Podcasting Basics: What is an RSS feed?

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication or Real-time Simple Syndication. It is a way to get frequently changing information from websites (blog posts, audio and video, podcasts!). RSS feeds enable publishers to syndicate data automatically. In the case of podcasts, your RSS feed is what you need to submit to iTunes and other podcatchers/directories. These sites do not actually host your content, but instead use your RSS feed to get your latest content.


Podcast hosting platforms such as Podbean can provide a working RSS feed for your podcast and provide you simple tools for pushing your content out to iTunes and other destinations. You can also create your own RSS feed if you self-host. Before submitting to iTunes, make sure to check your feed with a feed validation service to make sure you don’t run into any problems.

Read more about how to get your podcast on iTunes.

How Do I Get My Podcast Listed on iTunes?

Most likely if you’re looking at this article you already know you want your podcast listed on iTunes. Though there are more and more places for people to find and stream/download podcasts, iTunes is still where most people find podcasts and also serves as the source for many other directories and apps.

It is important to be listed in iTunes, but you shouldn’t count on it as your sole means of promotion. Being in iTunes New & Noteworthy or rated high in your category can be great exposure for your podcast. However, it isn’t the only way (or even the best way) to build an engaged audience. Join our Podcasting Smarter group on Facebook for resources and conversations about building an audience and growing your podcast.podcastingsmarter1

Steps for getting your podcast published in iTunes:

  1. Before you get ready to submit to iTunes there are many steps in setting up your podcast. This includes deciding on topic/content/format, purchasing equipment and getting editing software/assistance, creating your artwork and choosing where you will host your podcast media files (as well as whether you also want a dedicated website or section of your current website to house your podcast).
  2. Publish a podcast episode (or a few if you wish to launch with a certain number already available). Podcasts must be in M4A, MP3, MOV, MP4, M4V, PDF, or EPUB file formats for iTunes.
  3. Get a RSS feed for your podcast. Most people do this by hosting their files with a podcast hosting company, like Podbean. The hosting company will generate a RSS feed for your podcast and make it easy to follow the steps for automatic iTunes publishing. You can also self-host and create your own RSS feed. To check if your feed is valid before submitting to iTunes, you can use a service like Feed Validator. Correct any errors in the feed before submitting to iTunes.
    feedva*Make sure your podcast feed and artwork match iTunes requirements. You can also find out about the types of content iTunes prohibits here. In the iOS podcast app, your podcast will be shown with a background color which is derived from the elements of your podcast logo. Sometimes this results in a color you don’t like. You can consider modifying your logo accordingly to get the background color you’d prefer.
  4. In the iTunes store, find “Podcasts” and on the right sidebar and you will see a list of items including “Submit a Podcast”. Click there and you will be redirected to Podcasts Connect (or go directly to https://podcastsconnect.apple.com/), Apple’s podcast management area. You will need to login with your Apple ID (or create an account if you don’t already have one).
  5. Click on the “+” button to submit a new podcast feed. Validate and submit. You can check the status of your iTunes submission in Podcasts Connect. Approval times can vary.
  6. Once you register your podcast with iTunes, you will get an iTunes feed ID which you can input in your Feed/iTunes settings of your source. Your podcast will then be automatically updated by iTunes.

*You can view and manage all the podcasts you’ve submitted by logging into Podcasts Connect. Please note that there are sometimes delays with iTunes updating. If you have subscribers in iTunes, they will get your latest podcast but there may be slight delays in it showing up in iTunes.

Now that you’ve submitted your podcast to iTunes, it’s time to continue producing great content and building an audience! Check out the Podcasting Smarter podcast to hear podcasters share their stories about how they’ve grown their audience and what’s worked for them, along with challenges, resources and tips.

Recap of Podcast Movement 2016: Inspiration, Connections, Resources

The Podbean team sponsored Podcast Movement (PM16) for the 2nd time this year and we were truly honored to be part of such a great event. Over 1500 podcasters attended the three-day event in Chicago just after Independence Day.

