Small Business Podcasting Sadly Underutilized

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micThe hype over this thing called podcasting tipped long ago. So much so that you either don’t hear much about it anymore in the media or you hear that it’s so last year. While it’s true, the bloom of newness is off the podcasting rose, the usefulness as a marketing tool for the small business is better than ever.

Looking at the traditional podcast format, much like a radio show hosted by a passionate host, a lot of small business folks miss the potential for their business. Let me break down what podcasting is from a marketing point of view. It’s the use of simple tools to create multi-media content, engage prospects and customers alike, and open doors to strategic partners like never before. If any of those things sound like useful objectives, then podcasting is for you. (I won’t even mention the possibilities for using this approach to create products.)

Don’t get hung up on the radio show thing so much as on the ability to easily create great content.

Here’s how I would suggest you think about podcasting.

  • A great way to feature the stories of your best customer – interview your customers and post their stories for prospects to hear. It doesn’t matter if you have a large audience for your podcast, your customers will dig the attention and you’ll get content on the fly.
  • A great way to open doors – when you contact an author, industry leader, or expert of any kind with the offer to interview and feature them on your podcast, you’ll be amazed at the quality of guest you can secure and then the quality of content and exposure that can bring. If you run a print shop in the middle of Des Moines Iowa you can offer your customers and prospects access to the leading design, print and color experts from around the world – would that be valuable?
  • A great way to build and solidify your strategic network – By routinely interviewing the members of your network of partners that you would like your customers to meet you can build a stronger network and make referrals to that network more easily because of the focus you can bring with an interview and audio content featured on the partner section of your site.
  • A great competitive advantage – Does your competitor have an interview with the current president of your trade association on their site?
  • Two for one – hold live web conferences using either interviews or presentations, record and viola, podcast episode.

Can you see how these examples might make this thing called podcasting a killer small business tool? Again, forget what it’s called, focus on the practical uses.

A few tools to get you started

  • Good mic – I use a Blue Snowball USB mic
  • Audio editing software – I use Garage Band on a Mac
  • Audio hosting service – I use Libsyn
  • Phone interviews? – I use SkypeIn with a real phone number and Call Recorder software
  • WordPress plugin – Podcasting
  • WordPress Blog – use to host your show episodes and RSS feed so people can get your audio via iTunes
  • Complete Internet Radio Show – BlogTalkRadio

You can take this as far and as full featured as you like, but just adding basic audio interviews and recording via podcasting is an easy way to ramp up the content creation machine.

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