How to Create a Free Web Show
By Melissa Worcester
A podcast is a free Web show that can be downloaded onto a portable media player or iPod. Podcasts can also be watched online. Many are released as episodes (webisodes) on a regular basis, though they can also be produced as just a single show.
Decide your show's format (i.e., video or just an audio recording?). Record a practice segment and play it back to assess the recording quality. Compare the quality of other podcasts and decide if you are satisfied with your set-up or if you want to upgrade your equipment.
Set a publication schedule. Decide if it will be a monthly or weekly show, or published on some other schedule. Let people know when to expect a new episode and then try to keep on schedule; that is the best way to get subscribers to keep coming back.
Plan your first episode. Decide the format for each episode. You may have opening music, you might have one segment that is just you talking, followed by another segment with an interview, and a third segment with listener or viewer comments or questions. Put some kind of music or sound effect in between, to help listeners know you are transitioning from one segment to another.
Record your first episode. You can use software you already have, such as Windows Sound Recorder, or you can get a podcast recording program such as Audacity or iPodcast Producer.
Add in any special effects and transitions, and edit out mistakes. It's usually best to record each section separately because it's easier to go for short periods without making a mistake than it is to record a long show with perfect content. Save the file in a format that is easy to share, such as MP3 for audio or M4V for video.
Publish your podcast. The best option is to create an RSS feed and upload it to a Web service that specializes in hosting podcast files. You probably want to host your podcast files separately from where your Web site is hosted, because many Web hosts don't allow video and audio files. Also, podcast servers often have options your regular Web host won't have, such as an RSS feed generator.
Set up an RSS feed for your podcast. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it is an easy way to allow people to subscribe to your podcast. Subscribers are notified when new episodes have been uploaded.
Test your podcast. Go to the hosting Web site (e.g., YouTube or your blog), or subscribe to the feed and download it to iTunes or another podcast-aggregating application. Play it to make sure the sound quality is adequate and that the entire file was transmitted.
- There are a few other publication options, especially if you are just producing one show, rather than a series of episodes. One option is to upload a video to YouTube. You can also embed episodes of audio or video podcasts in a post on your blog, if you have one.
Melissa Worcester is a mom, freelance writer and graphic designer. She has been writing professionally for over 18 years and earning a part-time income writing for various websites since 2007. She writes about technology issues, business and marketing, home improvement, education and family topics and assists in her husband's home remodeling business. Worcester has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and psychology from Syracuse University.