What is Podcasting?
Podcasting is the method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio or video programs, over the Internet using syndication feeds (RSS/XML Files), for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. The term, coined in 2004, combines "iPod", a popular portable audio device, and "broadcasting."
The term podcast, like 'radio', can mean both the content and the method of delivery. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other formats by its ability to be downloaded automatically using software capable of reading feeds like RSS or Atom.
How do I set up a podcast?
Setting up a podcast for your arts organization is pretty simple. Here are the steps:
1) Create an audio file (or video) and convert into an MP3.
2) Upload that Mp3 player to your website (web server)
3) Create a link to the file on your website, such as download our podcast.
You may also want to use a service such as:
Now, if you feel that you have enough content and time to warrent several episodes of your podcast, then you are going to want to set up a subscription service. The easist way to do that is to use an exisiting service such as iTunes, or Podcast.com, however, you can also type up a "feed" by using an xml format such as:
This way users can "subscribe" to feeds and when you update your xml file, your new podcast will automatically be downloaded.
Are Podcasts Good for your Arts Marketing Plan?
Yes, and no. There are many examples one can think of where having a podcast could increase attendance; for example a podcast of a walking tour of your exhibit that people could download before they came to your museum, a podcast sampler of the music one would hear at your opera or symphony, a "behind the scene" author talk with a playwright.
All of these are excellent uses of podcasts--but are they really increasing attendance? The patron who visits your site to download the opera sampler has probably already purchased a ticket--so I don't see podcasts growing your audience--but I do believe they can deepen your realationship with your patrons.
All in all, you have to decide whether you have the time and resources to devote to creating podcasts to place on your web--in my opinion, this would be an excellent "volunteer" opportunity for a knowledgeable person in your arts community. Let them worry about creating your podcasts, and you just worry about getting them up on your site.