Hi podcast fan. You are one of the millions of listeners who listen regularly to one or two podcasts. Simply for the pure joy of closing your eyes and listening to trending issues being discussed or just to be lulled to sleep.
You are deep into podcasts, but do you know what a podcast RSS feed is?
What is a podcast RSS feed?
RSS means either Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. It is a standard used by podcasts to deliver an avalanche of content to their subscribers. RSS aggregators are the mechanisms that deliver these digital materials to the listener who is a subscriber to several podcast programs. Podcast RSS feeds can be understood by many different computer programs, like XML, a general-purpose markup language similar to HTML. From XML, the files are converted into user-friendly format on the internet in the form of the RSS feed which is relayed to the different services espousing the podcasting platform, who in turn, distribute the RSS feeds to the subscribed podcast listeners.
Having a podcast RSS feed is just like someone tapping you on the shoulder or whispering to your ear that your favorite podcast has a new episode and is ready to stream for your listening pleasure.
Do I need a podcast RSS feed?
A podcast RSS feed enhances the podcast listening experience. The first thing that you do if you really like a podcast program is to subscribe to it and you instantly receive an RSS feed every time a new episode is streamed. Whatever electronic device you use: smartphone, tablet, smart tv, laptop, PC – if you have access to Google services, iTunes, Spotify, podcasting apps, and websites with links to your subscribed podcasts, be assured that you will receive a notification that the next episode is available for listening (plus a short summary of what is in store would be nice).
You might have read somewhere about the phrase RSS feed, or specifically a podcast RSS feed. Is it an acronym for what?
Are podcast RSS feeds still relevant today?
Podcast RSS feeds had their heyday. But now, they are rapidly being overtaken by social media posts about podcasts. Some platforms still make use of the services of podcast RSS feeds as an act of defiance to the changing world order of social media dessiminating information about podcasts. It is just like turning over the gentle industry of podcasting to the giant corporations who own social media. No one really knows who started RSS feeds, so no one really owns them except for the listening public.
My friend, let’s stop being too technical. You, as the podcast listener, your only concern is how the RSS feed reaches you. Are you a Google services user? Are you for everything Apple (Itunes for podcasts)? Is Spotify your thing (they just recently carried podcasts); Or you are a reader by heart (make sure your favorite WordPress blogs have imbedded RSS feeds in them of your favorite podcasts).
Do you dream of being a podcaster?
We can go deeper now. As a podcast listener, you have realized the power of the podcast. If you are the type of person who wants to go out of your shell and share with the world your own personal philosophy, creating your own podcast might just be destiny that you were born for. Or are you simply a fellow who wants to crack jokes and leave everyone in stitches? Do you want to monetize this talent of yours by having your own podcast?
After purchasing your podcasting equipment and finalizing your first script, what’s next? Your podcast RSS feed – to let your target audience and demographic know that you exist and that you have a podcast service they would want to listen to.
How do you get your own podcast RSS feed?
So how do you go about getting your podcast RSS feed?
Before submitting your podcast RSS feed, aside from the podcast audio file, fill in the data as follows: Title, description, show notes, category, author, email address, an image that represents the podcast, language, and the explicit rating. In order to be more mysterious, especially in later episodes, the title and show notes may eventually be enough to generate interest.
To create a podcast RSS feed URL, you need to host your podcast. There are tools which will help you do this:
WordPress via PowerPress
This is one of the more popular tools for creating a podcast RSS feed. It helps a lot if you already have a website running on WordPress because it doubles up as a plugin for your podcast RSS feed. Publish your podcast, run your RSS feed through your WordPress website, and the podcast RSS feed URL is ready for distribution.
This is also a much-used RSS feed tool. Create an account on the site first. Then, on your site dashboard, upload your audio files plus the description. Then, funny as it sounds, rss.com constructs your RSS URL.
Similar to the other tools, create an account in Soundcloud, then upload your audio files with a description. This then creates the RSS URL ready for dissemination.
Squarespace offers tools for uploading your podcast audio files with description for the purpose of making your podcast RSS feed URL plus the capability to make a blog that complements your podcast.
Create your own podcast RSS feed?
You can go the independent route. If you already host website content, have a server, and are tech-savvy, you can create your own RSS feed URL. You can use free and open-source creation programs like RSS Builder to upload your podcasts to your own website. In the process, you will have created your own podcast RSS feed URL.
How do you connect your podcast RSS feed to Apple, Google and Spotify?
Now that you have established what platform to use for podcast RSS feed distribution, you might want to connect your RSS feed to the more popular podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), Google Play, and Spotify.
But before submitting your RSS feed, you might want to optimize it. Optimization for searchability is the best foundation for your podcast because even if your podcast is excellent, all your efforts will be wasted if you can’t be spotted through search engines.
Now prepare your audio transcript for the RSS feed and have it transcribed by a reputable optimizer for a low cost per minute of audio. Then you can connect your podcast RSS feed to Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify:
Use their service iTunes Connect. On the iTunes Connect page, sign in with your Apple ID. You will be connected to the iTunes Connect dashboard, which will give you access to a button to upload your RSS feed. Once uploaded, click the Validate button. A validation procedure then takes place. Once the validation is complete, your podcast RSS feed is distributed in the iTunes hemisphere. iTunes recommends the RSS 2.0 feed format which is preferred by most podcasters.
Visit the Google Play Podcast Portal. Once there, you will find a button where to upload your podcast. Copy your RSS feed URL, then paste it on the text box field. Then, you do a verification process that the specific RSS feed is yours, through your email, review the details for accuracy, then click the Publish button. The Google Play podcasting platform reviews all your submissions (for adherence to their guidelines) before approval and then the eventual publishing to the distribution tool.
Set up a Spotify account. If you already have one, just log in to the podcast submission form. Just paste your RSS feed URL and off goes the podcast notification for distribution.
Is a podcast RSS feed free?
Almost all the podcast RSS feeds are free, but iTunes recommends the RSS 2.0 feed format. Aside from being cost free, it is vital that your podcast RSS feed supports enclosures, which is the equivalent of email attachments in RSS lingo. Your podcast listeners will have the advantage of accessing directly enclosed audio files from their feed reader so they need not open a browser.
Importance of the podcast RSS feed
Podcasters and podcasting enthusiasts alike have learned the important role of the RSS feed for the sustained success of your podcast. A podcast RSS feed is not a one time task in the life span of the podcast. It is a continuous element which creates listener awareness before the release of the next episode into the streaming space.
So it is imperative that each new podcast RSS feed should be creative and unique to stand neck and shoulders above other podcast RSS feeds that are competing for the listeners’ attention. Remember there are over 800,000 podcasting programs today grappling for ratings and sponsorship deals.
Podcast RSS feeds and social media: partners, not enemies?
The podcast RSS feed need not compete with social media posts about the podcasts. Rather, they should complement each other. A notifications pioneer (RSS feed) working hand in hand with his much younger but more tech savvy social media cousins to propagate the growth of the podcast.
Social media posts elaborate on the content of the next podcast episode. The podcast RSS feed then reminds the busy listener that in an hour, their favorite podcast is up for their listening pleasure. A great partnership.
Podcaster or listener, what is a podcast RSS feed to you?
So if you are a podcaster, what is a podcast RSS feed to you? Will it help you reach your target audience niche effectively? If you are a podcast listener, are you regularly accessed by your podcast RSS feed? By all means, the podcast RSS feed is still relevant.