Podcasting can be a great way to grow your audience, thanks to the additional way in which new listeners can find your content. It can also be a great way to better engage with your existing audience, who so far only interact with you via your blog.
Whether you are ready to take the plunge and enter the world of podcasting or are still thinking about it, this blog post will point you in the direction of some tools which can help you get started and begin publishing your recordings online by using WordPress.
Is Starting a Podcast a Good Idea?
A podcast might not double your current audience and subscriber list overnight but it can be a good way to get your content in front of people that otherwise wouldn’t ever visit your website.
A podcast also provides an extra way for your existing readers to consume your content, thanks to the many ways a podcast can be listened to. Whether working out at the gym, driving home from work, or just listening at home, podcasts can be an effortless way to take in new information from a range of sources.
Like starting a blog, making the decision to begin a podcast shouldn’t be taken too lightly. If you don’t stick with it then it could end up being a waste of time for everybody involved. However, it can also be very rewarding if done right, and you won’t know if you enjoy until you give it a try. So if you are any way inclined to begin a podcast then there is no real reason why shouldn’t do it.
Also like blogging or writing, your podcasting skills will get better over time. While your first few episodes may be a little rough around the edges, they will undoubtedly get better the more you practice. This applies both to the actual content of the episodes, as well as the technical aspects, such as sound quality, presentation, and supporting materials, etc.
What Format Should Your Podcast Take?
If you are interested in the idea of recording a regular podcast, but want to ease yourself into this form of communication, a good way to get started is to record a solo show. This is opposed to being joined by a co-host or guest, for an interview or discussion.
While the result of a solo show might be less dynamic, it’s a safe place to start. This is due to the lack of improvisation that will occur and your ability to control the topic of discussion.
As you get more proficient at talking while being recorded, you can start branching out and inviting guests on to your show. Until then though, these solo shows could simply take the form of a weekly summary of the content you have published on your blog or elsewhere, with some news from the topic you blog about.
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Once you’ve mastered the solo show, you can begin reaching out to other people of interest and see how they feel about joining you for an episode.
WordPress Podcast Publishing Plugins
Once you’ve decided to give podcasting a try and have recorded, or are ready to record, your first episode, it’s time to choose a podcasting plugin for WordPress. To help you make a choice here are three of the most popular options out there for publishing and embedding a podcast, with a player, on your site, and syndicating the episodes via RSS for inclusion in services such as iTunes
Seriously Simple Podcasting
If you want to get started with podcasting and WordPress then the free Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin is a great place to begin.
This plugin makes it easy to embed your podcasts on your WordPress site, and it also adds a subscribe link for iTunes, as well as a way for visitors to subscribe via RSS. When it comes to displaying the links to and the details of your latest recordings, the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin includes built-in templates, sidebar widgets, and shortcodes so you can easily display those links in a range of ways and places on your site.
This free podcasting plugin integrates nicely with WordPress, using the native UI for its options pages. It also allows you to make use of the WordPress built-in media player so visitors to your site can listen without going elsewhere to access the podcast recording.
Seriously Simple Podcasting has matured nicely since its initial release and has been downloaded almost 25,000 times and has a near perfect rating of 4.9 out of 5 at the WordPress plugin directory.
Podcasting Plugin by TSG
This is also a free WordPress podcasting plugin but it’s a little more advanced or feature rich than the above option. It’s also a more popular plugin than Seriously Simple Podcasting, with over 160,000 downloads and an impressive 4.2 stars out of 5 rating.
The plugin’s features include the ability to host multiple iTunes-compatible feeds from one site which could be a useful feature, depending on your requirements. This podcasting plugin also includes support for video files as well as audio, both of which can be viewed directly from within your WordPress site.
Podcasting Plugin by TSG is a well-supported option for anyone who wants to easily publish podcasts directly on their WordPress site or to iTunes.
Download Podcasting Plugin by TSG »
PodPress has been downloaded the most times out of all the free podcast plugins for WordPress we’ve looked at, however it hasn’t been able to maintain such as high user rating as the other two options featured so far.
Still, it’s a popular choice with over 900,000 downloads, so it must be doing something right. PodPress features automatic feed generation to announce the publication of a new episode of your podcast. You also get access to stats with graphs showing the number of downloads and other information about how your podcast is being interacted with.
PodPress also supports a large number of file types, including not just audio files, but also video, and PDF and EPUB documents. You can also setup premium content which is only available to paying subscribers, as well as separate category podcasts.
This is a popular choice that is currently on version 8, showing it’s been well-looked after and improved upon over the years.
Download PodPress »
Obviously there is more to successful podcasting than recording an episode and publishing it on your WordPress website using a free plugin.
However, if you just want to get started then all you really need is a free audio recording application such as Audacity, an average microphone, and something interested to talk about.
If you’ve ever thought about starting a podcast or have already done so, what tips can you give?