Does Your Business Need a Boost?
Blogs and Podcasts May Be Your Answer
By Peter Koeppel
when you think you have it all figured out in terms of marketing
your business, along come some new technologies that revolutionize
your company’s ability to promote itself to prospects and existing
customers. And while most people have heard of these technologies by
now, namely blogs and podcasts, few are taking full advantage of
what these marketing mediums can offer their businesses.
Remarkably, as little as two years ago, blogs and podcasts were
viewed as nothing more than places for opinionated people to rant
and rave or assert their viewpoint. But today, the tide has changed,
and both blogs and podcasts are the most explosive marketing
vehicles to emerge since the Internet itself. Consider the facts:
BusnessWeek reports that over 40,000 new blogs are popping up every
day. And in 2006, the number of podcast feeds exceeded the number of
radio stations worldwide, says the CIA World Factbook.
does all this mean for your business? Namely, that you have a wealth
of marketing opportunities that require little to no out-of-pocket
expense. Use the following suggestions to make the most of your
blogging and podcasting efforts.
Blogs: Blogs are short for “web logs.” They are easy to use and
simple to set up, and they are a great format for promoting
businesses. Think of a blog as a mini-website that you post comments
to on a regular basis. Blogs are a powerful medium for delivering
information, because when they’re done correctly, the information on
a blog comes across as informational and less biased. Consider the
following key points:
Blogs enable you to get consumer feedback in an
unfiltered environment. Sure, that can create some challenges,
but if you get negative feedback on your blog at least now you
can address the issue and be aware of it. So in a sense, a blog
is often like an instant focus group. Being receptive to getting
customer feedback on your blog positions your company as being
accessible and interested in customer concerns. That’s a great
selling point in today’s environment.
Because blogs are updated regularly, search
engines like blogs and display them at the top of the search
results. Construct your blog properly by using keywords the
search engines will pick up within your blog entries. That way,
when someone keys in a particular term about your business into
a search engine, your blog will come up naturally in the
results. This not only helps promote your business, but it also
helps position your company as an industry leader.
Blogs are almost like an online community.
Therefore, it’s a great way to talk about your company, its
culture, and any industry trends. Blogs provide an easy forum
for delivering information to customers about new products or
offers, and for building relationships with customers. Likewise,
if there were some sort of crisis occurring in the company, it’s
a way to get the facts out there so you can deal with the
To make your blog more relevant and non-biased,
reach out to people who will contribute to your blog. In other
words, you can have people from within your company post
entries, as well as outside experts or customers. Be careful,
though, as a blog makes it easy for a disgruntled employee to
post information that should not be public knowledge, such as
proprietary information or trade secrets. Therefore, if you
allow employees to post entries, establish some controls over
Whatever you do, don’t create fake blog entries,
where you pose as a customer or outsider and say wonderful
things about the company. That approach usually backfires
because people see through that. Be honest in all your entries.
You can find a number of inexpensive blogging
services online that can help you set up and maintain your blog.
Podcasts: A podcast is essentially your own radio show on the
web. It’s an extension of a blog, whereby you make your entry more
personal because you’re actually speaking the words, not just typing
them. Before you dismiss podcasts as something only kids listen to,
take note: According to a comScore study, people between the ages of
35-54 make up about half of the podcast listeners, and they are more
likely than average to download podcasts. As such, podcasts are a
great choice for small businesses because they can help boost the
company’s credibility and sales without having to invest much.
Consider the following key points:
The first step to developing a podcast is to think
of a unique concept or angle for your show. Since this is
essentially a radio show dedicated to your business, you’ll want
to give information that relates to your industry or company
that your prospects and listeners would find informative and
entertaining. So if you’re a financial planner, for example, you
could do a podcast about wealth or investment strategies. If you
own a catering business, you could do segments about easy
entertaining secrets. Address the challenges your customers or
prospects have and they’ll tune into your podcast.
Podcasts also allow you to appeal to niche
audiences, because you can cover certain topics in more depth.
You can make your podcast any length (30 minutes to an hour is
common), and you can address specific or even obscure topics
that you know your customers will find interesting.
To actually create the podcast, all you need are
recording/mixing software and a microphone. Both of these items
are installed on your computer, so there’s no need to go to a
recording studio. With the software you can edit your podcast
and include intro music. You can even put commercials into your
podcast to sell your own products, or sell air space to others
and include their commercials.
The beauty of podcasts is that people can listen
to your show over and over, whenever they want. All listeners
need to tune in is an mp3 player. And according to recent
surveys, over 65 million people worldwide have mp3 players.
By creating podcasts and being informative, you
can quickly become a leader in your industry. Prospects and
existing customers who listen to your podcast will likely think
of you when they are in need of what you offer or your area of
Make it easy for people to find your podcast. You
can do that by submitting your podcast to different feed
directories, such as FeedBurner or PodcastValley.
and Podcast Your Way to Profits: When it comes to blogs and
podcasts, the key to success is to be informational. You need to
give people lots of relevant information in order to keep them
reading or listening. Yes, maintaining a blog or doing a regular
podcast takes time and discipline. But when you consider the amount
of credibility and exposure to new customers these technologies give
you, no company can afford not to use these tools as a vital part of
their online marketing mix.
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