For those of you that haven’t already come across podcasts, let me first explain what they are. A podcast is like a radio program except people can download it to a portable media player (such as an iPod or other mp3 player) and listen to it whenever and wherever they want – like they would a downloaded and listen to a favourite piece of music.
Generally speaking a podcast is made available for download via syndication rather than just being a file available for download. The files are usually retrieved with software applications (known as podcatchers) such as Apple’s iTunes so that subscribers can listen at their convenience. The podcatcher can be set up to receive podcasts from web sites of their choice, from specific authors or relating to specific subjects.
So what can a podcast do for you and how do you go about making one?
Podcasts are a great way to get your personal or company profile raised in the world at large. Many people don’t have time to sit and read documents but do have time to listen while they’re on the move – just look at the rising popularity of audio books! So if you create something people want to listen to then more people will get to hear about you and/or your business. There are many syndication sites where you can place your podcasts and if you have a web site you can also place links back to your site which will help with its search engine rankings – further increasing your profile.
Remember that people want to be entertained and/or informed so your podcast needs to do one or both of these, otherwise is will not be listened to or you and your business will gain a bad reputation… exactly the opposite of what you intended.
A few quick tips on producing a good podcast are:
- Think about how you say things as well as what you say – the tone, pitch and speed of your voice can all make a difference
- Make sure you don’t record and distribute a recording of anyone without their knowledge and consent
- Set the bar as high as possible for audio content and production – how it sounds is almost as important as what is being said.
- Ask yourself if a podcast is the best way to communicate your message – listen to some and experience a podcast from a listeners perspective and then decide
- Make sure that when you publish any podcasts you describe them fully and accurately – this will help you find the right audience
A simple way to create a podcast is to download an audio editor to your PC, purchase a microphone and away you go. An excellent and free audio editor is Audacity (see http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) which provdes you with all the basic editing functionality (and more) plus it allows you to save files in MP3 format which is the podcast standard.