Defining the Podcast
This past Father’s Day remarked another notable moment in technological woes, when my very own father asked me, “What the hell is a podcast?” By now I’ve come to understand his misunderstanding of tech terms, password confusion, and general IT questions; so I am always happy to oblige and provide him with a podcast definition.
But when I got to talking, I realize, there is a lot more to a podcast than what meets the eye. It is not just online radio, downloadable and accessible at any time. It is about interacting with your audience, setting your own rules, and doing it the way you want it to be done. Joe Rogan of the Joe Rogan Experience explains it:
“There’s no one telling me what to do to spice it up. No one has any expectations other than the listeners. I pursue it knowing there’s a lot of people listening. I don’t want anyone to feel like, “Ugh, I can’t get that hour of my life back.”
Joe’s podcast also generates nearly 11 million monthly downloads, not to mention the live streaming on Ustream, Youtube, and Vimeo posts. Those numbers are nothing to scoff at, in fact, it is what drives advertising revenue and product endorsements. But we will get back to that.
So a podcast allows for more freedom, anyone with a microphone, a computer, and some time on their hand can record themselves talking about any train of thought, and proceed to upload it to the internet. There is no FCC, to silence you. You decide the topic; you make the terms. As a podcaster, you determine whether you want your podcast to be 3 minutes or 3 hours. Those are the rules.
My father’s next question was “How does anyone make money doing that?” Well, quite simply, podcasters are like radio shows, satellite or terrestrial. They can choose to have advertisers. Whether it be Shari’s Berries, or a unique flashlight, with millions of downloads, the advertisers see the value. The significant part of podcast advertisements is often the read. Unlike your tradition radio show, podcasters add flair to their product reads. Thus giving it a more natural, less forced feeling. As personal anecdotal evidence, I’ve never once knowingly purchased an item based off a radio read. However, I have purchased multiple items from a podcast reading. Maybe I merely wanted to support the podcast, or perhaps I felt the host made the items sound compelling. We will never know.
In addition to podcasts, the host will supplement their shows by live tweeting, or answer questions on streaming services. Much like radio hosts would take phone calls on the air. Except now, you are driving, even more, traffic to your website and social media channels for even more exposure and potential revenue. On top of that, you have a database of your previous shows, which are typically maybe available (freely) once the show has been recorded, which is something the radio cannot compete with regarding cataloging old shows.
Podcasts are now being implemented in content marketing strategies – blame it on people not wanting to read anymore, or perhaps not having the time to read. With everyone on the move, the podcast has redefined the information game.
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