Over the years, podcasting has grown into a mainstream way of communicating information. A podcast is basically audio (or video) content streamed over the Internet to listeners in a series of episodes. The beauty of podcasting is listeners can download the content and listen to it later. Benefits include brand exposure to a wider audience, credibility, and free advertising.
To appreciate the impact generated by podcasting, look at the following figures published by Edison Research in 2012: At least 45% of Americans are quite familiar with the word “podcasting”, and 29% listen to podcasts or have done so at some point. Four in ten of these regular podcast listeners earn an average of $75,000 every year.
Podcasting has achieved global popularity and isn’t just limited to America either. In fact, you can build loyal followers all over the world thanks to podcasting technology.
Let’s walk through 10 steps to creating a podcast, in case you want to jump on the podcasting bandwagon and reap the rewards.
Step 1 – Do Some Podcast Research
Before creating a podcast, it is important to do some background research. For example, try to find out how successful podcasters deliver content, keep their audiences coming back for more, and handle feedback from listeners. If you cannot connect with podcast consumers and provide informative content at the same time, it is unlikely you will survive as a podcaster for long.
Step 2 – Choose your Podcast Style
While podcasting is not an exact science, how you deliver content to listeners matters a lot. In general, you can deliver content as audio podcasts, video podcasts, or a combination of both audio and video.
The Edison Research study found that 52 percent of podcast consumers used video and audio podcasts every month. Those that listen to audio podcasts only stand at 31 percent while video podcast consumers stand at 17 percent.
You will also have to decide where to publish your podcasts. Apple iTunes is the most popular podcasting platform, so it’s an ideal place to start. According to iTunes specifications, supported file formats include .mp4, .m4a, .mov, .mp3, .epub, .pdf, and .m4v.
Just make sure you find out the file format requirements for publishing podcasts on whatever platforms you have chosen.
Step 3 – Obtain the Technology You Need
In order to record your podcast, you will need some type of computer software and/or microphone.
For example, if you are doing an audio podcast, you can either use software on your computer to record the audio, or you can use a handheld recording device. If you need to make edits to your podcast, you will need recording and editing software. Audacity is free and works on both Windows based PCs as well as Macs.
If you are doing a video podcast, there are numerous ways to record the podcast. You can use software such as Screenflow for Mac or Camtasia for PC to record your voice talking over a presentation. You can also record yourself talking on a video camera like a lot of people do for their podcasts.
Software programs such as Auphonic allow you to make advanced edits to the podcast audio to give it that added level of professionalism. For example, Auphonic has an intelligent leveler that balances the audio levels and an audio restoration tool that can reduce noise that you may have picked up in the background of your recording.
Step 4 – Plan Your Podcast
With the right recording and editing equipment in place, you can start planning the podcast. If you are planning to interview industry experts or guests for a particular podcast episode, plan in advance how the interview will flow, questions to ask, and the length of the interview. You should also inform your guests when the interview will take place. You can ask a friend to pretend to be the interviewee and make a practice run. This will give you a good idea of how the interview will proceed.
Step 5 – Create Your First Podcast Episode
Plunge into creating your first podcast. You can start with some bit of introductory language. Here’s an example of how I might start a podcast: “Welcome to this episode of the Thriving Business podcast where I am going to walk you through how to create your own podcast”. After the intro, plunge into the main podcast content. Keep the narrative informative, friendly, and engaging. You can then end with some standard ending language. Here’s an example of how I might end one of my podcasts: “If you liked this podcast, make sure to leave a comment on our blog or on iTunes. You can also get more free training like this on our web site at ThrivingBusiness.com”.
Step 6 – Convert the Podcast Episode Into The Proper Formats
After finishing the recording, it is time to polish up the podcast to add any professional sounding opening and closing music, which are often referred to as intros and outros. You will also need to convert the podcast into the proper file formats. The necessary file formats will depend on the publishing format you are targeting. For example, you may have to convert an audio recording into an mp3 file. This is one of the most popular formats for audio podcasts.
Step 7 – Upload Your First Podcast Episode
The next step after finishing your first podcast episode is to upload the podcast. Before you can publish your podcast episodes, you need to host your podcast files somewhere. You can use Amazon S3, DriveHQ, or a host of other web based file storage services.
Once you have registered to use a web based file storage service, use a file uploader to upload the podcast files. Most services come with a file uploader that you can open from a web browser, and some also offer support for FTP-based uploads.
Step 8 – Submit Your Podcast Newsfeed
Before publishing a podcast, you need to create an XML podcast feed. You can do this by hand or use online services to create the newsfeed.
For iTunes publishing, pay close attention to factors such as the keyword usage, title, keyword tags, author, and the graphics for your podcast. Follow these instructions to submit your podcast to iTunes.
Step 9 – Promote Your Podcast
After submitting the podcast, do not rest on your laurels. Start promoting the podcast on social networks and blog posts on your website. This will spread the message to your loyal followers to check out your new podcast.
Step 10 – Continue to Publish Your Podcasts
To improve the popularity of your podcast, keep publishing new episodes on a regular basis. Avoid the temptation of fading away after a few episodes. The more you podcast, the more word of your work will get out to new listeners.If you are not on the podcasting bandwagon, it isn’t too late to get in on the act. Also, be sure when creating a podcast to follow the steps above so you can see a significant increase in your brand loyalty and sales leads.
*Originally published as Issue #167 on February 19, 2013