Businesses in Africa are fully embracing podcasts and blogs
The cyberspace in Africa is brimming with blogs and podcasts developed both in foreign and local languages. Also in addition to the two there are Internet users created content. The fact that anyone with a web site can create their own brand of entertainment, information and commentaries has led to mushrooming of both professional and sub standard blogs and podcasts. The openness of online media in Africa, information is no longer be dictated by traditional publishers or mainstream media owners. As a result, public relations flaks and businesses are taking note and finding ways to use this new medium. Businesses are using new media to communicate with a corporate target market in what is well known as corporate blogging by allowing members of the public to share their thoughts. Research conducted last year in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda showed that companies with low advertisement budgets were having difficulty getting equal space in the mainstream newspapers for their services, products and events. With abundant tools downloadable free off the Internet, organizations and companies, would-be writers and actors, entertainers and talk radio presenters that pioneered the medium, can now create their own content that’s accessible by anyone, anytime.
South Africa and Nigeria based media and public relations firms are the market leaders with a huge number of companies adopting podcasting.Their self-produced podcast are designed to provide information and technology public relations and marketing professionals as well as the media community within sub Saharan Africa and they provide a snapshot of the industry as a whole in Africa. Having run Internet news and information sites for more than 15 years, media companies in Africa have always embraced new mediums of information dissemination in a snail pace. I have come across several podcasts being used as the technology being used as a marketing tool to get messages out to the wider public relations community. Most of the episodes I’ve listened have focused on the challenges faced by the public relations and publishing industries due to the shrinking size of print media within the sub Saharan Africa region. When it comes to podcasts, the producers need to ensure that sound quality is improved. The update of podcasts has provided significant insights into the public relations industry in sub Saharan Africa. Public relations professionals in Africa and elsewhere can learn from western world podcasts where quality of sound and content is a must. The collaborative power of the Internet podcasts has become significant resources for public relations in the continent.
People in mainstream areas of business such as trading, marketing and finance can look up podcasts targeted to their fields. Blogging and podcasts and other new media applications have come in handy for smaller companies and has provided them with significant opportunities as more and more people become technologically savvy in Africa and have access to computers, mobile phones and the Internet. In countries like Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania studies conducted have indicated blogging and podcasts are allowing businesses to focus on specific market segments without investing substantial amounts of money. This has provided an open forum for people to submit their own opinions on topics covered. More important, the discussion and feedback on the blogs has provided an excellent source of market research for many companies and organizations. Although the data many not be scientific it mirrors the company in the direction of future. My experience with podcasts business is that they are a niche business with main focus on Public Relations, Information and Technology, marketing and media communities. The most important thing is that podcasts in Africa are allowing stakeholders to be open to comments and criticism from members of the public and clients in the end improving transparency and efficiency in business sector.