My friends Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson of the For Immediate Release podcast have written a stellar new book that will appeal to anyone interested in podcasting. Aspiring podcasters will find a solid how-to manual. Current podcasters will discover tips and tricks they may have overlooked. And the curious will get a great understanding of what podcasts are, how they are created, and what their value is.
How to Do Everything with Podcasting contains over 300 pages of goodness. Shel and Neville use a great mixture of text and visual aids to help communicate their message. The tone is simple but not condescending. Broken into chunks, this book also serves as a great reference (and I suspect it will get dog-eared on my shelf as I keep going back to it).
The book contains five main sections:
- Get Started With Podcasting. Here you learn what podcasting is, how to listen, and where to find interesting podcasts. All the basics one should understand before seriously contemplating creating a podcast.
- Produce Your First Podcast. I suspect this will be the most appealing portion of the book for most readers. It includes all of the information you need from a hardware, software, and distribution perspective to get started. It meets a range of budgets, from a very simple $20 setup to options to spend hundreds of dollars or more. Shel and Neville explain scary terms like “compression” and “normalization” and explain what they are and how they can improve the quality of your podcast if you choose.
- Refining Your Podcast. Here’s where this book really sets itself apart from others in the market. Shel and Neville are communicators, first and foremost. Many podcasting books come at the topic from an audio background, but these two start with the substance. In this section, you learn to determine the objectives for your podcast, understand your audience and what it wants, and how to incorporate format choices that meet these needs. Ultimately, the authors make the point that podcasting is a tool, not an end in itself. Determine what you want to accomplish, and then decide if a podcast is the right medium.
- Make Money with Your Podcast. While admitting up-front that profitability is unlikely to be the foremost goal for most readers, the authors do a nice job of identifying potential revenue streams for those who may be interested. Featured are less obvious ideas that many may overlook, including merchandising, to go along with typical advertising and sponsorship scenarios.
- Use a Podcast As a Business Communication Tool. Again, they’re communicators so this section builds upon the foundation set in the third section on objectives. Shel and Neville outline clear ideas on how a podcast could be used in a business setting, including for building reputation, marketing, internal communications, customer dialogue, and more. They even include an explanation of when you shouldn’t use podcasting as a tool.
There weren’t many misses that I noticed, but one did jump out at me. There’s no mention that I can recall about a software tool called the Levelator which is an invaluable tool for beginning podcasters to improve the audio quality of their podcast for free. I’m pretty sure they plug it in their workshops, so I’m not sure why it missed the cut in the book.
And one other thing: it would have been nice if the publisher could have come up with some different graphics between sections. They simply repeat the cover art, so by the end of the book it gets really old! 🙂
Of course, there’s much more to the book than what I’ve been able to describe here, so I encourage you to check it out for yourself.
In addition, the book’s companion web site includes additional resources, including a video demonstration by Shel of one of the more complicated techniques described in the book.