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What Blogs Make the Best Podcast Blogs?

Articles about blogging tipsAre you thinking of adding a podcast to your blog? Do you think your blog needs a podcast? What kind of blogs should, and shouldn’t have podcasts?

Should mine?

Do you have a podcast? What software and hardware are you using to record your podcast? Do you have some guidelines and tips on creating a podcast for your blog? Time limits? Sound effects?

Are you a WordPress.com blogger with a podcast? Do you host your podcast files here or offsite?

What do you recommend to those who are considering adding podcasts to their blogs?

Let’s talk podcasting.


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30 Comments

  1. Posted April 15, 2007 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Since my blog is a radio show blog for my radio show at my University, it makes sense to have a podcast. I’m lucky on two fronts with mine. One is that my host allows me enough space that I can host my stuff there, which isn’t a small ordeal since it’s a 2 hour show. The other is that Winthrop’s station automatically backs up every show anyway, so all I need to do is go download the files and there I go.

    Audacity is a great, free program if you want to record yourself. Just have a microphone ready for yourself and you’re good to go, you can import audio which cleans things up a bit.

    Also, Switchpod is a pretty decent place to host the files. You get 200 megs to do with as you wish. The only problem I found was that the uploader for free users craps out if you try to upload anything over 50 megs. But if you have a show smaller than that, it shouldn’t present a problem.

  2. Posted April 15, 2007 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Podcast for the sake of podcast or just because we have broadbands now is rubish. I see more and more content in audio and video format which would be better transfered and more useful as plain text. E.g. tutorial on anything related to coding, let’s say some simple PHP scripting. If it is done in text it is easier to read, reader can use copy/paste, there is no need to play/pause/rewind every few seconds. Not to mention SEO friendlyness. All that is missing if the same tutorial is done in video.

    Other concern is accesibility. Text can be turned into voice (some browsers have that option) for people with impaired sight, but the opposite way is much harder to achieve (i.e. turning voice into text).

    On the other hand, if there is need and/or use for going audio or video podcasts are beautifull thing. It is only that they should not be done just because it is possible or trendy now.

  3. Posted April 15, 2007 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    As a Macintosh user, recording podcasts with GarageBand is a snap, and allows me to use advanced features such as including images and hyperlinks in the enclosure files. I host the files offsite and use microbiologybytes.wordpress.com as a front end to:
    a) Drive traffic to the podcast via search engines
    b) Allow direct downloads avoidign subscriptions (a popular option accounting for ~40% oif my downloads)
    c) Allow me to present a text version of the podcasts to enhance accessibility for those with hearing impairment.

  4. Posted April 15, 2007 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I’m a blogger and a podcaster, but the two are almost entirely separate ventures. The blogging came first, of course, but a little over a year ago I was invited to co-host The Round Table, a podcast exploring mythical themes in roleplaying games and popular media. Since then, I’ve been involved with a number of different podcasts. Other than mentioning my podcast appearances on my blog, I haven’t really integrated the two pursuits.

    That doesn’t mean I haven’t given it a lot of consideration. I’d like to do my own podcast, something distinct from The Round Table, but I don’t know that creating a podcast as a companion piece for my blog would work very well. Mine is a hobby/personal blog, covering everything from movie reviews to tales of computer-upgrade woe to anecdotes on being a new parent. I just don’t know if that’s cohesive enough to make for a good podcast.

    “Lorelle on WordPress”, however, would make an interesting podcast. I’d definitely listen to a short (10 – 20 minute) weekly podcast about blogging with WordPress. If you made it even shorter (5 – 10 minutes), you could release it twice a week and I’d still listen. The trick is finding a good length and release schedule for your topic.

  5. Posted April 15, 2007 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I don’t have an mp3 player to even listen to a podcast and I couldn’t sit by my computer for that long.

  6. Posted April 15, 2007 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    acidzen has a good point, there are some things that are easier in text. However, having video or audio can ad traffic to a blog or website. You just need to keep in mind that not everyone will find it useful. Used properly, it can be very helpful.

  7. Posted April 15, 2007 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Should Lorelle on WordPress be a podcast, I think the editorial articles would work, but tips with technical information and links, how would that come off?

  8. Posted April 15, 2007 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, podcasting is just like blogging, it’s all about content. If it is interesting and adds value to someone, it should be considered. You could easily do a roundup cast (some parts of Wednesday’s articles), but I think tips and tricks would be hard, unless it is video, and you show how things are done. That would be good for you to consider.

    I started Motivation on the Run as a podcast only site (had another blogsite) almost two years ago, but there was too much that just needed writing about, so I moved to a combination podcast/blog website. It is done for the love of the subject, not to add traffic or revenue, (I haven’t tried to document either). The best part is gaining like-minded friends, exchanging ideas and tips with many I now count as friends from all over the world.

