A podcast is an audio file (typically MP3) served from a Web site and combined with an RSS feed that lets subscribers automatically download new content directly to their PCs or mobile devices. Podcasts are an invaluable way to share your expertise and promote your business. Don't be afraid of podcasts; this stuff isn't very complicated as long as you stay organized... If you're just getting started, though, you can always podcast yourself. Here's how:
- Plan the format. Most podcasts are structured like radio shows, with hosts interviewing guests or speaking about topics of interest. You can interview clients about how great your products/services are, increasing customer loyalty and driving new sales. Asking someone to be a guest on your podcast can open doors, creating a relationship that you can later make the most of for sales purposes. You can use your podcast to establish your reputation as an expert within your field, perhaps by recording how-to segments.
- Record your podcast. You can use a portable voice recorder (digital, if possible, so you can simply copy the audio file to your computer), hire a service that records phone interviews, make a VoIP call from your computer and record it, or simply attach a microphone to your PC and record.
- Edit your podcast. You may want to cut out parts of an interview or add some music. Audacity is an excellent freeware audio recorder and editor...
- Host your podcast. The next step is to upload your podcast to a server. If you have enough space on your current Web host, simple create a new directory and store your podcasts there. Or you can use a service such as Podblaze or HipCast to store it. Either way, you'll simply link to the audio file from your blog or Web site.
- Serve the RSS feed. Your feed is a file that's updated every time you add a podcast. Subscribers to your feed can then automatically download your new content. Podcasts require an RSS feed formatted in a certain way. You can use FeedBurner... to serve an enhanced feed, or FeedForAll for a simple feed.
- Promote your podcast. No one will ever find your podcast if you don't promote it, not just on your own site but also on the major podcast directories and search engines, such as iTunes. [Click for instructions on how to submit your podcasts to iTunes (techspecs), Yahoo! Podcasts, and Podcast Alley.]