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Podcasting is gathering favour thanks to Apple who have now incorporated Podcasts in their menu structure of itunes version 4.9

What is a Podcast? Here’s the definition from The Podcast Network

“The long story…a podcast is an audio show similar to a radio broadcast (but better and more relevant to you…the listener) that is either downloaded from a website or delivered via an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed automatically to your desktop music application via an aggregator, or a podcatcher application as some like to call it.

The short story…its great and relevant audio content, that is easy to get and that you can listen to anytime and anywhere.

Podcasts can be available in a number of audio formats including MP3, WMA and AAC, though MP3 tends to be the most favoured format due to wide spread acceptance by pretty much all types of portable music devices like the Apple iPod and the Creative Zen.”

Podcasts seem to fall into several categories
1. Music playlists (some with or without commentary)
2. Latest News type of podcasts either for movies, music and usually published by existing media agencies of tv or radio.
3. Niche talkback shows that often publish a 1 hour show each week

There maybe other categories, but I want to consider the topic of advertorial content or the best way to advertise using Podcasting.

Companies with big brands that have a fanatical audience can probably create a direct Podcast from their existing websites. Brands that service the hobby market such as SCX slot car racing could conduct interviews with various slot car clubs which would include news of product updates, and sponsored competitions etc.
General Motors already run their own blogs to communicate to their various segments and recently started to include a Podcast to their blog called Fastlane to extend the richness of their communication medium.

But what if your brand doesn’t have fanatical consumers? Whilst it may be difficult to think of a reason to use Podcasting to talk about tissues, or a tin of beans, I believe there are opportunities for Brands that want to be seen as innovators to utilise Podcasting to help communicate things that other media is either too expensive or not suited for.
Examples could be, a Wine Appreciation discussion where Wine Growers, Makers and other interesting parties are interviewed to educate consumers on types of grapes, wines and events. Other examples are a Pet Talk back show which could discuss the joy of Petcare, a New Parent talk back show talking about how to care for a newborn baby.

Certainly all companies could use Podcasting as a way to communicate leadership and strategic direction to their employees. There are many good examples of this, and the tech industry giants like IBM, Cisco, and Microsoft are good examples of incorporating this tool into everyday communication to their employees.

So, in summary, Podcasting may be relatively new and most Brands are still to get their head around Blogging .. but I believe the Brands that embrace this technology will be better placed to attract the increasing consumer audience that is finding favour with this medium.