I visit quite a few of PodTechs clients, most are tech companies in Silicon Valley with our Account teams as a Social Media Resource. By the conversations that clients have with each other, Ive a good sense of where they are in the evolution (as Ive been through this, as I deployed a community program at Hitachi Data Systems).
Heres some common Podcast Strategies that seem relevant for the start of 2007:
1) Resource Existing Content
Many podcast program managers are at a challenge when it comes to creating a podcast content program. Its not as hard as it looks as theres quite a bit of content that can be converted to conversational podcasting. Whitepaper content can often serve as Podcast content. Nearly each of those white papers MarCom has created can be converted into a topic, perhaps have a host and invite the content contributor or domain expert to participate in the podcast.
Check your search logs on your website for common asked terms or phrases, theres some clues there. Blog posts in your industries with intense conversation and activity will suggest hot topics.
2) Extend your Podcast with Social Media Features
Many corporate marketers fail by only dropping an mp3 file and alink to iTunes on a podcast page. You can benefit from interaction and building better podcasts by allowing for feedback by enabling comments. Perhaps using blog software to publish your podcast.
3) Deliver Podcast on a Viral Player
Ideally, the best case scenario is to embed a viral player that can be shared with your audience that also allows comments. This player easily has copyable code that lets the content be shared on other blogs, forums, and websites in your industry. Heres an example of how Ive deployed my latest podcast on Social Media Strategy using a viral player. Get the word out.
Ive seen some recent stats that suggest that 60% of podcasts are consumed within the browser and 40% on mobile devices.
4) Align content strategy around existing corporate Initiatives
Your podcast schedule and content should line up with your product offerings. Build a row or column into your communications plan that includes social media podcasts. Many marketers struggle that blogs are not message controlled by corp communications, however podcasts are a great place as a happy medium as there is some control by corp communications to keep the message on target.
Of course the balance is to make the content helpful and resourceful for the listener, as they can change it with a simple click, or even worse, unsubscribe and never return.
5) Podcasting is for the long term
Many corporate marketers forget that the goal of Podcasting is to get your listeners to subscribe and this takes time. Podcasting programs need to be expected to have duration for 6-12 months. Dont sell yourself short in an embarrassing situation by not planning or budgeting for that period of time. If time is an issue or resources, find a podcasting partner that can assist.
6) Duration varies
Im often asked How long should my podcast be. It really depends, for the average tech corporate podcast, Im noticing durations from 5-10 minutes. Of course when you have more in depth topics, or interviews or conversations with multiple individuals youll want to extend this.
7) Interactive and interesting
Please dont be the corporation that creates the talking head podcast. Podcasts need to be interesting, engaging, and interactive. How can podcasts be interactive? By involving the audience by reading comments, reading their blog posts, or letting them submit questions via email, or even by using audio tools to let them pre-record their questions in advance. The more you involve the audience, the more its a real conversation.
8) Pull content not Push content
This is one the biggest challenges. Remember podcasting is a pull channel, meaning the content needs to be interesting and resourceful for the listener. Its very easy for them to click away, so always think of the user first. Ive noticed this content strategy in some corporate podcasts, they list first the Problem, then all the Market Options, what Pitfalls to avoid, and then finally at the end of the Podcast the corporate offering.
Todays modern marketer is a story teller, not a FAB (Feature Attribute Benefit) or stats pusher. Please remember that the user already knows what your company does, and knows how to use the web to find your content so you dont need to hit them over the head with your latest offering, make them want to come to you.
9) Its about the listener, please remember
Involve customer participation, listen, improve. Please dont put barriers up in front of the user to consume this content. I know of at least 2 companies that have put registration forms in front of the podcasts for access. Bad idea, that really sends a bad message on many fronts, and may reduce subscriptions.
10) Create as many series as appropriate
Some Marketers make the horrible mistake of cramming to many lines of content into one podcast. I recommend creating separate podcast channels based upon market or audience type. Remember to think years out when selecting the channels, its not easy to change without user fall off in mid flight. Id rather you consider to start pretty narrow and then add on additional podcast programs, remember the future of marketing is about small niche audience rather than broad mass audiences.
11) Podcasting as an alternative to Blogging
At many corporations, theres a corporate blogging initiative underway. For many, they simply dont have the time to do a blog, Podcasting may be a better avenue as it requires less time. Ive found that sometimes great speakers make horrible bloggers, and great bloggers are horrible speakers.
12) Integrate with other programs.
Encourage your corporate and customer bloggers, community managers, or those involved with forums to integrate the podcasts, raise awareness by emailling them, and then thank them in the comments for embedding. Your podcasts should be contextually displayed on your product pages, microsites, extranets and intranets.
13) Criteria for your Podcasting Partner
Im somewhat biased here as I work for PodTech, a podcasting partner, There are many companies that offer podcasting services, in fact basic production is a commodity. Heres some criteria in selecting your value added podcasting partner:
A) Experience in creating professional audio content
Your partner should already be able to demonstrate the various clients theyve already served
B) May have voice or media talent
For many listeners, a familiar or friendly voice or maybe listening to an existing program would be welcoming, if not inviting.
C) Existing distribution Network
While it makes sense to present your content on your corporate domain, if you partner with a podcasting provider that has an exsting media network, (esp if they are already talking to your audience) they can help extend your message to the right audience quickly
D) Tools and Metrics
Your partner should assist you with not only just creating the podcast but distributing it using social media tools such as a viral player and providing you with metrics
E) Ability to cover live events
Your Podcasting partner should be willing to send teams or crews out to your events for demos, interviews and other venues to capture and then re-use on your podcasting program. See this post on how to use social media as an overlay.
E) They get it
Consultation and Expertise should be a core part of your partner should really get social media, to help you maximize your efforts in this new space.
Of course, this list could go to 100, feel free to add your own below in the comments, or link to other excellent repositories. I contributed to this book on Blogging and Podcasting, if youre interested in picking it up, it has insight from many industry experts, all which are more intelligent than I.