This report was excerpted by permission from Patrice-Anne
Rudledge's The Web-Savvy Writer: Book Promotion with a Tech Twist. Web:
Note: Some of the information in this article is out-dated
(simply the facts of life on the Internet). Check her website for any updated
editions of her book.
For more podcasting
resources, click here
Just the Facts
Traffic to Apple’s iTunes website and use of the iTunes
application has skyrocketed 241 percent over the past year, from 6.1 million
unique visitors in December 2004 to 20.7 million in December 2005, reaching
nearly 14 percent of the active Internet population. — Source: Nielsen//NetRatings
Think of a podcast as an Internet radio show you listen to on
demand. The term podcast comes from the words iPod and broadcast. However, the
iPod aspect of podcasting is misleading. You can listen to a podcast on an iPod,
but listening on another MP3 player or a computer capable of playing audio files works just as well.
With podcasting, the online audio content that you create is
delivered via a feed. It’s similar to your blog’s feed, but it’s for audio
instead. Using the feed, listeners can subscribe to your podcast so they’re aware of every new episode.
In order to determine whether podcasting is a good choice for
your book promotion efforts, you need to learn the basics of podcasting.
Advantages of Podcasting
As an author, you can use podcasting to connect with your audience by:
- Telling a story
- Reading a book excerpt (serialized audio books are also called podiobooks)
- Delivering tutorials related to your area of expertise
- Producing your own talk show
- Providing audio travel content for travelers with an iPod or other MP3 player
- Offering paid subscriptions to value-added audio content
Listening to Podcasts
Before creating your own podcast, you should listen to other
podcasts to get a feel for what works well in this medium. There are several
ways to listen to a podcast. You can:
- Listen directly from the web
- Download a podcast and listen to it later on your computer
- Download a podcast, transfer it to your digital audio player
(such as an iPod or similar device), and listen to it whenever and wherever you want
When you find podcasts you like, you can subscribe to them
just like you do with your favorite RSS feeds. You can listen and subscribe to
podcasts through a podcatcher, which is very similar to the feed readers you use
to read and subscribe to RSS feeds. In fact, many feed readers also enable you
to subscribe to podcasts. Podcatchers are also called podcast readers, podcast
receivers, and aggregators. Here are some well-known, and free, podcatchers to check out:
- Doppler - http://www.dopplerradio.net. Offers downloads of Doppler for Windows and
- iTunes - http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts. With iTunes for the Window or Mac
you can subscribe and listen to podcasts as well as take advantage of other iTunes music management features.
- Juice - http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net. Juice, formerly known as iPodder, is
available as a download for Windows and Mac platforms. A Linux version is in development.
- Yahoo! Podcasts - http://podcasts.yahoo.com. Enables you
to listen to podcasts directly from the web or subscribe and listen with
either Ya-hoo! Music Engine or Apple iTunes. Also offers a large podcast
directory and good background information on podcasting.
- Mobilcast - http://www.mobilcast.com.
Listen to podcasts on your mobile phone. Mobilcast supports selected
Nokia, Motorola, and Sony Ericcson phones. When you complete your own podcast,
you can also add it to the Mobilcast directory.
Most podcatchers also offer podcast directories so you can
search for interesting podcasts. Some book-related podcasts to check out include:
Planning Your Author Podcast
In order to develop a podcasting plan, ask yourself the
- Who is your audience? What content do they want to listen to?
- What other podcasts target your same audience? How will your podcast be different?
- What is your podcast’s goal? How does your content fit with that goal?
- What is your format? Will you be the sole speaker? Or will you inter-view others?
- How long will each podcast be?
- How frequently will you podcast? Monthly, weekly, daily, or on another schedule?
Web-Savvy in Action
Trevor is the self-published author of a mystery novel he
has chosen to deliver as a podiobook, an audiobook delivered as a serialized
podcast. He posts each chapter on his blog and also created a podcast feed to
promote his podiobook. His blog includes a link to Amazon.com, where listeners
can purchase the print version of his book. A large graphic of the book’s
cover appears prominently on his blog.
Trevor isn’t a well-known novelist, so he needs to promote
his podiobook to develop an audience. He starts by contacting websites that
target mystery buffs and then creates a series of online press releases
related to his book. Because podiobooks are still a new concept, he is able to
generate some press coverage on his book and expand his audience.
Creating Your Author Podcast
There are several basics steps to creating a podcast:
- Record your podcast, either on your computer using
recording software and a microphone or, alternatively, by phone.
- Save your podcast as an MP3 file.
- Upload your MP3 files to your server.
- Create your podcast RSS feed.
- Publish and promote your RSS feed.
Don’t worry if this sounds difficult to you. Many automated
tools make podcasting easier.
