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How To Effortlessly Use Streaming Audio To Add Impact To Your Online Business

By Gabriel Nijmeh

Are you looking to add professional impact to your website and newsletter for almost little or no cost. How about introducing an audio ezine or other informative audio stream to your web site

With the amount of email and documentation that is being passed around, people are becoming overwhelmed with the information overload. I know of a number of people who because of their hectic multi-tasking schedules find it difficult to make the time to sit back and read the books, magazines and articles that keep piling up. Instead they pop in an audio book (CD or tape) while they are working, driving, or exercising and “listen” to their books. This is an ideal way to maximize productivity and learning in a short period of time.

What can you do with streaming audio?

  • Record tips and tricks relevant to your field of expertise

  • Record your entire ezine or portions of it in streaming audio format

  • Record interviews with other business owners, subject matter experts, and/or customers

  • Make announcements about new products, services or specials

  • Record a speech or talk that you have given

  • Start your own “radio station” or web cast.

  • Post your audio on various MP3 audio sites just like you would with articles.

Streaming audio is another effective communication method to share your knowledge in an interactive way. You are reaching out across the world and adding warmth and a trusted voice to your loyal visitors and readers. You are only limited by your imagination because you probably already have the tools on hand to create some great audio.

If you haven’t thought about this because you think that it might cost you too much time or money, let me give you an idea of how easy it is.

What do you need?

1. Microphone
2. Audio Recording Software
3. Sound Card

That’s it! It's rather easy to do and won’t require too much of your time or require a fancy recording studio. Your computer, an inexpensive microphone and audio software that lets you record, edit and mix puts you in full command of your own home recording studio.

There are quite a number of free to inexpensive audio shareware tools that you can download. For example, MP3 Audio Mixer is a great tool that helps you record and mix your audio. So, if you want to add a music intro or do fading between segments, MP3 Audio Mixer makes it a snap. You can add background music, intro and outro music or just about any other sounds you think would add impact to your streaming audio presentation.

Another good tool you might consider is Super MP3 Recorder which lets you record through your microphone, record an existing streaming audio file from the Internet or even music from your CD player or MP3 player.

With your software of choice and a decent microphone (in my experience a simple $10 microphone has been more than effective for voice recordings), you plug it directly into your sound card, hit the record button on your audio software and start recording.

After you have finished recording, a rather large file known as a wave (.wav) file will be written to your hard drive. Wave files take up about 10 megabytes for each minute of your recording and your next step will be to convert this file into an MP3 audio file. This process known as encoding (MP3 converting) will compress your wave file at a 10 to 1 compression ratio into an MP3 audio file. This compression is what makes MP3s such a big hit and so easy to distribute. So, as you see, each minute of audio will now only consume 1 megabyte of hard drive space. In the case of voice recordings, you probably won't need the same high quality output as a music MP3 thus reducing your file size even more.

Whatever software you decide to use, most software developers include very detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to create very professional audio sound files. For example, take a look at MP3 Audio Mixer’s on-line help for a detailed walkthrough of the recording process. Super MP3 Recorder also offers a step-by-step recording tutorial that will have you up and running in a matter of minutes!

After finishing your recording, creating an audio stream using an .m3u file is easy. An .m3u is a play list file that points to a specific MP3 audio file on your server. First, you simply upload your finished MP3 audio file to your server. Next you create a simple text file (using NotePad) saving it with the file extension .m3u. All you need to do is add one line of text to this file, which will be the pointer to the mp3 file you just uploaded to your server.

For example:

1) Marketing-Minute.mp3 is your newly recording Internet marketing tip that you uploaded to your server. The file is saved on your server to a directory called audio.

2) The .m3u file you just created, which you will name Marketing_Minute.m3u, will have one line that points to: http://www.yourwebsite.com/audio/Marketing-Minute.mp3

3) Create a regular link like you would for another web address (URL) i.e. [a href=”http://www.yourwebsite.com/Marke ting_Minute.m3u”]Click here to listen to today’s Marketing Minute

When a user clicks on this link, their MP3 player should open and your newly created audio file should start streaming through their speakers.

Very easy for both you and your listeners and a great way to promote your business and share your knowledge.

Pretty easy! Once you start learning how to record using the software of your choice, it only gets easier. What I have described covers MP3s, you may also consider using Real Audio, Shout Cast or Windows Audio Files (WMAs) as your audio file format. The process is very similar, however because of popularity and compability, MP3 has become the audio standard.

For a very good audio primer, visit Deliver Your Media and check out our descriptions of the various audio formats that are currently in use.

Have Fun!


 

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