7 Steps to Creating Your Own Podcast
By: Donna Gunter
Listening to podcasts isn't something I enjoy or take time for,
quite frankly. I'm a visual learner and prefer to read something
rather than listen to it, as I find reading a much quicker way to
gather the info that I need.
However, with the proliferation of audio listening devices, like
the whole iPod family and other mp3 players, I have to acknowledge
that I'm in the minority, I believe.
The world is listening to a wide variety of audio files, much more
so than ever before in history, and I need to get on the bandwagon
or be lost in the dust.
What is a podcast, anyway?
A podcast is an audio file that you create in .mp3 format that
is uploaded with an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) file to your
server for your target market to download on any number of programs
created to receive or subscribe to your audio file so that they
can listen to it at their leisure on their computer or a personal
Why should you create a podcast?
I think it serves as a marketing tool for the solo service professional,
who might want to do one of the following:
- create an Internet radio show or talk show in which you create
content-rich broadcasts for your target market
- conduct a teleclass series in which you interview experts who
have solutions to problems faced by your target market
- promote a printed book, ebook, or CD/DVD series by releasing
promotional snippets to a wider audience
- provide short and valuable expert tips to your target market
(my Get More Clients Online podcast consists of the weekly article
I write for my newsletter)
Many podcasts are about an hour in length, especially when they
consist of recordings of radio shows or teleclasses. However, I
think that the listening threshold for most people is about 10 minutes.
So, that means that your podcast needs to be 10 minutes or less
in length. If it's longer, you really have to grab their attention
in the first 10 minutes to keep them listening for the full amount
of time. Good content and a good speaking voice are key to maintaining
Don't make your podcast one long advertisement for your services
or products -- share some useful information with your target market
to help them solve their problems. And, you need to have a good
speaking voice. Nothing is worse than listening to someone read
a speech with a monotone delivery. So, for maximum impact when you
record your podcast (especially if you're just recording yourself),
get up and walk around, smile, gesture, or do whatever you normally
do when you deliver a speech.
Modulate your voice, much in the same way that you would when you
have a 1:1 conversation with someone -- put feeling and emotion
into your words. I pretend like I'm talking to my best friend, and
that helps me with a lively delivery. What are the steps to creating
- Listen to a few podcasts to get a feel for what others are
doing. To listen, you'll need a podcatcher (podcast reader), which
permits you to subscribe to podcasts in the same way you subscribe
to blogs. I favor iTunes as my podcatcher of choice, which is
a free online download. You'll also need to find podcasts, and
the quickest way to do that is via podcast directories, which
include the iTunes store. Podcast Alley, one of the most popular
podcasting sites, has a large podcast directory, and Yahoo Podcasts
has a podcast search. To find others, simply search online for
- Plan your podcast. Who is your target market? What do they want
to listen to? How will your podcast be unique from others in your
industry? What's your format (interview others, host a teleclass,
or record yourself)? How long will your podcast be? How frequently
will you deliver your podcasts?
- Record your podcast. Many people choose to record their podcast
with a free piece of software called Audacity. It has an easy
learning curve and advanced features for more experienced podcasters.
Mac users might want to check out Garage Band. For best recording
sound, don't use the microphone that came with your computer or
that is built into your laptop. You'll want to get a more professional
one, such as the ones offered at Plantronics or Radio Shack.
- Save and upload your podcast to your server. Once you've created
your podcast in an mp3 file, now you have to save it and upload
it to a server via an FTP program (like CuteFTP) so that it's
readily available. You can upload it to your website, or use one
of the many podcasting hosting services available. The problem
with uploading it to your website is that audio files are space
hogs, and you can quickly exhaust all the storage capacity of
your hosting account, not to mention your monthly bandwidth capacity
if your podcast is popular and is downloaded frequently. That's
why I use a fee-based audio service hosting company, Audio Acrobat,
which offers me generous storage and bandwidth capacity for a
semi-annual fee. Another popular podcast hosting company is Hipcast.com.
- Create your podcast feed. You can create your podcast feed from
scratch, but I recommend you use a feed service to do so. If you
use a podcasting hosting service, this feature is included in
your service package. For everyone else, the quickest way to create
your podcast feed is through Feedburner.com. This is the same
service that creates RSS feeds for blogs. The advantage of creating
your podcast feed from this site is that you can create a browser-friendly
feed, track your circulation, and enhance your feed with its SmartCast
- Publish and promote your podcast. If you use a podcasting hosting
service, the service will publish your podcast and notify various
podcast directories about the availability of your new podcast.
Or, you can enter the info directly into the major podcast directories.
You'll also want to promote the podcast on your website, blog,
and in your email newsletter. One of the easiest ways to do this
is to add feed subscription buttons (called chiclets) to your
sites. You'll have to cut and paste the HTML code into your templates
to create the chiclets. You can get directions on how to publish
subscription buttons from the various podcasters you want to feature.
Lastly, you'll want to create "album art" for your podcast, or
a graphic representation that many podcatchers upload with the
mp3 file. Album art may be from 170x170 to 300x300 pixels square
at 72 dpi. Any graphic designer can help you create this graphics
- Make money from your podcast. Advertising on podcasts is still
fairly new, but some companies like Fruitcast.com or PodcasterAds.com
are places to start. Another option is to place Google Adsense
listings on all of your sites listing your podcast, or seek sponsors
for your podcasts, just like you would for a radio show. Don't
let the audio world pass you by! Podcasting is a very inexpensive
way of helping you get the word out about what you do and what
you offer to the world.
Copyright (c) 2006 Donna Gunter
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