Kantor: Too many podcasting choices equals disinterest

Just read an article written by Andrew Kantor over at USA Today about the reasons why podcasting hasn’t taken off as quickly as people have predicted.

I found the beginning of his article quite hilarious, in particular his take on what makes podcasting different from putting audio files on your website:

The automatic part is important. Podcasting is not simply putting audio files on your site and letting people download them. That’s known as “putting audio files on your site and letting people download them.” To be a podcast, it has to be automated. No RSS, no syndication, no podcast.

What a gem!

Now, Kantor goes on to give 3 reasons why podcasting hasn’t run radio off the map as quickly as some have predicted, in particular:

  1. There’s just way too much “junk” podcasts out there creating what I call “podspam.”
  2. The technology to access podcasts is too complicated.
  3. And lastly, the vast amount of choice makes podcasting too overwhelming to be bothered with.

Okay, so I agree with Kantor on #1. For #2, podcast listeners should just download iTunes and be done with it. It’s the only podcatcher that really matters anyways.

But for #3, I would argue that the same holds true for radio and TV. With digital cable, satellite TV/radio and the Internet all competing for our earholes and eyeballs, we are given way too many choices when it comes to our entertainment.

I may be able to just click the “on” button on my remote, but because I now have digital cable, I have 900 channels to flip through. In the city of Toronto where I live, there are hundreds of stations to choose from. It would take me a week just to go from station to station to decide what I’ll listen to.

So no, podcasting isn’t the only culprit here when it comes to choice.

8:49pm ET update – Here’s another take on USA Today’s coverage of podcasting.

PRWeb calls podcasting a sound (financial) decision

PRWeb, the largest distributor of online press releases, has said that adding a podcasting service to its line of offerings has been the best decision it has made.

What’s even better, is that PRWeb charges people $200 to be interviewed for its podcast.

Here’s how the process works:

  • A company, let’s call them XYZ Corp., writes a press release about a new product launch and submits it to PRWeb.
  • To enhance the delivery of the press release, XYZ Corp. purchases a package in increments of $10. For as little as $30, XYZ Corp’s press release will be sent to 5 news outlets. For $50, it will be sent to 8 and so on.
  • Then, for an extra $200, XYZ Corp. will be contacted by a PRWeb staff member to be interviewed for its podcast.

According to Andrew Schlichting, PRWeb’s Web 2.0 Content Manager, there have been 30,000 downloads of their podcast since launching the service in February 2006. With just over 200 podcasts produced to date and each podcast featuring 1 guest, this works out to be ($200 x 1 x 200) = $40,000 in 60-days. Not a bad chunk of change, huh?

Want to listen to the PRWeb Podcast? The best thing to do is download iTunes to your computer. Once you’ve installed it, open iTunes, then go to Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast, then copy and paste this URL into the box – http://www.prwebpodcast.com/feed/i-recent.xml.

Tim Bourquin says hold on to your hats

Expo Magazine has named the Podcast and Portable Media Expo one of the best new trade shows of 2005. Read the article here.

The 2006 Podcast and Portable Media Expo will be held September 29-30, 2006 in Ontario, California and today was the deadline for speaker proposals. I pitched 3 topics and the show organizer, Tim Bourquin (seen at right), emailed me to say that the decision on speakers will be made the first week in May.

Cross your fingers and wish me luck.

Average number of podcast subscribers is 35

Feedburner has done it again. They now report that the average podcast has only 35 subscribers.

Well, my podcast has three times that amount, so there! So, you may be asking yourself, “Well, why would she even bother? For just barely over 100 people?”

The reason why I podcast are many:

  • I get loads of search engine traffic. Search engines love fresh content and anytime I do an interview for someone else’s podcast or when I update my own, I get favourable rankings in search engines. Don’t believe me? Punch in the keyword phrase “selling mistakes” into Google. My podcast is listed #1 (as of April 19th). Try “selling mistakes to avoid.” Where’s my podcast?
  • I get new clients. Yup, you heard me. I have signed up new coaching clients as a result of my podcast. Since launching my podcast in October 2005, I’ve enrolled 10 new clients. Doesn’t sound like alot, huh? But that’s 10 people x $597 USD and you get $5,970. It takes me 1-hour to prepare my podcast, then factor in monthly hosting ($3.95 per month) and domain name renewal ($20 per year) and you can see where this is profitable for me. This doesn’t include all the other income streams that I generate each month.
  • I have eliminated complimentary sessions. There’s no need for me to do them anymore. I used to go through 30 comp sessions a month and only net 3 new clients. So, I wasted about 15-hours on the phone (30 prospects x 30-minutes) a month just to turn 3 clients. Now, I use a product funnel where I offer my ezine and my podcast as freebies. Listeners can get used to my coaching style while listening to my podcast, so by the time they email me, they’re ready to hire me as their coach.

So, these are the reason why 105 subscribers are worth it to me. Subscribers get used to my style, they start to like me and when someone likes you, they trust your judgement. With trust comes sales and that’s why the ROPI (return on podcasting investment) works for me.

International Podcasting Expo

Just a heads up that I’m participating in a virtual expo on podcasting. Click on the banner above to find out how you can attend as an exhibitor, attendee or even as a sponsor.

