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Thanks for putting this out there, Valeria. We have been advocating for this for several years now.

However, permit me to make a few arguments strongly reinforcing the part of your comment about content production.

Companies need to become media producers, not just consumers, or frankly, even just curators.

There are countless business organizations that already do this, including the Ford Motor Company, the Mayo Clinic, and many of my clients whose podcast production not only does not diminsh the attendance at their events, but expands the audience for their content by making it available to a worldwide audience.

The Rutgers Quarterly Business Outlook in South Jersey is a good example. We've been producing podcasts of the panel discussions since 2006. Each podcast is downloaded an average of 600-1,000 times. Attendance at the event has grown to more than 350 people every quarter.

We produce quarterly video podcasts from the NJ Bank Marketing Association's seminars, and their attendance is consistently 50-60 people for each seminar.

Each of these podcast series also draws a significant audience of several hundred viewers on the web and through Apple's iTunes Music Store, expanding the worldwide reputation of those sponsoring entities.

The cost of podcast production can be underwritten by offering sponsorship opportunities to companies already receptive to aligning themselves with your company and your content. Podcasts provide companies with a permanent record of their events, which they can use to promote their knowledge, expertise, and community commitments far longer than a 15-second b-roll segment behind the weather forecast will ever do.

Their sponsorship message in a podcast is permanently available on the Internet, at a much lower cost than buying a single newspaper or broadcast advertisement -- and it is seen and heard by audiences predisposed to the message, because they voluntarily sought out the podcast content.

There's another value -- the value of podcasts and vidcasts for Search Engine Visibility

People don't go to the Yellow Pages to find the services they need. They generally don't even go to a website of a firm. They go to Google (and to a lesser extent other search engines, but pretty much Google).

Firms that understand this dynamic need to ensure that they show up in the first page or so (mostly first page) of a google search.

There are several ways to do that, but Paid Ad-Words or other "search engine optimization" can be expensive if you have a popular search term.

A better way to do it is to create compelling "rich media" content like video and audio podcasts, online presentations and blogs, and to update the content on a regular, frequent basis.

Google and other search engines love pages that update frequently (blogs) have rich content (photos, videos, audio, RSS feeds) and lots of hyperlinks (blogs, podcast show notes pages, etc.) to other sites and resources. Production of this rich content results in organic improvement in search engine rankings.

Companies need to be willing to give up some of their knowledge content for free to the Internet world, in return for the visibility as a thought leader. Properly programmed, a company can be perceived as the ultimate resource for prospective clients who want to know how an organization works, or how consumers of that product or service can educate themselves to be more informed about using or comparing products or services in that sector.

Podcasting or Internet broadcasting is part of an overall marketing effort that focuses on where your potential audiences are, not where your business owners may want them to be or think they are.

Look at the top 100 podcasts listed in iTunes, and you'll find the vast majority are professionally produced by major names in traditional broadcast media. People want great content produced with broadcast quality production values, by trusted brands. To the extent that your brand has that goodwill, content produced in podcast form will attract viewers and listeners.

Lots of organizations and companies still think they will grow new customers/clients by putting ads in the newspaper. Most people under 35 don't even read a daily print newspaper, and a significant percentage of them only watch broadcast television by time-shifting technology (Tivo and DVR) and don't even glance at commercials..

And like it or not (if you are a 50-something business owner, you probably don't like it!) you're not going to reach those vendor-specifying middle and senior managers in traditional ways.

Here's an example of the power of a modest social media marketing strategy.

One of my clients is Walmart Stores. In addition to traditional media relations, we also produce digital photos and digital video reports about the events we cover for them, store openings, events with community groups, etc. We post the photos on Flickr.com, the social sharing site for photography (it's also a very easy way for me to transmit the photos to the agency I represent so they can email them to local weekly newspapers that still use a photo here and there) You can see these photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lubetkin/collections/72157605229322022/. We have a video blog for Walmart New Jersey at http://walmartnjvideos.blogspot.com/.

People in the community who are interested in Walmart can also see the photos when they search for Walmart on Google and other engines.

Few of the community activities we covered for Walmart ever made it on the local evening news (store openings, as economic news, do get covered, but community events are rarely staffed by the media).

So you have to create your own coverage options. It's just that simple.

Steve "@PodcastSteve Lubetkin
Senior Fellow, Society for New Communications Research
Managing Partner, Lubetkin Communications LLC
Professional Podcasts LLC
steve@professionalpodcasts.com
www.professionalpodcasts.com
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/podcaststeve

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