Look it’s all very well, all this blogging and Twittering and social networking but... here’s the thing. You have to be online to consume the content. And being online isn’t always possible.
It may not be possible because there’s no network coverage. It may be that the only way of getting online is your cell phone and that experience, even with the iPhone, isn’t great. Or it maybe you’re engaged in activity such as driving, bike riding, horse riding or similar which precludes reading.
Besides, not everyone want to consume content online or as the written word. There’s another medium which has been around for over a century and which commands loyal audiences in their millions, we all love it due to its convenience. And that is radio.
Radio can really help bring your company, your brand, to life. And you don’t need much to get going in this exciting and fun filled medium and cost effective. You need a digital recorder of some sort, a microphone or two and some editing software.
I’m not suggesting you spend all day in a radio studio playing 45s, what I am suggesting is you create pre-recorded radio-style shows, once a month or more if you can, and publish and distribute them as audio podcasts.
Look at the UK podcast iTunes download charts and it’s dominated by the BBC which tells you that serious companies are taking this media format seriously. It may also give the impression that it’s all hard and difficult and you have to be a professional broadcaster with expensive equipment and a studio, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In this series of blogs I’m going to explore the wonderful world of podcasting and hopefully inspire you to give it a go. It’s a lot of fun and will take you in the most unexpected of directions. And may even lead to some business.
A podcast is defined as a media file (audio or video) that is distributed by subscription (paid or unpaid) over the Internet for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. A podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be downloaded automatically, using software capable of reading feed formats such as RSS. Actually if you subscribe to blog feeds such as this one you’re using RSS.
Another element of podcasts that you need to be aware of are “podcast catchers”. A podcast catcher is a software application into which the podcast is directed by the instructions in the RSS feed. A browser is a podcast catcher but also iTunes is also a podcast catcher and is my preferred one due to it’s intrinsic ability to side-load podcasts into the iPod, iPhone and indeed the new iPad.
Then there’s the “metadata” that describes the podcast - this is the information that search engines will use to find your podcasts.
Finally there is the “RSS” feed that you will need for submitting your podcasts into podcast directories such as Apple’s podcast directory. This will be generated by the website that you store your podcasts on, ideally yours, so if you don’t have a content management system capable of doing this you’ll need to get one added to your website.
There have been over 250,000,000 iPods shipped since their debut in October 2001, on top of which there are millions of iPhones and soon iPads and any iTunes or browser equipped computer.. the addressable market for your podcasts is huge.