Tech@Work: Podcasts at Work

Find out how top performers are using audio online, and get tips on how you can do it too.

August 1, 2006

In my first column on podcasting, I covered the basics: how you can use podcasts and the first steps to getting started. This month I’ll explore the different ways some top performers are using podcasting to boost their credibility and marketing results — and even streamline their operations.

Ira Serkes, ABR®, CRS®, of RE/MAX Executive in Berkeley, Calif., is a technology “early adopter.” One of his goals is to be among the first in the real estate community to incorporate podcasting into his online marketing efforts, specifically into his Berkeley Neighborhood Web site. After devouring no fewer than three books on podcasts — he was a chemical engineer in a previous life — he began producing his own.

Interestingly, Serkes’s first podcasts aren’t explicitly related to marketing. He created audio instructional pieces for site visitors, covering such topics as negotiations, inspections, insurance, and completing purchase agreements.

The results prove he chose the right strategy. “The page that received the most traffic was my podcast subscription page. It even surpassed the views of all home searches,” he says.

Seller Interviews, Marketing Messages

Serkes’s next podcast adventures will include interviews with sellers (to let them tell their home’s story in their words, which could highly personalize the property marketing), audio anecdotes, and audio slideshows featuring different aspects of the community.

Jo Ellen Nash, CRS®, of Nash & Co. in Vail, Colo., uses podcasts for two very different purposes. First, she creates audio “brain dumps” about Vail’s neighborhoods that her associates can listen to when they’re in their car.

“This way, I need to train staff about neighborhood nuances only once, no matter how many new people we hire; they can listen to the podcasts as many times as they need to,” she says.

She also uses podcasts for marketing. Nash subscribes to a service called Talk Realty which produces a professional podcast each month for her Web site. Here’s how it works:

Once a month, Talk Realty sends Nash scripted “interview” questions about the market or financing, for example. She calls a special phone number and responds to the questions as if a live person were posing them to her. Talk Realty edits her responses and mixes in music and a professional voice talent, who “asks” Nash the questions from the script.

The result is a highly polished podcast that literally takes just five minutes of Nash’s time to produce. “I’ve received many e-mails from buyers and sellers who say they really enjoy listening to them,” she says. “I figure if they’re taking the time to tell me, it must be having an effect.”

A Step Up: Video Exposure

Brett Ellis, CRS®, of the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers, Fla., is taking podcasting to a whole new level: video podcasts. Apple recently introduced an iPod that lets you view video. Using the services of podcasting provider PodBlaze, Ellis can repurpose his existing marketing videos on the community and podcast them to the affluent early adopters who have purchased Apple’s new video iPod.

“Podcasting my videos sets me apart from my competitors who are still trying to wrap their heads around the notion of audio podcasts,” Ellis says.

Whether you’re a die-hard do-it-yourselfer or a person who’d prefer to just “speak” and let someone else handle the technical details of creating and posting your podcast, there’s a solution for you. I’ve created a special podcast resource Web page for you at www.russer.com/resources/podcasting, which has links to tools and services you can use to get up and running quickly.

Never underestimate the power of words, especially when they’re spoken by you.

Michael Russer, a.k.a. Mr. Internet®, is CEO of Russer Communications. He is a leading speaker and author in the real estate industry and has been writing about Internet marketing and virtual outsourcing since the dawn of the commercial Internet.

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