While most public relations practitioners appear to be infatuated with the blogosphere, corporate podcasting could be lower hanging fruit.
According to a wave.3 [PDF], a global study by Universal McCann, the number of podcast listeners in the United States more than doubled in the last year and a half. During the same period in the United States, blog readership declined 2 percent and membership to social networks grew 3 percent.
That doesn’t mean blogging and social networking aren’t important, but it does mean the blogosphere and social networks have become crowded, busy and saturated. It also means blogs and social networks are among the most competitive new media communications channels to engage constituents through.
Podcasting, on the other hand, represents a far less competitive new media channel. Public relations podcasting initiatives can whisper in the ears of an influential, outspoken audience of brand ambassadors, compelling listeners to serve as word-of-mouth agents, repeating what they hear to their friends and family, and unfortunate as it may be, the source from which information comes is often seen as more important than the information itself.
Most people think podcasting only works for brand marketers, but in my opinion, podcasting may be best suited for b2b and niche marketers who can package and deliver relevant, compelling and entertaining content to an underserved audience. If you want to go head to head with Oprah, good luck. But if you want to create a podcast for model train enthusiasts in the tri-state area, Internet security software technicians or people interested in how new media is changing the public relations business, podcasting may be a perfect fit.
If you’re interested in learning how to integrate podcasting effectively into your external communications efforts or corporate communications programs, join me at PRSA’s upcoming PR Podcast Boot Camp at PRSA headquarters in NYC on September 22, 2008.
Who am I? As long as I’m well fed, I’m a relatively nice guy, happily married with a kid. I’ve been practicing public relations about 15 years now, and have been producing a public relations podcast,which has won numerous awards (including the Bronze Anvil) for three years. I also founded iPressroom, which provides online press room management software to Fortune 500s and start-ups.
iPressroom also creates original audio and video content for clients who want to convert their online pressrooms from a press release archive to a full-fledged online media center and in due course, we’ve produced, distributed and promoted hundreds of podcasts for clients.
Hope to see you in NYC, or tweet me @spinfluencer.
By Eric Schwartzman, founder and chairman of public relations services provider iPressroom, managing director of Los Angeles public relations firm Schwartzman & Associates and executive producer of the PRSA award-winning public relations Podcast “On the Record…Online,” has nearly 20 years of experience as a marketer and a public relations practitioner and specializes in helping clients integrate all aspects of Web-based communications into mainstream public relations, corporate communications and marketing campaigns.
Join Schwartzman at his two-day seminar “Social Media and New Media PR Boot Camp: Learn Key Concepts and Techniques of Effective Online Communications” on Thursday, February 25–Friday, February 26, 2010 in San Francisco, CA and “Social Media and New Media PR Master Class: Fine-tune Your Strategic Understanding of Social Media” on Friday, March 26, 2010 in New York, NY!
Good post. I think the medium of podcasting has a lot of potential, but I don’t think enough people really know what they are or how to listen to them. We’ve done two podcast series at GM (http://fyi.gmblogs.com/podcasts), but haven’t really seen them take off yet. A good example of a corporate podcast would be Whirlpool’s American Family series. I highly recommend this series (http://tinyurl.com/5sry5v).
If you’re measuring the success of your podcasts by mainstream media standards, I’m not surprised. But if your looking at it as a channel for communicating with brand advocates, who will share what they learn in the podcast with their social and professional network, you may wind up re-evaluating their value. Research shows people trust their peers more than any other form of media or communication, and of the social media channels available, podcasting is the least competitive channel for whispering in those ears.