White Hat Crew
The Art of Ethical Persuasion • White Hat Crew
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I used to think it would be hard to blog and publish a podcast every day. Until recently, I blogged an average of twice a month. And although I'd intended to start podcasting years ago, I hadn't recorded a single podcast.

Now I blog and podcast 5 days a week, and my podcast is listed in the iTunes Music Store. It's much easier than it used to be. The difference is having the right tools to help me get ideas to blog about, break through mental barriers, and handle the cumbersome details of posting content.

Here's how I do it:

SEO Content Factory

Price: $57 / Buy

It all starts with idea generation. If I had to come up with something to talk about on my own every day, I'd still be blogging twice a month.

I use SEO Content Factory to subscribe to all sorts of sources of inspiration: other blogs, my Twitter friends, Twitter and blog search results, etc. When I find something to write about, it's easy to grab a quote, use it to start a post, write, and publish, all without leaving SEO Content Factory.

SEO Content Factory is my own product. It evolves based on the needs of a real-life blogger: me. Of course, I listen to the suggestions and requests of other users too, but rest assured, if there's a way to make it easier to use or more powerful, I'll want it as much as anybody.

WordPress

Price: Free / Download

WordPress is the most popular platform in the world for self-hosted blogs. Its ease of use, customizability and power make it the ideal tool for running a blog.

Twitter

Price: Free / Sign Up

Twitter fills an important communication void for bloggers. Since each message is limited to 140 characters, it's the perfect place to share links and ideas that aren't big enough for a full blog post. And since everyone else is forced to use it for short messages too, it's a great way to follow the links and ideas shared by lots of other people. Only follow people who tweet things worth reading, and you'll find a treasure trove of good things to blog about.

On the flip side, it's a great way to announce your own new blog posts -- every time you publish, just tweet your headline and a link to your new post. (You can tweet from within SEO Content Factory).

Posterous

Price: Free / Sign Up

Posterous allows longer content than Twitter, so you can use it to publish a full blog, or use it like Twitter, or both. (You can publish to your Posterous blog from within SEO Content Factory).

Tumblr

Price: Free / Sign Up

Tumblr is another service like Posterous with similar uses. (You can publish to your Tumblr blog from within SEO Content Factory).

Olympus WS-110

(Superceded by WS-400S) Price: $47.95 / Buy

After I've finished writing my daily blog post, I record myself reading it with my digital voice recorder. You could hook up a microphone to your computer and record yourself that way instead. In fact, that would save you a few small steps. Ultimately, it's just a matter of preference.

One nice thing about using a digital voice recorder is that you can carry it with you anywhere to record away from your computer too.

Tip: be sure to get a recorder than can connect to your computer and download your recordings digitally. You'll lose quality and spend a lot more time if you have to play back from your recorder to record on the computer.

Tip: don't worry about reading your entire post perfectly. Repeat sentences and leave pauses as needed to make sure you've got a reasonably good take of each sentence. You can easily edit out pauses, coughs, and bad takes later. Just be sure to inunciate clearly, and don't get so picky that it takes you all day.

Free Mp3 Wma Converter

Price: Free / Download

Since my WS-110 saves in WMA format, which the editing software I use doesn't support, I have to convert the audio file before editing. Free Mp3 Wma Converter enables me to do that in a few seconds with drag, drop and click ease.

Intro & "Outtro"

An easy way to make your podcast sound more professional is to insert music and a voice over at the beginning and end. In the intro, simply introduce your podcast. In the "outtro", include calls to action, like asking listeners to post a comment on your blog.

Cakewalk Music Creator

Price: $37.99 / Buy

My intro/outtro music is part of an original composition that I recorded using Cakewalk Music Creator. If you're not the composing type, find a place where you can buy a royalty-free music clip to use.

Tip: During voice overs, drop the volume of the music so that your voice is understandable. But don't make the change instantaneous. In Audacity, use the "Envelope Tool" to change the volume gradually (and by gradually, I mean quickly, in a fraction of a second -- just not instantly).

