How to publish a Podcast
|This Tutorial has detailed information about how to publish your Audacity-created podcast on the Internet. In some ways, this is the most important stage of all. Unless you podcast purely to entertain yourself, you want others to hear what you have to say.
Exporting your Episode
A majority of podcasts are saved as MP3 files. The MP3 format is a universal size-compressed audio format that can be played on nearly all computers and portable devices.
Once you have edited your podcast in Audacity, you can export it as an MP3 file. First, download and add the LAME encoding library to your computer. Then choose an appropriate MP3 bit rate when exporting from Audacity - higher bit rates generally give better audio quality, but lead to higher bandwidth costs and longer download times. A spoken-word podcast will typically sound good at 64kbps, while a podcast that focuses on music might sound best near 128kbps.
Here are some examples of the bitrates used by some of the most popular podcasts:
- WTF with Marc Maron - 40kbps
- This American Life - 64kbps
- Serial - 64kbps
- 99% Invisible - 128kbps
To distribute your podcast, the MP3 file must be hosted somewhere on the Internet. You can host the episodes yourself, or host with a podcast hosting company. When selecting a host you should consider whether the host:
- is reliable
- has sufficient storage space and data transfer limits to host your podcast
- generates RSS feeds that validate
- will allow you to redirect your RSS feed if decide to move podcast hosts
Podcasters can self host their podcasts on a personal server. If you do not have your own server, you can sign up for an account with a hosting service and then upload your MP3 files.
If you self host your podcast, you will also need to generate the RSS feed to syndicate your podcast. This option offers complete control over your podcast, but is complicated and can be time consuming unless you are an experienced web developer.
Steps to Self Hosting
Here are some tips and references for self hosting your podcast:
- Once the MP3 files is uploaded to your website, create a link for it. Your listeners will not see this link, so it can be a simple download link, like http://www.mypodcast.com/podcast.mp3.
- If you embed your MP3 in your web page using "embed tags", you can select whether you would like the file to autoplay when the page is loaded. Learn more about embed tags at Web Reference.
- To make a plain text link from which users can stream your MP3 into their default MP3 player, create a text file with .m3u (or .pls) extension, paste into it the full web address of the MP3 file, then upload the .m3u or .pls file to your web page.
- Podcast 411 has good information on manually creating an RSS feed for a podcast.
Hosting with a Podcast Hosting Company
A majority of podcasters host their content with a podcast hosting company. These companies typically offer hosting for your podcast episodes and automatic generation of your RSS feed. Some hosting companies provide monetization solutions and customizable embed players.
Some podcasters run the RSS feed provided by their podcast host through FeedBurner to provide additional customization options
Hosting companies provide a simpler workflow and more reliable hosting, but do remove some advanced features like manual editing of your RSS feed.
- BlogAudio - A website to give you the resources you need to put audio files into your weblog and other web pages.
- BlogMatrix Sparks! 2.0 - Automatically converts your podcast into an MP3 and publishes it to the BlogMatrix website.
- Buzzsprout - Provides podcast episode hosting, social-media sharing tools, RSS feed generation, podcast statistics, and custom embed players.
- Liberated Syndication - Provides publishing tools, media hosting and delivery, RSS for iTunes, a Web Site, and podcast statistics.
- Spreaker - Provides various tools for creating and distributing podcasts and analyzing your audience.
- Google Blogger is one of the largest free blogging services, but is not a podcast service. Blogger is a free way to give your podcasts a home on the web.
- WordPress.com offers a free, basic service which is supported by advertisements. To create your podcast, sign up at https://en.wordpress.com/signup/ .
- TypePad.com is a paid blogging platform based on the Movable Type software. They provide free 14-day trials for all plans.
Create a better XML feed
If you use the services discussed earlier in this tutorial like WordPress or Movable Type, you're generating an RSS feed every time you publish a new podcast. However the feeds are typically basic, and creating the feeds yourself can be a lot of work.
A good compromise is a free and comprehensive service named FeedBurner.
To start, go to the FeedBurner site and create an account. Then, if you're not automatically taken there, click on the "My Feeds" link and follow the instructions to burn a feed. FeedBurner will automatically detect links to MP3 files in your blog postings and set up your RSS feed accordingly.
A 50x50 pixels JPEG or PNG image uploaded to your site can make a nice logo for your podcast. If you want to copyright your material, something like "Copyright 2012 Geoff Podcaster" will suffice, though consider using Creative Commons Licensing too (see below).
|Do not include irrelevant or repeated words in your Podcast subtitle, Podcast summary or Podcast search keywords, or there is a very good chance that your podcast will be blacklisted by iTunes.|
Use FeedBurner with Your Own Domain Name
With the FeedBurner RSS feed address set up, you will be able to advertise it at once. However, you may not want your feed's URL to be feeds.feedburner.com/MyPodcastName. Instead, you may prefer to brand your RSS feed with your own URL using FeedBurner's MyBrand service. However to use your own domain name with your podcast's RSS feed, you'll need to make a change to your domain's DNS records, or ask your host if they can change it for you.
Licensing your Podcast
You should strongly consider putting your podcasts under a Creative Commons License. This makes it easier for people to re-use your podcast in ways that you specify, thereby spreading the word about you. Podcasting is about communicating and collaborating with people all over the world; a Creative Commons license furthers those purposes.
Advertise your Podcast
Making your podcast available to the world is not sufficient of itself. With millions of podcasts in existence you must also advertise and promote your podcast.
Advertise on your Blog
Make absolutely sure your website visitors can see that you offer a podcast. The best way to do so is to use the widely-accepted orange feed icon:
Include suitable text like "Subscribe to My Podcast!" next to the icon. This makes it clear that this is the link to your podcast's RSS feed. Also include a link to the RSS feed in your post or announcement for each podcast.
Submit your feed to iTunes and other podcast directories
iTunes is the most widely used podcast aggregator in the world, so it's important it indexes your podcast. Follow Apple's Making a Podcast document to the letter, especially "Testing Your Feed" and "Submitting Your Podcast to the iTunes Store."
Tell everyone else
Put your podcast's website on your business cards, letter heading, email signature and in your Facebook, Twitter or MySpace description. Tell people you meet about it. If you're on a mailing list, and it's relevant news to share, tell everyone on the list.
Get the word out in a polite way, and you'll vastly increase the likelihood that listeners will check you out.