Last year was the year podcasting exploded in popularity. In fact, 21% of Americans over the age of 12 have said they listened to a podcast in the last month, which has steadily increased year over year from the 12% share in 2008 and I only see this number continue to grow.
So have you decided to start your own podcast? Well, there are a few things to consider first – where you will host your podcast and where you will promote it. Below I have listed a few tips and lessons learned from promoting our podcast Edge of the Web, so I hope they will be of use for you!
Podcasting Workshop and Presentation
I recently developed a workshop for enterprise podcasters to deploy specific strategies to syndicate and promote their podcasts. We utilized many of these methods with the Dell Luminaries podcast, pushing it into the top 1% of all business podcasts.
Where to Host Your Podcast
Before distributing to any directories, you will need to decide where you will host your podcast. Deciding your podcast hosting will depend on a lot on where you can submit your podcast as some directories have certain ties with others. For our podcast, Edge of the Web, we host with Libsyn and it is one of the more popular hosts around.
Don't host your podcast on a typical web host or in your current website. Podcast hosting environments have an infrastructure built for large audio file sto stream and download from the web. Typical web hosting environments may cause listening interruptions and could even cost you money with overage costs on bandwidth usage.
Douglas Karr, DK New Media
Douglas hosts Martech Zone Interviews, Off the Circle, and Veteran Cast with Fireside, a unique podcast host with a beautiful user interface that incorporates both a website along with your podcast. The site also provides a ton of unique features, including unlimited hosts, unlimited guest profiles, sponsor advertisements, show links, subscription links, share pages, and a stunning HTML5 podcast player.
A few other podcast hosting companies you can use are:
- Acast – Podcast discovery, listening, hosting, and RSS distribution.
- Anchor – Create and host unlimited episodes, distribute your show everywhere, and make money. All in one place, all for free.
- Audioboom – Reach dedicated listeners and deliver your brand message through dynamic advert insertions and endorsements from the top talent in podcasting.
- Blubrry – Blubrry.com is a podcasting community and directory that gives creators the power to make money, get detailed audience measurements and host their audio and video. Whether you are a media creator, advertiser or media consumer, Blubrry is your digital media interface.
- Buzzsprout – Start podcasting today with free podcast hosting from Buzzsprout, the easiest podcasting software for hosting, promoting, and tracking your podcast.
- Casted – From hosting and scheduling to activation and analytics, Casted is a content management platform for B2B marketers with a voice.
- Libsyn – Libsyn provides everything your podcast needs: publishing tools, media hosting and delivery, RSS for iTunes, a Web Site, Stats, Advertising Programs, Premium Content , Apps for Apple, Android & Windows devices.
- Megaphone – tools to publish, monetize, and measure your podcast business.
- Omny Studio – Omny Studio is an enterprise podcasting solution that includes an online editor, monetization, broadcast capture, reporting, and a host of other features.
- PodBean – Ultra simple podcast publishing solution. Unlimited bandwidth and storage. Everything a podcaster needs to host, promote, and track your podcast.
- Simplecast – Publish your podcasts the easy way.
- SoundCloud – Podcasting on SoundCloud makes it easy for anyone to tell stories, upload, and share. Build your community on the most stable and intuitive audio hosting platform in the world.
- Spreaker – Spreaker has it all! Set up your account and get ready to record podcasts or host live radio shows from your computer or mobile device.
- Podcast Jet – Premium Podcast Hosting: Accelerated and Optimized Delivery.
After setting up your podcast hosting, you will need to have a valid RSS feed. A lot of times when you are setting up the podcast hosting account you will miss something that will break the RSS feed. Before submitting to any directory, you will need to check to see if your RSS feed is valid. To test your RSS feed, use Cast Feed Validator to see if you made any mistakes. If you have a valid feed, then jump into your directory submission.
Where to Syndicate Your Podcast
Side Note: Before submitting your podcast to any of the available directories, I recommend that you have more than one podcast episode in your RSS feed. You can submit to most of the directories with only one podcast, but for most listeners to your podcast, they will want to see more than the episode before subscribing to your show.
