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. Podcasts have risen in popularity the past few years, giving radio very serious competition for audience attention and ability to consume content while doing other things. Like satellite radio, podcasts give viewers the option of choosing what they want to hear, when they want to hear it. The popularity of the mobile market has made it possible for TV broadcasters to reach people in places and situations they never could before. People now watch TV broadcasters in the car, on the bus, walking down the street but no one can comfortably do same while driving or even walking around. You wouldn’t want to bump into a wall or car while glued to your phone watching a visual broadcast. Podcasts make it easy for you to consume content while engaged in these activities.
Radio stations use podcasts to offer more in-depth information about some of the week’s bigger stories. More stations are using podcasts as a great way to supplement news broadcasts, even among people who aren’t driving or walking down the street. The mainstream media can also use podcasting as a good way to respond to audiences’ questions or requests for different types of stories. The use of podcasts by individuals and media houses in gradually gaining popularity in the media market.
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)