Corporate marketers are now actively engaging in social media. Soon to be gone is the big budgets behind email marketing. Social media is the new marketing strategy. At PodTech.net we have been commited to developing the ideas and plans behind corporate podcasting and now social media.
Social media is to Web 2.0 as the web site was to Web 1.0. We’ve been involved in dozens and dozens of success stories over the past two years with podcasting and blogging. In particular I’ve spent the past year doing podcasts with hundreds of corporate marketers with PodTech.net.
One podcast is Jennifer Jones’ marketing podcast called Marketing Voices. Jennifer has been diving into social media, blogs, and podcasting as it relates to corporate marketers. In a podcast on PodTech Greg Ness one of PodTech’s first customers implemented a very successful podcast series called Master of IT. Jennifer Jones interviewed Greg on what makes a great podcast series on her Marketing Voices show. In Greg’s own words he outlines the keys to success with Podcasting programs:
MarketingSherpa a small research firm put up a blog post on Podcast best practices. (Note: they deleted my comments on their post so I’ll put it on my blog here)
Specific Tips on Creating a Podcast That Works as a Marketing Tool
Many of the most successful podcasts resemble a cross between a regularly published email newsletter with several interesting articles, a personal blog with a strong individual tone and a radio talk show with must-meet guest stars. So the best qualities are:
o Strong voice – not just the sound but the style
o Steadiness of publication – not a one-off, but a continuing series
o Variety – different guests-stars, different “articles”
According to Rob Walch, co-author of the book, ‘Tricks of the Podcasting Masters’ (link below) you should avoid the three most common mistakes:
Mistake #1. Shovelware
Every time a new media is invented (TV, the Web, and now podcasting) at first creators try to shovel up the same content onto the new medium that worked in the others. Don’t just read your Web site content or email articles into a microphone. If your fans wanted that, they could go online to see it.
Although you may include calls to action to go to your site (click for more info…), your content should be new, fresh, specifically created for this medium. That’s why guest interviews, music, co-host chit chat and even rants do so well for podcasts.
Mistake #2. Sales pitch
You may get a few people to download a podcast that’s a lightly disguised sales pitch once … but chances are none of them will bother to download or listen to the next installment. Just as with email newsletters, the best-loved podcasts offer content the listeners find valuable and/or highly entertaining.
Instead of viewing the podcast as infomercial, consider it your ‘Hallmark Hall of Fame’ series, where you’ll broadcast great content that’s lightly peppered with palatable commercials.
“You don’t have to tell your whole story up front,” notes Walch. “Be patient with the podcast and spread your story out over the series. Look at this as being a long-term investment of time and effort.”
Mistake #3. Testing just one to start
We’ve heard of many, many marketers producing one podcast as a “test” campaign. The problem with that approach is although podcasting is cheap (equipment costs range from $25-$1,000 and hosting is only expensive if you’re incredibly successful) you should be investing considerable energy and time into initially creating and promoting your podcast.
As with email newsletters or drive-time radio shows, the most successful podcasts build brand impact from listener relationships over time. It’s not a one-off medium. If you create only one, you may not ever get the audience or impact your podcast deserves. Or, if your single podcast defies the odds to become insanely successful, you may not be ready with a follow-up series in time to catch the wave.
Here are five more content and production rules:
Rule #1: Keep it short.
The ideal length of a podcast is 10 minutes to 20 minutes. “If you go more than 25 minutes, you’re outside the average commute,” says Walch. Or past the average treadmill workout.
Plus, you need to break up that time into smaller chunks of content. Unlike a trade show speech, it can get awfully boring hearing the same announcer speaking away for 20 solid minutes. Many of the corporate podcasters we know say they spend a lot of time editing the content down for roughly three-four minutes per interview or feature.
Rule #2. Don’t drone from a script
Although some corporate podcasts are scripted, just as with the blogworld, anything with too many corporate communications editors involved can turn the audience off.
Walch advises you use body language to keep your vocal energy high. Stand up instead of sitting. Gesticulate.
Rule #3. Copywrite your podcast title carefully
If you’re hoping for iTunes traffic to discover you, as well as users on other major podcasting directories, remember you’re competing with tens of thousands of other podcasts.
Walch advises you to pick a name for your podcast that matches your content topic. People are likely to search for a particular subject (rather than a brand name) when they visit iTunes. (Note: This is just like any other type of search marketing — it’s all about keywords.)
When an audience member is listening on an iPod, they’ll see a 255-character ID3 tag title scrolling across their screen throughout the podcast. Roughly 17-32 characters appear on the screen at any time as it scrolls.
Be sure to include your phone number and short vanity URL in that title for responses. Plus, naturally include your title.
What should the title be? Remember you’re trying to build a brand relationship with the audience over time. While your podcast name can have your company or brand name in it, you should also consider a secondary name. Don’t call it “XYZ Corporation Podcast Issue I,” which is a recipe for boring.
However, do include a date in your name if the content will be dated in the future. Unlike email newsletters, which are date-stamped by the recipient’s inbox when they arrive, podcasts are not dated unless you put one there.
Rule #4. Schedule a calendar (ongoing or limited-series)
Many podcasting experts say the best frequency is weekly. However, if you’re not sure if you’re up to the work, nor if the audience demand will be there, you probably should start with a slower calendar. As with blogging and email newsletters, podcasting can be exhausting for the long haul.
“You don’t want to produce a show five days a week and wake up and think, ‘It’s time to make the doughnuts,’” Walch says. Key — whatever timing you set, try to stick to it to capture habitual listeners. “You want to get in people’s ruts.”
Not sure if you’re up to starting a podcast series that will go on until the end of time? It’s a scary commitment. Our suggestion, try the waters first with a limited-run podcast series. Just as with an emailed “e-course,” a single-season TV series, or a novel with chapters, you’d have a story arc and announce up front how long the entire podcast will be.
Each episode would be developed to play in context of the rest, and the entire series would be as evergreen as possible so newbies can start with podcast #1 at any time and work their way through the series at their own pace.
Rule #5. Best time of day may be nighttime
Many podcasting enthusiasts dock their iPods overnight and then listen to whatever’s new the next morning.
In summary the best thing to remember are the words from Greg Ness, the architect of the successfull Master of IT podcast series….
Authenic, Real, Relevant, and Interesting.!!!