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Today's Snake Oil: The Wonderful World of Podcasting

Victor Pryles would have you believe that podcasting is a great way to drive traffic to your website and thus increase sales. He'll even happily sell you a book detailing exactly how to do it for $17.

I've put this under the Snake Oil category for two reasons:

  1. Victor fails my podcaster test. A Google search fails to turn up a single podcast created by Victor, and
  2. Podcasting isn't a sideshow, it's the main attraction

One online marketer reports tested results of an increase every time she runs a podcast. When she halts it, and no one is listening, sales fall back. Start it up again and her sales increase. And, she reports a higher than average conversion rate!

Podcasting does increase visitors to your site AND has a very high visitor to customer conversion rate.

I'll be that podcasting increases traffic and sales, but the question is: what are you selling?

What I'm getting at is that putting together a weekly podcast is a fairly substantial amount of work regardless of who you are. Do you have that time to take away from your main product/service to produce a show? Even the most rudimentary show requires:

  • Research
  • Preparation
  • Recording
  • Post Editing
  • Encoding
  • Uploading
  • Publishing show notes

That's at least a couple of hours a week and in the case of our podcast, about 4 hours a week. Podcasting isn't something that can be done well "on the side". Like blogging, to be done well, it takes time, patience, and experience.

There are a lot of broadcasters out there (like Victor) that know all sorts of things about microphone technique, but nothing about editing, encoding, show notes, and a bunch of other things that are podcast specific. Their experience is limited to showing up, sitting down, talking, and leaving. Other people do the dirty work and that's why many broadcasters have a mistaken impression of how easy it is to create a podcast.

Bottom line - podcasting can certainly increase sales and traffic, but it has to be done right. A short, contentless, crappy sounding podcast thrown up on a site at infrequent intervals is not only not going to help you, it's likely going to hurt you.

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