Because iPhone and Android devices dominate the mobile market, these first two registrations are a must for every podcast!
- iTunes – After you have created your RSS feed, submitting your podcast to iTunes should be your first step. iTunes has one of the most popular networks of listeners for podcasters. You will first need to have an Apple ID, if you already have an iPhone, you should have an ID already. Sign in to this the iTunes Podcast connection page with your Apple ID and paste your RSS feed into the URL field and submit your show. Depending on your account, it could get approved pretty quickly or could take a couple days. Once you get accepted into iTunes, your show will appear in a lot of other different podcatchers automatically as those tools get their feeds from iTunes. Unfortunately, with iTunes, you will not get any analytics associated with your account.
- Google Podcasts Manager – Google released a platform with some outstanding analytics for monitoring your podcasts' listenership. You can see the number of plays, plays in the first 30 days, average duration, and then monitor performance over time. Sign in with a Google account, and follow the steps to add your podcast.
- Pandora – Pandora continues to be a huge audience and fully supports podcasts as well, even with the ability to monitize it.
- Spotify – Spotify continues to expand into audio content and, with the purchase of Anchor, is taking serious aim at owning the medium. With so many users, you won't want to miss out!
- Amazon – Amazon Music is a relative newcomer but with Audible, Prime, and Alexa's voice assistant reach, you shouldn't leave out this important channel.
Optionally, you can also register your podcast with these tools and directories to expand your reach:
- Acast – Even if your podcast is hosted on another provider, you can register your podcast with a free starter account.
- AnyPod – AnyPod is a popular skill for Amazon Alexa-powered devices.
- Blubrry – Blubrry is also the largest podcast directory on the Internet, with over 350,000 podcasts listed. They also provide advertising and other services for podcasters.
- Breaker – Breaker is a marketplace to sell and promote your podcasts. Their app is quite good, and makes social sharing of your podcast especially helpful.
- Castbox – Castbox provides Castbox Creator Studio, a set of tools with robust podcasting analytics so that you can measure and engage with your subscribers as well as stream and provide downloads.
- iHeartRadio – For iHeartRadio, this is where it pays to have Libsyn as your host. They have a relationship with iHeartRadio and you can set up your Libsyn account to automatically create and feed your own channel. To set this up, under the “Destinations” tab in your account, click on “Add New” and then follow the instructions to set up an iHeartRadio stream. Note: Your podcast needs to be active for more than two months within Libsyn before you are able to submit to iHeartRadio.
- Overcast – If your podcast is already in iTunes, it will show up within a day on Overcast. If it's not, you can manually add it:
- Pocket Casts – A web-based and mobile application that enables users to manage and listen across devices. Submit your podcast through Pocket Casts submit page.
- Podchaser – a podcast database and discovery tool. Their goal is to make it easy for you to provide feedback about the podcasts you love and easily discover podcasts. Find your podcast at Podchaser and you can claim it using the registered email in your podcast feed.
- Podknife – Podknife is an online directory of podcasts that does a great job of organizing the podcasts by topic and location. Users can also review and favorite their favorite podcasts. Once you register and login, you'll find a submission link in the menu.
- RadioPublic – RadioPublic is the healthy, scalable, and financially sustainable podcast listening platform podcasters have been waiting for. We help listeners discover, engage with, and financially reward podcast makers—you. Verify your show on RadioPublic to start connecting with your audience today.
- Stitcher – Personally, Stitcher is my favorite podcast app. All of my podcast listening is done through this app. Stitcher is a free app with over 65,000 radio shows and podcasts available. To submit your podcast, you will need to sign up as a partner. Your show stats are available on the Partner Portal too.
- TuneIn – TuneIn is another free directory you can submit your podcast. To submit your podcast, you will need to fill out their form. You will not have an account with TuneIn like you will with other directories. So, if you need to update anything to your feed, you will need to go through this process again. TuneIn also has an Amazon Skill where your podcast can be played via Alexa-powered devices!
