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Podcasting 101
12
min
August 11, 2023

How to make a podcast RSS feed

In recent years, the world of podcasting has exploded in popularity, offering creators a unique platform to share their stories, insights, and expertise with a global audience. 

There have been more than 50 million new podcast listeners in the U.S. since the pandemic.

If you're considering starting a podcast, you need to know the crucial role that an RSS feed plays in its success. 

Let’s explore what a podcast RSS feed is, its importance, and provide a detailed step-by-step process on how to create one for your podcast.

What is a podcast RSS feed?

At its core, an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed is a data format used to distribute and deliver frequently updated content. 

You must have an RSS feed for your podcast, otherwise you’re not able to share your podcast with the world.

An RSS feed is a standardized XML (Extensible Markup Language) file. It contains crucial information about your podcast, such as episode titles, descriptions, release dates, and media file URLs (usually in MP3 format). This information is then sent to the podcast directories, these are Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and so on.

Before moving on, we should address the difference between a podcast hosting platform and a podcast directory platform, as understanding this is crucial to get the most out of this article. 

A podcast hosting platform is what hosts the data in your RSS feed, like Transistor. A podcast directory is the end-user experience that people get when they listen to podcasts, like Apple Podcasts). 

The podcast hosting platform sends the RSS feed of your podcast to the directory platforms.

The process of creating an RSS feed for podcasts is relatively straightforward:

  1. Create an episode and export its MP3: Before an episode can be added to the RSS feed, it must first be created.
  2. Upload to your hosting platform: Once the media file and metadata are ready, podcasters upload them to a podcast hosting platform. These platforms store the content and generate the RSS feed automatically.
  3. Your RSS feed will then generate: The podcast hosting platform creates the RSS feed by compiling all the uploaded episodes' metadata and media file URLs. This feed is hosted on the platform's server and is updated whenever a new episode is uploaded or edited.
  4. Submit your podcast to directories: With the RSS feed generated, podcasters submit it to podcast directories one time when they are setting up their show. These directories read the RSS feed and automatically display new episodes as they are released.
  5. Get listeners to subscribe: Listeners find and subscribe to podcasts through the directories. When a new episode is available, the directory fetches the information from the podcast's RSS feed and notifies subscribers about the update.

Note that as mentioned above, it’s possible for listeners to subscribe directly to your podcast’s RSS feed. But in order to subscribe to an RSS feed directly, you would need an app that has the ability to read the RSS feed. In effect, it would be the same amount of effort as streaming your podcast on one of the directory platforms.

Users can find your podcast’s RSS feed through a multitude of public sources, whether it be via your website or RSS feed aggregators such as Podnews or Podcast Index

How to create a podcast RSS feed

Now that you understand the significance of an RSS feed, let's dive into the step-by-step process of creating one for your podcast:

Step 1: Plan your podcast

Before creating your RSS feed, it's essential to have a clear vision for your podcast. Define your niche, target audience, episode format, and frequency. Planning your content strategy in advance will make the RSS feed creation process more straightforward and effective.

Step 2: Choose a podcast hosting platform

To create and manage your podcast's RSS feed, you'll need a reliable podcast hosting platform. We gave you our recommended three in one of the above sections.

Step 3: Record and edit your episodes

With your podcast hosting platform selected, it's time to create your podcast episodes. Invest in quality recording equipment and software to produce professional-sounding content. Additionally, consider editing your episodes to ensure they are engaging and free from unnecessary distractions or errors. Use Resound to automatically edit the audio of your podcast with AI.

Step 4: Host your podcast episodes

Once your episodes are recorded and edited, upload them to your chosen podcast hosting platform. Most hosting platforms provide straightforward uploading processes, allowing you to add episode details, such as titles, descriptions, and release dates.

Step 5: Craft eye-catching podcast cover art

Designing appealing podcast cover art is crucial for attracting potential listeners and setting the tone for your show. Use graphics that represent your podcast's theme and align with your branding. Many podcast hosting platforms offer guidelines and templates to help you create the perfect cover art.

Step 6: Generate the RSS feed

Now comes the most critical part: generating the RSS feed itself. Luckily, your podcast hosting platform will handle this task for you. Once you've uploaded your episodes and added all relevant details, the platform will automatically generate the RSS feed for your podcast.

