Posts Tagged ‘podcasts’
Sorry for the misleading title.
A better one would be ‘iTunes U passes 300 million downloads in 3 years’. (Source: Apple press release 24/08/10)
Having said that Warwick Univerities ‘Sex in the Ancient World’ is number 1 on the Top 10 podcasts. Not having listened to it I cannot comment any further.
Back to the point of this post. Apple say that there are over 800 Universities with their own iTune U sites and over 350,000 audio and video podcasts are available.
Research continues into the value of podcasting in teaching. Most seem to suggest that they have real value when integrated into the overall learning process. For example when used by the teacher or lecturer as part of any prework, used as lesson support notes or a revision aid. Most students regard podcasts positively especially when used in a mobile mode such as when exercising or travelling.
So what is the value to business?
For a start it has its own section in iTunes U with hundreds of educational establishments producing content and in many cases having dozens of programs. That is hundreds of hours of valuable content. For an organisation that wants to ensure its employees have access to Continued Professional Development it could be a very valuable resource – even better – much of the content is free.
Secondly businesses could consider creating audio and video podcasts for their own employee and customer education and using iTunes or their own web site as a delivery platform.
Business processes and procedures, new hire induction and general information on business strategy and plans could be enhanced by using audio and video podcasts for employees on the company intranet or hosted with a secure password system.
Podcasts to customers could include product information to improve their product or service enjoyment, as part of a CRM communication program or help promote new products and services.
David Cameron has made his first podcast focussing on ‘Government Transparency’ and an update on action taken to date and news on what is happening next. The fact that it was recorded while he was on the way back by train from a meeting in the North adds to the sense of urgency and multi-tasking.
What can business learn from this?
- Podcasts can be an effective way to commute information on plans and activities (surveys by CIPD and other employer organisations still show many employees feel senior management do not communicate with them)
- Great use of time – pulling all staff together or trying to message customers is time consuming and expensive. A podcast can be recorded on the move and with careful planning done in a single take without need for edits and a lot of post production.
- Simple messaging in quick time – in under 4 minutes you get a clear picture of what is happening across multiple departments and where the focus is and why.
As promised in the podcast – the ‘cloak of secrecy’ is being taken away. Accountable and visible government started today with the publishing of some of the salaries of senior civil servants.
As an ex-Executive Communication coach and writer of many speeches the words used in the podcast itself were interesting. As I mentioned the recording on the train with resultant background noises was effective. (Maximum use of time, on the move, multi-tasking, on way back from a ‘major speech’.)
In a future blog I will have a look at what sub-text messages the PM delivered in the podcast by using the words and phrases he did.
Focus Business Communications (FBC) were asked by one of their clients – BOTTLE PR - to help one of their clients, AXA ICAS, who were hosting an industry and media round-table discussing Occupational Health and the new ‘Fit Note’ and its impact on business.
The plan was to capture the discussion, transcribe it and produce a series of podcasts.
FBC’s technical challenge was to ensure that the audio was of high enough quality to be able to create a podcast series that an audience would enjoy listening to despite being recorded in an office environment and not a sound proof recording studio.
One of the biggest mistakes people make on this type of recording is that they try and use a single central mic or a few shared by multiple people and recording onto one single stereo audio file. FBC employed special recording equipment that allowed all participants to have their own microphone and be recorded onto seperate audio channels. Check out the FBC blog post here to see what they did and hear the results on the AXA ICAS site.
The cost of capturing high quality audio is usually far less than the cost of the management time and effort in organising and attending the meeting. If as a result the meeting can be shared with many other people it becomes a very cost effective effort. With a small amount of pre-planning and editing a single meeting can be recorded not only for internal employee education and information but also for external communication. This leads to highly effective ROI.
Interesting research by Babson Survey Research Group in association with New Marketing Labs and Pearson Education in the US on the use of social media in colleges.
They found that ‘…more than 80 percent of college faculty are using social media, with more than half using these tools as part of their teaching…’
- More than 30 percent use social networks to communicate with students
- Nearly 1/3 use social networks to communicate with peers.
- A majority (52%) report using video, podcasts, blogs and wikis as part of their classes.
- Watching a video or listening to a podcast is the most common activity for both faculty personal use (72%) and for use within a class (46%).
For a copy of the research slides click here.
We have a number of clients who are using podcasts for internal and external education and communication. These range from audio or video recording:
- team meetings so non-attendees and new hires can share
- regular business updates so staff around the country (and internationally!) can all receive information in a more engaging format rather than reading a written update or just seeing the Powerpoint slides
- events and meetings as a historical record (sometimes also acting as a formal ‘transcript’ of the event)
- public seminars and events to share with a wider public who did not or could not attend
- senior management information to employees
- HR explaining company policies and procedures to managers and employees
- HR and Senior Management promoting careers and opportunities within an organisation to attract top candidates
- product marketing staff demoing and presenting new products as part of new product launches
- technical and product information with customer service staff so they can use the information to help them improve customer services and help educate their own field staff
A number of our clients use podcasts in multiple ways. For example with some editing an internal information podcast can be turned into an external communication for business partners and customers. By embeding links into a press release a PR launch program can be enhanced. As an added bonus for sales and marketing with search engines now also indexing audio and video content (via accompanying text information files and ‘tagging’) a company can also improve its overall search engine rankings.
The Neurosurgery journal published by Walters Kluwer and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins is now doing audio podcasts of abstracts from published papers in multiple languages. So far 4 podcasts have been uploaded in Korean, Italian, Japanese, French, Portuguese, English, Spanish and Chinese.
