What Are Some Best Practices When Starting a Podcast?

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Podcasts continue to explode in popularity. 124 million Americans have listened to a podcast, and 28% (or 73 million) listen monthly. The number of weekly podcast listeners is up by 6 million from 2017. There’s a low barrier to starting a podcast and getting it distributed. But, that doesn’t mean podcasting doesn’t require effort. Along with the explosion in podcast popularity, listeners now have thousands of choices. Your podcast needs to deliver quality content and value. Here are seven best practices to consider if you’re starting a podcast.

1. Think about what you want to say and why.

There’s a lot of content for people to consume, in all forms. What makes your podcast unique? Who do you imagine listening to it? Is there a gap you’ve found or a niche you want to fill? Do a little homework. Check out similar or related shows (bookmark them for the future, there might be some ways to collaborate). What’s missing? What special perspective will you bring that people can’t find elsewhere? What tone do you want for your show?

2. Make every second count.

Listeners’ time is valuable. Keep content concise. This doesn’t mean there’s a magic number. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is one of the most popular podcasts, and it sometimes runs more than four hours. But, that’s a rare exception. And, he packs his episodes with high quality, engaging content. The nature of your podcast might lend itself to some “chit chat”, but think about the value the listener is getting for the time they’re spending.

3. Plan your episodes.

Listen to some top quality shows. For every minute you hear, they likely spent hours researching and preparing. Not all shows take the investigative journalism of a Serial. But, sometimes podcasters forget about the importance of planning since it can feel like having a casual conversation. Planning might include determining show topics, contacting guests (and preparing them), thinking about your questions or a rough outline (or script) of what you want to cover, and doing any research.

4. Set things up for searchability.

In podcast apps, your podcast and episode titles are they key to being found (along with the author tag in some), and helps listeners easily identify what your content is about. So, think about keywords your audience might search for when coming up with titles.

This is also where show notes and transcripts come in handy. Search engines crawl text, so your episode descriptions and show notes should be search-friendly. Descriptions and show notes (think a blog post that accompanies a podcast) also serve as a place for listeners (or someone who finds your show online) to see a summary and get more information, links, etc.

5. Distribute, share, promote!

Set up your podcast with a reliable podcast host and get an RSS feed…and you’re set to distribute to the many places people listen. Apple Podcasts (formerly known as iTunes) is the biggest directory so that should be a top priority. You can also make sure your show is set up properly for Google and that they index your show for Google Podcasts. Many podcast apps will pick your show up from iTunes, but there are also many directories where you can submit. Here’s a good list of podcast directories to check out. The good news is that due to the magic of RSS feeds, you just submit your feed and then your episodes will automatically update in various directories and apps.

Some podcast hosts make social sharing easy with automated tools in their platforms. You also want to have an online “home” for your podcast, whether that be within an existing website, a new WordPress or Squarespace site or a podcast site provided by your hosting company. This is the place where people can read your show notes* and get more information…and there are many other ways you can use this space, especially as your podcast grows and evolves. There are different ways you can integrate your RSS feed with different types of websites, depending on where you host your podcast and what you want to do. You can embed podcast episodes easily with a player so people can also listen online.

Getting listed in directories and set up online is the first step, but you’ll need to do most of the heavy lifting to promote your show. Think about where your potential listeners “hang out” online. Are they on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Can you draw people in from Youtube (some podcast hosting companies autopost an “audiogram” there for you or you can get tools to do this)? Are there specific forums or blogs where you can share information and generate interest? You might also want to consider promoting on other podcasts. It can be one of the most effective ways to gain new listeners

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6.Get a handle on audio production.

If your podcast sounds bad, people will tune out. Learn some basic audio tools, such as audio editing software. There are free tools like Audacity that can work fine for podcast editing. You also don’t have to spend a lot on microphones. But, check out suggestions from other podcasters and podcast experts (Facebook groups like Podcasting Smarter are one good source).

There are even options to record right from your phone and there are some decent sounding podcasts out there just using their earbuds (check out the Podbean app for recording and publishing, for example). Reducing background noise makes a big difference, so be sure you have a quiet space or add some soundproofing (egg crating foam, carpeting and blankets all do the trick on the cheap).

Another option to consider is hiring pros for certain aspects of production. There are tons of resources out there, from professional sound studios to editors, guest bookers, show note writers and full production teams.

7. Measure your success by your own benchmarks. And, make changes as needed.

Your podcast hosting company will provide download statistics and various data you can track. It can be hard to know what good numbers are. It is not the same for a highly produced true crime show as a podcast about a specific type of knitting. Don’t only use numbers to measure your success. Think beforehand about your goals and measure your success against that. Perhaps you want to use podcasting to showcase your expertise and build trust with potential clients. Maybe you only get 100 downloads/episode, but you have loyal client listeners and have had several inquiries. That’d be a success for you!