The event was filled with big headliners, information-packed sessions and lots of great networking. The Academy of Podcasters awards kicked off the first night with a big celebration of all the quality podcasts in different categories. Our Director of Communications, Shannon Martin, got to present the award for the “Family and Kids” category. We all filled up our playlists with many new podcasts after the awards (you can find the winners from this and other podcast awards in the “Awards” category on your Podbean app).



It’s All About the Podcasters

We all agreed our favorite part of the event was networking and chatting with old friends, new friends and potential partners. Hanging out with our Podbean customers was by far the part that energized and excited us most! Most of them were even nice enough to pose for selfies with us or do testimonial videos (check them out on the Podbean Facebook page).


Our team member, Jennifer Crawford, had the chance to record a new episode of our Podcasting Smarter podcast on-site with our friends from Language of Bromance. She used the Podbean app and her newly acquired Samson mic to record the episode, so check it out to get an idea of how easy it can be to podcast on the go (and for some great inspiration from our interviewees)!



Words of Wisdom

We spent most of our time at our table talking to podcasters but we got the chance to pop in on a few sessions. Many agreed that the keynote from Kevin Smith was quite inspiring, as he shared his creative story. He remarked on what he sees as “the new American dream”: do something you love and then figure out how to make money doing it.
For most podcasters, it is that love that comes first. The podcast may be tied into a business or you may have ideas for monetizing, but most people start with something they love with little thought to the money (or plans to focus on that later). Kevin was a perfect example…he only sought out sponsors when his business manager told him how much it was costing to produce the podcast (and he reacted, “What, I thought this was free!?!”—with slightly more colorful language). This is a big part of why Podbean has been adding easy, integrated monetization options (premium, crowdfunding and now our ads marketplace) to help podcasters continue to focus on their passion while helping them get paid/offset costs.

Tracy and Heben from Another Round reminded us to seek out work by people who are different from us, to try to gain more understanding. Wise words in today’s world especially. If you haven’t listened to them, they do an amazing job interviewing a wide range of guests, and have a lot of fun doing it.

There were sessions on a wide range of topics. We picked up some great tips and resources in a social media presentation by Carole Sanek and caught a bit about monetizing and podcast metrics. We’ll be taking full advantage of our virtual ticket to review all the sessions we missed, and we’ll be sure to pass along valuable insights.


The exhibit area was packed with cool resources for podcasters. We picked up a Samson mic and talked to the folks at Ringr, the software we’ve been using to record Podcasting Smarter. BSW (Broadcast Supply Worldwide) was also there showing off some cool gear.
There are a number of companies that can help you with podcast production…editing, show notes, securing guests and more. We’ve gotten to know the folks at Podfly over the past couple years. They offer high quality production when you’re looking to outsource, specializing in audio editing and show notes. Darrell Darnell runs Pro Podcast Solutions, providing a full range of services (and a lot of great information on his site). We also chatted briefly with the guys behind Hindenburg, multitrack audio editing that offers a lot of functionality.

There was a brand new offering that is just getting ready to launch, Podcaster’s Toolbox, designed to help you manage and promote your show (we got a sneak peak at the cool software). We also got to say hello to some of the people behind the great Facebook groups dedicated to podcasting, such as Dave Mooring who runs Podcast Marketing, and resources like My Podcast Reviews and Podcasters Society from Daniel J. Lewis.

There are too many great resources to cover, so keep an eye out for more information and guest posts from some of the experts themselves. We also hope to have more great partnerships and features to offer you from the connections we made and podcaster feedback we received.

We hope to see you next year at PM17 in Anaheim, CA! Happy podcasting!

Podcasting Hurdles: Overcoming Your “Support” System

Thanks to Bulldog Milenko (of the Bulldog Unchained Podcast) for this guest post, sharing his thoughts about his journey of podcasting. He offers some of the challenges he’s experienced, lessons learned and goals he hopes to achieve. We hope you enjoy his story and gain some ideas from his experiences.

