How to Prepare to Create Podcasts for Your Blog

By Amy Lupold Bair, Susannah Gardner

Podcasts come in all flavors. You can find personal podcasts, technical podcasts, sports reports, music samples, recorded social gatherings, previously recorded radio broadcasts, book reviews, and audio books. If you can think of a topic, you can probably find a podcast for it.

I Simply Am is a blog about one man’s journey to live life as his authentic self as well as a source of tips and tools for others hoping to do the same.

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Blogs and podcasts can look very similar; the main difference is that a podcast entry contains a media file that the consumer can download, either by directly accessing the website or by subscribing to a syndicated blog feed (also known as the RSS feed).

Many bloggers who want to podcast don’t because of the learning curve to build and maintain a podcast. As wonderful as podcasts can be, writing, recording, uploading, hosting, and promoting one requires a higher level of technical proficiency than written blog posts do.

However, you may find figuring out how to work podcasts worth it if you think they can help grow your audience, enhance your blog content, or improve and expand your blogging skills.

How to reach a wider audience with your podcast

Podcasting can help you reach a different audience. Many people like to read and enjoy taking in a well-written blog post. However, some blog readers enjoy listening to what you have to say as an audio recording. Other blog followers like to watch, rather than read, your blog post — especially if you have a compelling voice or are more photogenic than average.

Also, some of the things that you want to talk about on your blog might work better as an audio recording than a text post, such as interviews, soundscapes, or special events. Video is even more powerful: You can show off much more of your personality, and you can demonstrate things that you might find difficult or impossible to convey with just words.

Think about when and where people might play your podcast, and use that knowledge to help focus your entries.

How to choose between audio and video podcasts

If you’re ready to take the plunge into producing a podcast, you need to decide what format you want to use. Both audio and video require specialized skills to produce.

Your level of technical competence and comfort can determine what medium you choose. You need to consider what type of podcast fits with your blog’s audience — don’t use videocasting, for example, if your blog targets those who use low-bandwidth connections.

Here are a few tips that can help you decide what type of podcast to use:

  • Audio:

    • Easier to produce than video because of a larger availability of open source software. Most software for professional video editing is expensive.

    • Easier and generally quicker to edit than video.

    • More portable than video. Fewer portable devices are designed to deal with video than with audio.

    • Less of a space hog than video, making audio files less expensive than video files to store on a web host.

  • Video:

    • More compelling. The visual and auditory components combined are more likely to keep a viewer from becoming distracted.

    • You can make video shorter than audio. Audiences likely feel satisfied with a 2–4-minute video podcast, whereas they might want a much longer audio podcast.

    • Gives you more visual elements to work with — both when you’re designing your blog and in individual entries.

    • Has more related sites online where you can upload and share files.

    • Requires the viewer’s sole attention, whereas people can listen to audio podcasts while completing other tasks. You can listen to an audio podcast while driving to work, for example.

Video and audio files can get very large. When you upload them to your web server, you fill up your available disk space more quickly than you do if you upload only text and photos. Also, distributing audio and video requires more bandwidth.

Keep an eye on your disk space and bandwidth usage so that you aren’t hit with unexpected overage charges. Ask your web host how to keep tabs on those elements, any fees that you may accrue, and whether you need more space and bandwidth.