV, health, travel and tourism, as well as its creative possibilities in B2B and B2C markets. The potential of podcasting goes as far as monetizing the medium, through advertisement, affiliate marketing, paid subscriptions and more. There is quite a number of professional podcasters who have made this into a full-time job, among other job opportunities that this channel can offer. Chapter 4 presents a step-by-step process of how to include podcasts in a marketing campaign, starting from planning, recording, editing, uploading, updating and sizzling the podcast to dealing with legal implications, to marketing and measuring the success of a podcast. Two case studies offer a real scenario of a podcaster, who quitted his job to become a professional podcaster and an indicative podcasting project outsourced to an experienced podcasting production company. Finally, the conclusion summarizes opinions and criticism on podcasting, like the controversy of what is actually considered a podcasting today or the problem of consuming data-heavy podcasts through data-limited smartphones.
1. OVERVIEW OF PODCAST 1.1. WHAT IS A PODCAST? According to PodcastingPedia, a podcast is a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of files (audio or video) distributed over the Internet by subscription (paid or unpaid) using web syndication. Initially, podcasts were referred to as “netcasts” or “audioblogs”, in an attempt to describe two key characteristics of podcasts; they are broadcasted over the Internet and they are delivering frequent content in a multimedia format. The trend of listening to podcasts from a portable media player device and the huge popularity of the iPod in 2004 gave birth to the podcasting term. 1.1.a. MP3 + RSS = PODCAST Podcasting is a very simple process and uses free technology accessible to everyone. The audio or video file is produced and stored at the distributor’s server. Then, a web feed (RSS or XML feed) attached to the files distributes the rich-media content online. The client receives the files (MP3 or M4A format) through software, known as “podcather”, which downloads them on the client’s device. Then, he/she has the option to listen to the podcasts directly or load them onto a portable media player and listen to them later. Once subscribed to the RSS feed, the software application will automatically check for updated episodes of the podcast and download them to the designated by the user device. It is similar to subscribing to a blog RSS feed that fetches new blog-posts to a reader application. The podcaster creates the audio or video file.
Periodically the podcaster creates new episodes, which are uploaded to the same location.
Then, the podcaster uploads the episodes to a server and creates an RSS feed for their location.
The podcaster informs the audience about the location of the podcasts, usually through a blog.
The podcatcher detects the new episodes and automatically downloads them.
The podcast listener uses software, called podcatcher to download and consume podcasts in the designated device.
The image is a collage with image-content from “Teaching with Technology White Paper”, by The Office of Technology for Education of Carnegie Mellon University, published on June 2007.
1.1.b. What is not a podcast? A podcast is neither web radio nor web streaming. However, the nature of podcasts, usually having someone talk on the microphone, which resembles radio shows tend to confuse people. Web radio requires the user to be online and listen to the broadcast live, whereas podcasting can be viewed as the equivalent of TiVo, which allows the user to choose his/her favourite shows and record it for later usage. With podcasts, the user cannot actually record any of them, but he/she can subscribe to an RSS feed of his/her favourite podcasts and listen to them anytime and anywhere. Additionally, podcasts offer the opportunity of an audio-visual experience of the show, in comparison to web radio that is all about audio. The main difference between podcasting and streaming is that the latter requires the user to be online and allows him/her to just display the data on this browser, before the entire file has been transmitted from the distributor’s server. When the streaming is over, there are no files stored on the user’s computer. Podcasting, on the other hand, requires the user to first download the files and then “stream” them on his own device. Downloading the podcasts is a key differentiator with web streaming, since the user can edit them, redistribute them and transfer them to portable media players and access them with no Internet connection. In terms of interaction and engagement with the user, podcasting and streaming have a fundamental difference in that podcast uses a “push” approach compared to the “pull” approach of web streaming. In order to view a video or listen to an audio file online, the user needs to click and start streaming. With podcasts, once subscribed to the feed, the files will be automatically and periodically “pushed” to his/hers designated device. 1.2. TYPES OF PODCASTS As technology evolves day-by-day, new ways of producing podcasts or new ways of interacting with podcasts have been introduced, hence forming new types of podcasts. Today, besides audio podcasts, which still remain the most popular among the podcast consumers, there are video podcasts, enhanced podcasts and podcast novels. 1.2.a. Vodcast A vodcast is another neologism referring to video podcasts. Besides audio, they include images, animation or video clips. Although Steve Garfield, an independent video blogger, first conceived the concept in 2004, it became popular after Apple’s launch of the new iPod. With the introduction of the “iPod with video” one year later, vodcasts presented a great opportunity for distributing audio-visual content using an RSS video enclosure tag. One of the primary uses of vodcasting was to distribute web or TV shows as video podcasts. 1.2.b. Enhanced podcast This type of podcast enables audio to be displayed simultaneously with images, rich text, hyperlinks, chapter markers, video clips, artwork and other presentation materials. The ease of accessing and comprehending information that this type of podcasts has introduced makes enhanced podcasts more and more popular among academic communities who are exploring news ways of educating and teaching people.
1.2.c. Podcast novel A podcast novel is a serialized audiobook. The chapters of the book take the form of different episodes and they are distributed through a weblog on a regular basis. The complete episodes will become an audiobook. Voice actors usually narrate the book, by acting the different characters and going into dialogues with each other according to the story. Music and sound effects are then edited into the episode to improve the book experience and help the imagination. The main difference between podcast novel and audiobook is that the former is periodically distributed through RSS feed whereas the latter is downloadable at once via simple transfer protocols. 1.3. HISTORY The idea of podcasting was conceived by former MTV VJ and interactive media developer Adam Curry. For years he had been trying to find ways to use the Internet as a medium to broadcast video and audio streams. At the early days of podcasting, only tech savvy developers were involved in this open-source experiment to develop and test the technology around the idea. It was as an underground movement, referred to as “Shadow Radio” or DIY radio with few tech people broadcasting under the radar of Censorship Boards and with no required FCC license.
The image is a collage with text and pictures from Wikipedia.org
Three crucial milestones for making podcasting a mainstream phenomenon are the perfection of the technology for feeding audio or video files through web syndication, the development of software applications, which can scan various RSS feeds at one time, the early podcatchers, as well as the success of Apple’s iPod and iTunes.
The image is a collage with text and pictures from Wikipedia.org
In fact, what is very interesting with the history of podcasts is how their popularity followed in a way the popularity of Apple’s iPod. Until 2007-2008, most people owned a portable media player and they were using their mobile phone mainly for communication. With the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the development of smartphones by major tech brands, like Samsung, Blackberry, HTC, Nokia, etc., portable media player devices became obsolete. The image on the left show us that there has been a steady decrease in the search volume in Google of the term “podcast” during the years that followed the releasing and perfecting of the iPhone and other smartphones until today. At the same time, the iPod sales slowly dropped as well while the iPhone sales dramatically increased. With this being said, it comes as no surprise that there have been very few major news headlines on podcasting during the years that most people were experiencing a whole new world of smartphones and applications integrating communication, entertainment, business and everything imaginable in one device. It seems as though the new technology that these companies introduced was far more exciting than the podcasting movement and grabbed everyone’s attention.
