How to Publish a Podcast (Step by Step Instructions)

Publish a podcast
How to publish your podcast can be an exciting, but confusing venture especially in a currently crowded marketplace like iTunes. Apple podcasts happen to be the world leader in podcast shows and if you’re looking to start a podcast, it would be a pretty smart move to get your show listed on iTunes.
I won’t be going into any advanced topics like: Getting chosen for New and Noteworthy, ways to monetize or editing techniques just yet. This post is meant for newbies that are simply looking to get their podcast published so fans can discover them.
80% of all podcast listeners go there to find new shows to binge listen to, so you definitely want Apple podcasts to be included in your list of place to submit to.
Guide to using and logging in to podcast connect in iTunes
This post is also assuming you have an idea, host and name for your show, so I won’t be going into that either.

Step 1: Find a place to host your podcast files.

how to start a podcast on iTunes
Typically, you’ll have a website that is hosted somewhere like WordPress or you can even host your files on a free service such as SoundCloud. One caveat on SoundCloud: It’s only free to a 3 hour maximum. What this means is if you plan on doing 1 hour shows, you’d only be able to upload approximately 3 before you’d have to upgrade to pro for unlimited storage space.
If you go the personal website route, you don’t have to worry about the space issue (providing your host doesn’t have any limits, which is rare these days). But you will have to figure out how to get your podcast broadcasted from your website to other providers, such as iTunes, Google Play, etc.
In a situation like that, you just need to set up an RSS (Rich Site Summary) feed. This may sound super-technical, but many of my customers use Blubrry for setting up their RSS feed for podcast hosted on WordPress and it works great. The plugin is free and they provide instructions on how to set it up.
The awesome thing about setting it up with BluBrry, is that once you have your RSS feed setup, you can have you podcast on iTunes, Google Play and pretty much any other platform that uses RSS feeds (which is most, if you’re wondering).

You can also setup the RSS feed via SoundCloud and the process is very similar to BluBrry.

Aside From SoundCloud, Google Play, and iTunes, there are other platforms that will let you host your podcast files for free. Please keep in mind, many platforms have limitations to what they’ll let you do for free, so if you see a website below that you want to go with, make sure you check if there are limitations that will hinder you from publishing your podcast without extra fees.
submit podcast to itunes

Where can I post my podcast for free?

I canvased a few of my customers and these are the names that seemed to be the most popular:

Step 2. Choosing Artwork to represent your Podcast:

As stated above, chances are you’re going to want to submit your podcast to iTunes. Approximately, 80% of all podcast listeners go there to find new shows to binge listen to, so you definitely want Apple podcasts to be included in your list of place to submit to.
The process itself is not too difficult, providing you follow some simple guidelines. Apple is very particular about design and that extends to the cover art of the podcast they accept into their library.
Many of the information can be found in iTunes Podcast Connect, but I’ll share the basics with you here so you don’t have to go searching.
Really quickly, though, I just want to address a question you may have at this point:

What is iTunes podcast connect?

Basically, Apple’s Podcasts Connect allows users with iTunes Store accounts to validate, submit, and manage podcasts. So, this is where you’ll go to submit your RSS feed I spoke about earlier. Also, any changes, testing, uploading of artwork you want to do… This is where it’ll happen.

Back to the basic guidelines:

How do I start a podcast?

For Podcast artwork:

Apple suggests a minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels, 72 dpi, in JPEG or PNG format with appropriate file extensions (.jpg, .png), and in the RGB color space. To optimize images for mobile devices, Apple also recommends compressing your image files.
In addition, there a a few thing you CANNOT have present in your artwork or you may not be approved:
  1. It cannot have Password protection.
  2. No Irrelevant content or spam.
  3. Explicit language without setting the <explicit> tag to yes, explicit, or true ( this is easily accomplished in Blubrry)
  4. Content that could be construed as racist, misogynist, or homophobic.
  5. Explicit or self-censored explicit language in titles, subtitles, or descriptions.
  6. References to illegal drugs, profanity, or violence in the title, description, artwork, or episodes.
  7. Content depicting graphic sex, violence, gore, illegal drugs, or hate themes.
  8. Third-party content or trademarks without legal authorization or usage rights.
  9. The words Apple Music, iTunes Store, iTunes, Apple Podcasts, or Apple Inc.
  10. iTunes Store logo, Apple Podcasts logo, Apple logo, or the term Exclusive without prior authorization from Apple.
  11. Any visual representation of iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or any other Apple hardware.
  12. Pixelation, artifacts, high-contrast background art, blurry or hard crops (unless stylistic), or other style issues.

