By Nicole Nicolay
Podcasting is simply a way of distributing digital media over the Internet using RSS. And for real estate agents who are looking for that next social medium to boost their blog success, perhaps podcasting is just what you need.
Podcasting can enhance your blog content and your online visibility, strengthen the bond you have with your current audience, help you reach a new audience and give your blog readers the flexibility to listen and obtain your expertise on the go. Podcasting is even an affordable and pretty seamless option when it comes to integrating a new social media tool to your blog. So let’s get you started already!
First thing you need to do is get equipped. Prior to your first audio podcast, here is some of the equipment you will need.
A decent microphone is a must. Plan on spending at least $25-$100 on a good podcasting microphone. My friend and expert, Mike Price, suggests Blue Microphone’s Snowball USB Microphone. The Snowball should run you about $99.
You will also need audio recording software. Try Audacity, it’s free and super easy to use. Seriously, I’m not just saying that. If you are a Mac user, you may also want to take a look at GarageBand.
To integrate podcasting with your blog, those of you on WordPress are in luck. PodPress is your dream podcasting plugin. PodPress sports automatic feed generation, includes download stats, supports various formats (including video podcasting), includes iTunes preview, unlimited number of media files, an automatic media player and more. By the way, I do recognize there are other blog platforms and many podcasting solutions, but, in my opinion, PodPress just plain rocks.
Uploading files to the Web will also require FTP software. I use Dreamweaver, but there are several free FTP software programs available online that work great. Try goftp.com to find some options.
Content for Your Podcast
Your blog posts make great podcasts, and even basic real estate industry tips and knowledge will work. If you have specific questions that need answering all the time, consider crafting a lesson or script to share via podcast. No more canned buyer and seller tips, let’s get creative and help consumers where we find them — online. We know they are starting their home search there, so make your podcasts available on your blog and at iTunes.
Create Your Podcast
With Audacity, creating a podcast is a breeze. Plug your microphone into your computer, select the record button and start talking. I’ve learned along the way to speak slowly and naturally, like you were talking to a friend or sharing info with a client. Also, think about including a quick introduction and closing. You can keep it consistent and add a sound bite or loop.
While recording, don’t worry about making mistakes. You can stitch all the pieces together and cut out all the not-so-good parts. When you are happy with the final product, you will need to export the audio file you created as a MP3 format.
Upload Your Podcast
Use your FTP software to create a dedicated podcast folder in your root directory and then upload your newly-created podcasts. If you are using the PodPress Plugin, you can go to the PodPress General Settings in your WordPress Admin and include the URL to your newly-created podcast folder. Now your podcasts will be available from a drop-down menu on the post page.
Distribute Your Podcast
Make the most of your podcast and be sure to distribute it. With PodPress, your podcasts are easily attached to your blog posts and made available to readers via your podcast player and RSS feed. PodPress also makes adding all your podcasts to iTunes a snap. But before you start texting your friends and telling them to download your podcasts on iTunes, you need to submit your RSS feed for approval. Visit the mytechopinion.com Web site for more information on how to get that done.
Once your RSS feed has been approved, you will receive an e-mail from iTunes. The e-mail includes an iTunes Feed ID that you can add to your PodPress Plugin for WordPress. Now you are set up for distribution, so get to podcasting!
Podcasting isn’t for everyone. Your blog commitment may already be at maximum capacity, and that’s okay. Perhaps you just don’t think you need podcasting, or you simply don’t want it. But if you do think this is right for you, then take a look at the steps above and get cracking.
Nicole Nicolay is co-founder of Effektive Solutions, a marketing and technology solutions company for real estate professionals. She has created products that integrate valuable real estate content with unparalleled technological innovation. Nicolay enjoys writing about real estate technology on her blog MyTechOpinion.com and offers marketing solutions at MyMarketWare.com.
Copyright 2008 Agent Publishing LLC