1.4. WHY IS IT SO GOOD? Some podcast consumers and enthusiasts support the view that podcasts revitalize the way we produce and consume content; hence the future will be podcasted. It is true that while YouTube and MySpace have been the leading change-makers in music and video distribution and consumption, podcast could be the next best thing in content creation and consumption. Podcasts give the possibility to anyone with a microphone and a laptop with Internet connection to share his ideas and opinions freely and at low or no cost with the world. The reach is global and the format of audio-visual content enables emotions and body language to get across, something that a text based blog can’t do. That way every possible topic imaginable is addressed and discussed online, from generic to very niche ones. Also, podcasts have been proven very helpful in the learning process. People tend to respond better, understand and remember details when they hear a likeable voice speaking to them or when the information is framed by audio and visuals. The fact that most podcasts have audio content encourages multi-tasking since people can listen to them while performing other activities. The level of attention in such case maybe questionable but still some people perform better when dealing with more than thing simultaneously. Podcast could additionally stand for Portable On Demand cast. The consumption being primarily from portable media players or smartphones lately gives people mobility and ease of access, without having to overcharge mobile data connection plans by streaming. Last but not least, podcasts are so good because it is a medium that “pushes” information On Demand to the user, which means also that marketing and advertising messages are delivered on demand. Ultimately, this could mean that we are experiencing a shift towards a more aware consumer, who fed up of all the marketing gimmicks, can now choose what best suits him/her.
2. CURRENT STATE & LATEST TRENDS 2.1. DEMOGRAPHICS: Who is the podcast consumer? Podcasting has always been a silent movement for tech people to communicate under the radar of Censorship boards that went mainstream for a couple of years and now it’s a status quo mainly for specific industry professionals. Therefore, there are not many studies around the podcast consumer. Additionally, depending on the nature of the podcast and the subjects in discussion the audience varies a lot. However, there is one study, conducted in January 2009 by Edison Research and the Association for Downloadable Media, which provides a broad overview of the behaviour of such consumers and could be used as an indication of what to look for in an audience when producing podcasts. The sample of the Internet and Multimedia Study included close to 2000 individuals from USA, randomly selected across the country. Both sexes were equally represented in the sample, with the majority of them being 18-24 years old, well educated, active in social media (MySpace and Facebook being the most used ones) and with higher income households. A significant 43% of the sample has listened to a podcast at least once and another 15% of them has actually produced at least one podcast. Besides basic demographics, this study is very useful on understanding the behaviour of podcast consumers. They spend considerably more time on the Internet each week; approximately 17,5 hours compared to 10,5 hours that non-podcast consumers spend online. The vast majority of podcast consumers listen to internet-based radio (80%) and own a mobile phone (88%) but not a smartphone (less than 20%). 55% of podcast listeners own a portable MP3 player and 1 in 3 have used it to listen to or watch podcasts. However, the computer is still the most popular device for downloading and consuming podcasts. Similarly the audio podcasts are more consumed than the vodcasts, as the table below indicates. % Of sample who listen to or view Audio podcast Video podcast
The study further suggests that with the growth of smartphone usage among podcast consumers and specifically increasingly using them as media players, there are tremendous possibilities for commerce and advertising in podcasts. First and fore most, these consumers are tech-savvy and aware of intrusive advertising, such as spam/junk emails, pop-up and banner advertisements, hence an impressive 78% of podcast consumers have placed different applications and plug-ins to block unwelcome commercial messages. At the same time, podcast audience exhibit “receptivity” effects to podcast advertising, which means that they tend to be more interested in the sponsorship messages, products and services advertised on podcasts compared to web radio, the reason being that podcasts inspire emotional connection more effectively than web radio (24% agree with podcast being more engaging, compared to 17% that supports web
radio). Further more, 1 in 2 podcast consumers tend to trust podcasts more because they value their content as more accurate and that’s why 52% of the podcast audience have paid and are willing to pay for digital content. Access content whenever Access content unavailable elsewhere Access content wherever More control over content
Finally, the podcast listener has identified six top reasons for choosing podcasts instead of other mediums, like web radio or text content. The answer here lays mainly in the ease of access and portability that podcasts offer.
It would be a mistake to consider that the average podcast user follows all the trends presented in the study. The main purpose for presenting the findings is to give a broad perspective of the medium and to stress on the importance of understanding the target audience when producing podcasts. Access shorter content
2.2. CONTENT: What do people podcast and what do podcast consumers listen to? In 2004, The New York Times reported that podcasters from USA, Canada, Australia and Sweden have been podcasting on a wide variety of subjects ranging from technology to veganism to movie reviews. After eight years of creating podcast content, there is a plethora of subjects people or brands address in podcasts from generic to very niche ones. ITunes, being the most popular search directory has organized the information in the following categories: Business, Comedy, Education, Games and hobbies, Government and organizations, Health, Kids & Family, Music, News & Politics, Religion & Spirituality, Science & Medicine, Society & Culture, Sports & Recreation, Technology and TV & Films. Podcasts on these topics can take any format like a talk show, series of tutorials, music demos, educational training, story telling, video clips, debates, interviews, how-to tutorials, reviews and commentaries, class lectures, etc. The possibilities are limitless, but more on this later on. It is very hard to identify a trend in what podcasters produce and what podcast consumers choose to listen, as every topic has a completely different audience. In UK, the top podcast in terms of number of downloads in iTunes is the “Friday Night Comedy” from BBC Radio 4 whereas in USA the number one podcast is “This American Life” by Chicago Public Media. However, in the sports category, in UK, the most popular podcast is “Football Weekly” by The Guardian and in the technology category, again in UK it’s the “Click” podcast by the BBC World Service. Then, Other people want to follow big organizations whereas others feel comfortable with tuning in to amateur podcasters. The only thing that is certain is that there is a market and a consumer for every podcast available.
