Many Internet publishers are utilizing podcasts as a way to enhance their SEO and to keep their web site visitors involved. But podcast production should not be treated haphazardly, or you will come across as amateurish.

Check out some pointers for producing quality podcasts:

1. Script the entire podcast. Determine the duration you want to produce and time out the script beforehand. Not everyone has the gift for gab, so make sure you are familiar with the script and are not stuck fumbling for words. If your podcast includes an interview, review the script and questions with your guest beforehand, as well. Not all guests are comfortable on camera, even if they are a top expert in their field.

2. Be well-equipped. A grainy podcast with poor sound is a huge turn-off. You don't have to spend a bundle to produce quality podcasts, but you should invest in:
* A good webcam;
• A decent microphone;
• An mp3 recorder for conducting remote interviews;
• Headphones;
• Editing software.

3. What’s your style? Are you more Oprah or Letterman? Rush Limbaugh or Anderson Cooper? It may take you a few podcasts before you find your groove, but you will need to develop your own personal style. The best suggestion is to just be yourself. However, some folks are quiet and unassuming, and that may come across as a bit dull on a podcast. If you are witty, use your humor. If you are energetic, then let the viewer see that side of you. If you are more on the reserved side, then you may want to invite more bubbly guests to the podcasts.

4. Find your format. Think about the different talk shows you watch. There are many types of formats; and even different types of formats for segments within the show. Here are some ideas:
• Interview: This is a very effective way to convey information and enhance credability for your podcast, espcially if you call on known experts in the field and they are well-spoken and conversational.
• Monologue: A good format for lively, energetic or humorous hosts. If you opt for this format you may want to include visual aids, additional video clips, music, etc., to enhance the podcast.
• Magazine-style: This will include a variety of formats -- interviews, monologues, ads, etc. These are more challenging and time-consuming. Must be very well-scripted.
• Documentary: This invloves interviews, footage and a voice-over. A tricky format, but done well it looks very professional. Like the magazine-style format, the documentary requires a solid script.
• Info-mercial: This is a good format to demonstrate certain products. Can include interviews and testimonials from users.

5. Communicate to your audience. Format your podcast to your viewers. If you are promoting a sports-related product, you may want to wear sports apparel as opposed to a three-piece suit; and set the podcast in a gym instead of an office. Are our customers and readers young or mature? Are there more men or women? These are the types of factors you should consider when crafting your production.

6. Be brief. People are busy. They usually won't watch an hour-long podcast. Stick to a seven- to 10-minute format. There is no need to fill up time with music and extensive footage just to make the podcast longer. Get to the point quickly, convey your ideas, provide whatever contact information you desire and conclude the podcast. If your intent is to use the podcast to sell a product or service, make sure you provide as many benefits as possible to entice the viewer to make a purchase.

7. Be original. Consumers can sense a copy-cat a mile away. Give some thought to ways in which you can make your podcasts unique. Maybe you can develop a new character. Maybe your podcasts are unique in their setting, or the writing style, or the theme song. Creativity will be compelling to your viewers.

A good podcaster will not only entice viewers to watch the entire program, but they will compel them to re-visit your website over and over. If you can accomplish that, then you will likely achieve your objectives for your podcasts.