Suresh Babu has been evangelizing digital marketing in India since 2008. When anything new comes in, he will play with it like a toddler and try to explore what’s new and how it can be used. For example, if you check his Facebook or Twitter feed these days they are filled with the numerous experiments he is doing with Periscope. This isn’t just a fun activity but it ties up to his professional goals, as he has been running Web Marketing India – a digital marketing training center in Bangalore for close to five years.
“We are planning to do Periscope for those who can’t attend the classes, private scopes and sharing interesting things for others too,” added Suresh.
Digital is a rapidly evolving medium and only certification wouldn’t solve any purpose in the long run. As a digital marketing observer I believe that one needs to keep a sharp eye in the space on a regular basis. It might look like an easy task but the challenge is to stay updated alongside other important things in life.
This is where Suresh thought of involving podcasts as a regular activity in WMA. The word podcast derived from broadcast is a digital medium that consists of an episodic series of audio or digital radio, subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.
“I have been a podcast listener since 2006 and did a few interviews during the early days of podcasting. Last year after the launch of #serial series podcast got some momentum again. Since I love podcast, I thought it would be a good idea for our students to keep themselves up-to-date on latest happenings in a podcast format. Now most of our students have started to listen,” Suresh informed. The objective is to give valuable content to the students and community, and in fact evangelize podcasting in India, he added.
As of now WMA has two podcasts running – one is for the international audience on the FIR Podcast Network started by Shel & Neville in 2005.
The second one is the Digital India Podcast where the team at WMA would pick up 3-4 major Indian digital stories with each being allotted 3-5 minutes. He shared a snapshot of what goes into making these podcasts: “We have a 3-4 member team including me and students who are involved in Podcast (by the way you don’t need to have a team, you can do it individually too). I finalize the stories and the second person is someone for the voice – either Manjunath, Manasi or me will do the recording of the actual stories.
Then it comes to Bharani who edits the audio, and after approval it is uploaded to a hosting service such as Libsyn, and then it is uploaded to the website just like a blog post with the audio in it. Instead of the blog post it will show notes with links, references.”
Here is a step by step process on how WMA organizes podcasts with the man himself doing the good deed:
In addition to this Suresh is also often seen interviewing digital marketing experts for the WMA podcasts. This would mean experts visiting his WMA Bangalore hub or him sharing bytes from digital events across the world. “Interviews are always a great way to connect with the leaders and it helps both us and them. Their thoughts and opinions are valuable for our listeners, they get to learn new things and ideas from the interviews.”
— Suresh Babu (@sureshbabu_) July 24, 2015
Podcasts have given the students of WMA great exposure in the use of digital technology and keeping abreast of the latest happenings in the space. But it is a fact that the medium hasn’t picked up in India like it has in the western world at a time when everyone is going crazy about videos.
Suresh understands the challenge. “Podcasting in India is a challenge. As a long time podcast listener, I know the value of it. The power of podcast is that while you are listening to it, you can do other things, whereas videos, text need your time and you have to either stare at your screen or mobile. Our focus is simple, give value to that small audience who are loyal, in this case it might be our students/alumni. The audience might be less, over a period of time they are our evangelists.”
Having said that, by no means is he ignoring the video growth globally. “Yes, video is crazy and an educator, our job is also to update everyone with latest trends and video. Live streaming is growing, which is what we also experiment with and are seeing good results in video.”
The podcasting efforts are bearing fruits as Suresh is slowly seeing growth. He expects that in the next five years, most of the cars might have a system that is compatible with your mobile and the link is then shared on social media channels.
“The response is good for the international audience and we do have once in a while from India, some emails, comments saying the podcast is almost equivalent to other well produced podcasts. In terms of business objectives, these activities also help our students, they get involved too in the production. What we love to do is adapt new platforms and it’s an early mover advantage. Along with a digital training institute we are known for Podcasting, Periscoping so it is indirectly building our brand value.”
As a training institute, WMA isn’t meeting its objective by providing just text book knowledge and certificates. The idea of exploring and implanting digital technologies as you learn the digital course is very interesting. It not only helps students to get excited to be a part of the training sessions, but even WMA stands out as an early mover in the digital space.
A recent example would be the barbecue session organized at WMA, where the students not only enjoyed good food but also engaged in discussions around digital. “The exercise is to socialize in real life within the group and this is what makes us stand out and have a strong alumni community, as we always say they are stuck with us in their entire career. Our current students and alumni are our best assets and they do all the work, almost 75% of the new students are referred by our alumni.”
— Suresh Babu (@sureshbabu_) July 14, 2015