Tip: For better sound quality, save your intro and "outtro" in a lossless format like AIFF, not as an MP3. They be converted to MP3 format when you import them into each episode.

Audacity

Price: Free / Download

To edit out pauses, coughs, and re-takes of things I read badly the first time, I import the WAV file I get from Free Mp3 Wma Converter into Audacity. I also amplify the volume to ensure that it's not too quiet.

Also in Audacity, I tack on the intro and "outtro", which are the same for each episode.

Then I export in MP3 format.

Tip: record and output in mono. Forget about stereo unless you really need it for something fancy that you're doing (and only do that if you've got a really good reason). It just makes the file bigger for the same quality.

Tip: with a little experimentation, I found that setting the bit rate to 32kbps gave me the smallest possible files without noticable sound quality problems. Yes, you can go smaller, but you'll sound a lot less professional.

Amazon S3

Price: Based on Storage and Bandwidth Used / Sign Up

Audio files are much bigger than webpages. If your podcast gets popular, you're not going to want to bog down your webserver serving up MP3s to all your subscribers. For hardly any money at all, you can host your podcast recordings on Amazon S3 instead, saving your website's bandwidth for serving webpages.

S3 Firefox Organizer

Price: Free / Download

Amazon S3 has a weakness: you can't upload files to it using your normal FTP or SCP program. Fortunately, there's a free plugin for the Firefox web browser that makes it really easy.

But sure to set the access permissions for both your podcast folder and each file so that they're readable by everyone. Otherwise, nobody's going to be able to download them.

Audio Player Plugin for WordPress

Price: Free / Download

Once you've got your MP3 uploaded, the easiest way to hook it up to your post is to use the Audio Player plugin for WordPress. By adding a special tag to the top or bottom of your post, an audio player will appear that can be used to listen to your podcast right on the page. Also, WordPress will automatically add the necessary tag to your RSS feed to turn it into a podcast feed.

PodcastIT

Included in SEO Content Factory / Buy

By the time you get to this point, you're already podcasting. But your feed's not yet optimized for the iTunes Music Store. There are a number of podcasting plugins available to add the necessary iTunes-specific tags. But after checking out a few, I decided there were all way too big and did way too much (which will slow your blog down), so I wrote my own light-weight plugin that does only what's needed to prep your podcast for iTunes (that's what the "IT" in "PodcastIT" stands for).

For best results, enter the duration (you can find it by hovering your mouse over the MP3 file in Windows Explorer), a few keywords, and a very brief description for each episode.

iTunes Music Store

Price: Free / (Sign up within iTunes)

Why list your podcast in iTunes? Well, why not? It's free. And it gets you a link from a program used by millions of people.

Here's how to submit your podcast to iTunes.

Podcasting Step-by-Step

If you'd like more detail on the exact steps I take to blog and podcast each day, including screen shots and additional tips, check out my eBook, Podcasting Step-by-Step: it's not as hard as you think. (Also available for Amazon Kindle)


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Get to Know Us

White Hat Crew Hi. I'm Antone Roundy. I'm a strong believer in ethics, and have always tried to practice and promote ethical behavior in an industry where many slip over to the dark side. At White Hat Crew, I'll share insights into internet marketing, with extra emphasis on ethical issues.

Read my Internet Marketing Ethics Manifesto

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Riffs on a Purple Cow

Riffs on a Purple Cow is a Kindle eBook containing collection of articles I wrote, inspired by Seth Godin. Download your copy from Amazon.com.

It's also a demonstration of the blogging and business method outlined in my eBook, "How to Build and Operate an SEO Content Factory", which you can download for free in either of these formats:

PDF | Mobipocket (Kindle, etc.)



Tools I Use to Blog and Podcast

Here's a list of all the tools I use to publish this blog and podcast, and an outline of the process that makes it easier than you might think.