Don’t be afraid to make changes. If you feel something isn’t working or get feedback from listeners, you can adapt. Most podcasts evolve in some way over time. Some do a complete rebrand, change formats or end and start a completely new show. Always go back to your goals (even if the goal is for you and your best friend to get together and chat every week…if that’s happening and you’re enjoying it, podcasting has worked for you). Evaluate how things are working and change what’s not.

Most importantly, don’t get bogged down in the details or halted by perfection. With these best practices, you can prioritize what you need to do when starting a podcast. Get started and take advantage of the growing podcasting wave. Check out all that Podbean has to offer and try it out with a free month at Podbean.com.

How to Get Your Podcast File URL

If you want to embed your podcast into other sites such as WordPress, Blogspot, etc. you may need to get the URLs of your audio or video files in Podbean.

To get the URLs of your uploaded files, go to “Publish” -> “Media Manager”. From there just click on the file name desired, and you’ll get a pop up window showing the URL. You can copy and paste this as needed.

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You may also want to read more about:

Embeddable Players

Social Sharing and Direct Share to WordPress via Plugin

Migrating Your Podcast from SoundCloud to Podbean

Migrating from SoundCloud to Podbean is an easy process. With Podbean’s affordable unlimited hosting plans loaded with tons of great features and benefits, it’s a smart move! Podbean has been supporting podcasters for over 10 years. We’re dedicated to providing the best tools and services for our podcasting community.

Step 1: Import your SoundCloud feed into Podbean.

Get your RSS feed in SoundCloud (see “RSS feed” on your content settings page and copy).

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In your Podbean account, under “Publish”→”Episodes”, click on “Import RSS”. Then, paste your SoundCloud RSS feed URL and click the “Import” button.

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Note: The podcast contents will be imported first and the system will show a pop-up message when the contents are successfully imported. Then the system will import the audio and video files. It will take from 15 minutes to few hours to import them based on the size of all the media files. The system will notify you as to whether all the media files have been imported or only parts of them. If there are some media files that cannot be imported, you’ll need to upload them manually and then attach them to the respective episodes.

Step 2: Redirect your SoundCloud feed to your new Podbean feed.

In your SoundCloud account, input your Podbean feed in the “Subscriber Redirect” field.

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Step 3: Turn on the iTunes new feed URL tag in your Podbean account.

Log in to your Podbean account and go to the ‘Settings’->’Feed/iTunes’ page. Scroll down the page, turn on the “iTunes:new-feed-url”, then click the “Update Options” button to save your changes.

Step 4: Update your feed information in iTunes.

Here is the Podcasts Connect Help article on updating your RSS (follow the steps under “to change your RSS feed URL”).

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact the Podbean Support team at http://help.podbean.com/support/home.

Total Podcast Feed Portability: Podbean Offers Permanent Feed

Podbean offers full flexibility for podcasters who decide to migrate their podcast. You don’t have to worry about moving your podcast hosting and dealing with changing feeds, losing subscribers, and all the other headaches. We doubt you’ll ever want to leave Podbean’s hosting platform, but you can be reassured that if you do so your feed will always be available and can be redirected permanently.

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Podbean offers a permanent podcast feed and portability so you can podcast with no worries. Here are the steps to redirect your Podbean feed to a new feed. Contact support.podbean.com if you have any questions.

How to Submit a Podcast to Google Play

Podcasts are now available (released in the U.S. and Canada currently) on Google Play Music. You can submit your Podbean-hosted audio podcasts so you can be found there! Go to Google Play to submit your RSS feed. You will need to 1. Add your RSS feed, 2. Confirm ownership, and 3. Publish.

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You need to have at least 1 episode published and have the appropriate tags set up in Podbean:, or , and or (Podbean supports the iTunes tags, which work for both iTunes and Google Play). Login to google and “add a podcast”. If you don’t know your RSS, simply go to Settings→Feed/iTunes in your Podbean dashboard. At the top you will see “Your RSS feed” (http://yourname.podbean.com/feed/).

After submitting your RSS feed, you will need to “confirm email” (via the email in the RSS feed). Check for the email from Google and click on the “verify ownership” button (or use the code provided if the direct link doesn’t work). You will then be brought to a page to review the information pulled from your RSS feed. Check your artwork, title, description, and episodes there to confirm and click “publish podcast”.

Your show is now submitted and will be reviewed. You will receive an approval or rejection notice to the associated email address. If you have any problems, contact Podbean support for additional help.

