8 Positive Outcomes That Podcasts Can Deliver

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Answering a question posed recently on the SIPA Forum about video vs. podcasts, Stephanie Williford, CEO, EB Medicine, wrote, "We haven't done a formal test, but I think the old 'know your audience' adage applies well here. For ours (emergency physicians, who are notoriously ADHD), they can't stand to sit still and watch an educational video for more than a few minutes, but they love podcasts because they can listen and learn while doing something else too."

Podcasts give audiences another—more flexible—way to consume your content. From everything I read, they are accomplishing many things these days for publishers. Here are a few from SIPA members:

Provide new areas for sponsorships. Key the music, and we hear Kim Schmidt, managing editor, Lessiter Media's Farm Equipment. "In this episode, brought to you by Iron Solutions, host Casey Seymour of Moving Iron LLC talks with Shawn Skaggs of Livingston Machinery, a 4-store AGCO dealership in Western Oklahoma and Texas. If you're tuning in for the first time, I encourage you to subscribe... Before we turn things over to Casey, just a quick word from Iron Solutions who is making this podcast a reality." In the Access Intelligence POWER Podcast I listened to, the sponsor was the Distributed Energy Conference. Craig Sorrell, marketing manager at Results Direct, advises the seeking out of direct sponsorships, even if you're just starting. "[You] can say, 'Hey, we're just starting out, but we have 10,000 members/[subscribers]. This is [for them].'"

Keep up with the competition. "We launched a free podcast last year and have had good success with it. Many of our competitors have done the same," Williford added.

With more than 13 million downloads of her weekly, CEO Exclusive Radio podcasts in the last quarter of 2017, Soyini Coke, principal of Annona Enterprises, is just the right person to be presenting a session titled Podcasting: A Guide to Getting Started at the upcoming SIPA Annual 2018.

Promote your events. Spidell Publishing's weekly California Minute podcast often promotes upcoming seminars on a related topic, offering a discount for anyone listening. (After a brief hiatus for the deadlines of tax season, they're back.) I love their opening music, and Kathryn Zdan is a silky smooth host. Their podcasts are shorter, 3-5 minutes, a perfect example that you don't have to be long to be effective.

Augment a publication. The EMplify hosts call their show the "podcast corollary" of Emergency Medicine Practice, and they are here to "take us through the May 2018 issue." At 20 minutes, it's a comfortable length. Access Intelligence's Rotor and Wing International tells us that, "You may be a regular reader of the Rotorcraft Collective newsletter. Now the Rotorcraft Collective Podcast will expand our coverage of vertical-flight business intelligence and discuss the latest impacts of the industry on your operations and business."

Drive leads and keep your audience engaged. BLR's HR Works: The Podcast for Human Resources, has been going since February 2016 and runs a bit longer. The last two clock in at 58 and 46 minutes. Coincidentally, that last one is about engagement, titled Engagement' Is Elusive—Focus on Driving Business Outcomes Instead. If you can keep an audience for that long, you're doing something right. Best-selling author and speaker Matt Bailey said that he has looked at several monetization models, but audience engagement and acquiring leads from third-party training partners are more his focus on the Endless Coffee Cup.

Give your editors and writers another platform to shine. Executive editor Aaron Larson is the very capable host for The POWER Podcast. Stephen D. Bruce, managing editor of BLR's media team, hosts HR Works. I mentioned the excellent work of Zdan on California Minute and Schmidt on Farm Equipment.

Push your trials and subscriptions. On the PE Hub podcast page, we see this just below the podcast clicks:

Take your pick!

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Create a publication, report or e-learning course. A podcast could be a low-cost, effective way to test a topic's popularity with your audience. Wrote J.B. Maverick on Investopedia: "The podcast helps to establish the podcaster as an expert on a particular subject, and she then offers her own e-book, or actual printed book, for sale through an online link that appears on the podcast site." Sure enough, the Paper and Packaging Board, a commodity checkoff program overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, released content from a number of popular podcasts—including 99% Invisible, Grammar Girl, Song Exploder, and Dear Sugars—in a magazine form called Pod Papers. "[This] is our answer to this cultural moment—it's meant to be pored over and become a keepsake," said board president Mary Anne Hansan.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…