By Steve Reside

PAB2008-logo.gifToday I’m attending Podcasters Across Borders 2008, the third of an annual conference that brings together smart, passionate podcasters from across North America to share best practices and stories.

I started attending the PAB conferences to garner technical tips and tricks to make my podcasts sound better and to find ways to reach more listeners. This year, however, it's back to basics — re-discovering what podcasting is really all about.

Podcasting, at its core, is passion. Passion for your audience, passion for your message, and passion for the delivery of that message.

Today Tim Coyne delivered an energetic session (An actor’s approach to podcasting) that reminded us to continually assess who our audience is, to be clear about what they want to hear, and to take the time to understand how they want to hear it.

Sage Tyrtle (Creating Audiodrama) is passion incarnate, and in her morning session encouraged us to be fully committed to our projects and to push to achieve the highest standards in how we deliver our messages.

Podcasting is a powerful communication tool, but it’s rarely put to great effect in the corporate world. If you aren’t passionately (and continually) paying attention to your audience, what they want to hear and how they want to hear it, then you’re not making the most of the medium and may be wasting your time and money.

To get a sense of what's possible for your corporate podcasts, check these podcasts out:

OCRIRadio.com is a great example of a podcast that has stayed on target since its inception in 2005, growing an audience by keeping focused on its goal of podcasting stories relevant to the Ottawa tech sector.

Mark Kuiack at CBA PracticeLink understands his busy lawyer audience very well, ensuring he keeps his podcasts focused on a single, digestible concept. The podcast themselves are rarely longer than 6 or 7 minutes in length.

MADD Canada nailed the passion angle when they used the podcast medium to deliver Karen Dunham’s riveting story as the mother of a drunk driving victim. Listen to Karen's story at "In her own words".

If you've got a messasge to deliver, podcasting can be a great option. But don't use it if you aren't prepared to dig deep and spend the effort to understand your audience. If you build it well, with your audience central to the process, they will come. If you just build it, you'll likely be disappointed with the results.

(Steve Reside is Vice President and Creative Director with market2world communications inc., Ottawa, Canada's Web 2.0 tech PR and product launch agency.

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