Let’s start with what podcasting is. The concept of podcasting is that of an on-demand audio program that individuals or businesses record and post to their website and podcasting tools such as iTunes. You could essentially think of a podcast as a radio program you can listen to anytime. For a business the benefits of podcasting includes:
- Gaining credibility as an expert in your field
- Low cost advertising of your products and services
- Building a broader customer and partner network
- Reaching audiences with different preferences for consuming knowledge
The last point is quite important – if you already have an eBook or you have articles on your website for your customers then why add another delivery method? Liken it to ice-cream: not everyone likes chocolate or strawberry or double-choc cappuccino. Likewise not everyone has the time or inclination to read an eBook or an article. By recording this material as a podcast you make it easier for your (potential) customers to hear what you have to say.
How exactly would you go about podcasting?
There are three key steps:
- Define your goals – like every new undertaking in your business you need to define what you want to achieve from it. Do you want to charge customers for a regular series of podcasts to increase your revenue? Do you want to build a larger base of customers? Do you want to increase your perception as an expert? Or do you simply want to provide value-add to your existing customers? The answers to these questions will help you define which technologies, tools and delivery model you use.
- Define how often you will podcast – for example determine whether you want to simply create a couple of podcasts of existing written material or whether you want to develop a series of podcasts focussing on a new topic each month.
- Develop a list of podcast topics and set dates – once you have defined how often you will podcast develop a list of topics. Then assign them to your calendar, add the schedule to your website and send your customers an email letting them know what and when you will be podcasting.
Once you have defined your goals, topics and schedule it’s time to obtain the technology to record, edit and publish your podcasts.
Step One – Recording
Usually podcasts are conducted over the phone but they can also be recorded in-person or via a podcast radio website.
- For telephone recording – you have two options: obtain a telephone recording device (this is attached to your phone) from an electronics store; or setup a professional teleconferencing service. Most teleconferencing providers offer the ability to record a conversation and have the recording sent to you – try Greymouse Teleconferencing or Hot Air Conferencing in Australia for on-demand, recorded services.
- For in-person recording – you’ll need a digital recording device which can find from most of the electronics stores and major computer stores in Australia.
- Podcast radio websites – these are more interactive than simply recording a podcast. On podcast radio websites you can essentially host your own talkback radio show with the program being recorded for people to listen to later. Try Blog Talk Radio or TalkShoe.
Step Two – Editing
You’ll either need to ask someone to edit your podcast for you, or do it yourself. The amount of editing you do really depends on factors such as your time, available funds, and the type of impression you want to make. From a technology perspective, there are two great options for editing – Audacity, which is free, or Camtasia, which costs around $400.
Step Three – Transcribing
Although this is an optional step it is highly recommended. The idea is to place a copy of the transcription below the podcast download on your website. There are two reasons to transcribe your podcast:
- The podcast will be found more easily on the internet; and
- It will increase your website’s search ranking: the words spoken in the podcast, and subsequently written in the transcription, act as ‘keywords’ for the search engines which will help increase your website ranking on the podcast topic.
Step Four – Publishing
The final step is to publish your podcast. How you publish it comes back to the goals you originally defined however there are a number of mechanisms:
- As a play-only or downloadable file on your website or blog
- As a play-only or downloadable file on someone else’s website or blog
- To podcasting engines such as iTunes
- As a CD series packaged and sold to customers as a product