Taking White Paper “Podcasts” To A New Level

By Michael Stelzner

Can white papers really be converted into podcasts? It’s really just a bunch of words right?

Well, John C. Havens of About.com has written a white paper AND converted it into an excellent podcast (listen here).

In my opinion, this is the best application of podcasting and white papers that I have ever “heard.”

I asked John about the ideas that went into this:

I think it’s important to maximize the medium you’re working in.

So after writing my recent white paper, “Sound Theory” I created an audio version that serves as an adjunct to enhance the written version.

Although the main points/issues are the same, the presentation (where you can hear people’s voices plus music and sound effects) is utterly different than the written version. It also allows people the convenience of listening to the material during a commute or if that’s their preference to reading.

It’s vital to create collateral in as many formats as possible to appeal to any/all audience preferences.

Podcasts represent a promising marketing opportunity for folks with white papers.

Your action: Listen to the podcast and let me know what you think? Do you think podcasts and white papers can work together?

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  • http://www.simplenomics.com Mike

    I think that’s exactly what the next step should be, followed by video white papers.

    AS long as you continue to edutain the prospects, it’s a natural progression.

    Sound/voice is even more powerful than text for the hammering home an important point.

  • http://www.whitepapersource.com Michael Stelzner

    Hey Mike;

    It is true that sound is powerful. I like the way John did what he did.


  • http://www.simplenomics.com Mike

    I’d probably like it too …IF I could access it.

    I’ve tried 2 different browsers and can’t get thru the link that links to the link that links to the link ….

  • mario vellandi

    The file size is 80mb. Kind of big in my opinion, although it is a good quality at 192k it can be brought down to a 64k audio as well, to keep monthly transfer costs low (relevant if the audience is large).

    Audio is a much easier format to design and publish. With video comes increased filesize and a new dimension to consider, keeping any visual elements relevant and engaging.

    With audio, audience members must focus more to content than simply having the ability to scan text, which is awesome! Listen to the power of my message :) Narration skills are important though, in addition to the length of the article. Important question is, how long can you reasonably maintain interest with audible mediums?

    I suspect that for mass consumption, we follow the format that online news agencies like NPR or BBC use:
    1) 2-5 minutes for short articles
    2) 5-15 minutes for mini-documentaries, longer articles, interviews
    3) 10-30 minutes for full documentaries, in depth articles, multiple interviews

    The Introductions at the beginnings of the audio files should also reflect the nature of the content. So for
    1) short articles – title; company and/or author
    2) longer articles – title; company and/or author, VERY short intro including breakdown of subjects to be covered.

    What do you think?

  • http://podcasting.about.com John C. Havens

    Hi all,

    First off, for Mike, if you still can’t hear the white paper, try:

    I think Mario also has an excellent point, re: length. My normal mantra in this regard is, “leave them wanting more.” An hour is long. My plan (at some point) is to run the paper in either 10, 6 minute segments or another set of episodes that work when the piece is broken up. I may make it a “phone cast” (to listen to via cellphone) or a separate series.

    My logic here was to give people the option to have it all at once if that was their preference. My hope is it would hold enough interest for people to listen to it on a commute to and from work.

    Also, to Mario’s point on the introduction, I kept it the length it is to introduce listeners to the paradigm of an Audio White Paper. For future iterations, I’d remove this portion.

    That said, I greatly appreciate the feedback and am thrilled to know people are listening/reading the paper. I hope it offers great value and I look forward to making more, of any length!

    Best regards,
    John C. Havens
    About.com Guide to Podcasting (http://podcasting.about.com)
    Founder, Podcast Vision and Voice (www.pvandv.com)

  • http://www.teasag.net/irland!fly~jam~ldw.html den

    80 mb is a bit too big for any connection….won’t get too many people downloading that I’m afraid.

  • http://www.informativepost.com/2007/12/06/Best-Ways-to-Waste-Your-Daily-Commute-Time-77.htm Daily Commute Time

    Podcasts greatly help the daily commute! I wrote an article similar to this not too long ago. Best Ways to Waste Your Daily Commute Time