Thoughts about Podcasting and "Micro-Communities"

On November 13, I joined more than 60 social media experts in Melville, NY for the "Social Media Jungle Conference organized by Internet entrepreneur and investor Jeff Pulver.

I was one of 15 session presenters/facilitators for the all-day conference, and I focused on how companies can reduce their marketing expenses through effective use of audio and video podcasting. Much of the conference was streamed live over the Internet through UStream.tv.

You can see part of my presentation in the player below.

You can see the lineup of Social Media Jungle speakers at Jeff Pulver’s Blog.

For videos of many other presentations, go to the UStream.tv program page here.

Photo by Jeff Pulver

 

The conversations at the conference got me thinking about how we focus on our podcasting activities. Our clients’ audiences are very highly targeted niche markets with specialized interests. They are "micro-communities" exquisitely tailored for the niche-based or narrowcasting focus of social media. Social media liberates the "media" distribution platform from the limitations of broadcast networks or terrestrial radio and TV stations dictating to the audience what content they will see.
 
Nelly Yusupova, ("DigitalWoman" on Twitter) who spoke at the Jungle about how to integrate advertising effectively in social media, coined the couplet, "The narrower the niche, the more you get rich."
 
That is exactly on point for social media. In my opinion, social media entrepreneurs are often too focused on collecting large numbers of eyeballs — in terms of page views, clicks, or downloads.
 
 
Just as Twitter (I’m "PodcastSteve" on Twitter) gave rise to the concept of "microblogging" because of the short length of messages, Nelly’s idea carries heavy freight for me — and for my podcasting business. We are not particularly worried if our audiences are small, as long as they are self-selecting to gather our content. We are producing podcasts for very narrow niche business-to-business purposes. Our clients want to communicate highly technical business expertise to prospective clients who need to understand how that expertise can help them.
 
It’s long past the time when a business could get its expertise covered in detail — and effectively — in the mainstream media so that prospects would knock on the door. And getting a business story covered in depth on radio or TV? Fuggeddaboutit!
 
Businesses that want to have some level of control over the opportunities to present their expertise to these micro-communities need to consider podcasting as a tool that makes them broadcasters and takes control of the content away from third parties.
 
But with this control over one channel comes additional responsibility. Corporate podcast users also need to be sure there is a mechanism for passionate believers in their brand to express that passion through conversation, creative activities, even fun and humor — often at the expense of the brand. It’s really OK to not only let that happen, you couldn’t stop it if you wanted to, and if you have passionate microcommunity members talking about your brand even when you’re not around, isn’t that a success?

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