5 Steps to Starting Your Own Podcasting Show

social media how toHave you thought about podcasting? Does the idea of having your own Internet radio show sound exciting?

Podcasting has taken on new steam in recent years. Many individuals, from well-known celebrities to people like you and I have had achieved great success with podcasting.

This article will show you precisely what you need to know.

Is There Money in Podcasting?

According to Wikipedia, “A podcast (or non-streamed webcast) is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication.”

When it first started, podcasting was probably ahead of its time. Though it arrived on the scene years ago, there was a time when people thought that the format was dead. My, how things have changed.

Adam sits down one-on-one with documentarian Ken Burns

Today, podcasting has taken on a life of its own. Consider market leaders like Adam Carolla inking five- and even six-figure advertising deals, Jason Calacan toying with the idea of VC money for ThisWeekIn and Andrew Warner of Mixergy earning a full-time living courting sponsors for his podcast.

Ad money seems to be finally pouring in to a point when even small players have a chance to make some decent cash by jumping into the fray.

Outside of monetizing your podcast directly, there’s a host of other reasons to be using one, such as getting clients, repurposing blog content or just having the opportunity to talk about something you love to do.

For example, podcasting is fantastic for social media and content marketers. One needs to look no further than Mitch Joel or Copyblogger as proof.

So I suppose that the question isn’t “Should I podcast?” but “How do I podcast?”

Luckily, the answer isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here’s how you can get your very own podcast up and running on any WordPress blog in five easy steps.

#1: Choose a Host

Early on, you’re probably best served by self-hosting using the same server you use to host your blog. The upside is that if you’re on shared hosting, it won’t cost you a dime. The downside is that the more popular your podcast becomes, the harder it will be to maintain quick loading times, at which point you’ll need to move to a hosting service. Of course, that means you’re looking at downloading and then re-uploading every single episode, which isn’t a lot of fun.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to self-hosting, I recommend checking out the following services:

We host our entire BlueRize network on Amazon S3, and love it for its cost and reliability.

#2: Install and Configure PowerPress

For the sake of this guide, we’ll assume that you already have your first episode or two recorded and ready to go. From here, you’ll need to figure out how to easily insert your audio or video into a blog post and customize the look of your media player.

The easiest way to do this, by far, is to download and install the PowerPress podcasting plugin for WordPress, developed by BluBrry, which does most of the heavy lifting for you.

Adding Episodes

Once you’ve installed PowerPress, you’ll see this box near the bottom of every WordPress post.

As you can see, adding an audio file is as simple as uploading it and then adding the link. Click to verify, save your post and your episode is live.

Choosing Your Player

PowerPress gives you several media players to choose from, and you can change the look and feel at any time.

This is one of five players that you can choose from. Both color and size can easily be customized.

Adjusting Your Settings

By default, PowerPress runs in simple mode, and will detect size and duration of podcast episodes. You’re also free to choose where in each post you want to display the media player, as well as how much detail you wish to show about each episode.

Take some time to play around with these settings to see what looks and feels right for your setup.

#3: Set Up Your Podcast Feed

For this step, we’ll simply head to Feedburner and add a new feed, with podcast support, using the URL given in PowerPress.

The reason for using Feedburner to submit your podcast to iTunes instead of the default WordPress feed is that there may come a time when you need to change the feed source. By using Feedburner, you can do that at any time without losing your subscribers. It’s also much better looking than plain XML.

Make sure to validate and test your feed before you add it to Feedburner.

#4: Install Analytics

Analytics are crucial to understanding how well you’re doing. Sadly, iTunes does not offer a single statistic other than your ranking, which you must dig out by browsing through individual categories.

To fix this, we’re going to take advantage of another BluBrry service, which is their free podcast analytics.

To get started, sign up for a free account, enter your show information and then copy your redirect URL. It should look something like this.

From here, head back to your blog admin panel and paste the URL into the redirect URL text box, which can be found in the Services & Statistics tab of your PowerPress settings.

