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PodCasting 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started
By Merle
MCPromotionsPress.com

Everywhere you turn online these days you hear the word "podcast" or "podcasting." No, it's not some broadcasting method used by Martians, even though it might sound like it. A Podcast is just an audio file that is syndicated via an RSS feed, that you download and listen to with your computer or a portable device such as an iPod.

What makes it different from an ordinary RSS feed is the audio component included in the "enclosure field." Think of it as a feed that talks to you.

Podcasting is increasing in popularity. According to Forrester Research, by 2010 podcasting should have about 12.3 million listeners. That's a pretty big audience. For more info see http://tinyurl.com/84tyo.

Similar to a talk radio show, podcasts can also take the format of an interview. Topics range from business to hobbies; even rants and obsessions. Lengths vary, but a typical podcast will run anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, but I have seen some longer. So far, there are not many music podcasts due to the red tape and cost of music licensing -- although musicians and/or small record labels bypass that issue by utilizing their own recordings.

Before you think you need some special device to listen to a podcast, let me assure you that you don't. Most RSS readers have the capability built in to play podcasts. Any software that can play a sound file can play a podcast. If you want to take them with you to listen to while on the road you'll want to invest in a portable MP3 device like an iPod.

Like other RSS feeds, you decide which ones you want to subscribe to and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Online business owners should think of podcasting as yet another avenue for promoting your products and services. Like an ezine or the RSS feeds you already use, it's a simple inexpensive method of syndicating your audio files online. It would appear that a podcast is a bit more personal. Instead of just reading, like an ezine, people can listen to the sound of your voice and make a more personal connection.

Now that I have your attention you may be wondering "How do I create a podcast?" Well, it's really pretty simple if you follow the easy steps below:

1) First you'll need to use software to record your own audio file. A good fre one is Audacity which you can download at http://audacity.sourceforge.net. While there, you'll also need to download the Lame MP3 Encoder which allows MP3 exportation.

2) Once your audio is recorded you'll need to create an RSS feed file which is simply a special text file with an RSS extension that also includes a particular enclosure tag. For step by step directions on making a feed file see this site:

Make-RSS-Feeds.com

There's also a great tutorial on RSS at:

Mot.net

3) Once your audio and RSS files are completed you'll need to upload both of them to your server/website.

If you'd like to read more, hre are some additional online sites to help guide you.

Make Your First Podcast

Create Podcasts Using Your PC

If you don't want to do all this work manually, there are software tools specific to podcast creation.

ePodCast Creator

Pod Producer

That's it. Wasn't that simple? Remember, you can't get subscribers if people don't know about your feed, so make sure you add it in a prominent place of your site. You want to make it easy for them to subscribe and add your feed to their news reader.

Audio files are rather large and can take up a lot of space on your server, so make sure you won't run out of bandwidth. If you're tight on space you can always farm it out to a third party service such as http://www.PodLot.com . For only $5.00 they'll give you 150 MB of storage space with no bandwidth limitations. Your domain will look like this: nameofyourshow.podlot.com.

If you think you're going to have a hit on your hands and want to try to generate csh from your podcast, chck out PremiumPodcasting.com. They provide a system that allows you to charge for your shows and also include private access to them, track who is listening and more. You can try them out for a four day tral for only one dollar.

Once your podcast is live you'll want to make sure you list it with the various directories that exist for just this purpose. You'll find a nice list at:

Podcast Bunker

Open Media Network

Podcasting Station

Robin Good has a huge list at http://tinyurl.com/9rusq

So now that you see how easy it is to create a podcast, what's stopping you? Remember, this is a great tool to add to your marketing mix and if you're a bit on the creative side this might be just the ticket. Have fun with it, experiment and you'll become an expert podcaster in no time.

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