2.3. SOURCES: Where do people find them? The obvious answer to where to source podcasts is the Internet. The most common practise for a podcast producer is to create an RSS feed and post it on his/her individual blog or website for people to subscribe. However, the process of looking for the feeds and whether one’s favourite brand or show is offering a podcast option could be hectic and time-consuming, hence over the years an increasing number of websites and directories have been listing the available podcasts, optimizing the ease of search-ability and find-ability. Similarly, different podcatchers have been developed perfecting the technology of grabbing and listening to them. Last but not least, during the past three years, with the incremental growth of smartphone usage, a series of applications have been developed for all operating systems; IOS, Android, RIM and Windows 7. Websites and directories Due to the overload of websites and directories to source podcasts, with some requiring paid subscription and others not being aesthetically of functionally satisfying, the following list has been compiled by cross-referencing three books: “The Business Podcasting Book: Launching, Marketing and Measuring your podcast”, by Greg Cangialosi, “Podcasts Solutions: The complete guide to audio and video podcasting”, by Michael W. Geoghegan and Dan Klass and “The Podcasting Bible”, by Steve Mack and Mitch Ratcliffe. As of January 2012, active leading directories include: Directory ITunes PodcastDirectory.com Podcast Alley Podcast Pickle Pod feed Digital Podcast Podcasting news Podomatic All podcasts Amigo Fish Blubrry Every podcast Fluctu8 Podcast Bunker The podcast network Podcasting Station Podcast Pup Podnova Find podcasts
URL www.apple.com/itunes www.podcastdirectory.com www.podcastalley.com www.podcastpickle.com www.podfeed.net www.digitalpodcast.com www.podcastingnews.com www.podomatic.com www.allpodcasts.com www.amigofish.com www.blubrry.com www.everypodcast.com www.fluctu8.com www.podcastbunker.com www.thepodcastnetwork.com www.podcasting-station.com www.podcastpup.com www.podnova.com www.findpodcasts.com
Podcatcher software After finding one’s favourite podcast through the above directories and websites, a software application is required to fetch the feeds and re-produce them on the user’s device. According to Wikipedia, the dominant podcatchers for computer use are:
Microsoft Windows ITunes Juice Media Go Winamp Zune Miro
MAC OS X
Itunes Juice NewsFire NetNewsWire Miro
Amarok Banshee Liferea Rhythmbox Miro
Smartphone Applications As mentioned before, one of the key advantages of podcasts is the ease of access whenever and wherever. Following the success of the iPod and similar portable media players, the smartphones aspire to become the next best device of accessing podcasts; hence the app markets have been bombarded with podcatcher applications. The following table lists the best free and paid apps based on user’s reviews in the related app markets. Only apps that have three or more stars in overall user satisfaction are listed below. Operating System
Itunes Stitcher Radio Mediafly OnAir Downcast Podcatcher Doggcatcher Pocket Casts Podcaster Instacast RSSRadio Podcast PopPoster Podcast Playlist
Stitcher Radio BeyondPod Mediafly OnAir Google Listen MyPOD PodKast Podkicker Doggcatcher Pocket Casts
Blackberry Podcast RssDemon News and Podcast Reader
Podcasts! SimpiRSS SlapDash Podcasts Drivecast
Podtrapper My Power Podcast Tunes – MP3 – Radio – Podcasts Streaming Podcasts
BringCast Podceiver Play, look, listen
2.4. USAGES: How do people use them? The process of listening to podcasts starts with browsing through a directory, podcatcher or application. Most of them offer the option of browsing by genre, name of show or podcast producer and even create their own lists of most popular podcasts. Then, the user listens directly from the website or application to get a taste of the podcast and once having identified the favourites ones will subscribe to the RSS feed. For that reason, it is advisable for podcasters to have a sample of their podcast available, so as to encourage subscriptions and position themselves as professionals in the field. Then, the podcatcher fetches new feeds to the designated device and the user listens to new episodes once released. The nature of the RSS feed allows subscription and un-subscription at anytime, so quality content and consistent frequency of podcasting will keep the users engaged with the show. After listening to the podcasts, users have the option of creating playlists
with their favourite podcasts, rating them, writing a review and recommending them. A lot of the above directories and websites provide lists to the most recommended and downloaded podcasts. With the integration of social media, podcast listeners have the option to share their favourite ones with their peers. Moreover, as mentioned before, such consumers are also podcasters. This means that they can edit the downloaded files and use them for the own show, complying of course with copyright laws that will be discussed in Chapter 4. 2.5. LATEST TRENDS General podcast listenership growing In 2012, the consumption of podcasts in USA is expected to grow to 65 million (an increase of 251% since 2007), out of which 25 million users will listen to podcasts at least once a week, according to emarketer.com white paper on Podcast Audience Demographics, published on February 2008. The technology is making the use of podcasts easier to less tech-savvy people, forming a broader and older audience, which presents a great opportunity for marketing and advertising. Smartphones With smartphone penetration reaching an impressive 1.7 billion people worldwide in 2011 (which represents 68% of all internet users worldwide), and with increasing storage and power capacities, smartphones are becoming the next best thing after the iPod to listen to podcasts. Besides that, with data plans becoming cheaper and cheaper, there is an enormous opportunity for podcasting to reach out not only to the industrialized countries but also to the emerging world. The statistics on smartphone penetration are from a study on “7 Billion People on the Planet – How it relates to digital divide?” published on October 2011, by Tomi Ahonen. Social media integration Web 2.0 is all about social engagement and interaction. Most of the sites today offer the option to share content via social networks. Similarly with podcasts, users can tweet, like, +1, bookmark and share their favourite shows though the smartphone applications or directly from the directories. This can be very useful when determining the target audience of one’s podcasts since social media platforms offer not only accurate demographics but most importantly insights on consumer’s topics of interests. Additionally, Web 2.0 is to be about personal and on demand content, which is exactly what PoD (Personal on Demand) on podcasting means. Long-tail effect The concept of long tail introduced by Chris Anderson suggests that selling few products to a wide audience is as profitable as selling a lot of products to a very niche one. This can be applied to podcasting when considering the enormous variety of podcasts available. Specialized podcasts present a great opportunity for advertisers to reach very niche markets, with low cost since the listenership will be low but targeted. According to emarketer, in 2010 $300 million were spent in podcasting advertisement and it’s expected to grow to $400 million by the end of 2012.
Moblogging The term refers to mobile blogging. Users upload audio and video content on their blog on the go and today’s technology allows geo-location tagging as well. Numerous applications for smartphones provide all the tools for recording, editing and publishing content, updating simultaneously the RSS feed, e.g. Cinch is a limit-free recording and sharing audio app for the iPhone. Similar apps growing in popularity are ipadio and Audioboo. Niche to mass media Trendwatching.com, a leading organization specializing in consumer trends, when asked about latest trends on podcasting, commented that it is not something they track. The reason being that “podcasting as a medium merged into what we commonly know as ‘media’. In other words, online syndicated audio and video is now accepted and almost expected function for any media outlet on the Internet today”, Greg Cangialogi, author of “The Business Podcasting Book”, commented. Podcasting with the strict definition of MP3/MP4+RSS is taking different shapes and lately streaming, online video, and all online media content are accepted as podcasts. Corporate podcasting This is not really a latest trend but researching the top brands of the world for 2011 according to Interbrand research in iTunes, it seems that most of them have produced and some keep producing podcasting content. The vast majority is including podcasting in their marketing as a way to increase brand awareness and favourability. Disney’s podcast has the format of a radio show, promoting teen music and celebrities from kids’ movies. Mercedes Benz has a series of vodcasts from new car models and innovations, as well as one special series showing the creation of the Mercedes car. Honda is trying to create a digital experience of driving their cars by featuring real sounds and visuals of being behind the steering wheel. Samsung has a series of vodcasts promoting fresh films made by teens as well as an audio guide to Samsung Galaxy S2. The other aspect of corporate podcasting involves using them for internal communications. According to “The Business Podcasting Book”, in 2006 Edelman’s Change and Employee Engagement conducted a research on 111 Fortune 500 companies and found that 35% of them were using podcasting as a way to communicate decisions and news among the employees.
3. CREATIVE POSSIBILITIES The picture below is a visual representation of the shift from Mainstream media to Social media and the consequent changes to the format and distribution of content as well as to ways of generating revenue. Podcasting, being one of the new social mediums, has impacted greatly the creative industries, as well as education, literature and the health sector and has presented new creative possibilities for other industries, like travel and tourism and B2B financial services. Kevin Dugan in his article “20 Creative Uses for Podcasts” presents a quick overview of industry-specific usages, which inspired the following research and analysis.
