How to Upload a Podcast (OR Where Does a Podcast Live?!)
In this article I'm going to explain how to upload a podcast to the internet, and make it available to your listening public.
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.
So how and where can you do this? Where do podcasts live?!
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?
First, you need to create an account with a Media Host. At The Podcast Host we recommended a handful of different media hosting services, all with their own unique angles and approaches.
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 five 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.podbean.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. For more information on Blubrry, see our Best Media Hosts roundup.
WordPress.com Embedding Issues
If your site is on WordPress dot 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 for 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?
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/Apple Podcasts is the major one and you'll want to be listed there before anywhere else. After that, Spotify has quickly established itself in second place, and there are a few others worth submitting to too.
Uploading Your Podcast – Next Steps
Remember, the key to uploading a podcast is to find yourself a good Media Host. Here's our list of the five best Media Hosting companies in the world 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!