Chapter 9: Publishing & Promotion

Learning Objectives

  • How to¬†publish¬†a podcast
  • The importance of a¬†website/blog {video tutorials}
  • How to¬†publish¬†a podcast
  • Promotion¬†‚ÄĒ Audiograms, Trailers, Reviews¬†{video tutorials}
Photo by James Tarbotto on Unsplash.com

Chapter 9: Publishing & Promotion

The creation of a podcast involves a lot of moving parts but easy-to-use technology can make you your own podcast publisher.

However, those large digital audio files must first be uploaded to a podcast hosting service that creates the RSS feed (podcast audio files hosted on the internet), and then listeners can look in directories to find podcasts.

Let’s break it down.

Photo by Steve Harvey on Unsplash.com

Discovering your podcast is one of the biggest challenges facing podcast creators, so it’s important to list your podcast in as many directories as possible.

The Most Important Podcast Directories

  • Apple Podcasts¬†‚Äď the old iTunes ‚Äď is the first place to add your podcast.
  • Spotify¬†battles it out for top billing with Apple and gained lots of young listeners because of music listening.
  • The Podcast Index gets you into many other podcast apps.
  • YouTube Music is taking over as Google Podcasts ends in March 2024.
  • Listen Notes is also a search engine to find podcasts by topic and offers a way to create free podcast clips.
  • Others ‚Äď Podnews lists all the other podcast directories.

Livewire Labs measures the number of new podcast episodes in a given period and top hosting companies by new episode share.

What Are Podcast HOSTING Services?

Just like a website needs a hosting service to store media files, your podcast needs the same thing.

A podcast hosting platform stores large audio and video files online for distribution and download to your audience and generates an RSS feed to Apple Podcasts and other directories.

Photo from Unsplash.com

Free & Paid Hosting Options

There are a lot of options for podcast hosting services; some are free and others have monthly charges for a variety of services.

You can get a sense of where people are publishing by looking at the stats provided by Podnews in how many podcasts switch their shows to a different service and where they go.

What’s The Best Podcast Hosting Site?

  • Podcast Host breaks down¬†features and prices¬†for 14 hosting sites.
  • Podcast Insights¬†reviews what they consider to be the top seven sites.
  • Resonate Recordings offers a list of their top¬†five¬†podcast hosts.
  • Podchaser breaks down more than¬†50¬†hosting sites.

How Do You Pick One?

There are several factors to consider when selecting your podcast hosting service ‚Äď but all will get you onto Apple, Google, and Spotify with an RSS feed. Instead, you might consider these other factors:

  • Are there FREE podcast hosting services?

Yes ‚Äď and a free host service may be all that you need, but be sure to review the rules. In some, episodes are deleted after 90 days, advertising may be added or there may be very little notice if a company goes out of business. ¬†One of the largest free host services is Spotify for Podcasters (formerly known as Anchor), but critics say many of those have podfaded ‚Äď referring to when a show stops releasing new episodes.

  • How does the podcast host service charge?¬†

Some hosts charge by how much you podcast and they have a storage cap, while others charge by download numbers. Paid host services may provide ad-free podcasts, automatic distribution to all podcast apps, or have detailed analytics; it depends upon your interests and what you’re willing to pay. Certainly use a paid service if you’re podcasting for your brand or business.

  • Is the podcast hosting service easy to use?

Check if there is good IT support and if you can easily migrate to another host if you are unhappy.

The Internet Advertising Bureau came up with rules on how to count podcast downloads, so companies who comply with these are certified, like the ones¬†listed here. If a company is listed as ‚ÄúIAB Certified‚ÄĚ it means ‚Äúthe podcast host thinks they are following the rules but nobody has checked,‚ÄĚ says¬†James Cridland¬†of Podnews.

  • Can you download or export your podcast analytics?¬†
  • Are there extras?

Some companies offer transcriptions, audio processing, the ability to choose advertisers, or video podcasting. But you do need to be careful and read the fine print. Podnews offers a look at unusual terms and conditions from podcast companies.

Photo by John Schnobr on Unsplash.com

Metadata I.D. Tags {Video tutorial}

Before submitting the podcast to a hosting service you need to insert Metadata I.D. tags so the show becomes searchable in directories. Embedded within the MP3 tag is metadata with the show title, author name and show description. You can tag episodes within your media hosting service by using free tagging software or by simply using Apple.

Photo from Pixabay.com

What Is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary.

The feed is an XML programming code that contains the directory of your podcast where audio files are located on the internet. On web pages, the RSS feed is indicated by an orange logo.