- Vurbl – an audio streaming destination for all types of audio creators, and anyone that loves listening to audio. We support audio creators through our station model and help listeners connect with meaningful content to listen to.
Share Audiograms on Social Media
- Audiogram – Turn your audio into engaging social videos with Audiogram.
- Headliner – Create waveform audiograms, full episodes in video, automatically transcribe, and promote your podcast with as many videos as you want on Headliner.
- Wavve – Wavve enables you to create audiograms – videos with your podcast audio – that can be shared socially using their player.
How to Optimize Your Podcast
Did you know that Google now indexes podcasts and also displays them on a carousel on search engine result pages? Google provides details on steps to ensure your podcast is indexed in their support article. I've written how to ensure that Google knows you have a podcast if you have WordPress but are hosting the podcast on an external podcast hosting service.
Add a Podcast Smart Banner
iOS devices have the ability to add a smart banner to the top of your website for Apple iPhone users to view your podcast, open it in the Podcasts App, and subscribe to it. You can read how to do that in this article on iTunes Smart Banners for Podcasts.
There are also some paid directories that you can use to host your podcast or just use as another directory. While you may be hesitant to pay for some of these, you never know where your audience is listening. I would recommend trying them all out for at least one year and see what kind of stats you get from these directories before canceling. Most of these start with a free account, but you will quickly run out of space in your free account.
- Acast – Acast offers everything you need to create and share your podcast everywhere.
- AudioBoom – AudioBoom enables podcasters to host, distribute and monetize your audio.
- PodBean – PodBean is very similar to Spreaker as a podcast host. In our experience, there have been issues with the importing of our RSS feed in that it won’t always get the latest episodes. But still, it is a very popular host amongst podcasters.
- PodSearch – PodSearch offers easy-to-use search tools, including categories, top shows, new shows, and keywords, to help you find podcasts you'll enjoy. Register here.
- SoundCloud – SoundCloud is one of the newest directories that Edge of the Web Radio is in and with our Libsyn account, we were able to automatically sync the two together and the creation of the account was very simple through Libsyn.
- Spreaker – Spreaker is a popular host, especially among podcasters who want to broadcast live. They have a great player that will let you do the live streaming as well as archive each episode for those who missed the live broadcast.
I am sure there are others, but these are the directories that we use at Edge Media Studios for our podcast production clients. If you have any others that I may have missed, be sure to let me know in the comments below!
Podcast Web Players
- WordPress Podcast Sidebar Widget – regardless of where your podcast is hosted, adding it to your site is a great way to get some relevant listeners. The WordPress Podcast Sidebar allows both a widget or shortcode to embed your entire podcast feed (with player) anywhere in your site.
- Jetpack – WordPress' premiere plugin for enhancing your site now has a podcast block you can add to your content that automatically creates a podcast player.
Here are some additional paid plugins that will display your podcasts beautifully within WordPress.
- MP3 Sticky Player WordPress Plugin
- Royal Audio Player WordPress Plugin
- HTML5 Audio Players WordPress Plugins Bundle
- Easy Audio Player WordPress Plugin
- Sonaar MP3 Player WordPress Plugin
Don't forget the important role that social media can play in promoting your podcasts, both new and old! Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram… even Google+… can all help you to grow your audience and drive more listens and subscribers for your content.
With a social media management tool like Agorapulse, you can queue up shares to all of those profiles with ease, as well as set up recurring shares for those podcasts that you might consider to be evergreen. Or, if you use a tool like FeedPress, you can automatically publish your podcast to your social media profiles automatically.
As you grow your audience on those platforms, new fans may not have seen your older podcasts, so that's a great way to increase visibility. The key is to create social media posts that are engaging, rather than just broadcasts of your podcast title. Try asking questions or listing the major takeaways. And if you interviewed or mentioned another brand or influencer, be sure to tag them in your social shares!
Disclosure: I'm using my affiliate links in this post for a few of the products.