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Should You Podcast?

Learn the 7 whys and hows for podcasting.

By
Aliza Sherman,
Episode #053

 

Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.  

I love to podcast. In addition to this Digital Marketer podcast, I also have a show about using social media for social good and another one about Second Life. I find that podcasting is a great way to get the word out about something in a detailed manner, and podcasts can also be much more engaging --and more portable-- than text.

Why Podcast?

There are so many tools out there today for marketing and communications that it isn't any wonder many of us get confused and overwhelmed. Should we blog? Tweet? Wiki? Facebook? Podcast? I've talked about most of those tools in previous shows so today I'm going to focus on podcasting.

What is podcasting, really? "Back in the day" --meaning a few years ago-- we were calling audio shows Internet radio because many of us were basically imitating traditional radio formats and broadcasting via audio files on the Web.

Then there was audiocasting and videocasting or some called it audioblogging and videoblogging or vlogging. With the popularity of the iPod came the term podcasting, most likely propagated by one of the first popular podcasters, former MTV veejay and Internet entrepreneur Adam Curry.

Today, podcasting refers to creating either audio or video files that are uploaded to the Web or a media outlet such as iTunes, and that are playable from the Web, from someone's computer, or a portable device.For this show, I'm going to zero in on audio podcasting but will definitely cover video podcasts in the future.

Reasons to Podcast

So why would you want to podcast? Some good reasons to podcast include the following:

1. You've identified that your target audience is receptive to audio content. Audio for many -- but not everyone-- is a great way to obtain and consume information. Keep in mind your audience --and more importantly your strategic goals-- before delving into podcasting.

2. You have a lot of things to say or to explain. Done well, a podcast can make ideas more accessible and digestible than reading screens full of text.

3.  You’re an expert in your field and want to showcase that expertise. Well-written and produced podcasts can be an effective platform to demonstrate your know-how.

4. You have the time. Podcasts can be time consuming to develop and produce, not to mention distribute and market. Yes, the technology has gotten to the point that virtually anyone can podcast, however, not everyone can podcast well.

Podcasting Takes Time

For me, the technical aspect of podcasting wasn't as intimidating as producing the content on a regular basis. This podcast, for example, is like writing a weekly column -- and then I have to find a quiet space and the time to record it each week, listen back to it to make sure I didn't flub a line that I need to re-record, check the script against the recording, then get the elements to my producer.

For the podcasts I produce myself, I then have to edit out any long pauses or re-do's, add intro and outro music, and set fade ins and fade outs before compressing my files, uploading them to a podcast hosting service, and then marketing them.

How to Podcast

Podcasting can be so much easier when you have a producer. Throw in a well-oiled distribution and marketing machine like we have here at Quick and Dirty Tips and you end up with a dream situation for a podcaster.

But doing it yourself isn't impossible. Just keep in mind that with any new software, there is probably going to be a learning curve and depending what you use to podcast, some learning curves are steeper than others.

There are many software solutions for podcasting. I personally use Garage Band, the recording software that comes with the Mac. Some other options include Audacity, Gabcast, and Hipcast. One of my favorite podcasters, C.C. Chapman, uses CastBlaster, and he has for years. For hosting the podcasts that I produce, I use Utterli and Liberated Syndication.

Good Podcasting Equipment

You also need good equipment. There are so many ways to go, however, here's my setup:

A Black MacBook - I don't even need the MacBook Pro. Audio editing software is far more compact than video editing tools.

A Rode Podcaster Microphone - I bought mine at B&H Photography, and it plugs right into my USB port. I have a large mic stand with a shock guard and a pop filter screen. When I'm on the road, I just carry the mic and cord and hold the mic in my hand. A more portable mic stand as well as a more portable USB microphone are on my list of things to buy.

A Makeshift studio setup - I took eggshell foam and glued it to three panels of pressboard, hinged them together, laid foam on my studio table, and so I have three sides of soundproofing around me as well as one under my computer. When I'm on the road, however, I just look for a quiet room where there isn't an echo.

Finding a quiet space is pretty challenging, although I have sat by curtains in a hotel room to help prevent sound bounce and have even recorded a show or two in a bathroom.

The beauty of podcasting is that the expectation online isn't necessarily radio-quality sound. However, keep in mind that many of the most popular podcasts out there also happen to have been produced by traditional radio outlets such as NPR.

But with the right niche, personality, and quality content, you can garner a good following with a great podcast.

Bottom Line: Podcasting isn't necessarily the first tool to reach for when you're looking to market something, however, a well-produced podcast can add valuable, portable content to your marketing mix that can allow people to literally carry your message with them wherever they go.

Contact Me

That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, email me at  digitalmarketer@quickanddirtytips.com or leave a message by calling 206-339-6279.

The Digital Marketer's Quick and Dirty Tips for Building Your Business With Web Tools is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at .

Tune in for another business boost from The Digital Marketer, the host who's not afraid to go under the Internet's hood & get a little dirty!

Resources

Audacity - http://www.audacity.com

Gabcast - http://www.gabcast.com

Hipcast - http://www.hipcast.com

Digital Performer - http://www.motu.com/products/software/dp

Liberated Syndication or LibSyn - http://www.libsyn.com

Utterli - http://www.utterli.com

Podcast image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

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