A friend of mine asked me what he should do to submit his podcast to iTunes. He’s figured out the recording equipment, the software, the storage… He has plenty of recordings. He’s even created a RSS feed. So he really does have a podcast.
I wrote him an explanation of the steps I recommend before submitting a feed to any podcast directory. I thought I’d share my recommendation here.
- WordPress and the Blubrry PowerPress plugin
- .htaccess redirect
I’m a fan of the combination of WordPress and the Blubrry Powerpress plugin. If you are going to do a podcast these are great tools.
- Allows you to clean up and adjust your feed no matter what you use to make the source feed.
- Gives you subscriber feedback on clicks, plays, geographic info, browser type, and much more.
- Offers tools to leverage your feed in ways you may not have thought of . You can make a simple widget you can drop on your website or in an HTML email.
What I suggest is not easy. It is complex, takes time, and will require troubleshooting. But, it is what you have to do to future-proof your RSS feed. Here are my reasons for doing the steps below:
- You will have control over your feed. As long as you “own” your domain, you will “own” your RSS feed.
- You can have the benefits of Feedburner without the risk of losing control of your feed. If you submit a Feedburner feed to iTunes and Feedburner goes out of business or has a break in service, you are in trouble with no way to recover. If they do, you can redirect the feed you submitted to iTunes to originating feed going right around Feedburner. You don’t lose any subscribers.
- You can change podcast host without losing subscribers. If you get more sophisticated or out-grow your current podcast host, you may choose to move your podcasts to a different platform, you risk losing subscribers when you change feeds. If redirect to the new platforms feed, you won’t lose any subscribers.
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Ok… I’m giving away one of my secrets.
There I said it. Levelator is one of the secrets to making my podcasts have the great technical qualities I like. Levelator acts as a software compressor, normalizer and limiter. Although I’m careful and use a hardware compressor and limiter on my recordings, I still run my raw recordings through the Levelator before I do anything else to it. It is a great tool to have in your podcasting toolbox.
Why do I mention this now? The Conversations Network, the organization that created and hosts the free software is evolving. As the podcast universe has grown, the share and influence of the Conversations Network has shrunk. There are new leaders in the podcasting arena and CN is migrating some of their content to other sites.
The Levelator tool may be available for a long time, or it may disappear from the web. I just want to make sure you can download it and have it before it is gone. I think it is that important.
I want to specifically thank Doug Kaye for his vision and leadership in building the Conversations Network and the Levelator that supported it. Under Doug’s leadership, the amazing Paul Figgiani of the Conversations Network created the free software very early in the podcasting revolution to help podcasters improve the quality of their recordings. Their software was widely used by most of the pioneers of podcasting. I still use it today. I can not thank the Conversations Network crew enough for this wonderful tool.
If you podcast or plan to podcast, download Levelator. You’ll be glad you did.