3.1. INDUSTRIES 3.1.a. Education Academic professionals have been the ones to embrace the most the podcasting movement. Several universities like Carnegie Mellon, the University of Michigan, Harvard Extension School, Duke University, the University of California, the University of Washington, Berkley and others have experimented successfully with including podcast technology in their classes. The most common practise is to archive audio and video content from lectures for further review or as a revision tool, in order ultimately to create a digital library of audio-visual content. Also, it serves as a way for professors to provide supplementary educational materials, which can be downloaded directly to the student’s device, without missing the look-and-feel of being in class. According to the “Teaching
with Technology White Paper”, by The Office of Technology for Education of Carnegie Mellon University, published on June 2007, the RSS feed is more likely to make the student download the lecture files but also more likely to make students miss class because of the availability of the content online. Another use of podcasts in the education field could be to use them as a way to attract more applicants for future academic years, by showing them a sample of class lectures or tips for admissions. Also, Mark Frydenberg from the Bentley College gave the assignment to students of creating 6-10 audio podcasts listing things they learned in class. All the students participated and the experiment was considered a success. In the education field, business training through a series of podcasts has also been proven very useful. For example, the HR department can produce a how-to training on how to be a better salesperson with audio-video representation of sales scenarios. Also, podcasts can be used for educating illiterate people in Emerging countries especially with the growth of smartphone and mobile Internet penetration. 3.1.b. The creative industries: Radio, TV & Film and Music Podcasting has been confused with web radio for reasons that their show format is very similar and it is a common practise for radio stations to record their best-performing shows and distribute them through web syndication. While this could be very efficient for capturing a broader audience it could pose as a threat to the listenership of the live shows. And with more people considering advertisements on podcasts to be more relevant and accurate, there could be a shift from radio to podcasting. For TV & Film industry, podcasting could be used to entice people with new movies trailers and reviews, for producing and podcasting shows that wouldn’t air on TV or cinema because they are addressing a very niche audience. The potential of podcasting is such that every video on the Internet could be attached to an RSS feed and distributed online. Every TV show and film could be podcasted, through a subscription scheme, so that the users would never miss an episode of their favourite series. The problem of online piracy has been existed for many years and the technology of RSS distributed video enables to better track and to secure the location of the distributor and the receiver. In music, podcasting offers tremendous possibilities for artists. It comes as no surprise that a high percentage of podcaster are also MySpace users. Indies music is a music scene of independent musicians distributing their own music through YouTube, MySpace, podcasts and vodcasts. By doing so, they can promote their music, build their brand awareness and a listenership base, which can increase their negotiating power with commercial record labels. 3.1.c. Literature Similarly authors tend to produce audiobooks through episodic narrations in order to promote their work and build a fan base that could increase their chances of getting published. Also, narrations with many voice actors tend to be more intense and grab the listener’s attention more.
3.1.d. Health According to the “After the gold rush? A systematic and critical review of general medical podcasts” article, by Paul Wilson, Mark Petticrew and Alison Booth podcasts and vodcasts are becoming more and more popular in the medical sector. Not only they are an effective way of scheming through text-heavy researches and journals but they also tend to be very practical in training from clinical and nursing staff to surgery doctors. They have also been very well received among the community of people interested in health and self-improvement. The reason being that podcasts create an emotional engagement and better receptivity than books when it comes to fitness tips, meditation, nutrition and exercise. It’s like having a personal trainer motivating and guiding you through a step-by-step process. 3.1.e. Travel and Tourism Major airlines have experimented with creating podcasts for their travellers. British airways launched in 2007 a series if audio podcasts with travel destination guides and tips on how to deal with jetlag and physical fatigue. Lufthansa produced a series of podcasts addressing business travellers with cultural norms and safety tips for countries like China and United Arabic Emirates. Unfortunately, the latter is only available in German. More ideas on travel podcasts can be found in the “Can Airline Podcasts Amplify the Brand Experience?” article by Joey Tanny. 3.2. OTHER CREATIVE WAYS TO USE PODCASTS 3.2.a. B2C Independently of the industry, for a business-to-consumer podcast it is advisable to address customer’s interests rather than directly promoting products. For example, CocaCola is promoting music by young independent artists through a series of music podcasts. Nike is aiming at enhancing the brand experience by providing training tutorials on popular and niche sports and also best videos from celebrity athletes’ performance. Google is addressing developers with tech-heavy content on coding and building apps and Apple creates hype around its products by delivering keynote presentations from Steve Jobs and Tim Cook and quick tours of their products. Ideas on B2C podcasts, inspired by big consumer brands, include news and announcements, tutorials and how-to, overviews and reviews from products, product launches, CSR initiatives, behind the scene shows or making-of trailers, interviews with brand ambassadors and event coverage. 3.2.b. B2B For a B2B market, the main objective of podcasting tends to be to position the company brand as a market leader. Especially for industries like machinery production or financial services, directly promoting products or services by thoroughly breaking the complexity of use, would be acceptable, since the target audience is also in a relative business. IBM has created an audio series targeting business executives with interviews and summaries of researches from various academic institutes. HSBC provides latest financial insights from market strategists and advisors as well as investment tips.
3.2.c. Taking podcast to the next level Besides huge content creators, like news agencies – BBC and The Guardian to name the most active ones in podcasting – every company, NGO, organization and individual could be considered to be in the business of media the moment they start creating online content. Podcasting as a medium has tremendous possibilities of creative usage for content marketing, branding and more. Below there are a few more ideas on what more can be done with podcasts. Online personal branding: build own reputation as industry or thought leader, spark conversations and network online. Internal communication: with an overload of emails sent every day in a business environment, podcast is an interesting way of sharing information and making sure people will listen to them, since it allows multi-tasking while listening to the podcast. Event coverage: record and archive events or conferences, which can be distributed with a paid subscription to people who couldn’t attend or for future promotion of similar events. Educating people with disabilities: educate people who have seeing disabilities or even illiterate people. Libraries and museum tours: enhance the experience of a museum visit by providing audio description of the exhibits. Location and podcasts: browse podcasts based the location they are podcasting from as well as feed podcasts based on the user’s location. For example, this could be used for providing tourists information when they are wondering around the city they are visiting. Or it could be used to distribute breaking news relevant to the location of the user. It doesn’t have to be a major news agency doing so, even a community could podcast in a small radius around their location.
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3.3. MONETIZE YOUR PODCASTS One of the creative possibilities of podcasting is to set up a model and start generating money from it. Like professional bloggers, there are a lot of people who turned this passion of theirs into a profession (case study on chapter 4). The direct way to monetize your podcast is to get sponsorship and directly promote products or services. Tim Bourquin, podcaster of “Trade Interviews” suggests that you should include in your sponsorship proposal a description and format of your show (frequency and length), its competitive advantage, your audience demographics and rates for different advertising options. He has created a sponsorship kit valued at $500 per show (of 5000+ listeners), which includes from a 20-sec mention of the brand at the beginning of the show, to logo and banner display in his website, to sponsor links at his email newsletters to his fan base. Similar to sponsorship, you can implement an affiliate marketing scheme, which basically means that for every lead or sale that was generated by your podcast, the brand will reward you financially. While both direct advertising and affiliate marketing can be very effective, make sure that the products and services you choose to advertise in your show are relevant to your show and audience. Podcasts have high receptivity results because of the authenticity they project and people might be discouraged if they feel you are just trying to sell products.
