The Birth of Podcast Production
Since this is my first guest blog post for VirtualAssist.net, I guess I should introduce myself and tell you a little bit about my company. My name is Andy Robbins and I started my podcast production company, AudioFile Solutions, in 2002 after spending the previous 9 years in the audio production industry as an audio engineer. During that time, the birth of the World Wide Web created a host of new opportunities in audio production. One of them…you guessed it, Podcast Production. We started a blog recently that covers tips and techniques of podcast production, telephone and conference call recording, and audio transcription services. I hope you will check it out.
Today I want to talk about the basic types of podcast productions and which one may be right for you—especially if you are selling a product or a service.
1. Podcasting as a Commercial
In this day and age, we have all grown up on television, radio and now the Internet. From day one we have been taught that bigger is better, flashy is finer, and louder is more desirable.
As a child, what was the birthday toy you wanted the most? The one with the flashiest commercial, of course! At six years old, we may not know the “why” of it all, we just know we “waaant” it!
This style of production is now a legitimate approach on the World Wide Web. The thought being, produce the best podcast imaginable, and “they will come”.
This is usually your most expensive option as it requires hiring a full-fledged advertising agency, outside consultants and/or actors and actresses to get it just right.
2. Podcasting as a Talk Show
We’ve all heard podcasts where a wanna-be Phil Donohue is interviewing the next Steve Jobs. Trouble is, both of these men have more talent and showmanship in one pinky than most of us have in our whole body. Don’t get me wrong, there is a definite place for this type of production, but it may be the hardest of the three to pull off without looking silly or boring your audience to death.
This style may take even more preproduction preparation than #1. Talent (think talented people) is key here, both in the writing and in the production.
3. Podcasting as an Infomercial
This is without a doubt the most popular in the business community. Here, an executive with WidgetsRUs goes to his VP of Marketing and says, “Wouldn’t it be great to record our next sales meeting and broadcast it on the Internet?”
The answer to the above question is very often, “yes”. Why? Because it is easy, quick, and cheap while still getting the content out to your customers.
Content is King
In B2B and B2C podcasting, just like in many other industries, content is king. If the toy in example #1 is considered cool by all the 12-year old focus groups—a million dollar commercial would be money well spent. If the talk show host in example #2 is talking about the latest and greatest iPhone, it will have a greater following than if they are chatting about rocket science (let’s face it, most of us would not be able to comprehend that stuff). And finally, if a business expects people to sit for 45 minutes and listen to their executives talk, they better have something good to sell, right?
Think of the classic children’s tale The Four Musicians of Bremen. These four executives, eh-hem, I mean animals, went out into the marketplace thinking that they would perform their latest musical number and consequently sell a million copies of their next album. Instead, what they thought was a performance of beautiful music turned out to be an amalgamation of obnoxious noises that nobody could stand to listen to. Don’t let this be how your audience feels about your next podcast production.
Which Approach is Right for Me?
Here are a few considerations that can help you decide which style to use for your next podcast production.
Who is your audience: the consumer, military brass, kids under 25? These are all groups that expect high-end, commercial-type productions. You may want to consider the million dollar podcast.
Who is your competition: software vendors, equipment manufacturers, Microsoft? In this case, you may want to have a Phil Donohue-type discussion about your latest product—discussing its merits and how it can be differentiated from your competitors. This style may be more common in these industries and customers may be more willing to listen to this type of podcast.
What is your content: Software as a Service? Life coaching? Security solutions? In these examples, your audience may have no interest in a flashy production, and a no-frills 45 minute conference call might make perfect sense—not to mention, save you a ton of money.
Each of the above styles is only to stimulate your thinking and not meant to accomplish much more than that. There is no possible way a podcast consultant can tell you what podcast production approach is right for your industry 100% of the time.
The one take-away would be this, spend plenty of time developing great content; don’t expect your customers will listen or watch your podcast for any other reason than this. Then hire a professional podcast production company, consultant or producer to create a great podcast for you. After all, as the expert in your field, you’ve spent countless hours developing your content, now let the podcast production experts produce a podcast that is worthy of that content.