What makes it different from an ordinary RSS feed is the audio component included in the "enclosure field." Think of it as a feed that talks to you.
Podcasting is increasing in popularity. According to Forrester Research, by 2010 podcasting should have about 12.3 million listeners. That's a pretty big audience. For more info see here
Similar to a talk radio show, podcasts can also take the format of an interview. Topics range from business to hobbies; even rants and obsessions. Lengths vary, but a typical podcast will run anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, but I have seen some longer. So far, there are not many music podcasts due to the red tape and cost of music licensing -- although musicians and/or small record labels bypass that issue by utilizing their own recordings.
Before you think you need some special device to listen to a podcast, let me assure you that you don't. Most RSS readers have the capability built in to play podcasts. Any software that can play a sound file can play a podcast. If you want to take them with you to listen to while on the road you'll want to invest in a portable MP3 device like an iPod.
Like other RSS feeds, you decide which ones you want to subscribe to and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Online business owners should think of podcasting as yet another avenue for promoting your products and services. Like an ezine or the RSS feeds you already use, it's a simple inexpensive method of syndicating your audio files online. It would appear that a podcast is a bit more personal. Instead of just reading, like an ezine, people can listen to the sound of your voice and make a more personal connection.
Now that I have your attention you may be
wondering "How do I create a podcast?"
Well, it's really pretty simple if you follow
the easy steps below:
1) First you'll need to use software to record your own audio file. A good free one is Audacity which you can download. While there, you'll also need to download the Lame MP3 Encoder which allows MP3 exportation.
2) Once your audio is recorded you'll need to create an RSS feed file which is simply a special text file with an RSS extension that also includes a particular enclosure tag. For step by step directions on making a feed file see this site: www.make-rss-feeds.com
There's also a great tutorial on RSS there: www.mnot.net
3) Once your audio and RSS files are completed you'll need to upload both of them to your server/website.
If you'd like to read more here are some more online sites to help guide you.
If you don't want to do all this work manually there are software tools specific to podcast creation.
That's it. Wasn't that simple? Remember, you can't get subscribers if people don't know about your feed, so make sure you add it in a prominent place of your site. You want to make it easy for them to subscribe and add your feed to their news reader.
Audio files are rather large and can take up a lot of space on your server, so make sure you won't run out of bandwidth. If you're tight on space you can always farm it out to a third party service such as PodLot.com . For only $5.00 they'll give you 150 MB of storage space with no bandwidth limitations. Your domain will look like this: nameofyourshow.podlot.com
If you think you're going to have a hit
on your hands and want to try to generate
cash from your podcast, check out
PremiumPodcasting.com . They
provide a system that allows you to charge
for your shows and also include private
access to them, track who is listening
and more. You can try them out for a four
day trial for only one dollar.
Once your podcast is live you'll want to make sure you list it with the various directories that exist for just this purpose. You'll find a nice list here:
Robin Good (has a huge list)
So now that you see how easy it is to create
a podcast, what's stopping you? Remember, this
is a great tool to add to your marketing mix
and if you're a bit on the creative side this
might be just the ticket. Have fun with it,
experiment and you'll become an expert podcaster
in no time.
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