Podcasting for Business

Podcasting is growing as a tool for promoting business, but why not stay ahead of the curve – learn more about how you can use it to market and advance your ventures.

Podcasting has become the media technology du jour,
providing powerful ways for businesses to tap into the new
communications channel that has been opened by the simplicity and
popularity of Apple’s iPod and other MP3 devices.

From ABC, which is podcasting episodes of Lost and
other hot shows, to NPR, which podcasts daily radio content, one big
company after another is finding exciting ways to harness this
technology.

But the best news is that small companies and even startups also can find ways to get into podcasting
while the getting’s good. They go way beyond the obvious category of
media and content companies and include a wide variety of new ventures.

Podcasting is a technology for automatically distributing
audio and video programs over the internet using a publisher-subscriber
model. It differs from earlier online delivery of audio or video
because it automatically transfers the digital media files to the
user’s computer for later use. Podcasting thus enables independent
producers to create self-published, syndicated “shows,” and gives
broadcast radio or television programs a new distribution method.

Street signs: markers of the business podcasting trend

One-upping blogs:
The growth of podcasting has closely paralleled that of another new way
to use the internet: web logs, or “blogs.” But while blogs require a
user to get in front of a computer and navigate to the blog and read
it, podcasts allow more passive participation by the user. “It’s pushed
to you, and you listen to it on your own terms,” notes Mike Neumeier,
principal of the Arketi Group, an Atlanta-based marketing consultant to
small companies.

Consider the numbers:
In 2004, only about 820,000 Americans downloaded some form of podcast,
according to the Center for Media Research. That number leapt to 4.8
million people in 2005, 20% of whom downloaded a podcast on at least a
weekly basis. About 45 million Americans – according to a conservative
estaimate – will be listening to a podcast by 2010, the Center says –
more aggressive estimates peg the number as high as 75 million people.

Applications galore:
Lots of small businesses and startup companies have found ways to
podcast already. BarServ, for example, a mystery-shopping firm based in
Dallas-Ft. Worth, provides a podcast, “Raising the Bar,” that discusses
how to improve customer service in a hospitality setting. “This has
helped position BarServ as an expert in the customer-service field and
hones the perception of BarServ within my peer group,” says George W.
Daye III, the company’s founder.

Media attention: Help for taking the plunge into podcasting is proliferating. Among a smattering of new books is Secrets of Podcasting: Audio Blogging for the Masses, by Bart Farkas (Peachpit Press), and The Business Podcast Bible (Larstan Publishing).

Bottom Line

Podcasting
for business is taking off! This powerful new medium opens up a world
of possibilities for startups and entrepreneurs, so where's your podcast?

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