Podcasting – once reserved for technical types or those with the financial backing to hire a podcasting specialist – has become mainstream and is no longer limited to geeks and early adopters. With this popularity and concurrent availability of tools, it has become easier to publish podcasts (although it is still not as easy as configuring a VCR).
Thanks to over 100 million iPods sold and the improvements to software and tools to make access and consumption of podcasts easier for regular people contribute to a steady growth of people who tune in to podcasts on a regular basis, which is soon reaching double digit percentages of the US population.
The increasing popularity of podcasting has fueled the number of available podcasts and the competition for audience share. Just having a podcast is no longer enough to attract listeners or engage subscribers
The medium matures and the time of early adoption is ending while podcasting becomes mainstream with all the positive and negative side effects of it.
For example, bad sound quality of audio and video podcasts is just not acceptable anymore as it was in the early days of podcasting. The listening audience became larger and more demanding at the same time.
Sticking out from the crowd becomes harder and harder and getting attention is the first thing you need. Everything else would be useless; no matter how good it is, if you are not getting attention and being noticed in the first place.
Killer quality content will not help you with that, exposure does. Even word-of-mouth requires reaching a certain momentum first, before something spreads viral like a wildfire and becomes a new media phenomenon.
Let us assume that you did create a good podcast with good content and quality audio, what do you have to do next? Putting up a link to the audio or video file on your website does not cut it anymore. If you do not want your podcast die of lack of audience, you have to promote it actively, just as you do with your products or services. You will not attract many advertisers, if you do not have many listeners and if you use the podcast to promote directly or indirectly your own products and services, the messages will fade into oblivion without being noticed.
Submitting your podcast feed to iTunes, the largest directory for podcasts on the internet today, is the first step. This implies that your podcast is already available via RSS. If that were not the case, then doing that would be the very first step to take. You can do that easily if you have a blog already. There is a plug-in or gadget/widget available for virtually every blog platform out there.
You should not stop just there, because iTunes is not the only place where people search for new content for their iPods or similar devices and programs. There are many sites on the web, where you can submit your podcast feed.
Make Your Content Accessible
Also make sure that visitors to your blog or website can listen to or watch the content right there without the need to download the podcasts first.
One or the other of the blog plug-ins for podcasting comes already with a build-in player. If that is not the case, no problem, there are a number of web players available to choose, some are free, and others are commercial.
Share Experiences with Your Peers
Attending one of the conferences to this form of media does not hurt either. You will have the chance to connect with other publishers and learn new tricks that work and most importantly, things that do not work.
You can do all this by yourself. I created a podcasting guide for publishers that provide tips and resources for the mentioned items you should do. If you cannot or do not want to do it yourself, do not hesitate to hire somebody to do this for you. This will be a good investment and will pay eventually for itself, while doing nothing is the worst thing you can do.
Carsten Cumbrowski runs an internet marketing resources website at cumbrowski.com. It covers numerous subjects, including podcasting and other new media. The “The Ultimate Guide to Podcasting” is the latest of several guides and tutorials published at cumbrowski.com.
Update and Comments
Traditional marketing and advertising is not dead yet. Depending on your targeted audience, you might want to consider doing old-fashioned advertising, in addition to the things I already mentioned. If your audience uses the internet, but does not have an iPod, does not read blogs yet or downloads or listens to music and video much, a TV spot or ad in the newspaper, radio or niche magazine might still works. Keep this in mind. The medium becomes mainstream, but it is not fully mainstream yet and many people still do not know what a podcast is.