March 06, 2005

NextGen Blogging: Podcasting at a Glance

iPod, You Pod, We all Pod for Podcasts. (Or something like that.)

Remember the first song ever played on MTV? Yup, it was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by Buggles. Well, no one can say that Podcasting will kill the radio or even Internet Radio. But it's one heck of an enhancement, and yet another way to draw audiences to your RSS feed, especially if you have a good broadcast personality. So what is Podcasting? Think of it as Blogging meets Internet Radio.

To better answer that question, Wired Magazine has two great Podcasting articles this month. First, there's the feature article about Adam Curry, the ex-MTV VJ who's a key player in the development and promotion of Podcasting via iPodder. From MTV to MP3, talk about first mover advantage.

If you're new to Podcasting, or just curious about how it works, check out Wired's "Podcasting at a Glance." This short guide covers:

  • How It Works
  • How To Get It
  • How To Make Your Own Podcast
  • What's Next
For more examples and information, check out iPodder.org.

No one says you have to be a Howard Stern to push the media envelope. But I think it's fair to say that people are hungry for media. People with iPods and MP3 players -- even more so. Combining audio broadcasts through the simplicity of RSS feeds is a powerful combination.

While not every Podcaster is going to make it big (just like bloggers), there's still time to get in on it during the first wave. But just like blogging, a commitment to Podcasting should not just be a knee-jerk impulse. A good theme/market is helpful (whether it be mainstream or niche), as is the ability to keep it going after you start. Consider the additional time it takes to provide both text and audio feeds. It's also helpful to have a certain broadcast quality. Here's a thought: If you don't feel you've got "the right stuff", consider a Tonight Show format. Bring on lots of guests over time and let them tell their story or share their expertise and guidance.

Will your blog wither away if you don't Podcast? If you're providing compelling content, I seriously doubt it. So don't feel bad if you're not Podcasting (I'm not). Remember, while iPods are all the craze, far from everyone has one. Everyone with a PC has a browser, so that's a much, much larger audience. However, Podcasts can be used to draw in new audiences in this "nichestream" (as opposed to mainstream), simply because you're offering it. Now once it gets saturated, the dynamics could change a bit. Again, there's a LOT to be said for first mover advantage in this space.

Compelling blogs + compelling Podcasts = One powerful media streaming source. It's another value add if done well. As to what format or content you should provide, that's what you'll need to figure out. The best blogs are the ones that come from the heart -- what that person or group is passionate about. I'd say that goes double for podcasting. Also, I think this is an area where big business can redeem itself in the blogosphere. Remember all those publicity-stunt blogs that were started just as a gimmick and fizzled overnight? Well, putting some value-added commercial grade broadcasts (not just fluff) into a Podcast is likely to gain a much more positive reception.

Perhaps it's just me, but Podcasting gives bloggers and others a much more intimate connection with their audience. It's one thing to read what I've written. But consider how much more powerful it is when you listen to what I say.

Topic(s):   Blogging Tips
Posted by Jeff Beard
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