Benefits of podcasting to businesses

I have done a bit of Podcasting on this blog; as an experiment mostly. I have had to discontinue it because the sound on my Mac has failed(!) – also, it takes considerably longer to Podcast than to simply blog – a simple Podcast of less than 10 minutes was taking me up to an hour to produce and publish. At least part of this time was due to my using free tools and also my lack of familiarity with them – I am sure with a bit of investment I could reduce that time.

Why would anyone want to expend the extra time and effort required to Podcast? There would want to be serious business (or personal) advantages to Podcasting for a company (or individual) to undertake it. A friend asked me recently why would anyone want to Podcast – as he was a singer/songwriter I offered it as a cheap and effective distribution mechanism for his songs!

On reading Chapter 14 of Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s book Naked Conversations, I found several good reasons for a company to invest in Podcasting.

According to this chapter:

most enterprise efforts treat podcasting as just a new iteration of streaming media, an Internet broadcast system that has been in use for years. The corporate ROI is found in database marketing. A distinguished speaker is hired to speak at a company-sponsored gathering. The talk is recorded and distributed over the Internet for free—with a catch. You must register, by giving your name, email and perhaps a demographic fact or two, before you can download the stream.

This model is now being successfully displaced by the free (no registration) model:

By replacing registration requirements with free RSS subscriptions, a company will increase the number of listeners by as much as tenfold…. If just one percent voluntarily purchased something, the result would be as much as 500 percent over the forced registration model. According to Kaye, companies have started to come around to this way of thinking…. An example of how it would work for the enterprise, that indicated how open source podcasting might work, involves his recording of speakers at PopTech, a popular conference that blends technology and sociological thinking. IT Conversations recorded Blink author Malcolm Gladwell’s talk Gladwell was well-received by 500 mostly paying attendees. Over the next 10 months, 67,000 people listened to the podcast version. Gladwell spoke for free at PopTech, even though elsewhere at the time he was receiving as much as $40,000 per speech. By August 2005, his asking price had gone up to $60,000 and he was among the most sought after speakers on the circuit. His new book is significantly outpacing his earlier earlier book in sales. Meanwhile, even though PopTech has raised its registration rates for it 2005 conference, advance registration was running ahead of schedule. Is there a measurable quid pro quo here? It’s not provable. But one can assume that both Gladwell and the conference producers have not been hurt by just giving it away.

Taking another tack completely –

There’s another way a company can use a podcast to its benefit: broadcast the voices and words of its best and brightest employees. Not only is a company-sponsored spotlight a great internal morale booster, it would reveal to the world the quality of your team and that you’re proud of them. It would make clear that real people work for your enterprise and they have passion and authority about what they are doing.

I am sure there are other business benefits of Podcasting – can you think of any I have missed?

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