New Variety of Communication Emerges

The seed has been planted for a new method of communicating with crop producers—podcasting. Based on historic yields, this multi-media format is showing promise as a leading industry commodity.

PREPARING THE SOIL

Consumers today are bombarded with more competing messaging than at any other time in history. As a result, they are becoming more finicky about what they choose to tune in—and out. Podcasts offer solutions to a busy world, but one that still demands information.

Beyond traditional “appointment media,” such as television and radio programs, where listeners and viewers must be available at a set time and/or place, podcasting offers programming that is available to download at any time, then play at any time.

And they’re doing it. Research over the past three years from the EdisonMedia Research shows the percentage of people surveyed who have ever listened to a podcast has jumped from 11% in 2006 to 18% in 2008. In the stiff competition for fertile soil, this is significant growth.1

FeedBurner, a leading distributor of general podcasts and owned by Google, compares the growth of podcasts to another relatively recent “media technology shift”— the DVD. “Back in 2000, the DVD format, just three years old at the time, was declared the most successful product launch in consumer electronics history, outselling the VCR five to one. Using these statistics as a benchmark, in less than two years, the number of podcasts available online is tenfold that of DVD titles in nearly half the time,” stated the FeedBurnerWeb site.2

The ground is ready for planting, and the consumers are hungry.

TRAIT ADVANTAGES

Podcasts offer coverage of specific, niche topics, allowing listeners to choose tailor made news and information they are specifically interested in. As an active media format, podcasts – through volunteer consumption—create a specialized, niche audience that share similar interests and often demographics.

Podcasts are also creating a two-way dialog between the content provider and this niche audience. Consumers are not just listeners, they are participants in a conversation.

CropVillage.com, produced by Truffle Media Networks and launched in February 2008, is leading the way in creating this two-way dialog among crop production professionals. CropVillage provides twice weekly podcast shows, but also seeks listener involvement throughWeb comments, surveys, e-mail feedback and a toll-free telephone line.

Ned Arthur, host of CropVillage, said, “We have found our audience is responding to and participating in this new form of communication. They make their living from the crop industry, and want information and involvement that helps their bottom line.”

HARVESTING BENEFITS

The specialized participants of podcasting provide an innate advantage to marketers looking to unite products with corresponding messaging—especially those who are prepared to open the dialog through parallel multimedia capabilities such as interactiveWeb sites.

“Podcast directories are growing, and driving activity back to podcasters’ originatingWeb sites.…distribution begins as a mechanism to drive traffic back to the originating source and then evolves to become its own consumption medium,” stated FeedBurner.3

Additionally, podcast listeners are more apt to follow up on related information via aWeb site. The Edison Media Research survey in 2007 found that of their audience defined as podcast consumers, 37% said they had followed click-to links from relevant advertisers, compared to only 18% of non-podcast listeners.4

Truffle Media Networks, which produces five other podcasts along with CropVillage.com, is leading the way in uniting agriculturalists who seek information on demand. They have formed key partnerships with industry giants such as Case IH, Bayer CropScience, and others to deliver information to this key audience.

Interested in finding out more about podcasting? Start the engine by visiting TruffleMedia.com and take a podcast out for a spin. Then when you’re ready to harvest your own benefits from podcast partnerships, call 877/55T-RUFFLE (877/558-7833). Because the season is right now.

1. 2008 Arbitron/EdisonMedia Research Internet andMultimedia study available at: http://www.edisonresearch.com/home/archives/2008/04/the_podcast_con_1.php.

2. Burning Questions: The Official FeedBurner weblog. http://blogs.feedburner.com/feedburner/archives/001755.html.

3. Burning Questions: The Official FeedBurner weblog. http://blogs.feedburner.com/feedburner/archives/001755.html.

4. Corresponding information not cited in 2008 EdisonMedia Research survey.