You have a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. You’re all set with your online marketing efforts, right?
Do you have a podcast?
There are many reasons you should consider creating an audio podcast. According to The Infinite Dial, 12 percent of the population (32 million people) listened to a podcast in the last month, almost twice the number of people who used Twitter in the same time frame. An audio podcast can play on a computer or any MP3 player, making this the most versatile and portable form of online marketing.
You don’t need to build a fully functioning recording studio to get started on your show. In fact you don’t have to invest much in the creation. Here’s what you need to get you started.
1. A microphone. I recommend investing a little money in a halfway decent one. Yes, you can get away with a cheap plastic mic but the quality is going to be bad. The only thing it picks up better than your voice is your breathing. You’ll sound as if you’re talking in a wind tunnel. You can get a decent microphone (with either a USB or 1/8" male plug) for about $20. I also recommend a desk mic stand (about $20 with a mic clip) and a windscreen ($6) to improve the sound quality.
2. Audio editing software. You can download freeware called Audacity. It’s user-friendly and can be installed on Windows (if you have Windows 7, use the Beta version of the software), Apple OS and Linux. You can easily edit out any mistakes. Save your shows as an MP3, which is the standard file format for podcasting.
3. Podcast hosting service. There are a few sites that can help you with your hosting and coding, but I recommend PodBean. The professional package (less than $10 a month) will allow you unlimited storage, bandwidth and analytics.
4. Promote your show. PodBean can help you get your podcast listed on iTunes, which will give you a new venue to promote your show. You can also add your feed to Feedburner and streamline your podcast feed with your blog’s RSS. You already have a built-in network. Promote your audio podcast on your website, blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed.
6. Music. Unless the writing credits specifically say “copyright and royalty free” you can’t use it unless you get permission (meaning paying for it). The last thing you want to do is run afoul of the Recording Industry Association of America or any of the music publishing cartels. Copyright infringement fines can be quite costly.
Your audience may be filled with budding musicians. As you are planning the podcast, hold a contest for original recorded music. The winner’s work will become the theme music for your show. It’s an easy way to get permission to use music.