Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tips For Creating Your Own Podcast!

Outside of work and family, playing Fantasy Sports is my ultimate pastime. In 2007 alone, I played in 27 fantasy baseball leagues. One reason for this insanity was that I run and manage my own fantasy baseball advice website. TheFantasyMan.com has been fairly successful since its beginning in January of 2006 (as FantasyBaseballExpress.com), had it not been for the art of podcasting, who knows where I'd be now.

When I first started, podcasting was still brand new. iPod's were just starting to revolutionize the world of electronics and I had so much fantasy baseball knowledge that I needed to share. Enter The Fantasy Man Show Podcast. Through much trial and error, when the Fantasy Man is on his "A" game, The Fantasy Man Show podcast ranks #3 under ESPN and CBS Sportsline. Unfortunately I don't have the multi-million dollar budgets, so I'll have to make due at #3. If anything, I was ranked #1 on iTunes under "Fantasy Baseball" until the suits started producing podcasts. Point is, if a "Joe Shmoe" like me can do it, so can you!

Over these last three years, people have come to me asking for advice on how to get a podcast started. Finally, I have written this little tutorial to cut down on the time it takes for me to rewrite the steps for each person who asks. So take the time to read this and I hope it gives a better understanding on how to create and promote your podcasts the way The Fantasy Man has.....

Make It Happen
1. First, you need to have an idea, a theme that you will want to portray. When I first started The Fantasy Man Show, there was only one other fantasy baseball podcast listed on iTunes, so I obviously found an untapped market. By the end of the season, there were over ten other podcasts while The Fantasy Man Show was ranked #1. Plus, when I started there was no "Fantasy Man" and there was no one dedicating their show to direct and informative fantasy baseball advice and strategies. So your first order of business....know what you will be talking about. Have a clear cut topic and be an expert of your topic! If you appear to not know what you are talking about, people will turn your podcast off.


2. Purchase "Secrets of Podcasting" by Bart G. Farkas. There is a 2nd version out and maybe even a third by now. Any of them should do the trick. This book is like the bible of podcasting.

3. Once you have your show content planned, you'll need to purchase a microphone. I use the Samson C01U USB Studio Condenser Mic. The sound quality is fantastic for basic podcasting. I suggest buying the mic stand but that's basically all you need. Once you have the program downloaded (See next step), all you will have to do is plug the mic in and start recording.

4. Next, you will need to download the program that records/edits your podcasts. The program is called Audacity and you can download it for free here. Its a free, open source software for recording and editing sounds in Linux, Mac OS X, and other operating systems such as Windows.

5. You will also have to download the free LAME MP3 Encoder which is found at the Audacity web site. You will need this to export your recordings to MP3 format. Make sure you follow the instructions word for word. Also, make sure you download the Audacity program before you download the LAME MP3 Encoder.

6. Once you have Audacity and the MP3 Encoder downloaded, plug in the microphone and have fun! I would suggest creating a special folder just for your podcasts.

7. To get your podcasts on the Internet, you'll need to find a podcast hosting service. There are a ton of different web sites that provide podcast hosting. Go to http://www.google.com/ and type in "Podcast Hosting". Search through the different companies and pick the ones that meets your needs and/or budget. The one company I prefer is Libsyn.com.

8. Make sure the podcasting host you choose has integration into iTunes. This means that when you upload your podcast, it will automatically be sent to iTunes to be integrated into their library of podcasts for people to download for free. This is how I got started. The first day I uploaded my first podcast, 12 people that night downloaded it. At the end of the week, I had over 100 and over 250 after two weeks without any advertising or marketing, and then I built it from there. So just by simply recording and uploading, people downloaded my podcast. You will also have to register an iTunes account, which you can probably do from your podcast host website.

9. Now, your podcast host account also acts as a blog and is search able in search engines. When you register a podcast hosting account and upload your first podcast, you are given an RSS Feed. The RSS Feed ends in .XML and is basically the domain URL address for your podcast. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, in English, it basically means that your podcasts, when uploaded, can be sent to anyone who subscribes to it automatically. All people need to do is find a podcast website that hosts your podcast and subscribe to it. Back to the part about the blog.... you are given the RSS Feed, its basically your domain URL address, and also acts as a blog. So in reality, this can be like a website for you. You can post updates as if its your normal blog without having to upload a podcast, so essentially your account allows you to blog and/or upload podcasts simultaneously.

10. That's it! Just continue to upload your podcasts and have fun!

Some Simple Tips
- More podcasts consistently produced will yield the best subscriber and download results. If you do a podcast once a month, you'll lose listeners. Do a podcast every week, one that has some substance to it, you gain subscribers while you sleep!


- You don't need the best microphone either. You can go to Radio Shack or Walmart and pick up a cheaper one if your budget is a problem.


- Once your podcast is uploaded, there are podcast web sites out there that share podcasts, so don't be surprised to see your podcast become available on other web sites, but don't be shy about submitting your podcast to every site you can find.


- The best way to start promoting is to:

a. Submit your RSS Feed (.XML address) to every podcast web site you can find
b. Submit your RSS Feed (.XML address) to every search engine you can find

c. Ask other podcasters, bloggers, or web site owners to post a link to your podcast

Mike Kuchera
The Fantasy Man
http://www.TheFantasyMan.com/
Fantasy Sports Express, Inc.

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