In simplest terms, “podcast” is typically used to refer to an electronic audio or video file delivered via download on the Internet. Here are the most common questions newcomers have about podcasts:
1. Who can podcast? The world of podcasters is as wide and diverse as the world of bloggers. There are popular podcasts on everything from technology to sports to gaming to weight loss. Just like with a blog, you can start a podcast on virtually any topic and publish it, if you have the desire to do so.
2. How do people create podcasts? You can create a podcast with very simple audio or video recording devices or recording software. Some podcasters record with Skype. Other podcasters just use the telephone. The media file (usually a mp3) is then uploaded to the Internet for download and is made available for listeners.
3. Do I have to pay to create a podcast? Again, just like with blogging, there are free and paid options for creating and hosting your podcast online. You do not have to pay to create a podcast or have it listed in the major directories, such as iTunes, but you may choose to pay for software, recording devices, and/or online hosting.
4. Will my audience need an iPod to listen to my podcast? Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to have an iPod to listen to a podcast. Your audience can listen directly on their computer with an interface like iTunes, or download the file to an MP3 player and listen on the go. They can even burn podcasts to a CD or DVD if they prefer – and many do.
5. Do listeners pay to download podcasts? Most podcasts are free, but you do have the option to create a pay-to-play podcast. Obviously, your podcasting goals will help you determine whether or not you charge listeners, and how much you ask them to pay.
6. Can people subscribe to my podcast? Listeners can subscribe to your podcast via an RSS feed, which allows them to receive the latest episodes of your podcast directly to their computer. This means your podcast gets pushed automatically to your dedicated listeners.
7. How often do I release new episodes? Podcasts can be daily, weekly, monthly, or any other interval. The most successful podcasts are released on a regular schedule. Some podcasters create a certain number of podcasts in a series – say, a series of 10 or 12. Others podcast in perpetuity, for as long as they choose to keep publishing new episodes.
8. Can I make money podcasting? Just like with blogging, most podcasters don't make money, but it is possible to do so. There are several different ways to make money podcasting, from charging for your podcast to finding advertisers and sponsors. Also, podcasting can help you to drive traffic to your products and services – which is where most podcasters realize profit.
Now that we've covered the basics of what podcasting is, our next blog article will be: Why podcasting is good for your business.