Small businesses have found their perfect marketing method – podcasting – or have they, really? Podcasting may be the next best thing since sliced bread but it isn’t truly that different from other marketing methods. Podcasting, just like any marketing method has a good, a bad and an ugly side. The Good: Make Your Mark Podcasting is a great branding tool for small businesses. Big businesses have huge marketing and branding capital so they can buy TV and radio airtime, full-colour ads in local and national dailies as well as magazines, lease billboard space, and launch a comprehensive internet marketing campaign. Small businesses have no such capacity, so unless they find an innovative branding method, their target customers will forever remain oblivious to their existence. Podcasting can give small businesses stature in their customers’ eyes. By choosing your podcasting content really carefully, you’d be able to build a positive image in your audience’s mind. Through repeated exposure to your marketing message, moreover, your podcast subscribers become more familiar with your services and products. And in marketing, familiarity breeds not contempt but trust – at least until you do something to forfeit that trust. Podcasting also offers you a way to acquire your customers’ loyalty. By podcasting content that repetitively and consistently assures your customers that you care for them and their needs, you’d acquire a loyal customer base. Furthermore, podcasting interviews of your key and important personnel – for instance, interviews with you, the business owner – will give your consumers the feeling that they know you personally. This personal touch is what mainly gives small businesses an edge over bigger and more anonymous corporations and businesses. The Bad: Can They Hear You? Podcasting gives you a pulpit where you can preach and be heard, but it does let users choose whether or not they’d like to hear what you’re saying. Users have ultimate control over what content they want to receive or if, in fact, they would like to subscribe to your podcasting feeds. In a nutshell, podcasting lets you reach only those who want to be reached. Some would say that this is, in fact, an advantage and not a drawback. After all, if people chose you and your podcast, then it stands to reason that you gain interested and motivated listeners who would be much easier to covert to clients and buyers. However, the fact remains that if you can’t convince people to subscribe to your podcast, then you simply don’t have an audience – and there’s nothing that your podcasting prowess can do to change that. The Ugly: Can You Afford It? If small businesses want to gain the benefits of podcasting, they would have to invest in professional recording equipment and media editing software. Such tools cost thousands of dollars which you may not have or are unwilling to spend on podcasting. Then, you have to pay for hosting services and podcasting technology (you really don’t want a free host). Some would argue that you don’t need expensive equipment to start podcasting. They’d be right if we’re talking about personal podcasts; home-made podcasts do have quaint charm. However, amateur recording just wouldn’t cut it for small businesses. The truth of it is, if you want to be perceived as a professional outfit, you’d have to be, seem and sound like it.