10 min read
After you have two or three podcast episodes recorded, edited, and finalized, it’s time to actually get those episodes into the smartphone apps and playlists of your audience. But how does that happen?
For every beginner podcaster, this can be a confusing question. If you’re thinking you upload it straight to a publisher like Apple Podcasts, you’d be wrong, but you also wouldn’t be alone in that assumption. Do you set it up on your own website? Well, you can, but for now you probably shouldn’t. I’ll get into that in a second.
So if you don’t give it to Apple Podcasts and you don’t put it on your website, where exactly should your podcast live? It has to go somewhere right?
Deciding where and with who you host your podcast is step 1 to going from podcast creation to listener downloads. Today, I’ll walk you through those steps and give you some options to look into to make the right decisions for your podcast hosting and publishing.
Where you host your podcast is basically the place you’ll be uploading all the audio files for your podcast. When I say it like this, can you start to guess why you probably shouldn’t host your podcast on your website? If not, let’s talk about that right now.
If you have the technical skills and know-how, you can host your audio files and generate your RSS feed yourself. PowerPress is a popular WordPress plugin that enables you to host your own podcast through your WordPress site (which I’ll discuss later). So if you feel strong in your ability to solve problems that arise, go for it!
However, there are a number of reasons to use a podcast hosting provider, instead of doing it yourself. Here’s a few reason why.
If you’re hosting your podcast on the same server as your website and something goes wrong with that, then you’re going to see problems in your podcast downloads. Think about it. If your website crashes because you have a high volume of readers visit it at once, your podcast is crashing down with it. Not good.
Your CMS itself might pose the biggest threat of all. It’s possible that no matter how popular and well-known they may be, some plug-ins and other website options can break your podcast RSS feed by sending invalid information, changing tags, or having poor coding. And the more you have on your website, the higher the risk is for them to create problems for your podcast. This can happen in anything from membership and SEO plugins to the theme you’re using for your website.
If you’re hosting your website through a shared hosting provider, then you’re living on the kindness of strangers. You never know if someone else on that shared provider will abuse or take up all that server’s resources, leaving you and your podcast with little to spare. If this were to happen, you’d possibly have a slow-running website on your hands with a podcast feeds that often hits a timeout.
This “why not” list could go on, but that’s not really the point of this article, so let’s talk about where you should be hosting your podcast.
Hosting your podcast through a third-party podcast hosting platform is how most creators choose to move forward in publishing. The ease, the reliability, and the features of a professionally managed hosting platform will almost always outweigh the few benefits of hosting your podcast on your own. Here are some of those benefits.
Hosting platforms are specifically designed to handle the specifications and growing needs of podcasters. As your audience grows with your podcast archives, this will be super important for you. You need your podcasts to live in space that can scale with you.
Never underestimate the power of a good customer support team. If something happens to go down, you’ll want to have a knowledge team at your fingertips to help you know what goes on and fix the issue as quickly as possible.
Most podcast hosting companies will offer to not only host your episodes, but also the automatic generation of your RSS feed– don’t overlook this plus. The metadata found in your RSS feed is how publishers like Apple Podcasts and other directories will pick up your podcast. Having that set up in your hosting platform means one less thing for you to think about for your process.
How to set up your RSS feed will be dependent on the hosting platform you use. But while each one calls for different steps in their process, they all ask for the same basic pieces of content. To make sure you’ve got everything you need for your hosting platforms to set up your RSS feed, have these pieces of content ready to go:
And on top of all that, many podcasting hosting platforms offer a variety of other special features that can make your process more interesting and smooth. Some of these features include:
Ready to start looking for a podcast hosting platform now? Great!
There are quite a few podcast hosting platforms to choose from out there. Some will sound similar, some will offer extra features, and some will be very basic. It’s up to you to know what you want when it comes to your podcast hosting platforms, but I can help a little by putting some of the more popular ones in front of you right now.
Folks like Basecamp, Nathan Barry, and Alex Ohanian (founder of Reddit) trust Transistor for their podcast hosting. It's the newest provider, and has a modern interface. One of their key differentiators: they don't charge you more for creating additional podcasts. You can experiment and start multiple shows.
If you’re on WordPress, Blubrry will be your go-to platform. While you can use its plugin to host your podcast yourself, many use Blubrry as a podcast hosting platform.
Buzzsprout is known for making it easy for podcasters from all levels of experience to start their own podcast as well as for its fantastic customer support.
Established back in 2004, Libsyn was one of the first podcast hosting sites. It’s most known for its simplistic interface and is a great place for new podcasters to start.
PodBean has a user-friendly interface that lets you upload, publish, manage, and promote your podcasts with just a few clicks. This platforms is used by enterprises, large organizations, radio stations and individuals podcasters alike
SImpleCast is clean, easy-to-use podcast hosting platform perfect for beginners. Just as its name implies, you can create your podcast very easily.
Before Soundcloud became a popular podcasting platform, it made its name as a musician's platform. Because of this, Soundcloud already has a wide reach for your potential new audience.
While many podcast hosting platforms provide direct distribution with many podcast directories, you still might want to add a few more to your list. With your podcast listed on the right directories, you’re easily multiplying your chance of being seen by a wider audience.
Here’s a quick list of the some of the top directories and the steps you need to take to have your RSS feed automatically update with each new episode.
Generally you want to make sure you submit to Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Many of the directories pull from Apple Podcasts.
How to submit to Apple Podcasts:
How to submit to Spotify:
How to submit to Google Play:
To submit to Stitcher:
How to submit to TuneIn:
Sure, your podcast subscribers will get notified when new episodes are posted, but what about your casual listeners? Or how do you let your podcast subscribers know when you have an upcoming project?
Having an email list is the best way to get your news right in front of your fans. When a listener subscribers to your email list, that means they believe in you. They want more from you. And they've given you the best direct line to them- their inbox, free from ads and algorithms.
So how do you build an email list? The easiest way to get started is to create a free landing page (you can link to this landing page in your show notes, talk about in during your episode, link it in your Instagram bio and more!)
Check out this video to see how easy it is to create a landing page for free in ConvertKit.