It will be interesting to see how these develop. With the annual Congress of Neurological Surgeons happening later this year in the USA I wonder if they will be considering podcasting any of the presentations and papers for those people unable to attend? (Maybe a sensible pre-caution as the Icelandic volcano is causing air travel issues again!)
One of our clients – the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) – have recorded global experts, scientists and academics at similar food and health congresses and then released them as podcasts. Their experience is that there can be a significant number of online listeners so helping global knowledge transfer post-event.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) join forces to educate people about the risks of using Chinese Lanterns near farmland and the coast. In the video - part of the MCA Podcast News Series – a coast guard officer mentions that last year over 340 incidents took place involving lanterns.
The latest annual report (19th) by Arbitron and Edison into the impact of digital platforms on radio shows that whilst radio is still held in high regard it has now been eclipsed by the internet as the medium of choice by the public.
The highlights from the report are:
- Internet now exceeds radio and TV as the ‘most essential’ medium when people are asked
- Almost 50% believe that newspapers will cease to exist in their current form in the future
- Internet now exceeds radio as the medium where 12 – 34 year olds learn about new music
- Social Media is now a mainstream tool
- 25% of people now consume audio content in cars via iPod/MP3 players
- Texting is a daily activity for almost 50% of people
This, and other research shows the increasing reach and impact of podcasting in peoples lives. With increasing use of ’smartphones’ content is being consumed on the move allowing much more targeted and relevant messaging.
Businesses can now use podcasts to create content targeting ‘communities of interest’ relevant to their product and service. Rather than paying for radio adverts and sponsorship highly targeted edutainment programs can be developed that will attract and retain an audience.
The Irish Medical News has details of research carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) which shows that podcasts can have a significant positive impact (almost 20% increase) on exam performance.
From our experience the following helps maximise the positive impact for internal and external communication and education:
- Keep them short (10 – 15 minutes)
- Consider multiple voices rather than a ‘lecture’
- Make them interactive (link out to web sites or online/offline resources and tests)
- Integrate with other delivery platforms so part of a multi-media experience
- Consider using them as a ‘learning re-enforcement aid’ by cross referencing to other materials
- If being used for an internal audience consider what edits can be made during recording or in post production to allow an external audince to use it (maximises ROI as almost get ‘two for price of one’!)
Many of our clients are still getting value from podcasts produced a couple of years ago. With a fixed production costs this means that using online marketing (Word of Mouse) the cost-per-listener or viewer for a video podcast declines over time. Some of our clients are now approaching a few pennies per ‘visitor’ which makes them very cost effective.
What is the costs of producing a podcast? That depends on a number of factors but assuming you do not want a famous actor to do the voice-over and you use royalty pre-paid music and not something specially commissioned then it could be a few hundred pounds. The cost compares very favourably to that of producing a direct mail or e-mail campaign or printing a brochure.
Penguin are famous for their ‘Classic’ series of books. When I was at school we had a book buying club. Each week we paid a small amount into a personal fund and once a month (or was it less frequent?) had the choice of a number of books published by Penguin.
I remember the excitement we had discussing with classmates what book we were going to select and ensuring we did not duplicate our choices so we could then swap them after reading them. That was the start of my life long love affair with books and reading. It continues today with a study full of books and bookcases throughout the house. No doubt if we had access to blogs, Twitter and Facebook back then we would have had cyber-chats and shared information that way.
A few years ago in an earlier blog I wrote about Penguins creative use of podcasting to listen to interviews with authors. It is nice to see it has just had its 3rd birthday.
When audio podcasts are added to book readings online and at special events, author tours and ‘meet the author’ evenings we can see how traditional book promotion can be blended with digital media. Add in social media in terms of building a community and engaging in conversations with it and we can see how a new classic form of product promotion can be created. One that provides a richness of experience and interactivity and conversational engagement via comments and feedback.
Can it only work for authors? No. Everyone with a story to tell (and a product/service to sell!) can use the medium of podcasting (audio or video) to help create and engage with a community. Is it worth the time and effort? Yes. If you make a monthly podcast it maybe listened to by a few dozen, a few hundred or maybe thousands of people. Whatever the number it is highly unlikely any business – except a multi-national with call centre staff – will have the time or budget to contact that number of people every month. Also would you want to contact them every month or would they for that matter? No. But someone may choose to listen or watch each month.
Podcasting is a wonderful way to keep people updated about your businesses news. But how do you get the content interesting enough to attract and retain an audience? You probably already know how to engage and talk to potential customers. You know when you have their attention and when you are boring them. It is the same with an audio or video podcast but without you seeing people yawn or obviously stop listening! You do need to consider carefully what ongoing information or news would be interesting so you can create a ’series’. You can always ask the audience what topics would be of interest. Include a request for comment in the podcast but also ask via any social media tools that you use such as Twitter, blogs or Facebook etc.
A good rule to use when considering podcast content is ‘edutainment’. If people enjoy time in your company when you are networking and learn something (about you and your product) then they will come back. Many organisations have created a loyal following who in turn have used social networking and Word of Mouse marketing to spread the word.
Interesting report from informitv about the BBCs iPlayer having had over 100m downloads for two months running (November and December 2009). This is over a 50% increase on the same period 12 months ago.
This increased use (as well as similar ones for YouTube and other platforms) shows citizens demand for web based video is continuing to grow. Smartphones like the Apple iPhone, which allow mobile consumption of video, can only increase demand as well as creation.
Organisations looking at what social media tools to use to build and engage with online communities should be factoring in the use of video.