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SOCIAL MEDIA: The power of the podcast

In 2005, when podcasting emerged as an exciting new buzz term, it was a pool that few dared dip their toes into immediately. Perhaps because the technology was associated with costliness and the need for some degree of expert digital knowledge, it seemed that only the Goliaths of the marketing world used them at all; key business titles like The Economist and The Guardian were amongst the earliest adopters.

Four years on, B2B marketers still appear fearful of the medium. According to the latest B2B Marketing Insight report, only two per cent of B2B marketing budgets have been spent on podcasts in the past year. Yet many brands could be missing a major trick. Latest figures from RAJAR show that 4.2 million people listen to podcasts every week, and that the typical user subscribes to 5.2 podcasts, on topics they are interested in, every seven days. For B2B brands targeting niche audiences, this is a statistic worth noting.

A podcast is defined as a pre-recorded audio file containing specific information, downloaded directly from a website or accessed via streaming feeds like RSS. In essence, it's like radio on-demand. The name might misleadingly suggest that you need an iPod to create and receive podcasts, but in fact any MP3 device or PC can be used to play the files. iTunes is by far the download software of choice - almost 70 per cent of podcast listeners subscribe this way (although there are other options out there, such as iPodder and Podcast Alley). Sixteen per cent also download directly from a website.