October 21, 2008


Podcast Promotion Tips from Apple

Podcast of this blog post

Admiral Joxel Garcia

Admiral Joxel Garcia, Assistant Secretary for Health

Pete Alcorn

Pete Alcorn, Podcast Manager at iTunes. Photo courtesy of Personal Life Media on Flickr

Last week, Miguel Gomez, Director of AIDS.gov, sat down with Admiral Joxel Garcia, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to record a podcast about health and the Latino community in the U.S. As we mentioned in a past blog post, and in our “New Media Toolkit,” podcasts can be a simple way to gather and provide audio and/or video information to your target audience. But once you have created them, how can you help people find and subscribe to your podcasts?

To help us answer this question, we turned to Pete Alcorn, Manager of Podcasts at Apple’s iTunes, Exit Disclaimer the largest podcast directory and the most common venue for people to subscribe to podcasts (Note: there are many other directories, including Zune, Exit Disclaimer Odeo,Exit Disclaimer and Podcast Alley Exit Disclaimer). Miguel and our colleague Fred Smith from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met Pete at the New Media Expo in Las Vegas last summer.

Pete recently gave a presentation to our HHS Podcast Subcommittee, which consists of representatives from many Federal agencies. He shared several techniques that may help people discover, listen to, and subscribe to podcasts.

Three Key Ingredients to Helping People Find Your Podcasts

  1. Good and Regularly Updated Metadata

    Most people find podcasts by searching the iTunes directory, so Pete told us if your podcast isn’t on iTunes, you’re missing out on a large audience. In order to submit your podcast to iTunes (or any podcast directory or subscription service), you need to create an RSS feed as an XML file Exit Disclaimer (Apple provides detailed information about how to create and submit a podcast Exit Disclaimer). He emphasized the importance of good “metadataExit Disclaimer -- information (e.g., title, author, description, and keywords) that is embedded in the XML file. This is the information that helps people find and determine if they want to listen or subscribe to your podcast. Pete told us that the most important thing you can do to help people find your podcast is to have good metadata and to update it regularly, especially if your podcast includes a notable speaker or timely topic.

  2. Clean and Simple Podcast Artwork

    Pete also underscored the importance of having good podcast artwork (the image that appears on your podcast’s iTunes page). There are more than 100,000 podcasts indexed on iTunes, so people scan the graphics in the search results to determine if they want to listen to or view a podcast. Pete told us, “You need a very clean, simple piece of art that includes your logo and a short, recognizable title.”

  3. AIDS.gov Podcasts

    AIDS.gov iTunes artwork

    Podcast Promotion Beyond iTunes

    For your target audience, finding your podcast on iTunes is one important piece of the puzzle -- but being able to find it on your website is also critical. Pete pointed out a common mistake for podcasters: having the attitude that “if you build it, they will come.” With so much competition out there, podcast producers must take a proactive approach to promoting their podcasts. Pete mentioned that the podcast for This American Life Exit Disclaimer is always on iTune’s Top Podcasts chart because the show’s producers relentlessly remind their audience that they can subscribe to the show as a free podcast, take it with them, and listen to it whenever they want.

podcast iconAt AIDS.gov, we have tried to make our podcasts easy to find by having a direct link to our podcast page from every page on the AIDS.gov site. We also use the podcast icon to help people quickly navigate to our podcast page where they can then subscribe to our podcast RSS feed. In addition, we promote our podcasts at meetings and conferences, and now on our blog (we started creating audio versions of our blog last month).

Fred Smith told us that the CDC promotes its podcasts by having links to a podcast directory on the CDC home page and second-tier pages of the CDC website. Specific podcast episodes are linked to and referenced from relevant content pages. CDC also lists podcasts with iTunes, Zune, and other podcast directories, as well as on the main HHS website. In the future, Fred told us, the CDC hopes to do a great deal more cross-promotion of their podcasts on other governmental websites.

The Future of Podcasting

We asked Pete what’s next for iTunes? “Bigger, better, faster,” was his response. He told us that iTunes’ philosophy is to help people discover podcasts and “then we get out of the way and you serve the content straight to them.” He continued, “Gradually, more and more people will figure out that podcasting is a highly efficient way to deliver audio and video of new information and to educate their audiences.”

Are you podcasting in response to HIV/AIDS or other public health topics? Have you embraced iTunes or other podcast directories? We’d love to hear about your experiences.