Choosing Your Podcasting Tools and Technologies
If you plan to record your podcast on your computer, you’ll
need a good microphone and some basic recording software. Popular recording
software programs to consider include:
- Audacity -
http://audacity.sourceforge.net. Audacity is a free, open source software
program for recording and editing sound. Popular with podcasters, it’s
available as a download for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. If you need to
export your sound file to an MP3 format (many podcast services do this for
you, so it may not be necessary), you can download the optional LAME MP3
encoder to handle this task.
- GarageBand - http://www.apple.com/ilife/garageband. Apple’s audio recording software
for the Macintosh is particularly good for recording music, but also has many
podcasting features. These include the ability to add a podcast artwork track,
a built-in sound effects library, a speech enhancer, iChat interview
recording, and one-click podcast publishing.
Don’t plan to use the microphone that came with your computer,
or your notebook’s built-in microphone, for recording purposes. You need a
solid, professional-quality microphone for high-quality podcasting. Plantronics,
Behringer, and Stageworks all make affordable microphones that are suitable for
Creative Author Podcast Ideas
Here’s a trio of ideas for those who want to create a more
- Add music to your podcast. To do so, find royalty-free
music suitable for podcasts, known as podsafe music. A good source to check
out is the Podsafe Music Network (http://music.podshow.com).
- If you want to include video in your podcasts, consider
creating a video podcast. A video podcast is also referred to as a vidcast,
vodcast, videocast, or vcast. Yes, the podcasting crowd does love catchy new
names. This technique is similar to videoblogging, but it’s delivered via an
RSS feed to which listeners can subscribe.
- Include phone interviews in your podcasts using services
such as FreeConference.com (http://www.freeconference.com),
Conference Calls Unlimited (http://www.conferencecallsunlimited.com),
or Maklitel (http://www.maklitel.com).
Another option is to use the call recording features of Internet phone
services such as Gizmo (http://www.gizmoproject.com)
or Skype (http://www.skype.com). Skype
users should check out the third-party HotRecorder (http://www.hotrecorder.com)
software for call recording.
Web-Savvy In Action
Berrie is the author of a series of adventure travel
guidebooks to the American Northwest. She likes the idea of creating a podcast
to expand her audience and promote her books, but she wants to try something a little different.
Berrie enjoys making videos with her camcorder and creates a
monthly video podcast that covers some of her favorite adventures in
Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. She promotes her video podcast in podcast
directories, on her website, and on other travel websites that are interested
in both her content as well as the new video podcast technology.
Hosting Your Author Podcast
Here are three podcast hosting options that make things easy
for the novice podcaster:
- Hipcast -
http://www.hipcast.com. Enables you to create your podcast in three ways:
by telephone, through your web browser with a microphone and no additional
software, or using audio software such as Audacity or GarageBand. You can
incorporate your podcasts into your blogs hosted by Blogger, TypePad,
WordPress, and other blogging tools. Hipcast is also compatible with
FeedBurner and iTunes. Monthly fees vary based on storage requirements;
bandwidth is unmetered. Offers free seven-day trial. Formerly called
- Liberated Syndication -
http://www.libsyn.com. Offers four levels
of podcast syndication services based on your storage requirements (from 100
megabytes to 800 megabytes). There is no charge for bandwidth usage. You can
use their blogging interface or work with your own blogging tool.
- Podblaze.com -
http://www.podblaze.com. Provides an easy-to-use podcast hosting service,
including iTunes compatibility. Charges varied monthly fees based on storage
and bandwidth requirements.
Profiting from Your Author Podcast
Do you want to make some money from your podcast? New ways to
profit from podcasting are just beginning to develop, but here are some ideas:
- Consider accepting advertising in your podcasts, also
referred to as podvertising or advercasting.
- Secure podcast sponsors related to your podcast topic.
- Offer special discounts on your books, products, and
services to your podcast listeners to generate more sales .
- Discuss affiliate products that you recommend and refer
listeners to your website for more information and related links.
- Place ads, such as Google AdSense, on the web pages related
to your podcast.
Podcast advertising is currently in the early adopter stage,
but here are some options to consider:
- Fruitcast -
http://www.fruitcast.com. A podcast advertising network that allows
advertising to bid for ads on your podcast. Podcasters receive revenue for
each downloaded episode that contains advertising.
- Kiptronic -
http://www.kiptronic.com/podcaster. A podcast sponsorship marketplace
that enables you to choose sponsors for your podcast. Offers both exclusive
sponsorships with a single advertiser or a pay-per-download plan with multiple advertisers.
- Podcaster Ads -
podcast ad network that lets you create predetermined pod spots (advertising
spots) in your podcast and sell them to advertisers. You record the ads that
you select, insert them in your podcast, and receive 75 percent of the
- Podtrac -
http://www.podtrac.com. Podtrac creates a free audience survey and custom
media kit for participating podcasters who are then eligible to participate in
their advertising auction.
- Blast Podcast -
- CastFire - http://www.castfire.com
- Podvertiser - http://www.podvertiser.com
Are you looking for even more advertising options. Search on
podcast advertising for other new services.
