Just like blogs took off in popularity, now podcasts are gaining popularity and becoming an effective means for getting your message across. If you haven’t heard of podcasting yet, you just might be in the minority. According to Forrester Research, by 2010 podcasting should have about 12.3 million listeners. That’s a huge potential audience just waiting to hear what you have to say.
Since creating a podcast is relatively inexpensive—you just need a decent microphone, ample Web space bandwidth and software to create the podcast feed—the bulk of podcasts come from independent broadcasters. As this trend continues to gain momentum, it will provide even more opportunity and potential to reach a large, technology-savvy audience.
What Is a Podcast?
A podcast is an audio file stored on the Internet that you can download to your computer or MP3 player and listen to whenever you want. Specifically, podcasting contains an audio file in the RSS feed's enclosure tag. An enclosure tag is used in RSS feeds to include certain types of files. The file contained in an enclosure tag can be: an image, a data file, a video file or an audio file. Podcasting specifically refers to RSS feeds that contain audio files in their enclosure tag.
Convenience and Choice
One of the many benefits to podcasting is that it allows users tremendous flexibility to download content when it’s convenient for them and listen to it when they want, on a device of their choosing. Listeners literately have the ability to customize their own programming. Plus, by subscribing to RSS feeds with podcasting features, you can keep up with your favorite programs and save time searching the Web for new material.
Most RSS readers already are equipped to play podcasts. Any software that can play a sound file can easily transmit a podcast. You can also choose to make your podcasts portable by downloading them to an MP3 player. This flexibility lets you listen to podcasts wherever and whenever you want. Many people compare podcasts to digital video recorders since they allow the listener to select what they want to record, when to listen to their recordings and skip commercials or other interruptions.
A Marketing Opportunity
Small businesses should consider podcasting as another affordable and viral means for promoting their products and services. Similar to blogs and RSS feeds, podcasting offers a relatively easy and inexpensive way to reach a large audience.