Before you get into the more in-depth details of podcasting, I wanted to give you a roadmap so you sort of know where you are going.
Setting up a podcast is not as simple as pushing a button, but it’s not rocket science either. Once you set things up the first time most of the work is already done! All you have to worry about after that is producing more content and posting it onto your blog.
With each episode of your podcast, you will have an individual audio file. More than likely this will be an MP3 file since the quality is best as far as uploading to the different platforms. I will talk more about recording equipment in future posts. If you want to learn about the best equipment for the best price go to this post here.
For the purposes of this example, when you record your first episode and save the recording to your computer it will look something like this: PUNPLUGGED004.mp3
Before you even think about uploading this file anywhere, you will need to provide more information about this specific file. In technical terms, this information is called ID3 tags. Make sure you include as much information as possible (Your Name, Podcast Name, Episode Number, Episode Description). This can be done through iTunes or in some audio editors.
Think of this as metadata for a website OR in normal talk this is what iTunes and the other search engines use to find your show when potential listeners are searching. This is a very important step that many podcasters forget to do and it can cost you.
After you have tagged your audio, you need to upload and store the mp3 files onto a server somewhere. This way when the media players such as iTunes wants to play it, it knows where to get the audio from. There are many different places to store your audio. Just google podcast audio hosts and you will find many good ones. The one that I use for my shows is Libsyn. They have always been reliable and as far as price goes they are very fair. It’s extremely important that you choose a host that is reliable because this will determine how fast the audio will stream and this is really important as well.
When you upload PUNPLUGGED004.mp3 to a server you will receive a link that points directly to your audio.
It will look like this — http://traffic.libsyn.com/dustyporter/punplugged00.mp3
This is a very important link, because as I said this is the link that media players and directories will use to play your podcast.
Now, that we have the audio on a host let’s talk about feeds. A feed is a way to syndicate written content so that it is more easily read by other websites, apps, and directories. Depending on the format of the feed, it will make it so that you the end user can read the data in a way that is more pleasing and easy to read.
If you are using WordPress for your website (Which I highly reccommend), you are already setup with a feed. Go here to learn how to setup a WordPress website quickly.
How do feeds relate to podcasting?
Directories such as iTunes, Stitcher, and others read your feed and scan it for the tagged mp3 files that we discussed earlier. This is how they know that a new episode came out, because it shows up on your specific feed.
Contrary to what you may think you will not be uploading each individual episode to the directories. After the initial setup, all you have to do is keep publishing audio on your website and iTunes and other directories will automatically get updated with the new episodes as they are published to your feed.