The "To Podcast or Not" Conundrum

For some years now I’ve been commenting on the relatively big PR footprint that podcasting has in the media, and the relatively small actual usage of the technology itself. It’s why I haven’t rushed to do a regular podcast myself.

I was somewhat surprised at the seminar on Monday that so many arts marketers were interested in doing podcasts. It’s definitely now the becoming the flavor of the month — one of those new Web things that sounds sexy. But my point is that sure it’s sexy, but it takes TIME which is better spent doing other online marketing activities which may be less sexy but have more impact. (Like building your e-mail list.)

Lest you think think I’m just throwing cold water on a new technology that’s not e-mail marketing, read this from yesterday’s posting:

Podcast distribution and viewing mechanisms are proliferating, but even the most widely consumed podcasts typically have under 50,000 downloaders – and most have far fewer.

iPod sales are seemingly unstoppable and downloadable serialized short content format is increasingly available. But, despite an incessant buzz about the medium, regular podcast users are still hard to find. As such, podcasting remains a niche-marketing channel. The question is: Will the situation change?

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One response to “The “To Podcast or Not” Conundrum

  1. It’s undoubtedly true that podcasting doesn’t have the sort of immediate, quantifiable ROI of email marketing campaigns, but for the arts, where many of us deal in material that is great to HEAR but not much to SEE (think: symphony orchestras) I can’t imagine that a technology that facilitates distributing audio much more readily is irrelevant. As far as results: our small museum podcast of live classical recordings has garnered about 150,000 downloads since September. That’s no small potatoes for an ANNUAL investment roughly the same as a single print ad in the local newspaper. The connection is much harder to draw with a podcast than for email, where we have incredible data on usage, but I will say that, since launching ours, we’ve sold out eight of our past nine concerts.

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