    I started out using Audacity then progressed to another free solution, PodProducer, which allows for “Live” mixing with music and voice recording. It makes it pretty easy, recording straight to mp3 with no conversion needed, like Audacity.

  9. Posted April 16, 2007 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    I still haven’t listened to a podcast or watch vloggers with any regularity.

    Different markets in my mind.

  10. Posted April 16, 2007 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    I wish I understood what a podcast was! I have put an audio recording in mp3 format on my blogs from time-to-time. Is that a podcast? Or is there some other step that needs to be taken to turn that audio into a podcast? I used Audacity to make the audio.

    I’m going to go take a look at that PodProducer software and see what that’s all about.

    Thanks for this blog, Lorelle. It’s been a real help to me in so many ways.

  11. Posted April 16, 2007 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Ron – yes, that is effectively a podcast. It is of-course dependent on the content though. Think of it as a radio show that a reader/listener can download.

    I have thought about podcasting but can’t really see the point for myself. I don’t listen to other people’s podcasts (especially English accent ones) as for the most part they are just cack.

    I watch a couple of vidcasts regularly though.

    Would I listen to Lorelle on WordPress? I would certainly give it a good chance. It’s a subject that I love and any tidbits I could glean could only help. Content is king!

  12. Posted April 16, 2007 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Ron Rink: That’s a good question. I associate MP3 with music and podcast with voice, but that’s not exclusive.

    Can anyone really define the difference?

  13. Posted April 16, 2007 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    1) What is a podcast?

    At a minimum, a podcast is an audio/video file included in an RSS feed using the ‘enclosure’ tag.

    I would guess that Ron Rink probably just fell short b/c he include a link to the file using an anchor, rather than enclosure. It’s a small distinction but it would probably mean that iTunes, etc, would not find the file.

    If you point a FeedBurner feed at your RSS, it will make the conversion from anchor to enclosure.

    2) Are there any good podcasts?

    Yes, there are tons. The most successful ones have tens of thousands of listeners.

    There are also lots of niche podcasts that have tens or hundreds of listeners. Their narrow focus means they won’t ever have a huge audience, but if your interest matches with theirs, then you’ll probably love it.

    3) Should bloggers podcast?

    Perhaps.

    There are two different skills – talking and writing. Not everyone is good at both.

    Blogging is often a solo past-time, where podcast is best done in packs of two or more.

    As noted, some content is better in text and some is better in audio/video.

    IF you’re a good talker AND you think some of your content is good for audio/video, the give it a whirl. If you’re going to do it alone, at least keep it short.

    4) And example:

    Check out the ’43 folders’ audio podcasts. He’s good at both talking and writing, and his solo podcasts are nice and short.

    5) What should Lorelle do?

    Consider a weekly feature – maybe ‘plugin of the week’ – and talk to that for a few minutes, then highlight some other posts that caught the attention recently. Keep the whole thing to 10 minutes or less.

  14. Posted April 16, 2007 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Oh, and check out the podpress plugin. Very, very good.

  15. Posted April 16, 2007 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I would guess that Ron Rink probably just fell short b/c he include a link to the file using an anchor, rather than enclosure. It’s a small distinction but it would probably mean that iTunes, etc, would not find the file.

    Actually, WordPress is smart enough to turn anchors into enclosures for anything that it recognizes as “audio” or “video” MIME types. And yes, that includes MP3’s, if your web server is smart enough to know about the audio/mp3 type.

    So putting anchor links to MP3s *does* a podcast make, in the case of WordPress. :)

  16. Posted April 16, 2007 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the great explanation, Phil. The issue of syndicating feeds through a feed category always confused me. I gather iTunes (and how else) looks for feeds with only the podcast information for inclusion? Does only the podcast go out with the feed or the content, too? Or does iTunes strip the content and only display the feed?

    There’s a lot I still have to learn about this, obviously. I thought just having it on your blog was enough.

  17. Posted April 16, 2007 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Each ‘podcatcher’ (i.e. an rss reader with audio support) works slightly differently.

    iTunes seems to ignore text-only entries (posts) entirely. It shows everything with an ‘enclosure’ that it recognises. I’ve seen PDF’s come down the pike in podcast feeds and iTunes accepts those.

    Text is retained by iTunes for podcast episodes. It’s also transferred to the iPod.

    What I do (and I would suggest this is a good practise) is to create a ‘podcast’ category in order to create a podcast-specific feed. I’m sure some podcatchers will accept text only blog entries, which might annoy some people who want the podcast only. Some podcatchers will only look at the most recent entry by default – if that’s a text-only post, it might ignore the podcast episode right behind it.

    Personally, I point a FeedBurner feed at my podcast category. I think have a forward from my ‘publicized’ feed address on my URL (i.e. soccershout.com/rss) to the feedburner address.

