Podcasting is a great way to offer varied content on your website and social media accounts. Aside from photos, audio/visual content is nice because it either gives the eyes a rest or gives one’s audience something to look at besides text for fifteen minutes to an hour. Moreover, the podcast adds another layer of production effort. Aside from preparing content, speakers have to present the content as well, and then it needs to be edited together to form a coherent conversation. A well-produced podcast can really add to the perceived value of membership.Theme and Format
When planning out a podcast, the first thing you’ll want to determine is the theme, the same as the blog and, presumably, it will be the Translation and Interpretation industries. Then again, perhaps you’d like to have a theme that covers a topic over the course of a year, or maybe you want to have the podcast exist as I want mine to be, in complement to the newsletter so I don’t have to read. Whatever you decide, this is an important step as it will set the whole tone of the end product.
Next, you’ll want to consider format. Podcasts exist in two forms: audio only, and video (with audio, of course). If you’re new to this sort of technology, I would recommend starting with an audio podcast: editing audio is much simpler than editing video. The difference is comparable to grayscale pencil drawings versus architecture modeling. Short format is ideal, but it’s always better to go long and have a conversational flow than stay short with a regimented agenda. Think of this as a form of talk radio. Finally, you’ll want to have more than one person presenting. Most people would rather listen to a conversation than listen to a news bulletin and having multiple people, especially when there’s a rapport among them, encourages conversation.
Quality recording hardware for podcasting is the first step to a great-looking product. If you are looking to create an audio podcast, a high quality microphone is essential. For one person who might be recording the podcast alone remotely, I would recommend the Blue Snowball USB microphone. It’s moderately priced, and records with great quality. If you’re recording with another person or a group of people in the same room, I would recommend the Snowball’s big brother, the Yeti. The Yeti gives you the choice of direction. It can record with a cardioid pattern for one speaker, bi-directional pattern if between two speakers sitting across from each other, and omni-directional if set in the middle of a group of speakers. It records with the same great quality as the Snowball.
For video recording, again, it depends on what type of video production you are planning on doing. If you’re planning on doing the podcast video conference style, a good quality external webcam is sufficient. I use the Logitech C920 HD 1080p Pro Computer Webcam, it’s fairly priced and renders great quality video and audio; plus, it can be mounted to a tripod. If you’re going for a more talk show like feel, I would recommend a camcorder that records video in high definition (720p or 1080p). The camcorder that I use is no longer made, but the closest one on the market is the Sony CX455 Handycam. It offers great video quality and is on the lower price end of the camcorders I would buy for chapter video podcasting.
A/V media editing software can be as cheap as free and as expensive as hundreds of dollars. When it comes to learning how to use these programs, I could spend whole training sessions on program basics, but that’s not the purpose of this article. As far as which programs are out there, the ones you choose depend on how you plan on publishing the podcast. If you want to publish your podcast by traditional methods, via Apple’s iTunes, it’s easiest to use Apple software like Garage Band for audio podcasts, and iMovie and Final Cut Pro on a Mac for video podcasts. These programs are designed to facilitate publishing the completed product on iTunes.
If you’re working on a PC, you can use a freeware program called Audacity to edit audio podcasts, and with regards to video editing programs on PC, the best I can recommend is an article from PC Magazine that discusses a handful of different programs for various needs and abilities.
If you choose to follow the directions for publishing on iTunes, continue with the instructions from Apple. If you would rather publish by other means, the most common platforms for video hosting are YouTube and Vimeo. Audacity has a list of ways to publish audio podcasts, but one that I would recommend is hosting on SoundCloud.
When the podcast is published and you get an embed link, you can put that HTML coding into your website and members can watch or listen to it from your website. Similarly, they can watch the YouTube or vimeo videos and listen to an audio podcast from the soundcloud app. Once the podcast is published, you can and should use your social media accounts to get the word out and direct people to your website, or you can keep it a “members only” thing and notify your association of the new content by email or in your newsletter. Again, the idea of the Podcast stemmed from this translator’s aversion to reading off-the-clock, and this may be the case with other translators as well. Next week, we’ll look at the webinar. What a webinar is, MATI’s established history of webinars, platforms, and why chapters can and should host them.