Types of podcasts you should know

Podcasting has increase in popularity across the world. 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.

What is Podcasting?

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.

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:

Audio books

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.

Audio tours

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.

Class lectures

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.

Medical instruction

These are podcasts used by medical institutions for offering studying aids to students.

Finally!

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)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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