Posts Tagged 'tools'

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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An E-Commerce Event Provides Useful Tools…

Recently, I represented eBizITPA at the E-Commerce Summit at the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford.  At the summit, there were case studies and tools provided that gave insight into how some small businesses are utilizing the Internet to grow their business.  As most of you know, case studies are a helpful way for businesses to learn from others what may or may not work.     

Darron Schott of Blair Corporation, explained the importance of shopping cart navigation, especially when 60% or more of a site’s top audience includes senior citizens.  Though more and more elderly are beginning to surf the Web, many have difficulty finding their way around.  Therefore, navigation has to be quick, simple and in no way confusing, or the company risks losing customers.  Darron explained the process they went through to test which features should be provided and in what way for their target audience.  They completed a workshop with several elderly women where they were able to purchase a product online and as they were going through the check out process, they were videotaped so Blair Corp. could see exactly what areas gave them difficulties.  They then could fix those problems in order to create a better shopping experience for their customers. 

Another speaker, Sarah Caniglia of LaserMonks.com, explained how one small Benedictine Abbey in rural Wisconsin had an idea that could help raise money for his monastery.  But as with many other monks, the Father leading this novel business idea, had little business practice.  They wanted to sell ink cartridges on the Internet.  Sarah and a colleague of hers volunteered to assist the abbey by creating a business plan utilizing Internet marketing.  The company, which focuses highly on supporting their communities by donating to charities are not only able to support their abbey, they are also able to donate any leftover profits to other good causes.    

In addition to case studies, a list of Internet tools was provided to help business owners with Web site analytics.  Carolyn Newhouse of SuperUser Technologies  introduced a tool to assist with researching good keywords.  As many of you know, the key words or phrases you choose to use in the content within your site can help your ranking in popular search engines such as Google or Yahoo!.   With this tool by SEO Company, you can type in keywords or phrases that you use, or are thinking of using, within the titles or pages of your site.  It will provide you with the number of search results that particular word or phrase will receive in Google or Yahoo!.  For instance, say I plan to have a Web site selling glass vases.  I would type in ‘glass vases’ and see how many results that exact phrase will conjure up in Google today.  If the results display 175,000, then there are 175,000 other sites that use that keyword within their site.   

This tool also allows you to not only see how much certain words or phrases are being used but also enables you to go directly to the results within Google or Yahoo!.  Doing that will allow you to research who you’re direct competitors may be. 

Do you want your site to get lost in a pool as large as 175,000?  Of course not!  If you have a niche product or service, you should consider using words or phrases that don’t have as many search results in order to allow users to hone in on your site, and of course your product or service.  This will ensure that you’re site isn’t getting lost in the search results among the other thousands of sites that happen to sell a product similar to yours.   

So, what’s different about your product or site and what are the best key words that describe it?  This tool is really helpful for those of us that can think of keywords but have no idea if they’re the best words to use in terms of search engine rankings.  Have you used this tool before?  Tell us what you think! If you haven’t used it yet, check it out at SEO Company and give us your thoughts! 

http://www.seocompany.ca/tool/keyword-search/

For other keyword tools, visit the following:

http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/search.html 

http://www.freekeywords.wordtracker.com

http://www.keyworddensity.com/


eMarketing Special Interest Group

May 2019
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