Podcasting for leads
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."
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
According to Pew Research, downloads of podcasts rose a remarkable 71
percent in just six months in 2006.
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
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
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