How to publish a podcast? It’s easy. Just follow those 4 steps.
- Record, edit and save your podcast
- Choose a media host (like Podbean) which will store your files and serve them to listeners
- Get an RSS feed link from your host (a web feed allowing to access updates to online content)
- Submit your RSS link to directories where users search for and listen to their podcast
How a file should be formatted correctly before you publish a podcast?
Given the nature of how podcasts are being listened by most of the users (home, public transportation, in a car) and usually either on open speaker or lower quality earbuds and very often using wi-fi size of the file is most important. A great setting for your file which will also provide very good audio quality for your listeners are:
- mono, 64 kbps MP3, constant bit rate (CBR), 44.1 kHz, 16 bit with a target loudness of -19 LUFS – this formatting will keep your 30 minutes recording below 15MB
Technical parameters, however, are not the only determining factor of your podcast audio quality. Extremely important are also:
- Well soundproofed recording studio. Even when recording at home you can guarantee good quality. We have prepared a detailed information about how you can soundproof your recording room: Silent home podcast studio – detailed & easy soundproofing guide
- Great quality of recording equipment. We have analyzed, tested and reviewed all essential pieces of equipment needed for a professionally sounding podcast. We have aggregated our recommendations in this summary: Best Podcasting Gear – detailed guide & recommendations
How to format a stereo file podcast?
If you want to publish a podcast in stereo prepare your file in 128 kbps MP3, CBR, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit with a target loudness of -19 LUFS formattings.
This will increase your 30 minutes recording to below 30MB. When you are starting however this might not be necessary unless you have for example a music intro/outro requiring two channels or stereo effect is important for the type of podcast you are recording.
|How to publish a podcast||mono||stereo|
|bit rate||64 kbps||128 kbps|
|sampling rate||44.1 kHz||44.1 kHz|
|bit depth||16 bit||16 bit|
|loudness||-19 LUFS||-19 LUFS|
|constant bit rate (CBR)||yes||yes|
|Result: 30-minute file size||<15MB||<30MB|
If you want to learn more about file parameters e.g. what is a sampling rate or a bit depth, we have covered it here.
Why a podcast file should be small?
At first, you may be tempted to increase the parameters of your file to get better audio quality when you publish a podcast. But avoid this first thought.
- People listen on mobile devices. Over 70 percent of Americans who listen to podcasts primarily do so via mobile. The majority of global listeners also access their episodes from a mobile device.
- Mobile devices have limited space. Many users have a limited amount of storage on their device and they may choose to keep their favorite photos instead of listening to you. You don’t want to force your listeners to choose. If you are not an established brand this can cause frustration and they might not come back to revisit your podcast.
- Users have limited data plans. Again you don’t want users to consume all their bandwidth for your episodes. This can cause frustration, bad user experience, loss of listeners and hinder your start as a podcaster.
- Think about the international audience as English is a universal language and you don’t want to cut down on your reach and potential revenue.
Choose a media host for your podcast
Can’t I host my podcast on my own website for which I’m already paying for?
No, although technically possible it is not advisable. It probably will violate terms of service. Website hosts prohibit using their storage as backups and repositories of large files. They are fine with accepting a lot of small text, image and media files but will not allow for serving large files to thousands of users of your podcast episodes.
Their infrastructure isn’t fit to handle this workload and will provide bad user experience for your website visitors and to your podcast listeners. Eventually, this might get your site banned and terminate your contract with your provider (without a refund as you will breach Terms of Service).
So you can’t host your podcasts on your own website directly.
However, there are other extremely important reasons why you should definitely have a website dedicated to your podcast. We have a great guide written about it: Podcast Website Marketing Guide – increase the number of listeners and improve monetization
A dedicated media hosting platforms come to the rescue.
Dedicated media hosts are specialized in storing large media files and serving them on a regular basis to thousands of users globally.
This is a solution you want to use to publish a podcast. The benefits of their specialized services are:
- Sufficient storage limits / unlimited – ideal to host large amounts of your large media files
- Sufficient bandwidth limits / unlimited – scaled correctly to large amounts of users downloading your content
- Content Distribution Network (CDN) – a network of servers distributing content to your users based on their geographical proximity providing faster downloads and better user experience
- Panels with analytics – data dashboards helping you to understand how the audience is interacting with your material thus helping with creative decisions and monetization
- Optimized fields for directories – allowing you to configure your podcasts title, description, category, and cover image and optimize for relevant keywords
- Audio players for the website – so you can easily embed a player with your episodes directly on your website
- Your own podcast website (if you need one) – a great place to start building your brand and image
Are there free media hosts?
