Podcasting is becoming more and more popular every year, and that’s across the web as a whole, not only in the blogging niche.
There are shows about sports, dieting, business, tech news, literally every possible topic imaginable.
So where does your blog come into this picture? Well, I’m not here to convince you that podcasting (or live podcasting) is the holy grail for your internet career, but it can surely bring some worthwhile benefits if you’re not afraid of having your voice recorded.
(The benefits are exactly what we talked about in one of the recent posts here at We Blog Better: 4 Benefits of Adding a Podcast to Your Business.)
The actual realization that a podcast might just be the droid thing we’re looking for comes from other successful bloggers, who, at some point in their careers, decided to launch a podcast. For instance, Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income launched his in 2010, and he even said that it’s been one of the best decisions he’s ever made for his brand.
So, how to decide if it has the potential to be one of the best decisions for your brand as well? More than that, what about live podcasting?
Is live podcasting for your blog?
First of all, podcasting is serious work. If you don’t have the time to do this work then it’s strike 1, 2, 3, all at the same moment.
However, live podcasting, at least in my opinion, is a lot less work (hour for hour) than standard podcasting.
Of course, you always have to come up with a pretty clear idea of what you want to talk about and why your podcast will be valuable to your audience, but when it comes to the actual broadcasting, doing it live is simpler.
In the end, when handled right, podcasting can bring some great benefits to your blog. Making it more recognizable, and also strengthening your position in the niche.
The main thing is that people always find it easier to interact with you and believe what you’re saying if they can hear your voice (or better yet, see you). It gives your brand this personal touch that the big guys usually lack.
The biggest challenge
As often with any form of online promotion, the challenge is the marketing. I.e. getting people to tune in to your live podcast so you get an actual audience to speak to.
I won’t hide the fact that in order to pull it off you either need to heave a healthy audience already, or a good marketing machine supporting you.
This is actually quite funny (yet true at the same time), but the biggest challenge in live podcasting isn’t the technical stuff, it’s getting people through the door.
If you’re not scared of the project and think that you can handle the marketing part then let’s talk some technical details.
There’s not much stuff you have to buy to start podcasting, but there’s one mandatory thing – a quality USB microphone. Something like Samson C01U (available on Amazon) is enough. It’s around $70 and really does its job well.
It’s an USB microphone which means that you don’t need any additional equipment to make it work (like a mixer, or an audio interface, etc.). This makes everything really quick and down to earth.
One of the biggest challenges in audio production is noise.
(By the way, apart from freelance writing, I’m also a musician, and that’s why I know this stuff. Anyway, I digress).
Really, noise is the most ruthless killer of every voice recording. And the sad part is that if your audience can hear the noise, they immediately start thinking (even subconsciously) that you’re probably not all that professional.
If you don’t want to invest in some soundproofing equipment then at least do the following:
- Record in a room that has a lot of furniture in it (furniture gets rid of the echo and consumes a lot of the background noise).
- Close all the windows and doors.
- Place your microphone away from the computer (so it doesn’t pick up the computer noise).
As I said, these are basics, but not doing any of these vs. doing them all is going to make a huge difference in audio quality.
Mind that you don’t get the chance to remove the noise in postproduction – in live podcasting there’s no postproduction.
Surprisingly, audio quality is one of the most important success factors for your podcast. If your audio sounds really bad, no one will listen to you, no matter how great your content is.
Your live podcasting server
The way live podcasting works is that you – the podcaster – are not actually sending the audio to each individual listener. Instead, you’re sending it to a server, and then the server sends it to the listeners.
This server is something you can launch on your own machine/computer. But it’s not an advisable approach. The thing is that audio streaming consumes a lot of bandwidth, and if you’re hoping for any decent audience, you will need a really serious internet connection to pull this off.
That’s why I advise you to look into external servers. For instance, there’s a service at WebNet Hosting called IceCast hosting that makes things quite easy to set up. They provide you with a piece of software that you can use to stream your audio program directly to the server.
Unfortunately, it does require some investments, but it’s also easily scalable depending on the size of your audience and the audio quality you want to provide.
At this point, you’re basically good to go into the world of audio podcasting. There’s just one additional cool thing you can do.
Launching a traditional podcast
Why not take your live recordings and publish them as a traditional audio podcast (one where your audience can subscribe to a prerecorded audio program)?
This involves some additional steps, like learning a thing or two about audio production, setting up RSS feeds for your podcast, and submitting them to podcast directories like iTunes, but in the end it may be well worth it.
If you want to get some more info on this, feel free to visit this great resource: how to podcast by Cliff Ravenscraft.
Finally, what’s your experience with podcasting or live podcasting? Are you planning to launch an audition like this as part of your extended blog offering?