Notes on Podcasting

These are some notes I took on podcasting at last fall’s Podcamp Topeka. I “rediscovered” them, and decided they could be useful to some of you.

Rob Walch, who’s Vice President of Podcaster Relations for Wizzard Media/Libsyn and does the Today in iOS podcast, gave this presentation. Here are the notes – maybe more libraries need to start a podcast!

Some podcasting facts:

  • There are over 1.8 million blogs, but only 200,000 podcasts
  • Podcasting is much easier to listen to now. You can still do it the old way – dump it to an iPod. But you can also use an app, download directly from iTunes to your iPod, or just listen on the web.
  • Podcasts have really loyal audiences – one podcast has listeners who are getting tattoos related to the podcast!
  • Audio is much more popular than video podcasts. Audio is much more portable.

iTunes and podcasting:

  • iTunes is really important to the success of a podcast
  • The podcast’s title is really important, especially in iTunes. Make sure to stuff keywords into the title, because that’s a primary keyword area for iTunes.
  • Artwork has to be great on iTunes. There are apparently two guys at Apple who pick featured podcasts for the podcast app, and they don’t pick bad artwork…

September 2012 podcasting stats from Libsyn (a major podcasting service):

  • 50% got 153 downloads per episode
  • 20% – 1000 downloads
  • 10% – 4000 downloads
  • 8.6 % – 5000 downloads per episode
  • 5% 10,400
  • 1% – 50,000
  • If you can get to 1000 listeners, you are doing an awesome job

Submit your podcast to:

  • iTunes
  • Podcast411.com – directories
  • Zune next best place
  • Blackberry podcasts

Some How-To’s for Podcasting:

  • One mic – you hold it, you are in control of it.
  • Don’t host on your website. If you store your media files there, and your podcast gets too popular, your whole website might shut down… that means you have shut your whole business down. So host the podcast somewhere else….
  • Frequency sweet spot … Weekly and consistent – like every Friday. You will be put into people’s routines. Same day, same time
  • Edit! Hugely important. Even in interviews. Editing is good. Remove ums, ahs, etc.
  • Prepare – do some prep work.
  • Get a call in number for your show and leave voice mail messages. If people hear themselves, they share it. Especially teens…

Pic by owaief89

New Podcasting Host for Us

dude listening to mp3sMy library has been podcasting for awhile, and we have been using blip.tv as our mp3 podcast hosting service. That has worked great … until now.

Blip.tv is a really cool video service. They have always focused on original web shows (think Epic Fu or Ask a Ninja), but historically they were also really friendly towards random, “share the stuff in your head” videobloggers and audio-only podcasters. So they were a great free alternative for a podcast hosting service.

Lately, Blip seems to be narrowing their focus to original web shows. Nothing wrong with that – businesses grow and change. But how does that affect us? Well – for me, though I have quite a few videos uploaded to Blip, you can’t find them in blip’s search engine anymore. They’re still hosted, and you can get to them on my videoblog – just not through Blip’s search engine.

And my library’s audio-only podcast? Blip is turning off the ability to upload all audio-only formats (that includes our mp3 files) starting December 13.

Bummer for us.

For my videos, no sweat – that’s easy. I’ll still upload them to Youtube (I’m already there anyway).

But finding a new podcast hosting service isn’t nearly as easy. For the most part, podcast hosting services actually cost money these days. Here are some of the more popular choices these days:

The big three – these are considered professional podcast hosting and distribution platforms:

  • Libsyn – plans start at $5 a month
  • podbean – they start out free, but add in monthly charges for added features and more storage space
  • blubrry – plans start at $12 a month

Free alternatives (your mileage will definitely vary with these):

A couple other alternatives:

  • hipcast – plans start at $4.95 a month
  • talkshoe – free, but it’s really more a live call-in show service that can be recorded and archived.

We ended up choosing Libsyn. Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at Wizzard Media (they own Libsyn) and host of the Podcast411 podcast, has spoken at two of the three Podcamp Topeka unconferences my library has hosted, and really knows his stuff. So we figured why not try them out?

So for now, we went with Libsyn’s $20 a month plan. It includes advanced statistics, a smartphone app, and more monthly storage. Since we plan on expanding our mobile multimedia offerings (i.e.., more audio and video stuff), paying for those features made a lot of sense to us. It’s still relatively cheap (compared to other stuff we buy or subscribe to, $240 a year is definitely cheap), and we get a dedicated podcasting platform and some really great statistics. Nothing wrong with that!

So – fingers crossed!

photo by skippyjon