Podcasting is gradually becoming popular in Nigeria. Just like blogging, podcasting is giving a lot of people freedom to control the airwaves the best way they can. This is the audio version of blogging. To become a podcaster you have to first of all create your own podcast channel, and this is basically what this article is all about – how you can create your own podcast channel.
Podcast channels make it possible for people to get information in an audio format while traveling to work or doing sports. The consumption of information through podcast channels has increased with the rise of smartphones. Podcasters also offer a broad range of topics, making this media type to gain more interest in the recent time.
Anyone who wants to setup a podcast should read this article.
What is podcasting?
The term “podcasting” refers to preparing and distributing audio files with the help of RSS to computers of users who are subscribed. The podcaster creates digital media files in a series, and these series are referred to as podcasts. A software called “podcatcher” makes it possible for series of files to be subscribed to by users.
When a user successfully concludes subscription, the podcatcher regularly checks for publication of fresh files, and if anything is available, the same is automatically downloaded to portable music player or computer, for watching or listening, as and when desired. At first, the file is saved as an MP3, following which uploading is done to the service provider’s website. Once uploaded, the MP3 file obtains its URL. Then within the RSS XML document, the URL is inserted into an XML tag, in the form of an enclosure.
What is podcasting used for?
There are several uses of podcasting, among which are the following:
Podcasting is used to provide informational content on self-guided walking tours. The podcaster provides information to subscribers as he or she navigates a route. Such adventures produce interesting information which the person involved in the tour can share with the public through podcasts.
Podcasting is used for interviews and band promotional clips related to the music industry. Such information excites the audiences especially when celebrities are involved.
Podcasting is used to share information on talk shows involving investor news, organizational or industry news, sportscasts and other news coverage and commentaries. Some people rely on podcasts for interesting information in these unique areas, instead of relying on the mainstream media.
Podcasting is used for disseminating informational material for instruction or training. People learn different skills through information shared on series of podcasts. An expert can provide bits of information on how to acquire a specific skill through series of podcasts which subscribers enjoy.
Podcasting is also used for story-telling activities for the visually impaired or children. It is easier to share information to the visually impaired through series of podcasts which they listen to at their own convenience.
Types of Podcasts
Podcasts come in various forms. The evolving nature of today’s world has made it possible for businesses to keep coming up with more and more creative ways to make podcasts a part of their marketing plans and business strategies. Here are four major kinds of podcasts:
Type #1. Audio Podcast
These are audio only podcasts which come in MP3 or AAC format. Audio podcasts are the most common, as they are the ones that exhibit maximum compatibility with all portable media devices and computers. The advantages of using audio podcasts are that the file size is comparatively smaller, below 10 MB, and these files can be easily created. The only limitation of an audio podcast is that the content is restricted only to audio. However, on the basis of the content, the audio might be everything that is required.
Type #2. Video Podcast
This is just like video blogging. Video podcasting consists of delivering video content online. This term distinguishes podcasts that involve the distribution of video from those which constitute audio files. The growing popularity of mobile devices has made video podcasting to be increasing in popularity for use by conventional television and media networks.
Video podcasts are more tasking to produce than audio podcasts. The production of a video podcast is similar to other projects involving video production and calls for more planning and production time. So far as the file size is concerned, the bandwidth connection for a video podcast downloading should be high since these are large sized files. For video podcasts, the preferred format is usually .m4v or MP4 H.264. Windows, as well as Mac users, can create and consume these.
Type #3. Enhanced Podcast
This is an electronic slide show presented as a podcast. Enhanced podcast is made up of an audio file with links to images within the timeline. It often includes images, text and other media, as well as audio. The still images move or switch systematically in the same manner as a slideshow. Enhanced podcasts can be divided into sections (or chapterised), often using images to indicate the beginning and/or end of each section. The use of links and images allow for quick navigation between these sections or chapters. Enhanced podcasts could have embedded web links, enabling you to access specific web resources when listening to them in iTunes.
