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Using Podcasts for PR

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Also known as webcasts or online broadcasting, podcasts are multimedia files that can be automatically downloaded to subscribers’ personal computers or played on mobile devices such as iPods. If you prefer to communicate via the spoken word, podcasts can be a viable tool for conveying information to employees, clients or prospects. However, you will have to take certain steps to help the right people find your messages.

Determine the theme/purpose of the podcasts. Podcasts are used for several purposes, including:

– New product announcements
– Company/product news updates
– Industry trends or event reports
– Conference meeting alerts and updates
– Staff training

Whatever your purpose, you will need to have a consistent theme. Otherwise, you’ll confuse subscribers and drive them away when they find the content does not always align with their interests. Knowing the theme and purpose of your podcast will help you determine what formats you can use, for example, interviews with key people, news bulletins, tips and so on. Plus, it will be easier to decide on a title that is informative and attention-grabbing.

Create accurate description

Next, you’ll have to explain to your prospective audience what your podcast is about and why they should listen. For this, you should write a description for podcast directories at any other online site through which your audience can access your content. Podcast descriptions can be written using the second person (that is, “you” and “yours”) or the third person (referring to the host by name or as “she,” “he,” “they”). Whatever style you use, your description should use words and phrases that potential listeners will look for while searching through a directory. For example, if you are targeting entrepreneurs, include the word “entrepreneur” or “solopreneurs” as well as any other keywords that relate to the specific topic that you are covering.

Create directory listings
Listing your podcast at some of the more popular podcast, RSS and blog directories will help prospective audience members find your content. A few of the top podcast directories include the following:

– Digital Podcast.com
– iTunes
– Odeo.com
– Podcast.net
– Podcast Alley.com
– Podcast Directory.com
– Podcast Feed.net
– Podcasting News.com
– Podcastpickle.com
– Podcasts.yahoo.com
– PodNova.com

You can use Feedburner.com free of charge to ensure that your podcast is properly formatted for specific directories. In addition, you can also create “album art” to showcase your feed in directories such as iTunes. Album art refers to a custom-made image or logo that identify your particular feed. If you do not have images, the directory provides a generic “submit a podcast” icon for your use.

Online links and RSS feeds

Not all potential audience members will browse directories, so it is a good idea to also provide a link to your podcast on your Web site (or your company intranet if the podcast targets employees).

Experts recommend that you use a blog platform to facilitate publishing your feeds and to ensure that search engine spiders easily find your podcast. Like blogs, podcasts use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds so by using the blog platform, you’ll have a really easy way to have people subscribe and automatically get updates about new content. In addition, blogs can be set up to automatically notify directories and other sites of new content. Podcasting consultant Jason Van Orden states that many blogging platforms can be integrated into your existing Web sites.

Pinging sites

In addition to the RRS feed, you can use the following “pinging” sites to alert individuals and search engines whenever you post a new podcast:

– freshpodcasts.com
– audio.weblogs.com
– bloglines.com

Write press releases

You can also announce your new podcast series through press releases. Send the releases to media outlets that cover the same subject matter as your podcast, use online distribution services such as PR Web or eReleases to have your release posted on key news sites or use a combination of the two tactics.

Allow for feedback

Allow audience members to leave comments or feedback about an episode. The interaction will create a sense of community, which in turn, encourages your audience to keep returning to your feed. If you’re using a blog platform, they can type feedback in a comments area. Otherwise, you can provide a voicemail number so that they can leave you audio feedback.

Interact with bloggers, fellow podcasters, and other influencers

You can also become part of the larger blogging/podcasting community. Get to know the other bloggers and podcasters who cover your subject area. Appear on other podcasts as an expert source, and either the host will mention your podcast or allow to briefly promote it yourself. Linking is the custom in the blogophere, so initiate an ongoing conversation with the appropriate bloggers and point them to podcast episodes that would interest them.


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