Let me begin by saying I run a NSFW (not safe for work) podcast, which means the language and content sometimes displayed on my show narrows the spectrum of my potential audience. That being said, there is something about running a podcast which you know provides a good entertainment factor, and is also informative and engaging. I have been doing this show for over four months now, since February 2016, and I have met my fair share of roadblocks and hurdles. One of the largest being that of trying to get my “friends” to not only listen to my show, but share it, because let’s face it…the only way to grow your audience with next to no advertising budget is by word of mouth, which in the 21st century translates to “Share this on social media”.

I have approximately 800-900 followers on Facebook, as well as close to 700 subscribers to my actual podcast. My downloads and plays, however, do not reflect this, as I’m averaging 316 plays/downloads per episode. This is a combination of my Podbean stats and my RSS Feed stats. This is a pretty decent average, in my opinion, for a show that is only four months old with no advertising budget. However, I feel that it should be closer to the 500 play per episode mark at this point. Alas, without having money to advertise, I’m left to my own creativity to attempt to get the masses to share my show.

One thing I have learned from this venture is that you absolutely CANNOT count on your “friends” to wholly support you in your endeavors unless it somehow benefits them. I literally have approximately 20 people out of almost 900 who share my show for me. That is 2% of my Facebook network. Now, to be fair, Facebook has become very shady in their distribution of your status updates and content to your friends list. It is approximated now that when you post something on Facebook, only 35% of your friends and followers can see said post. This creates an automatic disadvantage for anyone, but more so for those of us who are content creators and distributors, which is why it is IMPERATIVE for others to share your posts. Otherwise, next to no one is seeing them.

Now for the real reason I’m writing this article. Some harsh lessons I have learned from doing my show are these:

1. People want to see you do well…just not better than them: If you do anything in life and do it well, you will start to gain a modicum of momentum and success. This is actually a turn off to even those consider your closest of friends. Whether it just be jealousy, indifference or a contemptuous malice and will to see you fail…people don’t want to see someone they know having more success than themselves.

2. People will scoff at your plans, dreams and goals: When I first started this show, I had a lot of “support”. Friends and acquaintances alike telling me “This is awesome!” or “Wow, you’re really onto something!”. As time has progressed, however, I find that fewer and fewer of my “friends” are listening to my show, and even fewer actually share it. And now that I’ve made it known that my ultimate goal is for my show to become my actual career and livelihood, there have even been those who flat out say “You can’t make money doing that”. Well, as of right now, I have 3 paying supporters who donate a whopping $16/month to my show. Now, while this doesn’t sound like a lot, and it isn’t…it does now pay for my monthly hosting fee, which is actually a financial burden that has been lifted from my shoulders. My goal, however, is to reach that 1,000-2,000 listener per episode mark, and if I could average just $1/month in support from those numbers…I could feasibly make this my daily job. I know it’s a lofty goal, but it is a real one, and one which I feel is absolutely attainable. And, there’s also the issue of potential business and corporate sponsors in the near future.

3. You can’t count on the majority of your “friends” to support you: No matter how much people say they support you, or they love you, or they believe in what you’re doing…the proof is always in the end results of their actions. And when there are no actions taken on their parts, it becomes apparent that you are, in fact, obviously on your own to make your show a success. Now, I have actually made some new “friends” through Podbean, and their “Podcasting Smarter” Facebook community. The guys from “Watch Talk Wrestling” podcast and I have teamed up to do heavy cross-promotion and support of each other. We have recorded promos (or stingers) to be played on each other’s shows, as well as promoting each other on our various social media channels. This is a highly beneficial and cost-free marketing and advertising strategy. It’s important when pursuing this to keep in mind that you want to find shows which are mutually beneficial to yours, and vice-versa.

