What is Podcasting?

Posted by By at 9 July, at 19 : 54 PM Print

What is Podcasting?

It’s hard to imagine not understanding what a podcast is, but over 80% of the Internet will ask the question, “What is a podcast?” The answer is much simpler than they think because the word “podcast” really means nothing; Apple made up a term that stuck, pure and simple.

Video cast, audio cast, so many ways to define audios presence on the Internet but it’s hard to wrap you mind around its simplicity. Recently a met with a guy looking to define himself on the Internet and was afraid I was going to bombard them with more search engine optimization tips (SEO). Imagine his surprise when he found our methods of marketing were not exactly SEO By The Book, but utilized other sensory systems.

As far as I’m concerned, the basic mechanics of SEO have been bundled up in great blog software like WordPress. You can get the All In One SEO plugin and you’ve completed the basic SEO best practices. Forget page rank, link backs and vying for impossible keywords for a minute, think podcasting.

Not everyone is going to be fit for podcasting, but those looking to expand their business with audio tidbits, training, keynote speaking, book publishing and other ventures can benefit from a podcast. The major barrier being those that are savvy as writers or public speakers aren’t always “in the know” about how to take their audio online. It sounds like a very tough task to tackle, but it’s easier than they think.

During my meeting I was asked “how do I compete for words like ‘stress’ when their are so many competitive sites selling stress relief products and google returns millions of hits?” One way is to attach yourself to the new broadcast medium of audio on the internet (aka podcasting) because you can bring in an enthusiastic audience and compete in podcast directories instead of google search results.

So, again, what is podcasting?

It’s broadcasting yourself in audio (or video) form using digital media on the Internet. For now, think audio podcasting because its easier, more cost effective and allows for faster editing. Using websites and syndicated feeds (known as RSS) you can promote your show and publish it reliably each week. You take an audio “show” of any length, five minutes, one hour, whatever and compress it into an MP3 format using almost any audio tools. Once you’ve compressed it into a .mp3 file you can upload it to a content delivery network for very little money. I use liberated syndication (libsyn.com) and pay them $10.00 a month for 250MB of storage (which holds roughly four one-hour podcasts) and they will publish an RSS feed for me.

With libsyn I can generate an RSS feed in a few minutes to cater to most major podcast directories like iTunes. You can submit the feed to iTunes and within a few weeks you’ll be accepted into their directory (unless your content violates their terms of service of course). Now you’re syndicated and can start building listeners and marketing yourself.

If that sounds simple, that’s because it’s really not hard; it’s just ‘new’ and different so it can be intimidating to understand at first. Here are some basic steps:

  1. Record quality audio (buy a good microphone that works with your computer).
  2. Build a structured show with your great content and keep it shorter if possible (this is dependent on genre of content of course)
  3. Save your audio file as .mp3 with 96kbps quality and in mono to keep the size down.
  4. Upload it with FTP over using libsyns web uploader
  5. Fill in your iTunes details in the settings on libsyn to explain what your show is about, give it a great title (something you want to compete for in google for keywords isn’t a bad idea)
  6. Publish the new file
  7. Take the RSS feed which libsyn will expose for you and submit it into iTunes, podcastpickle and all the “podcast directories” you can find on the Internet using google.
  8. Monitor some of your metrics on your show via libsyn (as they give you graphs and such)
  9. Become a podcast superstar (or at least garner a listenership)

Publish weekly shows on the same day each week and devote some time to coming up with topics and ideas for each show. Consider yourself a radio broadcast show, what would you expect to see out of them? Reliability, excitment, enthusiasm for the topic, structure and energy.

Audio is a passive experience, your listeners may put your new podcast on their mobile devices (i.e. ipod) or listen to it on their computers while working. Set the stage by building a website which you can talk about on your podcast (i.e. “checkout our blog on weekly updates and more thoughts on the topic”) to keep people coming back and building a community.

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