Posts Tagged 'Marketing'

Experiencing Podcasting With Advice From “Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Podcasting”

There’s so much talk about podcasting now-a-days.  And it’s easy to see why…businesses and industry leaders can use podcasts to reach out to their audiences, in a format that can be listened to whenever & wherever it’s convenient.  And with RSS feeds, the messages you can’t wait to send out to your audience can be downloaded onto their computer automatically.  Now, that’s a way to shout out to your target market.

Even though podcasts have been around for years, there are many of us that are just getting started.  When first asked to create a few podcasts for eBizITPA, I thought, ‘Sure…how hard can it be?  After all, it’s just recorded audio.’  Then I was given a book titled ‘Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Podcasting.  “If it’s just recorded audio, how is it possible the book is over two hundred pages?” I thought to myself. 

Well, it turns out a podcast is not just audio…a podcast is on-the-go audio that must attract and engage listeners.  In order to do so, you have to know how to create a great sounding podcast – from creating interesting content to producing crisp, clear sounds. 

The ‘Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Podcasting’ book was written by Michael W. Geoghegan & Dan Klass.  Michael is executive producer of Grape Radio, a show about wine that placed in the top ten out of over 4000 available podcast shows in less than 8 weeks time.   Dan produces the weekly ‘Old Wave Radio,’ a retro-80’s music show and The Bitterest Pill, a comedy/talk show, which has been featured on NBC, NPR, USAToday.com and the Christian Science Monitor. 

Their book provides detailed information on every topic of podcasting including pre-planning the recording, figuring out what equipment and software to purchase, finalizing the podcast and making money with it.  Michael and Dan have a writing style that’s simple to understand, lighthearted and at times amusing.      They offer valuable insight into equipment that will more than likely meet your needs and fit your budget.  They cover the types of equipment needed, from microphones and mixers to editing software and hosting solutions… and they’re not about endorsing certain products.  They cover equipment from many different vendors in all price ranges.  In fact, many of the software solutions they recommend are either open-source (free) or low-cost. 

But, first things first…you can’t do anything without preplanning.  So…when beginning our new venture in podcasting, we first determined what exactly we wanted to do in our podcasts.  We knew that we wanted to interview industry leaders that would be presenting at our seminars & conferences and conduct phone interview recordings.  Therefore we’d need equipment to record on-location and phone interviews.

Equipment to record phone calls can range in price anywhere from $25.00 to over $500.00.  The difference lies in how in-depth in the creation process you want to get and how much editing you want to do.  As an old colleague always stated, “It’s better to start off small and add to it later.”  So we’ve decided to start with a low-cost phone patch, a phone to computer recording device that cost around $30.00.  It’s one of the least expensive pieces of telephone recording equipment out there and, for now, it’ll do what we need it to. Plus, it’s better to start somewhere than to put off doing it because you can’t afford the equipment you’d really like.  We plan to record our first phone interview this week so keep an eye out for our first podcast – which so happens, will cover ‘Blogging…Who, What & Why.’

For portable recording, Mike and Dan suggest stand-alone digital recorders.  It may be cumbersome to carry a lap top and microphone around at an event and a stand-alone digital recorder has less chance of system failure during a recording, like a computer does, because they are designed solely for the purpose of recording.  We found the Samson Zoom H4 to have just the right specifications.  The Zoom H4 is portable…only 3 inches wide and about 5 inches tall so it’s easy to carry around at conferences or seminars.  Plus, to cover all bases, it has two XLR microphone inputs as well as two built-in mics at the top. 

As far as audio editing software, we took Michael and Dan’s advice on downloading the open-source software, Audacity.  To date, it seems to do everything we need it to…it has multiple tracks which is necessary if you plan to add music to your podcast, it’s easy to use, it was FREE… and it hasn’t crashed our computer thus far…so for now, we’re happy.

In the next few months, we will be producing podcasts for the eMarketing Learning Center and eBizITPA, so keep an eye out for them.  I plan to include you in our experiences by updating this blog entry in April to tell you about any crossroads or opportunities we’ve encountered with equipment, interviews and editing, as well as the most important factors I’ve learned in my first few months of producing and editing podcasts.

If you’re thinking about getting into podcasting, pick up the book, “Podcast Solutions:  Your Guide to Podcasting” by Michael W. Geoghegan & Dan Klass.  It will make your podcasting experience much sweeter!  If you have any questions, send me a shout!

Are you a podcaster?  Do you have any reference or equipment recommendations?  Let us know… we’re listening!

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