While there are many podcasts being produced, and there is a growing audience (whether on a computer or on a MP3 player), it’s not clear what the economic driver is.

I expect that many podcasters are driven by the hope that one day they may make some money. I know a couple of podcasters who operate exactly on this basis. I do seem to recall that many dot.com companies had a similar strategy during the dot.com boom… and we all know what happened to them.

Given the difficulty of selling content on the Internet (there’s so much good stuff that’s free), that leaves only only advertising or sponsorship as a revenue stream. A post by Marilynn Mobley got me thinking about how podcasters might try to obtain support.

Marilynn suggests that “maybe now is a great time for your company to think about how you can reach out to consumers who own MP3 players and iPods”. Marilyn provided some examples of companies who had sponsored podcasts as a means to reach out to a targeted segment of customers.

If this is what the PR industry is saying to business, and if you’re podcaster, the first question to ask yourself is “who is my audience” and who (from a business perpective) also wants to reach this audience.

Don’t fall into the trap of saying “all business” should be interested. Podcasting is still a very niche medium, and you need to take a niche approach when identifying companies to work with.

I would argue that selling advertising in a podcast is still a very difficult sell, given the poor metrics and relative newness of the medium (don’t forget commercial radio is 80 years old).

Instead of offering a 30 second spot, a better approach is to offer a sponsorship package where you can build a total perceived value that far exceeds the cost of creating that value. For example you can talk about the value of providing real content to consumers/customers or you can talk about the value that sponsorship brings in terms of competitive positioning.

There’s also a lot of things you can include in the sponsorship package itself — though what you can offer will depend on your editorial charter.

The point is in order to make your podcast economically self-sufficient, it’s necessary to take an innovative approach to making your podcast interesting to marketers.

Posted Sunday, April 2nd, 2006 at 5:01 pm
Filed Under Category: Uncategorized
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