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!
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 hosts MarTech 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Side Note: Before submitting your podcast to any of the available directories, I recommend that you have more than one podcast 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 Play – Google Play’s podcast network is also a high consumer base to get in front of for Android users that are tied into Google Play Music. To submit your podcast to Google Play, sign in with a Google account and follow the steps to submit your podcast. Once approved, you will be able to get a little bit of stats out of your Google Play account. There are two blue links above your list of episodes labeled “Listener Activity Report” and “Subscription” to see your reports for listens and subscribers.
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 Acast.
- Overcast – To add a podcast to the directory search, add its URL manually to an Overcast account. If it’s also in iTunes, it will show up within a day.
- 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 which 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.
- 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 for Stitcher here and you will then be directed to their Partner Portal to submit your show. 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 and click on the Add a Podcast button. 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- AnyPod – AnyPod is a popular skill for Amazon Alexa-powered devices. Be sure to add your podcast here.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spotify – If you’re hosted on Libsyn, you can request your podcast be published on Spotify. It’s currently beta, requires you to have an iTunes show, and you have to send details some specific details via email to request it.
- Others – Acast, AudioBoom
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!
- Revoice – If you’d like to have your podcasts delivered efficiently by Chrome, Facebook Messenger, or Slack, use Revoice! Just add your podcast feed.
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.
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.
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!
This research stems from a survey of 165 marketing, commerce and supply chain executives, and 12 deep-dive interviews with executives who reveal the ways they are rethinking their engagement strategy.