How to Capitalize on Free Content From Podcasts

by Antone Roundy - Date: 2008-11-14 - Word Count: 713 Share This!

One of the major challenges for every website owner is generating compelling content that will engage visitors, keep them one your site, and bring them back in the future. Audio and video are great at engaging visitors, but not everyone has the time, tools and talent required to produce quality audio and video.

Those who don't want to produce their own audio and video content can take advantage of content generated others using syndication technologies. In this article, I'll show you how to syndicate podcasts -- ie. how to enable your website's visitors to listen to someone else's podcast right on your site.

The first step is to find a podcast on a topic that will be of interest to your website's visitors. To do that, use your favorite search engine to search for "podcast directory". You'll find a number of directories listing podcasts covering a variety of topics. You can also find podcasts that may not be listed in the directories by searching for, for example "internet marketing podcast", "human rights podcast", etc.

Be sure to listen to a few episodes of the podcast before you syndicate it - just because it's on the right topic, that doesn't necessarily mean it's interesting! Also be sure to check the publisher's terms to make sure they don't prohibit syndication of their podcast. Most won't because syndication gives them free expose to a wider audience.

Once you've found a podcast, you'll need a script to import it into your website. (Why do it manually when there's software available that will keep your site up-to-date with the latest podcast episodes automatically?) Be sure that the script you choose can display an audio player on your page, and not just a link to the audio file. Otherwise, it will be too cumbersome for the user, as well as taking them away from your site!

One script that does this well is CaRP Evolution. It is an RSS to HTML converter -- a script that takes RSS feeds (which is the format podcasts are published in) and converts them to HTML code so that they can be displayed in webpages. It has a podcast plugin that works with the 1 Pixel Out Audio Player to play podcasts in a customizable Flash-powered audio player. CaRP is a PHP script, so it's used most easily in PHP webpages.

The following describes how to use CaRP Evolution to display a podcast on your website. If you use a different script, the process should be similar, but the details will be different.

Install CaRP Evolution and upload at least "audio-player.js" and "player.swf" from 1 Pixel Out Audio Player to your website (they don't need to be uploaded to the same folder as CaRP).

Then use code like the following to display the podcast you selected. Change the path on the line beginning "require_once" to the path given to your by the CaRP installer, the address on the line where "player-path" is set to the address where you uploaded the 1 Pixel Out Audio Player files, and the address in the line beginning "CarpCacheShow" to the address of the podcast feed you selected. (Be sure to enter the address of the podcast's RSS feed, not the address of the podcast's homepage).

The lines of code beginning with "CarpConf" tell CaRP to display the title link, description and podcast audio for each episode, and to limit the description to 200 characters.

The lines of code setting "leftbg", "lefticon", "rightbg" and "righticon" are customizing the colors of the audio player. The values shown are "hexidecimal" color codes like those used in HTML. but they don't begin with "#".

You'll find instructions in CaRP's documentation describing other ways to customize the audio player and the rest of CaRP's output. You can also do more advanced things like merging multiple podcasts on the same topic together.

Once you have a podcast feed displayed on your site, your work is done! Whenever a new episode is added to the podcast, your webpage will be updated so that visitors can always listen to the latest episode right on your site.

All that's left to do is make sure that you have original textual content on your site for your visitors to read while they're listening or after they're done. You can leave the audio work to someone else.

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Related Tags: content, free, how, to, from, podcasts, on, capitalize

Antone Roundy is the owner of Gecko Tribe, LLC. He specializes in creating scripts and tools for webmasters, including CaRP Evolution as well as various other aspects of internet marketing.
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