Podcasting 101 with Shel Holtz

Shel Holtz, expert on communications and technology, tells communicators why to try podcasting.

Shel Holtz, expert on communications and technology, tells communicators why to try podcasting

These days, there are plenty of ways to receive and transmit information. But how do you decide which vehicles are best for your messages?

If your audience is always on the go, podcasting might be the way to go. “Audio podcasting is the only communications channel you can pay attention to while you’re doing something else,” says Shel Holtz, communication technology expert and co-host of the communications podcast, For Immediate Release.

Convenience is key

What is a podcast?

Introduced in 2004, podcasts are “Web-based digital media files” that can be played on portable media players like iPods, MP3 players and personal computers.

The number of podcasts today currently outnumbers radio stations, with over 44,000 podcasts coming through feed burners.

Podcastalley.com is one of the first and best podcasting directories.” Holtz also recommends checking out podcastpickle.com and iTunes.com. These sites are easy to use and allow users to rate podcasts.

If the fact that you can listen to a podcast and do something else at the same time isn’t enough, consider that podcasts are time-shifted.

“It’s like Tivo for your audio content—you listen when it’s convenient for you,” Holtz says.

Additionally, you’re able to download a podcast from your computer and listen to it on a portable media player of your choice.

“Many people think you have to have an iPod to listen to a podcast, but this isn’t the case. The name ‘podcast’ is unfortunate because it leads people to believe you need an iPod,” Holtz says.

Why a podcast?

“Podcasts are a great forum for niche content,” according to Holtz. “You can’t propose a radio show on social media, PR and corporate communications to a radio station—the audience is too small. Most of the content being distributed as podcasts would never have a prayer of getting on the air without the channel of podcasting.”

Podcasts also don’t need to have a large audience to be considered successful. “If you want to reach a critical audience of 500 people and you have 500 subscribers, then you’ve got a successful podcast. You don’t need tens of thousands of people to listen like you need for the radio,” Holtz says.

What’s more, “[podcasting is] a completely different channel of providing information, and people like to obtain info in a variety of ways,” Holtz says.

Podcast content is also considered especially compelling, as opposed to blogs and e-mail because you can actually hear the speaker’s authentic voice. Plus, people don’t have as much time to read anymore—listening can be done while you’re at your computer or while you’re on the go.

How to create a podcast: A brief rundown

If you decide to create a podcast, here’s what you need: a computer, high-quality microphone and recording software

Then, follow these steps:

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