How to do Everything with Podcasting.
Shel Holtz with Neville Hobson.
McGraw-Hill Osborne. 2007. 360 pp.
What can podcasting do for a business? That’s the wrong question to ask, say Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson. Like any communication tool, podcasting should be applied as a solution, not as a goal in and of itself. “Podcasting ought to come up in larger discussions about ways to reach audiences, to convey particular messages, or to address specific situations and problems,” they advise.
Hobson and Holtz are internationally known business communicators, bloggers, and consultants. I learned of their work through their podcast For Immediate Release. Friendly and engaging, For Immediate Release focuses on the latest communications technologies and social media.
How to Do Everything With Podcasting aims to “provide a resource to anybody engaged with podcasting, from casual listeners to independent podcasters to businesspeople looking for a new communication channel.”
Besides detailing all the technical aspects of podcasting, Hobson and Holtz preach the gospel of strategic planning. Thinking about producing a podcast? First, address the question: What outcomes are you trying to achieve? Would it serve as a marketing vehicle, or to supplement public relations and financial communications, or to enhance customer relations, or to enhance customer support? And how will you measure the success of your efforts?
The authors emphasize that perhaps the most important is the podcast’s social aspects. They encourage building a social network around your podcast, which is as important as the software and hardware you use.
They offer many examples of podcasting done well. Purina’s Animal Advice podcast, for example, provides information pet owners can use; it does not ‘sell product.’ Stanford University podcasts offer faculty lectures, interviews, music, and sports content. Target groups include students and alums. IBM’s The Future Of …. Podcast reaches investors and features interviews with engineers, product managers, and others in the trenches—not with PR or marketing staff.
Getting people to listen is step one, the authors say. Providing content that people will listen to because it is interesting, valuable, or entertaining is step two. Step three is making sure the way you present the content reflects the value you would bring to your listeners should they shift their business from a bigger business to your business.