Enhanced podcasts are .m4a format (alternatively known as AAC or mp4 format). A layer is present so that the synced layers can be embedded. Cleverism.com writes that Sony and Apple have adopted this enhanced format, which is playable on both Windows as well as Mac computers having iTunes installed. At present, Windows Media Player cannot play enhanced podcasts. The advantage of using enhanced podcasts is that you get audio as well as video content. However, the size of the file is almost similar to the conventional audio-only format, noticeably smaller in size compared to a video podcast.
Type #4. Screencast
A screencast is also called a video screen capture. Here, a computer screen output is digitally recorded, which may often consist of audio narration. Though the term screencast was coined in 2004, Lotus ScreenCam, and such other products were in use since 1994. The initial products did not have considerable editing features and led to large files. Recent ones render support to compact file formats like mp4/H.264 and Adobe Flash. Also, there are more refined editing features that make room for alterations in sequence, audio, and mouse movement.
Businesses generally create various kinds of contents for their podcasts. Some of them are as follows:
These are books read aloud for the audiences to listen to as an alternative to reading the hard or soft copy. These ‘read aloud’ books are growing in popularity. They are not only embraced by the visually impaired, but also by other individuals.
Such podcasts contain guided tours with detailed explanations. People listen to them and use the information to find their ways around specific routes or learn about certain places or events.
Sporting event commentaries
These are podcasts that make it possible for fans to enjoy commentaries and opinions about sporting events with more flexibility.
These are podcasts on specific subject areas or topics for students. Supplemental class materials are provided by universities in the form of podcasts. Students listen to such audio files at their own convenience.
These are podcasts used by medical institutions for offering studying aids to students.
How to Set Up A Podcast Channel
To set up a podcast channel you need to understand the process very well. This process has been broken down in simple terms by Martin Luenendonk in this interesting article. There are four basic steps in setting up a podcast channel. Here’s how a podcast can be set up in these sequential steps provided by Martin Luenendonk in an article posted on cleverism.com.
Step 1: Establish a platform that is technically viable
1.1 Define a Podcast Category for your future Podcast: You may have an iPod, iPad, iPhone or iTunes, but it may not be the case always. Having a WordPress blog is a more feasible way to set up the platform. For creating the podcast category, hover across posts after logging in to the WP back office. Add the fresh Category “Podcast” once you click on Categories. For Parent, select None. Go to the bottom and click on the icon Add New Category.
1.2 Install an Audio Player: An audio player is required so that your audience is able to listen to the podcast directly from the blog. Go to the WP back office, take the mouse to Plugins and select Add New. Type Audio Player in the Search Plugins field. Most often Audio Player comes in the first search result. Click on Install Now and the plugin would be activated.
1.3 Select a Software for Recording: For creating a podcast, a software is needed which is capable of sound recording on your computer. You may choose Sound Recorder, which is accompanied by Windows Vista. But Sound Recorder does not possess editing features, which you will get in Windows Movie Maker. A downloaded program such as Audacity can also be used, which can both record and edit. There is also comprehensive software for recording, editing, and uploading.
1.4 Obtain the Domain Feed URL: Prior to establishing the FeedBurner, you would require the podcast feed URL for the blog. Do not confuse this with the blog feed URL; it is completely different. Just affix “/category/podcast/feed” after your URL and the podcast feed URL is ready (for example: http://www.yourdomainname.com/category/podcast/feed). Copy the link and paste it in something like a notepad.
1.5 Establish the FeedBurner: The FeedBurner is like a middle man connecting your iTunes and your blog. This is crucial since in case you opt for shifting your podcast to a different site or blog, the only thing you are required to do is edit a single field in the FeedBurner.
You need to start off with a Gmail account. Once you visit feedburner.com, you need to paste the podcast feed URL in the blank field. The box “I am a podcaster!” needs to be checked. Then click on the Next button. Then name the Feed Address and Feed Title, and click Next. Once the FeedBurner feed is live, copy paste it somewhere and click Next. The next step is the configuration of the podcast so that FeedBurner would be able to direct iTunes regarding listing of the podcast.
