Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A podcast is simply an audio file (mp3) that is posted online that people can listen to on their computers, iPod or phone. So what does it have to do with helping your publicity? It used to be that if you wanted people to know about you, you’d have to appear on a radio show for them to hear you. But with podcasts, you can be heard anywhere, anytime. That means that you can make it convenient for your clients and peers to listen to what you have to say, which is a nice alternative to written communication.
There are many ways to create and post audio online, and what’s great is that you no longer need a home studio to record something. You can do it right on your computer. All that’s required is an audio recording and editing program and a microphone.
Audacity – This is a free audio recording and editing program. Go to http://audacity.sourceforge.net to download it.
Microphones – USB microphones plug right into your computer, so there’s no need for fancy, expensive equipment. A couple of good USB microphones are the Snowball http://www.bluemic.com/snowball/ and Yeti http://www.bluemic.com/yeti/ .
Recorders – If you prefer to not use a microphone, you can use a high-quality handheld recorder. There are many recorders on the market, from expensive to inexpensive, but what’s important is the quality of the recording. A standard audio file is 44Mhz/96kbps or 128kbps, so make sure your recorder has at least that capability.
Hosting – You can host your mp3 files on your website as you would any other file, then post the link on your website, blog, in e-mails, on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of hosting and setting up a system for your audio files, you can use podcasting websites such as Podomatic http://www.podomatic.com or Libsyn http://www.libsyn.com. Their instructions are easy to follow, and you can also create your own podcasting webpage there.
Once you have the tools, just practice what you want to say and do some test recordings. It’s best to keep your podcast short at first, probably no longer than 10 minutes, especially if you think people will be listening on their phones. The important thing is to have good content, and see how people respond.