The origins and development of Podcasting involve identifying different types of digital media; it has become all too common for people to call all kinds of video posting a Podcast, but forgive me while I put my pedantic hat on here and try to sort out the confusion as it seems to me.
We know that the World Wide Web is a publishing medium, right? On this medium we have the choice of using:
1. Written Text
2.Graphics & Photographs
3. Video productions (including animation and so-forth)
4. Audio files – Wav/MP3 e.t.c
Back in the earliest days of the web, people discovered they could post serialized chapters of their project/life/ideas & thoughts and this activity turned into what we know as ‘Blogging’, or publishing a ‘web log’ of content.
From the beginning Audio was being used by early adopters, and people also offered serialized, or consecutive episodes of audio formatted content, this was very common but it was not until Apple released the iPod in 2001 that this word ‘Pod’ was linked with audio content.
Following the great success of the iPod it became increasingly popular to refer to serialized, or educational, dramatic audio productions as being ‘Podcasts’, and so an entire activity was labelled forevermore.
Today we have dedicated Audio platforms which specialize in presenting purely audio productions, the media is incredibly portable and does not require total attention with one’s eyes & ears – just the ears!
Now Video has crept into the parlance, and people have begun to describe Vlogging as being Podcasting, a ‘Vlog’ is a dedicated video production which has great similarity with Blogging, what makes a production a true Podcast is having a purely audio version of the production available for download to a portable listening device, such as a mobile phone, PC. Laptop, USB stick.
Anyway, I wanted to clarify terminology here, I find it makes everything easier to work with if we are clear about our language.
It is obvious to all but those who have been living off-grid, or remotely that Podcasting has really taken off; even over the past 2-3 years it has massively changed the media game.
Today the old media organizations are struggling to compete with a grass roots industry, Podcasts presented by skilled and experienced operators, freelancers, small business, medical and education experts, and really the entire panoply of human endeavour, it is accurate to say independent Podcasting has become the most powerful media in our society.
I do not state this to promote myself, or to artificially influence anyone, I am making a genuine observation: Today all kinds of people have access to a bewildering range of audio productions, from the golden chestnut of the ‘audio book’, to advanced mathematics and physics, drama, quirky comedic projects, political polemic and of course all of the advertising and influential potential which goes with having intimate access to people’s attention. There is something about audio that all of the old Radio people knew about, you gain welcomed access to people’s most inner thoughts and life.
One of the old expressions the Radio people used to use: Theater of the Mind, to account for this remarkable relationship that becomes possible when people get hooked into your Podcast.
Whether you decide to also produce a video version of events is up to you; from speaking with colleagues and others who are involved with digital media, you can improve your exposure by uploading a video of your sessions to YouTube, or another of the video platforms, but it is always the Audio version that brings in the gold dust, people love those headphones and being able to do other activities while they listen.
One of the aspects of producing Podcasts that puts a lot of people off the idea is that it takes a certain level of skill and experience to make them, not to mention the equipment list:
1. You need a decent condenser microphone – plus you need to practice using your voice effectively and not turning people off with uneven audio and below grade production, a good speaking voice.
2. You need dedicated digital audio workstation software for editing and producing
3. You need graphics, Podcast banners and labels
4. You need a degree of technical proficiency with online platforms and also your own website, it is always a good idea to publish to your own media platform along with 3rd party ones.
5. You need a certain ‘savvy’ with all of these items and activities
People who are incredibly busy these days getting their businesses going and running, along with the demands for family life and all that goes with it just don’t have the time/space in their schedule to learn new skills and execute on a fairly demanding digital media production. I get it.
But it is a shame if you miss out on the vast potential exposure and benefits of having your own Podcast out there, this stuff gets results and even the ‘big guns’ are presenting their own Podcasts to try and snare a slice of the market; I have to say it is usually the independent players who manage to garner the most traction in this space.
In my travels I encounter all kinds of IT people, and digital warriors, over the recent Christmas/New Year period I was looking at a ‘Done For You’ Podcasting company, I am very impressed with their professionalism, and the depth of their services, all for a very reasonable cost. Considering the outlay you will have for equipping yourself, and the time costs involved with knocking out a weekly episode of your Podcast, not to mention the creative energy and sheer task of coming up with new ideas all of the time, a service such as this one offers you a tremendous advantage.
I know we live in times where ‘influencers’ strive to promote their affiliate links, and we are being coaxed each time we open our eyes, I am reluctant to become yet another one, but I always like to discover new opportunities from people I like and trust, even if this is the ‘benefit of the doubt’; how else do we find out about things?
Podcasting is hard work, I know this because I was producing some early attempts 3 years ago, and I discovered just how much of a drain a regular production can be, I think some of my Podcasts are still out there in ‘cyber land’ & of course iTunes, but you can wind up being like Bilbo Baggins (Lord of the Rings) and feel like ‘butter spread over too many slices of bread’ – A DFY Podcasting service which can produce very high standard results has to be a good thing!
The great success of Podcasting as a specialized digital media type can translate as being your success, I have helped a few people along the way to set themselves up and go into production, so I really am aware of what is involved, and I know there are many good people out there who can benefit enormously from being able to hand their Podcast over to accomplished, professional people for a fair exchange.
If you are considering getting involved with Podcasting, I offer advice and help, drop me a line by all means. But if ‘done for you’ floats your boat I can recommend