Another way is by distributing your podcast under a paid subscription. For this scenario to work, you will need to either provide a sample of the podcast before people can subscribe or have already established a strong reputation as thought leader. One idea for encouraging paid subscriptions is to produce a series of audio and video tutorials and “sell” them in a package with other educational materials, like presentations or transcripts of your podcasts. A lot of independent podcasters choose to support financially the production and expansion of their show by either asking for donations directly through their site or requesting crowd funding through popular sites like Kickstarter or Crowdfunder. And when their shows become popular, they can copyright their work and license it for other people to re-use under a fee. 3.4. PODCASTING JOB OPPORTUNITIES Besides being a podcaster, this medium offers quite a variety of job opportunities. Here is a small sample of what you should be looking at if you are interested in a career in podcasting: Podcaster Podcasting developer (technical aspect) Interactive media manager Audio and video engineer Video specialist Online content manager Voice actor Copywriter Transcriptionist
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4. PODCASTS AS PART OF DIGITAL MARKETING
4.1. WHY INCLUDE PODCASTS IN A MARKETING CAMPAIGN? “I encourage any brand; especially SME's to incorporate ‘content’ as their core marketing ‘currency’. Any brand who wants to maximize their marketing reach in todays world, should ensure that there is an aggressive "thought leadership" component in place, and with that, there needs to be a seamless publishing function at the company or outsourced level (most likely in the SME space). By publishing, I mean the effective and continuous publishing of: email newsletters, ebooks, podcasts, webinars, public speaking, facebook, twitter community engagement, etc. This is the way todays most successful marketing campaigns are succeeding. Its a fundamental shift.... today's marketing department must think, and operate like a publishing organization”. This is how Greg Cangialosi, author and CEO of Nucleus Ventures, LLC answers this question and if it doesn’t seem convincing enough, below there are more reasons on why you should include podcasts in your marketing campaign. First of all, podcasting is a viral digital way of spreading the word at no or limited cost. The face and voice of the presenter of the podcast gives a human touch to brands and the tone of voice and facial expressions deliver better context besides content to the audience. In essence, this increases the brand experience and helps people engage emotionally with the organization. Then, the good advantage that podcasts have over other mediums of marketing is that they can target a market very precisely. In addition to that, this audience seems to respond better to advertisements on podcasts because they are considered to be shorter, non-intrusive and highly relevant to the topics in discussion. It can be argued that the audience is also consuming on demand these advertisements, since people choose to subscribe to podcasts and especially when subscribing to brands’ podcasts they choose to be exposed to the conscious or subliminal marketing messages. The listenership base of the podcast can be further used for community building purposes or as leads for future product sales. Podcasts as part of a marketing campaign can really boost the effectiveness of the campaign but all the complimentary channels of communication and content sharing need to be in place. 4.2. HOW TO CREATE A PODCAST? The process of creating a podcast can be as easy as recording voice and video from a smartphone or as complicated as hiring voice actors and outsourcing the recording and editing in a studio. In any case, producing a podcast is a project that starts with planning, recording, editing and encoding, then continues with uploading and marketing the podcast and finally keeping the feed updated frequently. 4.2.a. Planning This stage is the most crucial, which will define the success of the podcast. The first things you have to do are to develop your podcast conceptually and define the target audience. Define what will be the primary topic and how this podcast will add value to the
related audience. For example, if an airline is podcasting, it is safe to assume that its customers will be interested in short podcasts with tips for travelling safe or destination guides to listen to when waiting in the departure lounge. Or if an NGO starts a podcast, it could provide volunteers with success stories from the field or tips on how to better deliver the mission of the NGO. As a podcaster, you will be a content creator, addressing an audience and therefore understanding its needs and wants is of most importance. The study presented in chapter 2 is a good example of what to look in your audience characteristics and behaviour. Based on this, it will be easier to define the format of the podcast that will be more appealing to the audience. The options are limited only by your imagination. It can be a single host talk, tutorials with how-to, interviews with industry-specific or topic-specific experts, narrations, roundtable discussions, commentaries on news, informative and educational, quiz show, web theatrical show, event coverage, DJ sets and music promotion or it can be a hybrid of the above. Generally, it is advisable that the podcast follow a consistent format, but special episodes always create hype. For example, the Tech Weekly podcast by Aleks Krotoski has an hour-long special episode at the end of every year that consists of a collage of best interviews and major events that took place during that year. At this stage, it is also very important to identify what is the ideal length for your audience. Either by doing a survey to the intended audience or by researching what is the length of other podcasts in your category, you should define this before start recording your show. The length will be crucial for building a storyboard. A storyboard is a script with timing on when every thing is going to take place. For example, the image on the left is an example of a radio “clock” from the Podcast Solutions book by Dan Klass. It describes an hour-long show split in 4 segments. It starts with a news section and before each segment there is either a few second sponsor spot or a mention on the sponsor by the presenter. There are also some music intervals to break the monotony of an hour-long discussion. The same concept could be applied in developing a podcast storyboard. Once you have decided on the topic, target audience, format, storyboard and length of the podcast, one thing is missing before hitting the REC button; the voice. The tone of voice can better deliver context besides content to the audience. For brands, the voice or face in the podcast will give them a human touch and people will connect better with the person they hear or see, hence with the brand. So, decisions like will the audience respond better to a funny or serious or witty or sarcastic tone, to a female or male face are of essence. Once you know what you are looking for, it’s high time to source it. Independent podcasters working with limited budget will use their own voice, SMEs tend
to use employees whereas big brands have the option to outsource the project to voice actors or radio producers. 4.2.b. Recording Once the planning is done, it’s time to record the podcast. Decisions here are highly influenced by decisions in the planning stage and include types of microphone or cameras, different recording software to use and location of the production. For example, if you have decided to produce a series of travel guides, then equipment for outdoor shooting will be necessary or if you are an independent podcaster then you will need to turn your computer and office into a small production studio. For the recording stage, the main objective is to capture good quality sound and image. Depending on your budget, there are many available and decent options for microphones in the market starting from $100. Podcast Academy suggests five different packages for podcasters, all of which include microphone and mixer, addressing different levels of podcasters, from amateurs (Entry PodcastRig) to professionals (Pro PodcastRig). Also, chapters five, six and seven of the “Podcast Bible” by Steve Mack and Steve Ratcliffe are an excellent reading for understanding the differences between microphones and deciding which one will better suit your needs. In the same book, chapters eight, nine and ten provide a wide range of information on video recording equipment and techniques. In terms of recording software, again there is a plethora of options available. Even the default software that come with every computer and operating system, like Windows Movie Maker or Apple’s Garage Band and iMovie could serve as a recording option for low-budget productions. According to Top Ten Reviews, leading website in software research, the best software specializing in recording and publishing sound for podcasts are as follows in the table. Prices are up-to-date, as of January 2012, based on CNET, leading directory in sourcing software. Software
