When you make a podcast, you want people to hear it, right? Well, the last step is uploading it to the internet so people can subscribe and listen. This is a step that foxes nearly every new Podcaster – how and where can you do this? Where do podcasts live?!
In this article we're going to explain how to upload a podcast to the internet, and make it available to your listening public.
From Consumer To Creator
Most people are usually podcast listeners before they are podcasters. A few years ago, before I had ever published a single podcast episode, I would either find and download shows on iTunes, or on the individual websites of the podcasts I followed.
So when I started learning to record and mix audio, I made a note that I'd “need to figure out how to upload my podcast to iTunes”.
I also planned on getting my own website and uploading my podcast episodes to that. These two platforms, to me, were where podcasts lived.
Well, on both fronts, I was a little off the mark. First, you never upload podcasts to iTunes. Next, although you can upload them to your own website, it isn't recommended. Instead, you allow them to be played from your website, but you upload them elsewhere.
So Where Do I Upload My Podcast To?
So what is a media host, and how do they work?
Media hosts are websites that are designed to do exactly that – host your media files. In our case, as podcasters, that usually means audio. The 3 companies mentioned above specialise in hosting audio files.
Now, there are two ways to use a Media Host – either to host your entire podcast website, or to host just your audio files. In the case of the latter, you'd then be delivering the show through your own website, and just using the media host to store the files. We'll cover that a bit further down the article. First let's look at how to deliver your show solely through the media host.
Creating Your Podcast Website
When you create an account with a media host you'll have the opportunity to fill in all the details about your podcast series. The name of the show, a description, the category that best suits it, and you can upload your own cover art too.
Publishing episodes is a similar process. Uploading audio is no different to uploading images on social media. You create a new episode page within your media host platform, then enter your episode title and that particular episode's shownotes. Podcast ‘shownotes' are a description of what's in the episode, as well as links to any websites mentioned. After that's done, you hit ‘Publish'.
Uploading audio is no different to uploading images on social media
Once you've done this, you have a live podcast episode, and your media host will have created a generic webpage for your show. Your webpage will be something like thisnewpodcast.libsyn.com. At this point, your show still won't appear on your own website, or in directories like iTunes. That's what we'll sort out next.
How Do I Get My Podcast Into iTunes?
When you sign up to a media host and create your show, you'll also be given a unique web address called an RSS feed.
This will look something like:
You simply need to copy this address/URL, open iTunes, and over on the right, select ‘Podcasts' (see screenshot).
Now click on ‘Submit a Podcast' and you'll be directed to a small form. iTunes will ask for your RSS feed and, from that, it'll extract all of the details about your show. You can check they're all correct before hitting submit. At this point, if anything's wrong, you need to edit it within your Media Hosts' control panel.
Once all of that's done, your podcast will usually be approved and appear in iTunes within the next week.
How Do I Make My Podcast Appear On My Own Website?
It's always advisable to send your listeners to your own website as you then have complete control and ownership of it. If you don't have your own website yet we actually have a free video course that will walk you through the process of setting one up. It's a surprisingly easy and low cost thing to do!
In this case, when you publish a podcast on your media host, look for the episode's link/embed options. Here you'll find some HTML code. On your own website, create a new post, and copy this embed code over from your media host. Using WordPress, or many other CMSes, be sure to do this in ‘Text' rather than ‘Visual' mode when posting. If you hit ‘Preview' or ‘Publish' your episode should then appear in the post as a player.
Alternatively, you can use a plugin, like Powerpress from Blubrry, to automate a bit of this. You can link your website up to the Blubrry service, in that case, and upload audio directly from the post edit page on your website.
WordPress.com Embedding Issues
If your site is on wordpress.com this might not work, depending on which media host you use. An embed code from a published episode on Libsyn will not work on wordpress.com for example, but some others work just fine. Soundcloud for example, although we're still not that keen on Soundcloud as a Podcast host…
Long term, you are better to move from wordpress.com to your own self-hosted WordPress website, so that you can accommodate a good media host. Again, the Peerless Podcasting Websites course takes you through this for free.
Where Is My Podcast Being Downloaded From?
Now your podcast will be available to stream or download on both your website and in iTunes. But they are not technically ‘hosted' on these platforms. Instead they are being pulled from your media host via your RSS feed each time someone requests them. A request could either be someone hitting ‘play' or ‘download'.
If you think of your own website as the shopfront, then iTunes is a catalog you list your products in, and your media host is like the warehouse where all the products are delivered from. In that case, to stretch the analogy, your RSS feed is the delivery driver. Someone comes to your site or iTunes, requests your podcast, and it's delivered to them from the warehouse via RSS. Of course, this process only takes a matter of seconds for the user, thankfully!
What Other Directories Should I Submit My Podcast To?
Currently, iTunes is the major one and you'll want to be listed there before anywhere else. After that, there's no harm at all in submitting your RSS feed to places like Stitcher, along with a few others.
There's big movement on the horizon too with Spotify and Google Play entering the podcasting arena. At the moment, Spotify (who are still in Beta) are only hand-picking selected shows hosted on Libsyn, but that should open up in the near future. You can also submit to Google Play (who are yet to launch) if you're based in the US. Watch this space for any changes/updates as they unfold!
What's Holding You Back?
I hope that's given you an answer to the question: where does a podcast live? Where to upload a podcast is one of the most confusing questions in the beginning, but it becomes clear very quickly.
- Has the question of how to upload a podcast been holding you back from getting started?
- Are there other hosting issues you're having trouble with too?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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