Everything you ever wanted to know about…Podcasting! (part one)

If you cast it … will they come?

If you plan to release digital information on the Internet   – you need to create a podcast! But whether you’re creating music, spoken word programs, power point presentations or digital photo exhibits, you’ll need to know how to lure the fish to the bait.

What is a podcast?

Simply put, a podcast is a computerized subscription to a content file that gets delivered via the Internet. The file can be audio, video, file documents or data. The real beauty of the system is in the RSS (Really-Simple-Syndication) software. It monitors your subscriptions for new file releases and downloads them automatically. Popularized by the Apple Ipod and its ability to Podcasting - www.soundworks.comsubscribe to RSS feeds on the Apple iTunes web site, the term podcasting is now generically used for RSS feeds, just like Kleenex refers to tissues. And today just about every brand of MP3 and portable video player can subscribe to podcasts as well as desktop and notebook computers.

Example: Sound Works posts a weekly message for Gregg Matte – Pastor of Houston’s First Baptist.  Notice we support several audio formats as well as PC and Mac iPod RSS feeds.

Promote it!

It’s a great new medium, but creating content for the podcast is only the beginning of the work. You must also promote it.  There are several methods of promotion suggested here, but you should not limit yourself to any single type of promotional effort.

Promotional Types:

  • Website design & demographics
  • Search engines
  • Web sites that list podcasts
  • Reciprocal links with selected sites
  • Meta information with graphics
  • Make your web site attractive
  • Promote to Magazines

Target your promotion

You must let the right people know about your program/feed to be successful.  It’s just good marketing to identify your target demographics. Know the age, gender and profile of your intended subscriber. Once identified, you should design your website and aim its promotion at the target.

Start your podcast promotion by announcing it to the vast number of search engines and directories with free submissions. These free site submissions still work, but expect results to begin no sooner than 90-days. Search engines prefer paid placement and pay-per-click advertising. So spending a few dollars could jump-start search engine promotional efforts.

Submit your feed details to Podcasting web directories or list sites. These are directories of podcast collections or listings and many are free. Before you pay for any listings, it would be wise to know the number of times your information will be seen, as well as who will see it – be sure to get traffic statistics.
Don’t overlook trading reciprocal links with related sites. This is the digital form of word-of-mouth. You must find related websites that attract your target audience.  Email these web Ipod - www.soundworks.comsites and suggest trading links with them. You can help each other with this free promotion. I usually do a key word search on Google.com and Yahoo.com search engines to find these contacts. Free placement on sites like MySpace.com can also drive traffic to your podcast site.
If your podcast uses audio or video media file feeds, include the right meta tag information.  These are also sometimes referred to as ID3 tags and usually include an album cover graphic. The tags must include enough descriptive text and key words to grab the interest of subscribers and search engines. This meta information will also be displayed in the podcast player.

Also add graphics to your website to let website visitors know that a podcast is available. Colorful graphics have become a signature to alert listeners that podcasts/RSS feeds are available on your web page. The graphics were initially bright orange rectangles but webmasters have bent the rules a bit.

Last, but not least, send press releases about your podcast to targeted print publications. There are now many subject-oriented and trade publications that could generate interest for your podcast with a simple mention. If budget allows, you can hire a publicist, but here is a site to help you DIY. http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/pressreleases.html

Your promotional efforts should be regular and re-occurring, while search engine submissions should be quarterly.

Dwight Cook

President – Sound Works

www.soundworks.com

Sound Works offers podcast services – creating, publishing, promoting and hosting for your digital programs and content.

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