If you view the seminar schedule, you’ll see that I’m speaking on 2 topics:

Friday April 21st @ 11pm ET – What Makes (Or Breaks) A Podcast – Podcast Listeners Speak

Sunday April 23rd @ 4pm ET – 7 Ways to Turn Podcast Listeners Into Clients

If you really want to find out what makes podcast listeners tick, you have to attend the session I’m hosting on the 21st. Tickets to get into this virtual event are only $11. Click here to purchase your ticket.

Plus, there’s a whole bunch of cool prizes that will be given away during the expo. You can see the list here (look on the right hand side). I’m contributing copies of an ebook I’m co-authoring called Jump Start Your Podcast (released later this spring) and a CD called How to Turn Listeners Into Clients.

No podcast listeners? Think again!

About a week ago, critics of podcasting were cheering a report released by Forrester Research that only 3% of the 5,051 people surveyed said they’ve ever tried listening to a podcast.

“See,” critics sneered. “Podcasting is just a fad.”

Feedburner Podcasting Market Report Well, hold on bronco! Feedburner just released a report with actual numbers – not guestimates from surveys of a small sample of people – that show that those who subscribe to podcasts are now in the millions. Just under 1.6-million to be more exact.

How does Feedburner measure this? Well, they have snazzy statistics that help podcast producers know how many people subscribe to their podcast, which podcatcher subscribers are using and some other cool stuff.

The report went on to highlight these points:

  • There are just under 45,000 podcasts serving just under 1.6-million podcast subscribers.
  • Twenty percent of all new feeds created through Feedburner are podcast feeds.
  • Podcast feeds have grown 15% each month between June 2005 and April 2006.
  • Fifty-seven percent of podcast listeners use iTunes to access their podcasts.
  • The viral nature of podcast feeds means that they’re resyndicated, thus increasing its reach.
  • Based on current growth, there will be over 100,000 podcasts and 5-million podcast subscribers by the end of this year.
  • Podcasters will start making money and demanding the tools to help them measure their listenership.

Interesting. I still hold firm that podcasting is the wave of the future, especially in light of declining radio listenership.

Measuring the return on podcasting investment

I met with a prospect this morning, trying to convince him that he needed to add podcasting to his online marketing mix. While he was intrigued, he questioned the ROI. In particular, he wanted to know how one can measure the podcasting results.

Okay, I can understand why one would want to measure podcasts. But my goodness, why is it that people put so much pressure on internet marketing tools? No one would go to television network and say, “For my 30-second ad, how many actual viewers watched it? No, not just the CPM, I mean actual numbers?”

No marketing director can tell me that a person walked into their car dealership or that someone chose one shaving gel over another as a direct result of an ad they viewed on TV or heard on the radio.

I’m not talking about brand awareness. I’m talking about the direct correlation between someone seeing an ad on TV and then going to their grocery store to buy that item off the shelf. Those type of metrics don’t exist, not unless you run a specific contest or other campaign.

So, why is podcasting being treated differently?

Let me interrupt your FM feed

I’m not entirely sure about this approach to advertising, but it merits discussion. A company in the US is using an FM transmitter that plugs into your iPod to transmit its ads.

This kind of reminds me of something that happened to my sister over the weekend. She went to use the washroom at 3am and the scented puffer thing she bought that emits pretty smells once every hour went off as she opened the door. She told me that she nearly had a heart attack thinking that someone was hiding in wait.

I liken my sister’s experience to this ad transmitter service. Totally useless. Consumers don’t want more ads. They don’t want more clutter in their otherwise busy days. Although ad spending is going up, the attention span of consumer in regards to those ads are going down.

Can the FM transmitter approach. It will be ignored and seen as intrusive.

Who will win the online downloads war?

Here are 3 different approaches that broadcasters are using to make their TV shows available online.

Here’s how all 3 stack up:

  • Fox is using a complicated revenue-share to offer its content for downloads.
  • ABC is using an ad-supported model and will offer its content to be downloaded for free.
  • NBC will offer its content for a small fee.

I have mixed feelings about all 3 approaches, but the broadcaster who offers their content for a small fee and has no ads in it will win out in the long run.

Even my boomer dad gets it

Yesterday, I visited my dad to have an Easter Sunday dinner. He’s a Baby Boomer and at 59 years old, he said something to me that lets me know that he “gets it.” Although he has never been online, he certainly understands why certain industries, such as broadcasting, are doing so poorly while podcasting is taking off.

Over roasted chicken and rice & peas, my dad talked about the reasons why he would never pay for cable (although he’s had it for years – don’t ask).

He said:

“The cable companies show me the same thing over and over, so why the heck would I ever pay for it? Give the people what they want, or they’ll go somewhere else to find it.”

Little did he know that he’s talking about the exact phenomenon that’s sweeping the Internet right now – on demand content. It’s the reason why more and more broadcasters are offering their TV shows as a download through iTunes (albeit for a fee). It’s the reason why podcasting is taking off.

Cable companies and broadcasters need to wake up. In the words of my boomer dad, “Give the people what they want, when they want it.”