Podcasting Basics for Small Business Owners

Podcasting is a means to publish audio and video content to the world via the Internet. It is spreading quickly because of the rapid adoption of MP3 players, and the desire of owners to have fresh content. a course in miracles is not unlike time-shifted video software and devices like TiVo, which let you watch what you want when you want by recording and storing video, except that podcasting is used for audio and is currently free of charge.

Podcasting, created by former MTV VJ Adam Curry, is a term that was devised as a crisp way to describe the technology used to push audio content from websites down to consumers of that content, who typically listen to it on their iPod (hence the “pod”) or other audio player that supports mp3 at their convenience. Podcasting has been described as TiVo for Internet audio, because it lets users save content digitally, and replay it at their convenience. Podcasting can be used for publishing any type of audio, and some developers are exploring the idea of using the same techniques to publish video and other types of content. Podcasting became popular in 2004 and nowadays you can find it on a huge amount of websites.

In a nutshell, podcasting is simply online audio content that’s delivered via web feed. So far, most podcasts emulate the kind of audio programming we’ve grown accustomed to in the radio world: music shows, talk shows, commentary and analysis, etc. Podcasting is delivering audio content to iPods and other portable media players on demand, so that it can be listened to at the user’s convenience. Podcasting can be used for publishing any type of audio, and some developers are exploring the idea of using the same techniques to publish video and other types of content.

Not surprisingly, musicians and bloggers are prevalent among the early adopters, but mainstream media organizations, including ZDNet and National Public Radio (NPR), are beginning to venture into podcasting as well. Though podcasters’ web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be downloaded automatically, using software capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.

If the podcasting industry wants to make a dent into the media market that goes beyond reaching 1% of US households, things have to change fast (though it is a global medium for sure, Europe at least has adopted podcasting even less than the US). Podcast feeds (those that contain a media enclosure) represent just under 20% of all FeedBurner feeds and this percentage is consistent with the more than 1,000 new feeds created every day at FeedBurner.

Some podcasts have a very large audience, like NPR’s On The Media from WNYC, New York Public Radio, with more than 16,000 loyal subscribers (and as many as 40,000 who download media right from the Web site).

Users listen to the “podcasted” audio file when it is convenient. When new “episodes” become available in the podcast they will be automatically downloaded to that users computer. At one time, this technology was not taken seriously; it was thought that users would grow annoyed with it, particularly if businesses saw it as another chance to advertise. So podcasting is essentially another medium for delivering syndicated web content to your users.

Podcasting is extremely useful to the subscriber because the user can easily receive information he/she would like, and listen to it when they want. Podcasting is the most convenient way to get information on the run. Podcasting is neither broadcasting in the traditional sense nor does it require the use of Apple’s iPod, however, the ubiquity of Apple’s iconic device has earned it a special place in the public imagination. Podcasting is unique in the sense that it embraces elements of both the “anytime and anywhere” elements of on-demand media as well as the participatory nature of Web 2.

Small Business Owners should be looking to extend their expertise and knowledge to customers by embracing and utiliziating the emerging podcast medium as a tool. Podcasting specific niche content can allow you as the business owner to demonstrate your skill and help to identify you as the expert in your field.

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