Turning an occasional visitor to your blog into a loyal reader is one of the ultimate goals for every blogger. The variety of tools we put into use to accomplish this goal is quite amazing when you analyze them closely. Multitude of plugins, subscription forms and of course – Content!

Content Is The King! But can I perhaps suggest just one more thing here – usability? And no, I’m not talking about “look and feel” of your blog but rather about providing an option to your visitors to get your content in different format. A Free Tool to pull your visitors by the ear and making them loyal readers…

Perhaps one of the most overlooked options – providing your content in different formats can add some very loyal readers to your blog. Even if not in huge numbers – they are loyal and consistent! See screenshot below for my Auto-Podcast readers and subscribers:

odiogo_stats.gif

If you looks above you will notice a growing and consistent base of people who chose to receive my content in audio format. And that option is made available via a service (which is still free) called Odiogo.

What Is Odiogo?

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and here is quote form the official website:

Odiogo’s media-shifting technology expands the reach of your content: It transforms news sites and blog posts into high fidelity, near human quality audio files ready to download and play anywhere, anytime, on any device.

In simple terms: they take your blog’s RSS feed and turn it into a podcast of very decent quality. It is not nearly human but it is very easy to listen and since it ads value to your blog it is well worth investigation. There are a few things you need to know before and during the integration but we are going to cover that right now…

How To Add Odiogo Podcast To Your Blog

Please keep in mind that I don’t have a fully integrated Odiogo on my blog i.e. I don’t use Odiogo listen button on every post but rather provide an option to subscribe to my podcast on sidebar, which more then likely has direct effect on low numbers shown in image above but it is done due to a personal choice…

You can either provide similar option as I do or fully integrate it into your WordPress blog:

  1. Signup for Odiogo service. You will have to provide your blog information here and your stats, so make sure it is all correct. Once you receive an activation email – proceed to step 2.
  2. Install WordPress plugin. You are provided with plugin if you would like to add the “Listen Button” to each and every post as well as Sidebar Widget. I personally choose not to use the button and simply added the subscription option to my sidebar but you can play around with what works best for you. Instructions are simple to follow at the link I provided.
  3. Enable Full Text Feed. Odiogo uses your feed as a source for creating a podcast so providing partial feed is not an option here. It’s been a while since I have signed up so I don’t remember for 100% but I think they actually check before your blog is approved. Just navigate to Admin->Settings->Reading and enable Full Text for Syndication feed.
  4. Add Odiogo XML-RPC service to your notification list. By default odiogo scans your content every couple hours for any changes but I recommend you take advantage of their XML-RPC notification to make your new content available in podcast so much faster. Simply add this service to your Update Services list under Admin->Settings->Write: http://rpc.odiogo.com/ping/
  5. Add Podcast Feed to Your Blog Code. While this step is optional I don’t see why you wouldn’t… You already have a podcast generated by Odiogo so might as well allow people to subscribe to it. Open your header.php and add a code like one below but replace the Podcast URL with your own:

<link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”Podcast” href=”http://podcasts.odiogo.com/web-2.0-how-to-spot-er/podcasts-xml.php” />

You can get the link you need by simply following to your Odiogo Podcast page and locating it as shown in image below:

odiogo_link.gif

Once you have done all above, you are ready to provide your visitors with new option – Podcast of Your Content! … so make sure to advertise it properly and let people know about it!

Final Notes

At the time of this post – Odiogo is a free service. They do however reserve the the right to start charging in the future for usage so please pay attention to their TOS when signing up. I can only assume that all existing customers will receive notification before the Terms will change to make an evaluation and decide if they would like to continue using it or not – when it becomes paid service.

Also keep in mind that while Odiogo provides the Audio feed of your blog – it doesn’t keep the mp3’s for all the articles. Meaning that if you integrate “Listen Now” button and a visitor attempts to actually do it on older blog post, they will get a message that it is no longer available. This limitation is the Reason I don’t integrate the button.

Perhaps option to store old audio files and provide them to your blog visitors can be something Odiogo should make a paid service that goes beyond default 10 articles (my guess cased on what I see) and allow people who want it on their blog to purchase it. I know for me it is not something that is critical but simply something that affects the usage.

Odiogo Stats – at this time there is no way for you to check your stats but they do email you monthly with your statistics. The screenshot I have used in this post actually came directly from my email. If statistics are a big thing for you – this service doesn’t provide it but considering that its free – can we complain?

If you need even more info – here are few links I have found on the subject: