I keep seeing and hearing signs that podcasts, which enjoyed a sort of “mini-bubble” several years ago, may be making a comeback.
Michael Stelzner raises the possibility in a recent interview with Mitch Joel (An excellent interview to listen to if you happen to be thinking about starting a podcast.)
I’ve heard Christopher Penn, on Marketing Over Coffee, speculate about a possible surge in podcasting on at least a few occasions.
Granted, all of these people are podcasters, and so am I. But research and common sense tend to support the idea that podcasting is a channel you don’t want to ignore.
A recent report from Edison Research indicates that, while overall awareness of podcasts has remained flat, the percentage of people who have listened to an audio podcast has grown from 11 percent to 29 percent since 2006. Perhaps more importantly, the percentage who have viewed a video podcast has grown from 10 to 26 percent.
There are many possible reasons for this growth, but one I think it is essential to point out is how much easier it now is for people to access and consume podcasts. The rise of smart phone has meant that you don’t have to have a separate device, like an iPod, with you to listen to or view a podcast. And the release of apps like Stitcher and Instacast make it easy to grab podcasts on your mobile phone without plugging in to your laptop. (Apple has tried to enter this territory itself, but is getting really bad reviews for its podcast app.)
Once you have the content on your phone – or tablet – you can listen or watch pretty much anytime you have a spare five to thirty minutes. I make podcasts a regular part of my learning walks. If you have bought a car anytime in the past five years or so, you almost certainly have an auxiliary jack for plugging a device into the car’s sound system. This creates tremendous possibilities for a custom content commute. (The C3 trend – you heard it here first, folks.)
Finally, as I have written before, there are numerous other reasons to embrace the lowly podcast.
If you think about it, this really is revolutionary stuff. Within the space of a decade, we have come to a point where anybody, using a relatively simple set of tools, can quickly and efficiently distribute audio and video content globally. If you are in the education business, or if it make sense for you to use educational content as a marketing tool (hint: it does), this is a no brainer.
Stay tuned for more from me on how to create, publish, and promote podcasts, but in the meantime, here are five sites that can help you master podcasting.
P.S. – An update on this one (12/6/12): Chris Brogan, too, seems to think podcasting is making a comeback.
Another update (05/01/13) – Forbes says the podcast is “coming into its own.”
By the way, have you checked out the Learning Revolution podcast yet?!