ePodcast Producer Windows 2000/XP
Overall rating Excellent (4/4) Very good (3.5/4)
Very good (3.5/4)
Windows Me/2000/XP Windows 98/Me/2000/ XP/Vista/7/NT, Mac OS X 10.4 PPC/Intel/10.5 PPC/Intel
Very good (3/4) Good (2.5/4)
Price Free for a 30-day trial $49.95 to buy Free Professional edition: free for a 10-day trial $59.99 to buy Standard edition: free for a 10-day trial $89.95 to buy Free for a 10-day trial $24.00 to buy
Windows Podcast Wizard 95/98/Me/2000/ XP/Vista/NT WildVoice All Studio
Good (2.5/4) Good (2.5/4) Good (2.5/4)
Free Free Free or $6.95/month for Pro account
Free for a 30-day trial $29.95 to buy
Last but not least, as communication becomes more and more mobile, you can consider using mobile recording, using your smartphone to capture the audio or video content for your podcast. Already there are film festivals, like the iPhone Film Festival and the International Skateboard Film Festival that are encouraging veterans of amateurs film makers to produce films solely using smartphones. Top productions even get sponsorship by companies like Apple and Samsung. So, why not take a similar approach to podcasting and with good quality content and listenership you can request sponsorship for your show. 4.2.c. Editing and mastering Now the raw material for your podcast is ready for editing. First priority in editing is making sure the sound is of excellent quality. If the recording took place in a studio with high quality equipment then this stage shouldn’t take long. In any case, there are some key things you should take into consideration when editing the sound. All of the software presented above, besides Hipcast, Evoca and Podcast Wizard offer editing options. Removing or reducing noises is a technique of separating outside and electrical sounds that interfere with the voice presenting. Another technique is level compression, which means to equalize high-pitch with low-pitch voices, for a consistent audio experience. Of course this should be done whenever required so as not to alter the intensity or the emotions of different speakers. After making the sound crystal clear, the editing part optionally includes adding sound effects, for example sounds of a clapping audience and a music bed, which is a background low-volume music to encourage certain moods to the audience. It is highly encouraged that every podcast has a consistent intro and ending spot, which will introduce the listeners to the show and greet them at the end. 4.2.d. Encoding for distribution Before uploading the podcast or vodcast for distribution, there is one last thing to take into consideration. While the files could seem perfect in your computer, when uploading them their quality highly depends on the size of the file as well as the bandwidth required for the upload. It is generally acceptable that above 64 kbps, MP3 files are approaching FM quality and above 192 kbps the sound is of excellent quality. For MP4 files, a screen resolution of 640x360 and a bandwidth of 0.5 Mbit/s is the baseline for good quality video distribution. For more information on audio and video quality vs. bandwidth, you can consult “The Audacity to Podcast” podcast.
Another thing to take into consideration in the encoding stage is the metadata. Metadata are pieces of information that are stored within the MP3 or MP4 file and describe the podcast in order to make it more user and machine friendly. Metadata is also the information the users will read when browsing for options as well as the information that is displayed on the media player devices, smartphone applications or computer software. Suggested metadata include: name of the show and artist/presenter, date or year, description, producer’s comments and genre. Along with the metadata, you should create an artwork for your podcast. This is the equivalent of a cover album for music artists. The artwork will be the visual brand of your podcast, which will help your listeners identify it across different directories. For example, the image on the left is an artwork for TWiT Special series (This Week in Tech), a popular podcast with tech guru Leo Laporte. 4.2.e. Uploading Everything is set and it’s time to go live. The major decision in this stage is hosting. You can choose to host your podcasts in your own server or in the server where your website or blog is being hosted. This will simply require creating a subdirectory in your domain where you will store all the podcasts. There are a number of open-source Content Management Systems available with excellent how-to guides and plugins to help you manage your audio-video content; Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal are the most popular. Alternatively, you can choose one of the hosting services available, which offer besides hosting complementary services like traffic statistics and help forums. Below is a list with the most popular hosting services for professional or independent podcasters. Greg Cangialosi in his book “The Business Podcasting Book” is suggested the option of hosting in Content Delivery Networks (CDN), which are companies that have power server infrastructure, enabling delivery of audio or video content from multiple servers to multiple locations at the same time. This solution however being highly expensive is addressed to large enterprises. Quotas are only available upon contacting one of the leading CDNs like Akamai, Limelight, CacheFly and Internap. Host option Description
Storage space starts at 2.5 GB, RSS and Atom feeds, statistics on traffic, smartphone and Facebook apps, monetization options and a lot more services Award-winning host service, Jellycast bandwidth vs. cost calculator, statistics on traffic, and a lot more services
Free for 30-day trial Business level 1: $69.95/month Business level 2: $199.95/month
Setup fee of £10 8 different plan options from £10£325/month
Ad-free services, quality themes and plugins to choose from Largest host service Podomatic for independent podcasters Optimized hosting for audio and video, unmetered Liberated bandwidth, geoSyndication statistics on traffic, monetization options and a lot more services The podcast host
Free and premium options
Free and Pro options
Libsyn classic: $5-$15/ month for 50-250 MB storage Libsyn app: $20-$75/month for 400-1500 MB storage
4.2.f. Updating your feed If you choose one of the above hosting plans, then the RSS feed can automatically be created, attached to the audio-video files and then promoted through your website, blog or directories you choose to submit your podcast. In the scenario where you choose to host the podcast in your own host server, then you will have to create this feed yourself. In the “Podcast for Dummies” book, chapter 9, there is a step-by-step guide and examples of how to write the code around the famous <enclosure> tag, which brings together RSS and MP3. With the RSS feed in place, the technical part is officially over. It is high time you focus your energy on producing more and more quality work and keep your feed updated. Similarly to blogs, one key ingredient of success is consistent frequency of releasing new episodes, so that your listeners will know when to expect new content. Most popular podcasts choose a weekly frequency, like “Media Talk” with John Plunkett or “This week in Google” with Leo Laporte, Gina Trapani and Jeff Jarvis. One idea to make sure you never left behind without new content to podcast is to create 2-3 episodes in advance with a generic content, ready to be used anytime. 4.2.g. Sizzling your content The reason why your listeners will choose to subscribe to your feed is because they like the show and want to get more of it. So, keeping your storyboard consistent in every episode is of essence. For example, a consistent storyboard of an hour-long informative podcast could have the following format: • Intro Music spot of the show • Sponsor spot, if any • Greet the listeners • Introduce the topic of the podcast and welcome the guest speakers or people you will be interviewing • Allow the speakers to greet the audience • Start the discussion • Optionally you can include some music or sponsorship intervals depending on how information-heavy the discussion is • Continue the discussion with a second topic
Sum up briefly what was discussed and key learning points Provide the listeners with URL and ways to contact you (e.g. social media or email) Thank the speakers and greet goodbye the audience Closing music spot of the show
