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The Power of Great Podcasts and How to Create Them

For the people who have a vague idea or have absolutely no idea what a podcast is, how to use it for marketing and how to create a powerful one that command audiences, this article is meant for you. So, keep reading…

What are podcasts all about?

The word podcast is a portmanteau of broadcast and iPod (a popular portable MP3 player produced by Apple Computers). Although Apple computers were not the inventors of the word podcast, they now enjoy free marketing, thanks to the popularity of podcasting. Though the word podcasting is weaved up with iPod, you’re not restricted to playing your podcast with an iPod. Once you download a podcast, it plays like any other MP3 which means that you’re not can use any other MP3 player available in the market.

When you think about podcasts, think about an escape from the worn-out pre-programmed, clear channel controlled radio, and the same old, corporate conglomerate.  Podcast are digital media files that feature an audio recording. Usually, the audio recording is produced in series. People use podcasts to create audio files for their services, business or for any other information that they may want to relay out there. Basically, anyone who has something valuable to tell the world can create a podcast.

Why podcasts are the new marketing darlings

You’re probably wondering what the hype about podcasts is all about. After all, Internet radio is nothing new really. And again, MP3s have been around for quite some time. The audio blogs too, so what the hype about? What sets podcasts apart from the rest?

The concept is simple – You can automatically download podcasts to your computer and to your MP3 player without lifting your finger.  Imagine waking up to new shows ready to listen to while you commute to work or while you exercise. Usually, the audio file is automatically received from the internet then synced to your MP3 player. All you need to do to receive files is to subscribe to a podcast feed of your choice. Apart from the easy and convenient automatic delivery here are more reasons why podcasts are a rising star in the marketing world.

Exposes your brand – Podcasts are a platform where companies can share their expertise and give advice on certain niches. You can create interesting, listenable and engaging podcasts to highlight your services and skills thereby instilling confidence in your audience about your services.

Low-cost –  The cost of podcasting is incredibly low that anyone can do it.  In fact, many podcasters are ordinary people like you and me. You can easily create a podcast while sitting in your living room, driving in your car or even while speaking at a conference. To create a podcast, you need is a computer, a speaker, a microphone and an interesting topic and you’re good to go.

Appealing Marketing – Experts in markets will tell you that the less your advertising sounds like a promotional copy, the more appealing it will be to the target market. Podcasts help you disguise a promotional copy by making it appear like a genuine conversation.

Builds Brand Loyalty – Consistency in creating podcasts can help you build brand loyalty and earn new advocates for your brand. When your audience know that that you always have something of value to offer them, they gradually become your brand ambassadors.

Different Formats of Podcasts

The first step to creating a great podcast is establishing the format you intend to use.

Monologue podcast: If your interviewee was inarticulate, or the recording in the field not up to standard yet you still want the story up on the internet. a monologue podcast may be what you need. If you are a top notch writer and a great narrator, telling the story yourself (monologue podcast) may be how you get the word out there.

Hybrid: This involves combining scripted narrative(continuity) and the of sound recorded in the field (actuality) Shows such as ?This American Life are a product of hybrid podcast.

Conversational podcasts:  This format involves conversations with experts on particular topics. This can either a round table or a straight interview.  Recording such conversations in a studio would be ideal to avoid many edits. Of importance here is choosing the right guests.

Documentary Podcast: This, in its entirety, involves sound recorded in the field. A mixture of excellent recording skills and equipment is critical. Furthermore, you will also need great mixing and editing skills for a great end podcast.

Having chosen the format, these are the general skills you will need when recording a great podcast.

1. When interviewing subjects go for open-ended questions instead of closed-ended ones.

With open-ended questions, you stand the chance of receiving more than you anticipated for from your subjects. Remember, your intention is creating an interesting podcast, and you need as much flavor as you can get. Whenever you ask people to explain things to you, they often reveal their fears, hopes, and concerns you wouldn’t otherwise get with the closed questions. A good example of how to use open-ended questions would be instead of asking your subject: ?how did that feel”, ask them ?what was it like?” Avoid questions where your subject will either answer YES or NO.

2. You need a great microphone

The quality of your podcast will be determined by the quality of the equipment you use so you can’t afford to compromise here. The two crucial pieces of equipment required are a microphone and a computer.  While the microphone captures sound, the computer handles the recording and editing, and finally submission and syndication.

A good microphone should focus on small areas such as the sounds coming out of the guests’ mouth plus any other participant. The built-in microphone on the laptop will not do a great job here. You need a dedicated microphone, like this one here http://microphonegeeks.com/pro/usb-mics/ ,something not overly expensive if you’re on a  shoestring budget but one that will still do a great job.

3. Sit close to your interviewee

If your podcast is an interview format, sit next to the interviewee so that you’re in a position to move the mic back and forth without straining.

4. Take charge of the surroundings

Do away with any unwanted noise that doesn’t add to your story. You may need to switch off that noisy air conditioner or the refrigerator for a clear podcast. Prepare in advance so that if you’re conducting an interview, you don’t end you dealing with unwanted distractions such as visitors coming in and out of the house.

Podcasting is now empowering individuals with the ability to globalize and distribute their ideas to like-minded fans. Anyone can create a podcast. In fact, people. All over the world are creating podcasts on subjects that range from technology to music, to politics, name it. What will make people get hooked on your podcast, however, has everything to do with quality and value. Give people a combination of value, creativity, and quality, and they’ll love you!