October 14, 2008


Reaching Latinos with New Media for National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

Podcast of this blog post  |  In Espanol

NLAAD logo

Tomorrow is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day Exit Disclaimer (NLAAD). According to a recently released CDC fact sheet, Latinos represent only 15% of the total U.S. population, but make up 18% of new HIV infections. Among Latinos, men make up the vast majority of new HIV infections (76%), but Latino women are also at disproportionate risk for HIV. They are infected with HIV at a rate four times greater than white women.

In recognition of this important day, we’re continuing our conversation from last week by highlighting additional examples of using new media tools to reach the Latino community with HIV information.

Social Network Sites and Online Tools to Promote NLAAD

We first spoke with Liliana Rañón, Director of NLAAD at the Latino Commission on AIDS Exit Disclaimer (LCOA), the lead organization for NLAAD, who told us how LCOA is using new media to promote and organize NLAAD this year, including:

  1. To get the word out. NLAAD maintains a presence on several social network sites like Myspace Exit Disclaimer, Facebook Exit Disclaimer, and MTV Think Exit Disclaimer (a networking site run by MTV that allows organizations to have profiles focused on a particular issue). They use these social network sites to promote NLAAD events and to share information about HIV in the Latino community. NLAAD also uses televised and online public service announcements (PSAs) to get the word out.
  2. To stay connected. Liliana told us, “[social networking] allowed us to connect with lots of other AIDS organizations. The NLAAD website focuses on the U.S. while MySpace and Facebook have a more international perspective. It takes you out of the realm of what you already know and who you already know.”
NLAAD registration screenshot
  1. To put tools in the hands of the local organizations. Liliana reminded us that some of the simplest new media tools are the most meaningful to local community organizations. Online registration forms on the NLAAD website enable local agencies to promote their work, maintain and update their contact information, and keep the general public, news media, and other community partners up-to-date about their NLAAD activities. It was a reminder that it is not always about using the most high-tech new media tools, but about using a variety of appropriate tools to meet your audiences’ and partners’ needs!

New Media in Español

We next spoke with Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. Exit Disclaimer, Deputy Editor of POZ Exit Disclaimer, who shared some thoughts and resources on using new media to reach Latinos with HIV information. Oriol recently disclosed being HIV-positive in a feature article he wrote for the October issue Exit Disclaimer of POZ (the article is available in English Exit Disclaimer and Spanish Exit Disclaimer), and also began a blog Exit Disclaimer to continue the conversation on disclosure and stigma. Oriol told us that, “new media is an important component of any outreach strategy to any community. For younger people, new media increases from important to necessary. In particular, younger Latinos in the U.S. are just as Web savvy as any other young people.”

Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr.

Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr., Deputy Editor of POZ

Oriol highlighted the importance of providing audiences with information in the languages they are most comfortable using. A few of POZ’s Spanish-language new media resources include a blog Exit Disclaimer and podcast Exit Disclaimer. In addition, POZ has online Spanish-language information Exit Disclaimer including an AIDS service directory Exit Disclaimer, and TuSalud Exit Disclaimer, a wellness magazine for Latinos put out by Smart + Strong Exit Disclaimer.

When it comes to reaching Latinos online, Oriol recommends having, “as much Spanish-language content as possible. Even if the Latinos visiting your site are English-dominant, having the Spanish-language content indicates a welcoming environment. Also, the Spanish-language content should be easily accessible from the homepage. Promote your online content for Latinos in Spanish-language media if possible.” In keeping with Oriol’s suggestion, this week’s post is also available in Spanish.

Are you using new media to reach your audiences for NLAAD and beyond? If so, please share your stories with us!

September 09, 2008


The Health Blogosphere

Podcast of this blog post

As the summer comes to an end, we want to share information about an event which took place this summer and reinforced the importance of using new media tools in public health. In July, the Kaiser Family Foundation Exit Disclaimer (KFF) sponsored a webcast, “The Health Blogosphere: What It Means for Policy Debates and Journalism Exit Disclaimer”. Secretary Michael Leavitt from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the author of Secretary Mike Leavitt’s Blog, gave the keynote address.

Secretary Mike Leavitt

Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services

The Secretary, who writes all of his own blog posts, says that blogging “crystallizes my thinking and helps me find my voice.” He sees blogging as a way to try out ideas and share information with the public. He also says that, when it comes to change, “we can fight it, accept it, or lead the way,” and he has decided to lead the way in blogging. He sees blogging as a “very powerful engine” for public policy.

