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Building A Brand With Podcasts

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-16

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Speakers at a morning session at the Syndicate Conference discussed ways to use one form of syndication, the podcast, to build and enhance a brand name.

Paul Gillin moderated the Build Brands Through Compelling Podcast Content session, and our Mike McDonald took in the podcasting love.

A few speakers accompanied Gillin in the discussion: Audrey Reed-Granger, Director, Public Relations, Whirlpool; Gretchen Vogelzang and Paige Heninger, Co-Hosts, MommyCast.com; and Scott Sigler, Director of Marketing, SNP Communications.

Their opinions varied on the planning involved with a podcast, and Sigler and Vogelzang both noted how the spontaneous approach has its place. "We had no planning at all. We feel like that sense of spontaneous happening has worked out very well for us," Vogelzang said of MommyCast.

Sigler noted how planning can run the gamut from no planning to satisfying the needs of multiple partners on projects when coherence of the message is much more important.

He also reflected on the importance of production quality. When working with C-level executives, Sigler said they do pre-interviews. This gives them material to use to get the podcast done quickly and more efficiently.

Reed-Granger said she felt Whirlpool's listeners appreciate a mix of polish and spontaneity in their productions, and that helps with brand management.

MommyCast focuses on integrating the marketing message into the content. Vogelzang said 30-second spots in the middle of a podcast aren't as effective. She also cited the NPR method of announcing "this show is sponsored by..." but still feels the content integration works best.

Vogelzang said their site began drawing sponsors through the presence of a traditional bit of promotional material: the press kit. Her husband placed one online for Mommycast, and their first sponsorship came to them after listening to the show.

Despite having a recognizable brand name, Reed-Granger said listeners to the Whirlpool podcasts tend not to find them from Whirlpool's homepage. Instead, positive word-of-mouth has built their listenership. For Sigler's clients, the corporate websites drive traffic from their networks.

When asked about editorial standards versus sponsor messages, Vogelzang said, "We are very up front with our audience. We know that moms will see right thru an ad. We don't accept sponsorships from any sponsors we dont feel like we can stand behind 100%. Our sponsors actually look forward to the kind of feedback that our podcast will generate."

The speakers differed on the length of podcasts, from 25 to 45 minutes. Generally, the length tends to depend on the topics discussed, guest interviews, and getting the message out in the time it takes to do so.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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