Even TV stars do podcasts

Granted, Chris Hardwick can hardly be considered a household name, but the fact that he does take time to create / review / promote podcasts is amazing. In our class discussion of podcasts, we were made to understand how they can be used as a tool for internal communications in organizations. What we weren’t able to dwell on much was the use of podcasts as supplemental PR tools for organizations.

I suppose that a brief introduction to Chris Hardwick is necessary for us to understand the point of this post. Chris Hardwick is the current host of the tv show Web Soup (a spin-off of the show The Soup), which caters to the most famous (infamous?) viral videos on the web. They host a web site by the same name where people can link their viral videos and promote them for other people to watch. Those that garner the most attention (which are usually the ones involving the most gruesome or painful stunts in them) get to be shown on the tv show.

Aside from hosting this whackadoodle show, he also hosts another one which is basically a gadget review show. The time he doesn’t spend on taping these two shows, he spends writing for E! magazine (or E! online, I don’t really have my facts about this straight yet). Anyway, just from these activities, we can already see a trend in Mr. Hardwick’s career – which, logically, gives us an idea why he chose “Nerdist” for the name of his website.

So just from that very brief description, we already can form an image of Chris Hardwick in our minds – this funny comedian who’s a little nutty and nerdy all at the same time. To a degree, we can call this a “branding” of sorts – in that, Hardwick and the brands he represent have come to form in the target audiences’ minds as having this “nerdist” identity. And what better way to reinforce this idea than have Hardwick himself participate in activities that are considered to be in line with the “nerdist” identity – including podcasting.

Be it a conscious effort or not in Hardwick’s part (although I am a bit biased in believing that it is), many of his podcast posts in the Nerdist website are about topics related to the idea of the “nerdist” identity. Topics discussed range from books to videos and even to songs and gadgets, but the trend is always having a “nerdy” factor in the mix. While this trend may have just appeared based on his personality and preferences, there still remains the fact that he is affiliated with brands that also have the “nerdy” factor – which takes us back to our first assertion that podcasting can be used as a PR tool. Here we can see clearly that Hardwick is acting as a PR manager for the brands that he represent – that is, by showing that he is truly interested in participating in the “nerdist” ideology, and not just pretending to be so, he is able to gain the trust of the target audience little by little. As such, he is able to establish a relationship with the target audience, and thus, the audience now begin to seek more of Hardwick and the brands he represent. The way, now, has been paved for a deeper relationship between audience and performer (and consequently, corporate as well).

The beauty of using podcasts as a PR tool lies in its capability to be downloaded and viewed by anyone who can operate a media player in their computer. It also helps that it is virtually costless, since there are various free podcast-making software and podcast host sites available online. The only real effort anyone will have to put into creating a podcast is during the preparation stage – determining the right topic, making a sensible script and then recording. The rest, after that, is easy. But to take it further, we can say that they are adequate PR tools because they can be created and made viral by even just one person – as in Hardwick’s case, by the PR manager himself.

Sample: http://www.nerdist.com/2010/09/nerdist-podcast-35-jonathan-coulton/

Sample: http://www.nerdist.com/2010/09/nerdist-podcast-36-donald-glover/

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