Following the keynote, KFF’s Vicky Rideout moderated a panel discussion. Panelists included: Jacob Goldstein, Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog Exit Disclaimer; Michael Cannon, Cato Institute Exit Disclaimer; Ezra Klein, American Prospect Exit Disclaimer; John McDonough, senior advisor for national health reform in the Office of Sen. Edward Kennedy and former executive director of Health Care for All Exit Disclaimer; and Tom Rosenstiel, Project for Excellence in Journalism Exit Disclaimer. If you missed the live webcast, we encourage you to check out the podcast or video Exit Disclaimer. Let us know what you think!

Dr. Kevin Fenton

Dr. Kevin Fenton

Secretary Leavitt has now been joined in the health blogosphere by our colleague Kevin Fenton, M.D., Director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. Dr. Fenton just launched a blog “to facilitate the exchange of ideas on HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB prevention.” We are excited by this new blog and encourage you to check it out!

As we noted in one of our blog posts from the International AIDS Conference, many of our colleagues at the state and local levels are considering using blogs to reach their communities. Please let us know if you are aware of any examples--we look forward to learning from our colleagues’ experiences.

Are you interested in learning more about the health blogosphere? If so, we encourage you to check out the recently released Envision Solutions Insight Report: The Evolving Health Blogosphere Exit Disclaimer. According to this report, there are approximately 13.6 million health bloggers!

August 26, 2008


Share, Listen, and Learn

New Media Expo. Video - Audio - Online Content

Last week, the New Media Expo Exit Disclaimer took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Expo brought together 2,000 attendees, including individual media makers, companies, schools, and organizations wanting to learn how to create audio and video content that will educate, inform, and inspire their audiences. The AIDS.gov team was there to learn, listen, and share our own stories.


Photo of Fred Smith

Fred Smith, Senior Technologist at the CDC

On Thursday, Miguel Gomez, Director of AIDS.gov, and Fred Smith, Senior Technologist at the CDC, presented a session on creating podcasts within the Federal government system. They shared what it takes to get cooperation from various departments, how they plan their content, and how they use audio and video podcasts to disseminate information to the communities they serve.


But more important than what Miguel and Fred said was what they heard. Miguel asked Tim Bourquin Exit Disclaimer, Founder and CEO of the New Media Expo, what message he would like to share with the HIV/AIDS community. He said, “I’d recommend just getting started. Interviews are the easiest way to get content up quickly, and they keep the host from having to carry an entire 15- or 20-minute show. Interview people within your organization but also reach out to the people you serve who have interesting stories to tell and interview them as well. Anything that helps you connect with your audience in a more ‘human’ way will be well received.”

Anything that helps you connect with your audience in a more “human” way will be well received.
Photo of Tim Bourquin

Tim Bourquin, Founder and CEO of the New Media Expo

We also asked Tim the lessons he learned from this year’s expo. He told us, “The big lesson from the 2008 New Media Expo is that individuals and organizations can still connect with their constituents directly by starting a blog, podcast, or online video series even if they don’t create media as their primary business. Although production quality matters, being genuine with your audience and putting a human face on any organization is what’s important. With the tools becoming less expensive each day, and editing software becoming easier to use, anyone really CAN do this.”

Fred told us his take-away message was that “we have proven that podcasts are an effective channel for delivering health messages, and we have learned a lot in the process of developing those podcasts. Now it’s time to take our podcasting to the next level by being strategic and creating more personalized podcasts.” Fred said the CDC is planning to allow users to personalize their experience with CDC podcasts---with options like subscribing by topic rather than by predefined series, receiving podcasts that are geographically relevant, and opting for supplemental material to be delivered through a subscription feed.


The Expo was an opportunity for us to meet new colleagues like Pete Alcorn, Manager of Podcasts at iTunes Exit Disclaimer for Apple, Inc., and Michael Geoghegan Exit Disclaimer. We went to several presentations and learned of many new resources, including:

The growth and evolution of new media is changing everything - even conference organizers’ thinking about the future of events like the New Media Expo. We encourage you to read Tim Bourquin’s Exit Disclaimer and Chris Brogan’s Exit Disclaimer blogs to learn more.

