For several years, I’ve been actively engaged in making and producing podcasts. There’s a certain amount of commitment and resources needed to make a podcast work, and there are ways to share and communicate it that are considered fairly standard. In short, if your podcast isn’t in iTunes (or more correctly now, Apple podcasts) then it doesn’t exist. That’s not entirely true, but it does make podcast discovery a little more challenging.

Still, there are periods where you want to do something that’s a little more focused, to get information out to a target group quickly, and that may not require having a long shelf life. I’ve started an initiative that does exactly that, and in the process, we made some choices that I think you all may find interesting. At the very least, they may be a cautionary tale or a model that you may wish to try yourselves.

Claire Moss and I are recording a series of short, targeted podcasts that are meant to help focus on the upcoming AST CAST Conference in Nashville, Tennessee this year. This podcast is called The AST CASTcast, and in many ways, it’s like many other podcasts, and in a few ways, it’s different. As a way to quickly get content out to people, rather than produce a podcast that would be pushed to podcast syndication systems, we decided to go with an approach that used YouTube. YouTube is an interesting platform choice, in that it’s ubiquitous, and it’s easy to access and upload to. It does have a few challenges, in that it’s not an audio-only medium. Every file has to be a video file. If we were to record a show with video, then that would be easy, but we are not able to guarantee all of our guests can record with video, and rather than leave them out, we decided to make an audio podcast.

That’s great, you may say, but YouTube is a video platform. How do you make an audio-only recording available as a video file? We opted to use a service called TunesToTube. The service lets you upload an audio file, and then an image file (in our case, we chose to make a show card with show info and pictures of participants). These then get combined into a video file and uploaded to YouTube. If you use the free version, you will have a watermark appear that says the TunesToTube service was used to encode the video.

The process is pretty straightforward:

  • Go to the website
  • Log into your YouTube account
  • Upload the audio file you wish to use for your podcast.
  • Upload the picture(s) you would like to use to represent your video (you can also type in text and make some selections so that you have a video title, etc. if you don’t want to load an image)
  • Put in the title, description, and tags as you want them to appear.
  • Upload the file to YouTube
As stated, this would be a great way to give a test drive to a podcast or to make it available as an alternative to a regularly published podcast feed. The advantages are that going from finished audio to available to listen is fast. Another plus to using YouTube is that it makes the content embeddable, as I’m doing in this post here. The source video is on YouTube, but anyone who wants to include it on a blog post or a share can do so easily, and it’s immediately accessible via desktop, phone or tablet, as long as the device in question can play YouTube videos. The downside to this approach is that it does require the user to use YouTube and stream video files. Granted, they are not tremendously larger than the audio file, but there is an overhead, and thus, it deserves to be mentioned. Also, it’s not as easily downloaded as a regular podcast, but there are methods to do that.
In any event, we hope you enjoy the AST CASTCast while we are posting them in the upcoming weeks and months. As always, I appreciate feedback and comments about what we are doing :).