Learn about podcasting

Donna Papacosta holds her new book about podcasting, co-authored with Steve Lubetkin.

If Donna Papacosta had to do it all over again, she’d rename her podcast something other than “Trafcom News.” Yet 10 years ago, she was just linking to her business (Trafalgar Communications) and her website.

Her advice now? “Choose a meaningful name,” she told members of IABC/Toronto’s Professional Independent Communicators at a session in September. “Put yourselves in the shoes of the listener. What’s your topic?”

Podcasting – basically an Internet radio show that you subscribe to – isn’t new. But it jumped in popularity in fall 2014 with a podcast called Serial, which traced the events of the real-life disappearance of a high school student.

Today, podcasting is one way of marketing your business by sharing content (AKA content marketing). Donna points to these reasons a podcast is so effective:

  • It’s portable and “time-shifted,” meaning you can listen to it when you want, such as at the gym or while walking the dog.
  • It has the human touch, the “intimacy of the earbuds.”
  • Multimedia grabs people.
  • A podcast complements text and other forms of communication.
  • Podcasting is relatively low-cost compared to video.

Donna shared suggestions for the basic equipment and software you need, but “What kind of microphone do I need?” shouldn’t be your first question. Instead, figure out why you’re doing a podcast, what it’s about and what the benefits are to the listener.

Once you’ve got a plan, here’s the typical workflow for a podcast:

  • Write an outline or do a pre-interview with your guest, if you have one.
  • Record the podcast. Don’t rely totally on a script or you’ll sound like you’re reading. Be conversational.
  • Edit. Not editing is like giving your client a first draft of your writing (something writers never do).
  • Mix in royalty-free music to break up segments.
  • Write show notes, which help Google find your podcast. Some podcasters publish full or partial transcripts.
  • When you are ready to upload your file, save it as an MP3.
  • Create cover art to brand your podcast.
  • Upload the MP3 to a host, like Libsyn.
  • Publish the link as part of a blog post and share it with the world, including iTunes.

“Building an audience doesn’t happen overnight,” Donna warned. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. But take the time to make it useful and your audience will grow.”

You’ll also have content that will drive visitors to your website for years.

Learn more about podcasting:
Live tweets from the PIC talk are in this summary
Slides from the PIC presentation
The page where you can download the first chapter of The Business of Podcasting