So I'm back at my desk after a fun couple of days in the company of US and European podcasters at Podcast Summit Europe 2007. We were truly proud to be sponsors of the event, and it was a pleasure to hook up with so many good people. I met podcasters and marketers, plus some great podcast industry bloggers (Paul Colligan, Jason van Orden, Leesa Barnes- links down the left of this page).
If you go to my company's website, you'll see what we do- and we're proud of it. But this is my personal blog- and whether you're in the podcasting business, a company looking to podcast, or an individual, this is where you'll find the unvarnished truth. So here it is: what I learned this week at CPS-E'07:
- Clients still need education. Not on the intricacies of podcasts: I mean on the basics. Like, what is a podcast. Start there. If you're reading this and you know that podcasting is not beholden to Apple, you're already way ahead of the crowd.
- The podcasting industry needs to get its head out of its arse (or ass for my US readers). I got a real sense that delegates were embarrassed because they enjoyed broadcasting so much, perhaps there wasn't actually a business in it. There is. Enjoy. Stop worrying.
- Some podcast companies seem to think that this is about editing or production. No it is not, and anyone who sets up a podcast agency to do production will fail. Production is a "flat-rate", price-sensitive off-the-shelf service which someone on Elance or an outsource agency could do. The value of a podcast agency is in strategy, format development, monetization, audience engagement, ongoing maintenance of feedback loops etc. Production is not a service.
- The excellent David Prever of BrandSpanking asked a superb question. "If a brand has £19 million to spend, how does podcasting achieve a deserving place as part of that budget". He didn't get a straight answer. Let me provide it. Media in the brand context is valued according to its value to the client, not the cost of production. Otherwise the people who think up slogans would charge tuppence ha'penny. Podcasting must prove its value- and do so in the context of engagement, whether to new audiences, existing customers or as a customer service tool. The metrics are currently badly argued (not non-existent, just badly argued in pitches) and we all owe it to ourselves as an industry to present our case more effectively. In the absence of perfect stats (and thankyou Feedburner for improving things) I simply say to clients, start with a £20K job. If I can prove a £100k return on the metrics of the client's choice, then we'll start talking about a share of the £19million.
So there it is. Clarion call over. A highly educational Summit, our thanks to Paul Colligan for hosting, and let's get our house in order!