Discover What Tools and Resources You Need To Create a Podcast and Publish it on Your RSS Feed
Really simple syndication allows you to display any content on an XML feed. You can include site updates, links to other resources and more. However, besides regular text information, you can syndicate audio and video files with the help of RSS technology.
The way of publicizing audio on your RSS feed is called podcasting. Podcasts are very powerful tool and many marketing experts already realize that. Podcasts can bring additional traffic and make closer connection with your target market.
As you realize the power of podcasts, you probably also want to create one for yourself or just try it out. But if you think it’s too complicated or too expensive to do that, then put your worries away, because you can create your first podcast using free resources, well almost free (you’ll need to order a microphone).
Steps For Creating a Podcast
In order to publish an audio file on your RSS feed, you’ll need to create one first. You can make an MP3 audio file or use any other extension. However, keep in mind that MP3 is like a standard on the web. Other media files may be unavailable for some devices to play, so choosing MP3 is wise. Another benefit is that MP3 files are very small (that’s why this format became so popular) so they don’t require much space on your server. They can be downloaded much faster than others.
Ok. For a start, you’ll need to get a microphone and headphones for your computer. There are cheap ones and little more expensive. It’s actually up to you what kind of microphone to get for yourself. You need headphones too, because your voice coming from the speakers will also be recorded and it will bring additional noise.
Basically, here are the major steps to create a podcast:
- Create MP3 Audio File on Your PC
- Edit an RSS Feed to Allow Podcasting
- Upload All the Files on Your Web Server
- Market Your Podcast on the Internet
Setting Up Microphone
Assuming that you have got the microphone and headphones on your computer it’s time to configure them correctly. Once you’ve connected microphone and headphones to your PC, go to:
Start > Control Panel > Sounds and Audio Devices
In the first “Volume” tab under “Device Volume” click “Advanced”. Then “Volume Control” will pop up. In that window, press “Options” and then “Properties”.
In the “Properties” menu click “Recording” radio button and also make sure that “Microphone” box is checked below.
Also make sure that under “Recording Control” a check box in the “Microphone” section is selected. Also increase the volume, like in the image below or you won’t be able to record anything.
Setting Up Audacity to Record Audio
There are many tools that will allow you to create audio files on your PC. Some are expensive others are free. One of the best free tools available for recording audio is Audacity open source software. You’ll also need to download additional file “Lame MP3 encoder” associated with Audacity that enables you to record MP3 files. It can be found in the Audacity download page. When you download “Lame MP3 encoder”, extract the files into a folder on your desktop for later use.
This program is very easy to use. You’ll be able to record your first audio within minutes. If you have any problems, read their help files. Now open your Audacity program if it’s not already opened and click on:
Edit > Preferences
In “Audio Preferences” choose “Audio I/O” tab. For “Playback” and “Recording” choose your soundcard. For channels select “(1) Mono”. If you choose stereo or other settings, your file size will be much bigger.
In the “Quality” tab, “Default Sample Rate” should be set to 44100Hz and “Default Sample Rate” set to 16-bit. Then go to the second tab “File Formats”. In the very top “When importing uncompressed audio files into Audacity” select “Make a copy of the file before editing”. This is safer, because you won’t overwrite your files accidentally. At the bottom chose bit rate to be 128. Lowering this number will significantly decrease the quality of your audio. Later you can experiment with that.
Now click “OK” at the bottom and close the preferences window. In the main window, select “Microphone” in the “Audacity Mixer Toolbar” as shown in the image below.
Now try to speak into the microphone. You should see red noise indicator that slightly moves towards the right side as it catches the noise in your room. If you don’t, then right click on the “Meter Toolbar” and select “Monitor Input”.
Now increase the volume of the toolbar so the red bar bounces closer to the right edge.
Recording MP3 with Audacity
Now press “Record” button and start talking into the microphone. Press “Stop” if you want to stop your recording. Now you can press “Play” and hear what you’ve recorded. Click “Save Project As” to save your current file. You can also save uncompressed wav file by clicking “Export as WAV”. However, keep in mind that wav format itself is limited to 2Gb max. So if your recording is bigger that 2Gb, you’ll have trouble. Saving uncompressed file is important for later editing, so you don’t lose any quality.
When the project is saved, export your audio file in MP3 format.
But there’s one more thing to do before exporting your MP3 file. You should also define the ID3 tags. Go to:
Project > Edit ID3 Tags
You should see a window like this:
ID3 tags are not used very effectively yet, there are no set standards. However, these should be included in every podcast. ID3 tags describe your recording. They are used by many applications and devices to display the information you put here.
