So You Wanna Podcast? Part IV: iTunes Launch & Promotion

iTunes
In the final episode of this in-depth series, we’ll get your shiny new podcast out into the world.

We’ve been on a podcasting journey, from conception, to development, to the technical nuts and bolts of recording. At this point, you’ve surely got a compelling first episode in the can and ready for that hungry audience. So how do you get it to them? Here, we’ll get into the final three steps to getting your shiny new podcast out into the world: uploading, submitting to iTunes, and promotion.

1. Uploading

Everything you’ve created is now on your desktop or laptop. It needs to find a home online. There are several paid options for this, including using a podcast hosting provider like Libsyn (as well as PodBean, Spreaker, and Amazon S3)

If you’ve got the money to spend, Libsyn’s lowest monthly plan is one of the more affordable options. Their platform will take care of most what I spell out below, and most plans give you access to metrics which are useful to see how your podcast is performing.  

I, however, didn’t want to spend any money. So if you are on a budget, do what I did.

  1. Sign up for free Soundcloud account.
  2. Your Soundcloud profile information becomes your podcast information:
    Profile picture: upload your 3000x3000 key art (alter the placement of your title if needed so it displays in the circular area that Soundcloud makes visible to users)
    Display Name: should be your podcast title
    Bio: should be podcast description
    Links: I added links to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the podcast website 
  3. Click on “Upload” and select the mp3 file of your episode.
  4. Set the episode title/description (you can upload different key art from the podcast key art for each individual episode).
  5. Test the playback of the episode on your phone and your desktop to make sure it’s as you expect it to be.

You can see how I set up Sinema Story’s Soundcloud page here.

Pro tip: burn your feed with Feedburner

If you ever change the feed that iTunes uses to point to your podcast, you will lose all the subscribers you had accumulated to that point. The way to avoid this is to create an intermediate feed that remains the same even if you move your podcast from Soundcloud to some other hosting platform in the future.

With Google’s Feedburner, you can ‘Burn” your soundcloud feed with and use that generated feed URL to submit to iTunes.

You are now ready for the martini of podcasting: Submitting your podcast to iTunes! 

martini
Are you ready for iTunes, the martini of podcasting?Credit: Igor Normann

2. Submitting to iTunes

Podcast distribution is all about the RSS feed, so what you need from Soundcloud is the RSS feed to your profile. This is what you submit to iTunes. 

To do this, go to your settings page on Soundcloud, and click on the “Content” tab. You will see the RSS Feed information here. My podcast’s feed looks like this:

rss feed

It may not mean much to you, but this feed gives iTunes all the information about your podcast, and links to your media on Soundcloud. 

While you are on your Content page, let’s set a few additional pieces of data about your podcast that show up in the iTunes podcast show page.

  1. Set the custom feed title to your podcast name (I set it to “Sinema Story.”)
  2. Set the custom author name to your name (creator of the show) or your company’s name (I set it to “Kamkol Productions LLC.”)
  3. Set the category to a category from the dropdown list (I set it to Film & TV.)
  4. Set the language for your podcast (I set it to English.)
  5. Save your changes.
  6. Copy your RSS feed link and keep it handy. 

Podcasts Connect and iTunes Apple ID

Now, the steps below are subject to change as Apple changes things on their end. So the best reference for how to submit to iTunes are these two comprehensive links: 

With that caveat, I’ll layout the summary steps that will get you over the fence. 

Podcasts Connect
Podcasts Connect

  1. You’ll need an Apple ID and if you don’t have one, create it here
  2. Go to podcastsconnect.com and login with your Apple ID.
  3. You’ll see a ‘+’ on this page - click on that to submit your podcast.
  4. You’ll see a page that shows you a field where you can enter your RSS FEED URL.
  5. Enter the RSS Feed URL and click on the VALIDATE button.
  6. If you are notified of any errors, use the documentation from Apple above to resolve them.
  7. Once all errors are resolved, click on the SUBMIT button.

You did it. You just submitted your first podcast! 

