It’s that tiny taste that leaves you wanting more. As I’ve discussed in the past, your theater offers an escape from the world, an entrance into an exclusive social gathering, and layers of experience beyond what you can capture in a video clip. Some theater operators are wary of posting a show or even short clips of a show online, but such tantalizing bites only leave your online public hungry for the full meal. Uploading select scenes, or even an entire play, can only boost your attendance and create positive publicity for your theater. But you don’t even need to share the finished product. The more creativity you can load into a podcast, the more likely you are to get patrons hooked and ready to be reeled in. What do you want to broadcast to the world? When it comes to developing interesting content, a community theatre has it made (compared to everything you need to know about knitting socks for instance). This is where your creativity comes in. While you’re worrying about posting the show, you’re forgetting all the great, behind-the-scenes footage your viewers would love to see. Consider filming the preparations the actors take, interviewing the director, and talking with patrons. Blooper reels, costume fittings, and set design may interest difference segments of your audience. Give your stage crew, ushers, and angels a voice! Discuss obstacles your organization faces and how you overcome them. Consider a program on the history of your theater and your plans for the future. You don’t have to make reality TV show. Podcasts usually run between 10 and 45 minutes: the Internet is the realm of the short attention span. In fact, shorter podcasts are better. How much excitement can you fit into that time period? How will you capture your content? Hardware – All you need is a digital video camera. Don’t spend a lot of money. It’s free content, after all. Most viewers will forgive poor video quality, provided the audio track is clear. Need more direction to choose your equipment? O’Reilly’s digital media blog has a great article, as does MacWorld and this podcast tutorial. Or, simply invoke the power of your favorite search engine! Software – You’ll need software for recording (audio/video), editing, file encoding and file transfer, plus a media player. Some software will do all of these things; some do just a portion. Shop around and find out what’s right for you and your theater. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to go with top-of-the-line software; there are many free open-source alternatives that can achieve relatively the same results. Of course, you’ll find many articles floating about cyberspace on software and ways in which to optimize your content. Run some searches to compare consumer opinions and find the software that best suits your needs. How will you distribute your podcast? Upload to Your Website– Depending on how you choose to distribute, you may need to go through the process of uploading your content to your own website or blog. While you can host your video on sites like YouTube, hosting the original video on your own website is the best option. No matter who shares or reposts your video, it will always drive traffic back to your homepage. This requires a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program, which is old hat to most webmasters, but if you’re still muddling through the basics, you can read through one of several online guides available. Syndicate- Once you’ve gotten your video up on the web, you need to distribute it. There are several ways of hitching your podcast to the right social media, which can launch your podcast on its journey through cyberspace. As discussed earlier, YouTube is one way to syndicate, but it is not the only one. Tube Mogul, for instance allows you to upload your video and then distributes the content to as many video sites as you want. Frequency- Determine a regular schedule for uploading and deploying content. Don’t go overboard! Consider the amount of time it will take for you to produce your podcasts, given your other responsibilities. What’s realistic for you? If you don’t have experience making movies, it may be hard to estimate the time and resources required per video. Make your best guess and adjust accordingly. How will you track the effectiveness of a podcast? When it comes to marketing, you need to track everything. Everything! How else will you know that the time and effort you put into your podcast is reaping any reward? Luckily for you, the Internet is teeming with free or inexpensive analytical software. For instance, if you use Tube Mogul, the analytics are already integrated. YouTube has also rolled out some handy traffic measuring tools. Keep an eye on your statistics and you’ll soon know where your viewers are, how enthusiastic they are, and what you need to do to keep them happy and buying tickets at the box office! Lance Trebesch and Dustin Stoltz Eventgroove