Monday, November 19, 2007

Why Everyone Should Have a Podcast?

Why do people start Podcasting?

The short and sweet answer is that you can reach a target audience and share your message at a very low cost to you.

For organizations or individuals, this means that you can create your very own syndicated radio show and deliver it over the Internet to attentive and permissive listeners.

That being said, this is a great way for businesses to market their products or services, educational facilities to deliver on-demand e-learning, organizations to promote their causes or activities, corporations to provide off-site training, or even individuals to share their knowledge about a specific topic.

Right now, I'm reading a book by Seth Godin called "All Marketers Are Liars", and I'd like to share a tidbit from the book with you that I feel applies directly to how you can market through podcasting.

Consider what it was like for people in the Golden Age of Advertising. Companies would readily spend all of their advertising dollars and throw money at the super medium of television to market directly to all television viewers in the country.

More often than not, even an average product, if marketed well, would make some kind of a profit and the products that were remarkable or exceptionally useful would enjoy incredible amounts of success.

As TV become more complex with expanded channel offerings, it became harder for companies to have a presence on all stations (there weren't just 3 any more) and with that, it suddenly was not as easy to reach customers who were once more than willing to believe whatever mass media was telling them.

What happened?

The seemingly permeable exteriors of consumers grew thicker and less susceptible to advertising. People quickly realized what the difference was between being marketed to and choosing to believe something presented on television for themselves.

They became pickier and demanded that products met their own desires, wants and standards, not the other way around. This period of time or cycle was called the Dark Days if you will.

Marketers, not to be left behind for too long a duration, emerged with a new way of getting the attention of the people they had once lost through the old regime of television advertising by creating stories and weaving their way through to communities who already accepted what they had to say thereby planting their flag in a smaller, but more receptive niche that would embrace the stories they told and spread them to others about their product or service.

By telling stories that people chose to believe for themselves, they weren't simply advertising anymore, they were marketing (they aren't the same thing, as you already know or will come to realize).

Those people would readily talk about the product or service and refer it to their friends, family members and co-workers.

As their adoption rate grew and enthusiasm for the product or service became apparent to those outside of the niche (spreading to the mainstream or significantly close to it, to be exact), the acceptance of the product would also increase its reach and gather new customers who had also adopted the product as a useful, essential part of their lives. This is where we are today.

Marketers, and to a great degree, Podcasters, are required to create stories that people identify with, tell themselves, and choose to believe. Seth Godin calls these stories "lies", but he soon reveals that they aren't really lies at all.

The only requirement other than good storytelling is that these stories that are told need to be true and that an audience or group of people needs to accept the story as truth.

A good example of this is "I only listen to X podcast because they have the most reliable information", or "This product is better because it's the safest on the market".

Those are both stories that may very well be true that engage a listener and get them to spread your message for you.

Without knowing the background and mindset behind the evolution of marketing and consumers of the 20th and 21st centuries, it would be a frustrating task indeed to build an audience and experience success as a Podcaster.

Just as with marketing, success in podcasting can be measured by the number of people who are listening to or are subscribed to your podcast. Also, the more people they tell or the more subscribers there are, the more impact and exponential your reach and influence will be.

That is a Marketers goal and it should be yours as a Podcaster too, otherwise why podcast, even if just as entertainment for your friends, in the first place?

Marketing can be as simple as a passing phrase of referral, a mention of a source, or wearing a piece of clothing. Marketing is everywhere and we all do it to a degree, whether we're conscious of the fact or not.

Whenever you have an audience, you are marketing.

Therefore, Podcasting is Marketing, and you are very fortunate that in this endeavor you are equipped with the most powerful marketing tool of all - the persuasiveness of the human voice, an instrument that is second to none when it comes to communicating and conveying a message.

If you haven't realized it yet, your voice is a marketing tool, the most organic, universal, and influential on earth.

That's why there's an entire industry of people known as professional voice actors who are hired to record messages, commercials, training videos, audio books, narration for documentaries, sales pitches, business presentations, animation voice overs, video game character voices, telephone systems, and more.

For each market, niche, and underground movement, there is a voice or number of voices that provide you with a verbal image of what you are told, what you may accept as truth, and finally, voices that you trust.

It is by harnessing the strength, passion and speaker in you that you inch closer to your goal, but you will still need something more...

As effective as your voice is on its own, you need to have an attractive story to tell, and make it a story that is true.

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