About Podcasting

Question: What is a podcast?

Answer: A podcast is a downloadable (free) audio or video file, produced with content similar to a radio or TV format, distributed over the Internet, using syndication technology like RSS or ATOM.

Now lets take a closer look at that phrase.

“A podcast is a downloadable (free) audio or video file.”

Indeed, like mp3, m4v, wma, wmv. No DRM, just the file. you can download it, listen on your computer, or put it on a portable device.

“produced with content similar to radio or TV format.”

Most podcasts sound like or look like a radio or TV program. There are numerous sorts of podcasts. Music shows with all sorts of music, talk shows about pretty much anything, storytelling, informational, humour, sex, it’s all out there. The diversity of human nature reflects in here too. And that’s the beauty of it, there are no limits. What you think of, the content, the format, if produceable, it can be done. At low costs, by pretty much anyone. Of course a high budget creates more possibilities, but an average podcast, doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

The content and the time of delivering is key here. Both radio and television is made for the mass. High production costs, so very commercial to generate high revenue. In podcasting, you can create your own content, for a specific target group. Because it is content on demand, you can download it and listen to it at the time it suits you best. You, the listener or viewer, are in control. Not the broadcasting company.

“distributed over the Internet, using syndication technology like RSS or ATOM.”

As said, the files are downloadable, and send over the Internet to your computer. What makes it interesting is the syndication technology behind that.  You can go to the website of course, and click on the download link, save it in a folder on your computer, and copy it to your phone, iPod, PSP, or other portable device. But that’s kind of a lot of work. And thus it can be easier.

The technique that does all the above mentioned actions, is called Syndication. You subscribe to a website using a RSS or ATOM link (never mind what they stand for, just know they can be used for that), and the software you use to subscribe to these websites monitors for new content. So when a new show is posted on a website you’re subscribed at, it automatically downloads the file and synchronizes it with your device. All done automatically. It’s that simple. A common used application to subscribe to podcast and synchronize it, especially with an iPod is iTunes. They even have a ’store’ where you can find probably any podcast you’re looking for, most of the times for free.

So whats the catch? There is non. How come? There doesn’t have to be one. It’s created by individuals or companies, that want to bring their message to you. And why charge for receiving a message, that you want to send out? It’s the message that counts. The content.

 

Creating a podcast

So now you know what a podcast is, and maybe listened to one, like one of our productions, you might ask yourself how this process of creating a podcast works.

Therefor you need three things.

  1. Content

  2. Recording equipment

  3. Website with RSS 2.0

1. Content

This is very important. Its the content that makes or breaks your show. Weather it is entertainment, information sharing or educational, the way the content is presented does the job. Of course the subject of your content is important too, but think like this: if you find something interesting, there will probably be someone else on this earth that think so too. Now, if he didn’t create a podcast about it, you can, because there are potential listeners. Just know that there might be more interest to certain topics then others, but if you scale your potential listener base to that, it’s all right.

2. Recording equipment

So, you decided what your podcast is going to be about. Now you need it to get it into an mp3 file. You need a microphone, recording software, and an upload tool. That’s it.  There are many degrees in the way you can produce your show. You can hear a difference between a standard $ 5.00 PC mic, or a $299.00 condenser Rode microphone. Its up to your desire, and budget what it’s going to be. As a starter, I wouldn’t go for the 299 version, but first try some episodes with a low end mic. It records, so it does the job.

Then you need to record your voice on the computer. There is a lot of software available. Free and commercial. A good free application is Audacity. A so cold post editing software tool, which means, you record your voice on a track, and after recording, you can mix all your audio tracks in the right way. Other tools, like Castblaster, lets you record on the fly. All audio tracks are played in the right order, and that’s what’s being recorded and saved as an mp3.

3. Website with RSS 2.0

At third, you need a place to store the mp3 file and post it on a website. What else is the use of creating content, if no one gets it to hear (unless you yourself are the only potential listener). Since the fact that RSS is pretty common in blogs, podcasts websites use that same technology. Therefor a Blog is a perfect way of getting your website out to the open. Just put a link of the mp3 file in the message, and the RSS feed will pick it up.

But where do you put your file? Not on your local PC, even if its connected to the Internet a lot. Every time someone downloads it, it costs you bandwidth both in money and KB/s! Use online services for this. There are many of them. For free (mevio.com) or a bit of money (Libsyn.com).

And there you are. You’ve created a podcast, put it online, and when someone subscribes to the RSS feed, he or she will get it right after you have put it online.

 

Now, don’t forget, these are the basic steps. To successfully create a high quality podcast and market that to your target group, it needs an investment in time, money and dedication. If you need any support for that, we are for hire! Email us at business@intralog.nl and let us know what you need, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

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