What Is A Podcast Directory?
You may not have realized that podcasts aren’t actually stored on directories like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, they’re stored on your podcast host. Rather, a directory is like a phonebook - a place to find what you’re looking for. When someone plays a podcast on their chosen directory, it’s channeling audio that’s hosted somewhere else. Essentially, a directory does not store your podcast media files, it plays them from your host.
For podcasters, directories are a way to get yourself heard and receive new traffic. Some are more specialized, enabling you to tap into an audience that’s already engaged with your niche (e.g. a NASCAR directory). Others are expansive and cover any and every topic - the most popular directories tend to be like this, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Additionally, your directory is a space where you can collect ratings and reviews from your listeners, to boost the legitimacy and reputation of your show. Once your show is listed on the major platforms like Apple, Google, Stitcher, and TuneIn, you’ll also be able to use a WordPress plugin, like PowerPress, to share your podcast on your website.
As a listener, directories are the easiest way to find podcasts, and most allow you to browse either alphabetically or by topic.
What Do I Need To Submit My Podcast?
If you choose the right podcast hosting service, like Buzzsprout or PodBean, you'll have fantastic integration with directories, meaning you can do it all from the dashboard of your host. Regardless, on the most basic level, you’ll need an mp3 file of your recording and an RSS feed for it, generated by your host. RSS feeds use a family of standard web formats to publish information that you can update with content and metadata, like episode titles, author names, and descriptions. Once you list your podcast, the directory will automatically pull every new episode in the future.
When it comes to more detailed specifications, different directories have different requirements for the other specificities. The industry standard, which includes Apple and Spotify, requires an RSS 2.0 conforming feed, a link to a square cover image (1:1) of at least 1400 x 1400 pixels, but not more than 3000 x 3000 pixels. Most importantly, the server holding your audio files (your host) must support byte-range requests, so that the files can be streamed.
Once you’ve submitted your podcast on your chosen directories like Apple and Spotify, you’ll also want to “claim” it so that you can receive valuable podcast analytics, including the number of listeners and downloads.
How Do I Get My Podcast Into iTunes or Spotify?
Apple Podcasts (Previously iTunes)
Having your podcast listed on the Apple Podcasts app is the ultimate way to tap into a loyal audience and garner respect and a positive reputation.
- Firstly, you’ll need an RSS 2.0 conforming feed, as explained above. Some hosting sites have a built-in validator for RSS feeds, so you can be sure there are no errors and you’re all good to go. If you built your own feed, use Podbase (Apple’s recommended podcast validator) to test it out and make sure it’s compliant.
- Next, we recommend having at least 3 episodes before you submit to the Apple directory (if not, it is significantly less likely to feature you as noteworthy).
- Create a new Apple ID specifically for your podcast. Log into Podcast Connect.
- This will take you to a simple page, with a box to paste your RSS URL.
- Click validate to check your URL. An error message will appear if there is a problem with the feed.
- Click submit.
- Wait for approval! It could be anywhere from a couple of hours to a few weeks.
Once your feed has been validated, click the Submit button and wait for approval (anywhere from 24 hours to two weeks). Apple will email the address you entered as your iTunes email.
After Apple approves your show, it'll be available in the Podcast app on iOS and macOS devices.
With over 150 million active subscribers, Spotify quickly snapped up the second place podcast directory spot. It’s very close behind Apple for the most popular choice for downloading shows, globally.
The requirements are as follows:
- Audio Format: ISO/IEC 11172-3 MPEG-1 Part 3 (MP3) audio with a bitrate between 96kbps and 320kbps (aka MP3 with good audio quality).
- File Size: Episodes should be less than 200MB - that’s 83 mins at 320kbps or 200 mins 128kbps.
- Artwork: JPG or PNG with a square aspect ratio of 1:1 in the highest resolution available.
- Feed Values: Episode titles should not exceed 20 characters. Special characters, like [email protected]£$%^&*() must be HTML encoded.
- Feed Fields: Your podcast must have a title, artwork, and at least 1 episode to be considered.
Spotify is a bit different when it comes to submitting your podcast. Instead of submitting your RSS feed as you do with the other directories, you need to go through your media host instead. Contact your podcast host for more details.
How To Upload Your Podcast To Any Other Directory
Luckily, many directories and podcast listening apps use Apple Podcasts as their source of data. So, once you’ve listed your show with Apple, it will automatically appear in other apps like Overcast, Castbox, and Pocket Casts.
Still, you’ll want to manually submit your feed to other popular podcast directories, most of which follow a similar process to Apple. Read on for a step by step guide to being listed in Google Play Music, Stitcher, and TuneIn.
Google Play Music
- Create a Google or Google Apps Account, if you don’t already have one. Consider creating a shared account for your company, so that multiple people can add and manage podcasts. All podcast content needs to follow the Content and Conduct Policies for Podcasts on Google Play.
- Go to the Google Podcast Manager and click “Start Now”
- Enter your RSS feed - it must conform to the RSS 2.0 specifications and have all required tags. If you’ve already published a podcast to iTunes using an RSS feed, you can use many of the same tags when adding an RSS feed on Google Play Music.
- N.B. Ensure your RSS feed has a valid <googleplay:email> or <itunes:email> tag with an e-mail address that you can access, as this is where your verification code will be sent. You can remove the email address after verifying ownership.
- Preview your feed and ensure all is correct.
- Google will send you a verification code to the email associated with your RSS feed, which you enter in the box.
7. Publish your podcast.
- Wait for approval. Your podcast could be rejected for a number of reasons, for example:
- Similar content - the title and author are too similar to a pre-existing podcast.