4. When you gain success and notoriety, the vultures will circle: This may sound harsh, but it’s true. I have just recently experienced this as I am gaining access to better interviews and guests on my show. I have advertised a few said guests, and was instantly bombarded by “friends” who don’t listen to my show, let alone share it, about seeing if they could come be on said show with said guest. This, in my opinion, shows a complete lack of respect for me and the brand that I’m building. It would be the equivalent of building your own house…with very little help…and once you’re finished, people show up knocking on your door asking if they can live there. And even worse, once people realize that you’re actually gaining some notoriety with your show, they will try to tell you how you should run your show. My attitude is along the lines of “Thanks, but I did all of this without you thus far, you don’t get to ride along now”. And yes, it absolutely takes that kind of attitude and disposition to stay the course and maintain the integrity of the show that YOU’RE trying to create.

5. You must stay true to and have faith in only YOURSELF: You cannot count on anyone to make you a success. It is absolutely up to you to persevere and press on through any potential setbacks, roadblocks and/or hurdles. There WILL always be those who truly support and help you in your endeavor, but they are extremely few and far between. Stay true to yourself and your content. Most importantly…stick with it…don’t give up! I have seen quite a few podcasts fizzle out within a few months because people became discouraged when they didn’t reach those thousands of listeners immediately. This is most definitely a marathon, it’s not a sprint. Keep plugging away and sharing your content, and asking for help from your “friends”. If they share it, awesome! If they don’t, try not to get to discouraged by it, as you’ll find, they’re not really your target audience.

About the author: Bulldog Milenko is the creator of Bulldog Unchained Podcast (http://bulldogunchained.podbean.com). You can also find them on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/bulldogunchained.

Where Should I Host My Podcast?


Podcast Hosting Considerations

When you have a podcast, your media files need to be hosted somewhere reliable, so they’re served up smoothly to your audience. New podcasters are sometimes surprised to learn Apple doesn’t host podcasts…you’ll need to submit your podcast’s RSS feed for iTunes and other directories.

Most podcasters use podcast media hosting services, due to the convenience of having an experienced third-party maintain the server environment (plus the added features that often come along). We’ll share more information on the options and what to consider in podcast hosting.

Website Hosting v. Media Hosting

There are many affordable web hosting services available, but they are not designed for hosting podcast media files. You may run into bandwidth issues if your podcast becomes popular…simply having the content there may not be a problem, but being able to serve it up quickly to 1,000+ listeners may be (see more below regarding bandwidth).

Many podcasting experts have researched this with web hosting companies with the conclusion that you will run into problems if your podcast becomes popular. Either the host will ask you to switch to a dedicated service, which is typically more expensive than paying for separate media hosting, or downloads will become super slow or stop working. Media hosts are specifically designed to handle the specifications and growing needs of podcasters, as well as to offer features like download/audience statistics.

Hosting on Your Own Server

If you are experienced in IT you might think about hosting your media on your own server. However, very few podcasters do this due to the cost effectiveness and efficiency of third-party hosting. If you choose to host on your own server, you will need to manage growing bandwidth needs, deal with hardware maintenance and failures/redundancy, backing up your data, anti-hacking and DDoS attacks, etc. Even many large businesses with extensive IT departments and big server capacity are using third-party services when they podcast for internal communications or marketing.

Third-party hosts will handle security, anti-hacking, backup, server redundancy, etc. Different hosts offer different pricing plans and features (many permit a great deal of customization and the ability to use your own domain, so you can full brand and control your podcast). The other advantage of third-party hosting is additional features that you get (see more below).

Hosting Considerations: Bandwidth and Storage

Bandwidth and storage space should be top considerations when evaluating hosting options. As a quick example for storage: if you do a one hour audio podcast three times/week, you will need around 200MB storage space in a week (800MB-1000MB in a month). If you publish a video podcast once per week at 500MB for each episode, you will need 2GB space in every month. You may quickly find that you need to pay more for your ever-growing podcast storage needs unless you have unlimited storage.

