Kelly Kirkham serves up a quick-fire guide to podcasting, including equipment, software, and style tips…
Looking for an inexpensive way to reach out to your customers and maybe attract more? Posting podcasts from your blog is an easy and efficient way to engage with your audience and promote some traffic. Anyway, who doesn’t want to have their own radio show?
Podcasts are picking up steam in the world of marketing. They’re very inexpensive, easy to post, and create a personalized connection for listeners. Very little is needed to produce podcasts; as little as a microphone and a computer, and you can even use your smart phone!). If you’re looking for an expert quality sound most decent microphones range from $70 – $200. Look out for brands like Blue Snowball, AKD g5, RØDE NT-USB, Shure SM57.
Thanks to iTunes and other mobile podcasting apps like Pocket Casts, BeyondPod, and Stitcher, podcasts are easily accessible and can be listened to while performing other tasks. So the big question is: How can you enjoy the many benefits of podcasting?
First Things First
This post is going to assume that you already have a WordPress blog up and running. From your WordPress dashboard you can download a podcasting plugin. In this example, I will use Blubrry because I personally believe it to be the easiest to use and because it offers full iTunes support, but there are many other plugins available.
Plugins > Add New > Search for Blubrry > Install
Once you’ve downloaded the program, you’ll have a screen that looks like the screen shot below. From here you are ready to upload your podcasts in exactly the same way you publish blog posts, but there are some tips to be sure that your first podcast has as many downloads as possible, as well as how to minimize the size of your podcast for easier download. Be sure that you not only upload to iTunes, but to as many other podcast applications available.
When you title your program try to use as many descriptive keywords as possible. When listeners search for a podcast it doesn’t search the description, only the title. Consider using this formula: TITLE/keyword/keyword/keyword etc.
Using The Settings to Your Advantage: Tools
In your dashboard, if you expand the PowerPress tab, you will find a section called ‘tools’.
Podcasting Resources > Podcasting Manual
This page will offer a ton of excellent information from the experts as well as community members. Creating popular podcasts is somewhat of an art- but if someone knows how to do it you’ll find their insights here. This manual covers dozens of different ideas but here are the most important.
You’re probably going to want to compress your media files as most podcast sites have limits as to how large a file they’ll allow you to upload. There are a few different plugins you can use for this- they are all somewhat similar. Be sure to check each podcasting site for individual size limitations.
Do not use a Variable Bit Rate (VBR). Use a fixed bit rate (64Kbps, 96Kbps, 128Kbps).
Typical File Sizes ~ Recording Length
|10-minute recording64 kbps ~ 5MB96 kbps ~ 8MB128 kbps ~ 10MB||30-minute recording64 kbps ~ 15MB96 kbps ~ 23MB128 kbps ~ 30MB||1-hour recording64 kbps ~ 30MB96 kbps ~ 45MB128 kbps ~ 60MB|
There are a lot of different ways to edit your podcasts. Each software application is a little bit different, so you might have to research whichever brand you choose. But most are very user friendly and shouldn’t require much studying.
Some of the popular software includes…
Audacity: Free and available for WIN/Mac- very easy to use.
Garage Band: Free and has a lot of bells and whistles like multitrack editing, loops and sounds.
There are also excellent options if you are willing to purchase editing software.
Listen to as many podcasts on podcasting as you can find. Sounds strange, I know, but there are tons. Oh and your closet is a great sound studio if you’re concerned about outside noise.
Within the Services & Stats tab there is a free basic statistics service or you can upgrade for the Professional Media Statistics package, which costs $5. According to Blubrry there are three ways to measure your audience.
- Web Traffic: A must have
- Media Downloads: Your listening audience
- Audience Survey: Understand who is listening
Using obvious analytical tools such as Google Analytics or those provided by your hosting company can go a long way. iTunes will tell you within your profile how many times each episode has been downloaded. Purchasing monitoring packages is not always a must, but you will have to spend a little more time for the same information.
Blubrry offers a free audience survey, but to fully understand your audience it’s important to actively ask, “How am I doing?” you will be surprised as to how many responses you get.
iTunes is a podcasting gold mine. It’s free and popular. As a new submitter you are giving a higher ranking automatically, this can draw hundreds of new listeners instantly and all you have to worry about is how to keep them listening. Be sure to follow the rules and regulations to the letter. iTunes offers some tips to help your podcasts be featured in their ‘top categories’. These include…
- Attractive and original cover art.
- A clear and complete author listing.
- Proper tags regarding language, category, and explicit language.
- Accurate descriptions for episodes.
- New episodes being posted regularly.
To configure your iTunes, click the iTunes tab and carefully read each area- some of these are tricky so pay attention. Many of the options will feed from your blog (i.e. tags, description, and author name). If you chose to use these settings be sure to take the time to ensure that your posts are detailed to accurately represent your podcast.
You’re going to want to have an available podcast to upload to iTunes (episode 0), it won’t actually be posted it will only be used to verify your podcasting account; they will email you as soon as you’re cleared for submitting episodes.
If you are going to publish podcasts it’s essential to make a plan. Learn everything you can about podcasting in general as well as the tricks and tips before you start broadcasting. Once your brand is out in the podcasting world you want to pack a punch to keep your momentum. Record at least five podcasts containing valuable information, research your strategy, plan for what comes next and you should be ready to go. Podcasting is a learning experience, and you probably won’t record gold on your first try- but if you keep at it you can be an expert podcaster in no time. Developing a style, agenda, and learning not to overusing the sound effects can take time, but have faith!
For more tips and information about podcasting read this blog from our Midphase brand.
For more information on web hosting or domains to get you started on your podcasting visit the Westhost website.