Step 2: Record the Audio
This is another very important aspect of setting up a podcast channel. Before you start recording the audio, there are certain things you need to prepare.
2.1 Your Podcast’s Title: Your show would need a title. You can easily use the name of your brand or blog in addition to the word “podcast”, which makes good sense. But since you have the opportunity to add in some more extra words for targeting particular keywords, you may as well consider doing it for a good rank in iTunes, which is more or less a search engine. Make sure the keywords you insert in the title of your podcast are as original as possible. For more guidelines, look up “blogging” or “online business” in iTunes and go to the “podcast episodes” segment.
2.2 Your Talent/Host Name: This is, in fact, your name which will be also part of your branding. However, for the perfect keywords for ranking, you can always add something more. The name should guide people in understanding who you are.
2.3 Your Podcast’s Subtitle: Directories including iTunes might require your show to have a subtitle. For the subtitle, it would be great to have a small, short description revolving around your podcast. One or two sentences would be enough.
2.4 Your Podcast’s Description or Summary: This constitutes the primary description for your podcast. In order to describe your show, iTunes gives you 4000 characters. The copy ought to be engaging as well as descriptive. It should also include the proper keywords to ensure good ranking in iTunes. Remember that an apt description will incorporate keywords naturally.
2.5 Your Podcast’s Artwork: The podcast would require some artwork, which is something like a square image highlighting your show. It is true that podcasts are rather auditory, but they also call for a visual, graphical element, which has a very significant role to play.
First of all, it is those elements that the audience will view in iTunes and other podcasting directories before they listen to a spoken word or see a written word in summary or description. In fact, you need the artwork to create a first impression.
A good podcast image is very essential for visisbility. In case of iTunes, an attractive podcast image gives you an opportunity to be in the most visually appealing segments of iTunes. Moreover, people would also be able to see your artwork in the media players, that is, their portable devices or computers. A powerful image gives you a strong brand identity. Martin Luenendonk provides the following specifications that are required:
- An image of 1400 x 1400 pixels, effectively representing the podcast;
- Image needs to be in .png or .jpg file format;
- Image should possess readability at smaller sizes;
- The same image at 300 x 300 pixels under another file name.
2.6 Recording the podcast: Once you have concluded the preparation steps for recording your Podcast, follow the next creation and recording. If you are recording on your computer, plug in the headset and microphone and make the speakers mute. Once recording is done, play with Windows Media Player to ensure that everything is proper.
For those recording the audio using iPad, it is best to go for the GarageBand app, as it provides good quality. Launch the app and as your microphone, make use of Apple EarPods with Mic.
Step 3: Share your Podcast – Submission to iTunes
iTunes helps in the distribution of the podcast to your audience. With a credit card, open a free iTunes account. Then select the Podcasts Tab in iTunes store and click on it. Then go to Submit a Podcast and click on it. A blank field will appear where you will need to paste the Feedburner. Then click on Continue. If all the steps are correct, information would be automatically pulled from the feed by iTunes. If anything is wrong, you have to Cancel. Otherwise, you can click on Submit. Do not forget to select the Category for your Podcast. To finish the job, click on Done.
Step 4: Upload your tagged MP3 audio file
Once you add the required description and title to the MP3 audio file, the next thing is to tag it to the podcast hosting service. For this, you are required to create an account at libsyn.com. Go to the Settings icon and provide the correct details, after which click on Save. Similarly, provide information for the Destinations Tab and save. Select the icon Publish and then select Advanced publisher.
Podcasting is an interesting way of sharing information with audiences. Once you set up a good podcast channel that is unique, you will surely have subscribers growing by the day. Despite the limitations of podcasts, they are a great way to distribute content and get the following of a large audience. Through podcasts you can create detailed information for distribution to employees as well as customers, depending on your target audiences and niche you are working on. The unique capability of information sharing made possible by podcasting has made it to be gradually growing in popularity and it is also turning out to be a great source of earning money. It may be tough at the beginning but like every other venture, consistency and perseverance will surely ensure you experience huge success in podcasting.
(With facts from cleverism.com)