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You may have seen or heard the term “podcast” recently.  Podcasts are audio segments that you can listen to on your computer or easily transfer to your iPod for listening in your car or burning to CD.  Think of it as a newscast with a funny name because of the popularity of Apple’s iPod audio and video players. Podcasts are dynamic. Plug your iPod into your computer and if a new “episode” is available, it will automatically be downloaded to your portable listening device.

Podcasts are important because it is an efficient and convenient way to add value to your customers and help them with their problems.  They can listen in the car or at their computer as they multitask and keep busy. How do you develop a good podcast?  Here are a few ideas on making podcasts work for you as a part of your Web marketing efforts.

Plan it Out First

Give your podcast a title that is specific to one of the needs in your target market.  Think about what makes their job easier or enhances the quality of their lives.  Decide on a length of time for the podcast and remember that a shorter time span will hold people’s attention more effectively, but not too short.  Keep it over ten minutes in length at a minimum.  Get to the key issues quickly.  Write your script or outline in advance and do not sound like you are reading when presenting.

How is it Recorded?

A professional recording studio can produce a digital audio file of your podcast that can be uploaded to your Website.  The audio file can be recorded in a variety of formats and easily adapted for your particular listening device.  Another option is to do it yourself on your computer, using a basic digital recording software program, which often comes with the computer.  For better results, use a decent recording microphone and not the microphone on your computer.  If this is confusing or difficult for you, get help from someone with experience recording live audio onto a computer.

Hire an Interviewer

An interview format is very effective.  Plan your questions in advance and bring in someone with a convincing voice to be your podcast moderator or announcer.  They will introduce the podcast, the guest (you) and ask the questions.  They function as the host of the program and keep the interest level up.

Share Your Secrets

Do not hold back.  Share every thing you can think of in the short amount of time that will bring value to the listener.  You will gain customers because you are adding value to them through this podcast.  Also, keep the podcast current and relevant.

Get Inside the Head of the Listener

Walk in the shoes of the listener.  What would you want to hear?  The better you can understand the listener, the better your podcast.  Remember that the podcast is about the listener and not you or your business.  If your listener is listening to your podcast they are intelligent and computer savvy, so keep the content at a high level and interesting.  Give them something concrete to add to their action plan.

Video Versus Audio

Video is growing as a communications medium on the Web and should be considered when it is important to actually see what you are talking about.  However, podcasts have three big advantages over video, first they are cheaper to produce, second they take less bandwidth and third people can multitask while they listen to a podcast.  Make it a podcast, unless you must use video.

Podcasts work because people go to the Web first for information and well thought out audio presentations can help you better meet the needs of your customers and grow your business. Check out two of our most recent podcasts on our Website and look for more coming soon.

Thomas Young

Thomas Young is the CEO and Founder of Intuitive Websites. He is a consultant, award winning Vistage speaker and author of “Winning the Website War” and “Sales and Marketing Alignment.” Tom has helped thousands of companies succeed online and has over 25 years digital marketing experience.