[ARTICLE] Hello out there! Podcasts can put your messages in the right ears
A lot of work goes into creating a good podcast. If done right, businesses can ride the wave of on-demand content and portability to reach both customers and employees.
Podcasts are on-demand audio and video content. They’re available through numerous podcast directory sites, but users don’t need a portable digital player to listen or watch. They can use a computer instead.
"It’s all about how do I get my brand in front of people in their car, at home and at work?," Whitney said.
The answer is a podcast.
"There’s no blocking of podcasting. It’s all opt-in. I’ve raised my hand and said ‘please tell me your story.’ One hundred percent of the people want to hear it."
Whitney worked as a marketer for Compaq computers and released Radio NetFrame, one of the first intracast, or internal corporate podcasts, more than 10 years ago. The show featured original music, product updates, executive interviews and a game show. The program was produced on a cassette tape and sent to every sales representative in the company.
He also has 25 years of audio production work and sold more than 40,000 copies of his own music compact discs. He started TimbreWorx Music (www.timbreworx.com), a company that sells branded CDs by undiscovered artists. He and his wife Melissa also produce the Living in Las Vegas podcast (www.livinginlv.com).
The recipe for creating effective podcasts includes "The Four Ps of Podcasting," a phrase trademarked by Whitney. Plan, produce, publish and promote is his mantra.
A key element of planning is creating an episode map, Whitney said.
"If you have a map, it helps take away the fear."
Keys to effective production include script preparation and research. He said good recordings can be made in executive’s offices, as long as they are prepared.
Publishing a podcast in various formats increases the chances it will be heard.
"Our job is to increase the probability of user engagement. On our Web site, we publish three ways — an online flash player, downloadable MP3 files or streaming MP3 files."
Promotion is essential.
"The build-it-and-they-will-come mentality doesn’t play out," he said. "You have to tell the rest of the world," he said.
Whitney uses a nine-page listing of podcast directories to help users find his productions.
At least one major corporation jumped on the podcast wagon, when National Semiconductor gave each of its 8,500 workers an iPod in June. The iPods are used to communicate company messages to workers, who can also use them for personal enjoyment.
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