Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Podcasting Explained -- Thanks Again, Common Craft!

Yesterday I shared a video about blogging from Common Craft. Their "in Plain English" series explains complex concepts in short, simple videos. "Podcasting in Plain English" outlines the basics of podcasting, and even addresses some of the common misperceptions about it.

I've been enjoying podcasts from some time now. In fact, it's almosst completely edged out radio listening when I drive. And I also produce a podcast for our record label.

Podcasting and other web activities face a very difficult hurtle. The benefits are immediately obvious to those who participate and use them. But these activities are so new and foreign to most people that they have almost no way to understand what these processes are -- and therefore can't properly assess their value. And therefore don't use them.

Why should that matter? Who cares if only a select "get it?"

Well, for one thing it considerably limits the potential audience.

I produce the "DCD Classical 'Cast" to showcase the releases that we carry at our online store. The more folks subscribe to our podcast, the more potential customers we have. Our listener base is slowly groing, but it's still a VERY small fraction of the potential audience. If everyone who listened to classical music on the radio understood and used podcasts, we would still only get a minority of that audience, but our download numbers would jump exponentially.

The other reason it matters who "gets it" is that podcasts are inexpensive to produce and distribute, and are tailor-made for narrowcasting.

Some businesses benefit from podcasting, either by producing their own (as we do), or advertising on them to get their message out to their core customer base. But its only a fraction of the businesses that could profitably use this tool.

Audble.com is a good example of how to do it. For the uninitiated, Audible is a "books on tape" company. Save that their books are downloadable MP3s.

For the past two months Audible's been agressively advertising on many of the most popular podcasts, which a special introductory offer. And it makes sense. They're selling downloadable MP3s that you can listen to on long trips, or a daily commute. Podcasts are downloadable MP3s that many people listen to on long trips, or daily commutes. Audible is simply connecting with their core customer base.

How many decision-makers at companies don't "get it?" And how many are therefore leaving money on the table?

So thanks again, Common Craft. I'll be using your video to help bring others into the fold -- both for personal and professional reasons!

- Ralph

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