Click to save and you’re done. From this point forward, you should be able to monitor your podcast downloads via your WordPress dashboard. If you want to monitor subscriptions, you’ll be able to do that via Feedburner.

#5: Prepare Artwork and Submit to iTunes

The last step is the most important, and probably the easiest, so take heart—we’re almost done!

iTunes suggests that you use a nice-looking 512 x 512 pixel image for your podcast, and I recommend that you follow their advice. You have a much better chance of getting featured this way. Add this image to the input boxes in the iTunes settings tab, also located in your PowerPress admin panel.

You want to take the time to create a killer podcast name, description and summary. Once you click Save, you’re done. All of this information should also appear in your Feedburner settings as well. If it doesn’t, simply copy and paste it, just to be safe.

Lastly, head to your iTunes client and open up the iTunes store. Click the Podcasts link up top, and you’ll see this menu on the top right:

Click the text that says “Submit a Podcast,” at which point you’ll see this dialog box:

Enter your Feedburner feed URL (usually looks like http://feeds.feedburner.com/mypodcastfeed) and hit Continue. You’ll get a dialog that asks you to verify information. Make sure to read this carefully to make sure it looks correct and then submit.

That’s it! Within a few minutes, you’ll receive an email to let you know they’ve received your submission, and within a few days, you’ll get an approval or rejection notice.

Provided there are no copyright issues, you should have no problem getting approved, at which point you’ll be able to see your show directly in iTunes.

Suggestions for Improvement

Before we close, one thing I’d like to mention is that as a new podcaster, you’ll want to make sure that people can subscribe to your show. I usually recommend offering a button and link for both iTunes and RSS subscriptions.

Also, try to be timely and produce your podcast at the same time each week/month. You’re far more likely to get picked up if you broadcast consistently. Lastly, have fun. You’re officially a podcaster!

Are you podcasting? What success stories do you have? Leave your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Nathan Hangen

Nathan Hangen is an internet marketing strategist and founder of Webrepreneur Media. He co-authored the book Beyond Blogging with Mike-Cliffe Jones and provides small business consulting services at Making it Social. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.andyrockwellmarketing.com Andy Rockwell

    Thanks so much for this. This post is exactly what I needed.
    I’ve been looking all week for a good plug-in to use for podcasts and also trying to find some training on the topic. You set it all out in an easy to read and follow post.
    I’m bookmarking this for reference and gonna spend the rest of the day setting up my podcast. :)
    Thanks a LOT.
    -andy

  • http://www.colemanmg.com Antonio Coleman

    Nathan I do podcast an time or to for my interviews and they are added to itunes..and people need to realize the power of having a podcast that can be downloaded by millions of people..its great an awesome..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://twitter.com/lvstrickland Leslie Strickland

    I’ve been thinking about reworking all of my blog content into podcasts. It just seems like so much work though, and is it worth it? I would have to start writing my blog posts with the podcast in mind too, to make sure the content is worth sharing in audio or video. A lot to think about. Great post with details to get me started… if I decide to do so.

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  • http://www.dpaddbags.com/ Phegan

    I recommend running all your feeds through feed burner. On my podcast, I took our feed url, put it through feedburner then submitted to iTunes. That way, I have full data on iTunes downloads. I also have a player on the left side of my blog where you can listen to episodes. (www.dpaddbags.com) You can see it there. The url provided there was run through feed burner.

    I also didn’t use any of the wordpress plugins, and mainly did it from scratch. I also also a very strong PHP Programmer, so it may not be an option for everyone.

  • http://dinodogan.com/ Dino Dogan

    Great low down Nate. Im currently self hosting for my own podcast but I co-host another one and we’re using Libsyn…I think its 7 bucks a month…very reasonable to killer performance.

