In this article I'm going to explain how to upload a podcast to the internet, and make it available to your listening public. After all, when you make a podcast, you want people to hear it, right?
But uploading and publishing is a step that foxes nearly every new podcaster. I totally understand, too: it's not intuitive! You don't upload it to iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or any other directory. You don't upload it to your own website. Instead, you upload your podcast somewhere else entirely, and then publish it to those places.
So, where in the name of the wee man DO we upload our podcast files? Where do podcasts live?!
That's what I'm here for – let's find out!
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Where You DON'T Upload your Podcast
Most people are podcast listeners before they're podcasters. A few years ago, before I published a single podcast episode, I normally found shows on iTunes (now Apple Podcasts). Sometimes I even found shows on their own individual websites, and listened to them there.
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”.
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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, because:
- You never upload podcast files to iTunes, or Spotify, or any other directory
- You never upload podcast files to your own website
On the second point, it is possible, but here's why you shouldn't upload podcast files to your own site. In that case, what DO you do? Here's what:
- Upload your podcast files to a podcast hosting service
- Submit your entire show to iTunes/Apple Podcast, just once
- Publish episode players, from your host, to your own website
Simple, eh? Well, it sort of is, but only if you know how. So, let's find out how!
So Where Do I Upload My Podcast To?
First, you need to sign up for a podcast hosting service.
Quick Recommendation? Use Buzzsprout.
Buzzsprout is a low-cost, high-value podcast hosting service. It's simple to set up, easy to use, and has all the features you'll need. If you sign up to a paid tier via our link and stick around for more than 2 months, they'll give you a $20 Amazon gift card.
What is a Podcast Host & how do they work?
Podcast hosting services are companies that are designed to do exactly what it says on the tin: host your podcast audio files. Here's what that includes:
- you upload your audio to the podcast hosting website
- they store those audio files
- they collect them all into a podcast ‘feed' that people can subscribe to
- they deliver the audio files to your listeners on demand
It's worth mentioning here that podcast hosting services aren't responsible for actually growing your show. They'll give you the tools to do it, but the rest is up to you.
Now, there are two ways to use a Podcast hosting service.
- They can host your entire podcast website
- They can host just your audio files and you have your own website
Option 1 is very easy – the host provides a website with space for shownotes and players that show up automatically. But these sites tend to be relatively simple, and you wont have much control.
Option 2 takes a little more setup, but it gives you way more flexibility and control. In this case, you'll be uploading audio files to your host, and then publishing the shownotes and the audio players on your own website. There are a lot of advantages to this, and the setup isn't that complicated.
First let's look at how to deliver your show solely through the media host.
Creating Your Host-Provided Podcast Website
When you create an account with a Podcast 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 website for your show.
At this point, your podcast won't appear on your own website, or in directories like iTunes. That's what we'll sort out next.
And, if you'd like to see an example before we get there, check out Podcraft. That's our own ‘how to podcast' show which we host with Buzzsprout. We publish episodes to our own website, here at thePodcastHost.com/podcraft-podcast/, but you can also see how the Podcraft site on Buzzsprout site looks.
How Do I Get My Podcast Into iTunes or Spotify?
Good question! Rather than uploading to iTunes or Spotify, you'll instead simply submit your show to their directory.
You only have to submit your show once, when you first publish your podcast. From then on, once the directory knows your podcast exists, they'll check in regularly for new episodes, and send them on to all your subscribers.
Step by step: How to get your podcast in iTunes / Apple Podcasts.
Step by Step: How to get your podcast into Spotify
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?
For me, it's nearly always better to send listeners to your own website, rather than a host-provided one. It means you then have complete control and ownership of what they experience.
If you already have a website for yourself, your company or your brand, you can use that! No need to create a new one, unless you really want a separate one for your podcast. Just create a Podcast section within that site. On WordPress, you might just create a new category called Podcast and use that for Podcast posts, for example.
If you don't have your own website yet, we have a guide here that walks you through the process of setting one up: create your own podcast website. It's a surprisingly easy and low cost thing to do!
Once you have your own site, you can start publishing there. For this, you'll just need an embed code for your player.
To find it, go to your episode inside your podcast host and 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.
In WordPress, you can use the ‘Custom HTML' block to post in the code directly. If you hit ‘Preview' or ‘Publish' your episode should then appear in the post as a player.
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. A Soundcloud embed code will, although we definitely wouldn't recommend using them as a host for your podcast.
Long term, you're better to move from wordpress.com to your own self-hosted WordPress website, so that you can accommodate a good media host. Again, our Peerless Podcasting Websites course walks you through this entire process for free.
Where Is My Podcast Being Downloaded From?
You don't need to understand this, so skip if you want! But, incase you're interested…
Now your podcast will be available to stream or download on both your website and in iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify and elsewhere. But they're not technically ‘hosted' on these platforms.
Instead they are being pulled from your podcast 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 Apple Podcasts, Spotify and the other directories are catalogs in which you list your product. That means 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, and they don't to care a jot about how it works. Thankfully!
What About Private Podcasts, or Selling Podcast Episodes?
The vast majority of podcasts are available freely to everyone – but there are exceptions.
Some folks want to create private podcast feeds. This might be for an internal company podcast, as a way of communicating with employees. Or, it might be done as premium content alongside an existing show. In any case, here's our full guide on how to create a private podcast.
And speaking of premium content, too, here's our guide on how to sell podcast episodes, if you're looking to go down that route.
Uploading Your Podcast – Next Steps
Remember, the key to uploading a podcast is to find yourself a good Podcast Hosting service.
For a quick solution, sign up with Buzzsprout. They're really good, and they have great tools for helping you submit your show to Apple Podcasts, Spotify and elsewhere. What's more, you get a $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up via our link.
If you want to explore the other hosting options, here's our list of some of the best Podcast Hosting companies around right now.
Of course, there's more to making a podcast than the act of publishing too. If you're a little further back in the process, or maybe even still at the ideas stage, then our Step by Step Guide on How to Start a Podcast might be the ideal place to start!