Bandwidth is a way of measuring internet traffic. Every time someone downloads an episode of your podcast, it uses bandwidth. The bigger your podcast files, the more bandwidth they use. The more people who listen to your podcast, the more bandwidth it uses. If you have a one hour audio podcast in MP3 at 60MB file size and 1000 people listen to your podcast, it will use 60GB bandwidth… 10,000 people listen to your podcast will use 10 times the bandwidth.

If you choose a host that limits storage or you pay directly for storage, for example hosting directly on Amazon S3 cloud servers, be aware that costs will go up as you grow. There are very affordable options with third-party hosting services for unlimited bandwidth and storage (for example, Podbean’s unlimited audio plan is $9/month).

What should a podcaster consider when selecting podcast media hosting?

Reliability: network reliability and redundancy (at Podbean, we use a Podbean and Amazon Dual CDN environment to achieve high reliability for worldwide clients/listeners)
Bandwidth and storage space limits
Ability to auto-generate a RSS feed that is compatible with popular podcast players and apps, such as iTunes, Google Play etc.
Ease of use of tools/interface
Support for the type of setup you want (Can you use your own domain? Do you want a host that offers an integrated site? Do you want embeddable podcast players?)
Extra features and options, such as statistics and monetization (and costs, if applicable, associated with these extra features)

Know the commitment your hosting company has to podcasters and the industry: how long have they been around, are they investing in new features and innovating solutions? Over the years, there have been many hosts that have come and gone and others have moved their focus and stopped supporting the latest technology. Make sure to find out how you can redirect your feed if you use your host’s feed and later want or need to move.

Additional Podcast Hosting Features: The Extras Can Make a Difference

Though you should not count on a host as your main source of marketing and promotion, some hosting providers also have podcast directories and may help with listener discovery. For example, at Podbean we have a large directory and feature rotating podcasts each week on our home page. We also send emails to listeners with accounts about suggested content and have suggested topics and featured shows in our apps.

Most hosts will offer statistics about your downloads and audience (geography, clients/platforms they’re using for listening, etc.). Website statistics do not provide the information you need and most podcasters minimally want to know their download numbers.

Monetization is something you may want to consider, especially after you’ve developed great content and a dedicated audience. Podbean provides premium content options where you can charge a fee for select content or memberships (no upfront fees, a simple 15% revenue share).
Crowdfunding is another popular way of raising funds. Until recently, podcasters could use general crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Patreon or have a simple “donate” button, but Podbean now also offers a podcast-specific platform for monthly donations (open to any podcaster). Podbean is also working on an innovative way to help podcasters with advertising—stay tuned!

Mobile apps can provide another means of listener discovery and offer you additional features. For example, the Podbean app can be used to record and publish episodes as well as manage basic features of your podcast while on-the-go.

Video podcasting is supported by some hosts. While the majority of podcasts are audio, some podcasts have a visual focus or wish to publish occasional videos. Podbean offers HLS for video podcasting for a better viewer experience.

Deciding where to host your podcast media files is an important step in setting up your podcast. We invite you to join our Facebook group, Podcasting Smarter, for discussions about this and other topics for podcasters at all stages. For more information about Podbean hosting, you can review our podcast hosting features.

Podcasting Tools: RINGR

We will be featuring various tools and resources for podcasters on the Podcasting Blog. We hope you enjoy this guest post from Tim Sinclair

When starting RINGR in July of 2014, my primary goal was to solve a problem I encountered as a radio host: I was tired of conducting phone interviews with guests and having the audio sound like Neil Armstrong when he landed on the moon in 1969. It amazed me that—all these years later—broadcasters and podcasters still battled static and drop out and latency. The industry had accepted that poor quality audio was “just how it was.” So, I launched RINGR.

