Many marketers resist using podcasts as a marketing tool, even though they can be an effective way to engage an audience. That's likely because creating a podcast seems much too complicated and difficult. But it needn't be, says Mack Collier in his MarketingProfs article "Ten Steps to Creating Your Own Podcast." You just need to know which bases to cover and then plan, research, test, and practice... till you get it right. The following are among the bits of useful advice he offers.
Understand what podcast listeners want. "Read what podcasting message boards, forums, and blogs have to say about the content and format of their favorite shows," says Collier. Then listen to highly rated podcasts and see whether you can add similar elements to your podcast. But Collier also suggests you also ask yourself, "What will your podcast give them that they can't find elsewhere?"
Determine your show format. Keeping your schedule predictable makes increasing your show's audience easier. So decide the length of your show and how often and when to publish episodes, Collier says. He also suggests you prepare a list of topics and a schedule of guests well ahead of time.
Figure out what equipment to use. "Consider how often you will be using your equipment and what your budget will be," Collier says. You should focus first on the microphone, which is the most important piece of equipment, he points out. The most expensive equipment isn't necessarily the best; and even if it is, it might be more than you need.
Select your recording software. Free recording software, such as Audacity and Garage Band, make recording, editing, and publishing your podcast relatively easy.
Start practicing. Write the layout of your show and begin rehearsing. Jot down points you want to make and when to make them. Then practice. "You want to rehearse, but you don't want to script the entire show's content, because [then] it comes across as forced," says Collier.
Record the main body of the show. Record it in sections so it's easier to edit them. Consider recording it in this order: intro, topic 1, topic, 2, then recap, and close. Remember to record in a quiet environment to avoid background noise that can be picked up by your microphone.
Select and edit music. If you wish to use music, use your recording software to add music at the beginning and end of your podcast. Music should fade out and in for each segment. Unless you want to shell out cash, use royalty-free music that owners have given the public permission to use.
Select a hosting service. "After you have your show recorded, and it's ready to be published, you'll need to select a hosting service," Collier explains. Consider the file size of your podcast episodes and how many you will produce each month.
Promote the podcast. Share the news of your podcast on social networks and your blog. If you don' have a blog, promote it on your site "or, better yet, create a separate blog for your podcast," Collier suggests.
The Po!nt: Creating a podcast is not as hard as you probably think it—but you do need to do your homework first.