Once you have subscribed to a podcast, the¬†RSS feed¬†sends new episodes directly to your digital device. Jamie Perkins writes in¬†Medium: ‚ÄúRSS champions the little guy. It empowers the unheard voice, and has made a monopoly in podcasting impossible.‚ÄĚ

RSS Feed Validators

Sometimes when an RSS feed doesn’t show up in searches or doesn’t work it can mean there’s a problem inside the RSS code that’s difficult to spot. The result is that you lose part of your audience with a broken feed. This can happen with a particular listening app even if Apple Podcasts accepts the feed.

Here‚Äôs where¬†feed validators¬†come in to test and help fix the error. They are designed for podcasters to point out ‚Äúproblems like missing enclosures, poor hosting and other issues specific to podcasting,‚ÄĚ according to¬†The Audacity to Podcast.¬†They recommend¬†Cast Feed Validator¬†or¬†PodBa.se Podcast Validator.

How To Put RSS Feeds Into Apple

Apple Podcast Submission Guidelines

While most people listen to podcasts on Apple Podcasts, creators submit shows using Apple Podcasts Connect.

The Podcast Host offers tips for submitting podcasts. An RSS feed is created and then copied and pasted into podcast directories so people can find and subscribe to podcasts, getting new episodes automatically.

  • Use your Apple ID to log into the podcast section of¬†Podcast Connect¬†(formerly iTunes Connect). You can also create a¬†free Apple ID here.
  • Once you are logged into the dashboard, look in the upper left corner for a + sign to add a new show. You will be prompted to validate your¬†RSS feed address. Once validated, you may submit the show for review. It can take 24 hours to two weeks.
  • A number of resources will help you¬†submit¬†the podcast.

 

New Subcategories & Apple Optimization

In 2023 Apple added nine new subcategories covering: Mental Health, Relationships, Self-Improvement, Personal Journals, Entrepreneurship, Documentary, Parenting, Books, and Language Learning. Each subcategory has its own charts, which display the Top Shows and Top Episodes available in a listener’s market.

It’s also worth noting that podcasts have two title areas for metadata; one in your hosting service and the other in the Apple metadata optimization area. Apple does not want episode numbers in titles, but only in this optimization area.

Here’s a look at how some popular podcasts add ID3 tags.

What TIME Should You Publish?

The most logical answer is when you’re ready with at least three episodes; it always takes far longer than you think to gather the content and master the technology.

It’s also wise to create a regular time of the day when listeners can expect new content each week or month. Research from Megaphone found that most podcasters publish their new episodes on Wednesday, Tuesday, and Thursday (in that order), between 2AM and 5AM. They found that when shows launch at midnight they get much lower downloads. While this is one theory to explain popularity it doesn’t really apply to mega-hit shows.

Do You Need A WEBSITE?

Technically, you can publish a podcast without having a website or blog and most people listen using the Apple Podcast app rather than on the website. Lime Link says between 10-40% of podcast listeners tune in from the show’s website.

Graphic by Pixabay.com

Reasons To Build A Podcast Website

Websites can be easy to build yourself or you can hire someone. Find website builders here.

  • Develop a relationship with the audience.

The primary benefit of having a podcast website is to develop a relationship with the audience. This is where listeners can get more information. Show Notes usually provide a summary of an episode’s main points, introductions and contact information for guests, and helpful information related to the episode.

  • Build support for your show.¬†

A website provides an opportunity to ask for show support through monetary donations and show reviews.

  • Provide accessibility for everyone to your podcast.

Free transcripts of your podcast gives access to the deaf and hearing impaired communities as well as helping non-native English speakers.

  • Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO).¬†¬†

A website makes it easier for search engines to discover your episodes and increase traffic to them. Transcripts also help search engines in discoverability.

  • Help other creators & journalists.¬†

Putting a transcript on a website helps other creators who do a podcast on a similar topic and journalists who may write about your podcast.

WordPress Website:

I have my students create podcast websites using WordPress.com and we use templates to simplify the process so they can concentrate on creating podcast content. Podcast Host offers a guide on using WordPress, one of many options now available.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.com

You can see stats for your WordPress site by logging in, going to the Dashboard, accessing Jet Pack and then Site Stats.

Web Accessibility

Accessibility for the 38 million Americans (about 1 in 20) who are part of the deaf and hearing-impaired community and for those with auditory processing issues is equally important.

