Jason Adams of Lulu Radio says his company's podcast serves as a supplement to its newsletter first, but he hopes its role will grow as it matures.
Lulu.com, a company that gives print-on-demand technology to book authors, musicians, calendar designers, and comic book artists, has so many clients it's hard for Lulu.com to acknowledge them all in its newsletter. As Lulu makes a strong presence at science fiction and comic book conventions (cons) throughout the year, it intends to use these trips to podcast on the road and give attention to its comic book authors and book authors who attend the cons.
The company also uses its podcast to give the customers a look inside at its people. At a recent company retreat, Lulu.com podcasted its yearly poetry slam, allowing the listeners to catch the poems voted best by the employees about their company. This human look at a company can do wonders for public opinion. Instead of presenting your business as a faceless corporation, you can use podcasting to bring out the human side of the company.
Traditional publishers are also getting into the podcasting game. The most popular thing for publishers to podcast is interviews with their authors, although the possibilities are endless. They could send someone along on a book tour to record readings or signings. Podiobooks.com has already shown the popularity of podcasting booksor even book excerpts.
The limits of podcasting really lie only with the limits of a marketing team's imagination.
One thing a podcast can do is establish the podcaster as an expert. Confidently speaking about a subject, whether it is politics or sports, catches people's ears and makes them listen. When your company creates a podcast on a wider topic instead of just making the podcast an ad for the company, it can do much to establish credibility.
In particular, this can do a lot for smaller businesses or freelancers trying to attract new clients because it allows them to show off their expertise. If someone is a freelance editor, for example, she could do a podcast about grammar, humorous typos, or news of the publishing world. A person who does home parties for a living (Tupperware, Pampered Chef, and so on) can host a podcast about cooking, organizing, or any tangential topic that relates to his product.
For an example of a podcast illustrating a company's strengths rather than serving as an advertisement, let's look at MWS Media (http://www.mwsmedia.com/). Run by Matthew Wayne Selznick, this is described as "a family of websites and other media [that] is dedicated to presenting the finest DIY, independent creative endeavors from all over the world, and supporting the DIY ethic through services and advocacy."
His DIY (do-it-yourself) ethic is something he strongly believes in, and something he epitomizes through his podiobook, Brave Men Run (www.bravemenrun.com; see Figure 19.1).
Figure 19.1. The Brave Men Run site prominently displays links to MWS Studios and other DIY links.
And here is his advice to people who consider focusing on podcasting for their business: