By Miranda Moore
We all know that iPods are a mainstay in the realm of technology. With iTunes offering songs for as low as 99 cents, it does become quite addicting. But songs are not the only products that iTunes offers to its customers. From TV shows and movies to audio books, there is one thing that stands out from all of these products. Why is that? The price is right—podcasts are free.
What are Podcasts?
This is an example of an ePub file on the iPad. The book has embedded audio.
Podcasts are a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of audio radio, video PDF, or ePub files. Audio radio and video PDF may be self explanatory, but some of you may be scratching your head at ePub files. Actually, it’s exactly what it sounds like, an electronic text publication that is able to support audio and video.
Most of what you see when it comes to podcasting is the video and audio files. This form of media is rapidly becoming an advantage to the business industry. For example, director Kevin Smith started an entire company based off of performing live podcasts in front of an audience. Smith’s company is called SModCo and some of the various podcasts include: “SmodCast,” “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old,” “Hollywood Babble-On,” and “Fatman on Batman.”
For less entertainment-aimed business ventures, podcasting can easily aid in getting information to the consumer. Another good idea would be to record audio of consumer testimonials. This may help improve any company’s web page. Printing industries, such as newspapers and magazines, have also taken to adding audio interviews on their web pages by use of podcasting. Not only are big names using podcasts, but everyday people can also get their ideas across with them.
Creating a podcast to reach an online audience of possibly millions is relatively easy. According to WikiHow, the process of building a podcast and getting it online only takes five to 10 minutes. But this does not include the time it takes to actually record your data. The most important thing to remember is that you cannot automatically gain listeners by just posting your podcast online. Promotion is the key to any business venture.
Let’s Begin: Developing Ideas and Hosting the Podcast
The worst thing you could probably do with this project is go into it and have no idea what your topic will be. This process is very similar to writing. Before writers start anything, they have to think of a topic. They certainly wouldn’t choose something they had no interest in. Another issue may be that you have a great amount of interest in a subject, but may not know a whole lot about it. This is where thorough research comes in. A good idea would be to keep notes or a script of your material.
You will also need a reliable hosting service. Be warned that the size of your podcast can add up. Most cheap hosting services won’t be able to cover large podcasts. I recommend using YouTube for video and audio podcasts. It’s free and able to hold large bandwidths. Even if you wish to just have audio, you can upload some artwork to go with your voice.
Next is the fun part. You get to record the podcast. A good microphone is recommended as well as audio recording software. There is free software available such as Audacity or WavePad. A webcam or camcorder is needed if you plan to do video. Always save your content as an MP3 file.
Getting the Podcast Ready for the Web and Posting
Giving information on or “tagging” your podcast helps viewers find it based on their interests. Give a description of what you cover in your podcast as well as a title or episode titles. Remember to use keywords as well.
Creating an RSS feed is your next step. This is a means of publishing content that is frequently updated. It allows the content to be syndicated automatically and enables it to be viewable on many different programs. There are free services available such as Podblaze or PodOmatic. Another simple way is to use the feed tools on Blogger.
Now you must get your feed on to the Internet. FeedBurner is a part of Blogger that allows you to do this. Just type in your blog URL and click on, “I am a podcaster,” and you are set.
Finally, you are ready to actually upload your content to the web. If you are using YouTube, just follow the instructions given on the site. If you are not, Ourmedia is free to use to upload and store your material.
The final step is to make a post on your blog or hosting site. (If you use YouTube this step is omitted). Your podcast should pop up via Ourmedia and be ready to view.
Now that your podcast is up and running, there are a few things you must remember. You must advertise to get noticed. You can upload you podcast to iTunes, a blog, or put links on Facebook. Be creative with advertising. You must also remember to alert the proper podcast directories when you update as well as create a subscription button so your fans can come back for more. Have fun and happy podcasting.
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