At RINGR, we want to change the way long-distance interviews are recorded.
We built a technology that allows you to record anyone, anywhere in the world, on any device and sound like you are in the same room at the same time. Telephones and Voice-over-IP apps (like Skype) heavily compress audio to transmit it down a phone line or over the internet, leaving it sounding hollow and thin and full of holes. RINGR simultaneously locally records lossless audio on each device and then merges the files together…eliminating the static, delay, and dropout you find in a typical telephone or Skype recording.

How Does RINGR Work?



When you make a call with RINGR, the audio for each participant is both being recorded on each respective device (at high quality) and being sent over the network to facilitate a back-and-forth conversation.

Upload &Process
After the call, the audio is automatically uploaded to the RINGR servers where our adaptive leveling, volume normalization and synchronization algorithms stitch the files together and maximize the quality of the recording.

Once processed, the recordings are exported directly to the interviewer in a variety of file types, formats and mixdowns…including mono; stereo and split-tracks.

What’s the difference?
The compression applied to conventional telephone or POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) phone calls or VoIP (Voice-over-IP) call audio allow the audio to be streamed over the internet reliably and at low bandwidth. However, the quality of the audio is greatly (and noticeably) compromised. This ‘lossy’ compression reduces the size of the file but, unfortunately, sounds terrible. Most people are quite familiar with the difference this compression makes to the audio and can easily tell whether a recording was made over a telephone, VoIP (e.g. Skype) or in a studio environment.

RINGR is designed to avoid this compression and provide you with a studio quality recording from each participant. The audio is automatically synchronized, leveled and merged with the other recordings…producing a single studio-quality recording where the parties sound like they are in the same room at the same time.

Take Your Studio Anywhere
We started RINGR on mobile because we wanted you to be able to carry your “studio” with you anywhere – after all, do we really get vacation these days? We have one podcaster who moved to Bali for several months because hewouldn’t miss a beat recording his podcast with RINGR. RINGR mobile also allows the experience for your guest to be seamless. You can even invite them from the RINGR app, so all they need is their mobile phone.

Convenience In Your Studio
In addition to mobile, we knew we wanted to impact the experience in the studio too. So, we built RINGR desktop. With RINGR running in the browser on your studio computer, you can be behind your beloved microphone…and your guest can be at the coffee shop, in the car, or on their couch.

The RINGR mobile app has proven to be a benefit primarily to individual personalities, podcasters, and their guests who do not have access to a professional studio. But with RINGR desktop everyone sounds better: entire radio stations, high-end podcasters, and anyone else who sits in a studio all day like I used to. It’s the highest sound quality possible without expensive equipment or telecommunications systems.

Your guests will sound amazing, you’ll sound like you always do, and you’ll both sound like you’re right there in the same room. I invite you to give RINGR a try for free today!

Thanks to Tim for his guest post! We’d love to hear from those of you who have tried RINGR…join the Podcasting Smarter Facebook group to join in our discussions! You might also want to check out the RINGR blog, including Podbean’s recent post about podcast hosting.



Creating a Podcast Patron Program: Podbean Crowdfunding

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a means of community members supporting work or helping to fund a project/product. In the case of podcast crowdfunding, it refers to listener donations helping to support your podcasting efforts.

Why should I consider setting up a crowdfunding campaign?

Crowdfunding is a great way for your listeners to support the work you’re doing. If you have an engaged community and great content, you have the potential to succeed with crowdfunding. Many listeners may be willing to become patrons to help you continue to create.

What is unique about Podbean Crowdfunding versus sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Go Fund Me or Patreon?

Many crowdfunding sites are focused around one-time projects or products; others like Patreon are focused on creators and may include one-time or ongoing projects. Podbean Crowdfunding was created specifically for podcasters’ needs. The system is set up to allow patrons to support your podcast with recurring monthly donations, since podcasting is an ongoing medium. Podbean CF is open to all podcasters, regardless of whether you host with Podbean or not.