There’s a lot of hype surrounding podcasts now. People have been downloading it as a source of fast and useful information (one which they can listen to at their own leisure—in the car, in bed, during coffee breaks). And now, more and more users are thinking of creating their own podcast too, because it’s so easy to do.
One reason why podcasts have crossed over from the “techno-geek” world and into the hands of the Average Joe is that their formats are so flexible. You can do interviews, record audio books, even give stirring sermons and lectures. For example, even a small church community can put up a website and include last Sunday’s Bible study in a podcast. Or a group of teachers can create study guides for students, from reviewers to additional information they didn’t have time to tackle in the last lecture.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your first podcast.
First of all, make your audio content. There’s no one formula for this, and you will find on the Internet many podcasts that adopt different formats to suit their particular content. Study the ones you like to get ideas, but remember this tip: the most successful audio formats are those that present ideas in short, logical bursts. In TV and radio, 30 seconds is considered an eternity for one idea. If your podcast is longer, at least divide the information into 30 second mini-segments, or break up an interview with “headers” that lead the listener from one thought to another.
Second of all, choose a platform or application. You can find many of them on the Internet, and some of them are free. These platforms let you mix together multiple audio files and add effects.
Then, save your audio show at the highest possible quality format. This does take a lot of space, but at least you can go back to it, edit it, or reuse it, without seriously compromising the listening experience.
Then, convert the file to MP3 format. This is the traditional and standard format for podcasts. If you use any other format then there is the risk that some users will not be able to use it, and you want to reach as many people as possible. For easier downloading, use the minimum bit rate. Here are some settings you can use:
* For sermons, audiobooks and talk radio, use 48k to 56k.
* For music, or any format that combines music and talk, use 64k.
* For high quality music, use 128k.
Then, save the file onto your website. Be sure to use the MP3 file extension format and to put them in one directory so they’ll be convenient to find.
The final step is to make your podcast news feed. These are RSS files that summarize your podcast content. RSS files are text files that link to your actual MP3 file. You can use practically any text editor to make an RSS feed, but many people find it easier to use blogging programs since these automatically create news feeds or you can use a? free podcast feed creator. For blogging tools, include the URL of your audio content in your enclosure. For text editors, add the following enclosure tag:
RSS newsfeeds should have a podcast title, link and description. Save the file with a .rss or .xml extension. Then transfer this file to your webserver, and validate with an online RSS validator.
Podcastblaster is a site specializing in all aspect of podcasting and provides a free podcast rss feed creator and an extensive podcasting directory.