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Why Podcasting is a Huge Content Marketing Opportunity

chris brogan headshotEight years ago, podcasting was held up as the “Next Big Thing.” Chris Brogan, author of The Impact Equation and longtime podcasting fan, thinks it’s finally ready to take off as a viable channel in your content marketing plan

Chief Content Officer: Who exactly listens to podcasts? Is there a certain type of person?

Chris Brogan: People listening to podcasts these days are not just the ultra-tech savvy. When podcasting first came on the scene around 2005, it was really difficult to access them. Now, Ford’s commitment to putting things like Stitcher Radio in its cars has made it a lot easier for people to listen to a podcast. Venture capitalist, Mary Meeker, says there are 52 minutes of unclaimed time in the car everyday, and people are seeking things like podcasts to fill it.

CCO: What tools should content marketers check out if they’re considering podcasting?

Brogan: You can use something really simple like Audioboo (which isn’t really a podcasting tool, but it’s close enough). If you’re running iOS for iPhone or iPad, there’s a great app called bossjock studio made by my friend Dave Mansuedo. It’s inexpensive and allows you to do all the stuff you would expect in a big studio-type application. Beyond that, I use Garage Band to edit. Audacity is free and works great too. I also use Call Recorder, a Skype-based app, for interviews. It’s simpler than it’s ever been.

I tried a brief stint creating and producing a video blog, but I found that a lot less appealing because there were more steps and details I had to get right each time. With audio, as long as it’s crisp and clear, I’m creating theater of the mind. I really don’t want you to look at my glowing, talking head.

CCO: Do you think certain topics work best? For example, we picture people sitting back to read for the print magazine, rather than leaning forward on their computer screen — and we think certain topics lend themselves to that type of relaxed reading. Is there a particular moment you’re catering to?

Brogan: That’s an interesting question. It’s amazing the amount of variety out there. There’s a podcast called Ten Minute Podcast and it’s absolutely silly and fun for what it is — you never know what you’re going to get, but you know it’s going to be 10 minutes.

Mark Maron’s WTF podcast is always in-depth and detailed. He’s a professional comedian who interviews mostly comedians, and sometimes musicians and artists. Alec Baldwin does a great show called Here’s the Thing and interviews celebrities and other interesting people. That’s one thing that draws me to podcasting — you can really get a variety of concepts.

What doesn’t work well is when people misunderstand the tools and aren’t really producing something; instead they are just having a chit-chat. There are a lot of people who think pressing record is the same as creating content. I always tell people just press record and get started, but somewhere along the way you’ve got to try and up your game, and make something worthwhile.

CCO: So far the examples that you’ve given me are individual. Can you think of some great company podcasts?

Brogan: Few companies immediately rush to mind. I think what’s coming is companies realizing they can make interesting things happen. Robert Scoble does that very well for Rackspace. He’s a great model for content creation. Rackspace has Robert out there finding interesting people who use platforms like Rackspace. It’s a pretty open space right now because companies aren’t rushing in and figuring it out.

CCO: What is it about podcasting in particular that attracts you?

Brogan: What got me into this space a million billion years ago? I was listening to a show called PodTech, which hosted interesting technology-related conversations. As an IT professional at the time, I was just like, “Wow, this is amazing. I’m listening to the chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems, free!” It was a great experience, and that was when I first realized there was magic in that silk hat — because something in that very specific episode helped me save my company millions of bucks. That’s when I realized this is not just me passing time; something bigger can happen.

I also think people are drawn to the intimacy of podcasting. If I do it well — and I’m hopeful that someday I’ll get there — you’re going to get the sense I’m talking directly to you. Every time I record an episode of my podcast, that’s all I’m trying to do: make sure it sounds like it is just you and me.

That experience, that intimacy, really helps us because all humans want to feel like they belong. They want to feel like someone is paying attention. Ever since we were 4 years old saying, “Look at me, Mom.” It never really changes. I’m always seeking out the way I can provide that attention. For example, at the end of every episode of my podcast, once the final closing credit music ends, most people don’t even know there’s a whole secret part of the show. I talk to people by name and answer emails. It’s very one-to-one, and that’s the secret sauce of making this stuff happen.

Like what Chris Brogan has to say? Subscribe to his podcast, The Human Business Way.

This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Chief Content Officer. Sign up to receive your free subscription to our quarterly magazine.