You've navigated the murky waters of podcasting equipment, traversed the scorpion infested wastes of Podcast hosting and you've even withstood the storms that weaken your resolve in the early days. You now have a podcast live and you're raring to create more content. What next? Podcast distribution, that's what. It's time to grow those listeners, and for that, we're looking at the best podcast directories out there!
The world of Podcast distribution is all about how to get your podcast from your host, and out to the world. One of the simplest ways is to take advantage of the many Podcast directories and listening platforms on the market. But, if you've ever had a look around, you'll understand why I'm often asked the question: “Where should I list my podcast?” There's no shortage of contenders…
To answer the question in an effective way, we need to find out where people are searching.
Podcast listeners consume podcasts in a huge range of ways, not all of them as you would think. In this article I'm not going to cover every single option out there. Instead, we're going to apply the Pareto Principle, looking for the top 20% that will give us 80% of the results.
We're all time limited, so you need to know the best podcast directories, the ones that will give you the best distribution results. So, let's get started – where should I list my podcast?
What is Podcast Distribution?
Just incase this isn't quite clear yet, let's make sure we understand how it all ties together. Because there are two stages to podcast distribution, and I can understand why you're confused! Here's how it works:
- YOU upload your audio file to a podcast hosting platform. That's where it's stored on the web.
- YOU, with the help of your hosting platform, register your podcast with the top directories.
- The directories, below, handle distribution, while your host handles delivery.
In short, when people talk about distribution, they're usually talking about a combination of podcast search and podcast delivery. The directories allow people to find your podcast, and the hosting delivers the audio to their device.
1. Apple Podcasts / iTunes
It's not going away – Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes) is, and always has been, the top platform for Podcasting. Other podcast directories are making inroads, such as the ones we'll cover below, but Apple Podcasts / iTunes should still be your first stop.
On nearly all of my Podcasts, for example, over 60% of all downloads come through either iTunes or the Apple Podcasts app. You'll get an idea of how significant this is when you read below.
To submit to Apple Podcasts, you need to go through the iTunes Connect system and navigate to My Podcasts.
You can find a full guide on how to get into Apple Podcasts / iTunes here.
Being listed in Apple Podcasts / iTunes also gets you into Overcast, Podcast Addict, and Castbox by default. These 3, combined with Apple Podcasts and Spotify make up the top five places podcasts are consumed as of this writing.
2. Google Podcasts
Google has had a bit of an on-off relationship with podcast distribution over the years. But there's been high hopes of that changing recently with the launch of Google Podcasts. This shouldn't be confused with Google Play Music, incidentally.
The app has faced a lot of criticism since it's launch. It has been accused of being far too basic, and also the fact that it doesn't appear visibly on users phones by default (like Apple Podcasts) has frustrated many podcasters too.
Nevertheless, having a company the size of Google pay attention to podcasts can only be a good thing, and fingers crossed they'll be monitoring, reviewing, and upgrading the app as time goes by.
Here's how to get your podcast into Google Podcasts – though you're probably already in there!
Spotify were already giants in the music streaming space, so it was no surprise that once they opened up their directory to podcasters, they stormed into second place behind iTunes / Apple Podcasts. In fact, they now account for over 5% of total podcast downloads according to media hosting giants Libsyn. That figure is expected to rise rapidly over the next year or so.
This makes a lot of sense. There are already a tonne of people using the app for their music, and who've been using it for years. This is integrated into people's lives, and now having the option to listen to podcasts on there means they don't need any other app. It's a no-brainer. Add to that some really heavy promotion by Spotify (Podcasts are listed just a few rows down on the home page) then we're on to a winner.
It's also a great option for Android users who can't access the Apple Podcasts app on their phones, and you want to make sure it's easy for all your listeners to hear your show.
Stitcher formerly occupied 2nd place with a share of around 5% of total podcast downloads. Nowadays however, it has slipped under the 2% mark.
2% is not to be sneezed at though. That's still a lot of people listening to podcasts on Stitcher, and if listeners want to consume your show there, there's no point in denying them that capability.
Stitcher is a mobile app only, so to listen or search you need to have the app on your mobile device, whether phone or tablet. That means that people can find you on the go directly in the app.
To submit to Stitcher, head over to their partner portal, register there, and fill out the simple form.
5. TuneIn Radio
This is one of my favourite “extra value” platforms: an internet radio provider turned Podcaster's friend.
I had long used TuneIn radio for general internet radio usage, but then they announced a new podcasting channel within the app. This is another application based service, allowing people to find and stream your podcasts on-the-go, so it's a good way to reach new listeners at a time when they're looking to consume straight away. The best example, for me, is Amazon Echo. If you're on TuneIn, then anyone can play your podcast, just by asking Alexa.
TuneIn ties in to a range of other platforms, too, like Sonos. So it's well worth the small effort.
TuneIn still accounts for less than 1% of total podcast downloads, but it's definitely a useful option to offer your listeners, and a handy place to be discovered.
To get into TuneIN, go to this link and fill out the form: Submit to TuneIn.
Other Podcast Distribution Options
There are a plethora of podcast directories out there. The good news is that you don't have to spend loads of time submitting to every one you find though, as the vast majority of them pull their listings from the iTunes store.
So, not only is iTunes the place where you'll get the vast majority of your listeners, being listed there also gets you into popular mobile apps like Pocket Casts by default.
The best Podcast hosts also tend to have great destination tools available so you can effortlessly publish to places like Youtube when you upload your new episodes. For example, Transistor have a ‘publish to YouTube' feature, and Buzzsprout allow you to create short video clips for publishing on social.
Even our podcast production tool, Alitu, has an ‘extra' distribution option in the form of YouTube publishing. During the editing and production process, you can publish a video to YouTube at the same time as publishing the audio to your host.
Making your show available in as many places as possible means your listeners can decide where they want to listen. Make the top 5 listed here your priority though, and you won't go far wrong.
Next Steps: Promoting Your Podcast
Allowing listeners to find and subscribe to your show wherever they want to is hugely important.
There are loads of other things you can do to grow your audience too though. And that's the focus of our 30 Days of Audience Growth, which is just one of the courses available inside The Podcast Host Academy.
In the Academy, you’ll also have access to our live Q&A sessions, community forum, a plethora of downloadable checklists, ebooks, and much more.
If you run a podcast, or want to start one, then we’d love to work with you!