With more and more people listening in, podcasting has grown to become one of the most popular and viable online marketing avenues for businesses and individual users. As a way to distribute digital audio content over the Internet, podcasting has a unique, practical appeal. Not only does it ease the creation and broadcasting of so many mainstream activities (music, reading, general discussions and commentaries); it also makes possible countless business applications.
Chances are, if you had decided to utilize the power of podcasting and already researched on ways to create a podcast, you might have been overwhelmed by the number of choices available out there. You might have asked yourself questions such as: Which recording software will I use? Where do I upload my audio files? How can I distribute my podcast to family, friends, and fans?
Don’t fret. Below, you will find a list of the top ten podcasting tools and resources for your recording pleasure.
1. Audacity: This free software program is one of the most popular podcasting tools available for people who wish to creat and publish their own podcasts. In fact, it’s at the top of many podcasters’ lists, be they amateur or professional. Audacity is an open-source sound editor which can be downloaded from the Internet for free; it is rich with features that are easy to learn and comes in versions for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux/ Unix. Audacity can also used by advanced users who want to utilize editing tools and options such as background noise removal, silence truncation, and bass boosts.
2. LAME: This free, powerful, and easy-to-use MP3 encoder is not lame at all. It enables you to convert your audio file (i.e. those Audacity projects) into high-quality MP3 format. LAME is also an open-source project, which means that it is continuously being developed to improve the software’s quality and speed.
3. GarageBand: This program is much like Audacity, except that it can only be used in Macs and was created to target musicians. Like a full-featured studio, GarageBand’s library of music loops and virtual instruments which artists can fuse to create personalized sound distinguishes it from other sound editing software programs. But it doesn’t mean that non-musical podcasters won’t find GarageBand useful. On the contrary! It’s an intuitive podcasting tool, too, for those who wish to publish multi-faceted, scripted recordings.
4. Propaganda: One software program that enables you to create podcasts just like the professionals is Propaganda. Armed with a gorgeous interface, Propaganda lets podcasting beginners create commercial-quality audio content — and label, organize, and store files easily. Other features include music and sound effects, XML, HTML, and MP3 support, and multi-track recording.
5. Odeo: One of the easiest ways to create a podcast and make it available immediately to online communities is through Odeo. It is a Web portal through which you can record audio within your Internet browser, not to mention an online community for podcasters to discover each other and subscribe to fresh, independent audio content.
6. SnapKast: Another easy software solution with which to create podcasts and share recording sessions online is SnapKast (for Windows). Not only can you deliver fast and easy MP3-formatted files with this program; you can also create MPEG-4 content to podcast your PowerPoint presentations for web collaborations. Even better is that you can deliver content via RSS podcasts — such that your audio and video files are distributed as soon as you need them distributed.
7. Hipcast: This podcasting tool and resource allows you to create an unlimited number of podcasts in three different ways: record online, by telephone, or via uploads. Priding itself for its “click and publish” convenience, Hipcast is for individuals who wish to publish simple podcasts for hobby, trade, class, or personal use. What’s more, Hipcast is compatible with iTunes!
8. ClickCaster: If you are looking for a robust yet convenient podcast publishing platform on the Web, then be sure to check out ClickCaster. The online application allows you to upload audio and video podcasts, record within a Web browser, enable customized RSS feed distribution, tag your own channels, and even sell your rich media content. ClickCaster is especially recommended as a podcasting tool for business and education users.
9. FeedForAll: This low-cost software is used to streamline the creation and the publication of RSS feeds for podcasts. If you are a podcaster, you’d be glad to know that FeedForAll can help increase your exposure. If you are a voracious listener, FeedForAll can give you more control over the content you listen to, and when.
10. Podalyzer: If you are podcasting for business purposes, then you would want a podcasting resource with which you can track the success of your efforts. Enter Podalyzer, a free Perl script that analyzes your web server logs and produces reports on podcast downloads — complete with first-seen and last-seen dates and information on downloads by day.