Way back when, in about 2003, Ben Hammersley coined the phrase ‘podcast’ and who could have believed that a mere 5 years later, something which was perceived as geeky, is now mainstream. In fact, it is so mainstream that the majority of popular podcasts are produced by major media companies eg the BBC, but it has given anyone a chance to produce their own radio show. Video and TV meanwhile have sort of gone the opposite way. Whereas much of the content for TV used to be made by mainstream media, now Youtube and many other sites are littered with attempts at film making by all and sundry.
The ease of listening to and watching content on the Web, rather than having to be literate and read text, has risen because a) there has been a massive drop in price and hence accessibility of quality digital video cameras and b) the huge growth of broadband capacity and the ever-increasing bandwidth available to every day internet users. It is no longer the domain of just those rich enough to be able to afford an expensive T1 or leased line; anyone can upload a video clip.
The important point is that marketing messages can now be made available in multiple formats to suit the target audience, whereas previously the use of the Internet was restricted for some because of the heavy reliance on text to get messages across.
Users are able to access larger files eg a video clip, and the phenomenal growth of Youtube means that it has, as Google did in the previous half of the decade, become a household word, a website known by millions around the globe. The growth of the ipod and MP3 players has also meant that many people download podcasts to listen to on the way to work, whilst out jogging etc.
Less and less people are into reading textually heavy pages and bite sized snippets offered in either audio or video are known to be more effective. It is very hard to get a large word document to go viral, but if you get it right on Youtube, your clip, complete with marketing message, can go global in days, or sometimes, hours.
Spending hours carefully phrasing your marketing blurb in print or on a website can now be replaced by time spent creating short, snappy, adverts, or by providing informative podcasts that carry the marketing message within them. Neither need be expensive to produce, should be made to be easy to share with others, and can easily be just as effective.
Remember though to create low and high badnwidth versions if you want to reach as large an audience as possible. Broadband is not yet available everywhere, and restricting access to only those who are lucky enough to have it will create resentment amongst potential customers.