Creating a podcast feed
Before we can upload our first episode and embed it in our blog, we need to create a podcast feed.
What is a podcast feed?
What we call a “feed” is really a document that sits on the web, that lists information about your podcast, and each individual episodes. It’s written in a language that humans and computers can read, but almost no-one writes this document by hand. That’s what a podcast host does.
Its technical name is an “RSS feed”, which means “Really Simple Syndication”, since your episodes are being syndicated across the web.
A podcast host is responsible for keeping your audio files online, keeping track of who’s downloading them, and managing your podcast feed.
In this course, we’re using Anchor as the recommended podcast host for the absolute beginner, because it’s free and easy to setup. However, there are lots of other options available.
The bare necessities
Regardless of the hosting provider you choose, you’ll need some basic info in order to setup a new podcast feed:
- The name of your podcast. This is most likely going to be the name of your blog – if it has a special name – or the name of the business it’s supporting.
- A description of the podcast. This should be small handful of short paragraphs – with one to two sentences per paragraph – that explain to new listeners what the podcast is about. If you already have a blog description or an about page, you can use this as the basis.
- A square piece of cover art. Your podcast needs an accompanying image, called podcast artwork or cover art. It must conform to all of the following specifications, otherwise Apple Podcasts will reject it and your podcast won’t be listed in its directory:
- The image must be square (exactly square, not rectangular).
- The image must have be at minimum, 1400 pixels wide by 1400 pixels tall.
- The image must be no larger than 3000 pixels wide by 3000 pixels tall.
- Any size in-between is fine, as long as it’s square.
- The image format must be JPEG or PNG.
- The colour space must be RGB (made for monitors), not CMYK (made for print).
- The image should be no larger in file size than 500kb.
- A category or two to list your podcast in. There are lots of categories to choose from, and some are quite detailed. Each category has its own chart listing in Apple Podcasts. You can pick a primary and secondary category (in some cases even a tertiary category), but really only the primary category is important, as that dictates where Apple Podcasts will put you in the “Browse” section of the app.
- Some hosts will ask what website should be attached to the podcast, or whether you want to create a website for your podcast. If you have the option to enter a website address, enter your blog’s address, and if asked if you want to create a website, say “no”. Similarly, if you’re presented with any options or info about the podcast website your host automatically creates for you, just ignore it.
- You’ll also be asked for author and copyright information. Use your business name or your own name for the author, and your business name for the copyright fields.
- You may be asked for owner information, including an email address. This is used to determine who has control over the feed. If a default is set, for now you can leave it set to that default.
More about podcast artwork
There’s no shortage of advice about podcast art. For now, the easiest thing to do is to put together something based on your own personal or company brand. Use Canva to help you put an image together, or if you work with a designer, ask them to make up an image to the above specs.
Artwork, as with all of the info about your podcast, can be revisited later.