There are a lot of agencies and social media “specialists” out there who, to justify their fees, will tell you to leverage every facet of social media under the sun as part of your social media strategy.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, video, podcasting, Foursquare specials, Groupon deals… the list goes on and on with new innovations happening every day.

Personally, I don’t believe that every method necessarily makes sense for every business.  Certain avenues are more effective than others for certain people and certain industries.  So why waste your efforts for little gain?  Podcasting is certainly one of those considerations.  It’s a labor-intensive endeavor which can, in certain applied circumstances, be a great addition to your overall social media efforts.  I did a podcast myself back in 2005, before “podcast” became a household word.  I’ve helped people set up podcasts and have seen great ones come and go.  Trust me… not everybody will see great returns from doing one.

First and foremost, you’ve gotta have something you want to say.  If you’re doing a podcast to tell people about your business, you may as well buy a radio ad.  Think for a moment why you would listen to a podcast.  Chances are it’s because you want to be entertained or you want to learn something.  Podcasts are a great way to share knowledge and experience.

Podcasts don’t need to be long, meandering diatribes of great length.  Some of the greatest podcasts I follow are quick tips, interesting facts or quickly-digested bits of entertainment.  Don’t podcast something you would put in an advertisement.  Share your passions.  Let us in on a little knowledge.  Tell some stories related to your business that endear yourself to the listener.  Podcasts are a more human form of one-way communication than a blog or a tweet, because people get to see or hear your “voice” (in the greater sense of the word).  It’s a great way to show you know your stuff!

You don’t have to have a radio way of speaking or a knack for performance.  That’s what’s great about self-published media — there are virtually no formats, and no rules!  Whatever feels comfortable to you is your method of operation.

That said, podcasting is a somewhat labor-intensive process.  There are tools and services that make the process a little easier, but it’s not super-intuitive to the everyday user.  If you’re iffy about the process of doing a podcast, an agency or social media freelancer that knows how to do it is worth their weight in gold.

Luckily, podcasting doesn’t have to be an expensive prospect either.  Get all those thoughts of expensive professional microphones and gear out of your head.  The advent of podcasting has led to a number of easy turn-key solutions for home recording and publishing.  There are many great recording solutions, whether you choose to use your computer or not.  Certain considerations may have to be made depending on the podcast.  How many persons do you expect to have on the show at a given time?  Are you going to be tied to a certain location or do you need gear that travels well?  These are a few of the things to think about.

If you’re thinking of doing a podcast and would like some guidance on the process and the tools, I’m more than happy to help.  I can help you in all facets of the process, from getting geared up to record, where to host your podcast, what content to feature, and how to get the word out.  I’d even love to talk to you if you just need someone to talk you out of doing one.  I’m a realistic person who’s been through the podcasting process, and I want to make it work for you!