Our ability to network with leading podcasters at the Expo led to specific, positive outcomes for AIDS.gov. As a result of our participation at the Expo, AIDS.gov is now working on HIV/AIDS messaging with a college in California and a community health provider in Vermont. We would never have met our colleagues in those organizations without the Expo. As Chris Brogan said, “there’s a lot to learn, many connections to be made, and many new people coming into the social media space every day.”

Were you at the New Media Expo? Or have you attended a conference or workshop lately that you’d like to share with us? We welcome your feedback!

January 15, 2008



We produced our first podcast in 2006. There was an opportunity to develop a podcast featuring a message from Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States on HIV testing. Podcasts were growing in popularity and we wanted to support the First Lady's HIV testing initiative while also learning about this exciting new media tool.

We've learned a lot since that first podcast. Today, AIDS.gov produces a monthly podcast series profiling Federal officials and the HIV/AIDS programs they direct. These podcasts have increased traffic to AIDS.gov by 23% and continue to draw repeat visitors. Because of our podcasts, many visitors to AIDS.gov ask us basic questions about podcasting. To respond to these inquiries, we talked to Bill Schmalfeldt, a former podcast producer at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Erik Ireland, producer of one of the country's most listened-to HIV/AIDS podcast series Exit Disclaimer.

Our colleagues were eager to help us answer questions about podcasting because they have seen podcasts improve the distribution of health information that is clear and to the point. They emphasized that to use podcasts effectively in the fight against HIV/AIDS, your colleagues and clients must become comfortable with podcast terminology and technology.

While many people may have heard the term, "podcast" (it was Oxford Dictionary's 2005 Word of the Year Exit Disclaimer), some are still unclear about what they are and how to listen to them. According to Erik, we must recognize that "one of the biggest barriers to people listening or producing podcasts is their lack of knowledge about what they are and how they work."

So what is a podcast?
In non-technical terms, Bill describes podcasts as being similar to "radio shows" that can reach a wider audience using the Internet. Erik likes to think of podcasts as "short cab-rides" with an HIV/AIDS expert. He says, "we keep our episodes focused and brief; six or seven minutes every other week. This makes it easy for our listeners to stay up-to-date on HIV/AIDS issues without a big time commitment."

Technically, a podcast is an audio or video file that you can play on your computer or a variety of portable media devices (like an iPod, Zune, and certain cell phones). What makes podcasts different from other audio or video files is that they are usually short, almost always free, and you can subscribe to receive new podcasts automatically via your computer or other media device.

If you want to listen to a podcast you can download the podcast directly or use subscription software (some popular ones are iTunes Exit Disclaimer and Juice Exit Disclaimer) - and then transfer or sync the file to your portable media device. There are important things to know about subscribing and we will cover them in our next post.

Should you podcast?
As with most new media tools, the best way to learn is by doing. We started by listening to Federal health-related podcasts like AHRQ's Healthcare 411, HHS HealthBeat, CDC's podcast series, and NIH Research Radio. We also learned a great deal from non-governmental HIV/AIDS podcasts including This Month in HIV Exit Disclaimer, Podcast Health Exit Disclaimer, and even some non-health related ones like Grammar Girl Exit Disclaimer. Listening to these different podcasts not only familiarized us with the technology, but inspired us to start our own podcast series.

As we mentioned above, there are different podcast formats, from simple audio files to videos. For some, video is helpful in presenting complex information. The Common Craft Show Exit Disclaimer "In Plain English" is a good example. For others, like Erik, audio or enhanced podcasts Exit Disclaimer such as this "1 Minute Screencast" Exit Disclaimer (basically an audio file with some links and graphics) do the trick by "taking specialized information that most people don't know, and making it clear and more accessible." The possibilities are endless--it's a matter of matching the tools and format to your audience and resources.

As was our experience, Bill and Erik noted that podcasting has expanded their organizations' ability to reach their target audiences with critical information. "The best thing about podcasts," commented Erik, "is they're not complicated and not expensive." You can buy an inexpensive audio recorder and then edit the audio files using free software." (Popular ones for audio are Garageband Exit Disclaimer for Mac and Audacity Exit Disclaimer for Windows, Mac and Linux. Video editors include iMovie Exit Disclaimer for Mac and Movie Maker 2 Exit Disclaimer for Windows.)

Together with our colleagues, we encourage you to consider whether podcasting can help your program. There are many resources on the Web to get you started. Here are some we have used at AIDS.gov:

Please share your thoughts with us about using podcasts in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Stay tuned for next week's discussion of RSS feeds!

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