  18. Posted April 16, 2007 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,
    I am a podcaster, and an author of a podcasting book entitled “What the Heck is Podcasting” is a post I did for my Ad agency, trying to clear up that very point. I switched my podcast sites to WP MultiUser, for the very reason that WP manages Feeds and enclosures much better, and facilitates show notes and links from our many shows at http://www.esppodcasting.com. The plugin “podpress” is perfect for this platform, and supports ITune’s submission standards, and has a cool podcast player enclosure. Thanks for a great blog, hope this helps!

    Chuck

  19. Posted April 16, 2007 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Having read PlanetMike’s entry, and his concerns about bandwidth, it occured to me that bloggers might not be aware of Libsyn. For as little as $5 per month, you get unmetered download bandwidth on your podcasts. They *do* meter the amount of diskspace that your new shows take up each month, and cap that at various price points.

    But, it’s pretty much ‘fire and forget’ because once you get into a groove with podcast size and frequency, get the right size account, and never worry about the bandwidth bill.

  20. Posted April 16, 2007 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I agree with several others here that many topics are better covered by text rather than audio. When I come across podcast links in blog articles I rarely listen to them. It just takes too much time. I can quickly scan an article to determine whether or not it is relevant and worth reading, but you cannot scan a podcast.

    One time of content that might work better in a podcast is a discussion involving several people. Another might be the telling of stories. But for most content, I prefer text.

  21. Posted April 16, 2007 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, I’d like to see in-depth interviews with top bloggers who use WordPress. At least 30-minutes would be great. I’d even listen if they were up to an hour long. You could cover a wide array of issues, including themes, plugins/widgets, hosting, podcasting (ha), monetization, administration, social networking/bookmarking, promotion, etc. Many of us work along along all day (and night), so detailed and insightful interviews could assist in creating and extending the blogging community.

    Regarding, text vs. podcasting, simply have the pods transcribed and edited. I use services like Elance for same and it’s quick/easy and affordable.

  22. Posted April 16, 2007 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    While that would be nice for me, I already have competition with The WordPress Community Podcast. Charles does a fabulous job with that. Maybe he’ll have me on once in a blue. ;-)

  23. Posted April 16, 2007 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and where do you all listen to podcasts? While driving to work? Commuting? Walking?

  24. Posted April 17, 2007 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    I would like to remind anyone considering adding or switching to podcasting, that not everyone can hear, and not everyone leaves their speakers on (for example, I usually have my speakers off because I’m often in the library). So for accessibility issues, there should be transcripts of any posted podcasts.

  25. Posted April 17, 2007 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    I can tell that I’m in the company of some remarkable people here! I have learned so much from reading these comments. Looks like a hot topic. Thanks everyone!

    I did see that there are several items on Google relating to the podpress plugin which were a bit scary — like fatal errors. Is that a real concern?

    I’m also confused about the “anchor” vs. the “embed” method of including an audio. I used this:

    Does the fact that the is used make this audio a podcast — or is that still an “anchor”? The audio I had on my blog (I took it off recently) was an introduction to the topic and to my reasons for writing about it. All that showed on the blog was the play, stop, pause buttons, a pic of me all followed by the text about the topic.

    This is an exciting topic. I hope we can keep this dialog going.

  26. Posted April 17, 2007 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Here are instructions on posting code on WordPress blogs and comments.

  27. Posted April 17, 2007 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Ron: An “anchor” is what the non-technical people out there simply call a “link”.

    This is a link or “anchor” to my blog.

    When you put a link in a normal post like that, the WordPress software does post processing on them. For links to other blogs, the “pingback” mechanism gets activated, potentially telling that blog that you posted something about their blog.

    One other little known feature is that WordPress checks the MIME type of everything it receives back during this ping checking process. If it notices that you linked to a file which returns a MIME type of “audio/whatever” or “video/whatever”, it makes a note of that fact. This note takes the form of some custom meta data about the post. You can actually see it on the post after it happens, in the editing screen down by the custom fields stuff. It will have a name of _enclosure, I think. Don’t edit that field, BTW, it’s a bit obscure and you should leave it alone (like anything starting with an underscore in the custom fields).

    This signals the RSS feed builder to create the correct enclosure tag when that post comes up in a feed. And that is what lets podcasts work.

    So an embed or an object won’t do the trick. But a simple <a href… will.

  28. Posted April 18, 2007 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Lorelle for the tip on how to post some code here. I’ll try that in a second. And thanks, Otto and everyone else for all your help. I wish I understood it. [smile]

    Here’s what I used for the audio on my blogs:
    ___________________________________________________________


    __________________________________________________________
    Is that an “embed”? All that showed on the blog post was the play, pause and stop buttons. The actual audio file was on my server.

    Thanks again, everyone, for all your help.

  29. Posted April 18, 2007 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, you’re welcome anytime! :)

    E-mail me.

  30. Posted April 15, 2013 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Are you familiar with iPodder Podcast Directory there are a lot of podcast in that site where you can browse and listen and you can also submit your own podcast if you wanted too.


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