Podcasting Is Not Just Another Digital Channel

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(By Tim O’Brien) When your firm decides to launch its own branded podcast, you are doing much more than creating another digital channel. You are establishing a new media platform that you own and control.

This is more than uploading YouTube videos or videos to Facebook or LinkedIn where you rent space on an established channel. Your podcast is a new channel.

Actually, a better comparison is to look at the creation of a blog, but as you do, know that creating a platform for the reader is very different from creating for the listener.

When you write a blog, you write to inform, persuade or entertain. But when you create a podcast, entertainment comes first. You have to be able to attract and hold the listener’s attention through compelling content and through the appeal of the medium itself.

To get people to listen, they have to want to listen. They can’t scan and click for a few seconds on your podcast to see if they like it. They have to actually listen to it to know if they like it. That requires an ability to create audio content that compels them to listen, to learn about your content from a friend or colleague, or online post, and then decide that they have to listen.

Even if you don’t consider yourself an entertainer, this dynamic manifests itself in the form of high production values and listener-friendly formats that make it comfortable and easy for the listeners to stay with you to the end, and to come back when a new episode is available.

When you create content for the ear, it has to be personal, interesting, entertaining, but above all, intimate. Once they click, “play,” your listeners want to feel like they know you (and your brand) at a human level. They literally hear the sound of your brand’s voice.

Your thoughts enter their consciousness with no filters. They are more receptive, and in a communications sense more vulnerable, than consumers of any other media, including video. Once they get to this point, they’ve given you a certain amount of trust and they don’t want that to be taken so lightly that all they hear is a regurgitation of other content or superficial talking points.

They want insights, humor, authenticity, emotion, and stories that are from both the heart and the mind.

If a podcast listener senses you’re approaching your branded podcast as just another content channel, chances are good they’ll look elsewhere. But if they sense you come to the microphone with them and only them in mind, you will tap the true power of podcasting, and you will better understand just why the medium is rising so dramatically in popularity right now.

I prepared a one-pager on the Five Steps a Brand Can Take to Create its Podcasting Story. Please feel free to get in touch with me to get your copy.

Tim O’Brien founded Pittsburgh-based O’Brien Communications and is the creator of the Shaping Opinion Podcast. Contact Tim: 412.854.8845, timobrien@timobrienpr.com, or on Twitter: @OBrienPR

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