- Ownership - you can’t confirm ownership of the podcast.
- Content violations - podcast content or images violate the Terms of Service or Content Policies. For example, explicit content needs to be tagged accordingly in the RSS feeds to comply.
Once Google approves your podcast, it will be available on the native podcast app across android devices.
- Ensure your podcast fits Stitcher’s requirements. They follow the general industry standards - square cover art (1:1) in either a JPG or PNG format, at least 1400px squared, unique title, at least one episode at the RSS feed.
- Join the Stitcher partner portal to create a profile that’s specific to content creators and add your podcast’s listing.
- You’ll then see a pop-up requesting your RSS Feed URL. Copy this from your host and paste it here. You’ll receive an alert if the link is invalid, otherwise, click the ‘Next; button.
- Verify your identity. Stitcher will send a verification e-mail to the address associated with your podcast’s RSS feed. Head to your inbox and click the button in their email saying “I approve, Add This Show To Stitcher”.
- Return to Stitcher’s set-up screen and click ‘Got It’
6. Accept the Terms and Conditions. Be sure to read through the Terms and Conditions of the platform, then click ‘Agree’.
7.You’re listed! You’ll see a congratulatory screen confirming that your podcast is listed on stitcher.
8. Edit your podcast’s details. Next, click ‘Take Me to the Partner Portal’, where you’ll find a ‘Manage Show’ tab. Here, you can link your show’s Facebook page, Twitter account, and website URL so they appear on your listing.
9. Add a Stitcher subscribe button to your podcast’s website.
Make sure your audience stays connected by embedding a subscription button to your website. Click the ‘Promote Show’ tab in the portal to access the listing’s URL on stitcher as well as embeddable player short-codes.
To make it easy for listeners to subscribe to your podcast on Stitcher, consider adding a button to your website. Go to the ‘Promote Show’ tab to access your podcast’s listing URL on Stitcher, embeddable player short-codes, and buttons.
TuneIn is a directory for free internet radio, sports, music, news talk, and podcasts.
- Fill in their podcast submission form.
- Your email address, Podcast Title, and RSS Feed URL are required.
- If you want to assign the podcast feed to an existing program listed in TuneIn, please explicitly write the program ID (ex. 'p123456') that you are adding the feed to in the "Comment" field and they will update it accordingly.
4. Click the checkbox next to “I accept and agree to the Terms & Conditions”. Click the Send Email button.
5. You will receive an email from TuneIn giving you the status of your submission.
6. Your podcast will now be listed on TuneIn!
Assuming that you’ve already listed your podcast in a major directory like Apple, Google or TuneIn, it will already be available via Amazon Echo. But, you can extend your reach by listing it to be included in the “Flash Briefing” feature.
This means that when users ask, “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?”, your episode will play automatically if they’ve selected it to be part of their briefing.
Similar to listing your podcast on other directories, once you complete this process once, all your new episodes will automatically be received for Flash Briefing, too.
Will My Podcast Benefit From This Distribution Method?
The Flash Briefing is best suited to short-form episodes and/or frequently released content consumed in the morning, like news updates, daily affirmations - anything that quickly informs, inspires, or motivates the listener. If your episodes are on the longer side, consider creating a custom edit specifically to be distributed this way on the Amazon Echo.
How To Get Your Podcast Listed on Amazon Echo
Before you get started, review Amazon's requirements for feeds. Feeds need to be in HTTPS and there are also requirements for the audio files you stream.
2. Click the ‘Alexa’ tab.
3. Click the ‘Get Started’ button under Alexa Skills Kit.
4. Click on "Add A New Skill."
5. Choose ‘Flash Briefing Skill API’ for the Skill Type and insert your podcast’s name in the ‘Name’ field.
6. Skip the ‘Interaction Model’ page (this information is irrelevant to Flash Briefing) and move on to the ‘Configuration’ page.
7. Enter "[PODCAST NAME] is not available at this time" in the Custom Error Message.
8. Click the ‘Add new feed’ button and input your podcast’s feed information.
Type caption (optional)
Here’s the lowdown on your podcast’s details:
- The "Preamble" is the short description the Amazon Echo plays before launching into your episode. It tells listeners what your content is about and the name of your podcast.
- Name - the name of your podcast
- Genre - the category of your podcast
- Type of content - audio
- Feed Icon - the image to be shown within the Flash Briefing settings in Amazon's Alexa app
IMPORTANT: Ensure your ‘Alexa Feed’ only allows a single episode at a time. Otherwise, it will play multiple episodes and disrupt your listener’s daily briefing.
9. Go to the "Publishing Information" page:
- Choose the category that best suits your podcast.
- Write "This is a podcast with an audio feed" in the "Testing Instructions" box.
- Input 2-3 words that describe your podcast in the “Short Skill Description” box.
- Input a summary of your podcast in the "Full Skill Description" box. This is the description that Amazon Alexa users see in the Alexa app.
- Upload images for the Alexa app and Amazon search (108x108 and also 512x512)
10. Fill in privacy information.
11. Use Alexa's beta test option.
If you don't own an Amazon Echo, you can test using the Alexa app. You can also invite other people to test.
12. "Submit for certification"
Within a couple of days, you’ll be approved and be able to reach a whole new audience.
Bam! Just like that, your podcast is listed in the top directories in the world. Now, you can focus on creating valuable, engaging content for your listeners, and watch the numbers grow. As your podcast gains traction, you can build on the momentum by using effective marketing tools and using fun features like live-streams and live Q&As with your audience.