It's been a few months since we last heard an Internet Master Series call, and I suspect both Lynn Carnes and Natalie Judd have moved onto new projects. If that is the case, let's admit that during its lifespan, this teleseminar series was truly a cut above the rest. It gave listeners a chance to discover different facets of Internet Marketing from real masters. If list-building was not your personal focus, then copywriting, Internet video or public relations were sure to catch your fancy.
Last November, Lynn interviewed Paul Colligan about podcasting to learn how it is radically altering the digital landscape. First appearing on the marketing scene in 1994 without the "hot" technology gadgets of the day, Colligan is now a primary "Go to" guy in this field. Apart from his own suite of financially successful websites, he has worked with several corporate clients - Microsoft, MCI and Pearson Education to name a few.
Definition of Podcasting.
Colligan defines podcasting as the automation of time-shifted, portable media. Sounds simple, but many ideas and concepts are encompassed within this phrase:
1. Time-shifted: When you want it.
2. Portable: Where you want it (e.g. airplane, gym, etc.).
3. Media: How you want it (e.g. MP3, iPod).
Why is Podcasting Important?
Proponents claim that as a cutting-edge, customer-driven media, podcasting has no peer. Folks like Colligan see it as the future of relationship marketing. Business people must learn and understand its significance now if they hope to monetize it significantly. Just as digital video recording (e.g. TiVo) is altering television viewing habits, podcasting has the potential to significantly alter personal and corporate Internet use.
For Paul, podcasting is the most accommodating media for a customer's busy schedule. People can tune in on their own terms (i.e. time, place, delivery system). Present and future trends may even permit a commercial-free option. All in all, podcasts are positioned to become the logical alternative or successor to talk ("drive-hour") radio. Imagine storing your personal library on an iPod and being able to access any type of content on a whim without memory limitations or dependence on a third party.
Podcasting, for Passion or Profit?
Colligan and other early adopters of podcasting technology often embrace new ideas in an all-consuming and emotionally-driven manner. Not everyone vies to become a corporate machine that "spits" out dollars and looks for big returns.
However, reality dictates that big players like Apple, Harvard University, Forbes Magazine, and the Wharton School of Business are going to put commercial interests front and center. These enterprises have the resources and capital to dictate podcasting's direction, all the while enhancing their own brand.
Colligan offers a solution - why not podcast for both passion and profit? Doing it for both reasons simultaneously and doing it right will give small business owners great leverage within their niche. They will have the ability to satisfy current customers and break into new markets faster.
How do I get Started? The C2M2 Method, of course.
Paul Colligan advises budding podcasters to produce a realistic plan of action that can be executed immediately. As a quick guide, he offers the C2M2 outline:
- Content source: Where is the content going to come from?
- Creation engine: A system (technology + medium) that gets your content out fast. Important to avoid "pod fade" or a weak engine.
- Marketing Method: Getting your message out to a targeted audience using effective traffic generation, list-building, and ad copy techniques.
- Monetization Machine: Achieving a level of trust, likability, and popularity that allows you to earn income through your podcasting efforts.
Colligan's central advice: Minimize the number of steps between initial contact with prospects and human consumption of your products.
Is Podcasting Really Viable as a Marketing "Vehicle"?
Marketers are looking to achieve "audience intimacy" with the average user, but at what cost? Paul Colligan says that twenty minutes of meaningful podcast content are enough to hook a prospect for life. Eighty percent of 2007 model year automobiles are iPod-enabled, so people on the move will be looking for content - your content! With the creation engine in place,
concentrate on a process that will outperform the radio "shock jock" and deliver results.
Paul asks us to keep up with the changes that Apple, Microsoft and other players spring on us from time to time. Technological compatibility is crucial in podcasting, so if you feel overwhelmed, hire a third party service to make upgrades as they become necessary.
Preparing a Podcast.
In the end, you have to have the production tools to execute podcasting campaigns. Among the tools you need:
1. For medium-sized businesses, setup a 1-800 number to handle product orders.
2. A large diaphragm microphone.
3. Voice editing software to ensure clear edits of your final product.
4. Leveling and compression software.
5. Tagging (i.e. bookmarking) yourself to look good on the iPod.
Surprising Content Sources.
There is no excuse for lack of content. Paul Colligan names but a few ways to obtain material for podcasts:
A. Content Repurposing (i.e. Specific reformatting of existing information to accomodate podcasting technology)
B. Recording interviews, conversations with experts.
C. Insider reports on how podcasts, teleseminars are put together.
D. Feedback on critical marketing issues in the news.
E. Industry reporting.
F. Use "Other people's" media.
Last Minute Hints to Better Podcasts.
1. Pre-content Monetization.
Become an expert in a well-defined niche, and get comfortable with podcasting technology. Consumers will buy from you if your content is good. Use subtle means to sell within your podcast; paid and unpaid advertisements can be part of the training process. In short, never pass up an opportunity to strengthen ties with your audience.
2. Search for a Podcasting Mastermind Group.
Paul recommends a mastermind to assist with the content, creation, marketing, and monetization phases of podcasting. A strong group of like-minded folks can assist you with the details of audio and video podcasting. More importantly, it will provide a support network for the inevitable times of self-doubt.
3. Get into iTunes!
Apple controls 60% of the overall portable music player market, so marketers are well advised to get their content into iTunes as soon as possible. It can as simple as asking the people at iTunes to include your material. The payoff can be enormous: a guaranteed audience and instant credibility with new and existing subscribers:
"Where are you? "
"Got iTunes? "
"Type in my name. "
"Got iTunes? "
"Type in my name. "
"Wow! How did you get in? "
Don't forget to tell your list(s) that you are available on iTunes. In time, you will notice that the relationship dynamics will change in your favor. To build momentum, use press releases and personal content tagging to reinforce your podcasting breakthrough.
Paul Colligan is an Internet Marketing heavy hitter, and he is arguably the number one podcasting expert online. Face it, anyone who publicly states that "Corporate life stinks!" must be quite secure and self-assured.
Podcasting technology is bringing about change. As an alternative to in-flight magazines for business travelers, as a new delivery system for teleseminars (produce, record, distribute online). For better or worse, it's all part of a cultural shift (in North America, anyway) in information consumption habits - away from reading, towards listening and viewing.
Podcast or perish?
Rahul Majumdar is a full-time information marketer specializing in teleseminar reporting, article marketing, and information product creation.