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Creating Podcasts to Promote Your Book

David Marshall Posted by David Marshall, Vice President of Editorial and Digital , Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

David Marshall heads the editorial department, which is responsible for 40-50 new titles per year and 5-10 digital products or initiatives. 

Creating Podcasts to Promote Your Book

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Ready to provide customers with an opportunity to have constant updates on your products and ideas? Podcasts are exactly what you need!

What: Create your own mini-series of radio show episodes that anyone can access on their smartphone. You can make it available via iTunes or a variety of other services.

Why: If speaking comes to you more naturally than writing, creating a podcast will be easier for you than keeping a blog. It will appeal to people who are audio learners, and enable your readers to connect with you even while jogging or driving. Also, you can’t skim a podcast the way you can skim a blog post. By using audio, you may be able to command more full and complete attention for your message.

How: The Creative Side

  • You must determine how long you would like your show to be, what topics it will cover, and how often you would like to create new episodes.
  • The layout and flow of your episodes is entirely subject to your creativity, but it would be wise to create interesting bits on the short side rather than long shows; at least while you’re initially engaging your audience.
  • Here’s six ways of framing your podcast show that work well: http://www.emediavitals.com/content/6-podcast-formats-work
  • Leading and closing with music can add a nice personal flare to your shows, so creating music solely for this purpose is an option that can take time or money, but can also be free with PodSafe music services, which you can find here: http://blog.blogtalkradio.com/blogtalkradio/17-places-to-find-podsafe-music/

How: The Technical Side (feel free to enlist the help of a tech-savvy friend or relative)

  • After you have finished recording, you must encode your audio file to MP3 with a program like Audacity, which is available as freeware. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ MIT recommends these guidelines for bitrates when recording. (For more about what a “bitrate” is, click here: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/mp32.htm )
  • 48 to 56k Mono: lectures, audio books, talk radio
  • 64k+ Stereo: music, music and talk combinations
  • 128k Stereo: good quality music
  • Now that you have your .mp3 file, you can link it with an RSS feed. If you are comfortable with computer code, you can do a few Google searches and figure out how to do this by hand. If you’d rather not deal with code directly, open source software like Podcast Generator can help you out: http://podcastgen.sourceforge.net/
  • Save your RSS feed on your web server and submit its URL to a feed validator like www.feedvalidator.org to make sure it works correctly.
  • After you know your code is correct, you’re ready to submit to iTunes. Here is Apple’s complete guide to submitting a podcast: http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html#metadata and how that process works. There is technical information regarding submission errors, troubleshooting, upkeep, etc.

How Much: Aside from a few equipment costs, podcasting is basically free. Depending on the quality of your computer's built-in microphone, you may need to purchase a microphone. A recorder (hand held or software based) and headphones are also needed. Here’s an article that offers recommendations on how to get quality beginner’s equipment for under $50: http://bibpodcast.com/blog/how-to-start-a-successful-podcast-on-a-50-budget/ Once you have this infrastructure in place, there are no ongoing costs. The code is already provided online, and iTunes does not charge for submission or posting.

Help: This should not be a tiring task, but small mistakes are tedious to fix if you don't have the right instructions. Here's some good sites, all of different detail level, which should make your experience flow easily: