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Podcasts: Your Get-Started Guide

Podcasting. Sounds like something straight out of The Jetsons, right? You’d almost expect it to involve some sort of pod-like vehicle that launches you to any destination of your choice.

Speaking of which — why haven’t they invented that yet? I’m also still waiting for that big machine that bathes, clothes, and grooms you in five seconds flat. I could save so much time in the morning!

But back to podcasting. Chances are, you’ve heard it mentioned before. You may have even listened to one, and now you’re wondering how to go about recording your own. No matter where you stand, here’s an overview to help you get started.

What it is

Podcasting comes from a combination of the words “iPod” (a digital audio player) and “broadcasting.” Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need an iPod to listen to or create podcasts, though!

A podcast is a lot like blogging, but talking instead of writing. Many people use it in a “radio show” format featuring themselves as the esteemed host. But podcasting shouldn’t be confused with internet radio. Instead of having to be present at an appointed time for a scheduled show, podcast listeners can instead download podcasts on demand or subscribe via an RSS reader, iTunes, or software such as Podcaster — which is a serious benefit over simple streaming audio.

The FCC has no control over podcasts. You don’t need a license to podcast, as you would with a radio station, meaning you have utterly free reign over the style and content of your podcast.

As I mentioned before, the “radio show” format is very popular, but podcasts are frequently used in other ways such as audio lessons for students and as part of guided walking tours at museums and historical sites.

That’s great, but why?

Why would you podcast? What’s the point? The point is that it’s a serious promotional tool. Think of it as a way to expand the scope of your impact, and as a supplement to traditional promotional media like print materials. If you have the kind of business or persona that deals in specialized knowledge, podcasting may be a great medium to grow your brand.

The pros of podcasting include:

  • It’s a new way to communicating with customers and colleagues.
  • It’s inexpensive to produce and distribute.
  • You can reach people who don’t read blogs.
  • You can get your message out free of interference.
  • It’s experimental.
  • It’s quick and convenient.
  • It’s an opportunity to influence your target market or niche.
  • You may be able to turn a profit through advertising and sponsorships.

What you need to get started

All you need to record a podcast is:

  1. An external microphone you can connect to your computer. Decent plug-and-play microphones can be had for $15-20.
  2. Audio editing software. Audacity is a popular — and free — option.
  3. A website or hosting service to upload your podcast to, such as Podango.
  4. Promotion via your website, email newsletter, or social media. You can also submit your podcast to podcast directories that allow listeners to find specific content they want to hear.

Need to get your project off the ground? Need our help? Ask us!

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