Sunday, March 13

Podcasting schmodcasting! 

I was recently asked to comment for a national business magazine about the marketing value of podcasting for small business owners.

FYI: "Podcasting" is making audio files (most commonly in MP3 format) available online in a way that allows software to automatically detect the availability of new files (generally via RSS), and download the files for listening at the user's convenience. The word "podcasting" is a portmanteau of the words iPod and broadcasting. A podcast is like an audio magazine subscription: a subscriber receives regular audio programs delivered via the internet, and can listen to them at their leisure.

Here is the response I sent to the reporter:

I've found that for small business owners, there is no "magic bullet" for marketing - and that, in fact, these marketing fads (like podcasting) are killing small business owners.

Among the key principles I believe in for marketing small businesses, here are three:

1. The media is NOT the message - it's not about e-zine vs. flashy website vs. podcast vs. buying radio time. It's about a compelling marketing message. Period. If you ain't got it, you lose, no matter what the media!

2. Broadcast, podcast, advertising, PR - you have to have killer CONTENT loaded with value. Distribution method is irrelevant. (If I won't read your 3-page white paper, I certainly won't download your 1-hour podcast!)

3. Podcasting seriously limits your marketing to reach a narrow audience - specifically, "nerds" - most non-technology companies need to reach broader audiences. And the high-level B2B decision-makers that most small business owners need to reach are NOT nerds (i.e. "they don't download!") - a better solution: send a compelling letter with an audio CD loaded with value. That's how audio marketing can reach non-nerds and have a real impact.

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