Podcasts and audio versions of your blog posts are underused in my honest opinion, which is a shame, and a seriously overlooked tool for creating value for your blog visitors. In fact Podcasts and audio posts can create engagement with your visitors, they create a sense of familiarity and they can be shared.
Podcasts can build relationships with your blog visitors quicker and better than videos and here are a few reasons why.
- They are relatively cheap to produce, usually completely free.
- They are easier to create than videos.
- They are quick to create.
- They can be sold.
- They can be added to your site as content.
- They can be added to other products to add value.
- People can download Podcasts to their MP3 players and listen to them anywhere at any time.
- Podcasts can be listened to while doing other things like driving.
- I could add more!
To create a video, you will need some quality software to record the screen like Camtasia if you are doing a tutorial, to do a face on video you will need a decent camera with a quality built in or standalone microphone, a tripod and a series of lights maybe even a green screen. This can all add up and become very costly.
If you do not buy quality video recording equipment then the chances of making a poor video which will look unprofessional and cause your reputation some damage is very high. You need to look relaxed and be engaging when making a video. The focus and lighting has to be just right and many videos these days have smart graphics and animation to make them stand out from the rest. All of which costs money.
The biggest and most important difference between video and Podcasts are that your site visitors have to sit and watch the video; they have to concentrate while staring at the screen. Podcasts can be listened to while the visitor does other things like walking the dog.
Videos are a lot of work and as you have now realised they can be very costly to produce.
So what is the cheaper alternative?
Podcasts and audio posts are different. You can make a Podcast in minutes using free open source software called Audacity. Audacity is not only free it is also incredibly easy to use. It records your Podcast and you can edit out any mistakes and fluffed lines as well as add any intro music.
If you have not yet got a good headset then this might be the only real cost of producing your podcasts. Logitech do headsets for as little as $23 £15, Audacity and a headset are the only tools you need.
Download Audacity from here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download
To save your audio recordings to MP3 using Audacity you will need to download and install the MP3 encoder software from http://lame1.buanzo.com.ar. Audacity uses this software and it will automatically work as soon as you install it however for legal reasons Audacity cannot incorporate into its software and give it away as a full working package.
To make your Podcast sound more professional you might decide to purchase a piece of royalty free music for creating an intro for your Podcast, which will be a one off additional cost of around $9.96 £6. Sites like www.royaltyfreemusic.com are places where musicians sell their music with permissions to use it over and over again on products like videos and Podcasts.
If you want to use music as an intro for you Podcast then you must use the right royalty fee music. You cannot go and use the latest song by Coldplay just because you are a huge fan, the record company will track you down and take legal action. You will have to pay a huge licensing fee and often pay each time it is used/heard.
So now you know how to create free Podcasts what do you Podcast about?
One of the best and easiest Podcasts to do is to take one or several old blog posts, create a series of bullet points from them on paper and then record yourself talking about those points, elaborating in more detail about each one creating a tutorial or an inspiring Podcast.
Don’t just record yourself reading out the posts unless you want to offer an audio version of your blog posts. There is a cool online service that you can use to create a quick audio version of your posts if you want to do that. I will come to that later.
You don’t need to talk like a professional voice over artist or one of those Hollywood film trailer announcers. Simply be natural, your voice needs to be relaxed, it needs to be passionate and more importantly it needs to be YOU. People can take a lot from a voice that they cannot get from a written article. There are many subtle tones they can hear and they can tell if you are genuine, if you know what you are talking about and if you are trustworthy.
Listening to Podcasts creates a kind of ‘talking to an old friend on the phone’ relationship. Your listeners hear you and become familiar with you, you become one of their ‘friends’ even though they have never met you or even spoken to you. The human voice is very powerful!
When recording your podcast it is advised that you talk as if you were chatting to an old friend who was sat opposite you, someone who you are very comfortable around and imagine you were teaching them all about the subject of your Podcast. If it helps, have a photo nearby as a visual aid and talk to it.
Try and give answers to problems your listeners are having or inspire them to take action and change their lives. Motivational and inspirational Podcasts are very popular.
Other great Podcasts that you can consider doing is the interview style that Pat Flynn and Yaro Starak are very well known for. Arrange to do an interview over the phone of someone you think your listeners would love to hear about, create a series of questions and simply record the conversation.
Podcasts don’t have to be given away or hosted on your own site. Pat Flynn has a successful Podcast series on iTunes. They can be shared to many sites like www.PodBean.com bringing in more traffic to your site.
Podcasts: Incredible Value for Money and Time Invested.
Podcasts are incredibly when you think about them, there are no manufacturing costs, there are no postage costs, they can be accessed and downloaded from anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection. Using free software and a cheap headset you can start creating and sharing powerful traffic and relationship building content today.
People from all kinds of backgrounds use Podcasts, radio stations record their live broadcasts and offer them as downloads; nightclubs and DJs do mixes and release them as Podcasts, they are the new generation ‘mix tape’. One comedian hit the headlines when he made more money selling his $5 Podcasts than he would have normally done doing the usual set up of recording his live stand up at clubs and then selling it as a DVD.
If you are one of those people who thought that you couldn’t create Podcasts then it is time to think again, you can. They are easy to make, they are quick to make and they are relatively cheap if not free to make and more importantly you can make several if not a whole series of Podcasts in the time it takes to make a professional video.
So why not put aside an evening a week and create a 30-60 minute Podcast? What is stopping you? It isn’t the cost or the lack of technical abilities. So really I should be asking, when are you going to start?
I did say I would give you a great fast and free method for creating an audio version of your blog posts that you can add to your site for people to download or listen to while they are on your site. If your site is a WordPress based site the plugin PodPress is ideal for this.
Simply go to www.SoundGecko.com and paste the URL of the blog post you want to make an audio version of. Add your email address and hit the ‘Get MP3’ button. You will be sent an email with a link that takes you to an audio player where you can hear a slightly robotic sounding audio version of your post. For what it is and for how fast it took to do the recording it is pretty damn impressive.
Save the recording from that audio player page to your computer then upload it to your site. It is extremely simple and you will have an audio version of your blog post in minutes. To follow a step by step ‘how to’ guide please click here.
So once again, what is stopping you and when are you going to start?
This guest post was written by Andi (the Minion) Leeman, Andi writes for Tim’s Minions, a site dedicated to giving quality helpful, blogging tips, internet marketing and make money online ideas and advice.