Once you begin to think about starting your own podcast, you may get nervous because you have so many unanswered questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about podcasting, so you can decide whether or not it is right for you and your business.
1. What is podcasting?
Podcasting is the practice of creating internet-based digital audio, or sometimes video, files for the purpose of offering information and entertainment to a wider audience. Individual podcast episodes can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device and people can subscribe to a podcast, which is a series of these episodes.
Hosting a podcast is an excellent way to be seen as an expert and thought leader, as well as drive traffic to your website.
2. How do I create a podcast?
You need a microphone, software to record the audio file, and a place to store the audio file so other people can listen to it.
I suggest several different microphones in my post titled “Cool Hardware for Facebook Livestreams.”
An excellent — and free — audio recording and editing software, which I use, is Audacity.
You can store your podcast files in a number of places. Here are some suggestions:
- Your server. Simply use FTP to upload your files to the same server your website lives on. Or, if you have WordPress, there are plugins that make this even easier to do.
- A podcasting hosting service, such as Blubrry. They also make a plugin for WordPress, which I use for my podcasts, that make distributing it much easier, as well.
- Amazon S3, which is a cloud storage service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). This is where I currently store my podcast files and it is very economical when you are in the early stages of building your audience and the traffic is low.
- SoundCloud, which offers unlimited storage for a low annual fee that works out to less than $15 per month.
3. What kind of microphone should I buy for podcasting?
Buy a USB microphone for under $100 that has high-definition sound quality. I use either a headset mic or a Blue Yeti or Snowball. Again, see “Cool Hardware for Facebook Livestreams” for more information.
4. What kind of software do I need for podcasting?
The industry standard is Audacity. It does take time to learn, but it is free to use. The audio engineer who is helping me with the creation of my audio book recommends it, so I know its good.
5. What should I say on my podcast?
Your podcast should support your business. So, select topics that would be of interest to your target market that are related to what you offer. Think of how you can help potential clients. What problems are they looking to solve? Provide answers in your podcast. Offer free information that will lead to your paid product and service referrals — your own, or someone else’s. That way you can potentially make money with each episode.
6. How will people find my podcasts?
When you syndicate your podcast, it gets listed in a directory of podcasts. Apple has iTunes, which is the most popular, but there are others, as well. You can submit your podcast to these services manually, but it is much easier to distribute your podcast automatically using WordPress and plugin such as Blubrry.
7. How can people listen to podcasts?
Your audience can listen to the files on their computer, phone, tablet, or MP3 player such as an iPod. Since most people listen to podcasts, an audio-only version of your podcast is highly recommended.
8. How can people subscribe to my podcast?
There are three ways they can subscribe to a podcast. The most popular way is through an online service with software such as iTunes. Or, people can add your feed to their FeedBurner, which is a program that accepts RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. You can also embed your feed into the pages of your blog or website and they can listen to them there.
9. How do people access the podcast recording files?
Most podcasts are saved in the MP3 format because it compresses the file so it will not take up a lot of room, while still maintaining high-quality sound. But the files are still pretty large and can lurch and skip if people try to stream them directly from a file hosted on your blog. Therefore, most people download episodes to their favorite device and listen to them there.
10. Can listeners hear podcasts in their web browser?
In most cases, yes. They can click on “play” and the player will start running the podcast. It does depend on the browser, though. In some cases, it may not play, but it will download the entire file to the person’s computer. If this is the case, searching in the downloads folder of the computer and clicking on the file will enable them to listen to it.
11. Can they listen to individual episodes?
They can listen to individual episodes by clicking on your title and/or link. Be sure to name each track something with relevant keywords in it, and write teaser copy so those people who are not already subscribers will get to hear your podcasts and might become interested in hearing more.
Now that you’ve reviewed these FAQs about podcasting, you’ll hopefully be feeling a lot more confident about adding podcasting to your marketing mix to boost your sales and profits. If you still have questions, please post them in a comment below and I’ll add them either to this post or to a future FAQ post.