Podcasting Demystified: Tips for Non-Techies

Editor’s Note: This post was written by guest blogger, Rachel Cook. Learn more about her in the bio below this post.

rss podcasting creative commonsIn high school I studied broadcast journalism, even went to some State competitions and performed very well with my group. Then, in college, I hosted not one, but two shows on the local public radio station. With this sort of experience with recording, editing, and broadcasting I should have been a natural at podcasts, right? Wrong!

Podcasting is actually much simpler and user-friendly than traditional forms of broadcasting over television and radio. The problem with live radio tends to be simple human error, be it forgetting to turn down the mic after introducing a song and singing along while your favorite cd is piped over the airwaves, or failing to turn the mic on at all which leads to bane of all DJs – the dreaded dead air.  Pregnant pauses happen in television broadcasting as well when folks fail to understand the question being asked during an interview, or they end up tongue-tied from stage fright.

Here’s why you don’t need broadcast journalism to pull off podcasting and some technical help if you’re not sure where to start:

If You Can Blog About It, You Can Podcast

Performance anxiety happens in podcasting as well, but this medium is so much more forgiving. Audio editing tools make it ultra-simple to remove distracting vocal fillers and false starts, resulting in an audio file that sounds remarkably professional and polished.  Scheduling is a little more convenient as well, allowing you to produce shows as often as you like with plenty of time available to necessary edits and post-production. For podcasts that really shine you really only need some practice and the right tools. Scripts and show ideas are easy to come up with once you have the production practices established.

Podcasting Made Easy

  • AccuConference – The days of clunky conference calls are over!  Whether you want to conference three people, or three hundred, AccuConference provides an easy to use format for your conferencing needs.  By simply dialing an 800 number at the scheduled time, inputting an access code, and waiting for all parties to arrive, the bulk of your work is already complete.  Cleaning up of audio channels and recording the event are handled on your behalf, ensuring all voices are at matching volume when you retrieve your mp3 later. Better yet, it’s free to join and the cost of service is incredibly reasonable.
  • AudacityThis free program is a powerhouse of an audio editor. Filtering out distracting vocal fillers like frequent uhs and ums is easy, as well as false starts and fumbling for words.  When recording your conference, simply tell your participants to start over when they get caught up looking for what to say, all of that other nonsense can be removed during editing, resulting in a more professional sounding audio clip.
  • Intro/Outro – Don’t overlook this simple, yet effective, piece of your podcast.  Having a good intro and outro will really set you apart from the rest of the podcasting pack when it comes to professionalism and brand recognition.  This is also a good place to mention your website, just in case you forget to do it as part of the official podcast, which will come in handy when it’s time to start syndicating your work.
  • Thumbnail Image – Just as you want a professional sounding intro and outro, it’s important to create a recognizable thumbnail image to accompany your work.  This will lend another layer of authenticity and brand recognition to your syndications.
  • Syndication – Speaking of syndication, this is the real goal of podcasting.  You don’t just want to create a series of information for people to maybe possibly find during their browsing efforts, you want your podcasts to be picked up by as many podcast syndication networks as possible, expanding your reach to new clients.  Most of these networks require at least 2 podcasts be published before they will pick you up for syndication, so don’t try to get by with a single show and think that’s going to be enough.

Find Your Niche, Share Your Expertise

Integrating a podcast into your blog is a fantastic way to increase your fellowship.  The convenience of being able to listen to a program over and over appeals to people who want to learn about something of interest but don’t necessarily have the time to read all about it.  By producing podcasts as well as featuring fresh content on your blog, you easily establish yourself as a leading expert in your chosen field.  The secret to true success, however, is consistency. There are premium WP themes that can coordinate with your podcast player, making the presence easy to share. But that still won’t drive your business to booming if you’re not willing to put forth the effort of regular upkeep.

Freelance writer Rachel Cook is a self-confessed information junkie and reformed know-it-all.  A fan of learning something new every day, she often shares this knowledge with others in the form of regular blog updates, advice columns and guest posting.  Often drawing from personal experiences when looking for inspiration, Rachel feels it’s important to practice what she preaches, which is why she can often be found recommending http://www.shopwpthemes.com to anyone looking to build an online presence.

photo credit: Colleen AF Venable via photopin cc