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Ensuring good quality content of added value is also another important aspect of the success of your podcast. Read the news and research so as to provide relevant content. Also, be unique and truthful when expressing your own opinions; make smart and witty comments when necessary. Entertain your audience and make it ease for them to consume your work. Especially for independent podcasters, people tend to follow them because they are engaging and not afraid to speak up their opinions. One idea for sizzling your podcast or extending its reach is to provide notes on your website or blog. Leo Laporte, main producer of TWiT podcast provides a summary of every episode on this website as well as links to the stories covered and any other resources relevant to the show, e.g. apps to download. He has even created a wiki to serve as online archives for all the episodes in the podcast. 4.3. LEGAL As with every Internet content, podcasts is something that will have your name and signature online and therefore it is important that it is a work you are proud of and it will not get you into trouble. Besides, making sure you double-check the validity of what you podcast, there are laws you should be aware of, protecting music and content. The kinds of licenses you can get for using music in your podcast vary depending on the country you are podcasting from. Not only that but there are two types of licenses, one protecting the composers’ rights and one protecting the artists’ rights. In USA and UK, the leading organizations providing licenses are: the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC), Photographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) and Performing Right Society (PRS). All of these organizations work with composers and artists; they collect money from licensing recorded music to broadcasters and then distribute them to the artists. Podcasting falls into either the Radio Broadcasting License, Online Music License, General Entertainment License or Webcaster License. Prices of licenses vary a lot in terms of podcast listenership, countries you podcast to, number and length of songs used and other terms and conditions distinct for each organization. At the time of writing this report, only PRS had a specific Podcast license at a minimum quarterly fee of £50. Lucy Cousins, Radio Licensing Executive from PPL UK, advised that additionally to a podcasting license, “in order to correctly license sound recordings for use, you would need to contact the rights holder direct – most often the record companies.” There are also free or almost free options for acquitting “podsafe” music. Garageband, music editing software from Apple, allows users to use loyalty-free audio content included in the software. Music Alley, a podsafe music network, provides music mainly from new
artists at $0.99, which can be used freely in your show. In any case, when downloading any song from free music directories, make sure you read the terms and conditions of use. Similarly, for creating vodcasts using picture and video content there is no specific license that covers the plethora of such content available online, hence it is advisable to either contact directly the artist or read thoroughly the terms of usage. Besides making sure you respect the work of other content owners, you should also think that when your podcast becomes a success, other people might want to use it. Creative Commons offers a free copyright license for podcasters, called CC Podcast Plugs, which basically allows other 3rd parties to use your podcast but only under the CC terms. These terms are built around the idea that the Internet is so free that your content might eventually be copied and used without you knowing about it, so instead of trying to prohibit it or take legal actions, you might as well have it free for use, but under your terms. 4.4. MARKETING YOUR PODCAST Building a listenership base is what will determine the success of your podcast, boost your motivation and better your work by receiving feedback and suggestions from your audience. To get there, a series of marketing techniques will be required. Fortunately or unfortunately, today if you are not online, you are nobody. Make sure you have a website or blog describing your podcast, as well as displaying prominent buttons to download and subscribe to your podcast. A good idea to entice people into subscribing is to feature a sample of your work at the homepage. Then, as discussed previously, it is advisable to provide notes and resources from previous episodes. The Internet is social; therefore social media channels should be in place as well. According to where you can find your audience online, choosing which channels of communication to use should be easy. For example, for a music show, MySpace or YouTube could be the best place to target or if you are producing a business podcast, then LinkedIn is where you should be. In any case, Facebook and Twitter have such an amazing reach that you should definitely consider being there. Lately, there is even a trend for organizations and people instead of creating a website or blog, to have solely a Facebook page. Then, in order to attract the right people you will need two things: search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising. SEO means that search engines like Google will be able to index your website with the proper title, description and keywords to improve find-ability. These are the most basic metadata you need to have in place for your website. Tools like Website optimizer and Google analytics can help you with more complex concepts around getting found online. The most effective online advertising currently is Google AdWords and Facebook ads. In a nutshell, every click on your advertisements will cost you a few pence for driving traffic to your site and they are priced either with a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) method or a Cost-Per-Mile (CPM: cost per thousand impressions) one. The advantage of online advertising is that you can target a very specific audience using criteria like demographics, location and interests.
Further more, it is highly necessary that you submit your RSS feed to different directories, presented in chapter two. Since these directories usually have user reviews and ratings, it is a good idea to ask for your listeners to rate your podcast for example in iTunes, being the leading directory of podcasts. Other ideas for marketing your podcast include partnering with other podcasters and cross-promoting your shows by exchanging short spot advertisements. Also, you can create a demo CD of episodes and ask for sponsorship from relevant to your topic brands. Then, you should consider having regular interviews with industry specific experts, who will drive traffic to your podcast by promoting it to their own followers. Finally, you will be surprised with the possibilities of word-of-mouth and the social reach especially when it is online; make the best podcast and people will simply talk about it. 4.5. MEASURING THE SUCCESS OF THE PODCAST Measuring your success will be a key activity for continuously improving the quality of your podcast. Start by setting realistic goals for the size of your listenership base, especially when first going live. Until you find the right format of your show that serves both you and your audience there might be a period of trial-and-error. Absolute and relative growth in the number of downloads and subscriptions to your RSS feed is the most indicative way to measure the popularity of your podcast as well as to identify a consistent audience base. Hosting services, like the ones presented before and Google analytics provide excellent statistics not only numerical but also behavioural, e.g. how do people land at your website, how much time do they spend before subscribing to your feed, etc. An interesting figure to look at as well is the number of un-subscriptions. Besides quantitative data, you can also track qualitative ones, like comments people make in social networks or in directories forums, shares and re-tweets, ratings and feedback they send you. “As every industry, every audience is different. Sometimes the size of the audience doesn't matter as long as you have the right audience. The key message for any potential marketer is to focus on continually publishing and producing targeted and relevant content to their key audience in a variety of channels (web, email, mobile, social), most notably.” Greg Cangialosi commented on what is the ideal size of the audience for a SME. 4.6. CASE STUDY 1: The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show What is this show? Jimmy Moore is a published author and health blogger, who after an amazing personal experience of losing 180+ pounds through a low-card diet, decided to spread the word and educate people on how to follow his example. He quitted his job and since 2005 he has been a professional podcaster of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” having produced more than 500 episodes. Topic Health and self-improvement
