I often wonder why podcast content marketing isn’t more popular than it is. I admit I’m biased since I’m a podcaster. But, I’m also an avid podcast consumer. I was a consumer of podcast content long before I became a podcast content producer. Now, I listen to podcasts in my car more than I listen to the radio or CDs. My iPod is filled with podcasts, rather than music.  iTunes makes it easy for anyone to find and consume content in podcast format.

The Three E’s
In my book, Marketing 2.0, I encourage marketers to produce content that delivers on the three E’s: educate, enlighten, entertain. Podcast content is a terrific medium to deliver on any of the three E’s. But, why isn’t podcast content more popular?

I offer five reasons why podcast content isn’t more popular.

Podcasts Are Not Indexed by Search Engines
Unlike Facebook fan pages and conventional web and blog pages, a podcast is not indexable by search engines. Podcasts are audio files uploaded into a subscribable format such as iTunes or another podcast directory such as Podcast Pickle. You can also subscribe to podcasts from a blog with a link to iTunes. But, to get the most current podcast you must either visit iTunes to synch or visit the producer’s blog to listen to current podcasts.

iTunes is Big But It’s Not YouTube
Apple may enjoy more market share than Google with the iPhone over the Google Nexus One, but when it comes to video content, Google’s YouTube rules. While video podcasts are available, most podcasts are audio. Let’s face it, audio is just not as popular as video. And, with the iPad here, delivering an even more rich media experience, video will remain more popular than audio as the netbook market continues to grow.

Podcasts Are Not Understood by the Masses
I’ve often heard marketers refer to their audio file on their website as a podcast. A podcast is only a podcast when you can subscribe to it and get updates through a feed. The lack of understanding of a podcast as a content delivery medium combined with the high popularity of video contributes to low popularity of podcasts.

Inconsistent Quality of Podcasts
Let’s be honest, some podcast content producers just don’t produce quality audio. I’ve often downloaded podcasts based on the title and description only to listen to just a few minutes before ditching it due to poor audio quality. Worse yet, the audio quality is good but the personalities on the show babble for 10 minutes before getting to the point. Good podcasts get to the content quickly and engage their listeners, creating a loyal audience.

Lack of Consistent Content from Producers
If you want to listen to podcasts on marketing, you have plenty of choices among content producers with a track record. But, there is a high rate of abandonment among podcast producers, due at least in part to the lack of monetization opportunities around most podcast content. Therefore, many podcast shows start and end often within a few weeks or months. Podcast content producers should adopt a content marketing mindset, only starting a podcast series when they can commit to longevity.

The Bright Side of Podcasting
If this blog post was about the good, the bad and the ugly of podcasting, the five reasons above address the bad and ugly. Now, let’s get to the good because there is plenty of good in podcasting.  First, there are in fact many terrific podcast shows produced by terrific peeps. Below I offer you a list of some of my favorite podcasts. Admittedly, these podcasts are all about marketing. If you have other favorites, please add yours to this list in the comments section below.

Find and Convert Podcast
This is my podcast. It’s my favorite because I thoroughly enjoy producing it. I interview ordinary marketers doing extraordinary marketing. I produce two or more podcasts per month, each providing an interview with a guest that has valuable experiences and insights to share about their marketing strategy. My guests are regular marketers just like my listeners. My audience can relate to these guests and gain inspiration from their stories. I deliver mostly on the first 2 of the 3 E’s. On occasion, there may be some light entertainment.

DishyMix
The DishyMix podcast is hosted by podcasting extraordinaire Susan Bratton. Susan interviews digital marketing executives, many of whom are authors, CEOs and entrepreneurs. Susan’s interview style is one of the best. She really does her homework with each guest, and consequently brings out his or her best. Susan Bratton is CEO of podcast empire PersonalLifeMedia, a portal of podcasts ranging across all topics ranging from art, health, news, politics, marketing and many others.  Susan delivers on all three E’s with DishyMix. I am the self appointed #1 fan of DishyMix.

HubSpot TV
HubSpot TV is a weekly video podcast that airs live on Friday’s at 4pm. People tune in live to watch HubSpot.TV every Friday, or download it from iTunes and time shift it as I do. Their format is comprised of hosts Mike Volpe and Karen Rubin running through inbound marketing news from the week, offering tips, advice and their own, sometimes controversial commentary. Their personalities are so different, it makes for an interesting chemistry. Mike and Karen usually have a guest on their show to discuss the guest’s claim to marketing fame. HubSpot TV delivers on all three E’s with a heavy dose of entertainment mostly through Karen’s off the wall humor.

Marketing Over Coffee
Christopher Penn and John Wall record a weekly podcast from a Dunkin Donuts in the Boston area. They cover current news in marketing with a bit of a technical twist. They often provide tips on how to fine tune various aspects of your permission based email or social media plans. I always learn something from Penn and Wall. Therefore, I find their content to deliver on first two of the three E’s.

Six Pixels of Separation
Mitch Joel, CEO of digital media agency TwistImage, author of the book Six Pixels of Separation, and frequent speaker hosts this weekly podcast which comes in two flavors. He usually interviews interesting people in marketing with great conversation around contemporary marketing topics such as the future of  newspapers in a digital society. His conversational tone is always pleasant and interesting.  His other podcast is called Media Hacks and features a group of social media mavens who banter about anything. The unscripted conversation is always colorful and usually interesting. Both of these podcasts deliver on the first of the two E’s.

Podcast Show Notes
When a podcast is linked to a blog post, the show notes can provide a written summary to readers and provide search engine results on the topic of the podcast. I write a blog post for each of my podcasts in part to broaden the exposure of my podcast. But, I also recognize that I may get readers of the blog post who won’t listen to the podcast, and vice versa. So, writing a blog post is an effective way to straddle both lines of blogging and podcasting. The show notes also create SEO value for the podcast content because the post will be indexed in search engines.

Podcasting has been around for less than a decade. It’s been trumped by video in popularity. But, consumers who want to get smarter on a topic of interest should search out podcasts starting with iTunes and subscribe to them. Marketers looking for another content channel should consider producing a podcast series.  If you’re a marketer that has never produced a podcast series, you may want to consider it. But, consider your ability to commit to a show with regular frequency. Even it your frequency is only monthly, as your audience grows they will expect your monthly show. You won’t want to disappoint them once you’ve developed an audience.

I invite you to visit my podcast page. You’ll find my podcast interviews to be about ordinary marketers doing extraordinary marketing across a range of topics including B2B marketing, SEO, social networking, inbound marketing, experiential marketing, small business marketing, measuring results, success stories and others.

If you have favorite podcasts to add to my list, please add them in the comments below.

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