Now, you just wait until Apple reviews and approves (or rejects) your podcast. If they reject it, there’ll be a reason given. You resolve it and re-submit. If you are approved (usually within 48 hours to two weeks), your podcast will be available in the iTunes store. 

3. Promotion

If you are lucky, and Apple decides to promote your podcast as being NEW AND NOTEWORTHY in their podcast lineup, then you are already on your way. Here are some more proactive first steps you can take to grab listeners:

  1. Get on your social network and promote it, keeping in mind that most people who listen to a new podcast are those who already listen to podcasts.
  2. Get involved in the podcasting community and see if you can guest on someone else’s podcast to talk about yours.
  3. Get onto podcasting directories such as this one
  4. Tap into resources like Podcasters’ Society to learn more about building a successful show and audience. 

There are many other ways to promote and showcase your podcast: bring on well-known guests, improve your production values, hold live events where the podcast gets recorded, connect with potential audiences on like-minded forums like ours, and on and on. Expanding your marketing skillset could be a beautiful side-effect of launching a podcast.

Do you have a podcast? Are you thinking about starting one? Do you have tips for new podcasters to add to our list? Let us know in the comments, and here’s to Happy Podcasting!     

Your Comment

7 Comments

Nikhil, thanks for the series on podcasting. I've been podcasting for over 6 years now (Digital Convergence Podcast), and I've made lot's of mistakes and have learned a few things along the way.

Personally, I think Soundcloud is a risky option (even if it's free for now) for podcasters. They do too many funky things with the URL to your podcast files and it will eventually bite you. Also, Feedburner is a dead-end product. Frankly, at the moment the best option for podcasters is Libsyn. It starts at $5 per month. Their hosting of your podcast feed and files is rock solid (I've had no issues in nearly seven years of use). If you decide you want to move elsewhere, they won't hold your feed hostage.

Of course, there is no one right way to do podcasting :)

August 18, 2016 at 12:08PM

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Carl Olson
Podcaster, Content Producer
136

Hi Carl,

Agreed. Infact, I think I lead in with that comment in the article when I speak of going with libsyn if someone is ready to spend some money. My choice for now is to now have ZERO monthly overhead for the podcast (hence, free soundcloud, free youtube, free amazon video direct), but in the future, I might go with libsyn. My feedback to the libsyn folks at podcast movement was that they really need a video podcast friendly package that doesn't break the bank. Overall, their starter packages can be more compelling. If they were to offer something like that, I might go for it, just so I could have an iTunes video podcast show in addition to the audio version.

August 18, 2016 at 4:04PM

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Nikhil Kamkolkar
Writer/Filmmaker
289

Also consider Blubrry for podcast hosting all customers get a free WordPress site, Pro Stats with every Podcast Hosting account. A 100% turnkey solution using podcastings best practices. Todd.. CEO of Blubrry.

August 19, 2016 at 1:31AM

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Hi Todd! Thank you for your note! I have been looking at Blubrry, but in the context of a video podcast on iTunes. I’m exploring a potential solution that involves using Amazon S3/Amazon CDN/Blubrry/PowerPress plugin. I had wanted to mention this in the article but left it out as it felt too advanced for a starter article. If I actually end up doing this successfully, I might write about that. The complexity is all the Amazon pieces.

August 19, 2016 at 6:23AM

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Nikhil Kamkolkar
Writer/Filmmaker
289

To follow up on Todd's note and my comment - I actually have implemented a powerpress + amazon S3 solution and launched a video podcast on iTunes recently! Check it out here - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sinema-story-video/id1148801884?mt=2

September 1, 2016 at 1:52PM

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Nikhil Kamkolkar
Writer/Filmmaker
289

This is great research you have done man! Thanks for the articles.

This is something I believe a lot of people say they want to do, but don't always put the research in beforehand. This was very useful. Cheers!

October 28, 2016 at 8:57AM

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Evan Kidd
Writer/Director
97

Now its possible to track many shipments and couriers online with this dtdc tracking status tool which works for any shipments or cargo.

July 4, 2017 at 10:21AM

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