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Enhanced Podcasts

By | June 22, 2007

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You are listening to another fantastic episode of The Podcasting Blog, with me, your host, Ken Walker. I’ll be your podcasting pilot for the next 15 minutes or so, as we soar through the latest and greatest in the podcasting sphere.

This week I’ve got a great treat for you, I’ve actually got a guest speaker, can you believe it? You’re not gonna have to listen to me for the entire 15 minutes. Sarah Wilson is gonna join me today and talk to us about turning your podcast into cash. She’s got some great ideas for generating revenue with your podcast.

Later in the show I’m gonna talk about using enhanced podcasts, which reminds me to let you know that this week’s episode is enhanced meaning that we’ll have some artwork and clickable links when pertinent, so if you’re watching on an iPod or in iTunes, be sure to check that out.

That also reminds me that last week’s podcast deal with Garage Band went fairly well, I didn’t have as much control over some of the audio stuff, as what I’m used to with Audition, but it was fairly straight forward. I did manage to find the special effects for the tracks, which is a good thing, so I can add Reverb and other stuff, but it looks like you have to add effects to the track, as a whole, so I don’t think you can just add an effect to a specific segment. Anyhow, I decided to try a hybrid this week and I’m doing all the recording in Audition, and then I’m gonna bring it over to my Mac and do everything else in Garage Band.

And now, without further adieu, lest I continually ramble on and on…here is Mrs. Wilson.

Hey everybody! Sarah Wilson here and I wanna talk to you today about some options that you have in making money with your podcast. Now, there are lots of different kinds of podcasts out there, so this doesn’t go for everybody. If you’ve got a company and you’ve started using podcasting to promote your products or services, this isn’t really gonna fit your marketing strategy. But if you’re actually trying to make money directly from your podcast, I think these tips will help you out.

First off, if your podcast is either entertaining or relates knowledge, you’ve got a good potential for making money with it, especially if it’s a well produced show. Some examples might be somebody that does training on Photoshop, or if you’re an Excel guru and you do screen captures of what you do. You can use an application like Camtasia Studio or even Macromedia Captivate and record your desktop while doing an instructional video. A great example of this is a site Ken does a podcast for on computer software. Go to www.youlearnlive.com and you’ll see what I mean.

It doesn’t have to be software though, if you’re good at anything and people are listening to your show and they’re finding out things about your topic, then you’ve got a great opportunity. It doesn’t have to be a screencast either, if your podcast is only audio, just like in radio, people can listen and get lots of great info.

Now obviously we have the standard options of maybe selling ads on your website, or even in the podcast itself, but think about this…what about selling a compiled DVD or CD that has all your past episodes? You’ll have people that don’t want to bother with downloading 50 episodes and they’ll order your DVD for like $15 or whatever, depending on how much content you’ve got and how professional your show is.

Another alternative here is to only give access to like your past 5 episodes, and block access to older shows, you can list the shows so that viewers can see what the content is about, but they’ll have to either buy your DVD or you could also make the episodes available for download in a members only section.

Having a member account is another great possibility. There are so many scenarios that you could use here. You could have a free podcast released once a month, and then release 3 ‘members only’ podcasts the rest of the month, so we’ve got lots of options.

What I lean towards is trying to give away as much of yourself as you can, for free, and then make your money on extras. Here’s why. If you produce great content, people will watch or listen to your podcast. If that content is good enough, LOTS of people will watch or listen to your podcast. The more people you have, the more your podcast will grow. Then you decide how you want to generate revenue. Either charge for membership and then don’t do commercials, or offer your content for free and get some advertisers. Never mix the two though. Nobody is going to want to pay for your content AND see commercials.

On a side note, the commercial deal doesn’t just stop at the commercials themselves. You can usually sign up with an affiliate program and send traffic directly to advertisers so that people can click a link on your site, or in your enhanced podcast, and then any sales generated by those links will get you some extra cash.

Quick Tips
Hey everybody, Ken Walker here. We’re gonna talk about one of the hottest things going in podcasting right now, which is enhanced podcasts.

