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How to Increase Business with Audio Podcasts

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According to many experts in the field, podcasting is one of the fastest and best ways to add great content to your site. Brian Prows, Director of Mobile Development at MobileBeyond, lets us listen in on his tips and strategies to help get your podcast started.

Looking for ways to engage people who visit your blog or website? Improve the effectiveness of your site’s content? Then consider using podcasting.

Why? Because audio enhances your blog posts and site content. Audio podcasts excite your listeners’ ears, communicate your company’s value proposition and personalize your brand.

eMarketer estimates that 38 million U.S. consumers will download podcasts monthly by 2013, double the 17 million who listened to podcasts in 2008. Regardless of your industry or market niche--technology, politics, current news, religion or humor—podcasts enhance the impact of blogs and other social media channels.

What is a Podcast?


A “podcast” isn’t just an audio or video file inserted into a blog post. A combination of “iPod” and “broadcast,” podcasts, like blogs, are frequently syndicated and listened to on MP3 players and mobile phones. There are four types:
 

  • Audio podcasts, lasting five minutes to an hour, appeal to Web audiences who enjoy listening rather than reading. You’ll find thousands of them on iTunes, BlogTalkRadio, Podbean and other syndication services.
     
  • If you’re a Wordpress blogger and podcaster like me, Blubrry’s plugin makes it easy to add audio to your blog and appear on iTunes. eCamm’s Call Recorder lets you record Internet phone interviews on your Mac. And Audacity is a free software recording program for PC’s and Macs.
     
  • Video podcasts, produced by NPR, ABC and other media companies, add streaming video to the audio. They’re more complex to produce and require faster Internet connections to download but are very effective demonstrating products or services.
     
  • Enhanced podcasts are slideshows with audio, mainly intended for Mac users. GarageBand, a powerful recording and editing software program for Macs, is a good software tool for this type of podcast.
     
  • Screencasts, video screen capture podcasts, are useful if you want to show PowerPoint slides or other “static” computer screen images.
     

Eight Podcast Tips and Ideas

  1. Use podcasts as supplements to your blog posts. Remember that Google and the other search engines scan written content but not audio files. To generate high organic search engine results, therefore, don’t use podcasts as a substitute for great blog content.
     
  2. Record podcast interviews with experts in your field. Then write a blog post around the podcast. For example, if you’re a retail marketing blogger, interview a luminary in retail, then write a 400-500-word blog post summarizing the key points of the podcast.
     
  3. Keep podcasts under 30 minutes, preferably under 20. Most listeners become brain dead after 20-30 minutes, unless you’re as entertaining as Peter Sagal or Karl Kassell on NPR’s “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.”
     
  4. Use a good microphone. If you’re recording podcasts on your computer, purchase a Plantronics or Logitec USB microphone for around $40. You don’t need a broadcast quality microphone costing hundreds of dollars unless you’re in the Internet radio business.
     
  5. Write an outline—not a script--for each podcast with topics and information you want to present. You’ll find most popular podcasts are conversational and not scripted.
     
  6. For podcast interviews, write down 6-7 topics plus related questions. But, again, create a conversation during the interview. (Related suggestion: consider using Skype, rather than landlines, to record your interview for better audio quality; if you and your guest both use Skype, the call is free anywhere in the world.)
     
  7. Promote your podcasts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites. Your friends, colleagues and others in the same field will want to listen.
     
  8. Use Elance providers if you need help with setup, recording, editing and syndication. You may even want to consider outsourcing your entire podcasting program to save time.

Podcasting is a powerful social media tool to engage your customers and prospects. Decide what you want to accomplish, write a short plan and start podcasting!

About the Author:
Brian Prows is Director of Mobile Development at MobileBeyond, an online media publishing company. A blogger and podcaster, Brian interviews mobile and wireless professionals around the world. His company also offers blog and podcasting services.