Yes, there are free hosts but such a business model is unreliable. To host large files and serve them to thousands of users requires a lot of resources. There have been cases of free hosting platforms shutting down and causing problems for authors. Avoid those solutions.
Additionally, free offers are basically a magnet for you to join a site and then upgrade to a paid plan, once their limited offer will no longer satisfy your needs and since you are already using their service an effort to switch might be too high.
Regardless if you would like to check free offers consider one of these two offers:
- Podbean – free account allows you to upload 5 hours of content without additional restrictions. The monthly bandwidth limit is 100GB.
- Buzzsprout – free account allows you to upload 2 hours of new content each month, which is hosted for 90 days (deleted afterward), so at once you can host up to 6 hours of content.
What is the cost of podcast media hosting?
Average prices for media hosting are between $5 and $20 depending on a number of episodes, size of episodes and number of downloads.
When your podcast becomes popular you may be forced to upgrade to more costly plans ranging up to $50 but at this level, you should slowly start monetizing your shows and cover for those costs.
Which media host is best for beginners?
The competition in this field is very large. There are dozens of offers on the market but below you can find top 5, thoroughly filtered, market reputable and reliable services.
Choose one of them to publish a podcast. All of these providers include a free, dedicated website and a lot of additional features depending on the final plan you are going to choose.
|File types||audio||audio & video||audio & video||audio||audio & video|
|Price per month (for paid accounts)||from $12||from $9 (audio) or $29 (video)||from $12||from $19||from $5|
|Storage||unlimited||unlimited||from 100MB||unlimited||from 50MB|
|Bandwidth per month||250GB Bandwidth||unlimited||unlimited||from 5,000 Downloads||unlimited|
|Bonus for a new account||$20 Amazon gift card||1st free month||1st free month||2-week trial||–|
The number 1 recommendation is Podbean.
Top 5 reasons we are recommending it for starting are:
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth, so we don’t have to worry about those details and can focus on content creation
- Good and useful analytics helping to understand the performance of your content and help you with making creative decisions in the future
- Mobile application available for users and easy and reliable embeddable player for your website
- Monetization possibilities from the beginning with smoothly working ad solution and automatically being listed on Podbean directory (only available when you also have a Podbean hosting)
- Competitive pricing – for just $9 you receive a premium package of services which will satisfy all your needs when starting a podcast
What is the RSS feed link?
RSS feed link is a type of web feed which will allow podcasting directories like Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play Music, etc. to access updates to your online content.
This allows directories to keep track of many different content creators and allows also listeners to have quick and easy access to their favorite material. RSS feed allows services like Apple Podcast to automatically check your podcast for new content, catalog it and display it to listeners using their services.
Where do I get the RSS feed link?
You will get your RSS link from your media host and you have to look into your account settings. Here are examples of how easily you can get your RSS feed link from top hosting providers:
- Podbean – when logged into your account go to “Settings” then to “Feed/iTunes”.
- The link will have this format: http://your_podcast.podbean.com/feed/
- Buzzsprout – when logged into your account go to “iTunes & Directories” and then go to “RSS feed”
- The link will have this format: https://www.buzzsprout.com/your_podcast.rss
- BluBrry – when logged into your account go to “Podcast Settings” and then to “Hosting Settings”
- The link will have this format: https://www.blubrry.com/feeds/your_podcast.xml
What is a podcast directory?
A podcast directory is simply a catalog of podcasts available to users on their music listening services like iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, etc.
To successfully publish a podcast means that your show and all the latest episodes will be available in those catalogs and visible to your listeners.
There are over 100 million podcast listeners in the United States, a number which is forecast to grow to more than 130 million by 2022 and to get access to those users you need to publish your podcast to most popular directories. Like with media hosts there are dozens of directories but your podcast will be easiest found where there is a lot of users.
If you want to understand more podcasts’ listening audience (including their habits and annual income) you may like our article: Podcasting Demographics – Marketing Guide to Understanding Your Audience
What are the biggest podcast directories?
Currently, there are 5 directories with over 20 million active monthly mobile users where your podcast should be present.
You need to publish your podcast to all of them.
- Apple Podcast (former iTunes) – 50 million Apple Music users with 5% monthly growth rate (while 1.3 billion of users globally has access to iOS devices with preinstalled iTunes)
- Spotify – 48 millions of users
- Pandora Radio – 37 millions of users
- SoundCloud – 34 millions of users
- Google Play Music – 22 millions of users
Actually, you need to publish a podcast, at least in those 5 directories. However, this is a bare minimum. You should get your content to as many places as you can manage.
If you want to find out more statistics about the podcasting landscape we have a great article about it: Number of podcast listeners & outlook for the next 3 years.