This post has been submitted by regular contributor – Aaron Brazell
Recently, we began examining alternate forms of blogging. Mostly this is to stimulate thought on other methods of bringing content to the table. Last week it was mobile blogging, or moblogging. Another alternablog is the podcast. While podcast describes an entry more than a blog, it is another way to deliver content and it is far more popular than other alternablogs, in my opinion.
While I have personally experimented with the podcast (it sucked!), I’ve found it lacking for my situation. But for many others, podcasting is an extremely powerful medium to enhance a bloggers influence and reach.
Everyday I walk through the halls of the building I work in and I’ve noticed that, increasingly, people are listening to iPods while they work. Not just MP3 players. Real iPods. In fact, as I sit here in my cubicle and type away, my iPod is plugged up to my theatre system (yes, I have a theatre system in my cubicle!).
While any MP3 player or computer can play podcasts, Apple has made it natural and easy to “do” podcasts. Subscribe in iTunes, sync the iPod and away you go. Fresh media for the new day. It’s no wonder that podcasts have taken off.
What can Podcasting Do For My Blog?
So what exactly is the benefit of a Podcast?
- Podcasting works for on-the-go blog consumers. Interested consumers who perhaps run, work out, or just sit behind a desk and working away can take in what you have to say. Not everyone has the chance to “surf the web” at all times, but they want to know what you have to say. Others might commute in their cars for an hour or more (I commuted an hour and a half to work every day for two years). To these consumers who might listen better than they read, or who simply want to keep themselves up on some of the ideas you present, a podcast works well.
- Podcasting works well as a supplemental source. I know of a couple of people who will do a weekly podcast that summarizes some of the weeks activity on their show. It provides them an alternate way to reach an audience who just wants to catch up.
- Podcasts make the bes interview mediums for blogs. Usually when a blogger does an interview with somenoe in their niche, it is really a whole lot easier to talk to the person, to hear the inflection and tone in the voice. It helps consumers understand the interviewee better.
- Podcasts take up a lot of bandwidth and after awhile take up a lot of server space. A podcast is typically not big in and of itself, but overtime, bandwidth restraints are often limiting. There are services, such as The Podcast Network, that will host podcasts for you but often times there are strict requirements on content.
- Less monetization value. There are not a lot of ways to monetize a podcast. If the podcast is being played from a browser, there is a chance (based on browser and server configuration) that the MP3 might be played directly on the blog on demand, in which case standard ad programs might have an effect (especially if the user stays on the browser window staring at the ads while listening). However, this is really unreliable in terms of revenue. On a standard blog, it is possible to insert ads into a page because a page is “multi-channel”… that is, ads can be consumed at the same time as content. However, podcasts, as an audio medium, offers only one “channel” – what is being heard right now. Ads can be placed at the beginning or end of a podcast and on a limited basis, in the middle, but its hard to maintain flow with too many ads in the middle.
There’s a downside, right?
Best practice, as far as I can tell from my experiences, is to have multiple people contributing to a podcast. It is a whole lot less awkward to have a discussion when there are more than one person contributing.
Your thoughts on podcasting?