Step 7: Validate your RSS feed

To ensure compatibility and smooth distribution across various podcast directories, it's essential to validate your RSS feed. Use online validation tools like Cast Feed Validator or Podbase Validator to check for any errors or inconsistencies in your feed.

Step 8: Submit your RSS feed to podcast directories

With a validated RSS feed, it's time to get your podcast out to the world. Submit your RSS feed to popular podcast directories and platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, , Amazon Music, and TuneIn. Each platform may have specific submission procedures, but most involve entering your RSS feed URL.

Learn how to submit your podcast by reading these guides below: 

Step 9: Promote your podcast

Creating the RSS feed and submitting it to directories is just the beginning. To grow your podcast's audience, engage with your listeners, and promote your show through social media, newsletters, collaborations with other podcasters, and guest appearances.

Step 10: Monitor analytics and optimize

Keep a close eye on your podcast's analytics provided by your hosting platform. Analyze data on downloads, listener demographics, and episode performance. Use these insights to make data-driven decisions, optimize your content, and continue growing your podcast's reach.

Do RSS feeds work for video podcasts?

It must be noted that video podcasts are typically not published in RSS feeds. 

For most podcast hosting platforms, if you plan on publishing your podcast as both an RSS feed and a video, you must do that in separate processes.

For example, on Buzzsprout, a podcast hosting and distribution service, you can publish your podcast RSS feed there. You do this by including the requirements we mentioned before: the show artwork, episode artwork, show title, episode title, show bio, and episode description.

But you cannot upload the video version of your podcast on Buzzsprout.

Instead, you need to do that on your desired video streaming platform such as YouTube.

But don’t worry, uploading your podcast on YouTube is a really straightforward process. Just be sure to get rid of all the filler words on the audio side of your video before going through that process.

On the flip side, there are RSS feed generators that allow you to publish your podcast’s video at the same time as its audio version. Spotify for Podcasters lets you publish your podcast’s video, it just will only publish it on Spotify. PodBean, on the other hand, sends it to all podcast directories that accept videos.

What are the best platforms for creating an RSS feed?

While there are many platforms that you can choose from, when it comes to starting an RSS feed, we recommend using one of the three options: Spotify for Podcasters (formerly called Anchor), Transistor, and RedCircle.

Transistor

Transistor is a popular podcast hosting platform that is known for its powerful analytics features. Transistor tracks a wide range of podcast metrics, including downloads, listens, and engagement. This data can be used to track the performance of your podcast and to make informed decisions about your content strategy. Transistor also offers a number of other features, such as dynamic ad insertion and the ability to create custom landing pages for your podcast.

Spotify for Podcasters (formerly Anchor) 

Spotify for Podcasters, which is free to use, is the most integrated podcast hosting platform with Spotify. This means that your podcast will be automatically distributed to Spotify when you publish it on Spotify for Podcasters. Spotify for Podcasters also offers a number of features that are designed to help you promote your podcast on Spotify, such as the ability to create and share playlists with your podcast episodes–made for Spotify.

RedCircle

RedCircle, which is also free to use, is a podcast hosting platform that is known for its focus on community. RedCircle allows podcasters to create and manage their own communities around their podcasts. These communities can be used to connect with listeners, promote your podcast, and generate discussion about your content. RedCircle's cross-promotion marketplace allows you to promote your podcast to other podcasts on the platform. They also allow podcasters to collect subscriptions and donations from their listeners. Live-streams are also supported by RedCircle.

As you can see, these three hosting platforms are unique in their own ways. If you want a deeper dive, read our article on the best podcast hosting platforms. 

Conclusion

Creating a podcast RSS feed is a crucial step in launching and promoting your podcast effectively. 

With the right planning, quality content, and a well-distributed RSS feed, you can reach a wider audience, gain new listeners, and establish a successful presence in the ever-growing podcasting landscape. 

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to make your mark in the exciting world of podcasting!

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Resound.fm Team

Resound's team is building the future of podcast editing: An AI podcast editing app for creators. Here at Resound we're writing about the creative process to help content creators thrive. Picture is Ernst Chladni, the inspiration for our brand. Hear his story at resound.fm/about

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