Podcasts wouldn’t exist without RSS feeds. There is no exception. Every podcast you have ever listened to has a podcast RSS feed and if you are looking to create your own podcast you will need one too.
The idea of a Podcast RSS feed does not need to be confusing or daunting.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary.
An RSS feed is essentially a type of web format that links to a stream of content. This does not always have to mean a podcast; it could be a blog or a website for example. You may have an RSS feed for your website already.
If you are looking to launch a podcast, you will need a podcast-specific RSS feed for your show.
You can think of your RSS feed as the link that connects your podcast audio files (or video files) to your listeners. Your podcast hosting platform is where you store your podcast’s audio files (in the same way that a blog needs a web host). You cannot just upload to your web host, because the file sizes for your episodes are too large your website will struggle if too many people try to stream or download at the same time. This is why you need a hosting platform. Now you need some way to get your audio files and podcast content from your podcast hosting platform to your listeners.
This is where your podcast RSS feed comes in. Your podcast RSS feed is your link between all of your podcast episodes and podcast content on your podcast hosting platform, to different feed readers or aggregators (in this case, podcast directories or listening apps such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify) where you audience can listen to your podcast show.
Without your podcast only RSS feed as the link between the two, your audience wouldn’t be able to find your podcast episodes online or on listening apps.
Your podcast RSS feed will have two main components: channel information (such as your show name, cover art, etc.) and episode information (such as episode number and title), along with all your audio/video files.
Once you’ve created your podcast’s RSS feed, your podcast’s RSS feed URL will look something like this:
Each time you add new content (usually in the form of new podcast episodes) to your podcast hosting platform, your podcast RSS feed will be updated across your feed readers (podcast directories) for your listeners to access.
There are two ways you can create an RSS feed:
1. You can create it yourself if you have a decent skill level in coding.
2. Use a Podcast Hosting Platform to generate it for you.
Your podcast RSS feed is essentially a formatted word document that you can code to include all the required information you need to submit to your desired Podcast Directories. You can edit and update this document yourself with each new podcast episode release.
If you are going to go with this option, your RSS feed needs to meet the requirements defined by Apple Podcasts. You can read these requirements here: Apple Podcasts RSS feed requirements.
Once you have your RSS feed coded, it is a good idea is to verify your podcast RSS feed before submitting it to any directories to make sure there are no errors.
Checkout podba.se to run diagnostics on your RSS feed. This will tell you if the document is good to go, or if you have errors that you need to fix first.
If this level of coding skill is a little out of your depth as a podcast host, don’t worry there is an alternative option that is more convenient!
Check out our blog post for our Top 10 Podcast Hosting Platforms.
Once you sign up to the podcast hosting platform, you will be prompted to set up your podcast show. This is simple to do. It involves a series of steps such as entering your podcast show name, podcast show description, podcast artwork, etc. Once you’re done, your RSS feed will be created automatically by the hosting platform.
You will be able to find your podcast RSS feed URL easily on whatever hosting platform you are using. In most cases, you will be able to find it in the “distribution” tab, or somewhere similar.
Now that you have your RSS feed link, the next step is to submit it to your chosen Podcast Directories so that your audience can listen to your podcast episodes on their favourite podcast listening apps.
Check out our Top 15 Podcast Directories here.
In general, it is very straightforward to do. The good news is once you do it once, you will not need to do it again for that directory. The podcast directory will automatically update your episode listings with each new episode you add to your Podcast Hosting Platform (thanks to the link for RSS feed creates between the two!).
You can submit your Podcast RSS feed as many directories as you like. The more podcast directories you distribute to, the more potential places for audiences to find you, no matter what their favourite way to consume podcasts is.
If you are working towards a deadline for a podcast show release date, keep in mind that it can take up to two weeks to get your RSS feed approved by some directories. Be sure to plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time!
If you need any help with getting your podcast off the mark or have any questions about podcast RSS feeds, contact us here at Zorbiant.