Over the past week, Activ-Media have begun a trial project to produce 'latest news headlines' for the United Nations. Part of the initial research involved looking at methods to market and promote the podcast to build up a subscriber base.
It won't 'go live' for a few weeks, but the research produced might be helpful for those of you involved in producing podcasts for clients or yourself. Much of what follows was borrowed from / inspired by Michael Geoghagen's Podcast Solutions, and the 'For Immediate Release' blog / podcast.
Below are a set of steps that can be followed to help attract listeners to your podcasts:
This directory is essentially a well categorised topic and subtopic based service. 'Nodes' are managed by editors. Sometimes it's appropriate to list in multiple categories.
Whilst less comprehensive than ipodder, iTunes has been referred to as the '800 pound Gorilla of podcasting'. For new iPod owners, it's probably the first place they come across the notion of podcasting. Due to its 'proprietary' nature, extra care must be taken to ensure the feed delivered to it is itunes compatible.
Very popular destination for listeners looking for new shows. Sometimes referred to as the 'Town Square' of the podcasting community. 'Top Ten' listings have found themselves in national and international press.
Crafting the listing:
MP3 files commonly have 'id3' tags associated with them. This is extra information stored within the file that is displayed on either the listeners portable device or computer media player. Make the most of them. They will give additional information about your podcast.
One possible example of how these tags might be composed is as follows:
To the right is an example from the BBC World Service 'Documentary Archive':
Category: Appropriate category will depend on directory.
Sub-Category: As above.
Networking with other relevant podcasters
Many will have 'been there' and 'done that'. In addition to providing advice on awareness building, they may also attract listeners by drawing attention to the podcast on their own shows.
Steps to doing this may include:
Researching and listening to what's out there right now.
Building a list of podcasters that your podcast should be associated with.
Create a short sample of the content for 're-podcast' on other 'shows'. Ensure this conforms to their technical standards, thus making inclusion simple and reducing the need for re-encoding by them (thus reducing audio quality).
Alternatively, this content could be a short description spoken by a presenter / VIP / audience member. Perhaps a 20 second piece outlining what the podcast is, who might be interested, and where to subscribe from.
Seeding the podcast on forums and blogs.
Time spent tracking down appropriate blogs / forums is time well spent. Simply seeding the podcast through online media may have a knock on effect to those interested. It might create a 'viral' effect as those interested will pass on details to their contacts too.
In addition, search these groups on a regular basis to see what's been said about the podcast. Even negative 'conversations' can only serve to help improve the service.
Making use of your existing contacts.
Simple steps include:
Mailing existing site registrees.
Include an extra story in your 'latest news'. If using RSS, this will get pulled down with other content as well.
Perhaps run a simple competition amongst existing contacts database? A proportion of winners secure themselves a low cost MP3 player?
Strike agreement with an open source feed aggregator software producer. Perhaps they'll create a 'special' download, which includes your feed built in?
Entering the mainstream traditional media channels.
Initially create a concise 'press release' to be issued to relevant publications. (Maybe you'll be aware of who these are). This could be linked to the competition to win MP3 players?
Over time, feedback from listeners may indicate where the podcast has really engaged or helped them. If a 'specific' story emerges, it could be used to enter into the mainstream media.
Monitoring statistics and feedback.
Searching blogs through http://www.technorati.com and other related engines.
Keep a close eye on downloads by monitoring your server stats.
Perform a Google Search using pre-defined terms you deem appropriate.
Check in with contacts gleaned during 'Networking with other podcasters'. Perhaps they've had feedback from their listeners.
Set up an on-line feedback mechanism for listeners to say what they think.
If working for a client, create a template based report in order to assemble monitoring quickly!
Suggested frequency for monitoring:
Month 1: Daily.
Month 2: Weekly
Month 3+: Monthly
Feel free to ask questions. I'll answer if I can!