Podcasting: A New Marketing Tool for Credit Unions

The following is an article reprinted with permission from the WWR Letter

Podcasting: A New Marketing Tool for Credit Unions

By: Robert Rutkowski, Esquire

Imagine having your own radio show where you could reach your membership anytime they had a free moment to listen to what you had to tell them. That’s what marketing through podcasting can offer to credit unions. Podcasting is simply making a sound recording, distributing it via the Internet and attaching a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed to it. It’s not hard to do and it can be done cheaply without too many sophisticated tools.

Credit unions believe in member education. There are plenty of things to talk about with your members, such as: how to avoid scams and fraud, how to effectively save for retirement or even what to look for when buying a new or used car. An inventive marketing person could record a podcast once a month without much difficulty. The beauty of a podcast is that any member with a computer (you don’t even need an iPod) can listen to the credit union’s podcast, on his or her own time.

If the credit union has its own web site, it can host the podcast on the site itself. If not, a credit union can find hosting for their podcast for as little as $5/mo. One of the leading podcasting hosts is Libsyn. Uploading through Libsyn is done through a web browser. This process is quick and easy and it automatically creates an RSS feed.

At the most basic level, all a person needs to create a podcast is a microphone and a computer. Of course, you can spend money on good audio equipment if you want, but it’s not essential. What’s important is to get out the credit union’s message. What’s more, outstanding recording software is open source (that means free!). I use Audacity and I recommend it for podcasting because it’s free and very powerful.

As an additional marketing tool, podcasts can easily be burned onto CDs and handed out to members as branded marketing materials. The costs of making such a CD are probably less than what the credit union spends on other giveaways. The CD is much more focused, however, in getting the member to think about the credit union and even gives the member information he or she can actually use.

When we started the Current Issues in Credit Union Podcast, we used only a little bit more equipment than what I describe here. We had to use two computers because of the fact that the hosts use Skype to communicate across the country with each other. Since we started, we’ve added other sound equipment (a mixer and compressor) as well as effects such as bumper music, but the costs are still well within an average credit union’s marketing budget.

For an in-depth tutorial on podcasting, see the excellent video made by Kevin Rose and Dan Huard at: http://revision3.com/systm/podcasting/. Credit unions should not overlook podcasting as a marketing tool. It’s a fresh approach, it can be done well cheaply and it can reach a broad audience. What more could a credit union ask?

Robert Rutkowski is the Managing Partner of WWR’s Credit Union department. Located in the Brooklyn Heights operations center, he can be reached at (216) 739-5004 or rrutkowski@weltman.com.

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