Familiarize yourself with podcasting

Last week, I posted a brief comment about podcasting as an interesting potential channel for internal communication uses such as the CEO of a company recording a message for employees. This is a good example of how it could be used in an organizational communication context.

But that’s just a scratch on the surface of a communciation channel that is about to get a lot more attention, and is something communicators need to know about. Since writing that post, I’ve been encountering more and more comments, news items and stories in blogs and on news sites about podcasting.

What is it? In my post last week, I didn’t describe it fully or even wholly accurately. Here’s the best non-tech description I can find through an A9/Google search on the term ‘podcasting,’ from an article at Surf-Bits:

Podcasting is a term which was just recently given to a new form of online communications. Think of it this way, start with an audio blog. Instead of writing your thoughts or ideas down in a blog, record them in an audio blog. You can add music clips, sound bites or voice-over’s that someone can download and listen to on it’s own, or while reading or viewing a specific website associated with this audio blog. Now imagine an application that runs on your machine which can check these audio blogs for new content and download the MP3 files to your computer and place them in your iTunes ready to be placed in your iPod or listened to directly from iTunes. That is the basic idea behind podcasting.

Or this from Dave Winer:

Think how a desktop aggregator works. You subscribe to a set of feeds, and then can easily view the new stuff from all of the feeds together, or each feed separately. Podcasting works the same way, with one exception. Instead of reading the new content on a computer screen, you listen to the new content on an iPod or iPod-like device. Think of your iPod as having a set of subscriptions that are checked regularly for updates. Today there are a limited number of programs available this way. The format used is RSS 2.0 with enclosures.

Ok, even if a bit technical, it’s easy to see the consumer potential. And it’s not just about the iPod – in theory, any portable player that plays MP3 files will work, even without the Apple cool-ness factor. From the business point of view, just wait until it all gets plugged into Windows Media Player.

So, imagine the business potential in PR, marketing, investor relations and employee communication.

Just three ideas:

  • Audio commentary on a new product – press release on the website, section on the website and blog with links to additional concise audio commentary you can download. Hear the company talk about the product benefits, not just read what they said.
  • CEO broadcast to employees (the idea in my earlier post) – CEO records a weekly 5-minute commentary for employees, available from his internal blog or the general company intranet.
  • Investors download a commentary about an acquisition to accompany a prospectus or offering memorandum (no, I’ve not considered any potential regulatory issues).

What else?

Read what some others are saying about podcasting:

Dan Gillmor’s eJournal | iPodding and Why it Matters
Doc Searl’s IT Garage | DIY Radio with PODcasting
Geek News Central | Podcasting the revolution begins!
ZDNet | PODcasting: death knell for tradional broadcasting?
NBC13.com | ‘Podcasting’ Brings Personalized Audio Programs To Your Media Player
Adam Curry’s Weblog

4 thoughts on “Familiarize yourself with podcasting

  1. Neville, Diane Gayeski wrote about companies using MP3 for internal communication in one of her books, as a result of which I’ve been showing screen shots of Cypress Semiconductor intranet pages where employees can download speeches, meetings, etc. as MP3 files. They even gave employees low-cost players so they could listen. Of course, MP3 is just the high-tech equivalent of the old idea of distributing audio cassettes so employees could hear company news and updates in the car.

  2. That’s a good example, Shel. Using audio for internal communication purposes isn’t new at all. Cassette tapes! Now there’s an old memory!
    One very interesting thing about podcasting (or whatever we choose to call it in the organizational communication context) is how the distribution system alerting is geared to RSS. That what I find particuarly interesting about this concept: how it plugs in to such tech-base channeling, so to speak, not so much the audio process itself.

  3. A guide to podcasting

    Back on Sept. 30, Neville Hobson’s blog offered up an item about the emerging concept of “podcasting” and followed it up a couple days ago with another piece that went

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