A 'Live' Podcast? No such thing.

There really is no such thing as a 'live podcast' no matter what people might offer.  It's a marketing term trying to repackage a live stream. Internet Radio, if you like. Or an event that's been recorded 'live' and added to an already established Podcast feed.

But it's still not a live podcast, is it?

Firstly, a podcast is a podcast if it has an RSS feed that uses 'enclosures' to push the mp3 files to the listener.  Too technical already?  Maybe.  That's OK.

Juice: a simple podcatcher
for your computer
I'll bluster on for just one more paragraph about RSS if you do't mind...  a user subscribes to the RSS feed and downloads/catches the audio when it becomes available - using iTunes, Juice, your browser's feedreader or maybe Android's Google Listen for example.

So a user, 'a member of your audience', can use their computer or their mobile phone to 'catch' the audio as and when it becomes available - without you having to drag them to your webpage or 'mail list' them.

You provide the content and the listener can decide when to listen to it. Not the other way around.  And it's designed, thanks to the RSS feed, so that listeners don't have to keep returning to a web page to check if there's a new episode available.  That's the beauty of podcasting.

So, if it's you providing the podcast series, it's a chance to put your messages, the key points of your business or website maybe, into the ears of your target audience.  The art of creating an effective podcast is therefore making it engaging and encouraging for the listener to then spin off back into the website past your front page.  Or to push a telephone number to call, or an email address to message.

Yes, yes, I suppose video can also be 'podcasted'.  It's sometimes referred to as 'vodcasting' but it's nowhere near as flexibly engaging as audio [and was never part of the original definition, so there *rasp*]. It still requires an RSS feed of course - the user needs to download the media and take it away with them without having to visit a webpage, don't forget.  But I won't go into RSS feeds again.

The mp3 file:
ubiquitously playable
And if the self-proclaimed social media gurus are to be believed then the average length of video watched via YouTube is around 2 minutes. Not really much time to push your point, inform or educate.  And it's a bugger to get a format right for a whole range of mobile devices.  And where are they going to watch it?

People do not watch their 'automatically downloaded' video whilst driving.

What do you mean why?

It's generally harder to watch video while moving about in the outside world overall, wouldn't you say?  That's just asking for a raft of Darwin Award nominations.

So, yes, Audio is, by far, the superior medium for podcasting. With the mp3. An audio compression format that may have been superseded by other compression formats but never in ubiquity.

Every personal entertainment device can play an mp3 file.

When asking someone if they use podcasting I often get the response that they've moved on to video.  Which almost invariably means that they have a YouTube clip embedded in a web page somewhere.

It's certainly not podcasting. And it's certainly not 'moving on'.  If anything it's a step back.  And it's understandable, too, that people should do this to themselves.  It's a comfort zone thing.  People limiting themselves to what they understand.  And that's OK.
iTunes/iPhone have podcatching
capabilities built in to their software

As far as I'm concerned I'd rather that situation than one in which the internet is flooded with really badly written and produced podcasts.  All those seminars you see advertised on how "You too can podcast" ...? Bit like telling you that you too can create your own promotional video.  On your own. Using free software. Your own script and that HD Camera you got for Christmas.

Have you tried making your own video?

One that other people would watch?  One that wouldn't embarrass you and your business?  One that adds value to your website?


Talk it over with a professional first.  You'll feel really pleased you did when you get your first podcast series up and engaging your target audience in the interesting things about your business.