Text helps them understand what they are hearing. ‚ÄúSubscribing to a podcast can be a nightmare,‚ÄĚ according to writer Robert Kinget. He says most podcast websites don‚Äôt do a good job of making the ‚Äúsubscribe‚ÄĚ link easily available along with a text description of the image, which is how¬†screen reader¬†technology¬†works for those with vision loss.

Should You Create TRANSCRIPTS?

It’s probably not the first thing on your mind if you’re just starting a podcast, but transcripts are important because they:

  • Build¬†discovery¬†of your podcast because of search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Provide¬†accessible content¬†to the deaf and hearing impaired, thus avoiding ADA lawsuits, and are helpful to non-native English speakers.
  • Provide written information for media outlets looking for¬†quotes¬†for blogs, articles, or publications.
  • Make it easier to do¬†podcast reviews.
  • Answer a lot of the same¬†questions¬†coming from your audience, saving time and effort.

However, just 1.1% of active podcasts in 2022 had transcripts, according to 3PlayMedia.

FREE Ways To Create Transcripts {Video tutorial}

Free Transcription Services

With the explosive growth of artificial intelligence, there are dozens of ways to get free podcast transcriptions. However,  while the transcript may be free, there are usually usage limits, and on several apps you cannot download the transcript itself unless you do a paid subscription.  While transcripts can be a real time-saver, a human is still needed to check accuracy.

  • Google Docs¬†(has a built-in dictation tool called Voice Typing).
  • Otter.ai (uses voice recognition algorithms; free up to 300 minutes a month).
  • YouTube¬†(must convert audio into videos to transcribe).
  • Good Tape (turns audio into text, works in many languages, free version limit is 3 recordings a month, format is TXT & SRT). If you create a free User account you can transcribe up to 90 minutes.

   

Transkriptor has some valuable tips for consistent style in transcripts.

There are also paid transcription services.

1) Google Docs

This is free and easy to use but you will have to manually correct words that the software creates in voice typing.

Use the Chrome browser to open a document on Google Docs.

  • Click on¬†Tools.
  • Select¬†Voice Typing.
  • Find your¬†audio recording,¬†whether it‚Äôs on your smartphone, hard drive, YouTube or other device and¬†play it.
  • Your transcription will begin when you click on the to¬†Speak¬†icon.
  • You will need to go back to clean up the transcript to ensure it‚Äôs accurate. If you want to stop, say ‚Äúperiod‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúnew line.‚ÄĚ

2) Otter.ai

It‚Äôs as easy as clicking on the ‚ÄúStart recording‚ÄĚ button. Students who have used this app have been very pleased with the results as they were able to use the free basic program to meet their needs. The usage limit is 300 minutes of transcription a month and you can only download it as a text file (txt) in the free option. To download, click on the three dots in the upper right corner (next to the Share button) and chose Export.

Otter.ai operates on voice recognition algorithms that transcribe in real-time. A paid upgrade allows 1,200 minutes of transcription a month with downloadable formats in docx, pdf, and srt formats.

3) YouTube

YouTube does free automatic video transcriptions by voice recognition technology.

  • Go to YouTube and open your¬†video.
  • Click on the¬†More Actions¬†button (the three dots) in the lower right corner.
  • Select¬†Open Transcript¬†and as the video plays an automatic transcript is created.
  • You can¬†copy and paste¬†the transcription into a word document. If you don‚Äôt want the timings, just click on the¬†three dots¬†next to the transcript.

However, because YouTube only works with video files, you will first need to convert any MP3 audio files into a video file.

Turn Audio Files Into Video Files:

You can use free video editing software such as iMovie (for Macs), Windows Movie Maker (for PCs) or TunetoTube.com. Subscription-based software programs such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut also convert audio to video files.

Follow these steps:

  • Drag in the audio file to the video editor.
  • Add a photo over the audio, stretching it out over the length of the audio.
  • You can now export the file as an MP4 video.

TunestoTube.com is a free tool to turn an MP3 audio file into a video.

  • Sign in with your Google account so the software can interface with your YouTube channel and send the video directly to your YouTube account. The free version allows 50 files with a total to 50MB per day.
  • Upload the MP3 file.
  • Upload a photo and the software creates a video.

A Style Guide for Podcast Transcripts 

There is no one standardized style guide when it comes to creating a podcast transcript so take a look at how other shows do it and then create your own consistent rules for handling format, identifying names, sound effects, and music:

  • A speaker‚Äôs name could be in bold (or use all CAPS) followed by a colon and then the dialogue.

Jill: Why did you guys decide to get married in Cancun?

Colleen: We both love the ocean and wanted a destination wedding to bring everyone together. 

