Dentists become podcasting professionals in 7 easy steps

Do you value community outreach activities? Are you looking for better ways to communicate and educate your patients, your peers, or even the media? If your goal is to get your message to more people, more effectively, and more often, then I’ve got the answer you’ve been looking for…and it’s powerful, fun, and remarkably simple.

Why not use the cutting edge technology of podcasts to spread awareness about the importance of proper oral health? Stick with me now, if you have a mild case of technophobia that’s fine. I’m sure if your practice has the know-how to produce an online newsletter, learning how to integrate podcasting into your outreach activities will be a breeze. And believe me, podcasting is the most innovative mass communication vehicle to emerge in years and it will greatly increase the impact and reach of your message.

Let’s start with the basics. Think of a podcast like a radio show that anyone can download from the Internet. Put another way, a podcast is a digital file that is available to everyone, through a free subscription, over the web. Most podcasts are just audio files (like CDs), but you can also add video content (like DVDs). The main advantage of podcasts over traditional streaming is that users can download these web files to their personal computers, mp3 and/or CD players, and then listen to them whenever they want: in their car, during their morning run, or even on the go. your reception area.

Increasingly, podcasts are recognized as the latest robust communication tool to harness the power of the Internet to quickly reach large numbers of listeners. If your podcast contains valuable information, your listeners will share it with others, quickly spreading your message around the world. Also, because podcasts use RSS technology (actually just syndication), new episodes are delivered to your subscribers without a hitch. Once a listener subscribes to a podcast using iTunes or another similar service, that service automatically downloads new episodes as they’re released, making getting your message across almost instantly and effortlessly.

Putting together a professional-sounding podcast is easier than you think. Since valuable content is paramount, the first step is to prepare interesting topics for your episodes. I suggest you commit to producing bi-monthly episodes, which means you only need six issues per year initially. Once podcasting becomes part of your routine, increase your output to twelve tracks per year. If you’re already producing a print or online newsletter for your patients, the most logical progression would be to reformat some of that content into podcasts. A good way to start is to identify topics you could cover in more detail by talking about them on a podcast instead of writing about them in a newsletter.

For example, the most recent newsletter my dentist emailed me included an article on the dangers of periodontal disease, including information on how it can be linked to the development of heart disease, warning signs to look out for and recommended preventive actions. This is valuable information that interests me and I am grateful to be on this mailing list. But imagine I’ve received this information in the form of an audio podcast, personally recorded by my dentist, urging me to book an appointment for a much-needed checkup. It immediately galvanized me into action! Speaking directly to your audience, in your own voice, and with your own inflection, tone, and spirit, creates a much more intimate connection with your patients. This relationship-building quality is inherent in audio and is part of what makes podcasts so powerful.

If you’re wondering about the widespread acceptance of digital audio files, consider this statistic: On April 9, 2007, Apple announced the sale of its 100 millionth iPod and more than 2.5 billion songs from the iTunes Music Store. Now consider that anyone can download podcasts from this very music store and listen to them through their mp3 player or computer, or burn them to CD…for free! As more and more people (including your patients) “tune in” to audio files across the web, offering them podcasts that complement and build on the content of your existing newsletters gives you another way to remind them of the importance of proper oral health. . and the services it provides.

So what equipment and software do you need to record and produce a podcast? You can become a podcasting pro in just seven easy steps:

1. Verify that your PC is running Windows 2000, XP, or Vista and has the ability to play audio files.

2. Invest in a microphone. Altec Lansing makes decent products, some of which are under $30 and available at the Future Shop. But I recommend splurging a bit to improve audio quality. Blue Microphones makes an excellent USB microphone called the Snowball, which retails for $130 on the Canadian online Apple Store. (This microphone will also work with your Windows PC.)

3. Download and install your recording software. Audacity is an excellent audio editor that can be downloaded from And you can’t beat its price point: it’s free.

4. Record and edit your podcast.

5. Partner with an online hosting service to set up a website specifically for your podcast. Liberated Syndication is extremely affordable and gives me everything I need. For $5 a month, I can rent 100 megabytes of storage space a month, which translates to about two hours of audio. This basic hosting account gives me unlimited bandwidth, which means that even if my audience grows exponentially, my monthly cost never increases. LibSyn also provides me with easy-to-use templates for my podcast website and automatically generates and updates my podcast’s RRS feed. Another similar service worth considering is Go Daddy.

6. Upload your new podcast to your hosting service using their simple submission page. Completing the submission page is similar to sending an email. Just type your podcast title (as a subject line), add your episode description (as the body of your email), and include your mp3 file (as an attachment). You can even attach a corresponding image, if you wish. Uploading Your Podcast stores the mp3 file online and makes it available to your audience; they can download your podcast from your newly created podcast website.

7. Promote your podcast! This is as easy as sending an email announcement to your contact list with the URL of your podcast website. But to take advantage of the various online podcast directories, you need to visit their websites and submit the RSS feed of your podcast. You should never pay to be listed on these directories, as the best ones, including iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and Podcast Pickle, are free.

For Mac users, these steps are even simpler thanks to Garage Band and iWeb. As a Mac user, I’d be happy to pass on some tips to get you started.

Like you, I believe it’s important to stay connected with my customer base, and as a lover of all things tech, I choose to use innovative approaches. I have successfully used the power of podcasting to promote my business on two weekly podcasts with increasing success. And by following these seven easy steps, you too can become a podcasting pro!