Karen Unland, president of the Alberta Podcast Network, explains the technology currently used to create and distribute podcasts. Podcasts are very powerful way to intimately reach a captive audience. They are listening with both ears and their whole heart.
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My name is Karen Unland. I'm president of the Alberta Podcast Network, powered by ATB, and what we do is we grow listenership for Alberta-based podcasts, Alberta-made podcasts, and then we connect those listeners to Alberta-based businesses and organizations. You can see and hear all of our podcasts at albertapodcastnetwork.com. Well, I think I would have to go with the device that delivers to me all of the things that I'm plugged into, and that's my phone. I'm not the person who stands in line for the latest, but I did just recently upgrade my iPhone to the 8, I think. I am on my phone all the time listening to podcasts. That is my business, so I'm always plugged in in that way. And then it's always just the thing that makes it possible for me to keep on top of my social media channels for the Podcast Network and for myself and for my podcast and for whatever else I'm involved in, and to be able to work from wherever I am, because it's a itinerant life that I lead in my business. There are so many of them out there. I remain a lover of Twitter, despite itself. It is a place that is sort of a less nice place than it was when I joined, but Twitter, I know I've found my people there, and my people found me there. It remains, I know from looking at my analytics that it is still the top referrer for the things that I do. Instagram is my fun place. I like to be there to share the love and receive the love and have fun. I haven't ... I consume some Instagram stories, but I kind of like old school Instagram as a producer and a consumer. I'm really interested in figuring out better ways to leverage Instagram for podcasts. There are growing tools for doing excerpts and audiograms and stuff like that. It's hard to know how to get Instagram to actually send you traffic, right? But, it's still a good way to engage with people and to let people know about what our podcasts are up to. Facebook you have to be on, and Facebook is an interesting place for the size of the audience and the targetability of the audience. I think most people have love-hate relationship with Facebook as far as it goes as a social network. And then, LinkedIn is a really important place for me to be because part of my business is B to B, part of it leveraging the network that I have from all of my past professional endeavors, and so I know that that's a place for me to be as well. I'm not on YouTube. My kids are watching YouTube all the time. I know that that's where you need to be, but I haven't figured that out yet. I have a podcast called That's a Thing that I do with my 16 year old daughter, and she teensplains her media to me. It's a monthly show where she tells me something that is going on that is completely under the surface for me that I have no idea that was even happening until she told me about it. For that podcast, we are hosted on libsyn right now. We're looking at a new one, but for now, we're on libsyn. We push out to Apple Podcasts, because you have to be there to be real, right, to be considered as real. We're on Google Play, because we want to be easily accessible for Android users. We're on Stitcher because that's also something that's a better place for some people because it doesn't automatically download, so you can pick and choose without filling up your phone. We're on Spotify. It's interesting to be on Spotify because a growing number of people only listen to podcasts there, and I wouldn't have expected that, but people are finding us. I don't even know how they're finding us, but we're getting listens on Spotify, so, there you go. The podcast host, Libsyn, generates RSS feed, so we had a one time set-up where we had to submit those feeds to those providers, and now every time we publish a new episode, it automatically shows in all those places. I don't have a set-up at home. I am truly a wanderer. I have access to a studio where I record sometimes. I have used the Edmonton Public Library. When I had a show before that was an interview show called Seen and Heard in Edmonton. I was often interviewing bloggers and podcasters, so I would often use their set up and just come to their place. But, I haven't bought my own stuff, yet. I'm always looking for a place that I can record. In the studio that I have access to right now, I record directly into Adobe Audition. In the past I have also just recorded straight into Audacity. Those are the two places that I usually do. But like I said, I'm not a gearhead. It's just means to an end for me. I know that there are things that I could do to optimize it, but that's not the core of my business, so I have a good enough nest to what I do technically. When I first started podcasting, my workflow involved exporting it to Audacity and doing the editing and the post-production in there. I quickly realized that I did not want to be a podcast editor when I grow up, so I outsource that to other people to for me, because I don't want to. But, my next step is to train my kid in doing it, so that instead of paying the editor, who is very nice, he's going to train her in doing it, and then we can bring it back in-house and she can do it. My biggest barrier is ... That's what everybody's barrier is time. Some of it is because I don't have my own set-up at home. I have to organize around when I can have access to other people's set-ups, which can be a good thing, too, but I think just the hassle of trying to organize time to record is something that I would like to overcome. I just think podcasting is a really powerful way of people conveying their expertise or telling stories or shining a light on other people. I'm excited to see where we can go to continue to cultivate the Alberta-based community of people who are doing this, because I think that it's important that we have local voices in that space and that we don't fill our ears only with American things or Toronto-based things or whatever it is that people are listening to. There's just a lot of challenge here I thought I'd like to shine a light on, and I also do think it's a really interesting opportunity for businesses and organizations to demonstrate their own expertise or tell their own stories or reach an audience in that very intimate way. If you're listening to a podcast, I say you're listening with both ears and your whole heart. If we can tap into that, then that's really powerful.