Not long ago, the well known freelance journalist and contributor to The Guardian, Mail on Sunday and Daily Telegraph, Guy Clapperton, hit upon what seemed a great idea in these web 2.0-enabled times. He decided to interview HR representatives of ‘high quality companies’ (including Microsoft’s director of HR in the UK) and turn these interviews into podcasts, which are backed by an irregular blog on his website. The podcast is being marketed through iTunes and through a viral marketing campaign plus press releases.
As Guy has said, ‘the content is the easy bit’. To make this enterprise viable he is looking for sponsors. Initially, Guy decided to offer organisations the chance to sponsor blocks of programmes of between three and six months long, at a cost of £3,500 per month, with the aim of increasing this to £5,000 a month when the number of listeners topped 10,000. In return, the sponsor gets a branded link on the website; a mention at the beginning or end of the podcast, and a person from the sponsor gets interviewed once during the period of the sponsorship.
There seem to be few competitors at present – although the CIPD does similar podcasts, principally for its members. However, things have not been plain sailing and, at the beginning of June, Guy stated: ‘In the light of the declining economy I’ve lowered the sights for the HRPodcast sponsorship pitch.’
Comment: The current economic climate may not have helped this project but it is an idea whose time has come. Increasingly, organisations – especially suppliers to the HR world – want to take control of their own PR and marketing messages. This means stepping away from the traditional trade press model to promote themselves via their own direct email sales campaigns, websites, ezines and podcasts. The software exists for companies to produce their own ‘page-turning’ magazines for distribution online. All they need is the time, expertise – and thus budget – to do these things well. Traditionally-minded trade magazine proprietors, beware.