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How to Make a Podcast Fit for Marketing
Podcasting is a term that manifested as a fresh way to describe the technology used to push (share) audio content from web sites down to consumers (clients) of that content, who usually listen to it on an iPod (hence the term "pod") or any other type of .mp3 player (iRiver) at their command, convenience and control.
PodCasting is somewhat similar to the concept of time-shifted video software and devices like TiVo, which let you watch what you want exactly when you want it by simply recording and storing video, except that PodCasting is primarily used for audio to date. (Universal video deployment is most likely just around the corner.) With that stated I should explain, however, that this easy to use emerging technology can be used to push (deploy) any kind of file such as photos (images), software updates, videos and/or text.
PodCasting uses an XML-based technology called RSS (Real Simple Syndication). Content publishers (PodCasters) describe new content in an XML RSS file which includes dates, titles, descriptions, and specifics links to the .mp3 files. This "automatically" generated file is referred to as an RSS feed. Dave Winer is considered by many to be the creator of RSS and a pioneer in the environment of applied XML. The component to making PodCasting work with RSS is "enclosures" (remember that term), an element supported by RSS 2.0.
As a consumer or end-user, you simply run an "aggregator" (remember this term, too) program like MTV's Adam Curry's iPodder software on your local computer, which lets you easily subscribe to RSS feeds. Programs like Adam's will either by schedule or by random design, download the RSS files, and check to see if any fresh content is available. If new content exists, the audio files are automatically downloaded and put into a folder (of your choice) on your hard disk or directly routed to your mp3 player.
I used an asterisk as noted above to make this very honest and often painful-to-some disclaimer. When I stated that "Anyone Can Do This", I should more accurately state, "Anyone that properly learns (from a real professional) and activates their own PodCast process can reap the significant harvest of BIGGER numbers by creating and nurturing their own emerging community. As an online business owner this is HUGE and required! This marketing solution can not only make you financially solvent, it can even make you a "STAR"!
Fitting the PodCast Magic into Your Arsenal
Here now is a list of things to do to prepare yourself for your first PodCast presentation.
1. Research the PodCast Element
Learn precisely what PodCasting is all about and how it works.
2. Physically Search Out Only The True Professionals
Create a list of those PodCasters that undeniably know exactly what they are doing. Align your yourself with only the best. From this list, call them on the phone and pick their brain(s). If you cannot locate an actual telephonic point of contact, I strongly urge you to wipe them from your list. You want to do business with those that believe in "touching" their market with more intimacy and one-to-one personalization rather than just an email. Remember, you are looking for a friend. A mentor. Not necessarily someone to take your money and be off. A solid partnership (friendship) is your objective here.
3. Discover Your Passion
What passion do you share with others? What true value will your audience glean from you? Who is your target audience? Understand your "WHY"!
4. Develop Your Plan & Work Your Process
What do you need to learn? What do you need to do? What specific date will you be ready? Who will provide you with the support you will need to fulfill your plan. What equipment is required?
5. Make Your Podcast Happen!
As you roll out your "new-to-you" adventure, don't expect total perfection on day one. Be kind to yourself and know that you will evolve. We all started from square one. You should have heard my first radio air check from my first radio gig in Bakersfield, California. I sounded just like a bumbling knucklehead. Enough practice and desire can make you near perfect, but do be fair with you and give yourself time to grow.Podcasting is one of the latest technological Internet trends. Due to the fact that making a podcast is based on RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and its simplicity in creation, it is likely that this technology will be well-used.
Use the following guide to help you create your own podcast by taking your audio file and converting it into an MP3:
1. Generate the content you desire to use for your audio
The content you choose to record can be anything you want: music, audio books, lectures, sermons, interviews, radio-type shows, etc.
One of the great things about podcasting is that you don't need to have a specific format or formula for the type of audio you want. Another great thing is that you can use any application to record your audio content. One choice for IBMs is Audacity. It is a free, open-source and lets you mix a variety of audio files.
For Macintosh, GarageBand is a great option because it too is free and useful. Make sure to save your audio at the highest quality possible in the original format of the audio. Having a high quality audio allows you to go back and edit your content if needed, or use it again.
Adapt your file to MP3 format
The next step in the process is saving your content into MP3 format once you have it recorded. For podcasting, the standard format is MP3. To make your content usable for others, you should use MP3 formatting, unless you have a significant reason for using another arrangement.
To get your desired results, it is paramount to use the minimum bit rate. Here are some recommended settings: 48-56k Mono - audio books, talk radio, interviews, sermons 64k Stereo - music, music and talk combos For higher quality music, use 128K stereo
When you save, make sure you utilize an .mp3 file extension. Now you know how to make a podcast file ready to be published.
Listen to other Pro-PodCasters. Listen to your local radio stations. Read books and articles like this one on a daily basis. (I do it everyday!)
If you "really" want to crank up the heat on your marketing efforts, than PodCasting will give you the significant marketing advantage.