Last week I think, I gave you some stats on percentages of people that listen to podcasts on a portable MP3 player versus listening right on their computer and it showed that lots of people still listen on their PCs. Whether your podcast is playable right there on your website, or even if they use iTunes, people will choose to listen on their PCs. They might listen while they work, they might listen while they browse the web, whatever.

Well, a regular podcast involves audio only, so no interaction is required. The audio plays and the user just listens, a lot like regular radio. An enhanced podcast though, provides a couple of different things to make the experience a little more interactive and definitely more engaging.

When your listeners are listening to your podcast in iTunes, they see your static album artwork, which is what you setup and linked to when you setup your iTunes podcast. In a standard podcast, that artwork just stays the same throughout the podcast. With an enhanced podcast though, you get to change the artwork throughout the podcast. Here’s how it works.

First off, you get to specify points in your podcast as markers or cues. For example, you could set each different segment as a cue point, like we did in this week’s show. This makes it very easy for your listeners to jump to a certain point. I know on the iPod that enhanced podcasts that have these cue points are great because you can skip straight to the section you’re interested in. Apple calls these cue points ‘chapters’.

It’s kinda like having different tracks on a CD. If you’re not interested in the content that’s currently playing (like if it’s not your favorite song on the CD) you can skip to the next chapter, it’s that easy.

Well, what you can do on top of that is change the artwork for that particular chapter. Now think of the possibilities. If you’re interviewing someone, throw up a picture of ‘em! If you’re reviewing a product, throw up a picture of the product. Even better, let’s say you were doing some sort of slideshow presentation, now you can actually present your slides as you go through the presentation. Now, you can’t do animation, at least not yet, but if your viewers would benefit from still images, this has a lot of power.

This is totally different from doing a videocast or a screencast, this is simply still images that are embedded into your podcast, and show up as album artwork. Again, Apple calls them chapters but they can really be thought of as anything you want, depending on what type of content you’ve got. You might call ‘em segments, slides, bookmarks, whatever.

That’s not all. In addition to the artwork changing, you can also put clickable links in your podcast. With Apple’s Garage Band, which I’ve recently started using to do final mixdown of my podcast, you can associate a clickable link with the album artwork in each section. This of course doesn’t work with portable MP3 players, but again, lot’s of people are viewing or listening to podcasts on their PCs.

So if you’re mentioning a sponsor, or talking about a product, or you’ve got a guest on that has a website, all of these things will make it easy for your listeners to find out more information. Put a link up to your own contacts page, or an email address. While they’re watching the podcast they can click the link and open the content, it’s great.

So you’ve got artwork, you’ve got chapters, you’ve got clickable links. What can you really do with all that? As it turns out, the possibilities are almost endless. Think about this, maybe an online contest or survey and people can click a link to place their vote. Remember those choose your own adventure books? Well, how about an audio version?

And really I could probably think of a few more applications in a fairly short time period, but I think you get the idea. Now, as with any good thing, there are drawbacks. As of right now Apple’s got the market because you can only view enhanced podcasts in QuickTime or iTunes, or on an iPod. You can create enhanced podcasts in a number of Apple apps like Garage Band and Chapter Tool, but you can also use an application like Camtasia Studio to make enhanced podcasts on the PC. I see a lot of this changing in the near future as enhanced podcasts become more popular.

With that said, it’s important to announce to your listeners, as well as put something on your website, that you’re providing an enhanced podcast. Let them know that the podcast has clickable links and that the artwork reflects content in the podcast, cause like I said in the beginning, lots of people are listening while they browse the web or while they work and they’re used to regular old non-interactive podcasts, so you need to make them aware that you’re providing some extra content and if they want to visit that sponsor’s site or take a look at what your current guest is up to, or follow along with your pictorial on how to change a light bulb, they can click links in your podcast.

Alright, that wraps up this week’s episode, you’ve been listening to The Podcasting Blog with Ken Walker. If you’d like to drop me an email, you can reach me at podcasting@seocompany.ca or as always, you can also post a comment on the blog. Until next week, happy podcasting.

Topics: Audio Recording Software, Garage Band, How to Podcast, Podcasting Software | No Comments »


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