Anyone can produce a podcast. Seriously.

Go create a free channel at audioboo.fm and hit the big red button. You don’t even need a standalone microphone – just say anything that comes into your head through the integrated mic on your webcam.

Wait a few seconds and you’ve got an RSS feed (the link is hidden under that orange circle with the three curved lines inside – the universal RSS symbol).

If you want to get your teeth stuck into something meatier, go check out the Spreaker web radio platform. Same kinda rules, longer form content. Both will have you on iTunes before you can say, well, a very long poem.

Congratulations! You’re a podcaster. Because, what’s a podcast, memory fans? Why, it’s an audio file that people can subscribe to.

I say ‘can’ because it’s not compulsory. In fact it takes incredible effort on the part of the podcast producer to demonstrate taking action is worthwhile. You’re making a sale, even if the physical transaction equates to zero money down.

Subscribing to a podcast is a big commitment. Sure, folks can listen to your show on a website – but it takes effort to click a button saying ‘please tell me when your latest show is done so I can take a listen’.

Unless you’re Lady GaGa I’m figuring you’re not going to have a whole load of listeners using the most basic example of podcasting I could think of, shown above. Let’s break it down to understand why.

You don’t need a standalone microphone. That’s the first humdinger. When we talk quality, we’re not just talking content – we’re talking sound. Listenability and listeners are two of the most important elements of a podcast (one of them is #1, the other one not far behind). We’ll be talking about sound quality and how to get it, later on.

Just say anything that comes into your head. Uh-oh. Do you really have the twisted (but beautiful) mind of Howard Stern, or the comedy smarts of Adam Carolla? Even these guys need some help to create world-changing content. Which means you do, too. Don’t think for a second that you can just wax on about something without planning and preparation. At this point, a caveat: I’m not going to candy coat this ride around the podcasting world. If you want a popular podcast, you’ve come to the right place – but there are some rules of the game we both need to know:

  • I want you to learn
  • I want you to change
  • I want you to be incredible

If you’re happy with these conditions, then let’s move it.

Why podcasting? And why now?

I do hope you’re still with me. It’s bad enough that I’ve already hogged lots of pixel trees in the manufacture of this virtual book. Don’t judge me. I even grow my own tomatoes to help the Italians preserve their supply, and to help with lowering food miles and all that.

If there’s something I know, and am dying to tell you about, it’s the primary benefits are of podcasting.

  1. Credibility
  2. Authority
  3. Authenticity
  4. Reputation

as a result, you create unprecedented levels of

  • trust
  • engagement
  • loyalty

There are no words to describe the value of loyal customers. If you’re anything like me (big mouth, 6”1’, freckled, lanky, plastic Scouser and dog lover), you’ll know the existing customer is five times cheaper to sell to than acquiring a new one.

There’s something incredible about learning by listening. All that valuable information soaks in much quicker than by reading. And have you ever tried to drive while you’re scanning a blog post? It’s not easy and, in many countries, illegal.

So avoid careering off the edge of that mountainside in your chic motor and tune in to the latest and greatest way to build your brand, grow your reputation and generate customers who cost less and buy more.

All while saving time.

Podcasting – audio marketing, interchangeable in my head though many also roll ‘customised automated phone responders’ into that description – is interactive marketing, relationship marketing, experiential marketing and listening marketing, all rolled into one.

You can see why hundreds charities, councils and companies are starting to wake up to the infinite potential of podcasting to build incredible relationships with their communities.

And that Pyramid?

Oh yeah, about that. Here’s the script: When you create any kind of content, you want to be able to repurpose it. There’s a girl called Dr Rachna Jain who can tell you more about all that repurposing stuff. It’s powerful – it’s transformative – and she’s got one heck of a left hook after too many hours in boxing class, so I volunteered (ouch) to give her a big up here in return for protection in case I ever go back to the casino.

Repurposing in this case is easy. If you start by broadcasting a web radio show, you have an audio file packed with great content that wouldn’t look out of place on a blog when it’s been transcribed.

Ooh. Think of the opportunities there!

Take it a step further. How about if you started right at the top of the pyramid: With a video? You record the episode, post it to YouTube, strip out the audio using SnipMP3, then you have a video and a podcast. And wait: You still have the content you can transcribe to a blog post!

Tools you’ll need for the ‘Pyramid

Web Video content to Web Radio content: SnipMP3

Web Radio to Blog content: Transcribe

Results: Amazing!