  • Put music or sound effects in {brackets} and regular font.¬†

Alyssa: It looks like the Mariachi band has arrived!

{:25 Music from guitars, trumpets, and violens}

  • Include non-speech elements in transcripts.

Radio Public did a podcast about Helen Keller and included non-speech elements like the mood of music and use of archival audio clips.

The transcript was also available in American Sign Language.

Examples of show transcripts from podcasts:  

  • Invisibilia¬†uses all capital letters to distinguish names:

  • ESPN‚Äôs¬†30 for 30¬†makes sure sound effects are clear and text is in clear, short paragraphs.¬†

PAID Transcript Services

As you might expect, transcript accuracy improves with paid services.

Automated services such as Descript and Happy Scribe transcribe audio or video using voice recognition technology with charges by the minute or hour. Technology reporter Ren LaForme of Poynter.org is a big fan of Descript. You can find out other paid services from The Podcast Host.

Of course, there are always human transcribers where real people do the work. Sites such as Fiverr.com or Upwork.com can connect you to freelancers. Prices and quality will vary by the job.

Use Embedded Player

It’s recommended that you install free embedded players on the website that automatically update with every new podcast episode. This tool allows anyone to listen or share your show outside of major listening apps like Apple or Spotify.

Many podcast host services offer their own native embedded player for free. For other options, Podnews show how to install players from platforms such as Spotify, RadioPublic, and Castbox.

What Are SHOW NOTES?

A blog or website with good podcast Show Notes (also called ‚ÄėEpisode Notes‚Äô) offer a summary of episode content ‚Äď the ‚Äėtakeaway‚Äô moments ‚Äď that make the show memorable. Not only is this a good way to check you are delivering content worth listening to but it helps attract¬†new listeners through search traffic.

Show Notes also offer links to resources, products or services, bios of the host and guest, and a way to give financial support or do a show review.

Examples of Show Notes

  • An¬†episode summary¬†with bullet points like the one below from¬†Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris¬†and some shows also provide time stamps, i.e.¬†10:46 How to Create Podcast Artwork.¬†

  • Links to¬†bios¬†or additional information about the host and guests and ways to contact them.

  • Include links to¬†resources¬†mentioned during the podcast such as articles, books, maps, studies, and polls.

The popular business podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, offers extensive links.

  • Support¬†for the show with links to financial support and/or show reviews.

If you want to hire someone to write Show Notes they can be outsourced to mediasips or mabendroth15 on Fiverr.

How to REACH the Most Listeners

In a world with millions of podcasts having a niche podcast can be a formula for success. But you can also reach a third of all podcast listeners by advertising on the top ten podcasts in the U.S., according to Edison Research.

You can reach some 45% of weekly podcast listeners on the Top 25 podcasts, while the Top 100 reaches 60% of weekly podcast listeners.

First Steps In PROMOTION

Podcasts get a lot of love from their creators but it’s a challenge to get the word out to potential listeners with so many podcasts available.

  1. The first step is to put your podcast into every podcast directory app such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play.
  2. Then identify and target potential audiences for your podcast topic and then reach out via social media, forums, email.
  3. Create a podcast website with show notes, transcriptions and trailers helps build an audience.
  4. Create a podcast press kit so you can reach out to news outlets, send it to potential guests, advertisers, or sponsors, and pitch yourself as a podcast guest. Bello Collective offers some tips.

Examples Of Podcast Press Kits

Provide contact info, show bios, description, awards, show rankings, and social media.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.com

The Podcast Host shares some tips and examples of podcast press kits:

   

Rephonic released a Canva template to design a media kit.

How to Get More Listeners {Video tutorial}

TEN TIPS To Attract Listeners

AUDIOGRAMS To Market Podcasts

Social media plays a big role in digital media and you can attract new audiences to your podcast by appealing to eyes and ears through audiograms ‚Äď a still image converted into video and layered with a waveform and/or transcription.

Unlike video, audio is difficult to share easily so audiograms have become a popular way to entice listeners to try out new podcasts. CNN Digital‚Äôs Amy Eason¬†told¬†the Reynolds Journalism Institute that when putting together audiograms for social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, her team looks for ‚Äúeye-catching images‚ÄĚ along with compelling audio in the 45-second range.

Audiogram from Westwood Sports

Some free audio-to-video creators include Audiogram, Headliner, and Waave. You’ll find a video tutorial in Ch. 8 on how to create an audiogram using free software from Headliner.

Podcast TRAILERS {Audio & video trailers}

Many podcasts are borrowing promotion techniques from the movie industry by creating trailers to generate interest for a new podcast or new season. There are both audio and video trailers and they serve different purposes.

