If you haven't heard of podcasting, it's the great new medium that lets web publishers deliver content in a whole new way. The recent rise in popularity of portable media devices, including mp3 players, and especially the iPod, means that listeners demand content beyond just music. People who produce content online have gladly met the challenge, producing staggering results.

Today, podcasts, which are audio episodes that can be downloaded and listened to at leisure, are downloaded at an incredible rate. In 2005 alone, there were over 70 million podcast downloads. In that year, podcasting was still in its infancy. Currently, rates are much higher. Podcasting is an effective method of delivering digital content.

Podcasting has a promising future, especially as it is integrated with RSS technology. RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication, and is a technology that tells a program called an RSS aggregator that the content of a subscribed server has changed.

At that point, the user will be alerted and can choose whether or not to download that content. Originally, RSS feeds were used to distribute news online. Now, marketers use it as well, and some experts predict that households will use it over other methods of content delivery by 2010.

RSS podcasting merges the benefits of both of these technologies. RSS can provide the audience needed by podcasts. RSS podcasting allows a publisher to make contact with an audience, and easily deliver audio episodes in installments. There's no need for users to stop by the site anymore.

However, this is just the start. The introduction of RSS 2.0 technology allows multimedia data to be compressed for delivery. This means that streaming podcasts become possible. While normally a user must download a podcast to listen to it, this new kind of RSS podcasting means that it can be listened to while it's downloading. This makes it possible to deliver content almost instantaneously.

There are many different applications for podcasts. You might use them to deliver messages to an audience, for entertainment, or for education. Podcasting can also be used to help market. If you want to be able to communicate to your listeners how a product can help them, podcasting is one great way to do it.

Some podcasts are even products in and of themselves. Subscriptions to a series can be sold. However, if you're going to charge for a podcast, your production standards must be high.

RSS technology makes podcasting a very effective marketing tool. If you'd like to make sure that your business is in a favorable position for many years to come, now's the time to start looking into how to make a podcast.