If podcast advertising is something you’re interested in
pursuing, you should wait until you have a reasonable number of subscribers
before seeking advertisers. No one wants to advertise on a podcast with just a
few subscribers. Focus on developing an audience, and then sign up for an
Web-Savvy In Action
Elmer is the author of a series of books on home-based
business who produces a popular podcast in a talk show format. In each podcast,
he covers an area of interest to home-based business owners and interviews an
expert in that field. In addition to providing useful information to his
audience, these guests usually promote their appearance on his podcast on
their own sites and blogs. To give his podcast a professional touch, Elmer
adds an introduction using podsafe music.
Elmer hopes his podcast generates revenue as well as
promotes his books. On his website and blog, he provides detailed information
on his consulting services and seminars and recommends affiliate products that
his audience may be interested in buying. At appropriate times throughout his
podcasts, Elmer discusses these products and services and mentions his website URL.
Promoting Your Author Podcast on Your Website
Once you create a podcast, the first thing you should do is to
let your blog and website visitors know about it. One of the easiest ways to do
this is to add feed subscription buttons, also called chicklets, enabling your
readers to subscribe to your podcast feed.
To add these buttons, you need to generate HTML code that
includes information about your feed and insert this HTML code into your web
page or blog. Don’t worry. Generating the HTML code is usually an automated
process. There are several ways to do this:
- If you use FeedBurner, click the Publicize tab and then the
Chicklet Chooser button to generate the HTML code for the buttons you want to
use, including those for podcatchers such as Odeo, PodNova, My Yahoo!, and
- Go to the websites of the podcatchers whose buttons you
want to add to your page (for example, Juice, Odeo, Podnova, iTunes, Yahoo!
and so forth) to find instructions on how to add their feed subscription
- If you use TypePad, the ability to add a podcast link to
your sidebar is built into the existing template.
- If you’re planning to issue an online press release,
consider PRWeb’s press release podcasting service (http://www.prweb.com).
If you purchase their SEO Tools distribution plan, PRWeb records a podcast
interview with you and posts it with your release.
Pinging Update Services
When you complete a new podcast, use a ping utility to notify
multiple update services that you have a new show. Using a utility to notify
multiple services with a single entry is a big timesaver.
For example, you could notify Fresh Podcasts, Odeo, PodNova,
iPodder, Podscope, BlogDigger, and Audio.weblogs.com all on one form. Some free
ping utilities to consider include AllPodcasts.com (http://www.allpodcasts.com)
and King Ping (http://www.kping.com).
Submitting Your Author Podcast to Podcast Directories
Listing your podcast in the most popular podcast directories
also helps new listeners discover your podcast. Here are some good choices to
Finding where to list your podcast on iPodder.org can be a bit
tricky. To do so, choose a category from the directory and then click “Suggest a Link.”
If you want to find more places to submit your podcast, search on your favorite
search engine for “podcast directory.”
Web-Savvy In Action
Molly is the author of a memoir about raising a family of
ten children. To promote her book, Molly creates a slice of life podcast
filled with humorous stories about her family. The main challenge for Molly is
that her target audience generally isn’t very familiar with podcasting. When
she first started her podcasts, she mentioned them on her website home page
and provided a link to her podcast feed. Few of her readers subscribed,
however, and many people at her in-person talks admitted to not understanding
To educate her audience about podcasting, and increase her
number of listeners, Molly reworks the information on her website to provide
more basic background information, referring to her podcast as an Internet
radio show. By providing direct links to listen online, her audience begins to
develop. As her listeners become more comfortable with the concept of
podcasting, they refer to Molly’s advanced information about RSS, subscribing
via a podcatcher, and playing podcasts on iPods and other MP3 players.
Author Podcasting Step-by-Step
Podcasting helps you connect with—and entertain—your audience
using the spoken word. Having your own “online radio show” is easier than ever.
Here’s your step-by-step to-do list:
Research podcasting and verify that you understand the basic
Listen and subscribe to several podcasts to get a first-hand
view of how it works.
Create a concept and theme for your podcast and plan several
Research and choose your podcasting tools and hosting
technologies (don’t go overboard on expensive equipment when you’re first
starting out with podcasting).
Record your podcast, either on your computer using recording
software and a microphone or, alternatively, by phone.
Save your podcast as an MP3 file and upload it to your
server (many podcast hosting services simplify this step).
Create a podcast feed with FeedBurner or another tool.
Publish your podcast.
Promote your podcast on your website, blog, and ezine; on
the web; and in search engines and blog directories.
Consider incorporating advertising into your podcast when
your subscriber volume warrants it.
Patrice-Anne Rutledge is the bestselling author of 24 books, a
successful technology journalist, and an online book promotion expert.
Her most recent book is The Web-Savvy
Writer: Book Promotion with a High-Tech Twist, which shows authors
how to profit from the latest techniques in online book promotion. To sign up
for her ezine and receive a free special report on generating sales with author
websites, visit her site at
For more podcasting
secrets, click here.
For more podcasting
resources, click here.
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