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Guide to Podcasting

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What constitutes a Podcast?

A Podcast is simply a series of associated digital media files released periodically, which is syndicated out to your audience via client software (such as iTunes) . A user 'subscribes' to your podcast through this software, which will then automatically download new episodes as and when they are released. A podcast then consist of two or more parts; the XML feed and one or more 'episodes'. The XML feed is basically a set of instructions for the client which contains information about the content of the podcast and where to find the episodes, this will need to be updated every time you release a new episode.

What format should I use?

Podcasts take many different forms; compatible file formats include .m4a, .mp3, .mov, .mp4, .m4v, and even .pdf. This means that although they are by far the most popular, audio-only podcasts are not the only type. Video podcasts are becoming more widespread, as are other types of media. For example, an illustrator may release a digital comic (in PDF format) as a podcast. Please bear in mind though, although it is possible to release your podcast in glorious 1080p video format, this doesn't necessarily make it a good idea.

Most people who subscribe to podcasts want something to download quickly and not take up a lot of space. Barring any specialist cases, you should use a relatively economical format that compresses your podcast into a manageable size, such as mp4 for audio or m4v for video.

For more information on file formats please read our guide.

How do I share my podcast with the rest of the world?

Once you have finished producing your podcast and have written your XML feed, they need to be published to the internet so people can download them. This means you need to find a publicly accessible web server to host your files. Once you have uploaded your XML file and the relevant episodes to your web server, all your potential subscribers need to do is open the XML feed with their client software and start downloading! You can place a link to this on your website, or you can submit your podcast to an online directory such as the iTunes store.

Submitting your Podcast to iTunes

The iTunes store is by far the most popular podcast directory and submitting your podcast here could be key to getting a healthy subscriber-base. Submission is free, and provided you have an iTunes store account, is relatively simple.

Step 1. Launch iTunes

Step 2. In the left navigation column, under iTunes Store, click on the podcasts link to go to the podcasts page

Step 3. In the left column of the Podcasts page, in the Learn More box at the bottom, click on the Submit a Podcast link.

Step 4. Follow the instructions on the Submit a Podcast page.

Once you have completed the process, your podcast should appear in the iTunes store under the relevant category and through the search function.

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