Podcasting for Business: Your Podcast

Content is content and the same rules or advice that you follow for blogging or Tweeting apply to a podcast. It’s all about building an audience and in the UK at least, the “hard sell” doesn’t work.

You know your business best, indeed you should be a subject matter expert on your business and the market in which you operate and as such you probably have opinions and comments to make about it, just as you do with your blogs and tweets. This is no different.

What is different is it’s your voice that is being used rather than the written word and at first you won’t like the sound of your voice; get used to it! You might want to listen to some podcasts to decide what kind of style you will want to use, but over time you’ll develop your own style. I’d recommend pod3.tv’s Focus on Business and Bizpodtv video podcasts as two extremes of style (albeit video) and Alex Bellinger’s popular SmallBizPod business audio podcasts and Heather Gorringe’s gardening-related audio podcasts called WiggleyWigglers.

A half-hour may seem like a lot of time to fill but 30 minutes is a very adaptable time period as it can be broken up into a number of segments:

  • 1 x 30 mins
  • 2 x 15 mins
  • 3 x 10 mins
  • 5 x 6 mins
  • 6 x 5 mins
  • 10 x 3 mins
  • 15 x 2 mins

or combinations there of.

How long does it take to read the blogs you write? A few minutes perhaps? Blogs may be a good starting point but it might help you to think about a structure for your show, something like this perhaps:

podcast blog.jpg

To provide added value and interest you can invite show guests to join you by way of being interviews. Fortunately as we are effectively talking about radio then telephone or Skype-based interviews work perfectly well, so neither you nor your show guest needs to travel anywhere. You should ask you guests to sign a “release form” that gives you permission to use their voice.

In addition, most if not all industries have various trade shows and there is no reason why you cannot visit these shows and record interviews with delegates and attendees, although again release forms should be signed and permission from the event organisers should be sought beforehand; you might be treated as a member of the press!

You can include music - stings - by way of adding character to your show and there is plenty of copyright free or “‘podsafe” music for you to choose from.

Planning a publication schedule is a good idea, but the nature of the medium does allow for spontaneity. Producing a podcast a month would be a great achievement.

Editing the shows is an art and science and part of the fun is the learning curve you’ll go through. Deciding what to keep in as well as what to edit out is the art of editing, making it sound good is a combination of art and science. A detailed description of how to edit is beyond the scope of this piece - the mechanics are much the same regardless of tools you use.

On the PC Audacity is a popular audio editing tool, partly because it is free and partly because it is very good. Audacity is available for Mac too, but if you have a Mac you already have a very good podcast factory called Garageband, part of iLife apps. I believe Heather Gorringe uses Audacity, I use Garageband for audio-podcasts and Alex Bellinger uses an application called Q-base. Any of these tools can do more than the relatively simple task of mono or possibly stereo audio podcasts.

Generally you should record more than you’ll need - so if the end result is 30 mins from various sources you might need up to an hour to get at the “good stuff”. Make sure the sound capture is as good as possible by correct placement of microphones, do a sound check first and record about a minute of the ambient room noise, this can be very useful in the edit.