With a computer, mic and broadband connection, you can produce an infomercial or broadcast and distribute it through aggregators, such as Ipodder and FeedDemon, or web-based directories such as Podcast Alley. These podcasts are sent via topic-specific feeds to subscribers, who can download them to their digital music players or computers.
Twenty-two million American adults have MP3 players or iPods, according to a recent Pew Internet and American Life poll--a vast potential audience. Chris McIntyre, founder of Podcast Alley in Nashville, Tennessee, has seen double- to triple-digit growth over just a few months in the number of podcasts being produced and the number of people listening to them. "One of the most popular podcasts has about 28,000 subscribers from my site alone," says McIntyre.
Steve Rubel, vice president of client services at CooperKatz & Co., a New York City marketing communications and PR firm, publishes a blog about persuasive technology (www.micropersuasion.com). He says entrepreneurs may find value in creating their own broadcasts, and sees multiple marketing opportunities in podcasting, including:
- Sponsoring a popular podcast, much like a company might sponsor a radio broadcast
- Using giveaways, contests and other promos that have proven effective in traditional broadcast media
- Incorporating short ads within podcast feeds, which would be visible as the program downloads
Since podcast culture eschews overt commercialism, Rubel advises, "I certainly wouldn't put jingles or 30-second spots as podcasts by themselves." But he adds that good content attracts listeners.
Will it replace blogging? No way, says Rubel. "Radio didn't replace newspapers. There's no shortage of interest in text."