  • http://marlar.podomatic.com Darren Marlar

    I take my podcast very seriously and treat it like a syndicated radio show – so it’s audio only. You can get it at http://marlar.podomatic.com. It’s a daily podcast and includes three different uploads per day. The first upload is the show itself “The Darren Marlar Radio Show”. The second upload is a short feature called “Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News” which is actually now being used on terrestrial radio stations as an entertainment feature. The third upload is simply a very short promo saying “coming up on the next Darren Marlar Radio Show.” Once the show is posted at PodOmatic, I then post a link to the podcast on my social networking sites. I’m also experimenting with per-inquiry advertising within the podcast to see if I can use it to bring a little income in.

  • http://www.cyopro.com Claudia

    Thank you, so very much, for this!

  • http://play-activities.com/Melitsa_Avila Melitsa

    Podcasting does take time but so do blog posts. Smartphones and mp3 jacks in cars mean that we can listen at times when we can’t read blog posts. So many people have access to downloadable audio to their phones and computers.

    It’s another way for people to find our material in a way that fits our busy lifestyle.

    I’m podcasting over at Raising Playful Tots.

  • http://www.blog.jpdesigntheory.com Design Theory

    Ah this is great. Been meaning to look into this for a client of mine who hosts a talk radio show.

  • http://www.vizzitopia.com Juliet Johnson

    I’ve been doing podcasts on Blog Talk Radio, for me and for clients since 2008. Now that they’re a premium service, I have been curious about other options. This post was helpful, indeed. Especially as more and more folks insist the future is all video!

  • http://vistage.com Gina

    Fantastic post! We are in the midst of re-naming our podcast series. I’m wondering–what are the elements that contribute to a “killer podcast name”?

  • http://urbanchurch.tv/ Bryan Thompson

    This got my attention. I used to do a podcast when I was first advertising a book. I did it as a marketing tool and then abandoned it. (Probably a mistake). I have thought of doing another podcast. I have used Podbean in the past. How do you guys feel it compares to the other links mentioned in this article?

  • Keith D Shrock

    Great post!
    Can we put the player on our fan page?
    Been thinking about this for a few weeks.

  • http://www.jeffrutherford.com Jeff Rutherford

    @Keith, I don’t think there’s any way of adding a podcast to a Facebook page. I investigated this several months ago. From what I could find, Facebook is nervous about music copyright issues, and they don’t allow players on fan pages – unless you’ve got A LOT of money. Nothing for small podcasters.

    Also, if anyone reading this wants to learn more about how to make their podcast sound good, I highly recommend the Podcast Answer Man blog and podcast – http://www.podcastanswerman.com/

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  • http://www.cathnewsindonesia.com/ Siktus Harson

    Thank you SME for posting this article. I have been looking for such articles as i am trying to set up prodcast on my blog. see how it will work.

  • http://twitter.com/KaiSpeaks Kai OBrien

    Ok so how doe someone go about deciding if they want to do a Talk show like Radioblog,talkshow or prodcast or a conference call?

    What are the determinig factors?

  • http://twitter.com/MykeFortier Michael Fortier

    My agency has been waiting to start a great podcast station, I look forward to using some of this knowledge to help get it going. We already have a wordpress blog, is that the best place to put it in?

  • http://mrtunes.ca/ Mr. Tunes

    two tips from a podcast i’m starting: have a clear map of what style of topics need to be hit in order to keep your show balanced. kind of like an editorial calendar for each episode.

    the other is i’m putting a slot in the beginning of the show that is a parody of advertising. kind of like SNL’s format. the first goal is that this slot will be funny, and the second is it can be maybe be monetized later on. kind of like blank ad space on the sidebar of a blog.

    oh and one last thing: don’t treat interview/co-host podcasts as a substitute for creating good content. i’ve listened to a lot of shows from this style that just completely ramble on. typically for an hour.

