What is it? A podcast is a series of digital audio or video files made available online. Usually for free. They are similar to a television show or a radio show but there are a few big differences.
#1 - Podcasts are much more inexpensive to produce. Technically, all you need to create a podcast is a microphone, a computer and an internet connection.
#2 - Unlike with television and radio shows, listeners and viewers of podcasts don’t have to tune in at a certain time. They can subscribe to your podcast and when a new file is available they will be able to access it on their computer. They can then chose to store the file on their computer or transfer it onto their MP3 player (and no, you don’t need an iPod to listen to a podcast. You can use any MP3 player.) Once your viewers/listeners have that file, they can listen to it or watch it as often as they want, anywhere they want.
There are a million different podcasts out there, dedicated to every topic you can imagine. I’ve subscribed to a podcast that teaches me Italian, our creative director listens to a lot of design podcasts, and my neighbor is a fan of The Ellen Degeneres Show podcast. It’s my opinion that if you decide to create a podcast it should be about something that you’re passionate about and that you have a good knowledge base in. I think this always makes the end product 100% better.
What does it do? As the incredibly smart Rodney Rumford said at a recent Gravity Summit event, podcasts allow everyone in the world to have their very own radio show. How cool is that?! No need for a studio, or a production team or a radio tower.
This gives you another platform with which to communicate with your target audience. If you’re a bank, you can create a show that gives your audience financial advice. If you’re a veterinarian, you can talk about how people can best care for their pets.
Why should you use it? Using podcasts as a part of your marketing plan will help increase your online reach and visibility. If you develop an audience that tunes in on a regular basis, you will have a vehicle that allows you to regulary communicate with that audience. It will also help establish you as an expert in your field.
A few Podcasting Resources:
The Podcasting Legal Guide by Creative Commons: This provides general information on some common legal issues related to podcasting.
iTunes’ “Making a Podcast”: iTunes is one of the most popular “podcatchers”. This link provides you information on how to create your podcast, a list of common mistakes, and other helpful information. (For those wondering what a podcatcher is, it is software, such as iTunes, that checks feeds for new files and downloads them when available)
Podcatcher list for Windows, Macs and Linux Computer Systems: A list of Podcast software options, put together by buzzmaven.com.
Podcasting in Plain English: I’ve mentioned this fun video series put together by CommnCraft before. This is another great tool for learning the basics about Podcasts, especially if you’re a visual learner like me.
Podcast Icon: The image below is the icon for podcasts and podcasting created by Apple.
Next Week's Term: Widget