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Podcasting 101

Updated on May 31, 2010

If you're going to stay on top of business in the Web 2.0 world, you have to be able to keep up with the trends as they make themselves popular. This means that you need to be able to identify which tools for online marketing are most important at any given time and then rapidly learn to make use of them. Right now, one of the most important tools for drawing readers to your website, increasing your customer base and keeping both old and new clients interested in what you're doing is the tool known as podcasting. If you're going to get on this bandwagon, you had better do it quick, before the rest of the world has already move on to something else. Here's what you need to know:

What is podcasting?

Per Wikipedia, "a podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers". Put more simply, an audio recording is put on your website and can be subscribed to via RSS feed.

Why should I do podcasting?

The world of business and marketing is as much about supply and demand as it is about anything else. Podcasting is what is currently in demand by readers of websites who might ultimately be your client base. If they want it, and you provide it, you make them happy and then business gets better. Additionally, podcasting is a fun new way of sharing information with your customers, employees and other contacts. It sure beats putting out a new newsletter every week!

How do I start podcasting?

You'll need to be able to create your own audio file. If you don't already know how to do this, one of the most popular ways to learn is via trial-and-error with the relatively easy-to-use free software, Audacity. This is online open source software that will let you edit and record your content.

Once you have your own audio files, using Audacity or some other system, you need to convert them to mp3 format and then publish them on your website. Make sure that you then create an RSS feed so that you can have regular listeners for your podcast. Since this is just Podcasting 101, we'll skip the details of conversion and RSS feed creation but the links above will clue you in if you're out of the loop.

Okay, but what should I be podcasting?

Honestly, it's not so much what as how; you want to make sure to keep your podcasts fun, interesting and to-the-point so listeners can enjoy them. The content should be relevant to your website and of interest to the people that you want to be bringing to your site. Interviews with experts in the field, observations on your industry and humorous tips for the area your website covers are all potential sources for content.

What else do I need to know about podcasting?

Podcasting is something that's relatively easy for almost anyone to do but it'll take a little bit of playing around to get it just right. Don't be afraid to dive in and make use of the new technology out there to become a part of the trends that are making waves in the Web 2.0 world today.

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