- Title – It’s the title of your podcast. If it’s a podcast that is not about a particular topic, then include something that would make sense.
- Artist – That’s the author of a podcast.
- Album – If you are publishing a series of messages about some kind of particular subject, you can define the whole subject as the album.
- Track Number and Year – Put the number of podcast or a number from series. Year is self explanatory.
- Genre – For voice recordings, best suits “Speech”. If you publish your own music, then choose anything else from a list.
- Comments – Here you can include anything else that you couldn’t post in other fields.
After you’ve defined the ID3 tags, press “Export As MP3” and when prompted, enter the name for your file. After entering a name for your file, you’ll see a window that prompts to locate the codec file of Lame MP3 encoder.
Click “Yes” and navigate to the folder where you have extracted the files of the codec. It should be on desktop if you followed this guide carefully. In that folder, select the file you’re asked and click “Open”. This will install the codec for MP3 exporting. That’s it, your recorded MP3 file is done.
Actually, you can record almost anything you want. Music, webcasts, online radio shows and etc. However keep in mind that there are copyright restrictions and promoting material that doesn’t belong to you is illegal. But if you record your own music or voice, then you won’t have any problems.
Creating RSS Feed For Podcasting
It’s time to create an RSS feed for your podcast. If you don’t know how to do it, read the article about RSS feed creation.
You gonna have to use RSS version 2.0 and not any other version, because this version supports special enclosure tags that are used for podcasting. Here you can read more about RSS versions.
Let’s take a simple RSS 2.0 file for example:
<?xml version="1.0" ?> <rss version="2.0"> <channel> <title>Your Channel Title</title> <description>Description of Your Channel or Feed.</description> <link>http://domain.com</link> <item> <title>Title of Your Message</title> <description>Description of Your Message</description> <link>http://www.yordomain.com/yourfile.html</link> </item> </channel> </rss>
However, for podcasting you’ll need to change this file little bit. The first thing is adding namespace declaration for iTunes.
It is required as other special tags for iTunes. Without this declaration all other iTunes tags become worthless. And one other tag that is the core of the whole podcasting is the enclosure tag.
<enclosure url="http://domain.com/yourfile.mp3" length="2546875" type="audio/mp3" />
Notice that enclosure tag has no closing tag.
URL in quotes should point to the exact location of the audio file on your server.
Length is the size of the file in bytes. If you want to see how much your MP3 file weights, right click on your file and choose “Properties”. Then copy and paste the exact number in bytes as shown and remove the commas.
Type is usually MP3. However, it’s possible to use other types, because you can include not only audio, but also video files into the RSS feed enclosure tags. All the additional tags can be found at iTunes podcasting specification page.
So after editing our RSS feed, we get the following XML code.
<?xml version="1.0" ?> <rss xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/DTDs/Podcast-1.0.dtd" version="2.0"> <channel> <title>Your Channel Title</title> <description>Description of Your Channel or Feed.</description> <link>http://domain.com</link> <item> <title>Sample Podcast 1</title> <description>A short description about your podcast.</description> <enclosure url="http://domain.com/yourfile.mp3" length="2546875" type="audio/mp3" /></item> <item> <title>Sample Podcast 2</title> <description>A short description about another podcast</description> <enclosure url="http://domain.com/yourfile2.mp3" length="4523805" type="audio/mp3" /></item> </channel> </rss>
Simply copy the RSS code above, paste it into any text editor, save as feed.xml and upload to your server. You’ll also have to upload MP3 file into some directory. It’s better to create a special directory for podcasting files.
As you’ve noticed, enclosure tags go into <item> element. You can have more than one item, up to 15 items per feed. So you can have 15 audios for people to download and listen. Whenever, you need to upload new audio file, replace one item in this XML file (RSS feed) and put a new one. iTunes users and people with other mobile devices or RSS readers will be able to download new files as soon as they are updated.
Promoting Your Podcast
There are tons of methods for marketing your podcast. You can market your podcast using almost all the methods used for RSS feed marketing. However, one method fits only to podcasts and that is submitting your podcasts to special podcast directories.
Few of them include:
Podcasting popularity is increasing daily. People love such music devices as iTunes. It’s very comfortable to listen to audio files. So allowing your customers and clients to listen to your updated news using these audio tools is simply great.
Just think about the opportunities you have. Now you can easily dominate your competitors by offering audio newsletter on your podcasts. People will gladly listen to you instead of reading text. If you don’t want to miss the bandwagon, then it’s suggested to start your podcasting right now. Thousands already have.