'Momcasts' grow as a source for enlightening parents

Packing lunches, changing diapers, running errands, and downloading podcasts? If one of the latest trends in Internet programming is any indication, that's exactly what moms are doing.

Packing lunches, changing diapers, running errands, and downloading podcasts? If one of the latest trends in Internet programming is any indication, that's exactly what moms are doing.

An evolution of the Web's established parent-support network, "momcasts" offer busy mothers (and dads, too) another way to feed their insatiable appetite for family-rearing information. Plus, "it's easier to listen than to read," says Eric Schwartzman, founder and president of iPressroom, an LA-based online PR and interactive marketing firm.

MommyCast, a weekly Internet show hosted by Virginia mothers Gretchen Vogelzang and Paige Heninger, was one of the first independent podcasts to secure a major corporate sponsor when it teamed with Georgia-Pacific's Dixie brand in March.

According to Erik Sjogren, senior brand manager, Dixie was introduced to the program by its AOR, Porter Novelli, Atlanta, as a "unique way to cut through the clutter" and communicate with its target consumer: on-the-go moms in search of simplicity.

Sponsored and created by Whirlpool Brands, the weekly American Family podcast also addresses a range of diverse topics, from arranging playdates to setting limits for teens.
The program fits with Whirlpool's "emotional brand" status, says Whirlpool Brands' director of PR Audrey Reed-Granger.

"We're in touch with our consumers; we know what they need and want," she adds. "For busy moms, there's more to life than appliances. Sometimes, women and families just want to commiserate. Sometimes, just laugh."

While podcasting metrics are limited, one key benefit is the ability to reach a highly targeted audience "not limited by geography or time," Schwartzman says.

"Moms are an always-growing niche audience looking for information," he explains. Podcasting provides valuable content that "essentially can be distributed for pennies on the dollar."

Reed-Granger agrees, noting that moms can tune in - via portable MP3 player or computer - whenever their schedule allows.

"Our consumer is more of an early adopter than many companies think," she adds, "especially if something fits her schedule."

Key points:

Momcasts allow 24-7 access to valuable information for on-the-go parents

Moms represent a growing niche that always looks for more information

Podcasting for a "mom" audience can help with positive brand reinforcement

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