A lot of our amazing content is talk content, thanks to some fantastic podcasters.
We’ve been working behind the scenes to help bring more high-quality podcasts/talk radio shows to the Internet. To help spur this effort, we’re creating free and low-cost resources for podcast or talk radio hosts to help optimize their shows.
What is podcasting anyway?
Podcasting is the relay of information through audio. Rather than read an article or watch a video, your target audience will listen to your pre-recorded “internet radio show” as you provide content on topics of interest to them.
Once your podcast is recorded, it can be broadcast to a wider audience in a number of ways. It can be listed in directories so it can be discovered and listened to. It can also be broadcast to other websites and listened to anytime, anywhere, by people who subscribe to your podcast.
Podcasts are available via a service known as RSS (Real Simple Syndication). When they subscribe to your podcast, they will receive the latest files right in their RSS feed reader. Other websites in your niche can also embed your feed into their site so their audience can listen to it too.
Understanding Podcasting Terminology
It is important to understand key podcast terms if you wish to create a podcast of your own.
Podcast – A series of recording audio programs, usually published on a regular schedule, such as once a week.
Podcatcher – Software which detects each new podcast you publish and delivers it to your subscribers.
RSS (Real Simple Syndication)- A way to share files with your target audience, or allow others to publish your content, or syndicate it, at their site.
Aggregator – An aggregator, or RSS aggregator, collects RSS feeds. It will deliver podcasts and other contents you subscribe to. Feedly and Feedbin would be two good examples of RSS aggregators.
Channel – A series of podcasts. Think of it as a radio station that can be listened to any time by people who subscribe to your channel.
Enclosure – The file for the podcast. It is enclosed in a reader in order to be listened to.
Metadata – The most important information about the podcast, so it can be discovered by readers and search engines. It will usually include title, recording artist, file format and so on.
ID3 – ID3 is a metadata specification that allows information to be added to MP3 files. Commonly, items like track title, artist, album and track number are placed within ID3 “tags” that identify the type of data. It helps your podcast get discovered in locations like iTunes.
iPod – The popular digital audio player from Apple. The word “podcast” comes from the combination of the words “iPod” and “broadcast”.
Juice – Juice is a free program that automatically downloads new shows when they become available, and synchronizes them with your iPod or other digital audio player. Formerly known as “iPodder”.
Item – A single show in your podcasting channel. It should be metatagged, preferably with ID3 tags.
iTunes – iTunes is Apple’s multimedia store and software, which will allow you to buy, or access or subscribe for free, a range of content such as music, videos, TV shows and podcasts. It links to a directory of podcasts and acts as a podcatcher by allowing users to subscribe to podcasts and delivering them to their iPod or other player.
When you upload your content on iTunes, metatags for it will be created, making it discoverable to those interested in your topic or niche.
MP3 – MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3) is the standard format for podcast files. The format compresses the data into a very small file while still maintaining sound quality.
Now that we’ve covered the basics about podcasting, it might be time to think about adding a podcast to your marketing mix.
If you are thinking about starting your own podcast in order to monetize, or even market your business, there are several essential podcasting tools you can’t do without. Let’s look at the most important first, down to “nice to have if you can”.
- A high-quality microphone
You can usually buy a good mic for less than $100 on Amazon. Some prefer headset microphones, while others like a desktop microphone such as the ones you would see in radio stations. The best type of microphone is a USB one that plugs into your computer, because it assures high-quality sound without the need for any special audio interface.
- Podcast cover art
People will judge a book by its cover, and therefore a podcast too. You can list your podcasting in online stores and directories. Your cover art will also often be visible in aggregator windows. Each site will have a certain size image is required.
Get a pro to design it based on your logo, website color scheme, and/or niche that the podcast is going to be about. You can find talented artists on Fiverr.com, who will charge $5 and up for their work. Look at their star ratings and reviews before choosing one.
An alternative is to design your own. Canva.com has some excellent tools to create your cover art for free.
- Podcast file hosting
Your files will be big, and even more importantly, they will be erratic unless you host time in a location where they will download smoothly or be played live online without lags or jumps in the sound. The best choice for unlimited uploading and sharing of your podcasts, and giving a great listener experience, is SoundCloud.
An alternative to explore would be Anchor.fm, which has web-based tools for creating your podcast.
- RSS feed reader embedded at your site
Once you’ve uploaded the files to SoundCloud, enable your visitors to listen to them using some form of reader or widget. Once you upload your content to SoundCloud, you will see an embed code for each track, and for the channel.
- An audio editing program
The main program used is a free open source one called Audacity. It will help you edit out any mistakes you make when recording and also enable you to add music at the start and end of the podcast and more. Record your show in Audacity, clean up the file and you are ready to publish.
- Theme music
You can get free theme music for the start and end of your podcast from royalty-free music sites. We’re actually working on providing high quality music for podcast and talk radio, and hope to have our offerings available online soon.
- A great title for your channel
Create a title that makes it clear what the podcast is going to be about, and which also generates excitement in your niche audience to listen to it.
- Teaser copy for your channel
Your teaser copy should also entice your target audience, telling them what to expect from the channel.
- A title for each podcast (track)
Some people just number their podcasts, but this is missing out on the chance to offer a descriptive, keyworded title that will show up if someone searches SoundCloud or the iTunes store for a particular topic.
If you are talking about three different items in your hour-long podcast, incorporate all three words into the title in some way.
- Teaser copy for each podcast
You should write enticing copy for each podcast as well, using keywords and making it clear what topics are going to be discussed. Make it sound exciting – something they would not want to miss.
We hope this introductory guide to podcasts is useful, and look for much more soon!