COMING SOON Trailers

        

The Coming Soon trailer gets listeners excited about a new podcast or a new season, like The Flaky Biscuit, from award-winning artisan baker Bryan Ford. It comes from Shondaland, the storytelling company founded by producer/writer Shonda Rhimes.


SmartLesswith three polished entertainers launched their podcast with a trailer and became very successful with improvised conversation, comedy and a surprise mystery guest only known to one of the hosts.

ESPN Films and ESPN Audio created an audio trailer for their original audio documentaries.

SHOW Trailers

    . 

A Show trailer can also use clips to highlight the best parts from shows that have already been taped. Wilder brings the life and complicated legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie books and TV show to life.

Joy, a Podcast Hosted by Craig Ferguson talks with notable guests from the worlds of entertainment, science, government, and more about where we can find joy in the world.

A faith podcast called Preach¬†that talks about the messiness of religion. Season one opened with actor¬†Rainn Wilson, famous for playing the salesman in ‚ÄúThe Office‚ÄĚ TV comedy, talking about his commitment to the¬†Baha‚Äôi Faith.¬†

It’s less common but a Teaser trailer comes at the end of a show to promote the next episode. Tink Media fouder Lauren Passell offers some tips on do’s and don’t for creating podcast trailers.

Podcasts About Podcast Trailers  

   

If you are looking for podcasts to listen to, or to promote your own show, get in touch with podcasts created to show off new trailers: Trailer Park: The Podcast Trailer Podcast, features one short trailer on each episode which is then discussed by hosts Arielle Nissenblatt and Tim Villegas, and from the creators of The PodNews daily newsletter comes New Podcast Trailers.

VIDEO Trailers 

Pacific Content took a¬†look¬†at whether there‚Äôs any correlation between the availability of a trailer and podcast success. Dan Misener looked at 400 of the top shows in Apple Podcasts and found that 40% had trailers and that the shows near the top had a higher percentage of trailers across all categories. He cautions that correlation isn‚Äôt causation, but that ‚Äútrailers are often a mark of quality.‚ÄĚ

To keep track of top new podcasts, Misener built a podcast feed of¬†only trailers. ‚ÄúDone right, listening to a podcast trailer is the audio equivalent of reading the back cover of a book: it‚Äôll give you the gist,‚ÄĚ he¬†writes.

PodcastOne and Hubbard Radio launched a new true-crime podcast produced by award-winning journalists at WTOP in Washington D.C. The podcast had more than 2.3 million downloads in the first 10 days.

A video trailer teases the 10-episode series about a family held hostage and murdered inside a D.C. mansion that was eventually set ablaze. It‚Äôs called ‚Äú22 Hours: An American Nightmare.‚ÄĚ

You can find tips on ‚ÄúHow to make a video trailer‚ÄĚ outlined by the nonprofit¬†RadioPublic.

Ask for REVIEWS

After you’ve done a few podcast episodes, you might be interested in getting some feedback from your audience. You can do that informally by creating space on your website.

Or, you can make a more formal request during your show and ask for a review; it helps the audience feel like part of a community. ‚ÄúIf you love this podcast, please leave a review in Apple Podcasts.‚ÄĚ

Here‚Äôs the way Sam Sanders, former host of ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs Been A Minute,‚ÄĚ made his request for reviews.

How to Do Podcast Reviews

Reviews of podcasts are done most commonly on¬†Apple Podcasts¬†or on¬†Podchaser¬†‚Äď where you need to create a free account. For creators, it‚Äôs probably a good idea to¬†explain¬†briefly how to leave a review although it‚Äôs pretty straightforward using the podcast app.

Here’s the process for doing reviews on Apple Podcasts:

  • Go to the Podcast App.
  • Type in the name of the show in the search area.
  • Select the podcast and scroll down to Write a Review.
  • Click on the button and put in the title and review; tap a system of one to five stars and hit send.

Leaving a review is a call-to-action for your audience, getting them involved, which can then lead to audience loyalty.

Here are some thoughts from podcasters on why they seek reviews.

Host a LIVE Recording

Another option for publicizing your podcast is to host a live recording of the show. However, because most podcasts are recorded and edited and you can do as many re-takes as you want, a live event isn’t something to be taken lightly or done without years of experience under your belt.

If you feel ready to try, Suchandrika Chakrabarti writes that using quizzes, stand-up comedy, and backdrop images can enhance the audience experience.

 

License

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Tools for Podcasting Copyright © by Jill Olmsted is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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