Archive for the ‘Audio/Video’ Category

“Casting” Your Brand

We all want the best bang for our buck when it comes to marketing, right?  We want to make sure when we market our business, our goods or our services, that we invest wisely into how an audience recognizes our brand.  Obviously, it’s important to come across to our potential customers and contacts as reputable, truthful, and trustworthy choices for doing business.  So, what option gives you the best method of reaching that audience and gaining their trust?

The answer differs depending on your type of business.  Maybe a catchy print ad or a well-placed billboard will drive interest in your business.  A direct-mail marketing campaign chock full of discounts and coupons could help gain customer loyalty.  Going “viral” seems to be a new and fancy way of gaining exposure, but does it really help your cause and would you really know how to do it right?

The truth is, there are countless options to market your business out there.  Some methods are cheap, but only reach a small audience.  Others require hefty investment, but give you a larger return on investment (ROI) due to the larger audience.  So, the perfect marketing method seems to be one that can balance a reasonable cost to make it with the potential to reach a large target audience, all while clearly communicating you and your brand’s message.

Podcasting does exactly that.

Podcasting requires producing an audio program, typically involving recording your own narration, and then mixing it with other narration and music. You then publish it to the web, either by uploading it to your blog or through an RSS feed.

With podcasting, you can communicate on a personal level with your customers.  You are not restricted to a specific time block like you are with television and radio, and the method of delivery is vastly cheaper than that of a media buy.  You can utilize a podcast to be a great tool in your marketing plan.  Offer it for free to your audience, allowing them to listen to it when they want and how they want.  They will load it onto their mp3 players, laptops and desktops, listening to your message when they are truly ready to listen.  Podcasting is a much more effective and personal approach to marketing.

In the past, podcasting has been largely used more as a social blogging tool rather than a business marketing tool.  Now, with the shift of businesses trying to tap into that social networking realm, more and more small and large businesses alike have been producing podcasts as a way to stay connected to their customers.  It’s important to note that, just like if you were to advertise your business on television or radio, making sure you convey your brand’s message clearly and in the highest quality means is crucial.  If your target audience listens to a poorly made podcast, it may cause them to question your brands authenticity and you could lose their trust in your brand.

So, what can you do to make sure you produce a quality podcast?

For starters, here’s a few tips:

•    Consider your environment.  You will be recording not only your voice, but the space around you.  A microphone can very easily pick up odd reflections off walls and the space that surrounds you, so deadening that environment with some acoustic treatment helps.  Sometimes pillows and blankets can help, but only to an extent.

•    Find good, royalty free music to add flavor to your podcast.  There are many quality music libraries out there that will license music to you for use in a podcast.  Some sites include royaltyfreemusiclibrary.com, opuzz.com, and firstcom.com, just to name just a few.  Always make sure that you are aware of the licensing terms associated with roayalty free songs, and never use copywrited music without permission.  The ramifications could be very costly.

•    Watch your volume levels, both in and out of the recording software.  You do not want any harsh digital clipping apparent during recording.  After recording, you will want to make sure that your volume levels of your program are not drastically different to those of professionally mixed audio.  The last thing you want to do is annoy your audience by having there ears blown out when your program ends and the next professionally mixed track begins to play.

•    Do it right, and hire a professional.  Find someone with the experience to produce the podcast for you.  You will save yourself from the headache and frustration on the technical side of the process, leaving you to focus on the message you want to convey.  Find an audio engineer with the capability to record remotely, via ISDN hardware, audio over IP (such as Source-Connect) SIP and VOIP software (like Skype), or over a telephone.  Also, if you have it in your budget, inquire about hiring voice over talent that can lend that professional tone to your brand.  Hiring an experienced audio professional will ensure the podcast is produced exactly how you want it.

Remember though, no matter how great your podcast sounds, no matter how much time you put into the technical aspect of producing it, the most significant element that will build your audience is the content.  Cover topics related to your business without excluding those who might not be familiar with your products or services.  If at all possible, drop the use of technical jargon or industry-specific terminology that might confuse new listeners. Keep your podcast conversational; make an outline of what you want to cover to keep you on track and avoid unnecessary pauses. And always remember that what looks good on paper might not sound right when spoken.

A great podcast will generate it’s own buzz.  If it sounds great, and the content is great, your podcast will spread across blogs and social networks like wildfire.

Be sure you deliver a message worth listening to.