This is the 3rd and final part of our ‘listeners guide to podcasting’, in which you’ll find out exactly what the benefits are of subscribing to a podcast, and how to do it. That includes how to subscribe to a podcast in Apple Podcasts, in Spotify, in Google Podcasts, and how to apply that to pretty much any other podcasting app. If you’re just getting into podcasting, then here’s how to subscribe, and make it super easy to listen regularly.
Now that you know the answer to “What is a podcast?“, and how to listen to a podcast on any device, let’s take a look at the world of podcast subscriptions. This is the big difference between standard audio files, and the exciting world of podcasting: the act of the subscribe!
Why Should I Subscribe to a Podcast?
When you subscribe to a podcast, it changes your relationship from searching to receiving. As soon as you’ve subscribed, you no longer have to keep track of all your favourite shows. You no longer have to go out there and search out new episodes. You no longer have to remember what you’ve listened to, or where you left off.
Instead, your podcast app will now keep track of everything related to your favourite podcasts!
New episodes will come directly to your phone, automatically. Every time you open the app, they’ll be there, waiting. Depending on your settings, they might even be downloaded already, so you’re all set to listen to a few hours on the plane, entirely offline.
Any podcast app worth its salt will offer up an easy way to subscribe to a podcast, and then to keep track of those subscriptions. That makes following and listening to your favourite shows as easy as falling off a log!
So, how do we carry out this witchcraft? How do we start to make our listening life super easy? Well, it depends on your app. Here’s how it works in the top 3, plus a process for doing it in another app on the market.
How to Subscribe to a Podcast in Apple Podcasts / iTunes
Apple Podcasts / iTunes is still the most popular podcatcher out there, even though Spotify is growing fast. There are versions for both iPhone and desktop, and they can sync their settings using your Apple account, so it’s a decent environment to use for your listening if you do it across different devices.
Here’s how to subscribe to a podcast in Apple Podcasts on your iPhone:
- Tap ‘search’ inside the Apple Podcasts app
- Type a podcast name or topic into the search bar, and ensure ‘all podcasts’ in selected
- Tap the podcast you’d like to subscribe to
- Tap the ‘subscribe’ button, top-centre, beside the podcast artwork.
- You’re now subscribed to the podcast!
- Tap library to see your current subscriptions and start listening.
Look here for a visual guide to subscribing to a podcast:
How to Subscribe to a Podcast in Spotify
Spotify is one of the fastest-growing podcast listening apps on the market. It combines all of your favourite audio, from music to podcasting, so you can see why it’s popular, and the app is refining the listening experience on a regular basis.
The fact that it’s not podcast specific means that it does lack some of the power features of other listening apps, but it can still be a great place to listen.
Here’s how to subscribe to a podcast on Spotify:
- Click search inside the Spotify app
- Type a podcast name or topic into the search bar
- Tap the ‘See all podcasts’ link to see full podcasts, rather than single episodes
- Click on your podcast of choice
- Tap on the ‘follow’ link, top left, right below the podcast artwork
- Success! You’re subscribed.
- To listen, tap ‘Your Library’ > Podcasts > Shows, and choose a show to start playing
For a visual guide to subscribing to a podcast on Spotify, look below:
How to Subscribe to a Podcast in Google Podcasts
Google Podcasts is a relatively basic listening app, but you can find it on any Android device now. That means it’s the simplest way to listen on that platform, and worth taking a look at. It’s lacking in power features, but fine for casual listening.
Here’s how to subscribe to a Podcast on Google Podcasts:
- Click the search icon (magnifying glass) on the top left of the app home screen
- Type in a topic or the name of a podcast
- Search results show 1 recommended show first, then episodes, then a lists of podcasts below.
- Choose a podcast to subscribe to from the ‘show results’ at the bottom
- Click the subscribe button on the top left, below the podcast title
- Success! You’re now subscribed
- To listen, navigate to the app home page, choose a podcast from the top section and click play on an episode
Here’s a visual guide on how to subscribe to a podcast in Google Podcasts:
How to Subscribe in Other Podcast Listening Apps
Just find the search button, type in the topic or the podcast name, and choose the one you like. The subscribe option will always be labelled something like ‘Subscribe’ or ‘Follow’. And from there you’re off to the races! Browse your library, and start listening.
Remember to take a look at all our recommended podcast listening apps for iPhone & Android.
For our daily ‘how to podcast’ series Pocket-Sized Podcasting we use pod.link which creates links to all the popular listening platforms on one single page.
How to Subscribe to a Podcast Manually (It isn’t in the Search Directory!)
If you’ve discovered a podcast on the web, but it doesn’t appear in your podcasting app’s search directory, then it’s still possible to subscribe. It just takes a few extra steps. The first step in subscribing to a podcast manually is to track down that podcast’s RSS feed URL.
The RSS feed is just that page that contains all the details of the podcast’s past episodes. Don’t worry though, you don’t need to know how a feed works, you just need to find its web address, which is normally quite easy.
Most podcast websites will have a ‘Subscribe’ icon somewhere on the front page. That’ll often give you the option to look at the Podcast RSS feed page, amongst some of the automatic subscription links for Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Click it and you’ll hopefully see a whole bunch of code, called XML. Again, don’t worry about this – all you need is the address of the page, which you can copy from the address bar. It’ll look something like this:
Here’s an example of where to find the RSS feed URL on a Buzzsprout hosted site:
Select that URL in the address bar and copy it, then transfer it into your podcast listening app. Most apps will allow you to paste the URL into the search bar, and load up the podcast as a result. From there, you can hit the ‘follow’ or ‘subscribe’ button, as shown on the Apple Podcasts or Spotify guides above.
I hope you’ve found our ‘listener’s guide to podcast’ helpful. We’ve covered why subscription is a great thing, and how to do it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and any other app. Next time someone asks, “What’s a Podcast?” you’ll be all set to extoll your wisdom!
If you want to take your podcast listening to the next level, here are a few resources that might help, from a new set of cans, to some great shows to listen to. Have fun, and enjoy the world of podcasting!