Although podcasting is new, it is
well on its way to becoming a mainstream communication
medium. Podcasting, simply put, is audio files
that are delivered via RSS. Many people believe
that podcasting is solely for the distribution
of music files, but really, nothing could be further
from the truth. This emerging method of audio
file distribution has opened an array of marketing
and communication opportunities to businesses.
Currently, most who are familiar with podcasting
are technically savvy, but it is clear that podcasting
will be more than a passing fad as many businesses
are adopting podcasting and employing it in unusual
yet powerful ways. Podcasting can be used for
talk shows, tutorials, music demos, educational
training, stories, comedy clips, debates or even
foreign language tutorials.
While RSS has had the capacity to
include audio files for a few years, only recently
have entrepreneurs made the conceptual leap, taking
advantage of the new power held within this communication
medium. In reality, podcasters cover the gamut;
some are professional broadcasters, while others
are obvious amateurs.
Podcasts are usually published with
associated meta information that includes descriptive
data about each specific audio file. This allows
listeners to make a determination of which audio
items are of interest. If listeners are using
a news aggregator that supports podcasting, they
will automatically receive updates in their feed
reader or news aggregation software when a new
podcast exists for a feed that they have subscribed
Why is podcasting so beneficial
to the subscriber?
Unlike traditional radio, with podcasting the
subscriber decides what content he/she receives.
Podcasting is extremely useful to the subscriber
because the user can easily receive information
he/she would like, and listen to it when they
want. The material, once downloaded, can be listened
to and viewed on wireless handhelds, allowing
subscribers to utilize time on the road.
Topic-specific radio talk shows
with commentaries, interviews and debates can
now be heard at a time and place of the listener's
choosing. Consider the benefit of educational
tutorials and foreign language instruction; lessons
could be listened to during a work commute. Supplementary
class lectures, step by step tutorials or walking
guides are all possible using podcasting. An unlimited
collection of books read aloud for elderly or
visually-impaired listeners only scratch the surface
of what is possible in the future of podcasting.
The fate of podcasting is in the
hands of the subscribers. The subscriber can easily
delete podcast feeds that do not satisfy their
needs with the single tap of a button. Ultimately,
the subscriber maintains control and determines
what podcasts are deemed successful. This intrinsically
builds in a quality control level and will ensure
that the more innovative instructional and interesting
podcast feeds survive.
The technology is fresh and, like
the Internet, is opening doors to entrepreneurs.
As podcasting evolves, users will find more creative
kinds of audio content to deliver. The low barrier
to entry has forced this new medium to the forefront,
as businesses and individuals have really little
to lose in adding podcasting as a communication
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
software for creating, editing and publishing
RSS feeds and NotePage, Inc. http://www.notepage.net
a wireless messaging software company.