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Business podcasting primer

The power of broadcasting online to reach new prospects

Photo courtesy of TimWilson via Flickr

Photo courtesy of TimWilson via Flickr

In discussions of opportunities to reach new audiences through social media, podcasting is often overlooked. Frankly, the medium is poorly understood amongst many PR and marketing professionals. What’s being said on all those digital broadcasts from basements and spare bedrooms? Who is listening to them? The answer to the latter question is easy: plenty of people. The research firm eMarketer estimated last month that 17.4 million Americans, or 9 percent of all American Internet users, listened to podcasts in 2008. I’ve talked to podcasters who have thousands of listeners but are struggling to find sponsors in this economy, and receive a scant few pitches from PR pros. That’s because the power of podcasting as a niche medium hasn’t yet been fully recognized.

Take franchising opportunities as an example. If you’re advertising on or pitching a radio station, how many listeners must that station have before its audience includes a few real prospects with several million dollars on hand invest in a franchise? Quite a lot. Yet, many of those investors are fairly tech-savvy. So why not focus your efforts on scoring mentions on a B-to-B podcast instead?

That’s what AmericInn did, with great success. The hotel chain began advertising its franchising opportunities through business podcasts with the help of Lou Del Monte, a former marketing director for Honeywell and who leads the search engine optimization and social media marketing firm TMA E-Marketing. He helped AmericInn produce a podcast explaining those franchise opportunities, and more than 10,000 people downloaded it. Del Monte also founded iBizRadio, a leading directory of business podcasts that indexes more than 350 of them in 40 categories.

A search-optimized podcast, he says, reaches people interested in investment opportunities more cost-effectively than advertising on the radio. What do you think? Have you or your clients had success with business podcasting?

Tags : social media

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