There’s hardly a business open today that doesn’t maintain a Web presence, but with websites now so commonplace, the need to stand out from the competition is increasingly important. Without question, a static website that provides comprehensive and consistently updated information is of great value; however, site owners can leverage their knowledge, add another dimension to their site and directly target audiences through podcasts.
In short, a podcast is a digital media file downloaded directly from a streaming Internet source. Podcasts are distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds and are hosted by individuals, businesses or organizations that want to share information. Podcast files are streamed and/or downloaded onto a computer, mobile device, MP3 player or iPod.
Think of creating podcasts as having the ability to broadcast a personalized radio and/or video show directly from your website, thereby lending a voice to your business. Podcasts are a way to showcase your expertise and can enhance your reputation as an authority in your field. They are also a means of communicating in a much more personal manner than via a blanket e-mail, electronic newsletter or written document. What’s more, podcasts are inexpensive to create—all that’s needed is a microphone and Internet connection with RSS, a format for delivering regularly changing Web content.
Essentially, podcasts are recorded and then distributed over the Internet, allowing you to reach new and wider audiences through your website. Once listeners subscribe to a podcast feed, new podcasts are automatically downloaded to their computer or mobile device as soon as they are available, enabling your audience to listen at their convenience. Since podcasts are an on-demand subscription technology, you can monitor your subscribers and ensure they’re receiving the information you’re providing.
As a bonus, guests can be invited to participate in your podcast, providing an interactive and engaging element. For example, a law office may stream a podcast discussion about potential changes to the Social Security system and invite experts in the field to participate.
Podcasts are also highly appealing to those who appreciate a wide range of media options, those with limited time and those who multitask. And since podcasts are opt-in, you know that your audience is truly interested in what you have to say.
Podcasts not only showcase your expertise, they also shine a media light on your personality, giving your audience a sense of who you are and what your business can provide. Podcasts can be much more engaging—and oftentimes less confusing—than the written word since the voice can express the exact emotion you wish to convey. This can lead to an increased sense of trust among both current and potential customers.
Moreover, podcasts give subscribers access to information at their convenience. They can listen when they want, starting and stopping content at will. Podcasts can also be used to introduce staff members. When used in this way, relationships and trust can be built, giving you a leg up on the competition. Finally, podcasts provide a media outlet to record seminars and conferences, letting those who couldn’t make it to the event share in the information.
Consistency is the bottom line to achieving the widest audience and the best value when developing podcasts. If you promise listeners a monthly or weekly podcast, keep that pledge. Before long, the benefit of this happy medium will be evident— you’ll see more traffic to your website and growth in your client base.