After the past two weeks that we have blogged about podcasting, it only seems appropriate to follow our “Building a Podcast” Part 1 and Part 2, with Part 3. This week’s blog post will cover the publishing and promotion of your podcast, a step that makes your stream accessible to your customers and others on the Internet. This step is potentially the most difficult, but is essential to the success of your podcast. After all, it’s not much of a podcast if others aren’t able to locate, listen, or subscribe.
There are literally thousands of hosting solutions available to podcasters. If your business already has a website, then it is likely you already have a dedicated host you can use. If not, then you will need to do the following:
1. Register a domain name
2. Find/Buy Web hosting
3. Start a blog
4. Create an RSS feed
Acquiring a domain name requires you to select a name of a web site that is not yet owned, where you can host your blog. Normally, you will need to register for the domain name and pay a fee, often annual in nature, but there are a few easier options. WordPress is a very reliable service that allows you to register and host a blog in a few easy steps. If you bought hosting through someone else, check and see if they offer one-click WordPress installation. Blogger is another free service that will register a domain name for you to use. The downside to using Blogger is you are left with a difficult URL for your viewers to remember:
To avoid having to memorize a difficult URL, you can get free server space from Our Media. For more information on Our Media click here. More information on WordPress can be viewed here. For additional information on Blogger, click here.
Once you have created and registered a blog, you will need to create what’s called a RSS feed, so listeners can subscribe to your podcast and be updated in real-time to any new entries or podcasts posted on your blog. WordPress has an interface that is user-friendly for posting new episodes and creates the podcast feed for you. To create an RSS feed that is podcast-enabled for the other web hosts, I suggest using Feedburner. This is also a free service and it adds great features to your feed, including subscriber stats. Blogger by itself uses what is called an Atom feed, which is the wrong kind of feed format. Feedburner converts the feed to a podcast-ready RSS format and is available for download here.
After recording and editing the audio, the next step is to upload the video to your web host’s servers. This is where the file transfer program, FileZilla (Mentioned here in Part 2), comes into play. Luckily, FileZilla offers a tutorial on their Wikipage for your convenience. The file transfer program takes the MP3 audio file and copies it to the host’s servers. Be cognizant of the file name before you upload. You will need to set in place a naming convention for your podcast episodes that users will be able to understand.
The last step to creating a podcast is writing your show notes. Show notes are essentially an outline of the content in an episode of your podcast. These notes should provide, at a glance, a summary of the contents of an episode. Well-written notes will help entice new visitors to subscribe as well as optimize your blog for the search engines. Links to relevant resources, a captivating title, and a mild density of popular keywords should help increase your blog’s search engine ranking.
In many ways, creating your podcast is the easy part. Promoting your podcast and getting people to listen is a much more difficult task. Developing an email list, submitting press releases, making your blog SEO friendly, and social bookmarking are all ways to promote your podcast. Consider using some or all of these strategies to maximize your listenership.
Podcasts are a great way for businesses to interact with their customers. They provide a vehicle for extending product information, asserting expertise in an industry, and resolving negative publicity. The next time someone mentions how Twitter is the ultimate business promotion tool, consider how much information you could promote in a 20 minute podcast.