Once reserved for teens and techies, podcasts are becoming a hot marketing trend for some remodelers. Riggs Construction and Design, in St. Louis, launched a series of podcasts last year hoping to reach young homeowners.

The four-part series covers second-story additions, master bedrooms and baths, kitchens, and whole-house renovation. The podcasts can be viewed on the company's Web site or downloaded to an MP3 player. “Someone can download it, and when it's convenient for them to listen to it they can,” says Amie Riggs, vice president.

Harrell Remodeling, in Mountain View, Calif., introduced its podcasts, titled “At Home with Harrell Remodeling,” a year ago to entertain and educate homeowners. “It's really fun,” CEO Iris Harrell says. The topics range from defining design/build to more specific subjects such as selecting flooring and countertop surfaces.

SPEAKING TALENT As important as choosing a compelling podcast topic is finding the right people to participate. Riggs suggests that remodelers choose someone who has a pleasant speaking voice and can add energy to the podcast. She admits that during her first recording she felt “quiet and timid” but that she soon became comfortable.

Harrell Remodeling also tapped its employee base for talented speakers. General manager Ciro Giammona acts as the emcee and other staff — designers, site managers, and production team members — participate to create forum-style podcasts.

In contrast, Riggs works with a marketing company to write a script, then rehearses in front of someone before recording the podcasts. “Have [it be] somebody you trust who will tell you if you sound good,” she says. “You need to use the right inflection, but [how you sound] can also represent the personality of the speaker.”

FUTURE WORK Both companies record podcasts in their own offices using microphones provided by their public relations firms. Recording time varies but typically lasts less than an hour. Podcasts can then be archived on the company's Web site. Harrell Remodeling offers its podcasts on CD as well.

Not only are podcasts an effective marketing tool but they also allow potential customers to get to know a company, says Harrell, who copyrights all of the company's podcasts.

Harrell encourages remodelers to consider this technology, which younger homeowners are interested in: “Make sure your company is doing it,” she says, “because [this is] the next group of people who will be spending money on remodeling.”