How to Manage Multiple Podcasts in One Podbean Account

In Podbean, we refer to different podcasts (sites/feeds) as channels. If you have a network podcast account (Podbean’s Network Plan), you can easily manage multiple channels in one account. To do so, follow these steps:

Step 1: Log into your Network account. Click the “Channels” tab in “My Dashboard” page. Enter the podcast subdomain. Click the “Create a new channel” icon to add the podcast as your channel.

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Step 2: Click the “Manage” button: you’ll be redirected to your new channel to publish.

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*See Podbean plan pricing for all podcast hosting plan options. Podbean no longer offers a network plan, but our Business accounts also offer multiple channels and other custom features; please contact Podbean for pricing and specs.

 

How to Set Up a Private Podcast

It’s easy to set up a private (protected, only for permitted members) podcast in Podbean. Once you have created a business account and have completed your organization page, you can set up a private podcast in three steps:

Step 1: Set up your private podcast channel(s)

Login to your Podbean dashboard. Click on “Channels”. To create a new channel, click “Add a Channel”. Enter the subdomain and choose whether the channel is public or private (note: private channels cannot be changed to public).

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To change a public channel to private, click the open lock icon. You will receive a pop up confirming that you wish to change this channel to private (you cannot change it back).

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Step 2: Add private members

In the “Private” page, you can manually add private members by entering their email addresses or you can add private members in a batch by uploading a .txt file with one email per line. (You can click the i icon next to the “Batch add members” button to get a sample .txt file.)

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Step 3: Publish an episode

Please make sure the “Private” option is checked when you publish the episode.

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After following these three steps, your private podcast channel is online and ready for your private members to access and play your content.

Your private members can access your private podcast via your Podbean site or using the Podbean Podcast app. Please note that your private podcast is not searchable or available for public access in the Podbean site and Podbean app. Your podcast will only be available to your private members who log into the Podbean site or Podbean Podcast App with their email and password (they will receive an email with this information after you add them as private members).

*Other authentication options such as SSO are available for custom enterprise users. Please inquire about pricing and setup.

How do I get my podcast added into the Podbean Podcast App and Podbean Podcast Directory?

Podbean runs a podcast directory online, as well as a having popular Android and iPhone podcast apps. Like most podcatchers, apps, and directories, we pull many public RSS feeds in so that listeners can find your show when they listen online or using our apps.

Listen/download stats will show up in your statistics from your podcast host (if they offer this service). If you are not listed in the directory/app and wish to be, it is easy to submit your podcast. If you are listed, it is also easy to claim ownership (this is also the 1st step if you would like to participate in our monetization platforms such as crowdfunding or advertising, which are both open to all podcasters no matter where you’re hosted).

If for some reason you don’t wish to be included, you can contact us at http://support.podbean.com to request removal, but please note that this means no listeners will be able to find/listen to your podcast when using the Podbean app.

How to Automatically Share Podcast Episodes to Social Media

When publishing your podcast episode posts, you may want them to be auto shared to Facebook or Twitter rather than doing it manually every time.

Set-up:

1. Log in to your Podbean account and go to the ‘Settings’->’Social Share’ page. Then click the ‘Connect to Facebook’ or ‘Connect to Twitter’ button. We’ve clicked the ‘Connect to Facebook’ button this time.

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2. Follow the instructions and connect your Podbean account to Facebook. After the connection, the system will show the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts you’ve connected under the ‘Connected Account’ section. Now your post will be auto shared to these connected social media accounts every time you publish (unless you make an exception, as per below).

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Customizing:

If you don’t want something to be shared, you can click the button under the ‘Publish new episode’ section to un-check the selection. You can also customize the text that displays when sharing by clicking the pencil icon.

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How to Embed My Podcast on a Website (Embeddable Players)

Displaying your podcasts on your own blog, website, social network, etc. is simple. Podbean makes it easy with various embeddable players. You can customize your player as well. Just follow these easy steps:

To embed a single episode:
Once you have published a post, just go to the “Publish”->”Episodes” page, then click the “Embed Code” button on the right side of the podcast that you wish to embed. This will generate an html embed code for you to copy & paste into your own website.

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To customize: Click the “More options” button and you’ll be able to customize the download, share, font, and auto play settings. Afterwards, just copy and paste the code to the html of your site.

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To embed all episodes:
To embed all episodes, you can go to the “Settings”->”Player” →“Embeddable Podcast Player” page. You can click the “More options” button and you’ll be able to customize the download, share, font, and auto play settings. Cut and paste the widget code wherever you’d like this player to appear.

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Then click the “Get Embed Code” button to get embed code. copy and paste this code to your own sites. That’s it!

You can also view the video on how to embed the podcast on Youtube: http://youtu.be/Og7-hDcZLOM