Purpose of podcasting What started as an experiment out of requests from friends and relatives to share his story became a full time job. In his show, Moore talks about news around health and low-carb lifestyle, tips and tricks on weight loss, commentaries on recent researches and studies and most often than not he interviews authors and bloggers. His main purpose is to educate people on how they can improve their health and also promote his books, by providing relevant and up-to-date content. Audience Jimmy Moore describes his audience as “Health-conscious, sceptical of conventional medical and nutritional wisdom, desiring fat/weight loss and optimal health”. Benefits Since July 1st, 2011, his show has been listened by approximately 166,000 users from various countries including UK, USA, Spain and Sweden. He has built a strong listenership base of a well-targeted audience in an industry, which is over-whelmed with fake products and gimmicks. This increased not only his personal branding as an expert in health living but also his negotiation power with sponsors, like “Life Shotz” and Caloriegate. He believes that “you are more likely to find a higher percentage of buyers from a podcast than in traditional blitz marketing. I have this conversation with potential sponsors all the time and the ones who decide to take the plunge have found phenomenal success. We are already seeing the ease of access thanks to smart devices like iPhones, iPads and the like and as prices continue to drop for this technology that means more people will be exposed to the information provided on shows like mine that unfortunately are all but ignored by the major television and radio media conglomerates“. Testimonials from the audience of the podcast (as seen on the website) • “Love your podcast–it’s fun to hear a voice with the writing I enjoy so much! All the best–thanks for all you do!” • “I loved the podcast. Your enthusiasm about the low-carb lifestyle is bound to appeal to those people who have tried many diet plans and need to find some way to lose weight. I love the way you share your own experiences as a way to encourage people to get off their “rump” and give it a try.” • “I liked the honesty that you bring across and sincerity.” Other podcasts Jimmy listens to "Balanced Bites Podcast", "Underground Wellness", "Paleo Solution", "Dana's Low-Carb For Life", "Everyday Paleo", "Latest In Paleo", "Revolution Health Radio", "Upgraded Self Radio" and "Nutrition Diva". As a podcaster, it is very important to follow other professionals in the field so as to grasp the level of competition as well as form partnerships for cross-promotion. Contact Jimmy Moore http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/ Email: email@example.com
4.7. CASE STUDY 2: Outsourcing the podcast project to vocative.co.uk Who are they? A team of ex-BBC broadcasting professionals, who specialize in producing podcasts and other kind of audio visual content for their clients. Their experience includes a variety of topics with a heavy emphasis on business and economics for BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live and BBC World, among other clients. Outsourced project Promotional podcasts for a conference on Venture Capitalism and coverage of the event to be converted into podcasts Solution A) 8 promotional podcasts, of around five minutes duration, which will be published once a week until the day of the event. They will feature short interviews with keynote speakers, detailed biographies/background of all speakers, the program of the day and any other relevant information. Recording and editing will be done by vocative.co.uk, taken that the speakers are within 50 miles radius from London. B) The second program will be an edited version of the day itself, of around 45 minutes. It will incorporate clips of the main speakers, selected Q&As, brief interviews to back up the clips and perhaps the views of a couple of delegates. It will be take the form of a fully scripted and edited program from top to bottom. Recording will be done by conference team and editing by vocative.co.uk Suggested methods of promotion • Promote podcasts on the micro-site of the conference • Post podcasts on third party websites, e.g. Audioboo, iTunes, with appropriate links • Sent as mp3 files attached to emails • Share the podcasts in branded memory sticks • Share the podcasts in branded CDs Timeframe • 2 days to record and edit each one of the 5-minute long podcasts • 1 week to edit the recorded material from the day of the conference Cost £3,000 for both programs, (+ VAT at 20 percent) Costs cover all cutting, editing, script writing and presentation, up to and including production of master-copies on your preferred choice of format. Contact Oliver Scott http://www.vocative.co.uk/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. CONLUSION 5.1. Opinions and criticism • What is a podcast after all?: Nowadays, podcasts can be downloaded and streamed, besides being distributed through an RSS feed, which was their initial format. Some people tend to accept as podcast only the content that follows the MP3+RSS=PODCAST equation, whereas others believe that podcasts have been merged into what we generally accept as online media. •
Music vs. podcast: One could argue that podcasts are not to be consumed on the go, but most often at home or at work, where the listener can be concentrated on the topics in discussion. Music has always been the main form of entertainment on the go and podcasts or vodcasts will have a hard time competing with music radio stations.
Is it a place to sell?: One reason podcasts became popular during 2004-2006 is the authenticity and honesty of the podcaster and the ad-free nature they used to have. It can be argued that trying to push a lot of advertisements could lead to high un-subscriptions and an unsatisfied audience both towards the podcaster and the brand advertised.
Data-heavy media: A potential problem with podcasts is that they are data-heavy because of their audio/video format. This means that to download them one would require either a good Internet connection or a smartphone with a connection plan, which allows data-intensive usage. Downloading using an Internet connection would mean that in essence the key characteristic of mobile access is lost and few mobile plans are inexpensive enough to support such an intensive use.
Indexing on search engines: Google and other search engines are not able to “listen” to podcasts and index its content. A solution to this is to convert the audio content into text and link the transcription result to the location of the podcast. Transcription Service is a service dedicated to solving this problem.
REFERENCES Primary 1. Greg Cangialosi, author of “The business Podcasting Bible” 2. Dan Klass, author of “Podcast Solutions” 3. Jimmy Moore, podcaster of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” 4. Lucy Cousins, Radio Licensing Executive at PPL UK 5. Oliver Scott, former BBC podcaster and Director at vocative.co.uk Secondary 1. Mack, Steve, and Mitch Ratcliffe. Podcasting Bible: Record high-quality audio and video, digitize, edit, and put your podcasts online, turn your podcast into a successful business. Wiley: Indianapolis, 2007. Print. 2. Geoghegan, Michael W., and Greg Cangialosi. Podcast academy: the business podcasting book: launching, marketing, and measuring your Podcast. Amsterdam: Focal Press, Elsevier, 2008. Print. 3. Geoghegan, Michael W., and Dan Klass. Podcast solutions the complete guide to audio and video podcasting. 2nd ed. Berkeley, Calif.: Friends of Ed, 2007. Print. 4. Morris, Tee, and Evo Terra. Podcasting for dummies. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley Pub., 2006. Print. 5. Felix, Lionel, and Damien Stolarz. Hands-on guide to video blogging and podcasting. Amsterdam: Focal/Elsevier, 2006. Print. 6. Office of Technology for Education and Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, A Teaching with Technology White Paper, Carnegie Mellom: Pub., June 2007. 7. AlbertaJOBcast and BRASSmedia, Podcast Audience Demographics White Paper based on eMarketer.com, articles and blog posts, Pub., February 2008. 8. Webster, Tom. The Podcast Consumer Revealed 2009: The Arbitron/Edison Internet and Multimedia Study, Pub., May 2009. 9. Guertin, A. Laura, Bodek, J. Matthew, Zappe, E. Sarah and Kim, Heeyoung. Questioning the Student Use of and Desire for Lecture Podcasts, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 3, No. 2, Pub., June 2007. 10. Wilson, Paul, Petticrew, Mark and Booth, Alison, After the gold rush? A systematic and critical review of general medical podcasts, Journal of the Royal Society Medicine 2009 Vol. 102, No. 2 69-74, Pub. February 2009. 11. Curtis, Todd, The AirSafe.com Podcasting Production Manual: A How-to-Guide for Developing a Basic Audio or Video Podcast, Pub. November 2011. 12. Meng, Peter, Podcasting and Vodcasting: Definitions, Discussions Implications white paper, University of Missouri, Pub. March 2005.
13. Winham, Carie, Confessions of a podcast junkie, Educause, Pub. May/June 2007. 14. Tanny, Joey, "Can Airline Podcasts Amplify the Brand Experience?” Sparksheet: Good ideas about content, media and marketing. Web. March 2010. http://sparksheet.com/can-airline-podcasts-amplify-the-brand-experience/ 15. Dugan, Kevin. "20 Creative Uses for Podcasts" Strategic Public Relations. Web. November 2011. http://prblog.typepad.com/strategic_public_relation/2005/09/20_creative_use.html
Published on Oct 24, 2012
A research report on podcasts and vodcasts. It gives an overview of market trends and how-to produce, market, monetize podcasts.