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How to podcast, Part 5: Submitting your show to iTunes and promotion

In the final installment of this series, you'll get your show on iTunes and make sure everyone can find your podcast.

Maybe your show will get featured by Apple. Sarah Tew/CNET

Congratulations, you've done a lot of work to get this far in this series. After you get done with this part, your show will be easily findable.

Submitting your show to iTunes

Apple's iTunes Store is one of the larger podcast repositories out there. To submit your show, you're going to need an iTunes-compatible RSS feed of your show. An RSS feed is just a simple way for iTunes and your site to communicate so iTunes knows you have published a new episode.

Google's FeedBurner will help you put together a feed for iTunes. Screenshot by Iyaz Akhtar/CNET

The easiest way to create an iTunes-compatible feed is by setting up a FeedBurner account with Google. It's free, but be warned, Google hasn't updated FeedBurner for a long time. However, it's still the easiest way to set up a feed for iTunes. If you've got a Google account, simply sign-in and go to FeedBurner.com. Under "Burn a feed right this instant," type in your WordPress URL and type in "/feed" after it. Then click the "I am a podcaster" radio button, then click Next.

  • Give your feed a name under Feed Title and select a feed address.
  • Click Next on the bottom of the page to set up your podcast feed.
  • You'll be taken to a new page to configure settings for iTunes.
  • Under "Create podcast enclosures from links," select "audio files only" so only your new audio files trigger iTunes into thinking you put out a new episode of your show.
  • Continue filling out the info, selecting a category.

iTunes will require album art that is at least 600x600 pixels, with a recommended size of 1,400x1,400. Any modern smartphone ought to be able to take a picture of that resolution, so if you're in a bind and can't create art on your computer, take a picture and use that as your art. Quick tip: you can host your image on Archive.org as well.

You will then be taken to a page saying you've successfully updated your feed. Go get your FeedBurner URL. Click "Edit Feed Details" on the top of the page to see your feed address -- it should look something like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/yourawesomeshow.

Submit your feed to iTunes. Screenshot by Iyaz Akhtar/CNET

Now it's time to head to iTunes once again. Head on over to the iTunes Store then click Podcasts on the top navigation bar. On the right side, click "Submit a Podcast." Enter your FeedBurner feed in the Podcast Feed URL field. Click through and submit. You will receive an email when your podcast is live at iTunes.

Promoting your show

Since you've done all this work setting up your show, you should make sure people have an easy way to subscribe to your show. On your WordPress site, add a "Subscribe" section with links to both your FeedBurner feed and your iTunes page. You can always find your iTunes URL in the email you received from Apple after your podcast was approved. Alternatively, you can go to your show page in iTunes, then right-click your album art to get the URL. I recommend placing the subscription information in a sidebar so it's always visible to your listeners.

Notice the subscription links on the left and the shameless Twitter promotion in the post. Screenshot by Iyaz Akhtar/CNET

For promotion, it's hard to beat being social. You'll probably want a Twitter account and maybe a Facebook page set up for your show in case your audience wants to take in information on those sites. If you are going to do the social route, please have more content in your Twitter stream than just "A new episode posted!" Twitter and Facebook is where you'll interact with the listeners, so monitor those social networks and post non-show things from time to time.

Also set up an email address for your show so you can receive feedback from the audience.

Last words of wisdom

The most important thing to podcasting is consistently doing episodes. The more episodes you complete, the more you will improve your technique. As your audience grows larger, be aware that you may receive harsh criticism that rival the sophistication of YouTube comments. My advice is try to see if there is anything constructive in what appears to be an angry email or tweet. Otherwise, prepare to grow a thick skin. Best of luck in your podcasting adventures!

Missed a part of this series? Here are links to part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.