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Talking is still the preferred method to get a message to an audience, which is why live streaming and recording live streams for podcasts are incredibly popular! Podcasts are a simple way to reach an audience with a message, and the delivery can adapt to the listener’s lifestyle.

What is your favorite way to talk to your friends? It’s probably in person, which makes sense because face-to-face communication takes advantage of the most of your senses at once. Aside from the subtleties of the tone of the voices while talking, there are a number of ways to tell how your message is being received:

  • Are arms crossed, in a psychological “closed off” or defiant state?
  • Are both parties, or more, facing each other and positioned to listen and receive the messages being communicated?
  • Signs of comprehension include nodding, lifted eyebrows, a slight lift of the chin, a small tilt of the head.
  • Emotional responses, like laughter, involve the eyes gaining a little shine or sparkle

Is the best way to communicate with someone? Sitting down and having a one-on-one conversation is always best, but isn’t always possible. From this list, it’s clear that in-person communication involves more than just word choice and processing these words. Modern ways of keeping in touch vary, including:

  • Text or SMS message
  • Email
  • A phone call or audio conference
  • Video chat
  • Social media messages, like comments or Messenger

Modern methods of reaching more than one person include the above, as well, but when a company – or just one person speaking on behalf of or as a brand – is trying to reach a larger audience, we’ve evolved from the days where a radio broadcast or television program are your only options. Aside from being the most expensive, radio and television are no longer the most efficient methods of mass communication. With the explosion of technology and the ways people choose to communicate, our choices seem endless.

Since the 2001 launch of the iPod, consumers have embraced the audio media file as a simple and straightforward manner to receive and digest information. Likewise, podcasts held major appeal to brands as a cost-effective channel to reach a large audience. What makes podcasts more attractive?

  • They are inexpensive to produce
  • Podcasts are easy to store and organize
  • Consumers actively seek out and listen to podcasts

That first point is why podcasts are appealing to brands of all sizes – to record a “poor man’s podcast”, all that’s needed is an iPhone.

Recording a podcast on an iPhone will not produce quality sound, and a professional microphone is a smart investment.

One doesn’t need to be a tech expert to start a podcast – just the basics:

  • Microphone
    • An iPhone or another recording device will have a microphone, but it’s a good idea to use a quality microphone that can filter out subtle issues like white noise
  • File host
    • Aim for a file host that specializes in podcast hosting, like Podbean or SoundCloud – both of which offer in-app recording capabilities!
  • A distribution plan to reach your audience
    • Syndicate podcasts using RSS feeds to give listeners easy access for downloading and streaming
    • Stream in a feed reader like Feedly
    • Include on a website
    • Share via iTunes
      • iTunes promotes all new podcasts for eight weeks, giving a free boost to the promotional reach of a podcast to increase organic subscribers

Now that the mechanics of creating and establishing a podcast are clear, the next steps involve:

  • Crafting content
  • engaging an audience
  • Podcast schedule and details

Content

The value an audience finds in content is what will keep the audience returning for future podcasts. Much like with a blog, how content is crafted and shared is critical to retain an audience, and grow a listener base. The upside of the podcast is the new reach potential: listeners who might not otherwise read a blog consume audio and can share a podcast they think others will find value in via digital channels, but outside of the blogosphere. The fastest way to lose listeners is to share content that has no value. The value of content is a direct correlation between the value of a brand or business.

  • Tip #1: Speak naturally, as if having a conversation, will engage an audience longer.
  • Tip #2: Confidence is what carries your message – a listener perceiving a voice of authority will be interested in continuing to listen.
  • Tip #3: Include a short intro (and “outro”, or closer) to add personality and pizzazz, and consider including music in each. Here is a great opportunity to brand the podcast!

Audience

Podcasting is akin to having a conversation with your listener, with the opportunity to talk to them, not at them.

Regular podcast listeners all agree why podcasts are a favorite: podcasts are easy to consume. Listeners can queue up a podcast in the car during a commute, on the treadmill at the gym, or in the shower during a morning routine. The beauty of a podcast is that listeners don’t need to be 100% focused on the act of listening to process the information. iPods, smartphones, tablets, and any combo thereof have really boosted the popularity of podcasting.

Podcast Details

Make a plan and stick with it. The fastest way to lose listeners is to share content of little or no value, but the second fastest way is through podcast inconsistency.

  • Is the message all over the place? Maintain consistency with:
    • Content type
    • Voice or presenter(s)
    • Delivery method (like SoundCloud)
    • If a hybrid of content type, tone, or presenter is planned, create a plan ahead of time and include these details in the description to avoid listener confusion.
  • Is there a regular schedule of new episodes? Maintain momentum and the interested of listeners with a regular schedule.
    • Aim for 10 to 15 episodes, no more than 30 minutes in length to be easily digested.
    • Plan a release schedule that is easily kept, like one episode each week.
  • Is there enough content to generate a regularly scheduled podcast and platform?
  • Choose a category to help platforms like iTunes target an audience that may be searching for specific content.

A few final recommendations:

  • Save recording files as fixed bitrate, like 128kbps to keep the file size low but with good audio quality.
  • If you use the built-in recording tools for SoundCloud or Podbean, take advantage of settings that automatically stabilize the volume output for listeners.
  • Include an ID3 tag and update with each file – some playback devices display this information during playback.
  • Rewarding listeners helps build an audience – try an incentive like a free Kindle book.
  • A podcast is a great opportunity – especially during the closing, to encourage listeners to sign up for emails.

Coupling live streaming with podcasting is a great way to reach the maximum audience, and Charlotte-based Network Essentials can help you get started with their expert IT support and technology solutions.

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