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Podcasting Advice from a Non-Expert.

Dear Reader,

The following is an email I sent to a friend who asked me for podcasting advice. I’ll state up front that I am not a podcating expert nor am I a new media guru. There are others who fill those slots nicely. However, I have picked up a few tips and tricks. Since I went way beyond his initial expectations and it was a lot longer than I originally planned, I thought it would be good to post it in case others want to see.

So for what it’s worth, here is podcasting advice from a podcasting novice.

— Cut Here —

Hi!

I now do 3 podcasts, PHP Abstract, The ZendCon Sessions and Sixty Second Tech. The first two are for my employer Zend

Sixty Second Tech takes me 3 hours, start to finish, on the average. 70% of that is research writing…and editing. In one minute I can speak approximately 255 words if I talk fast. Editing my thought down to that few words is a pain sometimes. Recording and post production is pretty simple on that one.

Hardware:

I use a USB microphone from Blue called a Snowball. They are less than $100 and well worth the investment if you are in it for the long haul. I know of podcasts using Logitech headsets as well and those go for $50 or less. In my presentation Podcasting 101, I tell people, do not invest a lot in hardware until you know you are going to stick with it. (12-15 episodes in the can)

Software:

I use Windows XP and Audacity for editing. Great FREE software. If you are on Mac and recording less than an hour, I’d use Garage Band. I’ve heard recent horror stories about Mac, USB and Garage band. If that’s your platform, I’d ping him for more information.

Hosting the Audio Files:

I use Amazon’s S3 for all of my podcasts. I’ve been in hosting for 10 years and that’s the cheapest bandwidth I’ve seen by far. However, you may want to check out libsyn. They don’t charge you for bandwidth, they only charge for the storage space you take up. If I recall correctly, you can get 100MB of space for $5.

Hosting the Site:

I run Sixty Second Tech off of WordPress running on my own server. If you’ve already got a hosting agreement, you should be able to just add a domain and set it up. I use a WordPress plug-in called PodPress, awesome piece of code and really streamlines the whole process for me. (If you don’t have a hosting agreement somewhere else, my site is http://nashvillewebhosting.biz, my entry level is $10/month, unlimited domains, etc…)

Feed:

I use FeedBurner for processing the feed because it does a great job of sanitizing everything. However, this is important, if you use WordPress, get the plug-in for FeedBurner. Never hand out your FeedBurner url, hand out http://yourdomain.com/feed/ This way you own the feed and should you decide to change from feedburner later, you won’t have nearly the trouble.

Advice:

  1. Get the website out and a Coming Soon post up describing the podcast.
  2. Get your hosting setup.
  3. Create a 1 minute promo for the podcast and attach it to your Coming Soon post
  4. SUBMIT IT TO ITUNES! 90% of my traffic for Sixty Second Tech is from iTunes. iTunes will give you an error if you don’t have at least one episode up there so wait until you have either cut a promo or released your first episode. iTunes takes about 2 days and they will send you an email. If you don’t get the email, resubmit.
  5. Promote, promote, promote. Find other podcasts that speak to your audience and offer to swap promos. Release a press release to anyone who can fog a mirror. If you want to invest money, use a press release service. Otherwise, just start emailing them to magazines, ezines, websites, newspapers, user groups, etc.
  6. Share what works. I’m sharing what I’ve found that works. If you find something new, share back. When you make it and get famous, don’t forget those of us still struggling in the trenches.

    Until next time,
    (l)(k)(bunny)
    =C=