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Submitted by adam on Wed, 08/26/2009 - 23:09.
Until recently, only the few people with access to expensive media production tools were able to make and distribute audio recordings to a global audience. Technology now makes it easier not only to record and edit sounds, but also distribute audio throughout the world using new technologies such as blogs and podcasts.
This section will provide practical tips on how to get your audio broadcast on the internet, and how to use existing distribution channels to reach the audiences that will appreciate it most. Examples of non-profit organisations which have incorporated this technology into their advocacy work are also provided.
Podcasts and blogs
A podcast is audio content, published online, that people can subscribe to. People that have a podcast feed can be updated by email or via an RSS Reader every time you publish a new episode. It's like subscribing to a newspaper and having it delivered to your door instead of having to remember to go to the shops to buy it. People can listen to your show in their own time, on their computer or on an MP3 player.
Blogs are personal or collectively managed websites which are simple to create and update (Read more about planning your blog). As access to broadband internet and the distribution of large files have become faster and easier, attaching audio files to blog posts has become a viable way to distribute audio content.
One of the biggest advantages of distributing audio through the internet is that your audience can be far-flung yet very specifically targeted. An audio blog or podcast is a great way to provide potential supporters with ongoing status reports on your work. Establishing an editorial focus on specific content can help attract listeners, keep them committed and engage potential collaborators.
Podcasts are a good tool for outreach. An informative podcast or audio-blog post can be re-transmitted by community radio stations or used in conferences or debates, thus becoming a useful resource for others and reaching further networks and contexts.
There are plenty of services that will publish your audio programme online free of charge. If you want a more customised solution, you can register an internet domain (your own internet address) and use free and Open Source Software such as WordPress to publish the files on your own website server (Read more about WordPress).
Be sure to add a written description to every audio file you upload, and if possible tag it (categorise it) accordingly. Audio files are not as yet indexable or easily searchable through the internet. Having an easy-to-find text description of every file you upload makes it more likely that new listeners will be able to find them through a search engine.
Promoting your podcast
It's important to publicise your podcast. You can do this by posting messages on relevant blogs and websites and by asking organisations to include a link to it on their website or in their newsletter. It is also helpful to have a small 'RSS feed' graphic button that allows people to subscribe to your programs if you are regularly updating them. There are online tools which allow you to enter the address of your Media RSS feed and create a button to go with it; for example, see this button maker from Online Marketing Blog.
These online podcasting websites allow you to upload your audio:
- Our Media is a non-commercial free service that offers you a homepage where you can feature your own audio and video.
- Wordpress also offers a free service but a small fee is required to upgrade to a Pro account which allows you to upload large files.
- Blip.tv is a commercial service that allows you to upload audio and video for free. It has very user-friendly podcast features.