The original definition of a
podcast was a broadcast of a digital presentation to an
Apple iPod. The term now has taken on a much broader meaning and is
generally referred to as any content that can be downloaded or
streamed over the Internet in a digital format.
The difference between podcasts and
traditional downloads is that podcasts are downloaded and saved
automatically for playback at any time on your computer or portable
Uses for Planners
With the proliferation of iPods, MP3
players and phones that let users view or listen to podcasts, the
number of ways to capitalize on this technology is almost
unlimited. Indeed, when it comes to meetings, podcasting can play a
role at every stage, from an initial announcement of an event
through postconference communications.
The easiest way to determine what
aspects of the event to podcast is to think of your meeting as a
newspaper: What headlines would you use to attract attendees, and
what information would you want them to have at their
As a first step, you might convert your
marketing brochure to a podcast, complete with a video of the
venue, a voice-over describing the benefits of the program and
sections on sessions, speakers and activities.
As more information becomes available
about different meeting elements, attendees can receive updated
podcasts via e-mails or by including them in your own or industry
RSS feeds (RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication -- basically a
lightweight version of HyperText Markup Language, or HTML -- which
is used for formatting web pages, e-mails, online newsletters,
In the days before the meeting, send
updates on the weather forecast and any changes in activities,
venues or schedules.
After the meeting, you can condense all
presentations and other materials into an RSS feed for the program,
and make the podcasts available for a nominal fee for download by
attendees who missed a session or want a copy of the content.
The Supplier Angle
Not long ago, the trend was for hotels
and destinations to hand out promotional CDs or DVDs to potential
clients. Today’s cutting-edge giveaway: a podcast. Think of the
various uses: self-guided walking tours of a city, a product
demonstration complete with video and audio, indexed instructional
materials, and even feeds of live events that can be stored and
viewed at a more convenient time.
Another positive aspect of podcasts is
that the cost is in the creation, not the delivery. Many people
today own an iPod, MP3 player or a digital phone device, so the
investment in the tool to view your podcast is in the hands of the
There are many sites with a wide range
of information on podcasting. Here are a few I recommend:
www.podcast.net. This is a compendium of
podcasts, and you can add your own podcast, as well.
www.podcasting-tools.com. This is a great
resource with plenty of how-to instructions, a good listing of
providers to help you in creating podcasts, as well as a directory
with outlets for distributing them.
www.getitplanet.blogspot.com. This is a
podcasting site geared toward meeting planners -- a good source of
industry podcasts as well as discussions about the value of
www.podcastingnews.com. As its name implies,
this site offers lots of news articles on podcasting, along with a
directory where you can search for podcasts or add your own.
Bob Walters,based in Fort Worth, Texas, is founder of Phoenix Solutions
and developer of MeetingTrak Software.