Very simply put, a podcast is your own audio show prepared for a broadcast on the internet or any system such as an iPod or mp3 player. The growth of the internet and technology and the fact that anyone, including you can get on the net and make your voice heard are only two of the reasons why podcasting is so popular. If you're a rank beginner, follow the steps listed below to learn how to make your own podcast.
Skills required for podcasting. Before you get started on producing your own podcast, there are some basic skills which you should know and be aware of. For starters, learn how to record the audio content and save it as an mp3 file. Next, find out how to create an RSS file, this file will contain pointers on how you can send your file to a user program. Learn how to write these pointers in the file, upload both the RSS feed and audio file and finally how to validate that the file is correctly prepared and sent.
Nature and content. Like you'd research and prepare for presentations or radio shows or speeches, etc, it is important to have a planned outline for the content of your podcast ready before you start podcasting. Think about what is it that you want to say, how long will the show last, and whether it will be a formal or informal event. A podcast can be a monologue you're presenting by yourself or a discussion between two or more individuals, a chat show or a business-oriented subject or tutorial. For example, you can use a podcast as an advertising tool on your website or on the internet generally to highlight and promote your business or services.
Choosing recording software and other required programs. As the popularity of podcasting grows, the number of software programs and applications that exist to make the process easy is also increasing. You can choose your preferred option from a range of applications such as Windows' ‘Sound Recorder', ‘Audacity', ‘RecordForAll', ‘Replay Radio', ‘FeedForAll', ‘AudioBlogger', ‘Podfeeder', ‘iPodder', etc. These are just a few of the more popular applications and programs that are available to make the process of creating a podcast easy. For purposes of instruction in this article, we'll work with Audacity and Sound Recorder.
Preparing the audio file. To record an audio file you need to have a microphone, this is either in-built in your computer sound card or can be purchased as an external accessory. For best results, the microphone should be unidirectional and dynamic-type. Plug in the mic, adjust the controls by accessing the ‘accessories' tool in Windows', click on ‘volume control', choose ‘options' from the menu, highlight ‘properties' and select ‘recording'. Using Audacity, create a new recording, check the sound levels and begin recording your podcast content. Once done, choose the edit option to review and correct any errors and save the file. Make a note of the file location and the file size in bytes.
Create an RSS file. You can do this by either writing the RSS file yourself (if you are proficient in XML and coding), or use a readymade program such as MyRSSCreator.com or BlogMatrix or ClickCaster. There are also fee-based and free programs for RSS file generation and you can follow the instructions provided in them to create the RSS text file - ‘Simple RSS File Generator' is one such application.
Uploading the RSS and audio file. RSS files require a server where they can be hosted, if you already have a website, you don't need a separate server. Upload the files to your website or any other site you're planning to use, validate the RSS program using http://rss.scripting.com/ and type in the address of your site or server. Once validated, all that is left for you to do, is to provide the location address to all those who might be interested in listening to your podcast.
Publicizing your podcast. List your podcast in the various directories available on the internet or you can use programs designed to disseminate your podcasts to other people, such as iTunes, RSS Radio, iPodder, etc. For directories, you can go through Digital Podcast, Podcast411.com, SportsPodcasts.com, etc.
Having followed the steps described above, you are now ready to make your first podcast. Exercise your imagination and creativity to the utmost, and create podcasts that others would love to hear!