Such was the reaction of many marketers when podcasting first came on the scene in the mid-2000s. And for a while, podcasting was the hottest thing since habanero hamburgers.
And then, well, stuff happened. Some folks tapered off when they realized just how much work was involved in planning, recording, and producing a regular show. Some may have gotten frustrated by the deluge of competitors (reminds me of Yogi Berra’s famous quote “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”).
Oh yeah, and this little upstart site called YouTube started gaining attention. Suddenly audio was out, video was in.
Fast-forward to late 2012, and a lot of big voices are starting once again to talk podcasting. As with all emerging trends, there’s quite a bit of speculation going on, but I can see three key factors at work:
Reason #1: We’re much more mobile now.
When podcasting first came along, you had to either be sitting at your computer or have your pre-synched iPod handy to queue up your favorite episodes. Today, we need look no further than our outrageously talented smartphones—the ones that never leave our sides, and the ones that can even connect to our auto sound systems.
Reason #2: Downloading is faster, easier, and most importantly, wireless.
Not only do our mobile gadgets allow us to listen from anywhere, but they also let us download while we’re on the go. With high-speed Internet and WiFi readily available, I can download a fistful of episodes in the time it takes to listen to one.
Reason #3: We may be growing weary of our sound bite–heavy social networks.
As Mitch Joel recently noted in Huffington Post Canada:
There are a handful of podcasts that are acting as a key leading indicator that consumers have an appetite for longer, in-depth and content rich audio programming. In short, everything that you thought the Internet wasn’t about in a world of 140 character tweets, Facebook status updates and YouTube viral video sensations.
As for me, I’ve been a faithful podcast fan ever since 2005, when I downloaded my first episode of Hip Tranquil Chick, Kimberly Wilson‘s fab show on all things yoga and girly fun (and yes it’s still going strong, retitled as Tranquility du Jour). While I was working downtown, my p-casts were a must-have for my 20-mile commute, and I still enjoy listening to them while I work—something you can’t do with video.
Some of my current faves include:
- Evernote Blogcast: The makers of one of my favorite cloud-based tools share tips, tricks, and general shenanigans.
- Online Marketing & Communications Podcast: Jontus Media’s Jon Buscall shares his wisdom on how to get the most out of online marketing and communications.
- Social Geek Radio: My friend Deb Evans and AK Stout talk about the use of social technologies on today’s Web (technically it’s an Internet radio show, but I prefer to listen on my own sched).
- Duct Tape Marketing: Small business marketing tips, tactics, and resources from SMB guru John Jantsch
That said, remember all those big plans for Resonance in 2013 that I keep talking about?
Well, one of them involves starting up my own podcast. Yep, got the fancy mike and everything. I’ll keep you posted!
So, what are your thoughts on the future of podcasting? Is it the next big thing (again), or are we just running short on new ideas? Drop us a note in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!
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