Finally, if you have any copy written music or art in your podcast, it may be smart to skip iTunes altogether. Copyright owners can easily notify Apple and they are more than happy to investigate it. So, to avoid having your podcast removed, or worse, getting sued over a copyright violation, just be careful and only use material you have permission to use.

A good resource for getting this done and not breaking the bank is Fiverr. There are tons of designers that can make a podcast cover with the guidelines listed above for a very reasonable price.

Step 3. Adding Music to your Podcast

Back on the subject of using copy written material in your podcast: As I advised earlier, I wouldn’t suggest it. Some of my customers became my customers because they tried to circumvent Apple’s copyright infringement stance and lost. Most likely, you’re going to want intro music for your podcast to stand out among the sea of new and established podcasts out there in iTunes land.

One easy, but effective way to do this is adding some unique into and/or outro music. I have a library of copyright free music here at CosmicBrownMusic.com. You simply get to audition, choose and download instantly anything you’d like to use. It comes with a usage license, so you never have to worry about copyright issues down the line. Also, I offer custom music if you would like something that is very specific to your tastes or your audiences tastes.

Step 4: You're now ready to submit your podcast to iTunes.

I know it seems like this post skewed toward submitting to iTunes and if I’m being honest, it is. Most of my clients submit to iTunes and they’ve all said once you figure out iTunes, you have all the artwork and material you need to submit everywhere else. Apple just happens to be the 400lb gorilla in this market, so my thought is: If I can help you tackle Apple podcasts, the rest is fairly simple.

soundcloud podcasting via RSS feed, publish your podcast
So, at this point, you will have already recorded your show (preferably multiple shows to upload on day one), created your RSS feed, created art work, now it’s time to get into Podcasts Connect to submit your podcast to iTunes.
You are going to need an Apple ID to sign in, but you don’t need a Mac or an Iphone to get an apple ID.
To do this:

1. Download iTunes on your desktop.
2. Find something free to download from the store tab.
3. Once you try to download it, iTunes is going to ask for your Apple ID (which you still don’t have).
4. Click the “create New Apple ID” button on the bottom of the dialog box.
5. Click Continue.
6. Read and agree to the user agreement.
7. This page is where you’ll create your user ID and password (don’t lose it).
8. The next thing it’ll ask for is a payment method. If you don’t want to enter a credit card, don’t. Just select “none”.
9. That’s all to it! Once you verify your email, you’ll now you have your Apple ID you’ll use in Podcasts Connect!

Log into Podcast Connect

Access Podcasts Connect at: https://podcastsconnect.apple.com

Next, type in your Apple ID and Password you just created in the last step.

Once logged in, you’ll be asked to validate your RSS feed. This is how Apple gets your podcast episodes and once you update the episode where you host the episode files, Apple will automatically get that update and reflect it in the iTunes library.

The iTunes submission process is actually a 3 step process:
1. Test your podcast.
The easiest way to do this is by going to http://validator.w3.org/feed/ and testing your RSS feed to be sure it’s transmitting your show.

2. Validate your podcast.
Click the “plus” box at the top left of your screen. Type your RSS feed URL in the box and click “validate”. If there are any validation errors, you’ll have to fix those before going forward. Once you get everything fixed, try to validate again. Once you pass validation, you’ll see the “Prepared for Submission” status in Podcasts Connect. You’ll also get an opportunity to see a preview of what listeners will see when they encounter your podcast in iTunes.

3. Submit your podcast to iTunes.
Once you’ve confirmed everything looks right, you’re finally ready to submit your podcast to iTunes.
Submit Apple podcast

After you’ve successfully validated your podcast, you’ll see the option to “submit”. Click “OK” and that’s it! Apple will send you and email to confirm your podcast is under review. Once approved, Apple will send you another email indicating your podcast is live and it’ll also include the link where you can find you podcast.

If you’ve gotten to this point, Congratulations! You’re listed on iTunes and once you share your RSS feed with any other platform you want your show to be found on, you’ll be there as well. Again, any changes you make to the main location you chose to host your files, whether that’s a WordPress site, SoundCloud or somewhere else, it’ll duplicate those changes anywhere you rely on your RSS feed to reflect updates.
Just something to keep in mind. Hopefully, this has been helpful in getting your Podcast published. If you have any questions or if there’s something I missed, please let me know in the comments below. Also, as I stated before, I know this post is Apple submission heavy and again, that’s because most of my clients have submitted there and most of my experience is with iTunes and WordPress. If you’d like to see in-depth instructions for another platform, please let me know in the comments and I’ll work on it. As always, thanks for reading.

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