Podcasting can be a time-consuming procedure, depending on the purpose and scope of your online broadcasting program. If you have a podcast connected to your online presence – be it a weekly or monthly presentation of new products and services, interviews with people relevant to your industry, or a regular dramatic reading, very likely you take care to make sure sound quality is high. You’ve invested in good equipment and royalty free music, maybe even hired voice talent. As interest in acquiring information via BlackBerries and iPhones rise, it’s not uncommon to see more people attempting to get in on this impressionable audience.
What if, though, you are operating on a small budget and you account for 100% of your business’ manpower? Perhaps you don’t have the time to invest in recording equipment and scripting a professional podcast, but want to offer some kind of capability that allows your visitors to receive audio updates and news. With specialized sites that provide instant podcasting via phone, you have a quick and inexpensive alternative that could springboard your brand into the interactive world of the Internet.
Audio-Blogging: the Basics
Where blogging is the process by which one enters a short passage into a blog publishing system – whether by keyboard or mobile text, audio blogging is just as self-explanatory. A user signs up for a service and is given a phone number to record entries. A cell phone or land line is registered so the audio recordings are cached on the user’s page created within the audio blog site. Depending of the services of the site, audio bloggers may add widgets to websites or social network profiles so people can listen in, or listeners may subscribe to new episodes via a participating podcast distributor like iTunes. As the podcaster, it’s up to you to create and shape the material to broadcast.
For on the fly audio blogging, four services have come to the forefront, offering various abilities:
Gabcast.com – Users can record over phone or VoIP, and integration is available for WordPress, Typepad, and Blogger users to distribute podcasts. Visitors to Gabcast can search for your audio and download an MP3. Sign-up is free, as is recording via VoIP, but phone recording costs ten cents a minute (excluding additional charges on your mobile phone, if applicable).
GCast.com – Powered by Garage Band, GCast offers free hosting and music for registered users who wish to upload audio files. Recording via phone through GCast is doable, but comes with an annual subscription fee that is subject to usage terms. Widgets are available to allow podcasters to promote via sites and blogs.
CinchCast – Structured to look like a social network, Cinch allows registered users to record short audio blogs via land line and mobile phone for free (individual phone charges will apply). Listeners can share your audio via Facebook and Twitter and respond to audio casts, yet there is no method for downloading the audio to a file.
Google Voice – While not created for the purpose of audio-blogging, Google Voice can lend itself to creating short episodes. Obtain a Google number and call in your blog (you’re limited to about five minutes), and you are able to download an MP3 for later use.
The one disadvantage to audio blogging via phone is basically sound quality – a call from your mobile may result in static and background noise, so these programs may be best suited for spontaneous and casual audio-casting rather than recording audio books. If you’re interested in getting into the podcast game, check out these programs for a quick alternative to the recording studio.
Kathryn Lively is a social media specialist who assists clients with professional social media services and Virginia website design [http://www.ciniva.com].
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