By Kati Neville
True or false: Podcasting is only for command-line code jockeys and 8th grade boys.
Sure, we can make podcasts sound technical. A podcast is, after all, a digital audio file downloaded via the World Wide Web by users at their convenience, often to a portable media player. But podcasting, podcasters, and the tools of the trade, have gone mainstream. So mainstream that an entrepreneurial, cookbook-writing, 4-H mom like me can do it. And if I can do it, you can too.
Last July I launched my free podcast, The Saver's Kitchen. After thousands of downloads, I can proclaim confidently that podcasting has been a fantastic addition to my platform.
Podcasting may be a sound addition to your author platform too. Here's why:
In 2010, market researchers expect the podcast audience to exceed 50 million. Apple's iPod, just one of many portable media players, currently connects over 150 million users to the web. And what do you suppose will happen to the listening audience if national policy makers pass a rural broadband bill? Certainly, more than a few of those additional 60 million Americans will start listening too.
More than ever consumers are seeking unique voices, information, and thoughtful analysis. They are on the hunt for high-quality content. Radio host turned consultant, Holland Cooke,
excited the audience at Podcast Academy recently.
Podcasting is "narrowcasting," he says, because the audience must actively seek you out. "You are shooting a laser beam. Broadcast stations are using a shotgun." These small, narrow audiences make valuable prospects for marketers. Popular shows, like MommieCast and Grammar Girl, earn hosts profitable sponsorships, visibility, and publishing contracts.
In the coming weeks, spend time exploring podcasts that interest you. You don't need to be a subscriber or own a portable media player. In fact, most podcasts are consumed directly from the creator's website or a podcast directory.
Locate podcasts produced by fellow writers. Author James Howard Kunstler, host of KunstlerCast (be advised: explicit content) publishes a new episode weekly.
Journalist Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast explores historical and history-related issues.
The few podcasts I've highlighted here were chosen to display diversity in content and structure. Listen to whatever suits you. As you listen, identify what you like and dislike about various shows. Ask friends, family, and your current readers which podcasts they enjoy listening to and why. Then dream. Free yourself of technology concerns. Don't limit your creativity. That's the fun of podcasting. We'll discuss how.
Kati Neville is coauthor of the best selling cookbook, Fix, Freeze, Feast. She is a contributing editor for The Saver's Kitchen podcast and regularly blogs on The Forklift. Kati teaches cooking classes in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. When not online or teaching, Kati enjoys writing and tasting new recipes in her kitchen.