Can Businesses Benefit by Launching a Podcast? – Part I Episode 02

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This is an episode from out now-defunct podcast, Digital PowWow With Kiruba and Amar. I thought of adding this episode in a podcast meant for authors for one simple reason- everything we discuss here is relevant to authors, and applicable too!You can very well change the title to “How Can Authors Benefit by Launching Their own Podcast?”

 

Summary:

This is the first episode in a two part discussion: whether businesses in India should consider launching a podcast. Kiruba and Amar begin the discussion with the types of podcasts (audio and video), and how can businesses identify relevant target groups (customers, employees), thought leadership, or as a branding exercise. The advantages that a business can derive by launching a podcast include tracking the downloads by geography and device, customer connect and testimonials, employee engagement, and using podcasts as a recruitment tool. Finally, Kiruba and Amar talk about the issues that are preventing wider adoption of podcasts by Indian businesses, and conclude with what should marketers do in the coming year to build a strong case for their organization to launch a podcast next year.

Key Discussion Points:

A podcast is a series of audio or video files that users can subscribe. Similar to the newspapers being delivered at your doorstep, once a podcast is subscribed to, the new episodes get delivered to the user’s devices It is an on-demand versus “pushed” content.
Video podcasts provide a rich experience but files are heavy and can take up a lot of bandwidth. The advantage of an audio podcast is that the listener can multi task while listening to the podcast: driving, walking the dog, running, or even while doing household work.
Podcasts provide a first mover advantage opportunity for companies because the market is very nascent. Podcasts are a great engaging medium.
Podcasts can help a company establish a thought leadership position. For example, a real estate company can start an informational program that covers topics such as Vastu, carpet versus built-up area, etc.
There are 680 million mobile phones in India today, and the number is expected to reach 1 billion by 2020. With increase in usage of 3G or 4G data.
Content on podcast can be easily re-purposed. For example, the audio feed from a video that is hosted on corporate site or YouTube can be extracted and released as an audio podcast. The transcripts can be converted into an article or a series of blogposts.
Podcasts enable a lot of analytical data. For example how many listeners have downloaded the podcasts, which countries they have listened the podcasts in, what devices they are using. Subscribers to newsletters can provide their email addresses, so there is a ready list of fans and superfans.
Types of podcasts companies can create: Thought leadership- e.g. interviews of movers and shakers in the sector of industry. Some firms can release customer stories in the form of audio podcasts, consulting companies can use a podcast series say for case based interviews (podcast as a recruitment tool). Podcasts can also be used as a branding tool. For example, a science fiction podcast called The Message was sponsored by GE. It has a very high quality of production, and the podcast was very well received and received great reviews.
Because of paucity of time or attention, audiobooks have become a means of consuming content for many. A service called Blinkist provides summaries of books. Podcast can be a substitute for a lot of content in print media- e.g. newspapers, journals, etc.
Podcasting is in a nascent stage in India, and very few businesses have adopted it as a medium. Companies can take advantage of this opportunity and launch podcasts and gain a first mover advantage.
Some of the reasons why companies have not adopted podcasts are: ignorance about the power of the medium. Second factor is the technology and limited reach.
The technological challenges are bound to be overcome in the coming years with the use of smartphones, podcasting apps and 3G and 4G networks. Cost of production of content as well cost of bandwith is reducing, which will help in spread of podcasting. For example, a 20 minute weekly podcast used to consume roughly 280 MB of data in the past for the listener. Today, the same podcast with equivalent audio quality consumes 80 MB.
In the current year, Kiruba recommends that marketers and brand managers should first subscribe to a few podcasts to understand the medium. They can begin with listening to podcasts related to topics of their interests. Secondly, understand what companies around the world are doing in this medium.
Indian organizations such as Flipkart and Infosys started podcasts- Flipkart’s in house podcast is called Studio 34. Ronnie Screwwala has started a production house which will produce content for podcasts among other things.
The production ecosystem is in place in India- for example, video production houses that produce YouTube videos for corporate. For podcasting to take off, the timing is right.
Call To Action:
If you liked the format and the discussion in this episode, please leave a review for this show on iTunes or Stitcher!

Links and Resources:
How to listen to podcasts (video on MyKitaab Podcast website)
The Message Podcast
Economic Times Article on Flipkart’s in house Podcast
Arre by Ronnie Screwwala

Ways to Contact The Hosts:
Kiruba can be reached via email : kiruba at kiruba dot com or on Facebook: facebook.com/kiruba
Amar Can be reached via email : amar at amarvyas dot in or via twitter : @amarauthor