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A podcast on- How to analyze a podcast for marketing

6 April 2009 19 Comments

I’ve been meaning to do this for the longest time. Start a podcast.

Two reasons-

  1. My love for audio (and Radio): I started off with radio while straight out of school- though obviously at a very amateurish level. Somehow never picked up. And  to think of it, I thought I had all the qualities to be on radio – except for the voice, the delivery and the intonation. (You know how it is- Life is not fair- true talent never wins…and all that.) But now that the Internet makes it possible to satisfy my urges of vocal gratification, I can relive that dream- about 12 years later than I should have- and subject you to my thoughts in manifestations other than text
  2. A peculiar learning from this was that earlier I thought blogging takes too much time. Voice can be faster. Just record your voice and put it up there. Right? WRONG. I could have written 10 posts (or more) in the time that it took me to being this out. And to say that usually my posts are not hurried- is a gross understatement.

Either which ways- here is the first podcast episode (or webisode) -at the beginning of this post- just press play. About 12 minutes – quite squeezable when you are in the mood for information snacking.

I have always thought that podcasts and blogs need to be monetized- in a way that is appropriate. I think one major hurdle to achieve that objective is marketers ignorance. Another one is the content creators incapacity to market themselves well. But that is another story. The main issue is the lack of standards and ignorance. Chicken and egg situation actually. Usually problems like this wait for ‘scale’ to be solved. Marketers scramble for answers only when the right scale is achieved.

While on the topic of  Social Media Channels like blogs and podcasts, the traditional metrics of reach and frequency won’t work, and more often than not, you will have to justify by qualitative metrics at best. So here I attempt to highlight the right metrics for marketers. And hope that user generated content is monetized in a way that it is worthy of.

There actually is going to be a series of webisodes on this one topic- three to be exact. Following which, we will have other topics- hopefully some suggested by you.

To take a perspective- I am going to analyze three of my favorite podcast channels from back home in Singapore.

I analyze them on the basis of their web weightage (Page Rank), blog buzz (inbound links from other blogs), Buzz within the podcast channel (Comment to webisode post ratio), frequency of posts, and average time per podcast. Of course I will be covering some qualitative criterion as well.

Not perfect. But in the absence of many other criterion- should give you a reasonably good insight rather than go by gut feel. Or worse- scrap spending on this media at all- because there are no parameters or justifications.

In the first podcast of this series- I cover Tech65- a technology podcast/videocast from Singapore by a bunch of young lads. Some details and how they fare on each of the above highlighted parameters.

Do let me know what are the other things that interest you- in case you are marketer or a content creator. Meanwhile, I get down to creating some more content and putting in more distribution channels for the podcast. Can only get better with time. Till then-  Enjoy!

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tranchis/3317089091/sizes/m/

  • Ankur

    I think it’s a great start Shalabh. Something we marketers would really find useful. I strongly believe this is an unexplored medium with a huge potential, but we guys are completely unaware of this. Cheers and let more coming. In fact I am already waiting for the second and third one.

  • http://www.morningjam.com Joe Augustin

    Actually there have been studies about podcasts and their ideal lengths. So far the magic number is 7-8 minutes. This is based on how people search for info and it supports the long tail idea that if people look for certain info, and you are well indexed, you will benefit in the long term.

    Having said that, the no.1 comedy podcast on iTunes is a daily show about 90 minutes long. :)

    It hints to me that bandwidth and storage are no longer the impediments they used to be to the success of podcasting.

    So far, most podcasts are add-ons to other marketing done with the flagship medium – such as a radio station. magazine and newspaper. But it is just showing signs of coming into it’s own.

  • http://blog.dk.sg DK

    Woohoo! The podcast is finally out. Great job. Love the choice of music.

    Look forward to more great podcast from you. Cheers!

  • http://nttup.wordpress.com NTT

    Great job!! Good to have another podcaster among us. A few comments..

    1. I also suggest in your metrics, you can add “production quality”. I personally feel this is very important. A podcast which is not produced well, become boring very very fast. I have stopped listening to a few which started sounding like crap

    2. Podcast length is an interesting topic. There have been many discussions on this. And there is on single answer. Like Joe said, 10min is supposed to be ideal, but for 65Bits we try to cover and discuss what happened for the entire week. That’s a lot of content.

    It also depends on the nature of the podcast. Newsy podcasts, or educational podcasts can easily be made short. Podcasts which involve conversations and discussions need more time.

    And as Joe said, some of the top podcasts on iTunes (like the TWIT network), easily run for 1-2hrs, and I consume them gladly.. I guess the point that was overlooked was the fact that podcasts are meant to be “time and place shiftable”. Which means you can consume them anywhere and anytime. And hence you don’t have to listen to the entire thing in one place or at one go. 10mins here and 20mins there can get you through the whole 90mins podcast in no time.

    3. Finally, I was quite amused by your statement that 65Bits needs to be monetized. I beg to differ. I don’t see why it needs to be monetized to be consistent. But that’s a topic for another discussion.

    Njoy!

  • Saha

    Shalabh,

    You are striking the right chords… even though scale is still to be measured, it does get a few people measureing the notes and the pitch.

    on my infomation snack the other day had yours auditory, and the link below as more visual…
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7982763.stm

    seeing some similarities or rather the auditory and sensory web forward

    keep talkposting

  • http://blankanvas.bypatlaw.com Pat Law

    Hate your music, love your commentary. Nice, for a first. Point taken about monetizing podcasts… How much time do we spend in terms of media investment on a 15-sec radio spot over X period of time? How about we peg podcasts to that of radio advertising rates? Can we? Hmm. I don’t think it’s fair but its a pretty good gauge on engagement level.

  • Nachiket

    Great that you initiated the discussion and with a bang! Great insights and direction.

