Want to start podcasting? One of the best things about the Internet is the freedom and scope of creativity it opened up to the general public. For decades, if we wanted entertainment, we had to watch television broadcast by networks and affiliates. We could go to the movies and watch films distributed by big Hollywood studios. Or we could turn on the radio and listen to music or other programming broadcast by radio stations.
It’s been possible for quite a while to create your own TV show or movie, but the venues through which you could make your creations available to others were limited. The advent of the Internet allowed people to reach a much broader audience, and provided the tools to create higher quality media. It wasn’t long before people saw the advantages of Internet communication, not just for entertainment, but for business or other uses, and one of those communication methods is podcasting.
Thanks to Apple, podcasting has become a standard for Internet communication. The beauty of the medium, though, is that anyone can create a podcast and make it available to anyone else in the world. The idea may seem daunting at first, but creating a podcast really isn’t that difficult, especially with so many tools and programs available.
The main difference between podcasting and providing audio files either via download or Web streaming is the method of delivery. Podcasts are mostly intended for episodic types content, or informational programs to which people can subscribe. Think of them as audio magazines that people can either listen to one at a time whenever they choose, or can sign up for to receive on a regular basis.
One way to create podcasts is with software specifically designed for recording and editing audio. All you really need is a computer, a microphone, and a program like GarageBand, which works on Macs, or Audacity for PC.
In addition to the microphone, it’s a good idea to get a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to use while editing the podcast, if you choose to do so before you put it up for download. If your podcast will be any sort of show or informational program, it’s a good idea to write a script to follow before recording, unless you’re a very dynamic, think-on-your-feet speaker. This will help keep you on track, and keep your listeners engaged.
The idea of having to set up your own podcasting studio and edit audio files may seem a bit too complicated or time consuming for many people. Another option you may not have considered is using an audio conferencing service to record your podcast.
Audio Conferencing Services for Podcasting
Companies that provide audio conferencing services usually include the ability to record. Businesses that use conference calls as a regular method of communication sometimes need to refer back to calls, or make them available to those who are absent from the call. To use this service to create a podcast, all you need is a conference call service account and a phone. A recommended additional piece of equipment is a noise-cancelling headset that includes a microphone so the recording will be clear.
If your business already subscribes to a conferencing service, you’re ready to go. Then you can simply call in, enter the provided code, and start talking. Again, it’s a good idea to have a script ready to avoid distraction. The call will be recorded, and then provided to you as an audio file which you can turn into a podcast.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that in order for a conference call to take place and be recorded, there must be at least two participants. A call isn’t a call without someone on the other end of the line. Ask a co-worker or family member to accept the call, and sit in while you record your podcast.
On that note, though, it’s also possible to turn an actual call with more than one participant into a podcast. If your goal is to provide a podcast with information about a specific topic, gather a few people knowledgeable about the subject, and invite them to a virtual roundtable discussion. Record the call, perhaps edit it afterward to remove any coughs or other distractions, and then make it available as a podcast to others interested in that topic.
Once your audio file has been recorded and you’re happy with it, it’s time to start distributing it. This can be as simple as making the audio files available for download on your website and via RSS. If you’d like to promote and distribute your podcast to a larger audience, you can submit it to iTunes and other podcasting directories, like PodcastPickle.com.
Whether you record it yourself with software, or use an audio conferencing service’s recording capabilities, a podcast can be an invaluable business communication tool.
This guest post is by Ted Heieck from TollFreeConferencing.com, a conference calling provider dedicated to easy-to-use, affordable reservationless audio conferencing. Image by Duchamp under Creative Commons. You can also guest blog here and share your podcasting tips.