Podcasting for leads

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Internet marketing firm Oneupweb recently released data from its 
podcast tracking technology PodTractor.
Podcasting allows marketers to reach their target audience with their 
own corporate voice and build more searchable content.
"As search marketers, we're always looking for ways to be more 
visible in search engine results," said Lisa Wehr, president of 
Oneupweb, Lake Leelanau, MI. "In addition to providing more content 
for traditional engines to index, podcast directories are in essence 
a new category of search engines."

Podcasting market
Podtractor, launched in August, interprets and records the listener 
behavior data by monitoring interaction between podcast listeners and 
the podcast feed.
Across several industries, corporate podcasts are being downloaded 
primarily during lunch hours, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Overall, these 
three hours account for 16.5 percent of aggregate downloads, 
according to the data.
"The podcast market is as big as the population of computers and 
portable devices combined," Ms. Wehr said. "The popularity of 
lunchtime downloads supports that position. It also underscores the 
need for podcasts to be visible - if interested audiences can find 
your content they'll listen to it - whether on their computers or MP3 
players."
According to Pew Research, downloads of podcasts rose a remarkable 71 
percent in just six months in 2006.

Podcast visibility
The biggest challenge right now in this market is finding podcasts, 
as they are rare and aren't properly optimized.
Marketers need to optimize their XML feeds, as these pages can and 
will be indexed by search engines. The majority of consumers do not 
know what to do next to access the podcast.
"Within the code itself, search marketers will need to create unique 
content providing listeners with directions on downloading options 
and how to find them - obviously, to expand the audience," Ms. Wehr 
said.
After ensuring that the technology is working properly, search engine 
optimization professionals need to focus on content and link 
development, she said.
"Podcast directories are in essence, another type of search engine," 
Ms. Wehr said. "Without a podcast, an organization is missing from 
podcast directory results pages in much the same way that companies 
without optimized Web sites are absent from Google, MSN and Yahoo. 
It's not enough to have produced a podcast; it must also be optimized 
to appear for the proper keywords, or your target audience won't be 
able to find you."


The appeal of podcast
When it comes to who downloads, it depends on the marketer and their 
particular audience. For example, Oneupweb found that entertainment 
podcasts have a lot of college students downloading.
"One thing we should point out is that podcasting trends are evolving 
and different industries will have different data," Ms. Wehr said. 
"Companies considering podcasting need ongoing tracking so that they 
can keep a finger on the pulse of their target audience."
In the business-to-business marketers use various resources - such as 
white papers recorded as podcasts - as promotional items. In 
addition, press releases or Web site "About Us" pages can show 
viewers interviews with key personnel or recorded CEO speeches and 
management meetings adding a depth and personality to the company.
"These resources are especially effective in business-to-business 
marketing where more consumer-oriented promotions like 'free 
shipping' or '$50 off orders over $100' don't make sense," Ms. Wehr 
said.
She said offering a free podcast download has similar value.
Video podcasts of instruction manuals are a lot more effective as how-
to guides because users can actually see what it is that they are 
supposed to do, rather than just reading a traditional manual. A 
tremendous amount of travel money can be saved with easily 
distributed and updated podcast training modules, Ms. Wehr said.
"Because podcasting is so new, savvy marketers can build a following 
ahead of their competition," she said. "Those in the space early will 
be able to test and try different approaches, gaining experience as 
podcasting grows. Those that come later will have to catch up and 
break through to subscribers   that may have settled into listening 
habits."

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