Why Would You Podcast?

by Laurel Sindewald and Anne Giles

If Charles Dickens were alive today, this pioneer of the “serial publication of narrative fiction” would be podcasting and we’d be waiting to listen to each installment of his story like we do for the next Harry Potter book.

Anne recording a podcast episode

The Oxford Dictionary tells us “podcast” is a blend of “iPod” + “broadcast.” It’s a “digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.”

Why would you podcast?

Because you’ve got a story to tell and you can tell it with your own voice.

BBC’s podcast, The Forum, published an episode just last year titled The Power of the Human Voice, discussing and demonstrating the influence of the human voice in communication and identification. In this episode, The Forum interviews three guests. Peter French, a professor and an internationally recognized expert in voice and acoustic forensics, speaks to the qualities and components of voices that can be isolated to track down and identify criminals. He also agrees with Anna Devin, an opera singer who shares how the human voice provides a spiritual connection, an almost primal, emotional connection in a way that is not yet measurable, and therefore unstudied by science. Diana Deutsch, their third guest, speaks to the importance of intonation in public speakers, and that intonation alone can affect an audience just as much as the content.

As a listener, I was struck by how personal their accounts felt, and marveled that the format of their conversation felt far more interesting, inclusive, and engaging than it would have had I merely read their interview. In interviewing Peter French, Anna Devin, and Diana Deutsch in a podcast, The Forum demonstrated the power of the human voice even as they discussed the topic. Podcasts have taught me that I would rather listen, in many cases, than read.

In fact, many people learn best by listening, and these people will be more likely to remember your message if you deliver your content as recorded audio. Other people struggle to see, with either full or partial blindness, and these members of your audience may appreciate audio content even more.

Podcasts also extend your reach by making your content accessible to people who are too busy to sit down and read. Podcasts and audiobooks are gaining in popularity, because they leave their audience free to drive, exercise, or do chores while listening.

Podcasts, like other forms of content marketing, allow you to build rapport with your target market as a company or professional who provides value, even before people buy in as customers. Unlike other forms of online marketing, podcasts allow you to reach your market even after they leave their online devices behind. Listeners will often download podcast episodes to listen to later, on iPods or other mobile devices.

Who can podcast?

  • Authors of self-published books whose readers want to hear the author’s passion for the subject
  • Busy experts who don’t have enough time to speak with all the people who want to talk with them
  • Motivational and inspirational speakers
  • People who can voice opinions
  • Comedians and funny joke tellers
  • Singers and musicians
  • Poets and short story writers
  • Storytellers, and people who would like to preserve family stories for other family members
  • Political, business, and community leaders

Anyone with a message, in other words, can podcast that message to the world.

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