    However i would like to understand ur view for the Indian market. Do u think the podcasts will take up in India? And if they do then can the similar metric will be applicable here as well? The reason I am little pessimistic about it is the tendency of Indians…they dont like to express in an open forum! So they may read the blogs but will not comment on it or they’ll listen to the podcast but will not react on it. In that case how can we measure the engagement? Also the technology barriers are always there!

    Also, any thoughts on how a marketer can leverage podcasting? It can be a great tool for the Education clients but what about someone in consumer durables/telecom sector?

    Cheers,
    Nachiket

  • http://www.shalabhpandey.com shalabh

    Hi Guys
    Thanks for your insights, comments and encouragement. It tells me more effort needs to go into this. did not reply to individual comments as I think it bloats up the comment numbers- and also keeps a discussion open for others to participate further.
    @Ankur Thanks bro. The next series will be less ‘technical’ I’ll focus on areas that are more widely understood- and there will be more stuff that you would not expect in a biz podcast
    @Joe it sounds amazing that studies say ideal length is 7-8 minutes yet the number one podcast on itunes is like 90 minutes- someone is way out here :) But we do need more of these studies in Asia
    @DK thanks a bunch bro. Will continue.
    @NTT super cool points.”Production quality” is a good point- I covered in Qualitative analysis but did not emphasize. I also think if you have sizable downloads, Blog buzz, Google authority and the factors I considered, Production quality could take a backseat. After all, a podcast with raw appeal but high on those parameters would mean audience find something that overrides production quality. Finally if 65Bits does not intend to monetize, it is great news. But in my experience lack of funds subvert passion and scale over time. In general I am of the opinion that good user generated content deserves to get monetize. If you get some advertisers that you are not interested in, please divert them to me ;)
    @saha that is music to my ears!
    @Pat More music coming your way from the new podcast onwards. Thanks a lot for encouragement. On radio rates- yes I can share some of that and I agree that pegging podcasts with radio is not fair. Podcasts should charge higher ;)No seriously. Will cover that in another discussion.
    @nachiket I think the only issue with India has been infrastructure but increasingly that is becoming a non-issue. Multimedia content including video and audio will grow phenomenally driven by vernacular content. In the next 2 years if not less. Yes similar metrics would be applicable in India and all English speaking countries as well.
    On your questions on Indians not speaking in an open forum, let me tell you that people outside have quite the contrarian view on that :))
    While on that topic, I also think Indians are quite vocal and I can say that it stems from a mix of enthusiasm, curiosity, intelligence, competitiveness and an open discussion culture that India breeds
    But less participation is a case in point for all channels including blogs where only 10% actively participate- I think that in itself is not a limitation but an opportunity for marketers- as they can be sure that the participators are the much coveted ‘opinion leaders’ and work around that. You also raise another good point on How to leverage podcasts for consumer marketing- and I’ll take it up in another session for sure- I’ve used my platform for enough talk by now.
    Thanks again guys..keep tuning in
    Shalabh

  • http://nttup.wordpress.com NTT

    Since you guys were talking about Indian podcasters, you can check out http://www.theindicast.com/.

    I listen to both their Indians on India and Tech-ka-masala. I enjoy the content, though the production tends to be a little off sometimes.. Heheh..

    Njoy,

    -NTT

  • http://nttup.wordpress.com NTT

    Oh and P.S. (I know this is a plug).

    We discussed your comments on the latest episode of 65Bits..

    http://www.tech65.org/2009/04/13/65bits-episode-114-stuck-in-the-rain-at-maxwell/

    Njoy,

    -NTT

  • http://www.shalabhpandey.com shalabh

    @NTT I did listen to the podcast- and placed my comments- waiting for the comments to be approved :)

  • http://www.theindicast.com Aditya

    @NTT : Production a little off? I think we can improve a lot but we are severely restricted with bandwidth in India and cellphone connectivity is the best! Keep listening

  • http://nttup.wordpress.com NTT

    @Aditya Ofcourse! I totally understand. Hehe. You guys also might want to try to record both parties on the skype call on separate tracks and level them independently. Sometimes one of you is too loud.

  • http://www.theindicast.com aditya

    NTT : that’s where re problem is most of our hosts join over cellohones since Internet connections are spotty in India and skyoe calls tend to drop or have significant lag. Hence the problem.

    Any other recommendations are welcome. Intact don’t wantbto take over the comments here mail me at Aditya@theindicast.com or Twitter me

  • http://www.shalabhpandey.com shalabh

    @aditya @NTT it’ll be a nice discussion and learning if we have some of this discussion here.
    What I think is- even if you use cellphone conversations (or even Skype) you could use your audio software’s inbuilt ‘normalizing’ effect- what I do is Normalize and then use this free software called Conversations Network Levelator. Not bad.
    But I want to do a skype experiment sometime soon for sure..just finding the right opportunity… let me know if you’d be interested.

  • http://www.theindicast.com aditya

    Shallabh, thanks for the levelator. Let me check that out. I have never tried it out

  • http://nttup.wordpress.com NTT

    Levelator is a nice app. But I find it compresses (dynamic range compression, not mp3 compression) too much. Also Levelator might not help if one person is too loud and the other too soft. Since both are the part of the same track they will be leveled indiscriminately.

    @Aditya How do you record the cellphone call? If there is any way to separate the recording of your voice and the guest’s voice into seperate tracks you’ll find it much easier to level them and then mix them so they sound good..

  • http://tech65.org/ NTT

    Hey.. What happened to the old comments on your blog?? Was looking for a discussion that happened on this post in April..

  • http://www.chasingthestorm.com Shalabh

    Yes I noticed- added Disqus and it seems older comments have vanished. Anything in particular you were looking for? I can source it from WP comments admin interface.