Listening to podcasts isn’t something I enjoy or take time for, quite frankly. I’m a visual learner and prefer to read something rather than listen to it, as I find reading a much quicker way to gather the info that I need. However, with the proliferation of audio listening devices, like the whole iPod family and other mp3 players, I have to acknowledge that I’m in the minority, I believe. The world is listening to a wide variety of audio files, much more so than ever before in history, and I need to get on the bandwagon or be lost in the dust.
What is a podcast, anyway? A podcast is an audio file that you create in .mp3 format that is uploaded with an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) file to your server for your target market to download on any number of programs created to receive or subscribe to your audio file so that they can listen to it at their leisure on their computer or a personal mp3 device.
Why should you create a podcast? I think it serves as a marketing tool for the solo service professional, who might want to do one of the following:
–create an Internet radio show or talk show in which you create content-rich broadcasts for your target market
–conduct a teleclass series in which you interview experts who have solutions to problems faced by your dnd podcast target market
–promote a printed book, ebook, or CD/DVD series by releasing promotional snippets to a wider audience
–provide short and valuable expert tips to your target market (my Get More Clients Online podcast consists of the weekly article I write for my newsletter)
Many podcasts are about an hour in length, especially when they consist of recordings of radio shows or teleclasses. However, I think that the listening threshold for most people is about 10 minutes. So, that means that your podcast needs to be 10 minutes or less in length. If it’s longer, you really have to grab their attention in the first 10 minutes to keep them listening for the full amount of time.
Good content and a good speaking voice are key to maintaining interest. Don’t make your podcast one long advertisement for your services or products — share some useful information with your target market to help them solve GM Macleods their problems. And, you need to have a good speaking voice. Nothing is worse than listening to someone read a speech with a monotone delivery. So, for maximum impact when you record your podcast (especially if you’re just recording yourself), get up and walk around, smile, gesture, or do whatever you normally do when you deliver a speech. Modulate your voice, much in the same way that you would when you have a 1:1 conversation with someone — put feeling and emotion into your words. I pretend like I’m talking to my best friend, and that helps me with a lively delivery.
What are the steps to creating a podcast?
1. Listen to a few podcasts to get a feel for what others are doing. To listen, you’ll need a podcatcher (podcast reader), which permits you to subscribe to podcasts in the same way you subscribe to blogs. I favor iTunes as my podcatcher of choice, which is a free online download. You’ll also need to find podcasts, and the quickest way to do that is via podcast directories, which include the iTunes store. Podcast Alley, one of the most popular podcasting sites, has a large podcast directory, and Yahoo Podcasts has a podcast search. To find others, simply search online for “podcast directory.”
2. Plan your podcast. Who is your target market? What do they want to listen to? How will your podcast be unique from others in your industry? What’s your format (interview others, host a teleclass, or record yourself)? How long will your podcast be? How frequently will you deliver your podcasts?
3. Record your podcast. Many people choose to record their podcast with a free piece of software called Audacity. It has an easy learning curve and advanced features for more experienced podcasters. Mac users might want to check out Garage Band. For best recording sound, don’t use the microphone that came with your computer or that is built into your laptop. You’ll want to get a more professional one, such as the ones offered at Plantronics or Radio Shack.