6 Dec, 2008 in Podcasting, SEO Tools, Social Media by

Promote Your Site With Podcasts

Call it the new underground radio, or perhaps the next step in future media, but “podcasting” has all but conquered the Internet

By offering Web users a new dimension in obtaining news, fringe entertainment, and music from up and coming and/or established artists, the podcast is yet another way the Internet expands its interactivity

We can do more than see, we hear and we listen…and are introduced to new ideas and cultures that miss the mainstream

Simply defined, a “podcast” is an audio clip, a miniature radio program focusing on a topic like travel, art, news, sports, or just about anything of interest

The term comes from a combination of “broadcast” and “iPod”, as these short clips are primarily downloaded for use iPods and portable MP3 players

Clips may range from five to twenty minutes long to allow for easy downloading, and may be found through specific websites that offer podcasts or through specialized portals like Libsyn, that host podcasting communities

Web users interested in listening to podcasts may use a specialized search engine like Odeo or iTunes to find thousands currently available

For website owners, authors, musicians, and others interested in a unique method of reach, a podcast can be a valuable marketing tool

Whether you are selling a book by reading an excerpt or reporting on a favorite travel destination, adding a podcast to your existing website can help drive more traffic to your site, which in turn can increase your visibility and business

There are countless advantages to offering a podcast to existing customers and possible new visitors who enjoy this new technology

Podcasts are inexpensive to produce! If you think you need to rent a recording studio to make a regular podcast, think again

All you really need is a computer, some good recording software, a microphone, a good speaking voice, and the willingness to have a little fun

A quick Internet search will direct you to recommended programs, particularly freeware and/or shareware that works well in a pinch until you are able to spend a bit of money for a more sophisticated production

If you find you are running out of memory saving podcasts to your computer, simply burn the MP3 files onto CDs and keep going!

Podcasts broaden your audience! As you begin to build a podcast archive, you increase the opportunity for your website to be found through search

Also, a podcast allows your site to be listed in specialized search portals dedicated to audio-enhanced websites, thereby increasing your link popularity

Say you are a writer of mysteries and introduce a podcast about your novels and the mystery genre in general

A podcast listener searching for that particular topic may find you through your podcast, but not necessarily have found you another way

With the podcast, you open your door to a possible reader, and perhaps others who may not be into mystery, but might change their minds upon hearing your show!

Podcasts introduce a new level of comfort! Podcasts offer a new dimension to your website, a personalization unmatched by the written word

When you deliver a voice to accompany your website content you enhance the style of your site, attracting visitors to the “real” person behind the website

The concept, of course, is hardly new

During his presidential administration, Franklin Roosevelt addressed the nation through radio “fireside chats,” which were very effective in increasing public awareness and support

The broadcasts helped to amplify an agreeable persona in the president, which bolstered the spirits of the nation during wartime

Now, it’s likely your podcast will not be designed to rally troops to victory

But, to offer this option to site visitors can endear people to the image you project, and in turn help sell your books, music, and services

Podcasts give you a voice! With a podcast you can reinvent yourself

Do you operate a website of restaurant reviews? You can host “The Phantom Dining Booth,” as the secret diner who reports the daily specials around town

If you write romances, you can tout your own works and become the new Mary Hart, offering irreverent news and gossip on the romance publishing industry

Serious or playful, using a podcast gives your site a unique voice that you can work to your advantage

Once you have made the decision to record a podcast, next comes the fun part, actually making it

In Part II of this article, we’ll go over the procedures to create, upload, and promote a podcast

Step 1: Write the Script

Even if you want your podcast to have a casual tone, you will want to compose a script before you hit record

The reason for this is two-fold: you want to stay on topic, and you want to stay within a reasonable time frame

While it’s nice and comforting to introduce a playful voice to your website, you want to be sure your podcasts stay on topic and that you don’t ramble off into tangents that may otherwise distract listeners

If your podcast is about writing poetry, don’t drift off into an anecdote about the day’s shopping

Also, having a script before you as you read is very helpful in curb uncomfortable pauses and stuttering

Write out what you want to say, then read your script aloud one or twice for practice

This is important to do, because you may need to adjust your voice to the script so that it doesn’t give out halfway through the podcast

Talking for five minutes straight can be a chore, so keep some water handy for rehearsal and the recording

You may find you’ll ad lib a line or two, and that’s fine

The spontaneity adds to the flavor of the program, but for the most part you want to stay focused on your topics

Above all else, be sure to promote your URL in the script, so that listeners who find you through podcast portals will know where to go

Step 2: Record the Podcast

When you are comfortable with your script, you are ready to record

Find a quiet spot in the house with good acoustics (some have recommended to me using the bathroom or even sitting in the car, just make sure you’re comfortable), and make sure there are no alarms or phones nearby that can go off and disrupt your train of thought

Test your recording software and microphone first, make sure you have quick access to the pause button in case you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, then go for it!

Speak clearly and just relax

Take caution not to talk too fast, and you will discover this helps cut down on awkward “ers” and “ums” as you record

Above all else, have fun with the recording and inflect your unique style into the subject matter

When you are done recording, save the file as an MP3 and play it back

If you detect any noises or gaps you want removed, check if you recording software allows you to edit

Don’t be discouraged if your first podcast turns out less than stellar, as the recording process takes time and energy to perfect

Once you are satisfied with the end product, it’s time to share it with the world

Step 3: Upload the Podcast

Listeners will only be able to download your podcast if it is available through the Internet

Hence, you must have a place to upload your MP3 files

If you have a website with ample space on the server, you might want to create a separate folder for your podcasts, then link to them from your website

If you find your webspace is limited, you may want to look into either a site that offers virtual storage for large files, or a site that specializes in hosting podcasts

Shop around, as some storage sites may charge monthly fees

Sample podcasts they host…do the files download in a timely manner? Are they easy to obtain? Wherever you decide to host your files, always make sure you keep copies on disc in a safe place

Step 4: Promote!

Don’t just sit back and expect people to find you

Make sure you promote your podcast and attract the listeners you want

The obvious first step, of course, is to link your podcasts from your main website

Create a separate page as a podcast archive, with links to each file

If you have a blog, announce new casts as they are uploaded, and use a special embed code to include podcast URLs in your posts

Especially if your blog is syndicated through RSS, aggregators will pick up on the podcast URLs and distribute them with your blog content

Wherever appropriate, have your podcast listed on podcast and audio directories

Whatever the topic of your cast, seek out relevant websites and announce new programs

Build relationships with other webmasters by offering the content to their sites in exchange for the link

If you are a romance author, seek out book review sites and offer them the podcast for promotional purposes

In time, listener-ship will grow, as will the opportunity to expose your products and services to a wider audience

Podcasting is simple to do, simple to plan, and simple to promote

Devote the time and enthusiasm to a podcast for your website, and you can easily watch your site’s traffic soar

– Ciniva Web Agency

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