Podcasts offer valuable vehicle for expert positioning

Positioning your client as a leader in any field is a challenge to even the most seasoned PR professional, but technology now offers podcasts as the latest thought-leadership tool in the arsenal.

Positioning your client as a leader in any field is a challenge to even the most seasoned PR professional, but technology now offers podcasts as the latest thought-leadership tool in the arsenal.

"With the rise of vehicles like podcasting, I think it is a natural opportunity for PR to get involved in taking content to direct audiences," explains Sheri Baer, broadcast director at The Hoffman Agency.

"We think that it's smart as a PR agency, and especially for our clients, to plant an early stake in the ground," she continues. "Podcasting is the perfect vehicle to position your client as an expert, but not to sell a product."

Baer stresses that attempting to sell any product or service via a podcast would not keep people listening. However, she adds, podcasts can serve as a means to make your client noticed in a specific field or concerning a certain issue.

Podcasting is most effective when you can provide original content in a series of ongoing conversations; most podcasts last an average of 10 minutes and occur in a weekly cycle.

Ris‘ Birnbaum, founder and CEO of zcomm, says, "If it's unique content that is not repurposed, and it is marketed well, it will be more effective for you as an expert."

She adds that podcasts can be a good medium for tips to jobseekers from a career counselor, updates on how to save energy from an electric company, or advice on how to lose weight or quit smoking from a pharmaceutical expert.

"As a thought-leadership tool, using this kind of technology shows that you are cutting-edge," says Bill Delaney, SVP of media strategies at Ketchum.

"If someone comes to your Web site looking for a podcast and it isn't there, it makes a company look behind the times," he adds. "You can have the most innovative ideas available at your company, but if you are not making them available to the most innovative people, you are losing out."

Key points:

A podcast serves as a good thought-leadership tool because audiences choose the content for themselves

Having a podcast series available on your Web site helps get ideas to an audience looking to listen to it

Podcasts can have audio and video content, reaching audiences that are interested in either medium

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