You can think of a podcast as a special kind of Internet radio show to which your audience can subscribe.
A podcast is an audio or video program that has been recorded and deployed in such a way as to be accessed/enjoyed at the listener’s convenience.
How is a Podcast Accessed?
A podcast is normally an MP3 file that is placed on a web server and announced to the world via an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. Listeners can subscribe to the RSS feed (via “Podcatching” software like iTunes) and, when a new podcast is available, be automatically updated with the new content (in the case of iTunes, the new podcast is automatically downloaded on to the user’s iPod).
A consumer using Podcatching software to access your podcast is indicating their desire to listen to your show on a regular basis. This allows for an unblockable/direct line of communication between you and that listener that has been previously unavailable online. This is a VERY important component to podcasting that makes for a potent sales and marketing tool.
In addition to using podcatching software, a listener can simply visit a podcast’s website and listen to any show by (normally) downloading the MP3 file to their computer. Best-of-breed podcasts allow multiple methods of listening via their website, including:
- Embedded players
(listener clicks a FLASH-based “Play” button to instantly hear the show),
- Direct MP3 downloads
- Streaming MP3
(which does not require the listener to first download the file before listening),
- RSS feed-based download