  • geeknews

    One thing to note, is that with PowerPress you do not need FeedBurner at all. In fact I recommend that you not use it as more and more people are having update delays and it is an extra layer that you do not need in your RSS feed, when your own RSS feed that is enhanced by PowerPreess is all you really need to submit to iTunes, Zune Marketplace and the 100′s of other places that have podcast listings.

    When your ready to monetize we will help you with that as well.

    Todd Cochrane CEO RawVoice company that maintains the PowerPress podcast plugin!

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    That’s the thing…I tend to think that podcasts are better when created with unique and original content, rather than re-purposed content. Perhaps a better approach is to re-purpose, but paraphrase and provide context to the post, so the podcast and posts support each other.

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    I’m envious of your PHP skills :)

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    Probably the best way to measure this is by a visit to the itunes store to see which podcasts are ranking best and check the correlation of name against success.

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    I’ve tried a few services, but found BluBrry to be the most valuable because of analytics and the plugin. I haven’t tried their hosting yet.

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    It depends on what you like doing and how you can provide the most value. I’d play around with a few of them to get the feel and see what you like best. You can always change :)

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    You could syndicate it on your blog for sure – that will help draw traffic to the iTunes feed.

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    Great tips there – people see Mixergy or Blogcast FM and think doing interviews is an automatic home run. It’s definitely not.

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    Todd, great to see you pop in. You and I talked at length at BWE – I really enjoyed that.

    I tend to agree with you regarding Feedburner issues, but I also worry about having to change feeds and get iTunes to notice. Do you have tips there for people that might want to switch and aren’t using FB?

  • Tom Dolan

    Good info Nathan,
    Been evaluating my blog after 10 months to look for ways to improve overall. Mine is video which I post to YouTube then embed on my blog, & blip delivers to iTunes. It’s all up-n-running but I’m not sure it’s the best overall configuration…still learning. Question: You mention iTunes Link/Button and I didn’t know I could have one on the blog. How do I do that? Thanx for the good info….

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    Well, the easiest way is to copy your podcast link in iTunes and then hyperlink it to a custom button or some text. As far as I know, they don’t offer any widgets.

  • http://martinnormark.com/ Martin H. Normark

    So do you only upload to YouTube, and blip.tv takes care of linking through to iTunes?

  • jerret

    Don’t forget http://buzzsprout.com. They’re certainly worth a look especially for the newbie.

  • Gina

    Cool! Thanks for the suggestion…

  • Yvette

    This is great! Thank you so much for sharing, I’m looking forward to start podcasting as well for http://www.viptravelbug.com

  • http://www.simplewealthguy.com.au simplewealthguy

    Fantastic article. Thanks so much. Looking forward to sharing my views with the world.
    simplewealthguy
    http://www.simplewealth.com.au

  • http://www.rippleoutdoors.com HuntTalk

    Could have used that great information about 240 episodes ago on Ripple Outdoors!

  • http://twitter.com/Getheapp Get The App

    Great article, I got to the last step and am now having problems… Error 404. Can anyone help? Podcast RSS feed: http://getheapp.com/feed/podcast/

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  • http://impruvism.com/ Armistead Legge

    Hi guys.  I’ve been using this post as my guide for my new podcast.  It’s been awesome!

    I’m confused about something though…

      I’ve uploaded my file to Amazon S3.

    I made sure it was set on public.

    I put the URL linking to the file in the powerpress plugin spot where it says “Media URL”

    Every time I test it out, I get an error message saying “This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.”

    Any ideas?

    thanks guys!
         

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  • http://ImpartialGeek.com David Foster

    Hello @nhangen:disqus do you have any more information on how you would go about serving up a podcast using Amazon S3? I have wanted to do this for some time, but the files are not working for me when I link to them…do you know of a service that can do this for us? Thanks for the article!

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  • Kaz

    Great article – but I have the same problem with Amazon S3 – Powerpress states that it does not reconise the https – it does not like the s – can anyone point me in the right direction please?  thanks in advance!

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  • ryan

    thx for commenting Todd and being active in these communities!

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