Podcasts have become the rage now. It can attract considerable traffic to your website compared to written communications. We look at the WHAT, WHY and HOW of podcasts, and also at how you can make the audio/video podcasts findable by text-based search engines.
What is a Podcast?
Podcast starts as an audio or video recording. You also create an RSS text file that contains information about the audio/video file, including its location on the Web. You upload both the audio/video and RSS files to your server and people can now subscribe to your podcast, and download it to their iPods or computers.
You can add tags to podcasts, making it easy for search engines to index it relevantly, and for people to find it through search engines.
Why Should You Podcast?
Podcasts are similar to blogs in that both are updated periodically, and provide a forum for people to communicate with other people. However, podcasts are far more powerful because:
- Spoken words establish an immediate connection with listeners that the written words of a blog cannot
- Human voice can convey emotions with superb effectiveness that formatting and “emoticons” of the written word cannot
- You can listen to podcasts while you are jogging or commuting in a crowded train when reading is extremely inconvenient
Create a series of podcasts that provide education or information that people want and publicize it through podcast directories, your blog or website, SEO and other means. You will get many more subscribers than for a comparable blog.
It is now up to you to develop podcasts in a way that induce listeners visit your website or buy your product. See it as a kind of radio talk show and observe the techniques talk show sponsors use.
How Do You Create a Podcast?
- Go to http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ and download the program to record you spoken words in a sound file. You can also use the Sound Recorder utility of Windows for this purpose.
- Get a good quality microphone that you can attach to your computer.
- Start the sound recording program and speak your podcast content into the microphone.
- You can edit the recorded file, change playback speed and volume, and do other things using the programs
- You now have to convert the sound file into an MP3 format. Using the LAME MP3 plugin that you can download at the audacity site above. There are also other converters available on the Web.
- Now create an RSS podcast feed (a text file containing XML tags and relevant information in each tag). You can use RSS generators on the Web, such as the one at http://www.tdscripts.com/webmaster_utilities/podcast-generator.php for the purpose
- Validate the feed at, say http://validator.w3.org/ or other validation sites.
- Submit your feed to podcast directories like http://www.digitalpodcast.com and others.
- Tag the podcast with words people are likely search your topic. This is best done using iTunes as a large majority of podcast listeners use iPods to do it. Drag the podcast to iTunes (a free program) and right-click. Select the “Get Info” option. Fill out the information, and put your website URL in the comments box (along with any other info). In practice, you might initially need some help to fill out the info. Find competent help.
- For each episode of the podcast, create a Web page and provide a summary of podcast, optimized for relevant keywords. Don’t forget to include a highly visible subscription link to your podcast on that page.
- Promote your feed and the Web pages through different kinds of links that point to them.
New kinds of search engines are emerging that can use voice recognition to get at the content of podcasts and index them relevantly (instead of just depending on the tags).