In Pod We Trust
So you may be sat there wondering what a podcast is. It’s the buzz word on everyone’s lips at the moment thanks to people such as Ricky Gervais and his phenomenally successful series of podcasts which have been downloaded more than 2 million times since their launch.
So what is a podcast? In simple terms, a podcast is a media file which can either be distributed freely or by subscription over the Internet, for playback on personal computers or mobile devices such as iPods.
The term “podcast” comes from Apple’s portable music player, the iPod and was devised as a simple way to describe the technology used to push audio content from websites down to consumers who typically listen to it on their iPod (hence the “pod”) or other audio/video player that supports audio or video files.
A podcast at it’s simplest can just be someone talking to camera, for instance explaining a new company policy or giving a Christmas message, or it can be as complicated as you want it to be. The more complicated it is though the more it may highlight the drawbacks of the format – length and quality. While there are no limits to the length of the podcast, the longer it is the longer it takes to download and the more space it takes up on the users device. These problems may dissuade the user from downloading the podcast, so lengths are generally kept as short as possible.
When it comes to quality it has to be remembered that podcasts are generally viewed on handheld devices so the benefits of really high quality video may be lost.
Podcasts can either open as “pop-ups” when selected form the host site (see audio examples below) or be integrate into the design of your website (see any video on this site). There is also the issue of format to be considered when compressing the video as some formats are more popular or accessible than others but generally mp3, mp4, wmv, flv or quicktime are the most popular file types.
Generally, podcasts that work the best are simple, direct, short and entertaining and they can be a highly effective mass communication tool with the potential to give your organisation a means to address clients and staff in new and innovative way.
You can see samples of audio and video podcasts we have created, below, or give us a call to discuss the benefits podcasting can bring to you.
Download the Unilever On Shelf Availability audio podcast
Download the Tetley English Ale audio podcast